After the Red Wedding, almost anything would feel like a much-desired anticlimax. The episode answers some questions and does a lot of successful set up for the next season. It was a good episode. My only complaint is a severe lack of Margaery Tyrell. I understand that we had lots of plotlines to visit, but since she is one of the most dynamic and fascinating characters of the season, I did find her absence disappointing.
In terms of relationships, I have some bad news. Ygritte and Jon Snow broke up in just about the most unambiguous way possible. She finds Jon after he ran off from the wildlings, preparing immediately to fill him full of arrows. She’s got a strong motivation. They talked about what would happen with the wildlings and the crows. She asked him to be on team Jon + Ygritte because their separate sides don’t really value them as individuals. He didn’t keep to that plan, bailing for the night’s watch pretty much at the first moral conflict south of the wall. He counters, in hopes of keeping his hide arrow free, that she didn’t really ever expect that he’d left the night’s watch in terms of loyalty. His face makes clear the torment of his divided feelings. He says that he loves her, but he offers them no future together. Instead he just says that he has to “go home.” As far as break up speeches go, it isn’t bad. He’s not asking to stay friends after all, but he kinda botches it when he tells her that she won’t shoot him. Even if she hadn’t been planning to do it before, just that claim would give her a pretty good reason. Know nothing Jon Snow does not tell a red-headed wildling woman what to do. So she shoots him. Three times. All direct hits. I guess that break up is final. He isn’t going to die, but he is going to hurt. I guess that was her goal, and I don’t blame her one bit.
The reluctantly betrothed Sansa and Tyrion still haven’t consummated their marriage. This is probably a good decision for the future of the relationship since they don’t really seem to be in first base territory yet. But we see them having a good conversation in the garden. They even make jokes with one another while Shae looks on in the background. Awkward, even when Tyrion sneaks her an apologetic look over Sansa’s shoulder.
Tyrion gets summoned to the Small Council to hear about the red wedding. Joffrey is bouncing in his chair, not because his claim to kingship is safer, but because he wants to serve Robb’s head to Sansa at his wedding feast. Like a good husband, Tyrion says Sansa isn’t his to torment anymore. Joffrey doesn’t take this idea lightly. He seems to care more about torturing Sansa than marrying Margaery. Tywin puts a stop to some fairly treasonous threats and counter threats, defending his unpleasant grandchild. Stupid Joffrey is so ungrateful as to question Tywin’s actions regarding the whole switchover from the Mad King to Robert Baratheon from before his birth. Tywin’s eyebrows rise so high it seems they might lift off of his head. Joffrey gets sent to his room where he will be drugged with nightshade. He shouts, “I’m not tired!” as though that will make a difference. Tywin gives another speech about family loyalty that basically translates to, “I know what is best for all Lannisters, so do what I say.”
One last little note about happenings in Kings Landing. When the spider Varys attempts to sneak Shae safely out of King’s Landing, he tosses her a bag of diamonds to buy a house in a far away land. This should work, right? Everybody likes diamonds and safety. He even acknowledges the power and reality of the love between Tyrion and Shae. It is a sweet speech that only makes me worry about what will happen to that love if she keeps on working as Sansa’s ladies maid. The determined Shae will have none of the diamonds or the leaving. The show really is making a lot more of her character than the books do, from what I hear, but the situation doesn’t seem sustainable. What will happen in Season Four, I cannot say.
Continuing with Lannister drama, Ole Jaime Kingslayer finally makes it back to King’s Landing with Brienne. In the capitol, Jaime looks like nothing more than a dirty one-handed dude. He doesn’t look powerful pretty or rich anymore. It makes him feel a lot less like a Lannister. When he goes to Cersei, which he does quietly and quick—she simply stares at him. The scene doesn’t show us if their reunion is one of incesty-love or something more complicated.
For my favorite Khaleesi, the siege of Yunkai has ended. Her new citizens pour out of the city, calling her “mhysa,” their word for mother. Dany tells the crowd of former slaves that she can’t give them their freedom–they each need to take it for themselves. The show is trying to make her an ethical leader and a conquerer at the same time. It is a tough task, and I’m not sure they succeed 100%. They reach for her adoringly, and she goes among the people to some pretty spacey world music. No more of the budding attraction between her and her fancy new commander.
The episode actually opens with the Stark army being butchered. We see the Hound and Arya attempting to make their way through the bloody end of the Northern rebellion. Obvious the Hound and Arya are disturbed by what they see, most of all by the sight of Grey Wind’s head somehow attached to Robb’s body, being paraded through the camp. Soon they spy a small group of soldiers,who pass the time relishing in the details of Catelyn Stark’s death among others. The men appear to be bantering over the multiple disputes for the honor of being theman who successfully mounted Grey Wind’s head on Robb’s dead shoulders. Ick. This is more than Arya can take; she walks over plays the helpless youth long enough to get close throw her magical coin (remember the face changing “Valar Morghulis” guy, this is his coin). He scrambles for it, giving her just the opening she wanted to stab him. She really gets into the whole revenge murder bit. I’m almost worried that this bespeaks bad things for the future of Arya Stark’s psyche. This show doesn’t tend to allow revenge to go well for very long. Before his army buddies can come to his aid, the Hound eliminates them all. His only critique to Arya is that she must tell him next time before deciding to unleash her murderous rage. He feels her pain and doesn’t really mind a bit of killing each day.
Bran, Hodor, Jojen and Meera settle in at another abandoned building, this time the Nights Watch’s creepiest castle Nightfort. Here Bran tells the legend of the Rat Cook, which makes super clear to viewers that anyone who harms an acknowledged guest is pretty much forever cursed. Good luck with that Walder Frey. In a massive surprise, they run into Sam and Gilly, who are headed south. Samwell recognizes Bran and gives him the dragonglass weapons and shows them the way through the Wall. He’s become such a good help. When Sam and Gilly return to the Night’s Watch, Maester Aemon tells him to ready all the crows with news about the White Walkers. This is pretty darn important, as we’ll soon see.
Stannis learns that Robb Stark died, he connects it to the Lord of Light and Melisandre’s magic with Gendry’s blood. Now he thinks that sacrificing Gendry is a good idea because it will work. He’s a very bottom line sort of guy. Davos decides to set his fellow Flea Bottom alum free instead, risking more charges of treason. Stannis does sentence Davos to death but he is saved by his knowledge of news of the Night’s Watch. The White Walkers change everything. Even Melisandre knows that Stannis needs Davos for this challenge. Evidently the real war is between these supernatural enemies and her god, not just kings in Westeros.
Last and for me leas, viewers finally get some knowledge about Theon’s torture and themand behind it. Theon’s father and sister receive “Theon’s favorite toy” from the bastard Ramsay Bolton. This sick dude demands that the Ironborn leave the North unless they want more pieces of Theon. Ick again. Theon’s dad is willing to let him to get hacked up, but his stubborn sister Yara isn’t. She seems to like him more now than ever, so she takes a ship of 50 of the best warriors to rescue him. When we check on Theon and his evil torturer, he begs to die. Ramsay isn’t into that idea. He wants to remake him as a whole new person, Reek. This looks like it will be more meaningful next season and very messy.
Thanks for sticking with me for a whole season of Game of Thrones recaps. I enjoyed it tremendously. Good luck waiting for season four.