The show didn’t have a break during Christmas, not even a Holiday Special with singing Cersei, but I had a break for family and duty (but not for honor, a guy could get his head chopped off for that). But after waking this morning from a dream where I fought and run from the White Walkers into Mance’s camp, I knew that I had to go back to Westeros.
We return to Jaime, who survived the cutting off his arm. Well I’m sure that the Dreadfort men are good with medicine, they could keep a man alive for a long time in their cellars. Still Jaime tries to use his left arm to fight while being almost unable to stand. It doesn’t work, but considering his later conversation, perhaps he just wanted to get it over with. It didn’t work, he’s only valuable alive.
Then another scene which is mostly moved from the second book. Varys tells Tyrion the story of how he lost his tail. It’s not such a fun tale but Varys tells it with just enough emotion. Then he opens the box and shows Tyrion its contents. It served as a reminder of what I said last season: I like Varys because he plays a role and I enjoy watching him play, but the man behind the actor… he’s always there, watching you, playing you.
Edd and Grenn continue to give us a view to a regular day in soldier’s life. Shoveling. At least they have proper shovels. Rast doesn’t like that they stay at Craster’s, because he’s evil and stuff. Edd answers that they are like ”the boys he never had”. Once again I laughed uncomfortably long. (Later we learn that even their numbers match, when just after they bury one of the hundred men left Craster tells that he just had his 99th son).
Bran still has trouble with his dreams. We learn nothing else about his group so I assume that they are still on their way to Greywater Watch.
Varys plays a detective. There seems to be no reason why the women didn’t take payment for Pod, so he drops the subject, likely for a season or so if the dagger plot can be used as an example. Well, if the boy is a demonspawn I think we’ll find out. Now to more pressing matters: Sansa Stark. The girl needs something to do, she has been like a Disney princess in a tower lately.
Oleanna Tyrell and Cersei discuss their sons. It will be interesting to see Mace Tyrell, his mother doesn’t exactly make him a glorious leader but compared to other rulers he doesn’t sound that bad. And Margaery throws doubles in her game of thrones. The city has eaten the words she has spoken of Joffrey while doing her charity work. And of course they have, he’s the charming prince. It’s not like he has shot beggars during a famine or anything. I mean, more than a handful. And it was all in good spirit. Hurrah the king.
Mysterious Stranger leads Theon through the sewers to meet his sister. Just before they are there Theon decides to spill it all out. He is no Darth Vader. Ned was more father to him than Balon ever was. The Stark boys are still alive. Mysterious Stranger takes a cue from that and leads him… back to the cross. Happy X-mas, Theon!
This was another example of me spoiling things for myself. When I rewatched the last episode before watching this one I started to think ”Could the Mysterious Stranger be someone I know?”. Two seconds later I had an answer, even if I didn’t continue the thought any further. Two letters: BB. This sort of scheme is exactly what he would come up with. Killing your own men, yes, it was too obvious. But we leave Theon here, likely for some time. He pays the iron prize for Winterfell now.
Brienne repays Jaime’s help by helping him to survive the mental effects. ”Hey you can always pledge yourself to the next person you meet and dream of revenge, that worked for me”.
Cersei and Tywin have the discussion I have waited for almost a year. It’s not as harsh as I would have liked, but we get some good quotes: ”Good. I wish you knew how to manipulate him. I don’t distrust you because you are a woman. I distrust you because you are not as smart as you think you are.” He has a point, Cersei hasn’t been at her best lately. She had no trouble getting rid of Ned and Robert (and if not for a little failure in assassination she would have got rid of Tyrion), but she has never been good at denying her son anything. Well, time for Grandpa to show old-fashioned upbringing after all this free parenting nonsense.
I want to welcome Oleanna Tyrell properly, she is a good addition to the growing list of characters. She tells what she thinks, she doesn’t just look into the distance and say nothing as the scene changes. And Varys needs someone to play with, now that his boardgame evenings with Tyrion are on a break and Littlefinger is leaving.
With Eddard dead, Arya missing, Bran and Rickon thought to be dead and Robb dead should the Lannisters win, the North will be on Sansa’s shoulders. Or rather, on the person who marries her. Suddenly she has become more than a bird in a cage. There’s of course the likely chance that the lords of North have fought a civil war between each other and the new ruler does not care for the last Stark’s husband, no matter whether the kids will be named Tyrell or Stark.
The atmosphere at Craster’s has grown thicker. Craster himself didn’t help it. He kind of miscalculated the power of Mormont and the desperateness of the men. Where’s your god now?
Night’s Watch: We don’t leave bro… never mind. A sudden swift in status quo. The Slytherin team starts a fight. Craster dies, a lot of other men die (Edd? Grenn? I can’t see them in the blur. If you ask me, Edd will join the winning side) and the Old Bear is dead. Yes, I called it before the second season but it’s not any less sad. Killed by a Watchman while marching away from a lost crusade. But his death was great. Hopefully the Slytherins remember to burn the corpses this time. They won’t want these ones to come after them.
But Rast, if Tarly can’t get to the Wall, then neither will you. What’s your plan now? There was this man who did horrible things to get protection from the Walkers, and you killed him. Well, the house is now full of boys to sacrifice and I don’t think the Walkers are picky. This will bite you hard. And all the lands south of the Wall as well if someone doesn’t get there to warn them.
Help us Mance Rayder, you are our only hope.
Arya, Gendry and The Hound are brought to the camp of outlaws. And it’s led by Beric Dondarrion. Having a priest in their midst has made their whole group religious. The Lord of Light starts to gather followers in Westeros (and why not? He seems to actually work). The outlaws have a mock hearing with Clegane and then tell him that he will have a trial by combat. “And who will it be?” At this point I rose from the chair and started hitting pillows half-laughing and half-angry. Beric’s going to say fire, he’s going to say fire, why is everyone so horrible… himself? What? I better sit down.
Hopefully Beric won’t kill him in combat just to establish himself. I’d rather take The Hound than him. And if The Hound wins and kills Beric, then his character would have been for nothing.
But there’s a more subtle danger in this camp. They are the followers of the Red God, and they have Gendry. Melisandre is on her way to find someone with Baratheon blood. I’ll just let that sink in.
While others are still just starting their season’s plots Daenerys Frikking Stormborn is ready to play her season finale already. She betrays her business partner and, like always when a betrayal happens near her, horrible deaths ensue. ”Execute Order 66”. Finally the context for that fire shot they put in every cable commercial.
Another sacked city behind her (she ordered the Unsullied to kill all the masters and soldiers but leave the children… later Astapor became known as the Pyjama Party Town) Daenerys marches with an army of ten thousand soldiers who are loyal, good fighters and will fulfill every order without questions.
One game at a time…