We’ve had to endure a small hiatus from Game of Thrones, but we’re back with a new episode tonight! Until then, if you’ve forgotten what happened, we have a special two-episode recap of the previous two episodes to hold you over!
"The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
The episode begins with Jon and Ygritte, having scaled the wall and come down on the other side. They’re marching on Castle Black, but Jon is not so sure it’s a good idea. He knows the Night’s Watch, and he knows they’ll be prepared. Ygritte replies with her trademark “You know nothing, Jon Snow” and walks off. Then Orell, the warg, comes up to Jon and says yes, he truly know nothing. Something tells me there will be no deep friendship between these two in the future.
Now we are back with Robb in his tent, accompanied by the usual suspects: Catelyn, Talisa, Edmure, and Brynden. They also discuss the usual topic: Lord Frey, Edmure’s impending nuptials, etc. Once again no one listens to Catelyn as she tries to advise everyone on how to deal with the Freys, unfortunately. Then Robb and Talisa are left alone. Lights come up on Robb and Talisa in bed, immediately post-coitus. We get to see some butts, and they’re pretty nice butts. Anyway, Talisa starts to write a letter in Valyrian. She says it’s to her mother. Evidently this is a rare occurrence, since Talisa says her mom doesn’t even know she’s a queen, let alone carrying a prince or princess inside her. Wait, what?! Yes, Talisa tells Robb that she is pregnant. Robb is understandably excited, and then they bang again.
Jon’s getting some sex advice from his buddy Tormund. Evidently you don’t want to put your cock in a girl until she’s “slick as a baby seal”. Um, okay. Anyway, Ygritte is walking along when Orell engages her in conversation. Now we can see why he doesn’t like Jon – he’s lusting after Ygritte.
Sansa and Margaery are chatting about – what else – marriage. Margaery tries to be kind about Sansa’s upcoming wedding to Tyrion, but it doesn’t work very well. She tries to tell Sansa that Tyrion’s handsome, etc., but honestly, how would you feel if you were about to marry Ser Loras Tyrell but instead were stuck with Tyrion “The Imp” Lannister? Not an endearing situation for a fourteen year old girl with dreams of fairytales and handsome princes. At any rate, Margaery tries to appeal to Sansa’s, er, libido. She says that Tyrion is quite experienced in the bedroom, so Sansa has that to look forward to. When Sansa asks how Margaery knows all about what it takes to please a woman, she gets a soft smile and an explanation that she learned this from her mother. Wink wink!
Tyrion and Bronn are discussing the pairing. Bronn is unswayed by Tyrion’s worries about Sansa’s age and Shae’s feelings. As usual the conversation is kind of hilarious, and Bronn is awesome. Poor Tyrion, though; he laments the fact that by marrying Sansa and keeping Shae a secret he’ll have two women in his life to hate him.
Lord Tywin arrives in the throne room to talk with King Joffrey. It seem the king is finally taking an interest in ruling his kingdom – he wants to know what has been happening in his small council’s meetings. Of course, he could attend the meetings himself, but Joffrey says he’s been very busy. Hmm, busy with what? Tying women to his bed and shooting them with crossbows? Clumsily trying to impress his bride-to-be with vile stories from the capital’s history? Tywin is very clearly just not having it from Joffrey. And his grandson is, like everyone else, fully intimidated by him. And Lord Tywin knows it.
Dany and her Unsullied have waked across the desert and come to the city of Yunkai. Jorah wisely counsels her that she doesn’t need to take the city, there’s no reason for it, but Daenerys is still on her white savior trip. She says that they must take the city so she can free the slaves. Yeah, and then what, Dany? Clearly she hasn’t thought this one through. They set up camp and Dany meets with an official from Yunkai. He asks her not to try to take the city, in exchange for vast piles of gold (and a ship, there’s always a ship). Of course Daenerys doesn’t take the deal, and in her typical HBIC fashion she and her dragons dismiss the official.
Tyrion has presented Shae with a thick gold chain. There is some kind of metaphor in here – Tyrion loves Shae, but he still sees her as his possession (and therefore her chains are gold). Anyway, metaphors aside, Shae owns it in this scene. She will not settle for being Tyrion’s secret concubine, she refuses to have his secret children; she won’t live like that. You go, Shae!
Melisandre and Gendry are sailing back to Dragonstone, and they’re almost there. Melisandre is weirdly fixated on Gendry, just like before, only this this time she reveals to him that he is Robert Baratheon’s bastard son. After all, why did he think he was being hunted down before?
Arya and Beric are sitting in the cave, and the former is still royally pissed about the Brotherhood giving Gendry up. Then, instead of continuing with their plan to return Arya to her mother at Riverrun, they decide to track down and steal from a Lannister raiding party. Arya is fed up and she runs off. They try to chase her down, but to no avail. It certainly doesn’t help when out of nowhere The Hound reaches out and snatches her up!
Before he heads back to King’s Landing Jaime comes to see Brienne in her cell. He’s uncharacteristically awkward, but he promises that he has a debt to pay Brienne, and he will pay it. He’ll return the Stark girls to their mother. The next morning Jaime gets on his horse (with a lot of difficulty) and heads off.
Theon, meanwhile, is being let down from his torture cross thing by a couple of gorgeous young women. Well, this is certainly a change of direction for him…or is it? Honestly, the whole time these ladies are loving him up I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Oh, and it does. It does in a big way. In walks Theon’s captor, and boy does he have a surprise for Theon. He comes in with his stupid horn again and throws Theon to the ground. Evidently the rumors about Theon’s, er, sexual prowess have spread far and wide. He wonders aloud if Theon’s manhood is, perhaps, his most precious part. And then he takes out a curved blade, and we all know where this is ending. Theon calls for mercy, and his captor says that this is mercy – he isn’t killing him, after all. Then two of the man’s servants hold Theon down and…well, snip snip.
Jon and Ygritte are hunting, and Ygritte is pretty awesome at it. The scene pretty much just devolves into cute couple-y nonsense, which is basically made all the more adorable when you know that actors Kit Harington (Jon) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte) are dating in real life! Then shit starts to get real and Jon tries to convince Ygritte that they can’t win if they attack The Wall. And then there’s some more kissing.
Now there’s a small scene with Bran et al. Osha is, as usual, unhappy with the Reed siblings. This time, however, her ire is aimed at Jojen. She all but yells at him for filling Bran’s mind with nonsense. Her anger turns to fear when Osha tells her story. Jojen says that they’re now going to go past The Wall, but Osha refuses. She tells the story of her man, who left to go hunting one day, but when he came back he wasn’t himself. He was a White Walker. And this is why she flat-out refuses to go past The Wall.
On a break in their ride, former maester Qyburn takes a look at Jaime’s stump. They have a nice chat about Qyburn’s affinity for experimenting on human beings, and then Jaime inquires about the chances that Brienne will be ransomed for. Evidently the men won’t be bartered with – they would prefer to have Brienne as their entertainment. Jaime convinces his entourage that they have to return to Harrenhall.
When they do, the place is deserted. Jaime hears voices, and they’re singing “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”. He runs up to where the voices are coming from and goes to see what they’re cheering at. It is, almost literally, the bear and the maiden fair. Brienne is down in the fighting pit, set against a huge and angry bear, armed with nothing but a wooden sword. The odds are very far from being in her favor, and Jaime jumps into the pit with her. Luckily, one of the men Jaime was with shoots his crossbow at the bear. Why? Because Lord Bolton ordered him to return Jaime to King’s Landing alive. They are both pulled out of the pit, just a bit worse for wear. As they leave a slow string version of “The Rains of Castamere” swells in the background. Jaime seems to have regained some of his Lannister swagger as well.
The episode begins with Arya staring at a big old rock. She picks it up and silently walks over to where The Hound is asleep, all ready to bash his brains in. But somehow he knows she’s there, and she can’t do it. She’s sullen for the rest of the day, it seems. Well, until she’s told that she isn’t going back to King’s Landing – she’s headed to her mother at The Twins.
Dany and her two bros look out over the band of sellswords guarding Yunkai – a group known as the Second Sons. Dany decides that she’ll meet with the captains of the group to negotiate an agreement wherein they fight alongside her. The main captain, known as The Titan’s Bastard, is…well, he’s a bastard. The second one is sort of nondescript. But the third one, Daario Naharis…well, he’s kind of dreamy. He looks like what would happen if Legolas and Aragorn had a lovechild, no joke! This Daario in no way looks like the character from the book, but I’m okay with it. He seems pretty smart, too. When Dany and Ser Barristan are trying to intimidate Mero, The Titan’s Bastard, Daario calls them out on a lie. With a smile, of course. Dany seems a bit perturbed by the guy, but never loses her cool. She gives the captains two days to decide if they want to keep fighting for Yunkai, or if they want to join her.
Melisandre and Gendry have arrived at Dragonstone. After bringing the boy to see Stannis Melisandre has the servants bring him to a nice room to be bathed and clothed. Stannis does not seem to be too fond of Melisandre’s plans to wine, dine, and slaughter the boy.
It looks like right after Melisandre left Stannis went down to the dungeons to talk to Davos. Davos, meanwhile, has been reading out loud to himself. It’s really very adorable to hear him sound everything out. But the cuteness doesn’t last once Stannis gets to talking about why he’s come down to talk to Davos. As usual, he needs Davos’ counsel on an issue – that of whether or not to let Melisandre sacrifice Gendry. It looks like Davos hits the nail on the head when he suggests that Stannis came to see him when he did because he wanted and expected for Davos to counsel him against the murder of an innocent.
Back in the Second Sons’ camp the three captains from before are discussing Dany’s offer. Mero has a nearly naked girl on his lap and talks about his cock a lot (really, could this guy be any less likeable?) and the second guy is just generally grumpy about the whole issue, but Daario seems intrigued. Mero, however, just wants to see Dany dead. He gives his naked girl three coins, each from a different place, and has her blindly hand one to each of the three men. The man who gets the Braavosi coin will have to go sneak into Dany’s camp and kill her. As one could have expected, it is Daario who gets the Braavosi coin. “Valar Morghulis,” he says. All men must die.
Meanwhile Sansa is getting her hair done for her wedding. The panning up to her face passes over the doll she was so fond of just a year ago. My, how things have changed for that girl. Her husband-to-be comes to call on her t speak privately (apparently in Westeros it’s not considered to be bad luck for the husband to see the bride before the wedding). He’s not a bad guy, really, and he basically just apologizes (probably for the millionth time) to Sansa about having to marry him. He promises that he will never hurt her. He does earn a small smile from his betrothed as they walk out of Sansa’s chambers arm in arm. It probably doesn’t seem that way to a fifteen-year-old girl with dreams of handsome knights, but things really could be so much worse for her.
Margaery and Cersei are in the hall waiting for the nuptials to begin, Margaery still acting as the sweetest creature on Earth. She calls Cersei radiant, and says that they’re going to be sisters soon, so they should be friends. She grabs hold of Cersei’s arm in a sisterly manner that no one else in the realm would dare do, I am sure. Margaery seems immune to Cersei’s resulting death glare, though. Cersei tells Margaery the story behind the song “The Rains of Castamere,” of the House Reyne of Castamere, in a not-at-all veiled effort to threaten Margaery, and by extension House Tyrell as a whole. As if her meaning is not already made abundantly clear, she ends her little monologue by saying that if Margaery ever calls her “sister” again she’ll have the girl strangled in her sleep. Even the sweet Margaery Tyrell can’t make that one feel better.
Then the wedding is set to begin. Sansa walks into the hall and is greeted by Joffrey, who says that as her father is dead he is in the right to give her away to her husband. The hall is more or less silent and somber as the two walk down the aisle to Tyrion on the dais. When they get there, though, the reliably douchey Joffrey takes away the stool that Tyrion was to stand on to cloak his bride. Unfortunately people laugh, and it’s actually upsetting to watch. Sansa ends up kneeling down to take the cloak (the opposite of what she does in the book). Sansa no longer seems upset or forlorn, so much as perpetually shocked and disbelieving that this is her life.
Back in Dragonstone Gendry is washed and changed and placed in his new and incredibly rich bedroom. Melisandre is being flirtatiously predatory and Gendry is understandably suspicious. As well he should be – he ends up with a parasite in a very sensitive place! As soon as they start having sex Melisndre ties him to the bed and opens a box full of leeches. She puts one on his chest, one on his abdomen, and one on his poor penis. In walk Stannis and Davos, because apparently this is some kind of demonstration. She plucks the leeches off of Gendry and gives them to Stannis. He tosses them one by one into the fire saying, “The usurper Robb Stark, the usurper Balon Greyjoy, the usurper Joffrey Baratheon,” letting one fall in with each name.
Back in King’s Landing the wedding feast for Tyrion and Sansa is in full swing. Lady Olenna is humorously trying to explain to Loras the various Tyrell-Lannister relationships that will come of the unions between him and Cersei as well as Joffrey and Margaery. Tywin comes over to Tyrion to comment on his drunkenness, basically threatening him in order to get Tyrion to give Sansa a child. In his truest fashion Tyrion flouts his father’s words and declares himself the god of tits and wine. Up on the balcony Loras tries to engage Cersei in conversation by sharing an anecdote about something his father once told him, but before he can get a single sentence out Cersei cuts him off with, “Nobody cares what your father once told you.” Downstairs Sansa is pulled aside by Joffrey, who all but point-blank says that he is going to rape her and put a child in her.
The bedroom scene is quite an interesting one between Tyrion and Sansa. It’s clear that Tyrion does truly want Sansa, but in the end his sense of morality wins out. He refuses to so much as sleep in the same bed as her, his father’s orders and threats be damned. As he says, “If my father wants someone to get fucked I know where he can start.” Tyrion ends up passing out on a chaise, leaving Sansa alone in their bed.
It’s night outside of Yunkai and Daenerys is taking a bath with Missandei’s help. Suddenly Missandei gasps and when Dany looks up her serving girl is being held by someone who appears to be one of her Unsullied, but couldn’t possibly be. It turns out to be none other than Daario Naharis. Daario says that he was sent there to kill Dany, but that he doesn’t want to. So he presents her with the decapitated heads of his fellow captains of the Second Sons. She has him swear that he and the Second Sons will fight for her, and she accepts.
The morning after Sansa’s and Tyrion’s wedding Shae comes in with breakfast. She seems utterly peeved until she sees that there is nothing o their bed. No blood, which would be characteristic of a young bride being bedded for the first time. She glances at Tyrion and it doesn’t look like she’s too pissed off anymore.
Sam and Gilly are still trekking through the woods North of the wall, where it’s snowing and freezing. They find a small ramshackle shelter under a heart tree where they decide to spend the night. As they stand there gathering wood for a fire a group of ravens make their way over to the tree. That night, inside the shelter, Gilly and Sam share warmth under the fur and talk a bit, mostly about Gilly’s son. Sam wants to know of she’s given him a name yet. In the background of their conversation the sounds of crows cawing grows louder. Sam gets up to go check. The tree is covered with crows, and more are arriving every second. It’s a little bit scary, but not nearly as scary as what comes next. The cawing stops all together and in the distance Sam sees a white walker. This isn’t just any white walker, either; it looks to be the same one Sam saw in the final scene of last season’s finale. Sam tries to stop it with a sword, but the second it touches the sword it shatters. When the white walker goes for Gilly Sam rounds on it with the only weapon he has left – the dragonglass dagger. Amazingly, this does the trick. The walker freezes in place, screams, and like the sword shatters into a thousand pieces. Sam and Gilly take off running.
Tune in tonight for an all-new Game of Thrones. “The Rains of Castamere” airs first at 9 PM/EST only on HBO. This is one you won’t want to miss, trust me. If you’ve been hearing whispers of an event called the “Red Wedding” you will have to wait no longer to find out what exactly it is.