The episode opens with an interesting scene showing Tyrion recovering from his battle wound to the face. After some passive aggressive words exchanged between him and Maester Pycelle, Pycelle leaves Tyrion a golden coin, claiming it’s for “his trouble”, in a very clear insult typical of the shifty Maester. It was an interesting exchange and builds upon the very shaky relationship the two have with eachother. We’re then taken to the royal throne room, with Joffrey proclaiming Tywin, his grandfather the newly appointed Hand of The King, and giving Lord Baelish aka Littlefinger, dominion over castle Harrenhal. After some quick words about the Tyrell’s assistance in the battle of Blackwater, Joffrey mulls over wedding Margaery Tyrell, claiming some BS about keeping “holy vows” to Sansa. It takes the words of Maester Pycelle, the people in the throne room, and Margaery herself insisting Sansa is not fit to be wed, for him to finally agree to relinquish his vows to Sansa. Of course, nobody is happier about this than Sansa, who walks away, and for the first time in a while, begins to smile. It’s interrupted of course, by Lord Baelish, who tells her of his love and fondness for her mother Catelyn, and claims he can help her escape this place and get home. Sansa tries to lie and claim this is her home, but L to the B sees right through it, and calls her on it.
Oh thank the Seven I-Oh crap.
Next is a scene with Ros the Wonder Whore, who gives us our mandatory T&A for the episode, and takes in a guest who turns out to be Varys, The Spider. She tries to make advances on him, thinking him another client and ends up discovering his identity by feeling his package. Or lack thereof. Ahem. Varys is there to get information on Lord Baelish, and recruits her as one of his “little birds.” Many threads are being tied up for the next season this episode, and we switch scenes yet again to Brienne and Jaime, who are now travelling together, as they come across three hanging bodies. Quickly they are approached by three goons, who start asking questions about the identity of Brienne’s captive. Soon one recognizes the Jaime as the Kingslayer, and raises his steel against Brienne. An insanely poor choice on his part, as she quickly dispatches two, and stabs the last in the groin, very sloooowwly sliding the sword deeper into him, as every male watching the show groans in pain. Another scene shift, and Robb is arguing with his mother about upholding his promise to marry one of the Frey women, as he promised in season 1. A few quick words, and we cut to Stannis Baratheon, pondering his defeat with Melisandre in tow. They argue over the point of their loss, until her words anger him, and begins to start choking her, claiming her to give him proof of her god’s will, questioning his own decisions. She tells him that he is her god, and has him look into the flames burning in their hearth. She asks him if he sees himself in the flames, as her king. Eventually, he does.
Back to Theon, and we get him pondering what to do in his predicament with holding Winterfell. With Robbs bannermen, led by Roose Bolton’s bastard, he faces almost certain death with his measly twenty Iron Men. Maester Luwin advises him to retreat, head north to the wall and take the black. Theon decides he’s too far gone, and begins rallying his men with a stirring speech. His battle cry is interrupted however, by the lance of one of his own men, and they black bag him, and carry him off,, but not before stabbing Maester Luwin in the gut with a spear, leaving him for dead. Returning to Tyrion in his room, we find him conversing with Varys. Varys informs Tyrion of the dire circumstances he is in, as all who were loyal to him previously are either paid off, relieved of duty, or in the case of Varys, abandoning him. There is one exception, and Shae comes into the room, and reminds Tyrion of how much she loves him, and accepts him, injury, dwarfism and all completely. They share a tender embrace. It’s a touching moment, and really shows the real connection the two share, as respective outcasts of their own worlds. We cut to Robb Stark and
Jeyne Westerling Talisa getting married, like idiot fools, Freys be damned.
That’s it Shae, lick that scar.
Finally we see Daenarys, who is outside the House Of The Undying, ready to claim her dragons. She approaches the House, which is actually a tower, and mystically enters, unseen by Jorah who was just behind her. Upon entering, she finds herself in the dark and follows the sounds of her dragons screeching for her. We cut yet again (a LOT of story is covered in this episode), this time to Arya. She is travelling with Hot Pie and Gendry, when she spots Jaqen H’Ghar watching them. She confronts him, and asks him questions about himself, and he reveals that he is a “Faceless Man” from Braavos. He tells her he can take her there, and teach her in the ways of killing, like him. She reluctantly denies his proposal, saying she must find her family. Jaqen laments her decision, but offers her a coin, saying if she ever needs his help, she must only present it to any Braavosi man, and say the words “Valar Morghulis.” He then tells her Jaqen is dead, and literally changes his face, and bids her farewell. Jaqen is a mysterious one indeed.
See what I did there?
We cut to Bran, being held by Hodor, walking through the smoldering remains of Winterfell. They find Maester Luwin bleeding out, sitting under a godswood. He tells them to journey north, to find Jon Snow, as he is the only relative of theirs they know the exact location of, as anywhere in the south is too dangerous. He tells Osha to protect them, and asks for a mercy killing. She provides it for him, and Osha, Bran, Hodor, Rickon and their direwolves begin the trek north. Back to Dany, we see her walking through hallways, still following the cries of her dragons, until she walks into a room with many doors. She enters one and finds inside is an ashy, lifeless version of the Iron Throne room in ruins. She follows the sound of her dragons still, and ventures “outside” into a snowy wasteland, with only a hut off in the distance. Inside the hut sits… Khal Drogo. Holding their unborn child. They speak to each other, each questioning if what they see and experience is real. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, and if you didn’t at least well up a little bit after they kiss, you’re dead inside. Dead.
I cried like a little bitch.
She leaves the hut, and is back in the room with many doors. This time, her dragons are chained to a pedestal. Pyat Pree appears, and using his strange illusive powers, chains her to the wall, meaning to keep her and her dragons as prisoners. Dany, in a moment of pure badassness, orders her dragons to burn him alive with a single word: “Dracarys.” The dragons promptly scorch him, and the chains binding them fall to dust, revealing themselves for the illusions they were. I’m running out of ways to say a scene changes, but it does, again. This time to Jon and Qhorin, who are bound and are being led by the wildlings. Qhorin follows through with his plan to make Jon look as if he is no longer loyal to the Night’s Watch, and begins dueling him. Jon defends himself, and ends up killing Qhorin, and gaining the trust of the wildlings in turn. Ygritte looks at Jon, and leads him to meet the King Beyond The Wall, while Qhorin’s body is burnt by the wildlings to keep him from coming back.
Back to Daenarys, her blood rider takes the key off a sleeping Xaro Xoan Daxo’s neck, and uses it to open his famed vault. They open it, and reveal that nothing was inside it the entire time, as he was simply using her to become king of Qarth all along. She thanks him for the lesson he has taught her, and locks him and her former hand maiden (who was sleeping with him), inside the vault. They then proceed to loot Daxo’s house, in true Dothraki fashion. Hell hath no fury like a scorned Targaryen.
The last scene, shows Samwell, Dolorous Edd and Brenn digging up different kinds of poo to burn, in order to keep warm. They then hear a blast of the foghorn from the wall. One for riders returning. Then they hear another. Two for wildlings attacking. Finally, a third blast. Whitewalkers. Edd and Brenn run off in terror, leaving behind the portly and slow Samwell. He cries after them, but becomes enveloped in an ethereal snow that comes seemingly from nowhere. He runs to take cover behind a rock, and slowly approaching, we see the first of many, many wights (zombies). He whimpers as an undead horse clops up besides him, and gazes upwards to see a full-fledged Whitewalker. It eyes him, and raises its spear, and lets loose an inhuman and terrifying howl, as thousands of wights, and dozens more Whitewalkers follow, all leading towards the Wall.
Holy crap. So yeah, a pretty packed episode, that did as well as it could with as many characters and stories it had to juggle. The additions to the story were welcome, and the story certainly seems to be ramping up in an extremely exciting way. I’m sure many viewers will have questions left unanswered, but so did many readers who had to wait for book three. This is how you do a “The shit is hitting the fan ’cause ZOMBIES” ending perfectly. Take note Walking Dead writers, all you have to do is make your show and it’s characters interesting and likeable, and you can have season endings that actually have an impact. Only a year until season 3 folks!
It’s only a model…