In the North
- The episode opens with Bran having another one of his three-eyed raven dreams. Interestingly, there’s a bit of a hallmark to the series’ pilot episode where Bran is trying to properly shoot his bow and arrow. Much to his surprise, however, there’s a new presence in his dream. It’s a young boy, whom he has never met before. Later, the boy from his dream arrives at their camp. The boy is Jojen Reed, and he is accompanied by his warrior sister Meera. They are the children of Howland Reed, one of Ned Stark’s closest friends and allies, and they’ve come to help Bran and Rickon in their time of need. They establish that Bran is both a warg (a person who can enter an animal’s mind and see through its eyes) and has “the sight.” Jojen claims to have the the sight as well, as well as some power over animals, as and explains a bit about it. Both Jojen and Meera join their group as they make their way to The Wall.
- Theon Greyjoy awakens in some kind of torture dungeon, but we don’t know where for sure. He is held on some kind of crucifix style torture rack, which his captors tighten every time they don’t like his answers. It’s implied that his captors are not any of the ironmen sworn to his father. One of the men in the prison tells Theon that he was sent by his Theon’s sister Yara to rescue him later.
Beyond the Wall
- The remaining members of the Night’s Watch are not doing well on their trek back to the Wall. Morale seems to be at an all-time low. Lord Mormont insists that Sam make it back to the Wall alive, and partners him up with another member of the Watch who seems to dislike Sam. He threatens this member that if Sam dies, so will he.
- Jon is still with Mance Rayder’s army. Mance claims that even though he likes Jon, he won’t have any problem having him killed. They consult with Mance’s scout, who is a warg that uses an eagle. The warg reports that he saw the aftermath of the Fist of the First Men, and the dead Night’s Watch members. This seems to put Jon in further danger.
In King’s Landing
- We see Joffrey consulting with his mother, and their conversation goes towards Margaery. It’s clear that Cersei doesn’t like Margaery much, but Joffrey seems to get more defensive at the subject, and he further criticizes his mother. The divide between the two is growing.
- Sansa is invited to take lunch with both Margaery Tyrell and Lady Olenna Tyrell. The two of them are interested in knowing what kind of man Joffrey is, since Margaery is to be his bride. After some reluctance, Sansa feels that she can trust the two of them and confesses that Joffrey is a monster and briefly tells them some of the awful things he’s done to her. The two of them don’t seem to be greatly phased by this news, and they’re not even going to stop the wedding.
- Shae visits Tyrion while Sansa is with the Tyrells. Tyrion isn’t pleased since he hasn’t forgotten his father’s threat from last episode. He insists that Shae can’t visit him like she has been doing. Shae tells him that she doesn’t trust Littlefinger, who spoke with Sansa last episode. This doesn’t concern Tyrion, since he already knows how untrustworthy Littlefinger is. As their conversation progresses, Shae guesses that Tyrion slept with Roz – one Littlefinger’s whores – and this displease her. She also doesn’t seem to be pleased when Tyrion gives Sana an offhand compliment on how pretty she is. Despite giving him a hard time, Tyrion placates her by saying all the right things about how devoted he is to her, and she rewards him for it with some offscreen sex.
- Margaery is called to Joffrey’s chambers to talk with him. He questions her about her late husband Renly, and how loyal she was to him. Margaery tells the truth that Renly was a homosexual, which disgusts Joffrey. She also gets closer to him by showing interest in his new crossbow, and asking to go hunting with him at some point. This seems to please Joffrey greatly.
- Robb is sent two sets of bad news. The first is about the death of his maternal grandfather, Lord Hoster Tully. The second is about the destruction of Winterfell. They have no news about Bran or Rickon. The bad news hits Catelyn particularly hard. She’s finally starting to crumble under the weight of all the tragedy that’s befallen her and her family. Robb decides to go to Riverrun to attend his grandfather’s funeral and restock his army with fresh troops. He leaves Roose Bolton in command of Harrenhall. Later, Talisa finds Cat making a wreath to the Seven Gods, praying for her children. Cat tells Talisa that she thinks the Gods are punishing her for not loving Jon Snow. Meanwhile, Robb is sensing that Lord Karstark is losing faith in their cause. Lord Karstark tells Robb that he think Robb lost the war the day he married Talisa. This seems to be building some kind of foreshadowing.
- Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie continue their way to Riverrun, where they encounter the Brotherhood Without Banners. They recognize their Lannister captors at Harrenhall, where looking for the Brotherhood, but they are treated well by the group. This group’s leader is a man called Thoros of Myr, and he treats the children well, and even is prepared to let them go free after feeding them at the Crossroads Inn. Right before Arya and her group are about to leave through the inn’s open door, the Brotherhood bring in their latest prisoner, The Hound. Unfortunately for Arya, The Hound recognizes her and he reveals her as Arya Stark to Thoros and the Brotherhood.
- Brienne and Jaime are still making their long trek to King’s Landing. While they’re in the forests, they come across a kind farmer. Jaime recommends that Brienne kill him so he can’t reveal their presence to anyone, but she refuses to kill an innocent man. Later in the episode, Brienne and Jaime are crossing a bridge, and Jaime pulls a trick to steal one of Brienne’s swords. He begins to attack her, but much to his surprise, she is actually able to fight him to a standstill. Before their duel can continue, they are interrupted by the arrival of Roose Bolton’s men. The Bolton men had been led to them by the farmer from earlier, and they resolve to take the two of them captive. The episode ends with them closing in on Brienne and Jaime.
After seeing two of episodes of the third season, I can see why George R.R. Martin chose to divide the fourth installment of his series into two separate books, focusing on different characters. It felt like some of these story beats ended up with less than five minutes of story time within the episode. This episode was actually the first time we got to see Bran, Arya, Jaime and Brienne this entire season, and they were greatly missed last episode. Even though very little happened with Arya this episode, it was some very important developments with the introduction of the Brotherhood and her identity being revealed by the Hound.
This episode overall was an improvement over last week’s premiere since we got to see more of the entire cast, and got some very nice moments with characters. Cat’s story was heartbreaking and one of Michelle Fairley’s finest moments on the show. You could really see the pain and regret on her face. Margaery is quickly becoming one of the more fascinating characters on the show, and she owned every scene that she was in with this episode. She’s already starting to wrap Joffrey around her little finger.
Another highlight of this episode was the debut of Lady Olenna Tyrell, played by Diana Rigg. She was wonderfully entertaining, and it was a delight to see her in the role of the “Queen of Thorns.” Tyrion should up his game if he wants to remain the wittiest character on the show!
The duel between Brienne and Jaime looked very good and they told a decent amount of story between the two within just a few moments.
Game of Thrones is still one of the best shows on television, and this episode pleased much more than last week’s installment. Next week’s looks to be even more promising.