North of the Wall, we rejoin Jon Snow as Craster delivers him to Lord Commander Mormont after catching Snow spying on the fate of Craster’s male children, murdered and delivered to the White Walkers.
Sam in the interim is obviously quite taken with Gilly, one of Craster’s daughter/wives, and leaves her one of his mother’s items as a promise to return.
From North of the Wall we travel south to Winterfell, to check in with the young, lame Bran. He has been having dreams, where he can run, walk, hunt and eat. He is beginning to suspect these are more than dreams, that they are real, that he is somehow connected with his dire wolf.
We travel further south to find Lady Stark arriving at King Renly’s camp in the midst of a gladiatorial game, in which the flamboyant Loras, the so-called Knight of Flowers, is bested by a towering knight, who upon winning reveals herself as Brienne, a much-loved character from the book series. Though I will say, she is not as ugly as she is described in the books, but that is the wonder of television one supposes. The victory earns her a spot in the illustrious King’s Guard.
We also learn that not only is Renly married to Margaery, though he’s yet to consummate the marriage, he is also sexually involved with her brother, Loras.
Margaery is aware of the relationship, and takes it in stride, but counsels Renly that if he fathers a child with her, it cements their union and strengthens their hold, denying their enemies.
From there we travel to Pyke, where the Greyjoys are developing battle plans to slip behind Robb Stark’s line of attack across the south and seize the North behind him. Lord Greyjoy questions where Theon’s loyalties lie because of his friendship with Robb while he was a ward of Ned Stark. Theon is given one ship to go raiding with, but his sister Yara is given a fleet of 30 and will do the bulk of he fleet action. Theon temporarily toys with the idea of warning Robb, but commits himself to his family and is baptized with salt water as he proclaims his faith in the Drowned God.
Meanwhile in King’s Landing, Tyrion is weaving webs of his own, to ferret out who the spy for his sister is. Telling each of his suspects, Little-finger, Varys, and Grand Maester Pycelle that he plans to marry Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella, off to three different men. Knowing that whatever story he hears from Cersei will reveal the spy to him.
He also arranges for his mistress, Shae, to become Sansa Stark’s new handmaiden, hiding her in plain sight, so Cersei won’t know who she is.
Tyrion’s machinations pay off, revealing Pycelle as the spy, when confronted by Tyrion and Bronn, he proclaims his allegiance to House Lannister, always House Lannister, but Tyrion banishes him to one of the infamous black cells.
Finally we venture along the King’s Road, where we find Arya spending a sleepless night, and attempts to engage Yoran in conversation. She wants to know how he can sleep at night when he has seen so many horrible things.
The two are interrupted as a group of soldiers, loyal to the Lannisters stumble upon them, seeking Gendry.
Urging Arya and Gendry to escape and go north, Yoran is slain by the soldiers, who then proceed to ransack the convoy, and slay many of those on their way to The Wall.
Arya, helps the prisoners in the convoy escape, but then is set upon by a soldier who capture her and others, steals her sword, and uses it to run through one of her young traveling companions.
When the soldiers demand that they tell them where Gendry is, Arya points out Gendry’s helmet next to her slain companion, saying you already got him.
This show gets better and better, and even having read the books, and knowing what’s coming, seeing it unfold on the screen is a spectacular ride, the production continues to be lush and stunning, and the characters grow and change from week to week – the death of Ned Stark hangs over everything as a reminder that anyone can die at any time.
How long will your favorite character last?