In which the special effects department gets a break. Also: problems with kids.
I remember when I was a young circus freak and my father came back from losing a great battle to the forces of an imp and put my best friend in jail. It was a tough time, as it seems to be for Shireen Baratheon, Stannis’s secret daughter he hides away in a tower because half her face is scaly (like a dragon!…..or just any old gator).
Stannis’s wife, who is completely down with him giving the old Baratheon to the Lord of Light’s priestess, convinces Stannis to visit their little girl after a heartfelt chat surrounded by their stillborn baby boys in jars. Fantastically creepy. His little gator girl is great friends with the “traitor” The Onion Night, who she soon visits in his cell. She’s going to teach him to read. Aw.
The Lord of Light’s other biggest fans, the Brotherhood, finally get down to brass tacks with The Hound, who defeats their leader in combat, despite the fact that Dondarrion has a flaming sword. Turns out he’s kind of like wolverine, in that with the help of the priest who first captured Arya, he can be revived. Wolverine is still way cooler, for a whole host reasons, but this was the first reason we’ve been provided to give half a shit about The Brotherhood this season, so we’ll take it.
One of the episodes best moments happens soon after, when Arya—having thrown a small, adorable, fit when Clegane was allowed to depart—is told by Gendry that he’ll be staying on to smith for the Brotherhood; he’s never had a family. “I can be your family,” she tells him. “You can’t be my family. You’d be my lady,” he replies. Boom!
Arya has a boyfriend (maybe, in the future).
The Lannister boys held prisoner by Arya’s older brother are murdered in their beds, Macbeth style, by Lord Karstark, in an act of revenge for Jamie Lannister killing his son. Robb’s mom and wife want him to keep Karstark as a hostage, but Robb removes his head, losing Karstark’s men—half his army—in the process. Robb only has one choice with his remaining forces: he has to march on Casterly Rock, the Lannister’s home. To do it, he’ll need the help of Lord Walder Frey, who’s daughter he was supposed to marry (for a bridge back in Season 2).
This isn’t the only time the problems of marriage and children rears its head this week. We end in Westeros, where the oil in the grinding gears of power is Sansa Stark. Varys and the Tyrells want to keep her out of Lord Baelish’s hands by marrying her off Loras—who is currently banging his new squire, Octavian, from Rome (who is reporting back to Baelish). Tywin Lannister has other plans: Tyrion will wed Sansa. Ha! We can’t help laugh a little, along with Cersei, whose wicked smile disappears as soon her father reveals part 2 of his marriage plot: she will marry Loras. This will unite the South’s most powerful families, as well as end the rumors of her and Jamie’s incest.
Speaking of Jamie, he’s finally caught a break, landing at the castle of a lord who treats him—while still a prisoner—decently. In a bath with Brienne,we finally get to hear the story of his murder of Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King. Turns out that when Robert Baratheon’s army was bearing down on King’s Landing, Aerys placed wildfire all over the city (like a terrorist!). Tywin Lannister and his armies reached the city ahead of the Baratheons and when The Mad King was convinced to let him into the city, Tywin sacked it. The Mad King ordered Jamie to bring him Tywin’s head and to ignite the wildfire. That’s when he stabbed him in the back.
And that’s when Ned Stark walked in.
Why did Jamie never propagate the truth? No one would have ever believed him after the honorable Eddart Stark cast him as an oathbreaker?
“By what right does the wolf judge the lion?” calls out the humbled, complicated young lord.