Jaime meets a distant relative; Dany receives an invitation to the House of the Undying; Theon leads a search party; Jon loses his way in the wilderness; Cersei counsels Sansa.
Theon wakes in Winterfell to find his bed empty of Osha. After dressing, he goes out to the yard to find the other ironborn gathered around the body of the man Osha killed. Theon questions Black Lorren, asking how they’ve let a crippled boy escape. Lorren suggests that it must have been “the giant”, Hodor, who did it. Theon then learns from Lorren that Rickon is gone, as well as Osha, the one that Theon was sleeping with. Not liking his tone, Theon turns and punches him to the ground and then repeatedly kicks him as he’s on the ground until he’s unconscious. Theon then tells Dagmer to fetch horses and hounds.
Outside of Winterfell, the hounds have the sent and Theon and company ride behind. Maester Luwin has been brought by Theon as well. At a pause, Theon asks if Luwin is enjoying his hunt. When Luwin protests they’re little boys, Theon says he was a little boy when he was brought there… but he kept his word and never ran away. He promises Luwin that if the boys are found quickly, they won’t be harmed…. and then clarifies he’ll hurt them, but he won’t kill them. Luwin argues that the boys are more valuable alive than dead, but Theon rebuts they’re no use to him at all if they’re missing. Luwin presses on, saying that Robb will be sending a force to retake Winterfell. Theon thinks that his sister in Deepwood will arrive with the five hundred men he called for, and that as Ned Stark had always said, five hundred men could hold off ten thousand.
Then the hounds howl, having found the scent again. Theon grins and tells Luwin not to look so grim—it’s all just a game.
Near a stream, Shaggydog and Summer pass by the water, and we see that Bran is being carried by Hodor while Rickon is cracking walnuts with Osha beside him. Osha complains they should have taken more food, and that the people in the castle would have given them anything they asked, but Bran notes that Theon would have killed anyone who helped him. Osha says that Rick on can’t just live off the walnuts they have, and Rickon says he’s fine as Hodor cracks one of them in his bare hands and hands it to the boy. Osha says they’ve been walking since sunrise and even Hodor will giant. “Hodor,” Hodor says, and Osha smiles and insists, “Even you, sweet giant.”
Then they stop, hearing the sound of boys playing. They see that they’re near a farm, the place where Bran had earlier dispatched two orphans from the winter town to help the farmer. Rickon insists the boy will give them food. Bran insists that they can’t, because if Theon tracks them there he’ll torture them to find out where they’ve gone. Osha warns they can’t outrun the hounds forever.
Beyond the Wall, the sun is rising to find Jon curled around Ygritte. They both wake up when his hand slips to her chest, and Ygritte asks him, “Did you pull a knife on me in the night?” Jon lurches up to his feet, his back to her, composing himself. She asks him what the problem is, and he lifts her up as he says it’s time to move instead, ignoring her suggestion that this wouldn’t be the first time he was pressed against a woman. She realizes it is the first time, and she asks, “How old are you, boy?” He insists he’s a man of the Night’s Watch. “You’re a boy who’s never been with a girl,” she says, musingly… and then starts to speak frankly about his “stones” and “bone”. He tells her to not talk, and starts her moving, dragging her behind him.
Ygritte later tells Jon that the wildling lads say that their “stones” get swollen and bruised if they don’t use them… but Ygritte supposes that may just be something they say when the lads want her to “feel sorry for them”. She notes that she never does. She then asks if there are “girl crows”. Jon says no. She then asks if the lads do it with each other, and again he denies it, which she’s dubious of. He says they swore an oath. “Are their sheep on the Wall?” she asks Jon, and at his disgusted look says, “With your hands, then.” He tries to get her to shut up, and she insists she’s a free woman, even if she’s a prisoner. She wonders if he thinks he’s free, because his oath keeps him from touching women. They argue back and forth, with Ygritte accusing Jon that his people are invading the lands of the free folk, and Jon yells back that wildlings raid their lands all the time, that wildlings tried to kill his brother, a crippled boy.
Ygritte insists that the North isn’t their land. The wildlings were there before Jon’s lot came and put up the Wall. Jon replies that his father was Ned Stark, that his is the blood of the First Men, and that his ancestors lived there, same as hers. She asks why they’re fighting, then, and walks away. He follows.
At Harrenhal, we see a Lannister soldier being hanged from a sort of executioner’s cart. As he chokes to death, we see there are bodies of other men on the ground, while a man in Lannister guard armor asks what happened. The camera pans to reveal the vast size of the ruined Harrenhal complex, with Lannister banners and Lannister men standing about the courtyard watching the execution… and then pulls through the window to show Lord Tywin watching as well. He then lifts the dart that killed Amory Lorch, and sniffs it to identify the poison on it as wolf’s bane, proof that this was the work of no common assassin. Gregor Clegane is there and informs him that they’ve hanged twenty men last night, and Tywin replies that he doesn’t care if he’s hanged a hundred—he wants the name and head of the man who tried to kill him, revealing that he believes Lorch got in the way of an attempt on his own life.
Clegane suggests it was an infiltrator from the “brotherhood without banners”, which Tywin replies is a pretentious name for a band of outlaws. Insisting that enemies can’t harass them behind their lines—it makes them look like heroes and the Lannister forces like fools, and that’s how kings fall. He commands Clegane that he wants the brotherhood dead, every one. The Mountain replies that killing them isn’t the problem, it’s finding them. Tywin asks if Clegane’s gone soft, and that he always thought he had a talent for violence.
As they’re speaking, Arya is setting Tywin’s table. As she’s setting down a knife, she looks at it, clearly considering whether she can steal it. Then she pauseds and hears Tywin ordering Ser Gregor to burn the villages and the farms, to let those in the riverlands know what it means to choose the wrong side. Clegane departs. Tywin turns and looks at the food, and realizes it’s mutton—he doesn’t care for it, but lets his “cupbearer” eat it instead. Arya tries to refuse, but Tywin insists and hands her a knife. Tywin remark that she’s small for her age, and supposes she’s been underfed her whole life. Arya protests—with her mouth full—that she ate a lot, but she never grew.
Tywin walks away to the window and remarks that this will be his last war, win or lose. Arya asks if he’s ever lost a war… and Tywin turns to her and asks if he thinks he’d be in his position if he ever lost a war. Arya supposes not. Tywin turns away again, talking about how it will be called the War of the Five Kings, and his legacy will be determined by it. As he’s speaking, Arya’s looking at the side of his neck, and holding the sharp knife in her hand, clearly considering trying to kill him then and there. But then he turns, and asks her if she knows what legacy means. She turns away in time, and then shakes her head, claiming she doesn’t know. Tywin says that the legacy is what remains of you when you’re gone… leading him to discuss how Harren the Black thought that Harrenhal would be his legacy.
It was the greatest fortress ever built, with thirty-five hearths in its hall… but now it’s a blasted ruin. He asks if Arya knows how that happened and she replies dragons. He tells her she’s right and informs her that the castle could have repelled a million men… but an attack from the air with dragonfire was too much. Harren and his sons were roasted alive in the walls, because Aegon Targaryen changed the rules, and that’s why every child knows Aegon’s name three hundred years later. Arya interjects, “Aegon… and his sisters.” Tywin says that’s correct. He wonders if she’s a student of history, and she goes on to say Rhaenys rode Meraxes and Visenya rode Vhagar. Tywin replies he probably knew that when he was a boy, suggesting he’s forgotten that detail.
Arya particularly notes that Visenya was a great warrior, with a Valyrian steel sword called Dark Sister. Tywin takes it that Visenya is a heroine of hers, but supposes most girls prefer the pretty ones, like Jonquil. “Most girls are idiots,” Arya replies, which makes Tywin laugh and reply that Arya reminds him of his daughter. He then asks where she’s learned all this history, and she says it’d due to her father the stonemason. Tywin nods thoughtfully… and says her father must have been very clever, and that he hasn’t met many literate stonemasons. She shoots back by asking how many stonemasons he has met. Tywin tells her to be careful—he enjoys her, but she has to be careful how she speaks to him.
Then Tywin tells her to leave with the rest of the food and to eat what she wants of it in the kitchens. But then Tywin stops her… and tells her, “Milord.” She stares at him, and he indicates that lowborn girls say “milord”, not “my lord”... which is what Arya had said earlier. “If you’re going to pose as a commoner, you should do so properly,” he tells her. Arya stares at him… and then explains her mother served Lady Dustin for many years, “my lord”, and taught her how to “speak proper—properly!” Tywin tells her she’s too smart for her own good, and wonders if anyone’s told her that. Arya says yes, and Tywin sends her away. Tywin smiles as she leaves.
At King’s Landing, Sansa is walking in a hallway when she passes Sandor Clegane in his armor and his soiled white cloak. She begs his pardon and says she should have come earlier to thank him for saving her. She praises his bravery, and he replies that he wasn’t brave—a dog doesn’t need courage to scare off rats. Sansa asks if it gives him joy to scare people, and the Hound replies that it gives him joy to kill people. She looks disgusted at that, and he goes on to tell her that she can’t claim Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell didn’t kill people. She insists it was her father’s duty and he never liked it… and the Hound says that that’s a lie. “Killing is the sweetest thing there is.” Sansa then asks why he’s always so hateful, and Sandor says that she’ll be glad of the hateful things he does one day when she’s queen and the Hound is all that stands between her and her “beloved” king. Sansa is silenced, and walks away.
In Qarth, Xaro is telling Daenerys that it must have been one of the Thirteen who stole her dragons. Xaro insists that the dragons mean nothing to him on their own, which is why he wasn’t the one who stole them. Daenerys is incredulous, and he shows the key at his neck again, reminding her of his vast wealth; even priceless dragons are not so interesting to him. Xaro insists “we” will get the dragons back. Daenerys says there is no “we”, and asks why he cares. He replies that Daenerys and her people were under his protection… and a man is only what others say he is. If they say Xaro Xhoan Daxos is a liar because he could not protect Daenerys and her dragons, then his word is worth nothing. He insists that cannot let the situation stand, to allow something to have happened to her under his roof. She insists it did happen under his roof. He tries to calm her by saying that many times in his life—and she tells him she doesn’t care where he’s been, before climing up the steps to her chambers. The old Dothraki Malakko steps forward, to prevent Xaro from following her.
Beyond the Wall, Jon and Ygritte continue their walk through the frozen wasteland, passing by a frozen lake. Ygritte wonders if he thinks the wildlings are savages becaused they don’t have stone castles or fine steel, but they’re still free, they can lie with who they want, and they don’t serve a man as king just because his father was a king in turn. Jon replies they serve Mance instead, but she says he was chosen by the wildlings, a crow like Jon who wanted to be free. She urges Jon to leave the Watch, to decide his own life, to find a woman to lie with in the night—Ygritte says he’s a pretty one, and girls would claw each other’s eyes out to get naked with him. Then she tells him she’d teach him how to do “it”, to which he replies he already knows how. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
At Robb’s camp, Robb receives Ser Alton Lannister and learns from him how Cersei tore up his offer of a peace, after assuring the hesitant Lannister knight that he would not hold him accountable for the actions of a distant relative. He thanks Ser Alton, and then tells Lord Karstark to see that Alton’s pen is clean and give him a hot supper. Karstark notes the pen is occupied, with prisoners from the Yellow Fork. Roose Bolton suggests there’s too many prisoners, and then Karstark says there’s room if he doesn’t need to lie down. Robb then has a new pen built, but has him put in with the Kingslayer, with Karstark’s son Torrhen to guard them.
Talisa Maegyr arrives as Bolton and Stark are regarding one another after the others have left, and then Bolton leaves as Talisa asks for some of Robb’s time. Bolton gives the both of them a look before he goes. Talisa’s covered in the blood of the wounded she’s been treating, and says she’s run through her supplies but she needs more. She is aware that he’ll be traveling to the Crag to negotiate the castle’s surrender, and the maester there would have what she needs. She offers to write a list, but he tells her to travel with him instead. That makes her hesitate, and she suggests that isn’t necessary, but he insists. She nods her agreement, and watches him leave.
Near Winterfell, the ironborn come to the farm where Bran and Rickon assed. The orphan boys are called in by the farmer’s wife, while Theon is informed that they lost the trail and can’t find it. Theon is enraged about the idea that he will be seen as a failure for losing them, mocked by his own men, and he’ll beat the hounds until they find the trail if he must. “It’s better to be cruel than weak,” he says, when the farmer is brought forward. Theon questions him as to where the Stark boys are, and the farmer pleads ignorance. Theon strikes him, but he insists he doesn’t know.
Then Dagmer calls Theon over after inspecting one of the carts, and claims he’s found what they’re looking for: cracked walnut shells. He tells Theon to send Luwin home, and Theon agrees. Luwin is pulled away while he pleads for Theon not to do what he’s doing.
In Qarth, Daenerys stares at her empty cages when Jorah arrives, breathing heavily. He tells her he hurried back form his search for a ship as quickly as he could, once he had heard of what happened. She’s almost in tears when she tells him that Irri is dead, and that she couldn’t protect her. He asks about Doreah, and she replies they can’t find her and so she must be dead as well. Daenerys says she led her people from the red waste into the slaughterhouse. Jorah insists that he shouldn’t have left her with “these people”, and she wonders who she can trust. The Targaryens? The only one she knew was Viserys, and he promised he’d allow a thousand men rape her if it got him his crown. The Dothraki? Most turned on her when Drogo fell.
Jorah urges her that the people in Westeros will be there for her, but she casts doubts on that dream because her brother believed it, and he was a fool. He insists she’s not like her brother. “Trust me, khaleesi.” That seems to have been something she was waiting for, and she wonders if she’s supposed to trust only him. Then she announces that she doesn’t need trust any longer. She doesn’t want it, she doesn’t have room for it. He moves up, reaching to touch her shoulder and says she’s too young to feel that way—and she cuts him off by saying, “And you are too familiar.” He steps away and offers his apology, but then tells her that no one can survive in this world without help, and that she must let him help her. She tells him to find her dragons, if he wants to help.
Beyond the Wall, Ygritte asks how long before they reach the other men of the Night’s Watch, and though Jon says they’re close, she realizes he doesn’t really know. She then asks how they’ll react when they hear about him and her. He says nothing happened, and she turns around to start offering her rendition of how she’d testify to his having ravished her. He tries to stop her, but she says it’ll be his word against hers since he can’t talk about sex without blushing. In that case, she says, he might as well do it… and Jon asks, as sleet comes down in the frigid landscape, “What, right here in the muck?” She laughs, and promises she’ll keep him warm enough. She asks if he’s that afraid of her sex, teasing him, promising it doesn’t have teeth. And then he reaches for his sword, and she pulls away. And when his guard is down, she pulls hard on the rope he holds, dragging him down. She runs, and dives behind a rise.
He finds the rope that she was tied to… but she’s not attached to it. And then she’s above him, whistling, and other wildlings are surrounding him on all sides. “You should have took me while you had the chance,” she tells him.
In King’s Landing, Sansa has a nightmare of the attack during the riot, but instead of being threatend with rape, one of her attackers takes out a knife and starts to stab her in the belly. She wakes up, frightened… and then feels something odd and lifts the covers and her nightgown to find blood on her thighs. She gets up, and sees blood has soaked into the bedsheet. She runs to a table to get a knife and starts cutting at the bed, trying to cut out the blood in tears when Shae enters and sees what she’s doing. Shae tries to reassure her it’s okay, but when Sansa explains that if the queen sees she can have Joffrey’s children, Shae tells her to help her flip the mattress over.
As they start, another handmaid enters and leaves. Shae goes after her and asks her where she is going, and the woman says she’s going to tell Cersei. Shae grabs her and pushes her against a wall, holding the knife to her throat and threatening her not to say anything to anyone. The handmaid, terrified, nods and scurries away. But when Shae returns… she finds the Hound in the room with a tearful Sansa, seeing the evidence of Sansa’s first blood.
The scene cuts to Sansa, dressed in a robe and more composed, entering Cersei’s chambers with the queen. Cersei tells her that her mother could have prepared her for her flowering. Sansa said her mother did tell her, but it wasn’t as she imagined it—she expected something less messy. Cersei tells her just to wait until she births a child, and asks Sansa if she knows what it means that she’s now flowered. Sansa tells her that it means she can bear Joffrey’s children… and Cersei acknowledges that she’s aware that prospect no longer delights Sansa. She tells her Joffrey has always been difficult—she was in labor with him for a day and a half, and the pain was unimaginable. She was sure her screams were so loud that Robert would hear her in the kingswood. Sansa is incredulous, but Cersei says that that was his custom: whenever her time was near, Robert would go hunting. When he returned, he’d present her some pelts or a stag’s head, and she’d present to him a baby.
Cersei goes on to say that she didn’t actually want Robert there, in any case. She had Grand Maester Pycelle, an army of midwives… and Jaime. When Jaime was told that he wasn’t allowed in the birthing room, she says, he smiled and asked which of them proposed to keep him out. Then Cersei says that Joffrey will never show Sansa that devotion, but she will love his children. Sansa insists she loves Joffrey with all her heart, something that Cersei says is touching to hear. She then sits and offers Sansa some “womanly wisdom” on this special day: the more people you love, the weaker you are. You’ll do foolish things to keep them happy and safe. And love no one but her children, something mothers have no choice in. Sansa asks if she shouldn’t love Joffrey… and Cersei says she can try.
At Robb’s camp, Torrhen Karstark passes by the pen with a torch to look in on Jaime and Alton. As he leaves, Jaime asks about Alton’s mother again. Her name is Cinda Lannister. “Is she the fat one?” Jaime asks, and Alton hesitantly says she may be a little larger than when she was younger, but Jaime interrupts him and says no, there’s only one fat Lannister and he’d know it if she was his mother. Alton then offers that he squired for Jaime at Willem Frey’s wedding tourney. Jaime doesn’t remember it at first, until Alton reminds him that his squire, Bryan, had gotten so drunk that he had vomited on his horse. Jaime laughs as he starts to remember, and says that that had been Tyrion’s doing.
Jaime then says he remembered Alton, and that he had never squired for anyone before. Alton had volunteered, leading to his father’s anger because he feared that Alton would embarrass the family in front of the family. Jaime praises him, saying that he had the gift for it: knowing when he was needed and when he wasn’t. They continue to talk even after Torrhen Karstark overhears them and hushes them. They resume after he walks away, and Alton reveals that that day was the greatest day of his life, remembering all the details of it, even the position of the sun when Jaime knocked Ser Balon Swann from his horse. Jaime watches him and then says that he knows what that feeling is like completely. Alton at first doubts him and how it’s possible he could understand it… but Jaime explains that when he was 16, he once had to replace a knight’s squire on short notice
Alton asks him who it was, and when Jaime says Barristan Selmy, Alton’s face shows that he now understands why Jaime had the same experience as he had. IT was, according to Jaime, during the battle against the Kingswood outlaws before Alton’s time. Alton asks what Barristan was like, and Jaime replies that he was a like painter… a painter who only used red. Back then, Jaime couldn’t imagine being able to fight like Ser Barristan thought. And to be part of that, part of something so perfect, it felt like a dream to him, a dream that he had always been dreaming and realizing that it was more real than his life.
Of course, Jaime goes on, he was a terrible squire and constantly in the way. He was a liability, until one of the outlaws decided to take on a sixteen year old squire, and Jaime proved his skill. Jaime remarks that it’s good that he is who he is, because he would be useless for anything else. In particular, he’s not suited to imprisonment, unlike other men—he says he’s sure Ned Stark was an excellent prisoner. Jaime is uniquely unfit for constraint, however, which leads Alton to ask if he’s considered how to escape. Jaime says he has, every day. He reveals that he believes there’s a way out, but it wasn’t possible until then. Alton asks how he can help… and Jaime says that all he has to do is die. He throws Alton to the ground and bashes his face in with his manacled hands.
When Torrhen Karstark runs up, he sees Jaime curled up as if asleep… and the twitching body of Alton Lannister. He draws his sword and moves over to Alton, rolling him over, only for Jaime to leap up and wrap his chains around his neck until he dies. He steals the keys to the manacle.
Jorah Mormont arrives, armored and carrying his sword, in a garden where Quaithe of the Shadow takes blood from a severed ram’s head and paints strange sigils on the back of a naked man. She informs Jorah—without having turned to look at him—that this man means to sail near Old Valyria, and all who travel too close to it must have protection. She knows he came for the dragons, and he asks if she has them while reaching for his sword. “Draw your sword,” she says before turning to face him, “see what your steel is worth.” She knows he wants to please the Mother of Dragons, and then turns away to resume her painting. She knows he loves her, as well. Jorah is shaken by her knowledge, but asks again where the dragons are. Quaithe asks if he means to betray Daenerys again, watching him, and when he doesn’t answer, she asks it again of him. “Never,” he says.
Quaithe informs him that the thief he is looking for is with her at that moment. Jorah departs quickly, and we cut to the council of the Thirteen at Xaro’s palace. The Spice King complains about leaving the comfort of his home to be accused of theft in Xaro’s home. Daenerys begs them to help her recover her children, and the Thirteen think it is for the best that the dragons die, because they would only bring death and misery. The Spice King says that even if he knew where they were, he would not say. Pyat Pree calls her cruel, and insists she must be reunited with her babies. He offers to help her by taking her to the House of the Undying… where he has put the dragons.
Daenerys is shocked. Pyat Pree goes on to say that when he learned of her approach, he made an arrangement with the king of Qarth. The other Thirteen laugh, as Pyat says that he procured them for him. Daenerys says there’s no king of Qarth… but Xaro stands and tells her that there is now—“I was the other half of the arrangement.” The Thirteen are stunned into silence as Xaro tells them that they have kept their gates and minds closed to everything outside their walls, but that Qarth cannot refuse to change and he intends to open Qarth to the world, much as he forced it to open to him. The Spice King suggests that like all upstarts, Xaro over-reaches: three dragons the size of cats and an alliance with a charlatan do not make him a king. As he speaks, Pyat Pree joins Xaro, as a silent Daenerys and armed Kovarro watch what goes on. Xaro responds, “An upstart and a charlatan… empires have been built by less.”
Xaro steps back and Pyat steps forward, telling them that the Mother of Dragons will be reunited with her babies, and that with her love they will thrive by her side. And then the servants waiting on the Thirteen step forward, and as one cut their throats. When Daenerys looks more closely, all of them look like Pyat Pree.
She and Kovarro run up the steps, only for the warlock to already be there. Kovarro pushes her back, holding his arrakh but clearly terrified, when a blade thrusts out of Pree’s chest, a dagger thrust into him by Ser Jorah. Pree looks down at the knife and then tells Daenerys that a mother should be with her children. He disappears, his clothing falling in a pile, and then appears unharmed from another direction to urge Daenerys to go to the House of the Undying to see her children. Jorah, Kovarro, and Daenerys flee.
At Robb’s camp, the sun is setting as there’s a sound of tumult. Catelyn is writing a letter when a northman pushes his way into her tent, calling for her. Brienne stops him, telling him to step back and not enter her tent without leave. He apologizes, and then calls on Catelyn again, saying that they’ve caught the Kingslayer. Jaime is being dragged behind a horse as men are calling on him to be hanged, shouting for justice for the Karstarks. Some are beating him, kicking and clubbing him, when he’s brought before Lord Karstark, whose son he killed. Several Stark men hold him off, as Lady Catelyn arrives with Brienne. Karstarks says that that monster—Jaime—killed his son, and Catelyn retorts that Jaime crippled hers. She promises Jaime will answer for his crimes, but not there. Karstark insists he’ll have his head, and warns her that she shouldn’t stop him, and she asks if he means to cut her down. She reminds him that she is the widow of his liege lord and the mother of his king.
Karstark asks where the king is now, and she tells him that he went to the Crag to negotiate the surrender. He agrees he’s at the Crag… but not to negotiate, but rather to be there with that “foreign bitch”. “How dare you!” she responds, and Brienne half draws her sword, telling her that threatening Catelyn is an act of treason. “Treason? How is it treason to kill Lannisters?” Karstark demands.
Catelyn says she understands his grief, but he must stand down. Lord Karstark says that when Robb returns, he will demand Jaime’s head. Catelyn warns him of making demands of kings… and Karstark says that a father that loves his son would make such a demand, regardless. He insists he’ll have Jaime’s head, giving the beaten, bloodied prisoner a hard glare before leaving with his men. Ser Jaime thanks her for fighting on is behalf, telling her she’s become a real she-wolf in her later years as he is being dragged away to a pen.
In King’s Landing, it is night and Cersei is lighting candles with a taper while Tyrion sits at a desk. Tyrion wonders at her doing it herself, and Cersei replies that she can’t stand her handmaidens and would rather do it herself. She then wonders how he can be reading the same raven scroll again and again. It’s a message revealing that Stannis’s fleet is only four or five days away, and that there are two hundred vessels in the fleet, more than the Lannisters have. Cersei seems unconcerned, indicating that she trusts in the high, strong walls of the city… and that they will “rain fire from above” on them. Tyrion notes that she’s quoting her father, and she says he is, but then Tywin has a good head for strategy. Tyrion corrects her, noting that it’s tactics she’s talking of, not strategy. He agrees that his father has a mind for it, perhaps the best mind of them all, but he isn’t present and it’s only them and Joffrey. Cersei wonders at his point, and Tyrion insists that Joffrey must begin to act as a king. There’s a war she started coming to their doorstep, he says, and if the entire city wants Joffrey dead—
She cuts him off, noting she’s not the one who gave him whores to abuse. He admits that he thought it would help him… and that he was wrong. Tyrion says that they must control Joffrey, to which Cersei replies that she has tried, but that Joffrey does not listen. Tyrion supposes it’s hard to leash a dog once a crown is on its head. Cersei sits down by her bed and tells him that she always hoped he’d be like Jaime. He looks like him, she begins to say, and then sees his dubiousness and admits that it’s “in a certain light.” Tyrion silently nods at that, and then says Joffrey is more Robert than Jaime. Cersei snorts at that and says that Robert was a drunken fool, but he didn’t enjoy cruelty. She then says she wonders if Joffrey’s cruelty is the price for what she and Jaime have done, if he’s the price of their sins.
Tyrion stands and starts to say that the Targaryens practiced incest, and she stops him, saying she knows. She says that Jaime and she used to tell each other than when they had moments of doubt about their relationship, and that she told Ned Stark the same when he was stupid enough to confront her. Tyrion draws nearer as she worryingly remarks that half the Targaryens went mad, and states the claim that whenever a Targaryen was born, the gods flipped a coin. Tyrion tells her that she beat the odds, because Tommen and Myrcella are good and decent children… but the implication of that leaves her in tears. Tyrion draws nearer still, to stand in front of his sister, unsure of what to do. She glances at him, and he can’t quite meet her eyes.
At night in Robb’s camp, there are loud, violent arguments between the Stark guards and the Karstark men. Brienne says that Robb is due to arrive at dawn, but that Jaime won’t last the night. When the Karstarks finally draw their swords, she warns, who among the northmen would be willing to die for a Lannister? Catelyn tells Brienne to follow her, and she takes her to Jaime’s pen. She orders the guardsman away, and speaks with Jaime. Jaime wonders if she’s come to say goodbye, as he believes this is his last night in the world… and then is distracted, looking past her to Brienne, and he wonders if that’s a woman. Catelyn reminds him that they want Jaime dead since he strangled Lord Karstark’s son. Jaime said that Torrhen was in his way, and any knight would have done the same.
Catelyn insists he is no knight, having forsaken all of his vows. Jaime replies that there are so many vows—“Defend the king, obey the king. Obey your father. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak.” But then he wonders what to do if his father despises the king, or the king massacres the innocent? It’s too much, he claims, that no matter what you do you’ll forsake one vow or another…. and then again he stares at Brienne and wonders why Catelyn “got that beast.”
Catelyn tells him that Brienne is a truer knight than he would ever be, calling him Kingslayer. “Kingslayer,” Ser Jaime responds. “What a king he was! Here’s to Aerys Targaryen, the Second of His Name, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm… and to the sword I shoved into his back.” To that Catelyn replies that he is a man without honor. Then Jaime notes that he has never been with woman besides Cersei… and so in his own way, he’s more honorable than “poor, old dead Ned.” He starts to wonder at what his bastard’s name was. He asks her if she pretended to love that baby, then knows that she’s not good at pretending—she’s an honest woman, and so she hated him, this walking, talking reminder that the honorable Lord Eddard Stark bedded another woman.
Catelyn stares… and then she reaches out a hand, and tells Brienne, “Sword.” The Maid of Tarth draws her sword and holds it out to Catelyn. Jaime Lannister looks at it, and lets out a breath.
At Winterfell, Maester Luwin is being dragged out to join the gathered people as Theon informs them that he told them what would happen if they served him loyally, and what would happen if they did not. He supposes some question if he means what he says… and so he answers their question. With a gesture, the burned bodies of the two boys are pulled up, nooses around their necks. Luwin screams, “No!” as Theon looks on the horribly burned, disfigured bodies as long as he can and then looks away.