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EP209: Blackwater

Written by George R.R. Martin
Directed by Neil Marshall
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Tyrion and the Lannisters fight for their lives as Stannis’ fleet assaults King’s Landing.

Index

Recap

The episode opens on the wind-tossed sea and Stannis’s fleet of ships. Davos watches the fleet’s progress from his own vessel. Dozens of them can be seen through the mist. On Stannis’s flagship, the Baratheon claimant to the throne seems prepared for what will come. Down below decks, soldiers wait, and some are ill with nerves and with sea sickness.

Davos approaches his son, who stands at the bow. Matthos notes the tide is against them, but Davos replies that the wind is to their rear and will blow them straight to the gates. Matthos remarks that his father is coming home, and Davos remarks that King’s Landing hasn’t been his home for twenty years. Davos notes he spent most of his life dodging the royal fleet, and now he’s sailing at them—but Matthos replies that this is the royal fleet, and he’s the high captain of it, not a smuggler.

Matthos believes that when the sun rises, Stannis will sit the throne and Davos will be his Hand. “Gods be good,” Davos replies, and Matthos corrects him that there’s only one god and he watches over them. Matthos believes the people of King’s Landing will be glad to see Joffrey’s head on a spike, but Davos warns that they must put it there first. He is less confident than Matthos, who claims the fleet outnumbers that at King’s Landing ten to one, and that their troops outnumber theirs five to one. Davos responds that the walls of King’s Landing have never been breached and believes the men who guard the walls will see them as men meaning to set their city alight. Matthos replies he has faith in the cause, his god, and his captain.

In King’s LAnding, Tyrion lies sleepless in bed, troubled by nerves. Shae sleeps next to him, and then wakes, realizing he’s still awake. She asks if her “lion” is afraid. Tyrion admits it, because Stannis will burn every Lannister he can find if the city falls. Shae replies that she won’t let them hurt him. Tyrion tells him that it’s not her war, but she climbs atop of him and says it is now. Tyrion smiles but then says she can’t fuck her way out of every thing, to which she replies that she has so far. She then reminds him of what he said in the tent when they first met, that they should fuck as if it’s his last day. Tyrion, clearly touched, kisses her.

Elsewhere, the queen drinks wine and looks out the window as Pycelle speaks to her, informing her that as a maester he must carry out the wishes of those they serve, but that they also provide counsel and advice. Cersei tries to interject, saying his words are always wise and measured, but he rambles on about the urgency of his duties in time of war. He begins to reminesce about a prior king when she asks if he’s brought her something. He says he has, and offers her a small bottle containing essence of nightshade. One drop will soothe nerves, three will bring a deep and dreamless sleep, and ten drops… but Cersei stops him, saying she knows what ten drops will bring. Pycelle asks permission to ask her about why she needs it, but she says he may not, and then sends him on to go about his duties. She warns him to be careful of the steps as she turns away, and he departs.

At a brothel in King’s Landing, the Lannister soldiers sing “The Rains of Castamere”. Within, Bronn is singing with them, a cup of ale in one hand and the prostitute Aremca on his knee. One of the soldiers asks him how he’s learned the song, to which Bronn replies that he’s learned it from drunk Lannisters. Aremca compliments him on his voice, and that she likes his nose with its multiple breaks. He claims that the first time he broke it, he was five and his mother had swatted at him with an iron poker; she was aiming at his little brother, whom he says was a real pest. As he goes on, he starts to undress her while he says that at nine older boys beat him. And the third time, he doesn’t suppose she wants to know about it. “Poor nose,” she says, but he says she shouldn’t feel sorry for it.

Just then, the Hound enters with another man, a soldier of some kind. They make other men leave their table, and ignore Bronn when he offers to pay for their round. Bronn stage whispers to Aremca that he doesn’t think the Hound likes him. Clegane watches him, and Bronn looks back. Then Sandor says that Bronn thinks he’s a hard man, to which Bronn laughs and says that he knows it. The others laugh. Bronn then notes it’s warm, that there’s plenty of ale and women for everyone, and all that Sandor wants is to put them in the cold ground with no women to keep them company. “There’s women in the ground,” Clegane replies. “I put some there myself. So have you.” Bronn doesn’t deny it.

Clegane says that Bronn loves killing, just like the Hound. They’re the same, except Bronn is smaller. Bronn is quick and replies he’s also quicker. Sandor tells him that the Imp is going to miss him, as he puts a hand on his weapons. Bronn pats Aremca and puts him off his knee as he stands up, telling him that he suspects Tyrion will some day. As the two stand face to face, staring at one another, Bronn puts a hand behind his back to take hold of the dirk there. Just then, the bells start to ring, and the soldiers begin to move. Bronn and the Hound gaze at one another, and Bronn suggests they have one more drink before the war. Clegane accepts.

Varys has always hated the bells because they always warn of horrors, he informs Tyrion, tolling the death of a king or a city under siege. “A wedding,” Tyrion adds, and Varys agrees. He is being armored by his squire, Podrick Payne, in a fine suit of armor that includes a chain of clasping hands. Varys asks him his name, and Tyrion is amused, saying he supposes Varys knows the name of every boy in the city. Varys responds that he isn’t sure what Tyrion is suggesting, to which Tyrion replies, “I’m entirely sure you’re entirely sure what I’m suggesting.” Varys then asks if he trusts Podrick, and Tyrion says he does. Varys comes forward with a map of the tunnels beneath the city, some fifty miles worth of them. Varys replies that the Targaryens built the city to withstand a siege and to provide a means of escape. Tyrion denies he means to escape—he’s the captain of the ship, and he’ll go down with it. Varys says that is good to hear, but he supposes many captains say the same while the ship is afloat.

Varys then tells Tyrion that he looks well-suited for battle, which Tyrion denies. Varys hopes he’s wrong, and reveals that he’s heard from his little birds that Stannis has taken up with a red priestess from Asshai. Tyrion asks why it matters, and Varys questions whether Tyrion believes in the old powers. Tyrion does not. Varys supposes Tyrion trusts only what he has seen, or what those he trusts have seen, and that he doesn’t imagine Tyrion trusts him. Tyrion tells him not to take it personally, as he doesn’t even entirely trust himself. Varys says that he has seen and heard terrible things, things he wished he hadn’t seen and heard. Then he tells Tyrion that he never mentioned to him how it came to be that he was cut and rendered into a eunuch. Tyrion says he hasn’t. A hesitation, and then Varys says he’ll do so one day.

Varys goes on to say that dark arts have paved Stannis’s path to King’s Landing, and he cannot imagine a man in service to such powers sitting the Iron Throne. He goes on to state that he believes Tyrion is the only man who can stop Stannis. Podrick passes a double-headed axe to Tyrion.

The bells of the city toll as the ships continue to approach through the fog. Matthos believes that the bells are welcoming their king, but Davos says that he’s never known bells to mean surrender. Davos orders the drums to be sounded. Matthos calls for them, and as a drum beats, the soldiers began to pour onto the deck. Stannis watches from his flagship.

In the throne room, Joffrey’s renovations are complete and have indeed made the place more war like. The columns are now pitch black, and they are surrounded by braziers roaring with fire. Armored men run through the chamber, while Tyrion, Podrick, and Bronn walk through the arcade. Tyrion reminds Bronn to wait until the ships are further into the bay, and an exasperated Bronn tells him he knows. He then asks Tyrion if he knows how to use that axe. Tyrion replies that he chopped wood once—and then corrects himself, saying he watched Jaime chop wood. Bronn replies that he’s seen Tyrion kill a man with nothing but a shield (referring to the desperate fight on the high road, when he saved Catelyn Stark), and he supposes Tyrion will be unstoppable with an axe. Tyrion offers a hand as Bronn tells him not to get killed, and Tyrion says the same back, adding, “my friend.” Bronn stops, wondering if they’re friends now, to which Tyrion replies that of course they are—just because he pays him for his services doesn’t mean that it dimishes their relationship. “Enhances it, really,” Bronn replies, and Tyrion jokes about the fancy word being used by a sellsword, to which Bronn replies he’s been spending time with fancy people before he leaves.

Bronn throws a fancy bow to Sansa who is the company of Shae, and Tyrion hands Podrick the axe as he goes to join the ladies. He greets Sansa, and then “Sheila”, which Shae corrects him on. Tyrion notes that Queen Cersei has called the highborn ladies to join her in Maegor’s Holdfast, and Sansa says that Joffrey sent for her to see him off. Joffrey enters then, dressed in a rich suit of armor, with the Hound and three others of the Kingsguard accompanying him. He calls for Sansa, and she starts to go but stops to tell Tyrion that she will pray for his safety. Tyrion is surprised, questioning her, and she replies she’ll pray for him… just as she prays for the king’s safety. Tyrion and Shae exchange a few brief words, before he departs with Podrick and other soldiers.

Joffrey tells Sansa that he rides forth to battle. He tells her that she should see him off with a kiss, and draws his new sword which he’s named “Hearteater”. He makes her kiss the blade, which she does. He then tells her that she’ll kiss it again when he returns, so that she can taste his uncle Stannis’s blood. She asks if that means he’ll kill Stannis himself, and Joffrey hesitates and then says that if Stannis is fool enough to come near him, he will. Sansa supposes this means he’ll be outside of the gates, fighting in the vanguard, and an annoyed Joffrey tells her kings don’t discuss battle plans with stupid girls. Sansa agrees she’s stupid, and is sure he’ll be in the vanguard, since they say her brother Robb always goes where the fighting is thickest and “he’s only a pretender.” Joffrey promises that Robb’s turn will come, and she’ll be able to lick his blood off of hearteater as well. As he leaves, Shae tells Sansa that some of those boys will never come back. Sansa is sure Joffrey will: the worst ones always live. Shae quiets her, for fear someone may hear her. Shae leads Sansa away.

Men are busy at and beneath the walls, as Joffrey arrives with the Kingsguard and Ser Lancel. Frightened women and children run by as Joffrey mounts the wall, where Tyrion and Podrick are already present. Joining them, Lancel questions where the royal fleet is, and Tyrion replies it’s gone away. Jofrey is angry and questions him, and when Tyrion ignores him, he has the Hound to inform Tyrion that the king has a question for him. Tyrion replies through Lancel, but Joffrey interrupts him and warns Tyrion that the Hound will cut him in half without hesitation if Joffrey orders it. “That will make me the Quarterman. Doesn’t have the same ring to it,” Tyrion replies, and then says that if he’s killed, he won’t be able to give the signal, and without a signal, there’ll be no plan to hold back Stannis. Joffrey’s “pinched little head” will end up above a gate somewhere if that happens… but given that Tyrion’s head will be up there with them if that happens, and he doesn’t want to see his head removed just yet.

Back with the fleet, Davos wonders where the royal fleet is. Matthos supposes that the night attack has taken them by surprise, but Davos is doubtful because of Varys’s spies. Matthos speculates that there has been a mutiny or dissension in the ranks. Davos supposes it’s possible, but seems dubious.

Entering Maegor’s Holdfast with Tommen and Ser Ilyn Payne, Queen Cersei—wearing a gilded breastplate—moves to sit and have a cup of wine while Sansa and Shae whisper to one another. Sansa doesn’t understand why Cersei insisted she be there, since she hates her. Shae offers that perhaps Cersei hates her less than she hates everyone else. Sansa doubts it. Shae suggests Cersei might be jealous of her, but Sansa doesn’t see why Cersei would be jealous. Then Cersei calls her over. The queen notes she’s pale and asks if her “red flower is still booming”. Sansa says yes, and Cersei says that’s fitting: the men will bleed out there, and she will bleed in there. Cersei has a servant give Sansa a cup of wine, and when Sansa tries to refuse it because she’s not thirsty, the queen insists.

Sansa looks over to the looming Ser Ilyn and asks what he’s doing there. Cersei says he’s there to defend them . Sansa notes they have guards, but Cersei says guards are paid and will be the first to run if the city falls. Just then, Ser Mandon Moore of the Kingsguard enters to inform the queen of the night’s first traitors: a groom and two maids had tried to sneak off with a horse and some gold cups. Cersei has Ser Ilyn see to them, and orders their heads placed on spikes outside the stables as a warning. Moore departs. Cersei then notes to Sansa that the only way to keep the smallfolk loyal is to make sure they fear you more than they fear the enemy, and enjoins her to remeber that if she ever hopes to become queen.

Sansa notes that Cersei had said Ilyn was there to protect him, wondering why she so casually sent him away to behead traitors. Cersei pauses and then informs her that he is there to defend them, because traitors are a danger to them all. She holds out her cup and calls for more wine.

On the walls, tensions mounts as they hear the drums of the ships, and then see the warships approaching. Tyrion calls archers to their markers. Tyrion orders them to hold fast, which Joffrey questions, saying that htye need to attack. Just then, a ship of the king’s fleet appears, but only one. Joffrey asks wher all the others are, just as Matthos Seaworth does. Davos looks at it suspiciously and orders the archers and scorpion operators to be ready. The ship comes nearer and nearer… and passes by: there’s no one board, and a rope is fixed to the wheel.

Hallyne the Pyromancer approaches up the steps to where Tyrion is. After an exchanged look, he smiles—rather disturbingly—and takes up a torch from the brazier next to them. He grins as he hands the torch to Tyrion. Matthos Seaworth moves to the stern of the ship as his father stares at the sole vessel passing by… and sees at its own stern that there are holes there from which the green fluid of wildfire is pouring out. He realizes it’s wildfire, and commands the navigator to steer clear. At that moment, Tyrion throws the torch off the walls… and Bronn, outside the city walls on the cliffs outside the harbor sees it. Lighting an arrow from a smile fire, he pulls a bow back and lets the arrow fly high through the air.

Davos watches the flaming arrow arc through the night, over his own ship…. and watches as it strikes the wildfire in the water. It blazes up, green flames on the water, and the flame travels towards the ship containing all the rest of the wildfire. Davos turns, screaming for Matthos, warning him to get down but it’s too late. The ship explodes in a massive conflagration of jade flame, with Matthos and the men in the stern nearest to it. Davos himself is blown off the ship by the force of the explosion, falling to the water as the ship is consumed by green flame.

The explosion is massive, engulfing a great portion of the fleet. On the walls, even Hallyne seems amazed by the size and fury of it, while Tyrion seems stunned at the result and the Hound appears frightened at the fire. Men are screaming and burning in the fleet, and nothing will put out the wildfire.

On Stannis’s ship, water falls from the explosion, and it seems a portion of ships have not been burned. Unphased, Stannis orders the remaining forces to land. Ser Imry Florent, a kinsman, attempts to dissuade him, arguing that they’re too far from the gates and that hundreds will die. Stannis replies coolly that thousands will die, as he climbs down to the deck and throws over the boarding net to climb down into a boat.

In Maegor’s Holdfast, Dontos Hollard—still dressed as a fool—juggles awkwardly to try and entertain the ladies. Sansa prays with other ladies when Sansa calls her over. Cersei is drunk, and asks her what she’s doing. Sansa replies that she’s praying. Cersei remarks that Sansa really is perfect, praying and the like. He asks her what she’s praying for, and Sansa replies she’s asking for the gods to have mercy on them all. Cersei wonders if that includes her, and Sansa says of course. “Even Joffrey?” Cersei asks, and to that Sansa is slower to reply before she starts to repeat her mantra that she loves Joffrey. Cersei tells her to shut up, mocking her prayers, and informs her that the gods have no mercy, that’s why they’re gods. It’s a lesson she learned from her father when he caught her, at the age of four, praying for her mother to come back after she died giving birth to Tyrion. Sansa asks if that means Lord Tywin doesn’t believe in the gods, to which Cersei responds that he believes in them, he just doesn’t like them very much.

Cersei reaches an empty cup out to the servant and tells her to fill a cup of wine for Sansa. She hands it to her, commanding her to sit and drink. Sansa takes a sip, and Cersei insists she take a real drink. Cersei goes on to say that she should have been born a man, fighting outside rather than spending her time shut up in Maegor’s Holdfast with the flock of “frightened hens”. Sansa objects that they are her guests under her own protection, and Cersei sneers that it was expected of her, just as it would be expected of Sansa if she ever becomes Joffrey’s queen. She goes on to say that if Tyrion somehow manages to save the city, the women will go back to their men and speak of how the queen’s example inspired them. Sansa then asks what happens if the city should fall.

Cersei stares at her and then suggests Sansa would like that. The Red Keep would hold long enough for her to go to the wall and yield to Lord Stannis in person. With anyone else, she might have hoped for a private audience, but this is Stannis and she’d have a better chance of seducing his horse. Sansa stares at her, shocked, and Cersei tells her that tears aren’t a woman’s only weapon: “The best one’s between your legs. Learn how to use it. Drink.” Cersei then asks if Sansa has any idea as to what happens to a sacked city. She informs her that many of the women there will be raped, and half will have bastards in their bellies by the morning; Sansa will be glad of her “red flower” then. Cersei informs her that when a man’s blood is up, “anything with tits looks good.” And Sansa will look very good, a slice of cake just waiting to be eaten. Sansa takes a deep drink from the cup then.

Stanni’s boats row rapidly in their dozens toward the bank of the river. Joffrey looks stunned at the numbers, as Tyrion remarks that Stannis is a serious man. Tyrion orders the archers to rain fire on the enemy. Joffrey says there are too many, and Tyrion orders the Hound to gather men and prepare to repel any troops that touch solid ground. He also sends Podrick to the King’s Gate to gather the guards there and bring them to the Mud Gate, clearly indicating that the wildfire explosion has weakened Stannis’s forces sufficiently that he can only focus his attack on one gate. The Hound climbs down the steps and orders the men out, and with a thump on Ser Lancel’s chest tells him that includes him; Lancel looks nervous. Hound warns the captain of the archers that he’ll strangle him with his own guts if any of his men’s flaming arrows come near him.

The archers begin to let loose their arrows as the first boats land, and Stannis is the first man to set foot on the shore. The arrows arc through the night, and men fall as they charge up the beach under a hail of them. Some carry siege ladders as they follow Stannis to the walls of the city, and defenders throw stones down on them. One man stands next to Stannis when a stone falls and crushes his head, splattering Stannis with his blood. After that, men raise their shields over Stannis to help protect him. Some of Stannis’s archers fire back at the walls, briefly reducing the defender’s attack, and Stannis orders a portion of his force to attack the Mud Gate.

The gate is opened as the Hound leads men out. He threatens to rape the corpse of any man who dies with a clean sword. The Hound wades into the thick of battle, while Ser Lancel fights with terrified energy, trying to stay alive. At one point the Hound almost severs a man in half with a massive swing of his sword. Lancel fights on and is knocked down. As he gets up, a Baratheon archer lets loose and the arrow strikes Lancel under the shoulder. He cries out and then retreats from the field.

Cersei is in Maegor’s Holdfast, telling Sansa of how alike she and Jaime were when they were young, so alike that Tywin couldn’t even tell them apart. Cersei didn’t understand why they were treated so differently: Jaime was taught to fight with sword and lance and mace, and she was taught to smile and sing and please; Jaime was heir to Casterly Rock, and she was sold to some stranger like a horse to be ridden whenever he desires. Sansa notes she was Robert’s queen, and Cersei reminds her that she’ll be Joffrey’s queen on day. Then, looking away, she notices Shae and notes that she doesn’t know her.

Cersei moves to her, and Shae gives a horrible curtsy. Cersei tells her she mastered it at the age of four and shows her how it’s done. Shae repeats it, and Cersei notes she learns fast. She asks how long Shae has been in Sansa’s service, and Shae responds it’s only been a few weeks. Cersei turns and sits and asks her when she left Lorath—Shae is silent, as Cersei points out that she had a Lorathi handmaiden once, but she was noble and Shae obviously is not. Shae’s smile fades… and Cersei asks her when she came to Westeros. Shae states it was ten years ago. Cersei wonders at the story that takes a woman from a Lorathi commoner to the Red Keep in ten years without ever having learned to curtsy. After asking Shae’s name, the queen has her tell her story. Shae begins by saying that at the age of thirteen—

But then the door opens loudly, and the wounded Lancel enters to inform Cersei of what is happening outside of the walls. He whispers that troops have landed outside the city walls, and Cersei commands him to bring Joffrey back inside to safety at once. Lancel protests that Joffrey’s presence raises the morale of the men, but she insists he be taken to his chambers. Lancel asks why he isn’t being brought to Maegor’s Holdfast, and Cersei testily replies that he’d be mocked as a coward for the rest of his life for hiding with women and children. Lancel departs, and Cersei sits and addresses Sansa. She informs her that Ser Ilyn’s true purpose is for them: he’ll kill Cersei and Sansa rather than let Stannis take them alive.

The Hound fights on, killing men and splitting another in half from shoulder to waist. The fighting is furious and brutal. The Hound looks for another man to fight when a Baratheon soldier comes screaming towards him, screaming at the flames that are engulfing him. The Hound is stunned by it, even after an arrow finds the man’s eye and kills him. The Hound looks up as the burning man falls at his feet, to see that it’s Bronn who shot the arrow. The sellsword nods at him… and then deals with two soldiers who attack him, revealing how fast he is as he draws his knife and kills one, and then the second within moments. Clegane remains dazed, shocked, seeing fire all around him until he finally retreats from the field. Others fall back when they see him retreat, and the gates are shut against the attackers.

Stannis commands ladders to be raised and takes the lead up the first of them, fighting his way onto the battlements, killing Lannister soldiers as they come at him. Elsewhere, the captain of archers is screaming at the men to be faster, to kill the enemy, as a dazed Hound appears. He calls for a drink, and then spits out the water that’s handed to him at first and guzzles down the wine that he demands. He starts to wander off when Tyrion mocks him, wondering if he wants iced milk and raspberries as well. “Eat shit, dwarf,” Sandor replies. Tyrion complains he’s on the wrong side o the walls, and Sandor responds that he’s lost half his men ... and then, half in terror, says that the Blackwater is on fire. Joffrey angrily tries to command his “dog” to go back out and fight. Sandor drinks more wine as Tyrion tells him that he’s a Kingsguard and that they must win. “Fuck the Kingsguard. Fuck the city. Fuck the king.” The Hound storms off as Joffrey looks at him in shock.

More Baratheon boats land, including one carrying a battering ram with a stag’s head and a strange boat that the men turn over to reveal as a shield for those who swing the ram. More ladders are raised to the walls, more arrows are loosed and stones cast, but the ram is battering at the gate as Lancel arrives and informs King Joffrey that his mother has sent him to fetch him back to the Red Keep. Tyrion warns Joffrey that if he won’t defend his own city, why should his men? Joffrey doesn’t know what Tyrion wants him to do, and his uncle responds that he needs to lead them in the defense of King’s Landing. Joffrey looks to Lancel and asks if Cersei had urgent business with him, and Lancel says he doesn’t know. Joffrey hesitates… and as the rain is falling, he commands Ser Boros Blount and Ser Mandon Moore to stay with Tyrion and represent him on the field of battle as he leaves with one of the other Kingsguard. Tyrion looks after him, resigned.

Podrick comes up to Tyrion as more men gather, uncertain and frightened by the fact that Joffrey has left. Tyrion states he’ll lead the attack, shouting to the men, some of whom seem scornful. Tyrion orders men to form up, but no one listens to him at first until he shouts that they say he’s half a man, and what does that say about them? A Lannister guard says that the only way out is through the gates, but the enemy is at the gate, so how can they fight them? Tyrion reveals he knows another way out, and that they’ll come up behind them. As the Baratheon men continue to batter at the gate, Tyrion tells them not to fight for Joffrey, his kingdom, nor for honor, glory, or riches. Instead, fight for the city: their city, that Stannis means to sack. He tells the men that if Stannis enters, he’ll burn their homes, steal their gold, and rape their women. “Those are brave men knocking at our door,” he tells the men. “Lets go kill them!” The soldiers shout, raising their swords in support as Tyrion marches down and leads them.

Lancel enters Maegor’s Holdfast and informs Cersei that the battle is lost, with Tommen sitting beside her. He states that when Joffrey left, the men lost all heart. He insists that she must let Joffrey come back to the walls to show himself and give heart to the men, and Cersei asks why she should care as to what he wants. Lancel angrily insists she must listen to him when Cersei stands up and punches at his wounded shoulder, making him fall down and scream in pain. The women cry out, frightend, as Cersei takes Tommen’s hand and leads him out. Sansa and Shae watch, and then Sansa tries to calm the ladies, informing them that they’re in the safest place possible, that Joffrey is fighting bravely and his knights have rallied behind him. She leads them in a hymn, when Shae stops her and tells her to run to her chamber and bar in her door; Stannis won’t hurt her, but Ilyn will. Sansa tells Shae to come with her, but Shae says she must say goodbye to someone first. Sansa warns that Cersei said they’d rape everyone, and Shae says no one will rape her as she reveals a slender knife strapped to her leg. Sansa leaves.

Sansa enters her chamber and locks the door behind her. She sees the doll her father gave her months before, picking it up… only to hear a voice ask her if the ladies are starting to panic: it’s the Hound. He informs her that he’s going someplace where it isn’t burning. Looking at her, he suggests he might go north. The king can die just fine on his own, he tells her, and offers to take her with him, to take her to Winterfell. He promises to keep her safe, and asks if she wants to go home. She insists she’s safe where she is, and he grabs her, telling her to look at him. “Stannis a killer. The Lannisters are killers. Your father was a killer. Your brother is a killer. Your sons will be killers some day. The world is built by killers. So you better get used to looking at them.”

Sansa stares into his face when she tells him that he won’t hurt her. The Hound is silent for a time, and then leans in and tells the little bird that he won’t hurt her. He unlocks the door and leaves. Just then, Tyrion breaks open a grate in the walls, having led his forces through Varys’s tunnels. As a Baratheon captain shouts at the men to hurry up the ladders, Tyrion rushes up and chops his leg off at the knee, then kills the man. He calls for the attack, and the Lannister soldiers rush out, routing the enemy attacking that portion of the walls and destroying the battering ram’s shield. It’s set alight as Tyrion looks out while his soldiers cheer, calling out, “Halfman! Halfman! Halfman!”

And then Tyrion turns, and sees something terrifying. “Oh, fuck me,” he says as hundreds more Baratheon men rush at them. Stannis is still fighting on the walls, cutting one man’s head in half, while on the ground Tyrion fights for his life. One man disarms him and almost kills him when a Lannister soldier rushes in and knocks him down. Behind him, Tyrion sees the blood-drenced Ser Mandon Moore of the Kingsguard standing there free of enemies. He offers the knight a smile.. when Moore suddenly moves and swings his sword at him. Tyrion flinches back, and suddenly a thin line of blod starts to well from his face. Moore raises his sword to finish him off when a spear blossoms out through his face, and snaps. As he falls, we see that Tyrion’s squire Podrick is Moore’s killer. Tyrion bleeds and collapses in shock as Podrick cradles him.

In the throne room, Cersei sits on the Iron Throne with Tommen on her lap. She tells him to be calm, but he says they’re still fighting. She promises that no one will hurt him, and tells him a story about a mother lion and her cub. “The kingswood?” Tommen asks, and she says yes. She speaks of how the mother lion loved her son, but there were evil things in the wood. He wonders what creatures, and when she says stags, he notes they aren’t evil as they only eat grass. Wolves she says instead, as we cut to the dazed Tyrion seeing an unexpected sight: scores of Lannister horsemen charging into the battle, with a knight on a white horse leading the charge.  Stannis sees it as well from the walls, and sees the knight more clearly: a warrior in Renly’s armor.

Cersei tells Tommen how the mother lion tells her cub that all the beasts will bow to the him one day, and he will be king. She grows tearful as she hears the sounds of fighting coming nearer, while the Lannister horsemen and the mystery knight are killing Stannis’s men. Cersei opens the bottle of nightshade, as she tells her tale, and as Tyrion falls back in a daze as the last thing he sees is Renly’s ghost killing all who stands before him, looming above him on his white horse.

Cersei tries to make Tommen drink from the bottle, promising that she’ll keep him safe. Tommen is about to drink when the doors of the throne room are thrust open and the mystery knight in Renly’s armor enters with Tyrell soldiers all around him. He takes off his helm… and it’s Ser Loras Tyrel, the Knight of Flowers. Behind him, Lannister soldiers enter. Outside the walls, the Baratheon soldiers are routed and begin to retreat. Stannis, on the walls, tries to yell at his men to stand and fight when some of his own men grab him and drag him away to flee. In the throne room, a way is cleared and Lord Tywin enters, bloodied from battle. “The battle is over,” he tells Cersei as the poison falls from her hand. “We have won!”  She cradles Tommen to her tearfully, as the strains of “The Rains of Castamere” begin over the end credits.

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