Sansa says too much; Shae asks Tyrion for a favor; Jaime finds a way to pass the time; Arya encounters the Brotherhood Without Banners.
Bran is running through the woods, carrying a bow, looking for something or someone he can’t find. He turns only to have a three-eyed raven flap before his eyes, startling him. It stoops on a nearby branch, and he aims his bow at it. Then Jon and Robb are there, advising him. He shoots… and misses, leading his brothers to laugh. He hears his father’s voice, asking which of his sons was a marksman at 10. Bran turns, saying, “Father!” Bran turns again, lifting his bow as he sees a youth he’s never seen before.
The youth tells him he can’t kill it. Bran asks why and the youth answers, “Because the raven is you.” The raven that suddenly flies towards Bran, frightening him—
—and Bran awakens beneath a canopy, in the green fields of the North. Rickon wakes as well, sleeping in his brother’s wagon, while Summer and Shaggydog are nearby. Hodor comes up to check on Bran while Osha, minding a cooking pot on a fire and carving a wooden spear, asks if Bran was in the wolf. Bran says he wasn’t, and instead says it was the three-eyed raven again. He starts to tell her what happened, but Osha doesn’t want to hear it, not wanting to add black magic to their problems. Bran says he didn’t want these dreams, and she says she knows. Then, she states they have to move on before someone finds them. Bran protests that no one knows they’re alive… and Osha asks how he knows that, whether the three-eyed raven told him or not, and then indicates she’d rather not trust to what people do or do not know. “I only know the Wall is a long way off,” she tells him.
Robb stands by a fireplace in Harrenhal, brooding. Talisa watches and then tells him that his mother told her that the Westerosi were a grim lot, bearded, stinking, barbarians who steal children from their beds. When Robb asks if Talisa ever thought she’d marry one, Talisa replies that she never thought she’d marry at all. As they kiss, Lord Roose Bolton enters with two messages. Neither is good news, as he tells Robb one is from Riverrun and the other from Winterfell.
Catelyn and Robb sit privately, and Catelyn is weeping as she says she hasn’t seen someone in many years, more than she can say. Robb tells her that they’ll travel to the funeral together, with Lord Bolton leading the garrison that holds Harrenhal. Catelyn asks if Robb will have her in chains when they put her father to rest. But Robb doesn’t answer, and Catelyn realizes there was something else. Robb reveals that Winterfell has been razed, that the ironborn had fled, and no one has found Bran or Rickon. Robb suggests they’re probably safe, perhaps escaped or perhaps taken as hostages by Theon Greyjoy. But Catelyn asks if he has any evidence, if they’ve received demands or word from Theon. Robb says no.
In a gloomy stone chamber, a hood is removed, and we see a shirtless Theon Greyjoy bound to a cross as water is splashed on his face. A man in dark garments stands before him, and says nothing as Theon asks where he is and who the man is. The man pulls a knife and comes closer step by step. He takes one of Theon’s fingers, and Theon asks him what he wants.
“I want to do this,” the man says as he shoves the point of his knife beneath one of Theon’s fingernails. Theon screams.
Jaime and Brienne clamber through of a hedgerow as Jaime complains about how long it will take them to get to King’s Landing on foot. Jaime claims it will be very dull, but Brienne doesn’t mind it as her duty is to see him to King’s Landing, no more. Jaime notes that no one wants a humorless mute for a servant, a fact he knows from experience. Brienne replies that Catelyn is an honest woman and if she has any issues with her service, she’d let her know. The Kingslayer replies that her honesty has done her no good.
Jaime is relieving himself on a tree as he asks Brienne how she entered Catelyn’s service. He knows she wasn’t at Winterfell, since he was there. Brienne drags at his chain and tells him to move. Then Jaime asks if she was pledged to Stannis—and Brienne gives an indignant response. This leads Jaime to realize she followed Renly, and then he says that Renly wasn’t fit to rule over more than anything than a twelve course meal. He notes he knew him from boyhood, denigrating him as a “little tulip” in “embroidered silks.” He notes he knew Renly better than she did. She replies she was a member of his Kingsguard, and he trusted her. She adds that he would have been a wonderful king.
Jaime suggests she fancied him. She says she didn’t, but he’s sure she did. He then points out that Renly preferred “curly-haired little girls like Loras Tyrell,” and that Brienne was “too much man” for him. Jaime goes on to say that Renly’s proclivities were the worst kept secret at court, and goes on to make a rude suggestion that causes Brienne to grab his hair and tell him to shut his mouth. Staring at her, bent back, Jaime says he didn’t blame Renly or Brienne: “You don’t get to choose the one you love.”
Just then, they hear an approaching horse, and see a wayfarer. The man asks where they’re going, and says he’s traveling to Riverrun. He notes they must be avoiding the kingsroad because of bandits. They part ways, and Jaime tells Brienne that the man knows who they are and he may tell someone. Brienne refuses to kill him, as Jaime urges. She say she won’t kill an innocent man, and Jaime asks if he’s more innocent than Lady Stark’s daughters.
In King’s Landing, Joffrey is trying on clothing. He complains about flowers on the fabrics they’ve provided him. Cersei suggests he give the fabric to Margaery as a gift, for the wedding. Cersei then asks Joffrey what he thinks of her. He indicates she’s an ideal match, and with the Tyrells he’ll crush the northerners, burning strongholds, hanging lords, and sowing fields with salt. Cersei persists in asking about his opinion of Margaery, noting she’s beautiful and intelligent, that her interest in commoners is “interesting”... but Joffrey says he doesn’t find that interesting.
Joffrey turns and tells her this is becoming a boring conversation. Cersei comes to the point: she thinks Margaery dotes on urchins, dresses like a harlot, and married Renly Baratheon for a reason. Joffrey interjects, telling her that Margaery married Renly because she was told to do so, and adds, “That’s what intelligent women do: what they’re told.” Cersei reaches for his son, starting to say that he needs to ask himself something… but he pulls away and says there’s nothing he needs to do. Then he goes back to trying on clothing, ignoring his mother.
In her chambers, Sansa is getting ready for the day while protesting to Shae that Littlefinger wanted nothing from her, tha he took an interest only because he had been in love with her mother. Shae says women want only one thing from a pretty girl, and Sansa—shocked—says he’s not in love with her. Shae replies that he doesn’t want love, and after a moment Sansa says that he’s too old. Shae replies men never see it that way.
Shae then asks if Baelish asked Sansa to do anything for him, such as spy on someone, and Sansa says no. Then Shae tells her that if he does ever ask, or if he ever tries anything, or if he touches her, she should tell Sansa. Sansa wonders what Shae would do, and Shae replies quite matter of factly that she would make him stop. Just then, there’s a knock on the door, and a guard announces Ser Loras Tyrell. Sansa looks herself over in the mirror one more time, before Ser Loras walks in and informs Sansa that Margaery has invited Sansa to take the air with her and their grandmother, Lady Olenna.
Loras and Sansa speak courteously with one another. Sansa notes that Loras likely doesn’t remember when they first met, that it was at the Hand’s tourney. Loras seems uncertain until Sansa tells him that he gave her a red rose. Then he says, “Of course I did,” clearly not recalling the event but being polite. He delivers her to Margaery and then takes his leave.
Margaery leads Sansa into a garden filled with young noblewomen, where the old Lady Olenna sits. She offers Sansa her hand, and says she’s sorry for her losses. Sansa replies she was sorry for Lord Renly’s death because he was gallant. Olenna replies that he was gallant, charming, and very clean, but qualities such as these didn’t make him suitable to be a king. Margaery protests that her father and Loras liked him, and Olenna is dismissive, noting Loras is young and very skilled at knocking men off horses with a stick. “As for your fathead father…” she begins, but Margaery stops her.
Olenna tells Sansa plainly that she told her son that it was treason, and that they should have stayed out of the War of the Five Kings entirely. But now it is too late. She offers Sansa lemoncakes—they’ve been told they’re Sansa’s favorite—and Olenna leads her and Margaery away to speak more privately. Olenna then asks if Sansa knows her son, and says he’s a ponderous oaf, as was her husband. The late Lord Luthor rode off a cliff while hawking, staring up at the sky rather than paying attention. She believes her son is doing much the same, but he’s riding a lion rather than a horse.
Then she comes to the real reason for their meeting: she wants to know the truth about Joffrey, as they’ve heard some disturbing rumors. Sansa, taken aback and frightened, tries to say he’s handsome and brave as a lion. Lady Olenna dismisses this, saying that Lannisters are always lions, and when a Tyrell farts it smells like a rose. She and Margaery press Sansa for more information, and quickly sends away a servant. Olenna promises that they’re safe, that she needs only tell the truth. Sansa replies her father always told the truth.
Lady Olenna admits Eddard Stark had that reputation, and he was named a traitor and beheaded. Sansa says that was Joffrey’s fault, that he promised mercy and then called killing her father merciful before forcing her to look at her father’s head. Then Sansa pulls back, terrified. Margaery and Olenna beg her to say more. In the end Sansa says, “He’s a monster.” Olenna calls that a pity, but they will not stop the wedding. Lord Tyrell is set on it.
Grey Wind watches the northmen riding to Riverrun. Rickard Karstark complaints that the march there is a distraction in the midst of war. Robb insists his grandfather’s funeral is not a distraction. Karstark says that if they’re not riding to battle, it’s a distraction. Robb argues that his uncle Edmure’s forces are there and they will need them. Karstark scoffs at this, saying that unless he’s been breeding them, they won’t have enough to make a difference. Testily, Robb asks if Karstark has lost faith in his cause, and Lord Rickard says that if the cause is revenge, he still has faith. Karstark says that he can believe until it snows in Dorne, but it doesn’t’ change the truth: their forces are only half of what their enemies have mustered against them. And then, asking to speak his mind, he tells Robb that he lost the war the day he married Talisa. We do not see what Robb’s reply is to that.
Sitting by an old ruin, Catelyn Stark works on a votive figure as Talisa approaches on horseback. The horse acts up, and Catelyn remarks to Talisa that the horse knows she’s afraid of it. Talisa denies it, but looks at it dubiously. Talsia then asks if she can help make the figure, but Catelyn says no, sharply. Then, more gently, she says only a mother can make them to protect her children. Talisa asks if she ever made one before, and if they work. Catelyn says she’s made them twice, and they work “after a fashion.” Once for Bran… and once for one of the boys many years ago, hen he came down with the pox and was on the verge of death. She stayed by his bedside all night.
Talisa asks who it was. Catelyn says it was Jon Snow. She couldn’t stand seeing him and his stranger’s eyes, until she came to the point of praying to the gods to take him away, even to make him die. And then, shortly after, he fell ill. She felt immense guilt, thinking herself the worst woman who ever lived, a murderer who condemned an innocent child to death all because of his mother, a woman he didn’t know. So he prayed again, begging the gods to let him live, and she would love him, she’d be a mother to him, she’d beg Ned to give him a true name and call him Stark.
Talisa asks if he lived. Catelyn said he did…. and she couldn’t keep her promise. She now wonders if all the horrors that have befallen her family is because she couldn’t love a motherless child.
Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow—wearing wildlings furs and carrying Longclaw—marches with the wildlings. Mance walks up to Jon and asks him if it was hard for him to kill Qhorin Halfhand. Jon says it was. Mance says he likes Jon, but if Jon means to play him false, it won’t be hard to kill him. Jon says he understands, and Mance questions that. He notes he’s unified ninety different clans, half who want to massacre the other half and who speak seven different languages, and how difficult that is. He names Thenns, Hornfoots, the ice river clans, the cave people, moon worshippers, cannibals, and giants. He tells Jon he informed them that they follow him because he told them that if they don’t join together and get south, they’ll die—and that’s the truth.
Moving along, they join Ygritte, Tormund, and Orell. Orell’s eyes are rolled back, only the whites visible,, and they’re all looking at the sky where an eagle flies above them. Jon asks what’s wrong with him, and they say he’s a warg, able to see through the eagle’s eyes. Then he snaps out of it, and he reveals that he saw dead crows at the Fist of the First Men.
Marching with the Night’s Watch, Rast is insulting a weeping, exhausted Samwell as they trudge along. Rast notes two hundred of their brothers died, while Samwell survived, and wonders if that’s justice. Samwell collapses, and Rast leaves him behind only for Grenn to notice. He and Dolorous Edd move back to where Sam kneels. Samwell refuses to get up, but Grenn insists that if he stops, he’ll die (Edd notes that even if he continues, he’ll probably die). Samwell complains that they abandoned him when the Others came. Grenn doesn’t reply, but Edd says that of course they did: they wanted to live, and Samwell is slow and fat.
Then Lord Mormont joins them, wondering why they’ve stopped. Rast tries to argue that they should leave him behind, but the Old Bear silences him. Mormont then forbids Samwell from dying, and tells Rast that he’s responsible for Samwell. If Sam doesn’t survive, Rast won’t. So Samwell, dead on his feet, keeps walking as Rast swears he won’t die for him.
In a wood in the North, Bran sleeps on furs… and then wakes, because Summer is growling. Osha crouches nearby, spear in hand. Rickon and Hodor are looking for food… and Osha leaves Bran, disappearing into the wood. Summer growls again, and then out of the mist a youth—the same from his dream—starts walking to him. Summer snarls dangerously as the youth approaches. Then Osha appears behind him, wooden spear at his neck, telling him to stay still. He says he’s unarmed, to which Osha says that was poor planning…
... and he notes his sister carries the weapons. Suddenly a young woman appears behind Osha, knife at her neck. The woman tells Osha that she’s better with them, and orders Osha to drop the spear. Then the youth moves forward, and introduces himself to Summer. All the sudden, the direwolf is no longer aggressive and walks past. Bran watches all of this in silence, as the youth approaches and introduces himself as Jojen Reed, and his sister as Meera. “We’ve come a long way to find you, Brandon,” he says, “and we’ve a long way to go.”
In the riverlands, Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie wander the riverlands. Gendry does not understand how Arya failed to use the three deaths Jaqen promised her to kill Joffrey or Tywin, that she could have ended the war. They realize they’re lost. Arya says that if they can find the Red Fork, they can follow it west to Riverrun. Then they’re interrupted by a voice singing in the distance. The voice sings “The Rains of Castamere”, and they think it may be a minstrel that they could rob for coin. But the man is accompanied by several other men.
And suddenly, an arrow flies through a hole in the rock wall they hide behind, hitting a tree. A voice calls, asking if they’re a lion or wolf. The youths say nothing, until the voice calls for more arrows, and Arya leaps up and tells them not to. The singer comes forward, drinking from a flask before he tells Arya to put down her sword. Arya instead tells him to go on and leave them be; if they do that, she won’t kill them. The man tells her she’s a dangerous person, and he likes dangerous people. And then he asks why her friends are so shy. A younger man revals they know about Hot Pie and Gendry hiding off to one side.
The leader and the others jump over the wall and wonders if they’ve escaped from Harrenhal. He reveals himself as Thoros of Myr, and the younger man—the bowman—is Anguy. When Arya asks who they fight for, he says they fight for the brotherhoood without banners. He then tells them to come to him, to tell their story. Hot Pie is frightened, however, saying the brotherhood were the men that the Mountain and his men were looking for. Thoros says they’ve nothing to fear from them: the lords of Westeros want to burn the land, and they want to save it. Hot Pie edges back, and with a look Thoros lets Anguy make a point. The archer shoots an arrow into the air and advises Hot Pie to move. Hot Pie does… and the arrow lands where he was just moments before.
Anguy watches Hot Pie scramble over a wall, and remarks to Thoros that half the country is starving but Hot Pie seems fine. Thoros suggests Hot Pie might be why half the country is starving.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion enters his chambers… to find Shae lounging there. He tells her she can’t come there, as he told her before. They kiss, and she says that he told her to come to him if there’s a problem. However, Tyrion is only concerned if anyone saw her, as his father’s threat to hang the next whore he finds in Tyrion’s bed was not an idle threat. She kisses him again, and he gives in and asks what the problem is. Shae reveals that she’s concerned about Sansa and Lord Baelish, after Littlefinger’s friend warned her. Tyrion absently remarks that Littlefinger has no friends, so Shae clarifies… and Tyrion recognizes who it is, naming Ros.
Shae wonders how he knows her. Tyrion claims he tries to know as many people as he can. Shae comes ot the conclusion that he bedded Ros, and he admits it. But he says that since he’s met Shae, he’s been with no one else. Shae then asks if she was good and if he liked her. “Not as much as I like you,” he replies. Finally, Shae says that Ros warned her not to trust Littlefinger with Sansa. Shae asks Tyrion to protect Sansa, but he says that can’t be done. With the Lannisters having discarded her, she’ll have many suitors as she has an old name and great beauty. Shae takes umbrage at that last, or rather that Tyrion has noticed. Tyrion admits that Sansa is very beautiful, objectively speaking… but he doesn’t really care, he only has eyes for Shae.
Shae calls him a pervert, being interested in Sansa. Shae tells him she didn’t force him to say anything. Tyrion calls it all cruelly unfair. A moment more, and then they kiss again, and she kneels down to remove his doublet. Tyrion tells her she must not come to his quarters again, that it’s very dangerous… but he becomes quite distracted.
Margaery walks with a Kinsguard as escort, and enters Joffrey’s chambers where he sits with a crossbow. She presents herself, and Joffrey reveals he’s soon to leave hunting. Joffrey asks how she finds King’s Landing, in comparison to Renly’s camp. She finds it a welcome one, she says, as a military camp is not the place for a lady. Joffrey pointedly asks if a traitor’s bed is also a place for a lady. Margaery says she did the duty of a wife to a husband, to provide him with children. Joffrey notes she failed. Margaery hesitates, saying she doesn’t wish to speak ill of the dead. Joffrey asks if she thinks to speak kindly of a traitor. Margaery apologizes, saying the subtleties of politics are often lost on her.
Then she admits that she thinks Renly was uninterested in the company of women, that he had many excuses and avoided it, and never even tried. Except one evening, after he had too much evening, and he suggested something that sounded painful and unable to provide children. She starts to say that the fault may have been with her. But Joffrey stops her, saying he was a known “degenerate”. Margaery touches his arm and say she’s relieved to hear it. Joffrey goes on to say he considers making his perversion punishable by death. That gives Margaery visible pause… but then she says that’s his right. She says he must do whatever he needs to do, as her hand moves to run slowly over the crossbow. Joffrey becomes flustered, and then asks if she likes the crossbow, which he shows to her.
She says it’s beautiful and asks to be shown how it works. Joffrey praises its design, which uses a lever rather than a crank. He then sends a bolt through the eyes of a boar’s head. Margaery then asks if she can go to a hunt with him, even though it’s not the proper place for a woman. Joffrey says it’s not unheard of, but she replies that her father has never allowed her. Joffrey cuts her short, and notes she no longer belongs to him. She holds the crossbow and says it’s quite exciting to think how she can squeeze a finger where she stands, and kill something over there. Joffrey asks if she could do it, if she could kill something. Margaery says she doesn’t know, and asks if he thinks she could. He says yes. She asks if he wants to watch her… and after a long moment, Joffrey says yes.
In the dungeon where Theon is held, he is being tortured as a vice is being twisted about his foot. Theon screams in agony, saying he doesn’t know what they want. The questioner says he wants to know why he took Winterfell. Theon answers—he had no orders, he took it himself because it was vulnerable, and because he wanted to hold and rule it. The man says that’s good… then tells the torturer to turn the vice more. Theon asks why they did that, but the man just repeats the question. Now Theon claims he did it to bring glory to his house and his father. The man doesn’t believe it, and begins to walk away. Theon tells him to wait, and then admits he did it because he wanted to hurt the Starks.
The man puts a hood over Theon’s head, and leaves… but the vice is twisted one last time before the men with him leave, leaving behind a servant who sweeps the floor. After a moment, the servant approaches and takes off the hood, and reveals that Yara sent him. He loosens the vice and says he’ll come again at night when the castle sleeps. Then he puts the hood over Theon’s head, and leaves as Theon begs him not to go.
Rickon is running off, and Bran says it’s all right, that the wolves will protect them. With a look, he sends Summer to join Rickon. Jojen remarks that Bran can see through his eyes, and Bran says only when he’s asleep. Jojen replies that that’s how it begins, until he learns to control it. He tells Bran he is a warg. Bran adds it’s not just wolves, that sometimes in his dreams—
“A three-eyed raven,” Jojen replies. He reveals he saw it with Bran. He says it’s something deeper, that it brings the sight that allows Bran to see things long before he was born, or now but thousands of miles away.
Walking behind them, a suspicious Osha asks what Jojen is saying to Bran. Meera tells her to ask him herself. Then Osha wonders if Jojen isn’t ashamed to need his sister to protect him. Meera smiles and wonders what the shame is in that. Osha replies that a boy his age who needs a sister’s protection is going to find himself needing much protection. Meera replies that some people will always need help, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth helping. She looks pointedly to Bran.
As Bran and Jojen speak, Bran says he dreamed his father’s death. Jojen says he saw it, not dreamed it. He saw it as well, and said that when he told his own father—Howland Reed—that it was the only time he ever saw his father weep. Bran says Howland saved Ned’s life during the rebellion. Jojen reveals that his father never spoke of the rebellion… but that he had seen what had happened.
At the inn at the crossroad, Thoros drinks and talks idly. He finally asks Arya how they escaped Harrenhal, untrained as they are in Harrenhal. When Arya suggests it’s because Gendry was a smith in the armory, Thoros asks where he trained. Gendry admits he apprenticed to Tobho Mott. Thoros knows the man, claiming he charged twice as much as any other armorer in the city. Gendry says that’s because Thoros is twice as good. Arya goes on, saying that Gendry stole weapons. Thoros supposes they fought their way out of Harrenhal, butr she replies Gendry knows how to use a sword, and so does she as her brothers taught her. The men laugh at that, and she stands up suddenly, drawing her sword. Thoros considers it… and then suddenly stands up, drawing his sword, and disarming her in an instant. He then takes up a flagon and proposes a toast to her brothers.
Arya takes up her sword again, and sits. Thoros says they are free to go. They started to edge out, when Anguy enters with a tall, hooded prisoner. They remove the hood, and reveal the Hound. Thoros says it’s good to see him again, and the Hound wonders what he’s doing there. Arya, frightened, tries to slip out without the Hound recognizing her… but too late. He asks Thoros what he’s doing with the “Stark bitch”, and Thoros looks to her.
In the riverlands, Brienne and Jaime are at the edge of a river, trying to decide how to cross. In the end, Brienne chooses to gamble and cross the bridge rather than risk swimming across it at some more secluded place. Asa they cross, Jaime sits down, complaining about the corns on his feet that he never had to deal with before. She grabs at him, telling to get up… and he manages to take the second sword at her belt, cutting the leash she has.
Jaime prepares to fight her, and remarks she moves well for a “great beast of a woman.” And then they cross swords. Jaime, confident, advises her not to grunt before a lunge—it gives too much away. Jaime notes that if she kills him, she’ll fail Lady Stark… but if she doesn’t, Jaime will kill her. Jaime admits she’s good—graceless, but good. They fight on, and she kicks him but doesn’t press her advantage. Jaime says that if she was willing to hurt him, she might have had him there.
They fight on, and as the fight progresses Jaime becomes more and more winded, and more and more desperate. Brienne has the better of him when suddenly a troop of horsemen show up, flying the banner of House Bolton. They trade quips… and then the commoner they saw earlier comes forward, confirming that he recognized Jaime: he saw him ride at the tourney at Ser Willem Frey’s wedding. The leader tells the others to give the man his silver. Jaime says Tywin will pay whatever he wants if he lets him go, but the leader asks if he could pay for his head—because Robb would have it if he learned he had let Jaime go, and he’d rather Robb take Jaime’s head. He and his men ride forward.