Joffrey challenges Tywin. Bran tells a ghost story. In Dragonstone, mercy comes from strange quarters. Dany waits to see if she is a conqueror or a liberator.
Roose Bolton, holding the knife he used to kill Robb Stark, climbs to the roof of the Twins. Screams can be heard, screams coming from the camp outside the Twins where Frey soldiers are slaughtering northmen and setting the tents on fire. The Hound, riding with an unconscious Arya in his arms, takes up a Frey banner and starts to ride off when he hears men singing, “Here comes the King in the North!”
Arya starts to wake and follows his expression… to where a troop of Freys are leading a horse and strapped into the saddle the headless body of Robb Stark with Grey Wind’s head affixed to it. The Freys cheer aloud. Arya is speechless, and the Hound turns and rides away with her.
At King’s Landing, Tyrion and Sansa (with Shae in tow) walk through the gardens when two men pass by and snicker at Tyrion. Tyrion begins to repeat their names—Eldric Sarsfield and Lord Desmond Crakehall—when Sansa asks what he’s doing. When he explains he’s making a list, Sansa asks if it’s a list of people he means to kill. Tyrion dismisses the idea that he’d kill people for laughing at him, that he’s no Joffrey. Death would be extreme he says to her, but fear of death on the other hand… Sansa suggests he should learn to ignore them. Tyrion replies that he has been laughed at all his life: he has been called the Halfman, demon monkey, the Imp.
At that, Sansa replies that he’s a Lannister while she’s the disgraced daughter of the traitor Ned Stark. Tyrion replies they’re perfect for one another, making her laugh… but he looks back to Shae, who seems less amused. His attention returns to Sansa when she asks how they should punish Sarsfield and Crakehall. Tyrion suggests he could discover their perversions from Varys, saying that anyone named Desmond Crakehall would have to be a pervert. Sansa replies that she’s heard that Tyrion is a pervert, to which he drolly replies that he has standards to maintain as the Imp. Sansa laughs again.. then sits down on a low wall and tells him he should “sheepshift” Crakehall’s bed.
Tyrion, a little confused, listens as she explains how Arya—when angry with Sansa (she was always angry)—used to cut a hole in her mattress, put sheep dung down in the hole, and then sew it up again; the smell will make the room stink. Tyrion reacts as if that’s an awful thing to do, but asks why it’s called “sheepshift”. Sansa leans in and confides that “shift” is “the vulgar word for dung.” Shae, overhearing, laughs. Tyrion stifles a laugh as well and begins to correct Sansa when Podrick—who draws admiring looks from two ladies of the court, who share with one another that “That’s him!”—rushes up and tells Tyrion that Lord Tywin has called a meeting of the small council.
Tyrion enters to find Tywin seated with a letter, Cersei looking pleased, Varys seeming subdued, and Joffrey standing behind them seeming eager to share news. Tyrion asks if Joffrey has killed a few puppies, but Joffrey points to Pycelle and tells him to show him something. Pycelle begins to tremulously hand over a scroll… and then drops it, feigning an accident of age and apologizing. Tyrion picks it up from the floor and reads a letter from Lord Walder Frey: “Roslin caught a fine, fat trout. Her brothers gave her a pair of wolf pelts for her wedding.” Tyrion asks if it’s bad poetry or if it means anything.
Joffrey, laughing, replies that it means Robb Stark and his “bitch mother” are dead, and then turns to Pycelle and tells him to write to Lord Frey, commending him for his service and commanding that Robb Stark’s head be sent to King’s Landing. He informs the council that he wants to server it to Sansa at the wedding feast. Varys reminds Joffrey that Sansa is now his aunt by marriage, and Cersei is quick to say Joffrey was joking… but Joffrey insists he meant it. Even Cersei seems troubled by this. Tyrion replies that she’s no longer his to torment, and Joffrey notes everyone is his to torment. He adds that Tyrion would “do well to remember that,” calling him a “little monster”.
Tyrion remarks that Joffrey should consider speaking more softly to him, since monsters are dangerous and kings are dying in profusion; Varys barely hides a smile at that. Joffrey looks at Tyrion in disbelief, then to Tywin, then back and angrily tells him that he could have his tongue out. Cersei takes Joffrey’s hand and tells him to let Tyrion make his threats, as he’s a bitter little man. Pycelle querulously says Tyrion should apologize for his unacceptable disrespect. Joffrey shouts he’s the king and he will punish Tyrion. It’s then that Tywin finally speaks, informing Joffrey that any man who must say, “I am the king,” is no true king. Tywin adds he’ll make sure Joffrey understands that once he’s won the war for him.
At that, Joffrey angrily replies that his father won the real war, killing Prince Rhaegar and took the crown while Tywin “hid under Casterly Rock.” Tywin fixes him with a cold gaze, and everyone else seems apprehensive. Tywin stonily replies that the king is tired and should be taken to his chambers. Cersei quickly tries to usher her son out, even as he protests that he’s not tired. As they’re leaving, Tywin suggests to Pycelle that essence of nightshade to help Joffrey sleep would be useful. Joffrey stops and turns back to insist he’s not tired, but he finally leaves with his mother. Pycelle gets up and follows after (snatching up the letter from Walder Frey as he does so), and finally Varys departs, leaving Tywin and Tyrion alone. When Tyrion starts to leave, Tywin tells him to stay.
Tyrion remarks that his father has sent “the most powerful man in Westeros to bed without his supper,” and Tywin replies that Tyrion is a fool if he thinks Joffrey is the most powerful man. Tyrion notes that’s treasonous… and Tywin asks if Tyrion really thinks a crown gives a man power. Tyrion admits he doesn’t, and says that armies do. He notes that Robb had one and never lost a battle… but Tywin defeated him all the same. Tywin makes a noncommittal sound at that. Tyrion then says that he sees how it is: Walder Frey will get all the credit (or all the blame), but he knows Lord Walder isn’t a brave man and wouldn’t have done such a thing without certain assurances. Tywin speaks up and says that Frey got them from him. He asks if Tyrion disapproves.
“I’m all for cheating,” Tyrion replies, especially in a war. But he questions slaughtering them at a wedding, to which Tywin replies that he’d like to know how it’s more noble to slaughter ten thousand men in battle then a dozen at dinner. Tyrion wonders if Tywin did it to save lives, and Tywin replies that he did it to end the war and protect the family. Then he testily suggests that Tyrion can write a song for the dead Starks if he likes. He goes on to say that he’s in the world a while longer to defend his blood. Tyrion responds that the northerners will never forget, but Tywin thinks that’s as it should be, so that they never forget what happens when they march on the south.
Tywin starts to collect his parchments and scrolls as he informs Tyrion that all the Stark men are dead, Winterfell is a ruin, and Roose Bolton will be named Warden of the North… until Tyrion’s son by Sansa comes of age. He then reminds Tyrion that he believes he still has some “work” to do in that regard. Tyrion asks sarcastically if Tywin thinks Sansa will be more accommodating once he tells her how they murdered her mother and brother. Tywin insists that he will get Sansa pregnant, one way or another. Tyrion insists he will not rape her. At that, Tywin offers an easy lesson to show him how the world really works. “Use small words,” Tyrion replies, “I’m not as bright as you.”
Tywin states that the house that puts family first will always defeat the house that puts the whims and wishes of its members first. A good man, he says, will always seek to advance his family regardless of what he himself wants. Tyrion’s expression at that prompts Tywin to ask if what he said amuses him. Tyrion replies it’s a very good lesson… but it’s easy for Tywin to preach devotion to the family when he makes all the decisions. Tywin questions that it’s easy, leading Tyrion to ask when it has ever been the case that Tywin has done something for the family that was not actually in Tywin’s interest but solely for the benefit of the family.
“The day that you were born!” Tywin informs him. That stops Tyrion in his tracks, as Tywin tells him that he wanted to drown him in the sea, but instead he let him live and he brought him up as his son because Tyrion is a Lannister. He walks aay then.
Later, Tyrion enters his bed chamber to find Sansa seated at a window, staring out. He calls to her, and she turns to him, and he can see she is weeping: she has already heard the news. She looks away from hm again, and he turns and leaves her alone.
In sight of the Wall, Meera and Summer hurry back to Hodor, Bran, and Jojen. Behind them are the ruins of the Nightfort, the first castle of the Night’s Watch. Meera informs them it’s empty, and Jojen suggests they should find some place to sleep. Inside the ruins, they find a chamber with a well. Hodor stares down into the well, repeating his name and enjoying the echo. Bran tells Hodor to stop, and the giant stableboy finds a place to sit. Bran runs his hand over a wooden block that seems stained with blood, and suggests that maybe they shouldn’t stay there. Meera asks if he’d rather be outside, but Bran replies that there are horrible stories about the Nightfort. Jojen says he quite likes them, and Bran said he used to as well, once.
Bran tells them the story of the Rat Cook, who was angry at a king for some reason. When the king visited the Nightfort, the Rat Cook baked his son into a big pie and served it to him. The king liked it so much he had a second helping. The gods punished the cook by turning him into a giant white rat who can only eat his own young, and he’s been wandering the Nightfort ever since, always hungry. Meera starts to dismiss the story by saying that if the gods turned every killer into a white rat, but Bran stops her by saying it wasn’t for murder or even for serving the king’s son in a pie. It was for killing a guest beneath his roof, which the gods can’t forgive.
At the Twins, Lord Walder is dining in his hall while Roose Bolton meets with him. Servants are still scrubbing blood from the floor. “The Late Walder Frey,” Lord Walder says, indicating that that’s what Hoster Tully called him for not getting his men to the Trident in time for the battle. He mocks Lord Tully, saying that he’s dead, his daughter and grandson are dead, his son is in a dungeon… and he himself is now Lord of Riverrun. At that, Roose Bolton notes the Blackfish escaped. Frey dismisses it, saying he’s an old man with no allies, while he has Lord Tywin supporting him. Roose accepts that. Frey goes on to complain about how all the high lords thought they were better than him—Ned Stark, Hoster Tully are named—and he notes that men laughed when he wed a young girl, but no one laughed when Jon Arryn married Lysa Tully.
Roose notes Walder will be needing a new young bride, and he replies that that’s something to look forward to. He toasts Roose as Warden of the North, and suggests it must have been “torture” to follow Robb. Bolton replies that Robb had ignored his advice at every turn, and implies that had he been less arrogant things might have been different. Walder mocks Robb calling himself the Young Wolf, and raises a toast to him, at which Roose adds, “Forever young.” Then Lord Walder asks if Lord Bolton means to move into Winterfell when the war is over. Roose says at some point, though he adds it’s in ruins. Walder asks what actually happened there, having heard the “Greyjoy boy” had seized the place, killed all the ravens, and after that nothing.
Bolton replies that he sent his bastard to root him out. Robb had offered amnesty to the ironborn if they gave him Theon. His son Ramsay delivered the terms, the ironborn turned on Theon, they handed over Theon… but Ramsay has his own way of doing things.
At the Dreadfort, we see Ramsay eating a sausage while Theon is trussed up on the cross. Ramsay quips that Theon had a “good-sized cock”, leading Theon—his breeches clearly showing that he has been gelded—to stare at Ramsay in horror. Ramsay trades a look with him and then lifts the bowl so he shows him the sausage he has, and wonders if Theon thinks he’s a savage. Ramsay muses on whether a eunuch might have a “phantom cock”. He holds up the sausage, mocking Theon with it. Theon weeps silently.
Ramsay apologizes about making jokes, as his mother taught him not to throw stones at cripples… but his father, he then adds, taught him to aim for their head. Theon mumbles, “Kill me.” Ramsay claims not to have quite heard it, and he makes it Theon repeat it. “Kill me!” Theon cries out. Ramsay says that they need Theon alive. He gets up from the table and moves to where he is, and Theon starts to struggle as if he’s afraid of what will happen. Ramsay pulls back his head and says he doesn’t look like a Theon Greyjoy anymore, as that’s a lord’s name, and he’s not a lord any longer. “You’re just meat,” he says to him, “stinking meat. You reek...” And at that he pulls back, pleased with himself, and says “Reek” is a good name for him.
He asks Theon what his name is. Theon says “Theon Greyjoy.” He gets a punch for his trouble. Ramsay repeats the question, and Theon says his name again, and is once more punched. He starts to beg, when Ramsay grabs his head and screams at him, asking what his name is. And he replies: “Reek. My name is… Reek.” Ramsay smiles, pleased, and lets him go. Theon weeps.
At the Nightfort, Bran, Hodor, and the Reeds are sleeping when Bran wakes up at a noise from the well. Summer is awake as well. Bran calls for Hodor, who rises, and so does Meera, who holds her knife at the ready. Summer snarls as the noise comes nearer and nearer. Even Jojen seems frightened. A dark, furry shape clambers out of the well, and trips. Meera runs at it, screaming, knife before her—and holds it at the Neck of Samwell Tarly as she demand who he is. At the same time, Gilly climbs out of the well with her baby, calling for Sam. Meera demands to know who she is as well. Gilly begs them not to hurt them. Jojen asks where they’re going.
Samwell says they were traveling to Castle Black, and that he’s a member of the Night’s Watch. Bran says his own brother is in the Watch, when Jojen quiets him. Samwell’s attention is then drawn to Summer, and he realizes that it’s Bran, Jon’s brother. Bran tries to deny it, but Samwell notes he’s been around Ghost enough to recognize a direwolf, and besides, he’s heard all about Hodor. Samwell goes on to say that he’d be dead if it weren’t for Jon, and if Bran is Jon’s brother, then he’s Sam’s brother as well. He offers to help, but when Bran asks for him to take them beyond the Wall, Samwell is disbelieving. As Meera moves to examine the well, Samwell asks why they want to do that, and Bran replies he doesn’t want to, but he has to.
Meera starts to ask questions about the well, if it leads to an underground river. Samwell instead says they should come with them, to climb the steps up the Wall so that they can travel in safety to Castle Black. Gilly insists they should come with them, that there’s nothing north “but death.” Jojen tells them that there’s nowhere safe any longer. Samwell responds that what he saw would make them run the other way if they saw it as well. Jojen replies that he knows what he saw: the White Walkers and the armies of the dead. Sam asks how he knows that, but Jojen only says that the Night’s Watch can’t stop them, nor the kings. Samwell looks at them all… and realizes that they believe they can stop them. Bran asks then, begging, saying he must go north.
A courier rides to Pyke, and inside we see Lord Balon Greyjoy opening a letter as his daughter Yara Greyjoy examines a box that came with it. Balon reads Ramsay Snow’s letter demanding (in rude terms) that the ironborn depart the North, warning that on the first night of the full moon he will begin to hunt down all the ironborn invaders remaining in the North, flaying them alive just as he flayed the men who had been with Theon. His letter notes he’s sent them a gift which he calls “Theon’s favorite toy”. Balon stands up and goes to the box, just as Yara opens it; they both look away, stunned. Balon goes back to the letter and reads out Ramsay’s promise to send more boxes with “more Theon”.
Balon tells his daughter to get the box and its contents out of his sight. Yara stares at him silently. Balon insists that Theon disobeyed his orders, but it’s clear she doesn’t accept that. He goes on to say that Theon is a fool and that he cannot further the Greyjoy line any longer, while he refuses to give up the lands and strongholds he has seized. He again tells her to take the box away from him and he turns away to the fireplace in the chamber. Yara tells him that he’s her son, and at that, he replies that he’s not even a man anymore. She repeats that he’s Balon’s son, her brother, and a Greyjoy. Balon warns her off from continuing, saying he’s made his decision. He sits down, staring into the fire.
Yara tells him that she’s made hers: she’ll take the fastest ship in the fleet, crew it with the best killers on the Iron Islands, sail to the narrow sea and up the Weeping Water to march on the Dreadfort and find Theon and bring him home. As she says it, we see her and her crew making ready to sail.
At the Nightfort, Bran holds up an obsidian blade, and asks what it is. “Dragonglass,” Samwell informs him, found on the Fist of the First Men and which he believe someone hid there for them to find. Bran doesn’t understand why, to which Samwell replies that it can kill White Walkers. Meera questions how they know that, and Gilly tells her that a White Walker came for her baby and that Sam killed it. Meera says in disbelief that no one has killed a White Walker in thousands of years, and Samwell replies that someone had to be the first. He hands over more obsidian blades, one of which is given to Hodor, and a number of arrowheads are given to Meera. He notes he was lucky with one of them, but there are many more and for every one of them, there are more dead men following them than can be counted.
He again wishes they’d come with him, and Bran says he really wishes he could. At that, we cut to a passage beneath the Wall, with the light of the Black Gate in the distance. Samwell and Gilly watch as Bran, Hodor, the Reeds, and Summer recede into the distance.
At Dragonstone, Gendry sits alone in a cell when Ser Davos Seaworth arrives. Davos asks how Gendry is doing, and Gendry claims he’s never been better. Davos notes at least it was just a bit of blood, and at that Gendry says he should have known, that every time a highborn asks his name it’s trouble. He goes on to complain that the nobles don’t really see lowborn men and women as people, just “a million different ways to get what you want.” Davos notes he’s not highborn, and explains that his knighthood is a “recent state of affairs” as he drops down to sit on the floor as well. He notes he was born in Flea Bottom as well. Gendry doubts it, but when Davos describes the way that the waste from the Red Keep’s privies flowed past his home on Gin Alley, he convinces Gendry.
Gendry then adds that the Street of Steel where Gendry lived, with its armor and its knights, was a “fancy part of town”. After that, Gendry talks of where they are now, two “bos from Flea Bottom in the castle of a king.” Gendry says that they’re all the same, really, and that “she”—Melisandre—went to great pains to point it out. Davos asks why he was so eager to trust her when he distrusted the highborn. Gendry replies that he’s never been with a woman, had never really talked to a woman, and then she came at him—“big words, no clothes”—and asks what Davos would have done in his place. Davos makes a joke about her knowing “her way around a man’s head”.
Gendry asks how Davos became a lord, and Davos replies it’s a long story; Gendry quips that they’d better not hear it then, as he’s a bit busy. Davos explains how he helped Stannis and was rewarded with a lordship… and his shortened fingers. Gendry takes that as another sign of the confusing way that the “highborns” behave. Davos replies he didn’t want to be a lord, and that he almost refused, but he did it for his son, so that Matthos didn’t have to live in poverty as he had. Gendry asks if he has a better life now, and Davos replies that his son is dead. He stands up then. When Gendry asks how Matthos died, Davos replies, “Following me.”
In King’s Landing, Shae is watching ships on the bay when Varys comes up behind her and asks when she came to “this strange country.” She replies that she did so when she was thirteen. Varys says she was only a child, but she replies was no longer a child from the time she was nine, something that her mother made sure of. Varys calls her a good influence on Tyrion, who used to drink from sunset to sunrise, visit three brothels a night, and gamble away his father’s money, but not he only drinks too much. Shae replies that now she’s only Sansa’s servant. Varys replies Sansa is a “sweet young thing” and that none of it is her fault. Shae turns and explains that she loves Sansa and would kill for her, but it doesn’t make it easier. Varys supposes it doesn’t.
Shae turns away, remarking on his Sansa is young, beautiful, and highborn. Varys replies that they—the lowborn—may dine with them, but it doesn’t make them family. They can also learn their language, but they will never be their countrymen, either. Varys goes on questioning whether she believed a foreign girl with no name could really spend her life with a son of Tywin Lannister. At that, Shae insists she has a name, but Varys clarifies: she has only one, with no family name, just as he does. He notes only the family name matters in Westeros. When Shae finally asks what he wants, he gives her a purse full of diamonds. He tells her he knows she knows how to protect herself, and urges her to get on a ship, sail to Pentos, Lys, or Myr, and buy herself a large house with servants with which to start a new life as the “mysterious foreign beauty”.
Shae asks why he wants her to leave. Varys replies that Tyrion is one of the few people who can improve the kingdom, with his intelligence, will, and the right family name. Shae, on the other hand, complicates that. Varys goes on to say that he knows Shae truly loves Tyrion, and he informs her he isn’t asking her to leave for money, but because her presence in the city endangers Tyrion. He adds that King’s Landing will never be her home, and that she should find her true home, far from there, while there’s time. He turns to leave, but Shae calls him back to throw the purse at his feet. She informs him that if Tyrion wants her to leave, he can say so himself. She leaves.
It’s night, and Tyrion is drinking with Pod. He tells his squire to keep up, but Podrick says he doesn’t think he can do so. Tyrion replies that it’s not easy to be drunk at all times, and that everyone would do it if it were easy. Just then Cersei enters and dismisses Podrick, who hastily leaves. She asks Tyrion if he’s enjoying married life, as he takes Podrick’s cup and pours the wine into his own. As Cersei pours herself a cup, she adds that an unhappy wife is a wine merchant’s best friend. Tyrion replies that Sansa doesn’t deserve what’s happened to her. Cersei suggests that starting to work out who deserves what will leave you weeping for everyone in the world. Tyrion remarks that there’s nothing worse than a “late-blooming philosopher.” Tyrion then asks if Cersei will face her marriage to Ser Loras Tyrell with the same “philosophical spirit.”
Cersei firmly insists she will not be marrying him. Tyrion remarks that he said something similar about his marriage, to which Cersei replies that he’s not her. Then she tells Tyrion that if he wants to do something for Sansa, he should give her a child. Tyrion, suspicious, asks if she says that so that she can then tell Tywin that she’s responsible for his having done what was desired of him. She replies that she suggests it so that Sansa can have some happiness in her life. At that, Tyrion asks how happy Cersei is, given that she has children. Cersei takes a moment to respond, and admits that she’s not very happy… but without her children, she would have thrown herself from the highest tower in the Red Keep, and they are the reason that she is alive. “Even Joffrey?” Tyrion asks, and a clearly-troubled Cersei hesitates a moment before saying, “Even Joffrey.”
She turns away to look out from the balcony, and speaks of how Joffrey was all she had once, before her daughter Myrcella was born. She talks of how she used to look at him for hours when he was a baby, and how jolly he was. She notes that one always hear of how the “terrible ones” were always terrible babies, but that it’s nonsense. Joffrey was always happy with her, she says. She turns back to sit, cup of wine in hand, and adds that no one can take that feeling of having someone of her own from her—not even her own son. The two siblings sit together in silence for a time, when Tyrion asks for how long it goes on. Cersei replies that it continues until they’ve dealt with all their enemies. Tyrion replies that every enemy dealt with simply “creates two more”, to which Cersei replies that it will continue for a very long time.
In the riverlands, the Hound and Arya ride up to where a group of Frey men sit about a fire and laugh about the Red Wedding. One insists that Catelyn Stark sounded like a “cow in heat” as she screamed after her throat was cut. One of them replies that Black Walder “shut her up right quick”. The first speaker tells the rest that the hardest thing was sewing the direwolf’s head on to Robb’s body. The others doubt that he personally did it, and he swears he did, though he adds two others helped. He notes that the head was so heavy it fell off the first time, so they had to sew it in a particular way. He is oblivious to the fact that Arya, having leapt down from the Hound’s horse, is now approaching. When he notices the others staring at her, however, he turns and asks what she wants.
She asks if she can join them to stay warm, and they tell her to go away. She adds that she’s hungry, and again they tell her to go away. She offers to pay, and the first Frey soldier asks to see it. She takes out the coin Jaqen H’ghar gave her, and he squints at it, asking what kind of coin it is. She says it’s worth a lot… but she just happens to drop it. As he bends down to pick it up, she grabs his neck and stabs him repeatedly in the back. The three other soldiers leap up, drawing their swords, but the Hound arrives, interposing himself between Arya and the men. He pushes her back, and then fights all three, killing them quickly.
As he’s finishing the last of them, Arya turns to stare at the body of the man she killed. The Hound comes up behind her and asks where she got the knife, and she says she got it from him: he realizes she stole it from his belt, and takes it back. Then he asks if that’s the first man that she has killed, and she says it’s the first. Then he tells her that the next time she does something like that, he should tell him first. He goes to enjoy the rabbit they were roasting, while she stares at the iron coin and whispers, “Valar morghulis.”
In the Gift, Jon Snow is washing out the cuts he recived from Orell’s eagle when he hears a sound behind him. He turns to find Ygritte aiming her bow at him. He stands, and tells her that she knows he had no choice, and that she always knew what he really was. She says nothing, but the anger and hurt is plain. He tells her that he has to go home, and that he knows she won’t hurt him. “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” she replies. He replies that he knows some things—like that he loves her, and that she loves him. He repeats that he has to go home, as she fights back tears. He turns… and she shoots him in the back. He gets up and struggles to his horse, and she shoots him again, hitting him in the leg. As he races off, she lets loose a last arrow, striking him again, and then weeps.
At Castle Black, Samwell is with Gilly and her child in front of Maester Aemon. Samwell starts to explain how things might look, and Gilly begins to say that, “I swear to you, my lord,” when Aemon interrupts her and says he hasn’t been a lord for many, many years. He states that every man who joins the Night’s Watch renounces all former titles… among other things. He asks her name, and then responds, “Ah, for the gillyflower. Lovely.” Samwell tells her to refer to Aemon as “maester”. Then Aemon asks after the child’s name, and Samwell says that she hasn’t chosen a name yet—at which Gilly speaks up and says that her son’s name is Sam. Samwell looks at her, moved.
Aemon, however, takes a different meaning from that. He asks Samwell if he remebers his oaths of the Night’s Watch. Samwell tells him that Sam isn’t his son, but rather that Gilly was one of Craster’s wives. He adds that he remembers every word of the oath, and repeats them. “I am the shield that guards the realms of men,” he finishes… and then emphasizes the “realms of men”, saying that it means protecting her as well as the Seven Kingdoms. He adds that they didn’t build five hundred miles of ice wall, seven hundred feet high, to keep out men. He explains that he’s seen that the night is gathering, and that it’s coming for all of them. At that, Aemon informs Gilly that she and her son will be guests as they can’t send her back beyond the Wall. She thanks Aemon, and she offers to cook and clean.
Aemon asks Samwell to fetch a quill, and hopes his penmanship is better than his swordplay. Samwell says it’s “miles better”. Aemon indicates they have forty-four ravens, and he wants them all fed as all will fly that night.
In Dragonstone, Davos is pulling out a number of scrolls. He takes one and reads it aloud, stumbling through it. Shireen is there, reading her book about Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters, and corrects him. The letter is an invitaton to the wedding of Rylene Florent, but he says Stannis won’t attend that. Shireen tells him to read her book instead, it’s much more interesting than the “boring scrolls”, and tells him he can read about Balerion the Dread and how they say his skull can still be seen in the dungeons beneath the Red Keep. She says she’d like to see it some day, to which Davos replies he spent his entire life trying to stay out of them.
He agrees Balerion is certainly more interesting, but as Stannis’s Hand of the King once more, he must keep Stannis informed as Stannis hasn’t the time for the drudgery of going through all the correspondence. He takes out another scroll and begins to read it… and he sees it has come from the Night’s Watch, imploring the aid of the kings. Then bells start to ring, and Shireen asks why they’re ringing and if they’re under attack. Davos tells her to bar the door as he leaves.
In the Chamber of the Painted Table, Melisandre takes up all the wolf markers denoting the Stark forces and throws them one by one into a brazier as Stannis broods silently on a scroll. He informs Davos, as he arrives, that Robb Stark is dead, betrayed by his bannermen. Davos asks if Melisandre takes the credit because she put a leech in the fire, but she replies she takes no credit and that her faith has merely been rewarded. Davos goes to Stannis, arguing tha the world has become “so far bent” and he’s seen horrors, but his eyes are now open: he doesn’t know why Robb died, but he does know that the use of blood magic to unite the realm is evil and wrong, and that he knows Stannis is not an evil man.
At that, Stannis asks if Davos knows who had the Painted Table made. Davos replies it was Aegon Targaryen. Stannis asks if Davos knows how Aegon conquered Westeros, and Davos replies he did it from the back of his dragon, Balerion the Dread. Stannis points out that Aegon had a smaller fleet and army than the kings he faced… but he had three dragons, and dragons are magic. He explains that his enemies have made the kingdom bleed, and he will neither forget nor forgive that, and he will punish them with “any arms” at his disposal. Davos insists that they don’t need to burn Gendry, that if what Melisandre says is true, if a drop of blood is enough to kill Robb Stark—
Melisandre stops him by noting that just as she said, Stannis is still no closer to the Iron Throne. To achieve that, a great sacrifice will be needed. She moves to touch Stannis’s shoulder, but he turns and moves away from her. Davos watches his king go to stare out at the sea, and tells Stannis that the boy’s name is Gendry, who happens to be his nephew. Stannis again wonders what the life of one boy is worth against an entire kingdom. “Everything,” Davos says, but Stannis insists Gendry must die.
In the dungeon, Davos opens the door of Gendry’s cell, holding a torch and a cloak. He asks Davos what he’s doing, and Davos informs him that he’s leaving. When Gendry asks if it’s a trick, Davos replies it is, but not on him. On a rocky beach, Gendry is cloaked and hooded as Davos leads him to a rowing boat. He informs him to aim for a certain star, and not to stop. He gives him food and water, and tells him to be careful with it and under no circumstances to drink sea water. Gendry replies he knows that he shouldn’t. Davos goes on, telling him that if he rows through a day and a night, he’ll reach Rook’s Rest where he can pause, but he can’t stay there. Instead he tells him to follow the coast to King’s Landing. Gendry replies that the gold cloaks are looking for him, and Davos notes they were looking for him for twenty years. He asks Gendry if they know his face, and Gendry shakes his head; Davos replies that he should worry more about the red woman instead.
Gendry clambers into the boat and faces the wrong way, leading Davos to correct him. Davos asks if Gendry’s ever been in a boat or knows how to swim, and Gendry says no to both. “Then don’t fall out,” Davos tells him as he pushes the boat away. Gendry asks why Davos is doing this, and he replies that it’s because it’s right and because he’s a slow learner. He then tells Gendry to have a bowl of brown for him when he gets to King’s Landing.
At Castle Black, a man of the Watch shouts that someone’s approaching as Jon Snow—half-unconscious from blood loss, arrows still in him—approaches on his horse. He falls from the horse’s back outside the gate. He is brought into the castle, and Samwell and Pypar rush to him. Jon is turned over and stares sightlessly at them at first, and then asks, “Pyp? Sam?” Samwell tells him to be quiet, that he’s home now, and tells the others to carry him inside.
In King’s Landing, Jaime and Brienne enter the city through one of the gates, with Qyburn following behind. No one pays attention to them, but a group of laborers tell Jaime to get out of the way, calling him “country boy.” Jaime and Brienne exchange a look, and then continue on into the city. In the Red Keep, Cersei goes through a box of keepsakes and holds a seashell in her hand, smiling. Behind her, Jaime enters her chamber, and just looks at her. After a moment, he calls her name. She turns and stares at him, with relief at first… and then obvious distress at the stump of his arm.
In Dragonstone, a trouble Stannis asks if Davos doesn’t deny what he did. Davos says he doesn’t. Melisandre angrily paces in the room and approaches Davos, telling him that his mercy saved Gendry’s life. She asks if he feels good about that, but she replies that he has doomed tens of thousands. At that, Davos addresses Stannis, telling him there must be some other way. Stannis shouts at him: “What other way?! Tell us about this other way!” Davos says he doesn’t know, as he can’t see the future in the fire. Stannis condemns Davos to death. Davos accepts his judgment, but tells him that as he’s still Hand of the King he advises him against it because he needs him. Melisandre tells the guards to take Davos away.
Davos pulls out a scroll from his clothing as Stannis suddenly asks just why he’s going to need him, stopping the guards from taking him away. Davos offers him the letter. Melisandre tries to stop him from bothering with it, but Davos explains that that it’s from Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch informing them of the failure of the ranging beyond the Wall, but the return of a single survivor who revealed what he saw beyond the Wall. “It’s coming, for all of us,” he tells Stannis.
Stannis looks at him, and then hands the letter to Melisandre without comment. He turns to Davos and asks when he learned to read, and Davos lies by claiming Matthos taught him before he died so that Davos could better serve him. As he says this, Melisandre commits the scroll to the fire and looks into the flames. She informs Stannis that the War of Five Kings means nothing, and that the true war lies to the North. “Death marches on the Wall,” she informs Stannis, saying only he can stop it. Davos speaks up then, saying that Stannis can’t do it alone, that he’ll need someone to rebuild the army, convince lords to fight for him, to bring sellswords and pirates to his side. Stannis looks at him and says he’s made his decision…
... but Melisandre speaks up then, saying Davos is right, that he’s needed because he has a part to play in the war to come. Stannis laughs at that, and then tells Davos that he’s been saved by that fire god he mocks. He moves to the head of the Painted Table, telling Davos he’s in R’hllor’s army now. Davos and Melisandre exchange a look.
Outside of Yunkai, the Unsullied and the Second Sons are arrayed around Daenerys and her companions and captains, who stand on a rock. The three dragons sit in front of Daenerys. Barristan tells Daenerys that “they will come, Your Grace, when they’re ready.” Daenerys replies that they might not have wanted to be conquered, but Jorah replies she’s liberated them. “People learn to lover their chains,” she replies to that. Just then, the gate opens, and out come hundreds upon hundreds of Yunkai’s slaves: men, women, and children alike. The stop before the serried ranks of the Unsullied, who level their spears at them. There’s a silence before Missandei addresses them, informing them of who Daenerys is. She tells them that they owe their freedom to her.
Daenerys says no to that, and addresses the slaves directly, informing them that no one can give them their freedom but themselves. There’s a long silence at that… when one former slave calls out, “Mhysa!” and others take up the call. Missandei replies that it is Old Ghiscari, and means “mother”. The freedmen try to come nearer, but the Unsullied threaten them. Daenerys says that there’s no danger, that they won’t hurt her. She steps down from the rock. Pausing at her dragons, she says the Valyrian command that sends them flying above the crowd. Then step steps down further and the Unsullied step aside at her command so she can pass.
She moves in among the crowd. Many reach out to touch her as she passes. She’s lost in the crowd for a moment… and then she’s hoisted up by a group of men, so that all can see. They sit her on their shoulders as the crowd reaches their hands to her and call, “Mhysa! Mhysa! Mhysa!” As the camera pulls back to see Daenerys in the midst of the huge crowd that’s still growing, her dragons circle above, wings flapping and screeching.