Game of Thrones: Episodes

EP306: The Climb

Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Directed by Alik Sakharov

Tywin plans strategic unions for the Lannisters. Melisandre pays a visit to the Riverlands. Robb weighs a compromise to repair his alliance with House Frey. Roose Bolton decides what to do with Jaime Lannister. Jon, Ygritte and the Wildlings face a daunting climb.



The episode opens beyond the Wall, with Samwell Tarly putting wood on the fire. Gilly sits with her infant and complains he’s putting too much wood on the fire, that it needs to breath. She tells him to take off a log, which he does, and the fire roars up. Samwell tells her she knows her fires and sits beside her.

Gilly asks if others made his fires for him where he came from, and he replies that it doesn’t get so cold in the Reach… and in any case, there were servants. Gilly tells him she knew he was highborn. After a moment, Samwell tells her he found a treasure on the Fist of the First Men, which he thinks was thousands of years old: a obsidian knife blade, with cord wrapped around it to make a hilt. She wonders what it does, but Samwell thinks it doesn’t do anything in particular and it’s simply beautiful.

Gilly asks him how much longer to get to the Wall. Sam is sure it’s only a few more days. When she asks him if the Wall is really as large as it’s said, he says it’s bigger than that, and sometimes the top is hidden in clouds. Gilly doubts it, but Samwell insists, telling her it’s 700 feet high, made of ice, and on warm days it can be seen weeping. He then goes on to tell her that Castle Black is nice, with a fire burning at all times in the hall, and venison stew made by Hobb. Samwell notes that sometimes a brother will sing, and says that Dareon sings best. When Gilly asks him to sing, Samwell sings a lullaby of the Faith to Gilly’s baby.

In the North, Meera is skinning a rabbit when Osha smirks and says she’s not doing it right. Meera insists she does. Osha takes up a rabbit and skins it within seconds while noting that north of the Wall, one learns to handle game. Meera snidely responds she hadn’t seen any game when she joined them, and Osha complains that if she had a bow (as Meera does) she’d have shot a dozen rabbits by now. Meera notes she made her bow herself, and tells Osha she doesn’t suppose they do that north of the Wall. Osha replies that you learn to use your fists, and Meera jokes that maybe Osha means to punch the rabbits to death.

Tensions escalate, even as Bran tells them that they’re both good at skinning rabbits. Osha won’t let the matter go, however, saying that some are simply better, to which Meera says some don’t know how to say thank you to someone who hunted their breakfast for them. Meera guesses they don’t teach you to say thank you north of the Wall, as well. Osha stands, telling Meera she has a big mouth and too many teeth. Meera stands as well, when Bran tells them to stop it—they’ve been fighting since they’ve met each other. Osha insists “Lady Reed” is arrogant, in her colorful way. Bran says Osha has been nasty every day to her every day, and Osha says that the first time Meera met her she put a knife to her throat. Bran points out that when he met her for the first time, she held a knife on him. Osha seems abashed at that.

Bran insists that they must make peace, because otherwise they’ll never make it to the Wall. Osha crouches down again, and Meera returns to skinning rabbits. Meera tells her that Osha’s way of skinning rabbits is better than hers, but Osha ungraciously replies that she arleady said that. After Bran reprimands her, Osha tells Meera that she’s “a good little hunter.” Meera says thank you, and comments that that wasn’t so hard to say. Osha, annoyed, tells her not to push her. But just then, the sleeping Jojen makes a noise, and it seems he’s having a nightmare.

Meera rushes to him, as Jojen in fact begins to convulse. She places a leather cord between his teeth, telling him she’s right there with him. Rickon wakes up, afraid, asking what’s happening to him. Meera sadly replies that the visions take their toll. Once the vision ends and he awakens, Jojen sits up and says that he saw Jon Snow on the wrong side of the Wall, surrounded by enemies.

And then we go back to the lands beyond the Wall, where Tormund is telling Jon Snow that it used to be that you could not find a tree within a mile of the Wall as the Watch would send men to fell them. The wildlings are very near the base of the Wall and are making their preparations to scale it. Orell tells Jon that his “flock” gets smaller every year before he departs. When Jon asks Ygritte if she’s ever climbed it before, she says she hasn’t, but Tormund has done so half a hundred times. Then, looking at him, she says he’s afraid. Jon asks if she isn’t, and she admits she is—it’s a long way up and a long way down, but she’s waited her entire life to see the world from its top. Then she tells Jon to sit and gives him climbing spikes to tie to his feet.

She notes they’re too big for him, but of good quality. Jon asks if she killed someone for them, and she responds that she didn’t kill him, but thatshe guesses “his balls are still bruised.” Jon laughs. After a moment, Ygritte goes on that he wasn’t good to her the way Jon is, and he didn’t do that thing with his tongue. Jon looks around, worried someone heard, and asks her not to talk about that there. She mocks him, taking on his voice and saying how he’s killed dead men and Qhorin Halfhand but naked girls frighten him. Jon asks if he seemed scared the other day. Ygritte dismissively says he was trembling like a leaf—but Jon ripostes that that was only at the beginning.  Ygritte agrees with that.

She tells him that he’s a proper lover… and his secret is safe with her. When he questions her, she wonders if he thinks she’s as stupid as the ladies in silk dresses he used to know. She knows he’s loyal and brave… and that he didn’t stop becoming a man of the Watch when he walked into Mance’s tent. She watches his reaction to that, and then moves up beside him and tells him that she’s his woman now, and she insists he’ll be loyal to his woman. As she helps him with the spikes, she notes the Watch and Mance do not care if either of them die, they’re just soldiers in their army. Then she tells him that it’s him and her that matter to them, and tells him never to betray her. Jon promises that he won’t, and Ygritte adds that if he does, she’ll castrate him and wear his manhood around her neck.

Tormund arrives then, and holds out a climbing ax, holding it out to Jon. When Jon takes the handle, Tormund pulls him to his feet and advises him to sink the ax deep before taking his next step… and if he falls, not to scream as that’s not the last thing he’ll want Ygritte to remember. Tormund laughs and goes on his way.

In the riverlands, Arya is using Anguy’s bow against a straw target. “Joffrey,” she says, and her arrow hits the target in the face. “Cersei,” and another hits the target’s chest. “Ilyn Payne,” and the third hits it between the legs. Anguy tells her she’s good… but not as good as she thinks it is. She complains, saying she hit “face, tits, and balls” as she intended. Anguy agrees, but says she took too long—you don’t fight straw men. He asks to see her position, and corrects her, telling her to hold up her elbow to make her back do more of the work, and to not hold the string—one has to be quicker, smoothly drawing and releasing. Arya says she needs time to aim, but he replies that her eye knows where she wants the arrow to go. She tries to do as he says… but then she sees that there’s someone out there beyond the target.

Riding up to the brotherhood’s position are Stannis Baratheon’s guards escorting Melisandre. Anguy tells them that’s far enough, when Melisandre tells them that they come as friends. Anguy is suspicious, but Thoros comes closer. Melisandre addresses him in Valyrian, saying, “Valar morghulis,” to which Thoros replies, “Valar dohaeris.” They converse in Valyrian, as Thoros says he doesn’t see many priestesses of R’hllor in the riverlands. She recognizes who he is, and notes the High Priest had given him the mission of converting King Robert to the Lord of Light and wonders what happened. Thoros simply replies that he failed. She replies that he quit, that the heathens slaughter one another and he continues to be drunk. Thoros replies that they can each worship R’hllor in their own way.

Then Thoros asks if she speaks the Common Tongue, and shifts to it as he points out that his friends do not speak High Valyrian. He then asks why she’s there. The scene shifts to the hollow hill, where Beric sits alone looking at the fire. Hearing Thoros and Melisandre enter, he stands up and asks her to forgive his manners—he does not see many ladies these days. Thoros quips that it’s lucky for the ladies. Melisandre silently approaches him and starts to look closely at his horrific scars. She asks Thoros how often the Lord of Light has brought Beric back, and Thoros replies six. She says in Valyrian that it shouldn’t be possible, and in the same language Thoros says that the Lord of Light has smiled on him. Melisandre insists Thoros should not have such power, but Thoros replies that he has none, that it’s all the doing of R’hllor. 

Thoros then sits and reverts to the Common Tongue when he says he was always a terrible priest, drinking too much rum and sleeping with all the prostitutes in King’s Landing. He admits that when he came to Westeros, he didn’t believe in the Lord of Light, believing him and all the other gods men believe in are just stories told to children. He’d wear the robes and say the prayers, but it was for show, no more… until the Mountain drove a lance through Beric’s heart. He says he knelt by Beric and said the old words, not because he believed in them but because Beric was his friend and he was dead and they were the only words he knew. And then, for the first time in Thoros’s life, R’hllor replied. Beric stood up, and Thoros knew the truth that R’hllor is the one true god, and all men must serve him.

All this time, Beric simply stands there, mute.  But when Melisandre addresses him, saying he’s been to the other side, Beric replies, “The other side? There is no other side. I have been to the darkness, my lady.” Beric then says the Lord of Light sent her to them for a reason. Melisandre replies that they have someone the Lord needs.

Outside the cavern, Anguy is showing Gendry a bodkin point, which can penetrate plate at two hundred years. Gendry examines it closely, as Anguy asks if he can make them… and Gendry says he can, if he gets good steel. Anguy says they can arrange that, as Melisandre and her men appear with a cart. Arya says that she doesn’t like Melisandre, and Anguy says that’s because she’s a girl; Gendry laughs. Arya asks what that has to do with anything, but then Melisandre, Beric, and Thoros are before them. Beric looks at Gendry and tells him to forgive him as two of Melisandre’s men move up and grab his arms. Arya tries to get them to let Gendry go and as they drag away she shouts that Gendry wants to be one of them, that he wants to join the brotherhood.

Beric replies that they serve the Lord of Light, and the Lord of Light needs Gendry. Arya asks if the god told him this, or if Melisandre did. We then see that one of Melisandre’s men takes two sacks of coins and delivers them to Beric. Arya angrily replies they’re doing this for gold, not for their god. Thoros intervenes, saying they do it for both—they can’t defend the people without food, weapons, and horses, and they can’t get that without gold. Gendry angrily shouts that they told him it was a brotherhood and he could be one of them, but Melisandre moves up to him and tells him he’s more than they could ever be, that he will makes kings rise and fall.

Melisandre turns back to her horse and prepares to leave when Arya grabs her and tells her that she’s a witch who will hurt Gendry. Melisandre stares at her and then cups her chin, and says that there’s a darkness in Arya and in that darkness there are eyes staring back at her: brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes… eyes that Arya will shut forever. Then Melisandre says they will meet again before departing with Gendry bound and in the wagon.

At the Wall, the wildlings are scaling the surface in four columns of four men each. Tormund hammers spikes into the Wall, with Orell, Ygritte, and Jon beneath him. Jon looks up at Ygritte and smiles,  and she looks back and notices, asking if he’ staring at her backside. Just then Tormund digs his ax into the Wall, only for chunks of rotten ice to break way. He shouts for them to watch out, when one block hits Jon and he ends up falling until the rope breaks the fall. Ygritte shouts, asking Jon if he’s all right, while Tormund laughs and says he was seeing if Jon could take a hit. The climb resumes.

A trumpet wakes Theon up from where he’s bound on the wooden cross. The boy apologizes for waking him, though not sincerely. Theon tries to speak, and the boy realizes Theon wants water. The boy says he wishes he had some for him, as he holds up a tankard… and then empties the water it holds onto the floor. The boy proposes a game, asking which body part Theon needs the least. Theon begs him to not hurt him, that he’ll tell him everything. The boy says that he’s already told him everything, and in a mocking voice says how Theon’s “daddy” was mean to him and that the Starks didn’t appreciate him. Then, in his usual voice, he adds that there was one good piece of information, that the Stark boys are still alive. He suggests that’d be a hunt to remember, and says that Theon failed to find them, but he’s a better hunter than Theon is.

Then he suggests that Theon doesn’t really need his little finger. He suggests they’ll start with that, and he changes the bindings so that Theon’s hand is fully immobilized. As he does so, he tells Theon that he must be wondering who he is, and where he is, and why he’s being tortured. He tells Theon to guess. If he guesses right, he’ll tell him. Theon will win the “game” if he can guess who the boy is and why he’s torturing him… and the boy will win if Theon begs him to cut off his finger. Theon asks if he’ll be let go if he wins, but the boy replies that if Theon thinks this will have a happy ending, he hasn’t been paying attention. Then he takes out a small knife and tells him that if he says please again, Theon will wish he hadn’t.

The boy has him guess where they are.  Theon say the North, but the boy says that’s too vague. Then Theon guesses they’re at Deepwood Motte, and the boy laughs and says that’s a terrible guess… and then he stabs the knife into Theon’s little finger, cutting across. Theon screams in agony. The boy makes him guess again, and Theon guesses Last Hearth. The boy laughs again and asks if he looks like a “fucking Umber”, before making a long cut down the finger. Theon screams that they’re at Karhold—and the boy stops. He asks him how he knew that, whether he saw banners flying. Theon says it was just a guess. The boy says it was a very good one… and then asks who he is. Theon says he’s Torrhen Karstark, but the boy replies that he’s dead, strangled by the Kingslayer. Then Theon realizes that the boy is a brother, and that his father is Lord Rickard Karstark.

The boy moves away and sits down, as Theon shouts that he swore to tell him whether he was right or not. Theon goes on that Karstark is Robb Stark’s bannerman, and that Theon betrayed Robb, so that’s why he is being tortured. The boy says yes, and that Theon wins. Theon is relieved as the boy sits contemplatively…. until he suddenly rises from the chair and says that Theon forgot to ask one question: whether the boy is a liar. And then the boy cuts into Theon’s finger again, and says that he is. The boy pinchs the strip of flesh he’s cut between his fingers as he tells him that everything he said is a lie, that Theon is being tortured for no real reason except tha the boy enjoys it. Then he begins to pull, tearing the flesh away from the bone as Theon screams… and among his screams, Theon begs him to cut the finger off. The boy obliges…. and then stands before him to say, “I win.”

In Riverrun, Robb—joined by Catelyn, Edmure, and the Blackfish—is thanking two of the Freys for having come quickly. The Freys note that the road crawls with bandits, but they’ve come when the King of the North has called. They reveal that Lord Walder is willing to resume his alliance with the Starks provided their terms are met. They wish an apology for the insult done to them by Robb’s failure to adhere to his sacred oath to wed one of Lord Walder’s daughters; Robb does not object and admits he was in the wrong. He also requests that Harrenhal and its lands be given to him, to which Robb also agrees despite Edmure attempting to suggest it’s unwise. Robb promises it will be Lord Walder’s once the war is over.

Lord Walder has one more demand, not a what, but a who. Edmure sees that others are looking at him, and it takes a moment before he realizes what will be said next. He tries to refuse as the Freys say that he’ll have to wed one of Lord Walder’s daughters, Rosilin. He asks her age, and he’s told she’s nineteen. When Edmure asks if he can see her first, one of the Freys asks if he means to count her teeth. They then reveal their intention to return to the Twins in the morning, and must have an answer by then, and the wedding cannot be more than a fortnight thereafter. The Blackfish complains that they’re in the middle of a war and do not have time for a wedding, but the Freys respond that Lord Walder is old and would be pleased to know his daughter is well wed, and besides, he has grown wary of long engagements due to past experiences.

Robb says he has every right to be. The Freys depart—one of them does so with a notable limp—and Edmure immediately complains that he has not been given the choice of his bride, as Robb did when he struck his deal with Lord Walder. Robb insists he’s a proud man and they’ve wounded him, but Edmure says he didn’t wound him at all, and his answer is no. The Blackfish gets up and looms over his nephew, beginning to lecture him when Edmure cuts him off and says that the laws of gods of men are quite clear—no one can be compelled to wed. The Blackfish responds with a threat, that his fists are about to compel Edmure’s teeth, but Robb tells him to stop—Edmure has the right to say no, but if he does, the alliance with the Freys is dead.

Edmure notes that Walder Frey has wanted him wed to one of his daughters since he was twelve. He says that if he says no, Lord Walder will come back and give him the pick of his daughters, and then Edmure will agree. However, Catelyn questions Edmure taking that chance simply to get a prettier wife. Robb tells his uncle he has a war to fight and he must have the Freys, and he has no time to haggle. He reminds Edmure that he said he wanted to make amends for the Stone Mill, at which the Blackfish interjects, questioning whether Edmure recalls that “heroic engagement”. Edmure hesitantly says he had intended some less permanent penance, to which Robb says that he’s won every battle, but he’s losing the war, and it must be done now or they are lost. Edmure agrees to wed her, and Robb tells his uncle that he’s paying for his sins, that it’s neither fair nor right, and he’ll remember it.

In Harrenhal, Lord Bolton sits at table with Brienne (dressed in a pink gown) and Jaime. Jaime is attempting, unsuccessfully, to slice his meat with one hand as Lord Bolton informs Brienne that his men have finally found something appropriate for her to wear. She says it was most kind of them.  Brienne then tells him that he is a Stark bannerman, and she is acting on Lady Stark’s orders to return Jaime to King’s Landing. Roose points out that when Robb left Harrenhal, his mother was a prisoner, and that if she weren’t his mother he would have hanged her as a traitor. All the while, Jaime is sawing away at the meat. Brienne, annoyed, finally grabs up a fork and spears the steak so that Jaime can finally cut away a morsel.

Roose Bolton suggests that they should send him back to Robb. Jaime agrees… but here they are instead, as Roose watches him fail at eating dinner. Jaime wonders why that might be. Bolton responds that war costs money, and some would pay a great deal for Jaime. To that, Jaime says they both know who would pay the most… or would make him pay the most, if they found out he had captured him only to ship him back to Robb to be executed. Bolton says Jaime is right, and perhaps the safest course is to kill them both and burn their bodies. At that, Brienne grabs one of the knives, only for Jaime to stay her hand.  Jaime says it would be, if Bolton honestly believed Lord Tywin would never learn of it. Lord Roose responds that Robb is keeping Tywin quite busy and he has no time for anything else. “He’ll make time for you,” Jaime replies.

Finally, Bolton announces that once Jaime is well enough he’ll allow him to return to King’s Landing as restitution for the mistakes his soldiers made, so long as Jaime swears he’ll tell Tywin the truth that Bolton had nothing to do with his maiming. Jaime takes up a flagon of wine and asks if they’ll drink on it, but Roose stops him from pouring wine into his cup, saying he doesn’t want anything. Jaime wonders if he realizes how suspicious that may seem, as he pours wine for Brienne and then for himself. But Jaime goes on, telling Brienne he hopes their journey will conclude with no further incidents. It’s then that Lord Bolton reveals that she is not leaving with Jaime.  Brienne protests, saying she was charged with seeing Ser Jaime to the city, but Roose says she is charged with abetting treason. Jaime tries to insist, but Bolton says he is no place to insist on anything.

In King’s Landing, the Queen of Thorns is telling Tywin that Loras’s betrothal to Cersei is impossible. He is the pride of Highgarden, the most desirable unwed man in all the Seven Kingdoms, while his daughter—Tywin interrupts and says she is rich, the most beautiful woman in all the Seven Kingdoms, and the mother of the king.  As he hands Olenna a glass of wine, she adds, “Old.” He questions that, and confirms it: she’s something of an expert on the subject. She believes her “change” will be upon her before too long, though he’ll spare Tywin the details as she’s found men may have a stomach for bloodshed and slaughter, but this is a different matter entirely. Tywin notes that men are punished by the years as well… but his stomach remains quite strong, and the only thing that might turn it are details of Loras’s “noctural activities”.

He asks if she denies them, and she makes it clear that she doesn’t. Tywin goes on that a boy with his affliction should be grateful for this opportunity to remove the stain from his name. Olenna goes on to ask if Tywin grew up with his boy cousins, sons of his father’s bannermen, stable boys, and the like. Tywin says he did, of course. She then insinuates the question as to whether he never, not once, took some liberty with them. “No,” Tywin says firmly. “Never.”

Olenna congratulates him on his restraint, and says it’s a natural thing for two boys having a go at one another beneath the sheets. Tywin testily replies that perhaps in Highgarden they have a high tolerance for unnatural behavior. Olenna disagrees, saying they don’t tie themselves in knots over discrete “buggery”, but brothers and sisters… Tywin sternly replies that he won’t breathe life to a malicious lie by discussing it, as he stands abruptly and moves to take more wine. Olenna says that lie or not, it is convincing enough to lead some to take up swords against the Lannisters and Tyrells, thanks to their new affiliation. Tywin says he doesn’t care what others believe, and firmly tells Olenna that she shouldn’t either. But she disagrees.

Tywin finally says that even if the rumors were true, then Joffrey is no king at all and House Tyrell is throwing its “prized flower” into the dirt. Olenna’s rejoined is that if Cersei is too old to give Loras children, they are throwing another prizd flower into the dirt, and it is a chance they cannot take. Tywin sees the uncertainty makes Olenna uncomfortable… and then offers to remove it for her: if they refuse to marry Loras to Cersei, he will command Loras to join the Kingsguard, forsaking any chance at marriage or heirs.  He indicates that the Tyrell name will fade… and Highgarden will go to the children of Margaery and Joffrey, revealing that they have no other siblings. Olenna asks if he’d really want Joffrey protected by a man who disgusts him, and Tywin says he’ll want him protected by a skilled warrior who takes his vows seriously.

He starts to draw up the order, and Olenna capitulates. She tells him that it’s a rare thing, a man who lives up to his reputation. She takes the quill from his hand and snaps it in two.

The wildlings still scale the Wall as a snow storm rages. When Ygritte drives her ax into the ice, a huge portion snaps off. A team of climbers fall to their death, while Ygritte and Jon Snow tumble. Only Tormund’s quick thinking and strength keeps them anchored, but Orell shouts that they need to cut them loose. Tormund shouts no as he struggles, but Orell starts to slice at the rope when Jon and Ygritte try to swing themselves to one side. At the last possible moment, Jon Snow manages to get a grip on the ice with his ax… just as the rope is cut, and it’s Ygritte who falls. Jon is able to hold her, and helps her up. Jon stares up at Orell as he and Ygritte hold each other… but Ygritte ends up starting up again, leading the way.

In King’s Landing, Loras and Sansa are having an awkward conversation. She compliments his pin, but he notes it’s more of a broach… though on second thought, it could be called a pin. After a pause, Sansa says she’s very happy about their betrothal, and Loras agrees, he’s happy as well. Loras says he’s dreamed of a large wedding since he was young—the guests, the food, the tournaments… and, after noticing Sansa’s look, he adds the bride as well, “of course.” Loras says she’ll be the most beautiful bride in the world, in a beautiful gown of green and gold brocade with fringed sleeves. He asks if she’s ever been to Highgarden, and she replies that she hasn’t, that she had never left Winterfell before she came to King’s Landing. She says Highgarden sounds wonderful, however, and she can’t wait to see it or to leave King’s Landing. Loras suggests it’s a terrible place, the most terrible place there is.

He stands up and offers his hand, and the two walk off. We then see that Tyrion and Cersei observed them from a window. Tyrion wonders if there’s anything to be done. Cersei suggests they could kill them both. Tyrion doesn’t respond to that suggestion, instead wondering which of the four of them has the worst of it. He guesses Sansa, but Loras will surely come to a “deep and singular misery.” Cersei says that her father does not discriminate—they’re all going to hell together. Tyrion notes it’s on a ship she built with her conniving to find out their secrets. She says that she did what she did to protect the family. Tyrion notes that he’s her family, a member of the family who played a part to protect the family even though neither Tywin nor Cersei want to admit it. She does admit it, however, saying his “trick” with the wildfire kept Stannis from sacking the city and that their heads would still be rotting on the city gates.

Tyrion suggests that trying to have him killed is an odd way to thank him. Tyrion says that only she or Joffrey could have ordered Ser Mandon to try and kill him on the Blackwater. Cersei doesn’t reply… and Tyrion says that he understands the impulse: Joffrey hates him because he’s the only one who tells him what he really is. Tyrion says that’s fair enough, that Joffrey wants him dead, but that his stupidity… He could have been poisoned without anyone knowing, but instead as king he ordered a kingsguard to murder him in full view of his own army. He says Joffrey is an idiot. She asks what he wants her to say, and Tyrion goes on that his life is probably still endangered. She says probably… but not from Joffrey, now that Tywin is in the city.

Tyrion remarks that the realm is united in fear of Tywin Lannister, but Cersei replies that the Tyrells aren’t. In fact, soon Joffrey will “belong to Margaery”, whom she calls a whore, and so will their children and their children’s children. She says history will be taken from their hands. Tyrion suggests that Cersei might escape, at least, when Jaime returns; Loras may come down with a case of “sword through bowels.” Cersei turns and wants to know when Jaime will get back, as they don’t know where he is. Tyrion replies he’s “truly fucked”, regardless of Jaime. Then Cersei asks who will tell Sansa, who has yet to be informed of the change of plans.

In her chambers, Sansa is critiquing a new gown for Joffrey’s wedding while Shae helps her remove it. Sansa says that the dressmakers in Highgarden are much superior to those in King’s Landing; they’d not make anything so dull for her wedding. She shares with Shae that Loras likes green and gold brocade, and Shae says that she’s sure he does. Sansa then asks if they’ll let her invite her family. Shae hesitates to answer, but then says no, she doesn’t think so. Just then, a lady’s maid enters and tells Sansa that Lord Tyrion is there to see here. She hurriedly dresses again as Tyrion comes in.

They greet one another, and Sansa explains she was trying a gown for Joffrey’s wedding. Tyrion tells her it will be quite a wedding… but he needs to speak to Sansa, alone if he may. Shae speaks up, wondering why he needs to speak alone, and Sansa quiets her and apologizes, saying that she’s foreign but that she trusts Shae, even though Shae tells her not to. Tyrion says that sometimes you imagine you want to hear something… but realize only when it’s too late that you’d rather heard it under different circumstances. Sansa insists that he can speak with Shae present. Tyrion shuts the door, and tells her that it’s awkward…

And in the throne room, Littlefinger sits on a chair beside the Iron Throne, contemplating it, as Varys enters. Varys remarks it’s made of the thousand blades that were taken from Aegon’s enemies, forged in the fiery breath of Balerion the Dread. Littlefinger corrects him, saying there aren’t a thousand blades, nor even two hundred—he has counted them all. Varys is sure he has, and then says it’s quite ugly… but it has a certain appeal. He calls it hte Lysa Arryn of chairs, and then says that he’s sorry Littlefinger has had to settle for his second choice. To this, Baelish replies that it’s early days. He says it’s flattering, how Varys feels to much dread about Littlefinger getting what he wants. Varys rejoinders that his primary aim has never been to thwart Littlefinger… though who does not mind seeing their friends fail now and then?

Lord Petyr agrees. He says when he thwarted Varys’s plans to give Sansa to the Tyrells, he felt a distinct enjoyment there. And then, chillingly, he adds that Varys’s confidant—the one who fed Varys information about Littlefinger’s plans, the one who Varys swore to protect—got no enjoyment, and that Littlefinger never got any enjoyment from her either. He calls her a bad investment on his part… but he has a friend who wanted to try something new and daring, who was very grateful for being provided this new experience. Varys walks up to Littlefinger, no longer glib. He tells him that he did what he did for the good of the realm. Littlefinger replies that the good of the realm is the thousand blades of Aegon’s enemy, a story that’s told over and over until one forgets it’s a lie.

Varys wonders what’s left when the lie is abandoned. He says there’ll be chaos, a “gaping pit” to swallow them all. Baelish replies: “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” The scene shfits to Joffrey rising from a chair, holding his crossbow and walking away. He passes his bed… and we see Ros, dead, arms bound and more than half a dozen bolts piercing her body. Littlefinger says that many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again—the fall breaks them. Others, he says, are given the chance to climb but refuse, clinging to the realm or the gods or love. As he says this, we see a weeping Sansa accompanied by Shae, staring at a boat—Littlefinger’s boat, with a mockingbird on its sail—sailing away without her. He says that those are all illusions, that only the ladder is real. “The climb is all there is.”

Ygritte crests the top of the Wall, where Tormund and Orell are already. Tormund is helping pull in a rope as Jon clambers up to lay down exhausted beside Ygritte. Orell gives them a glance, while his eagle flies above them. Then Ygritte sits up, and Jon sits up with her, to stare at the lands north of the Wall from that lofty height. They stand up and turn around to look south instead, and see the greener, warmer lands to the south. The two embrace and kiss passionately, as the camera pulls back.