The end of the Baratheon rivalry drives Catelyn to flee and Littlefinger to act. At King’s Landing, Tyrion’s source alerts him to Joffrey’s flawed defense plan and a mysterious secret weapon. Theon sails to the Stony Shore to prove he’s worthy to be called Ironborn. In Harrenhal, Arya receives a promise from Jaqen H’ghar, one of three prisoners she saved from the Gold Cloaks. The Night’s Watch arrive at the Fist of the First Men, an ancient fortress where they hope to stem the advance of the wildling army.
This is quite a packed episode since it reconnects with almost every established location and significant character to date. It also includes some quite major developments; as you will recall, last week’s episode ended on quite the cliffhanger and this week you don’t have to wait long for the payoff. This is a time to remember that when you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. Of course, that never seems to stop new players from entering the game and setting their sights on being the king—or queen—of Westeros.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion finds out that for some reason his efforts at a more reasonable rule are going unnoticed by the populace of the city. They are none too pleased with their current conditions and he makes an excellent target for their anger. Still, he wants to do what he can to keep the city safe and to improve their chances in the war he ends up making a visit to the Pyromancers. Their leader, Hallyne, explains the properties of the so-called substance with much enthusiasm, though Tyrion seems rightfully wary.
On the Iron Islands, Theon is introduced to his new ship and his new crew, and while he likes the look of the former he finds the latter less to his tastes. But one of the men is at least inclined to both speak and listen to him and together they hatch a new plan which Theon hopes will improve his prospects.
Rescued from the frightening captivity that she was kept in last we saw her, Arya now serves Lord Tywin as his cupbearer at Harrenhal, a position which allows her to see and hear a great many things. She also ends up having a very interesting conversation about mortality with Lord Tywin…
Beyond the Wall, the Night’s Watch reach the Fist of the First Men and get a fabulous look at their snowy surroundings while they wait to see where all the wildlings are. We also get to meet a famous old ranger who delivers word about what they need to do next.
Finally, Daenerys is treated to Qartheen hospitality and introduced to a certain blue-lipped warlock while a mysterious woman in a mask watches her and speaks a dire warning to Ser Jorah.