Unexpected visitors arrive in Mole’s Town. Littlefinger’s motives are questioned. Ramsay tries to prove himself to his father. Tyrion’s fate is decided.
Opening at night in Mole’s Town, the brothel where Gilly works is a lively place. One of the prostitutes burps loudly, trying to sound out a tune. The man whose lap she’s sitting on guesses it’s “The Rains of Castamere”, and she smacks him on the back of the head as she notes he makes the same guess every time. She starts again, and another man guesses “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”. “There’s a man with an ear!” the prostitute says, before mocking the size of his genitals. She gets up, half-drunk, as others roar with laughter as she continues the mocking jibes.
After at ime, she walks over to where Gilly is dealing with laundry. The prostitute complains that Gilly’s child was crying in the morning, and woke her up. Gilly ignores her, but the woman persists. Gilly apologizes for it, and the prostitute replies that she needs to keep the baby quiet, “or I will.” Gilly stares at her and immediately warns her never to touch her son. The prostitute chortles, and calls her a “little wildling bitch”, suggesting she should have stayed with her own kind.
A owl hoots in the distance. Gilly turns her head at it, listening. She tells the prostitute to shut her mouth, and the woman says it’s just an owl. Gilly says it isn’t, and immediately moves to a window to look out into the village. The owl hoots again.
Outside, a man goes up to fetch water from a well… and then we hear, and see reflected in the water, a Thenn coming up behind him and slitting a throat. The Magnar of Thenn and Tormund Giantsbane lead the men, stalking through Mole’s Town and killing men and women on the way. Ygritte, behind them, joins in the slaughter, spearing a woman wounded on the ground, running through a man, and following the rest into the brothel. The Magnar cuts down men and women like animals to the slaughter, and Tormund and the rest join him.
As men and women scream, Ygritte chases after a fleeing woman. The prostitute who spoke with Gilly leaps at her, brandishing a weapon. Ygritte ducks the blow and slams her spear so hard into the prostitute that it comes out her back and breaks through the thin wooden wall behind her. She draws the spear out, then taking a knife goes and slits the throat of the woman she chased. Ygritte checks a room behind her, and starts to leave when she hears a baby.
Pushing aside the curtain, Ygritte looks in: Gilly is hidden in a corner with her baby. Ygritte stares at her and the infant for a long moment… then holds a finger to her lips, warning her to keep quiet, and then leaves. The slaughter on the floor above is so profuse that blood seeps down through the floorboards, dripping down from the ceiling.
In Castle Black, Samwell, Jon, Grenn, Pypar and Dolorous Edd react to the news of the attack on Mole’s Town. Samwell is sure that Gilly and her baby were killed, and blames himself for leaving them at Mole’s Town. Jon insists Samwell couldn’t have known, but Samwell refutes him. Grenn, angrily pacing back and forth, complains that they’ve been ordered to stay at Castle Black even as some of their own brothers—men of the Watch—were among the dead. Edd notes they had had orders to stay at Castle Black as well. Grenn angrily retorts that it must be all right, then, that Kegs, Mully, and Black Jack were “chopped to pieces” because they broke the rules? Edd replies that they shouldn’t have been there.
Grenn persists with arguing that they attack, while Samwell dwells on Gilly and little Sam. Jon insists that they can’t go after the wildlings, that it’s what they want. Pypar then reassures Sam, telling her that she might have hidden herself an the baby. He notes he thought they had all died beyond the Wall, as none of them came back initially… but they did eventually return. Edd picks up the argument, noting that Gilly survived Craster, she survived the march to the Wall, she survived a white walker—he, too, says Gilly might have survived. Samwell takes hope in this.
But Jon’s focused on the threat: if they’ve hit Mole’s Town, the Wall must be next. Grenn repeats that there’s 100,000 men in Mance’s following… and there’s just 105 men of the Watch at Castle Black. Edd asks if Grenn was counting the three men at Mole’s Town, then notes the number is 102. Pypar, sounding frightened, asks how 102 men hold off 100,000. Edd, walking around to the table and pouring himself a drink, and says to them that whoever of them dies last should make sure to burn the bodies of the rest of them. “Once I’m done with this world,” he explains, “I don’t want to come back.” He drinks, and the others join him, save Samwell.
At a stream outside Meereen, a man plunges into water, then splashes up. We see Unsullied washing beyond him. Grey Worm, head popping out from underwater, looks the other way, and sees a number of women bathing in the water and washing clothing. Among them is a naked Missandei. Grey Worm stares wordlessly at her, until she notices his gaze. She slowly stands, and then nervously covers herself after a long moment. Grey Worm suddenly slips beneath the water, disappearing from sight.
In Daenerys’s chambers, Daenerys braids Missandei’s hair and asks if she thinks Grey Worm was spying. Missandei replies in the negative, sounding troubled. Daenerys, continuing plaiting Missandei’s hair, speaks casually of how the Dothraki think foreigners are ridiculous for having shame over the naked body; they “make love under the stars for the whole khalasar to see”, she notes. Missandei agrees, but is uncomfortable with such a notion. Daenerys, recognizing it, adds that of course Missandei is not Dothraki. Still, Daenerys says, what does it matter? Grey Worm can’t be interested, as the Unsullied do not care about such things.
Missandei insists that Grey Worm was interested. Daenerys pauses, and asks her to clarify. Missandei repeats that she believes Grey Worm was interested. Confused, Daenerys asks if the slavers don’t “take all of it” when they castrate the boys to be raised as Unsullied. “All of it?” Missandei asks. “The—the pillar and the stones,” Daenerys replies. Missandei admits she doesn’t know. When Daenerys asks if she’s wondered about it, Missandei admits that she has.
Later that day, Missandei is alone in the throne room, and walks part way up the dais. Grey Worm appears behind her, and in Valyrian apologizes for his behavior. She says it’s unnecessary. He adds that he hopes he did not frighten her, and she replies that she wasn’t scared. Switching to a broken Common Tongue, Grey Worm tells her that the lessons that “you give I” in the language are “precious to I.” “To me,” she corrects him, and he repeats it. Then she notes that she didn’t teach him the word “precious”. Grey Worm replies that Jorah the Andal taught him the word.
Missandei considers that silently a moment, and then asks if Grey Worm remembers the name he was born with. Grey Worm insists he recalls nothing, that he only remembers being an Unsullied. Missandei asks if he remembers when he was cut, but he shakes his head. Missandei says that she’s sorry that they did that to him. Grey Worm asks why she should feel sorry, and Missandei responds that it’s a terrible thing to do a to a boy. Grey Worm approaches Missandei, and with a look of concentration says in the common tongue that if he had never been cut, he would never have been Unsullied, and so would not have been in the Plaza of Pride when Daenerys orders the Unsullied to kill the masters. He would never have become leader of the Unsullied, either, and would never have met Missandei of Naath.
Then his gaze shifts up, to meet her eyes. He says he is sorry for today. He looks down, and turns, starting to leave. Missandei calls to him by name, in Valyrian. He stops and looks back to her, and she continues by saying that she’s glad he saw her. Grey Worm replies, “So am I,” and leaves.
On the moors of the North, an army of many hundreds of men flying the Bolton banner is gathered. Ramsay stands with Reek, and pats the breastplate—his old breastplate, with the Greyjoy kraken on it—as he remarks on the kraken. He notes krakens are strong in the sea, but out of the water they have no bones and collapse under their own weight. Ramsay goes on to say that krakens should realize it, but they’re not very bright. Then he asks Reek what he’ll tell the ironborn. He replies that he’ll say he’s Theon Greyjoy, son of Balon Greyjoy and heir to the Iron Islands. Ramsay pulls a glove onto Reek’s hand, the one missing a finger, and asks what he really is. “I’m Reek,” is the repliy. Ramsay asks if he’s sure, and Reek nods.
Admiring him, Ramsay says that he does now look like a lord, formidable and proud. But Greyjoy responds, “I’m Reek,” and that he’ll be Reek always and forever. Ramsay pats Reek’s cheek and says that that’s right, until he’s rotting in the ground. Then putting his arm around Reek’s shoulder, they walk together to look over Moat Cailin, a castle atop a hill in the midst of a marshy swamp. It guards the sole road that goes through the Neck. Ramsay tells Reek to remember what he is and isn’t, and to bring him Moat Cailin.
Riding alone through the marsh, Theon carries a white peace banner. Dead northmen litter the route from past, failed attempts to take the castle, and crows feed on their corpses. Theon rides on up the causeway to the castle. An ironborn guard shouts down, telling him to stop, and asks who he is. Theon’s answer is not shown, but then we see him escorted into Moat Cailin. Dead men and dying men and horses can be seen as Theon walks on to meet the leader of the ironborn. The man is helped to his feet, and is clearly very ill. He names himself a Kenning, and commander of the garrison. He asks if he’s truly Theon Greyjoy.
Reek replies that he was born on Pyke to Balon Greyjoy, and is his last living son, and is prince of the Iron Islands. He swears his words are true, by the Drowned God. “What is dead may never die,” he says, as he places a fist over his heart. Some of the other men present echo his words, but not Kenning who asks why he’s marching with a Bolton army. Theon replies that he was captured by Lord Bolton after Winterfell, and that he sent him to treat with them in good faith. He gives Kenning a paper from Bolton, which notes that they know the ironborn are fading from sickness, are greatly outnumbered, and that they’re far from the sea. He notes Lord Bolton implores the captain of the garrison to abandon the fortress, and in return the Boltons will give them safe passage to the Stony Shore.
Kenning, disgusted, asks if that means Bolton wants them to surrender. Theon notes his own father surrendered to Robert Baratheon after having fought with honor, and that there is no shame in it. Kenning collapses in pain during that, and has to be helped up to his feet. Echoing his words, “No shame. Fought with honor,” Kenning spits up blood at Theon and says that only a whipped dog or a woman will speak that way. Terrified at failing, Reek begins to tremble, and tries to tell Kenning he doesn’t know, but Kenning cuts him off and says the ironborn will not surrender. Theon half-whispers his name is Reek, as Kenning obliviously goes on, addressing him as “Theon Greyjoy, or whoever the fuck you are” as he tells him to inform Bolton of their refusal.
Reek again mutters his name, and Kenning asks what the hells he’s muttering on about when suddenly an ax plunges into the back of his head. Kenning falls down dead, and one of the other ironborn picks up the paper. He asks if it says that they’ll live if they yield, and Theon says yes. If they open the gates and raise the white flag, they’ll be able to go home…
... but that’s not what Ramsay intended. We see the ironman who killed Kenning horribly mutilated and flayed, what remains of his body impaled on a spear and surrounded by buzzing flies. Ramsay has an arm around Theon’s shoulder as he remarks to Reek that he didn’t really think he’d let them go, and then says that flaying has fallen out of fashion, but that traditions are important. “Where are we without our history?” Ramsay asks, rhetorically. Reek answers in agreement after prompting. Then he asks if they’ll go home now. Ramsay says they will, “to our new home.” He pats Theon on the chest, and walks off.
In the Eyrie, Petyr Baelish meets with several powerful lords of the Vale. One, Lord Yohn Royce, asks if Baelish has foreign blood. Littlefinger admits he has, thanks to a great-grandfather from Braavos. Littlefinger supposes that all their ancestors came from somewhere else, originally. Royce, in very aristocratic tones, notes that their forebears came to the Vale thousands of years ago, and have been fighting off invaders ever since. Littlefinger chooses to ignore the subtext of that statement, instead saying that the beauty of hte Vale is matched only by the nobility of its great families. He notes that Lady Arryn often told Petyr that Lord Royce was “her rock”.
Royce notes that she never said anything about Baelish to him, but he didn’t need to: “Moneylender. Whoremonger.” He accuses Littlefinger of having licked Tywin’s Boots for so long that he’s amazed that his tongue isn’t black. Littlefinger tries to interject, and Royce carries on that when Jon Arryn named him master of coin, no one cared because it was a grubby job for a grubby sort of man. But then, he goes on, when he heard that Baelish had been lurking around the Eyrie, wooing Lady Arryn… Baelish notes Lysa had invited him, that they had been close since childhood.
Lady Anya Waynwood, an aged matriarch, drily notes that they all know how close they were. She adds that Lady Arryn’s “predilections” were her own affair… but her death is theirs. Petyr agrees, and solmenly says that her suicide shattered them all. Lady Waynwood admits she was an “odd fish”, but she questions that she killed herself since everyone knew she adored her son and would never abandon him by choice. Then Royce boorishly adds that it’s strange that within days of his arrival, Baelish marries Arryn and then she falls through the Moon Door. Littlefinger’s response is, “She was always prone to melancholy.”
It’s clear that the lords are very suspicious. Royce remarks that he heard a girl was a witness, and Lady Anya prompts that it was a niece of Petyr’s, apparently. Baelish shakes his head and tries to dissuade them from speaking with her, saying that she’s “a girl with no learning and scattered wits” who couldn’t be of help, but Royce brusquely insists. Baelish hesitates, then offers to fetch her… but Lady Waynwood says it’s unnecessary, and that they wish to hear her testimony “unadultered”. Sansa enters nervously.
Lady Waynwood promises that she is safe from them… and from Petyr. She asks if she’s Alayne, niece to Petyr Baelish. Sansa remains silent, and Lady Anya offers to have Baelish removed so she can speak freely. Littlefinger tries to interrupt, but Anya cuts him off, saying he wasn’t speaking to her. Then Sansa half-whispers he can stay. Royce then interjects, telling her to speak up, that she’s no mouse. Sansa turns to Baelish and tells him that she’s sorry, that she has to tell the truth. Turning to the lords and lady, she informs them she is Sansa Stark, eldest daughter of Lord Eddard Stark.
Then looking at Lord Royce, she notes that they met at Winterfell when he was escorting his son Ser Waymar ot hte Wall. Perplexed, Royce stares at her. “Sansa Stark?” he repeats, and then he glares at Baelish as he asks, angrily, “You tell lies right to my face, you little worm?”
Sansa says that Petyr has told many lies… lies to protect her, ever since Ned was executed and she was a hostage, to be abused by Joffrey and tormented by Cersei, and forced to marry the Imp. She had no friends, except Lord Petyr. Looking at him, she says that he saved her. Littlefinger looks up as she goes on, saying that he smuggled her away when he had the chance. She sits down and says that he knew she’d be safe in the Eyrie, with her aunt Lysa. The Lannisters have allies everywhere, she notes, even the Vale, so he made her swear to hide her identity.
The third lord assures her that her secret is safe, and Lord Royce notes that he knew Eddard well—he grew up in the Eyrie, and they hunted together many times. Then Lady Waynwood presses her to explain what happened to Lysa. She explains that everyone knew she was a troubled woman, but that she loved Petyr—she told Sansa this—from the moment he arrives at Riverrun as a little boy of eight years old. She admitted that she had never loved Lord Arryn, that she only did as her father commanded, but when the gods at last allowed her to be with Baelish she was happy for a time.
The lords hang on every word when she informs them that Lysa was also very jealous, and was afraid Petyr didn’t love her any longer, that he’d abandon her for a younger woman. And then… she admits that she saw Petyrkiss her. She hurriedly explains it was a peck on the cheek, nothing more, and that Lord Baelish is now her uncle in truth thanks to the marriage. She repeats that he’s been kind, always. But the kiss was something Lysa witnessed, and she turned on Sansa, cursing her. Sansa weeps as she goes on to say that Lysa swore she’d throw her out the Moon Door, and that when Littlefinger tried to calm her she attacked him.
“She said she didn’t want to live anymore,” Sansa says, and then explains that despite Petyr’s efforts to calm her, including promising he had never loved anyone but Lysa, she stepped through the doors and—She can’t carry on, and stands up, unable to carry on. Lady Anya rises up and hugs her, shushing her and reassuring her that it’s not her fault. Littlefinger looks on, silent… and Sansa’s eyes open to meet his. He smiles.
Later, Lord Yohn tells Littlefinger that he knew Robin was being raised wrong, that she was still feeding him from her teats when he was 10 years old. Lady Anya is scandalized, as she walks with the men through the halls of the Eyrie. Royce offers an apology to her… and then to Lord Petyr, informing him they had been harsh. Littlefinger doesn’t mind, and says they wanted justice, that’s all. He says he wants the same. They continue on to the High Hall’s floor, and Anya says they can’t issue out justice for a suicide.
Littlefinger agrees, but he’s concerned for Robin. He notes that the knights of the Vale rode with Jon Arryn and helped overthrow the Mad King. Since then, he adds, the Arryns, Royces, Corbrays, Waynwoods, and the other great houses of the Vale watched the goings on of the realm from a corner, held back by Lysa following Jon’s death.
Royce takes umbrage, and Littlefinger explains that what he wants to know is whose side they are on. Do they support the Lannisters, he asks, the family who murdered Ned Stark? “Of course we don’t support the damn Lannisters!” Lord Yohn replies. Littlefinger notes that Catelyn begged for support from the Vale, and Lysa refused her and thanks to that they’ve helpd Tywin Lannister to destroy all his enemies. Cutting to the chase, Lady Anya asks who Littlefinger wants them to support, noting that Robb Stark is dead. “I’d have you back Robin Arryn, Lord of the Vale,” Littlefinger replies.
Anya notes he’s sickly, but Littlefinger notes that sickly boys can grow up to become powerful men. “More often they die young,” she replies, as they continue down the steps to the floor. Littlefinger argues that Lysa was too protective of Robin, and that he needs to learn how to swing a sword and ride a horse. Royce agrees, and Littlefinger says it’s time for Robin to tour the Vale, to visit all the castles in his domain and to “leave the nest”.
In Meereen, the bodies of the crucified masters are taken down as Barristan Selmy looks on. He turns and begins to climb up toward the Great Pyramid when a Meereeenese boy runs up, calling to him. The boy hands him a sealed scroll, the seal bearing the imprint of the Hand of the King. Barristan takes it, and the boy departs. Barristan reads it, and seems stunned.
We next see Ser Jorah Mormont examining a map of Slaver’s Bay, and a map of Westeros. Barristan approaches him, letter in hand. They greet one another, and Jorah asks if he forgot a meeting. Barristan says no, and places the scroll on the table. Mormont asks what it is, and Selmy replies it’s a royal pardon signed in Robert Baratheon’s hand. Jorah looks at it, and is silent. When Ser Barristan asks if he spied on Daenerys, Jorah asks who gave it to him.
Barristan reaches for it… and Mormont hands it over, after a hesitation. Jorah asks if Barristan’s told Daenerys, and Selmy replies that he wanted to inform Jorah first, man to man, rather than sneaking behind his back. Jorah asks to speak to Daenerys privately, and Barristan promises him that he’ll never be alone with Daenerys again. He departs, leaving Ser Jorah alone.
Jorah later approaches the throne, where Daenerys sits. Missandei, Barristan, and Grey Worm are in attendance. Jorah approaches up the dais steps and then stops some steps below Daenerys, hands behind his back. The queen’s first question is why he was pardoned by “the Usurper”. Jorah asks to speak alone, but she refuses him and insists he explain. Jorah asks, instead, who she thinks sent it to Meereen and who would profit from it. He claims it’s Tywin Lannister’s work, attempting to divide them so that they fight each other. But Daenerys responds that the pardon was signed in the year they first met.
She asks again why he was pardoned. And then—almost hopefully—asks if he’s saying that the document is forged. Jorah cannot bring himself to lie, and admits it’s real. Asked again why, he explains he did send letters to Varys, the “spymaster of King’s Landing”, letters that contained information such as when Daenerys and Viserys arrived in Pentos, the plan to marry Daenerys to Drogo, when Daenerys would marry, when Viserys died.
Daenerys asks if he also informed Varys that Daenerys carried Drogo’s child. Jorah hesitates, tries to explain, and Daenerys pushes for a yes or no. “Khaleesi,” Jorah says, but Daenerys snaps at him, telling him not to call her that as she repeats her question. At last, Jorah says in a strained voice, “Yes.”
Daenerys stands and comes nearer to Jorah. She notes that the wine merchant tried to poison her because of that information. Jorah replies that he stopped her from drinking the wine. “Because you knew it was poisoned?” Daenerys asks, and Jorah replies that he suspected it. Daenerys angrily replies that he betrayed her from the first. Jorah drops to his knees, begging her forgiveness. Daenerys can’t even look on him as she repeats what his betrayal entailed: selling her secrets to the man who killed her father and stole her brother’s throne.
Jorah argues he protected her, fought and killed for her. Daenerys speaks over him, ignoring his plea, saying that he betrayed her and wants her to forgive him. Jorah stares at her and then looking away says he had loved her, as well. Daenerys asks how he can say that, and finally looks at him. She says any other man and he would have been executed. She orders him to leave Meereen, to go back to King’s Landing to his masters. Jorah stands, reaching for Daenerys, begging. She pulls her hand away from his reach and says that he will never presume to touch her again or even speak her name. She orders him to depart by dusk, because if he’s found in Meereen past the break of the next day, she’ll have his head thrown into Slaver’s Bay.
Jorah nods, and goes at her command, a broken man. We then see outside the walls of Meereen, as he rides out the gates and on to the road away from the city.
In the North, Ramsay’s host meets that of his father, Lord Roose Bolton. Roose goes up to meet his son between the two armies, and Ramsay presents the Greyjoy banner that had flown over Moat Cailin. Roose tells Ramsay to walk with him. Climbing up a hill overlooking the two hosts, Roose asks if Ramsay’s heard from Locke. Ramsay admits he has not, but Roose responds that it doesn’t matter: a cripple and a young boy who’ve no one has seen are most likely dead.
Then he tells Ramsay that the ironborn have largely fled the North, and that more will follow thanks to Ramsay’s efforts. At the top of the hill, he gestures, and asks Ramsay to tell him what he sees. Ramsay looks at his father and then around, and says he sees moors, fields, and hills. Roose repeats the question, and Ramsay shakes his head. “Nothing,” he says, but his father disabuses him of this and tells him that what he’s seeing is the North. “Ride 700 miles that way and you’re still in the North,” he says. Turning, he points that 400 miles the other way and you’re still in the North, and 300 miles in another direction. He notes that the North is larger than the other six kingdoms combined, and he is now the Warden of the North. “The North is mine,” he says.
Ramsay nods his head and looks around at his father’s new domain, considering what he said. Then Roose asks him what Ramsay’s name is. “Ramsay Snow,” he replies, almost meekly, as if expecting another reminder that he’s a bastard. But Roose says that no, it’s not Ramsay Snow. He hands him a scroll. Ramsay opens it, as Roose informs him that from now one Ramsay is Ramsay Bolton, son of Roose Bolton, Warden of the North.
Ramsay falls to a knee, saying it’s an honor, and that he will uphold the name and the tradition of the family. He promises to be worthy.
We later see the army marching on horseback, led by Roose, Ramsay, and Reek. Ramsay glibly tells Reek to come along, that he’ll be needing a new bath. Their destination appears in the distance: Winterfell.
In the Eyrie, Sansa sits with her embroidery in her room. The door knocks, and Sansa continues to embroider as she invites the knocker in. Littlefinger enters the room, and watches her. He tells her that the first time he saw her, she was just a child. a girl from the North in King’s Landing for the first time. But he sees she’s not a child any longer. He asks why she helped him.
Sansa doesn’t look up from her work as she replies that he would have been thrown through the Moon Door if they had found him guilty. He notes that that’s not an answer. She looks at him for a moment, and resuming her embroidery she wonders what they would do with her if they had executed Littlefinger. Baelish says he doesn’t know… and Sansa, still not looking up, says that she didn’t know, either. “Better to gamble on the man you know than the strangers you don’t?” Littlefinger asks rhetorically. But then he adds another question: does Sansa think she knows him?
Sansa says she knows what he wants. He asks if she does, and she looks up at him then, meeting his gaze as she pulls on a thread on her embroidery. Then she looks away.
On the high road, Arya says that something should have made her happy, but it hasn’t. The Hound asks her what makes her happy, and she replies that killing Polliver and Rorge made her happy. “So you’re sad because you didn’t get to kill Joffrey yourself,” the Hound replies bluntly. Arya wishes she had at least been there to watch it, to look in his eyes when he knew it was over. Clegane replies that nothing beats that look. Then Arya asks if he could have saved her, having been his former protector. He notes he wasn’t the wine taster. He adds that Joffrey deserved to die, but that poison is a woman’s weapon. “Men kill with steel,” he adds.
Arya says he’ll never be a great killer with that attitude, and suggests she’d have used a chicken bone to kill Joffrey, if she had to. Sandor snorts with laughter and says he’d have paid to watch that, and then pulls at the armor at his neck and shoulder, clearly in pain from Biter’s bite. Arya looks at him and then says he should have let her use fire on it. He calls it a flea bite, but she notes he’s been walking more and more slowly because of it. Clegane says that they won’t need to walk much longer.
Arya wonders if Lysa will pay for her, and Sandor is sure she will. Arya notes they’ve never even met, but the Hound says it’s blood that matters. “Family, honor, all that horseshit,” he concludes. “It’s all you lords and ladies ever talk about. To that, Arya replies, “I’m not a lady.” Then as they continue on, Ser Donnel Waynwood calls out, “Who would pass the Bloody Gate?” “The bloody Hound, Sandor Clegane,” Clegane replies.
Then, after a moment, he adds is “traveling companion”, Arya Stark, niece of Lysa Arryn. Ser Donnel offers his condolences and informs them that Lysa died three days earlier. There’s a stunned silence… and then Arya breaks into hysterical laughter.
In the Eyrie, Robin descends the stairs in the High Hall with Littlefinger. He sounds nervous as he says he’s never left the Eyrie before, that his mother said the Lord of the Vale belong in the Eyrie because it’s not safe anywhere else. Littlefinger points out it wasn’t safe for her inside the Eyrie, either, and continues glibly, noting people die at their dinner tables, in their beds, even squatting over chamber pots. Robin looks increasingly frightened, and Littlefinger turns around and tells him that everybody dies sooner or later. Putting his hands on his shoulders reassuringly, he tells Robin to worry about his life, to take charge of it for as long as it lasts. “That is what it means to be Lord of the Vale,” he informs him.
There’s a sound of footsteps, and Littlefinger’s gaze goes back up the stairs. Sansa enters from a balcony, limned in sunlight. Then she approaches: she wears a darker gown, one revealing more décolletage than anything she’s worn before, and there’s a necklace that emphasizes it. Black raven feathers decorate the shoulders. Even her hair is different: it’s been dyed a dark brown. “Shall we go?” she tells Robin.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion is in his cell when he drinks deeply from a wineskin. He says wine always help to Jaime, who’s sitting in the cell with him, and thanks him for it. Then Tyrion turns to the trial by combat, and the absurdity of the gods judging guilt and innocence by having two other men hack one another to pieces. “Tells you something about the gods,” he jokes.
Tyrion moves from the beam he leaned on, and asks Jaime how much longer. “Soon,” Jaime replies. Tyrion asks Jaime if he thinks Oberyn has a chance, and Jaime shrugs. “The Red Viper of Dorne,” Tyrion muses. “You don’t get a name like that unless you’re deadly, right?” But Jaime can oly say he’s never seen him fight. Tyrion’s suddenly sure Oberyn will die, and he will die as well.
Jaime notes Oberyn’s confident, and Tyrion says that’s mildly put. Then he muses on the punishment for regicide as he walks over to a chamberpot to urinate. He wonders if it’s drawing and quartering, hanging, breaking on the wheel? Jaime replies that it’s beheading. Tyrion finds that ordinary. Then he asks what the crime of killing a nephew is called. As he urinates, he runs through the names of various killings—matricide, patricide, filicide, fratricide, infanticide, suicide… He says it must be nepoticide. “There’s no kind of killing that doesn’t have its own word,” he says.
Tyrion finishes up and returns to the other side of the room. Jaime then offers up cousins. Tyrion considers and then says he’s right—there’s no word for killing a cousin. Tyrion nods to his brother, and sits. Then he’s reminded of their cousin Orson Lannister. Jaime says he remembers him—a wet-nurse dropped him on his head as an infant, and he was simple after that. “Simple?” Tyrion says, amused. He notes Orson would sit in the garden all day, crushing beetles with a rock. They mime the action together, grunting as Orson used to grunt. They laugh, and Tyrion says nothing made Orson happier.
Jaime replies that nothing made Tyrion happier, as well, and he notes that surely being tormented from birth would have given Tyrion some affinity for the afflicted. Tyrion replies that on the contrary, laughing at another’s misfortune was “the only thing that made me feel like everyone else.” Jaime suggests that the jokes about Orson must have worn thin, however. Tyrion said that it did for Jaime, that he drifted away. “I had other interests,” Jaime replies. “Yes, other interests,” Tyrion says knowingly.
But Tyrion explains how he became curious as to why Orson smashed beetles. He asked him once, but Orson just repeated that he would smash beetles. Tyrion tried to resolve it. He went to Maester Volarik’s library—Jaime grimaces there, and recalls that Volarik “tried to touch” him once—but very little had been written about “morons”. So he went back to Orson, observing him. Tyrion spots a small bug on the floor, and stoops to pick it up. He became sure, as he watched Orson, that there was something there. He studies the bug as he goes on, saying that he couldn’t understand what was there, but there was definitely some meaning there, some reason.
Tyrion admits his obsession with finding out, and he spent all his time observing Orson, thinking on Orson as his father droned on about family legacies, watching him as he ate his lunch, he read about the Targaryen conquests but he could hear only the smashing of beetles rather than dragon wings. And still, he couldn’t figure it out, he says, but he had to know because so many beetles died. Jaime, incredulous, notes that every day men, women, and children are “murdered by the score”—who cares about beetles? Tyrion admits he knows, but it filled him with dread at the time. So many had died, with no reason why that he could understand.
Tyrion admits he even had dreams of being alone on a beach made of beetle husks, stretching into the distance. He tried to stop Orson once—Jaime notes that Orson was twice his size—and Tyrion admits Orson just pushed him away and resumed his beetle-crushing. It went like that every day, until Orson was killed when a mule kicked him in the chest. Tyrion looks down and returns the bug he caught to the floor. Tyrion asks if Jaime has any idea as to why Orson did it, and Jaime admits he doesn’t know.
Just then, bells ring, announcing the coming of the fight. Jaime moves to the door, and then looks back to his brother. “Good luck today,” he tells Tyrion, and then leaves. Tyrion stares after him.
Outside of the city walls, by the shore, Tyrion is escorted to a courtyard. Jaime joins the rest of the court in the royal stands, while a large crowd is gathered above the yard. Tywin and Cersei both drink wine as Lord Mace Tyrell looks about. Tyrion steps out to see Ellaria Sand kissing Oberyn, who is very lightly armored. Tyrion notes this, and Oberyn replies that he likes to move around. Tyrion throws back that he could at least wear a helmet, but Oberyn takes up a goblet and drinks some wine rather than answering him. Tyrion tells him he shouldn’t drink prior to a fight, and Oberyn asks if Tyrion learned that in his years in teh fighting pits. Then he adds that he always drinks before he fights.
Tyrion is unimpressed, saying it might get Oberyn killed, and Tyrion himself. “Today is not the day I die,” he tells Tyrion, as Ellaria turns to Oberyn, caressing his chest. Just then, the Mountain that Rides enters, armored head to toe in black steel. Ellaria, stunned, asks if he’s going to fight that. “I’m going to kill that,” Oberyn replies, sounding confident.
Ellaria notes he’s the biggest man she’s ever seen, but Oberyn replies that size doesn’t matter when you’re on your back. “Thank the gods,” Tyrion says. As trumpets sound, Grand Maester Pycelle steps out to deliver a benediction before the fight. Ellaria clings to Oberyn as they watch, while Oberyn’s squire runs a cloth over the edges of the long spear he’ll be fighting with. Pycelle drones on, and Tywin gestures for the trumpets to sound again. Pycelle stumbles to a silence, then bows.
Oberyn and Ellaria share a final kiss, while the Mountain draws the huge greatsword that he wields with a single hand. Ellaria asks Oberyn to not leave her “alone in this world”, and Oberyn promises, “Never.” Then he moves, and his squire tosses him the spear. Oberyn shows his dexterity and speed as he twirls and spins with the spear, until he’s at his place. The Mountain, seems unimpressed, but some in the crowd applaud and cheer. Oberyn takes their applause, then turns to the Mountain and asks if he knows who he is. “Some dead man,” the Mountain growls before he moves forward and swings at Oberyn. Oberyn dances back, and parries the second blow.
He paces, and tells Ser Gregor that he’s the brother of Elia Martell, and that he came to the city for him. He attacks Gregor this time, spear moving swiftly and hitting the Mountain’s helm before he pulls back. Prince Oberyn tells him that he’s going to hear him confess before he dies. “You raped my sister. You murdered her. You killed her children,” he says, and calls on Gregor to admit it and he’ll die a quick death. Roaring, the Mountain charges at the Red Viper. The two fight, and the Red Viper gets behind Gregor and slams the end of his spear into the back of his head, knocking off his helmet.
Oberyn calls on him to admit his crime, as the Mountain roars at him. Oberyn ducks and parries blows as he says: “You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.” Gregor forces the spear up, and Oberyn turns the motion into an escape, performing spinning somersaults through the air and opening distance. Gregor charges at him again, swinging the sword with one hand again and again to no effect as Oberyn whirls away from him.
Then Oberyn does a surprising attack, sending the spear up with a kick. The Mountain avoids it, and presses the attack. Oberyn falls back, repeating the mantra, and then at the right moment drives a thrust at the Mountain’s stomach—but the Mountain sweeps the blow away, and kicks at the prince, sending him sprawling. Oberyn leaps back up to his feet, and takes the attack, driving Clegane back with his spinning, broad sweeps of the spear. Gregor nimbly backpedals, and when Oberyn extends too far with the spear, the Mountain slams his sword down and snaps the spear in half.
With a heavy blow, Gregor knocks the other half from Oberyn’s grasp, and again he goes sprawling. The Mountain winds up for a scything blow, but Oberyn performs a spinning somersault over the blade, and spins away toward his squire. The squires throws him a fresh spear. Ellaria watches, worried, while Jaime seems impressed. Oberyn pirouettes into action again, spear spinning, and there’s a quick series of thrusts and parries. At one point, blocking low and trying to feint around, Gregor manages to seize Oberyn and flings him halfway across the yard.
Going in for the kill, Oberyn manages to dodge several cuts and win his way up to his knees—and at the right moment, thrusts his spear into Gregor’s side as Clegane was preparing another blow. He forces the Gregor to stumble past him, and shouts: “You raped her! You murdered her!” Clegane charges once more, greatsword extended, and Oberyn easily slips the blow and then, twisting, drives his spear into the back of Clegane’s calf and with a draw cut he hamstrings him. The Mountain groans, and stumbles to his knees.
Oberyn walks away, staring at him. “You killed her children!” he roars as he charges at him, spear in both hands. Clegane raises his hands, falling back on to his back as Oberyn leaps up. Then, with the full weight of his body behind it, he drives the spear point down, driving it through the Mountain’s belly, armor and all. Ser Gregor spits up blood.
Tyrion, Jaime, Ellaria all look relieved, while Cersei and Tywin seem less than pleased. Oberyn asks Gregor if he’s dying, and says that he can’t die yet as he hasn’t confessed. He pulls the spear from Gregor’s body, as the crowd reacts. He tells her to say her name, Elia Martell, and to admit he raped her and killed her children. “Elia Martell!” he says again, and then suddenly points at the stands, at Tywin, and demands to know who gave the order. He circles around the prone Gregor, telling him to say it, to say he raped and murdered his sister. Oberyn looks up to Ellaria, in his moment of triumph…
... “Say it!” he says, looking down on Gregor again, and at that moment the Mountain’s arm sweeps Oberyn’s feet from under him. The prince falls, and Clegane bodily lifts him up above him, grasping his neck. He punches Oberyn with a gauntleted fist, and teeth fly out. He rolls over, forcing Oberyn under him, and places his huge hands to either side of his head, thumbs pressing into Oberyn’s eyes. “Elia Martell!” the Mountain grunts, as Oberyn begins to scream in agony. “I killed her children, then I raped her! Then I smashed her head in—like this!” And with a final effort, Oberyn’s head is crushed between his hands. The crowd screams, and Ellaria screams in terror and grief, and the Mountain groans as he falls back onto his back beside the man he so brutally killed.
Cersei smiles, and Tyrion—eyes shut—waits for his doom. Jaime is stunned, but Tywin rises and announces that the gods have made their will known. He sentences Tyrion to death.