Jon prepares for conflict. Sansa tries to talk to Theon. Brienne waits for a sign. Stannis (Stephen Dillane) remains stubborn. Jaime attempts to reconnect with family.
At Castle Black, preparations are made for the expedition to Hardhome as others of the Watch look on. Dolorous Edd and another man bring forward a shackled Tormund, and Jon meets him. With a nod, he has Edd take off the chains. Ser Alliser Thorne, who was wounded by Tormund, stares on and Tormund notices; once freed, Tormund shows his arms to Thorne, now bare of the shackles. Edd pushes Tormund on to the horses, while Jon moves to Ser Alliser.
He informs the First Ranger that he now commands Castle Black while he’s gone. Thorne states that it’s his duty to tell Jon that he considers the expedition foolhardy and an insult to the brothers who’ve died fighting Wildlings. As Olly looks on, Jon tells Ser Alliser that he thanks him for his honesty, and then turns to meet Samwell who wishes him safe travel. Samwell offers a bag, and when Jon looks inside he sees it contains obsidian blades. Samwell points out that the dragonglass is what allowed him to kill a White Walker, but he hopes Jon won’t need it. “Me too,” Jon says, before embracing Sam.
Jon goes to mount his horse, gives Sam a last look, and then leads Tormund and ten brothers of the Watch—including Dolorous Edd—out the gates.
Gilly sits with her infant son Samwell by Maester Aemon’s bedside. The old, blind maester reaches up at the child’s cooing and laughs, saying that Egg used to laugh like that, that his laughter was one of the first things he remembers. Gilly, confused, looks to Samwell who explains that he’s speaking of his younger brother Aegon, who became king. Aemon responds that before that, Egg was a jolly fellow, like Gilly’s son. He laughs again… and then grows serious, and tells Gilly to get the boy south before it’s too late.
In Winterfell, Reek approaches a door. Setting down a tray, he hunts for the key to unlock the door. We see him enter after, with the tray. Sansa is in her bed chamber, lying in the bed and turned away from the door. Bruises are visible on her arms. The windows, left open despite snow, lead Reek to close one of them before he prepares to leave. Sansa suddenly calls to him, asking Theon to wait. “Not Theon, m’lady,” he replies. “Reek.” She asks him to help her, but he says that as Ramsay’s wife she should do what he says or he’ll hurt her. “He already hurts me every night,” Sansa says, almost in tears. She says she’s locked in the room by day, and every night he comes. She can’t imagine it can be any worse.
“It can always be worse,” Reek tells her. Standing up, Sansa approaches him and asks what Ramsay did to Theon. “Please,” he says, shaking his head, turning to leave but she rushes at him, forcing the door to stay closed as she yells that he betrayed her family. He begs her forgiveness, while she insists he needs to help her. Reek insists that Ramsay will see them, that he’ll know, but Sansa informs him that her family still has friends in the North and all she has to do is signal them and they’ll rescue her. Grabbing a candle stick, she tells him that he need only take it to the topmost floor of the broken tower, light it, and place it in the window.
“Promise me, Theon,” she says, and again he insists he’s Reek. She tells him his name that he’s Theon Greyjoy, last surviving son of Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands. She again asks him to promise, naming him Theon. He slowly nods his head. He leaves her chamber with the candle in his hand. Crossing the snow-filled courtyard as icy winds blow, he looks to the broken tower. Climbing tower steps, he goes higher and higher, and then opens a door…
To reveal he is in a different tower, and that he has entered Ramsay Bolton’s chambers as he dines. “Yes, Reek?” Ramsay asks. Our attention is taken outside of Winterfell, where Brienne and Podrick stare at the highest window of the broken tower, waiting for the signal—it never comes.
In Aemon’s bedchamber, little Sam gurgles happily as Aemon calls for Egg, saying their mother is looking for them. Gilly tells Samwell to get some sleep, as he’ll have to speak for Aemon at his funeral the next day. Sam insists she doesn’t know, but Gilly says he’ll watch over Aemon while he sleeps. Sam says he’ll stay as well, however, because Maester Aemon has always been good to him.
Just then, Aemon wakes with a cry: “Egg!” He gasps, staring into nothing, and says his final words: “Egg, I dreamed that I was old.” Samwell is holding his hand at that final moment. The next day, in the courtyard, Samwell speaks Aemon’s eulogy before the gathered brothers of the Watch while Aemon’s body lies on a pyre. Samwell speaks his praise, and how a dozen Lord Commanders came and went while he served. “He was the blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out. And now his watch is ended,” Sam says. The brothers repeat the last phrase, and Samwell sets fire to one corner of the pyre.
Alliser Thorne takes the torch and lights another corner. The torch is passed on, and they watch the fire grow. Then, leaning over, Thorne notes to Samwell that he’s losing all of his friends at Castle Black.
In Winterfell, Sansa is led up to the walls of the castle where work is still on-going. Ramsay is staring into the distance, but smiles when she presents herself. He calls her his beautiful wife and leans in to kiss her cheek. He informs her that when Roose told him he was marry Sansa, he expected a “fat, bearded beast” but her beauty has made him very happy. Turning to lead her down the wall-walk, he does not notice when she grabs a tool with a sharp point from where it lies atop a barrel and hides it under her cloak. Instead, he tells her that their scouts have informed them that Stannis has marched for Winterfell.
Ramsay notes Stannis is a noted commander, with loyal and battle-tested troops and thousands of hired sellswords… but the storm is a boon for the northerners, because they’re used to fighting in such conditions while Stannis’s army even now struggles to march in the snow and cold. Climbing down steps, he tells his bride that one day he’ll be Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, and that she will be his lady. Sansa considers that and then notes Walda, his step-mother, is pregnant and wonders what happens if she gives birth to a boy. Ramsay shrugs and says he’ll have a baby brother, making nothing of it, but Sansa notes that he’ll be the heir, not Ramsay.
Ramsay insists he’s the eldest son, but Sansa points out that he was a bastard and that a trueborn son will always have precedence. When he argues that he has been legitimized by decree of King Tommen, however, Sansa notes that Tommen, too, is a bastard. Ramsay takes a few breaths before calming himself and noting that bastards can rise high in the world: her own half-brother Jon Snow, for example, was born the Bastard of Winterfell and is now Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Ramsay registers the surprise on Sansa’s face, and says Jon’s done very well for himself. Then, walking on, he remembers why he asked her to join him and tells her to come with him.
In the castle, Sansa is forced to look at the flayed corpse of the old woman who had told her how to signal for help. Across the yard from them is Reek, refusing to make eye-contact with Sansa. Ramsay says Reek informed him that she wanted to leave. As he takes out the candle-stick, he wonders aloud why she would want to do that when Winterfell is her home and he is her husband. Then he points out that the woman was very tough: everyone talks when he starts to flay them, but she lasted until her heart gave out before he even got to her face.
Sansa, disgusted and upset, says nothing. Ramsay quips that they breed them tough in the North, and then tells his men to conduct Sansa back to her chamber as it’s too cold for her. Then he tells Sansa to hold on to her candles, because the nights are so long. He moves in to kiss her cheek again, and she fights back tears as she’s led away to her prison. Ramsay smiles.
Stannis’s camp feature many men struggling against the cold, coughing and looking grim. Davos ride through the camp, observing as he approaches Stannis’s tent, where Stannis and Melisandre are to be found. Dismounting, he enters. He informs Stannis that they have lost forty horses in the night, and more will follow, while they’re starting to run out of food as the supply line has been closed off thanks to the snow. Stannis takes that in, then asks what else there is to know. Davos reveals that the Stormcrows—a company of sellswords—rode off in the night. Stannis says they were 500 men, and removes a marker from his map. He remarks that sellswords are loyal to nothing but gold, and tosses the piece away.
Davos points out they’ve a hard march left, but they can’t march in that weather. He argues that they should return to Castle Black and wait for the snow to clear, but Stannis says he won’t become the King Who Ran after having already retreated at King’s Landing. “Winter is coming,” he says. He notes they aren’t the Stark words alone, it’s a fact, and if they go to Castle Black they’ll have to winter—for however long winter lasts—there. Davos starts to say that it’s better to wait for the right time than risk everything, but Stannis talks over him: this is the right time, and he will risk everything because if they don’t they’ve lost. “We march to victory. Or we march to defeat. But we go forward. Only forward,” Stannis says.
Davos bows his head and takes his leave. Stannis tells Melisandre that he trusted in Melisandre’s visions and prophecies for years, and Melisandre reminds him that he himself has seen the vision of the great battle in the snow when he stared into the flames. Stannis says he doesn’t know what he saw, but she replies that he should trust himself. When he asks if she trusts herself, she replies that she trusts in the Lord of Light. She reassures him of her certainty, coming up to him and informing him that she’s seen herself walking on the battlements of Winterfell and that she has seen the flayed man banners lowered to the ground. As she says this, she knocks over a pair of Bolton markers on the map.
But as she’s leaning over, Stannis places a hand on her waist, and then pulls her close. He starts to lean in for a kiss, and then she pulls back, telling him that sometimes sacrifices must be made to assure victory. She points out that she’s shown him the power of king’s blood with the deaths of the usurpers Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon. When Stannis protests that they don’t have “Robert’s bastard” any longer, she says they have someone better, and that Stannis’s blood runs through her veins. Stannis pulls back away and asks if she’s lost her mind. She asks how he can doubt her still, and he says there must be another way, leeches or something of the sort.
Melisandre grabs his head in her hands to stop him from turning away. She tells them there’s only one way, that he must become king before the Long Night begins and that only he can lead the living against the dead. She swears all his life has led to this decision. “She’s my daughter,” he says, and when she tries to caress him he flinches away from her and tells her to get out. She leaves without another word.
In Castle Black’s common room, Gilly washes laundry when two brothers of the Watch—Derek and Brant—enter. They admire her, and as she decides to leave they block her way, asking if they aren’t better looking than “the fat man”. One of them wonders if she’s pretty in the real world, or is it only because she’s the only woman there; his companion says that even in White Harbor he’d have wanted a kiss from her. They ask for a kiss, and when she tells them to leave her alone, one says that if she were his girl he wouldn’t leave her alone. She tries to push past, but one of them men stops her and knocks the basket with laundry out of her hands. Telling her that they only want some affection, Gilly slaps one of them and they only laugh.
Just then, Samwell enters through the main doors. Drawing his sword, he tells them to get their hands off her. He reminds them they have guard duty. “Sam the Slayer”, one says sarcastically, while the other notes his shaking hands. Samwell tells Gilly to get back to her room and lock the door, but one of the two grabs her and throws her to the ground. Samwell says he’s warning them… and then moves in, swinging his sword clumsily. The man he attacked easily moves out of the way, and calls him a liar for his claim that he killed a White Walker. Cursing him, he kicks Samwell as he lies on the ground. Gilly screams for them to leave Samwell alone, but one of them grabs hold of her while the other man kicks and punches Samwell repeatedly.
Crying for Samwell, they tell her hold still as they tear at her clothes. Samwell, moved by outrage beyond his pain, stands up and tells them that he said to get their hands off of her. They tell him he’s going to get himself killed now that his “lover” Jon Snow isn’t around to protect him. Samwell replies he’s killed a White Walker and a Thenn, and he’ll take his chances with them. Letting Gilly go, the two men move in on Sam… when there’s a snarl. From behind Samwell comes Ghost, left at Castle Black by Jon. The wolf snarls menacingly, and the men flee. Sam falls to his knees, and Gilly rushes to him. He says he’s just a bit woozy… and then passes out into unconsciousness.
Later, Gilly tends to Samwell after she drags him to a bed. He wakes up as she’s washing his wounds, and tells him that the next time he sees something like that that he should leave it alone. He insists that he won’t. Gilly replies that they would have killed him if it hadn’t been Ghost, but Samwell claims they were tiring out and he had them in the palm of his hand. Gilly insists he not be foolish, that he’s not a fighter, but Sam questions the kind of man he would be if he allowed men to hurt Gilly. Gilly insists that he promise that whatever happens he’ll take care of little Sam. Sam promises, but he promises to take care of her as well.
Gilly, saying she needs more water, gets up and starts to go but Sam puts a hand on her arm and asks her to stay. She sits down at the bed again, and then moves in to kiss him on the cheek. And then, as he stares at her, she moves down to kiss his mouth, caressing him. They’re silent for a time, and then Gilly gets up, and moves to straddle him as he lies in bed. They kiss again. Samwell winces in pain and she asks if she’s hurting him, and he shakes his head. She asks if he’s sure, and he nods. Then, adjusting his clothing and her own, she proceeds to consummate their relationship. Samwell gasps, “Oh my!”
Near Meereen, lines of chained slaves are led to auction. Tyrion, at the end of one chain, is whipped by an overseer but continues walking. At auction, Malko brings Jorah forward, touting his abilities as a knight of ancient family, trained with great skill, a man who fought besides “the Stag King Robert” on the far side of the narrow sea, the first man through the breach in the walls of “Spyke” wehre he slaughtered fifty men with his flaming sword, and that he killed Khal Drogo in single combat. Malko claims that Jorah was betrayed by his woman and sold himself into slavery to repay his debts. Malko then opens the bidding at 12 honors. Yezzan, a slaver who specializes in fighters, starts the bidding. It climbs to 15 honors, and then after a pause Yezzan calls out 20. No counter-bids are made, and Jorah is sold to him.
Jorah is led down to Yezzan, and one of his men starts to lead Jorah away when Tyrion calls out that Yezzan must take him as well, that they’re a team and that he is a great fighter as well. There’s mocking laughter from the crowd, and Malko says that he’s funny. Tyrion turns, then, on the overseer who whipped him as the young man giggles. Dragging him down by the chain, he begins to whip him with a length of the chain as men laugh. He finishes by kicking him in the face, and Yezzan gives Malko a few coins, stating that the dwarf is funny.
Tyrion thanks Yezzan for buying him. As they move to join Jorah, Tyrion points out that Meereen has banned slaves, and notes Yezzan could be in trouble for bringing slaves to fight in the pits. He argues that freedmen, on the other hand, paid a wage—Yezzan’s fist suddenly strikes Tyrion in the face, silencing him. Yezzan tosses a single coin to Tyrion, telling the “funny man” that that’s his wages for the rest of his life. He tosses another to Jorah before passing them and leading the way.
In the Great Pyramid, Daenerys and Daario are in bed together. Daenerys is giggling when Daario asks how long before the King of Meereen will come to claim his pillow. Toying with his beard, Daenerys says that he should not be silly: her marriage to Hizdahr is political, and he’s smart enough to understand that. He replies that the sons of the Harpy stopped killing because their leader is now king. Daenerys stares at him, then asks if he’s jealous. Daario asks if she really thinks he’s petty enough to be jealous of a man who represents competition. Daenerys says she does, and after laughing he admits he is, and that his motivations are impure. He moves above her, kissing her, but reminding her that that doesn’t mean he’s not wrong.
She considers that as she holds him in her arms and reminds him that he’s the one who told her that he can’t fight enemies both within and without, and she needs the city behind her when enemies without come knocking. She says she had no choice, but he replies that she had a choice, that everyone—even slaves, who can choose death over slavery—has a choice. She asks what she could do instead, and he tells her to marry him instead. She smiles and says that even if she wanted to do such an “inadvisable” thing, she couldn’t. He asks why not, as she’s queen and can do what she likes.
She starts to understand he’s serious, and replies that she can’t. He tells her she’s the only person in Meereen who is not free. She sits up then, while he lies back. He rubs her back and tells her he knows he’s there to serve his queen rather than give advice, but he has one more suggestion. She listens as he tells her to gather all the masters she can find on the day of the Great Games… and then slaughter them all. Daenerys stares at him. “I am a queen, not a butcher,” she tells him. He caresses her hair as he replies, “All rulers are either butchers or meat.”
In the Great Sept, Olenna Tyrell looks for the High Septon and asks an old man who washes the floor of the sept while on his knees where the High Sparrow is, remarking it’s a bloody fool name. The man straightens as we see it’s the High Sparrow. He says it’s not as good a name as the Queen of Thorns. She tells him he should have the decency to stand when speaking to a lady, while he tells her she should have the decency to kneel before the gods. She tells him not to be smart with her. Standing up, he groans and complains that it’s his knees that bother him, while she admits it’s her hips.
She then asks if he’s playing the part of a man of the people. She claims to be familiar with the game, and that it’s old, dull, and unconvincing since he does Cersei’s dirty work. The High Septon says the people always do the dirty work. She says she can smell a fraud from a mile away—he interjects that that’s a useful talent—and goes on to say that she’s come for her grandchildren. He points out that they swore sacred vows and lied, and that the Father judges them all: sons of high lords and sons of fishermen alike, punishing all those who break her laws.
He starts to leave and she tells him not to walk away from her. He points out that she gives no commands there, and so she asks what she wants. She offers to make him the richest septon whoever lived, and he laughs. He explains it must be strange for her, finding a man who has no ulterior motives—he simply serves the gods, and they demand justice. She asks how they communicate their will, jesting whether they use raven or horse, and he says it’s in the holy text, The Seven-Pointed Star. He offers to give her his copy if she does not have one in her library, and she dismisses his offer by sayng she’s read it. He reminds her of its passages concerning “buggery and perjury”.
When he tells her again that they will be punished in the same manner as anyone else who breaks sacred laws, she points out half the people in the “foul city” of King’s Landing break the laws. She notes he loves among murderers, thieves, and rapists, but that he’s chosen to punish Ser Loras for sleeping with “some perfumed ponce”, and Margaery for the crime of defending her brother. The High Septon’s response is simple: the laws apply to all, equally.
At that, the Queen of Thorns says that House Tyrell can stop sending crops to the city, and everyone in the city will starve—and she’ll make sure the hungry know to blame him. He sets down the bucket he held and approaches her, asking if she’s ever sown or reaped a field, and whether anyone in House Tyrell has. It’s obvious that they haven’t. He informs her that their wealth and power has left them “blind in one eye”, not realizing that they are the few, while “we”—the common people—are the many. He turns to leave once more, and as he stoops to pick up his bucket he starts, “And when the many stop fearing the few…” He does not finish the sentence as he leaves.
As Olenna departs, flanked by a pair of Tyrell guards, a messenger arrives bearing a scroll for her. Its black, wax seal bears Littlefinger’s mockingbird.
In the king’s chambers, Cersei informs Tommen that starving himself won’t help Margaery. He stands up, frustrated, saying that she’s in prison and there’s nothing he can do—despite being king. He shouts that the queen is in prison and there’s nothing he can do. Cersei looks at her soon as he walks to a window, and gets up to approach him. Taking his hands, making him face her, she tells him that no matter who you are there will come times that are beyond your control. She tells him not blame himself for what’s happened, that it’s fate. She remarks on the deaths of Tommen’s father, brother, and grandfather, and says she was Queen of hte Seven Kingdoms but had no power to stop them. She could only hold them when they died, and kiss their heads after they were gone.
Tommen angrily responds he’ll gather an army and attack the sept, killing every last one of the Faith Militant, starting a war if he must. Cersei points out that he knows who’ll be the first casualty if he tries such a thing. Defeated, Tommen says, “I lover her. I love her… I can’t help her.” He sits down, despondent. Cersei kneels down beside him and tells him to be strong and not despair. He insists he’ll speak to the High Sparrow, and Cersei says she’ll talk on his behalf so that the king doesn’t sully himself negotiating with an “unwashed fanatic.”
She swears she’ll do everything she can to win the freedom of Margaery and Loras, as all she wants is his happiness. Tommen tells his mother he knows, but she says he doesn’t, that he can’t understand until he has children of his own. She tells him she’d do anything for him, burn cities to the ground if needs be, because he is all that matters to her, he and his sister. She stands and pulls her son to his feet as she tells him that from the moment they came into the world, they were what mattered most. She caresses his cheek, then hugs him and calls him her boy, her only boy as she kisses his cheek while a tear comes down her cheek.
In a well-appointed cell in the Water Gardens, Jaime sits by a window when Areo Hotah opens the cell door and brings Myrcella with him, indicating that Prince Doran hopes that seeing her will settle his concerns for Myrcella’s safety. Areo leaves them, and Myrcella speaks first, indicating that Jaime looks different from when he left. She glances at his hand, but remarks that he had more hair. “And more hands,” he notes. He looks abashed. Asking after Trystane, he says he was sorry that he was hurt, that it wasn’t supposed to happen that way. She asks why it’s happening at all, not understanding the cause.
Jaime informs her that Cersei was worried because of threats against Myrcella and their view that Dorne is too dangerous for her. Myrcella protests that it’s her home and has been her home for years. She notes she didn’t want to come to Dorne, but Cersei told her to do so, so she did what she said. Now that she did her duty, she questions why her mother is forcing her back. Jaime explains that it’s for her own good, and then says there are complicated matters. “No, it’s not complicated at all. It’s simple,” she replies. She says she loves Trystane, she will marry him, and they’ll stay right there. Jaime starts to say he doesn’t understand and she retorts that of course he doesn’t, because he doesn’t know her at all. She turns and leaves, and Jaime cannot bring himself to say anything.
In a jail elsewhere in the Water Gardens, Bronn sits in a cell alone, singing the last lines of “The Dornishman’s Wife”. In a cell across from him are the three Sand Snakes. Tyene applauds when he finishes, to the scorn of her sisters, and she explains he has a good voice. Nymeria quips that they’re lucky he’s a singer, since if he were a fighter they’d be in trouble. Bronn replies it’s against his code to hurt a woman, and Obara observes that it’s strange how many men they’ve beaten claim to have such a code. Bronn shares his doubts that they beat him.
Tyene, watching him, asks how his arm is doing. He says it’s doing well, and that it wouldn’t be right to leave Dorne without a new scar. Obara, sitting cross-legged for her meditation, is amused and asks if he really thinks he’s leaving Dorne. He says he’s in no hurry, as Dornish women are the most beautiful in the world. Tyene thanks him, but he quickly answers that he didn’t mean her in particular. Tyene stands up and approaches the bars of her cell, asking if she’s not the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Her sisters roll their eyes at her, behind her back. Bronn claims he’s seen many, and then she asks him to name one.
He stands up and comes closer, noting that in King’s Landing there was a gorgeous woman… but becomes distracted as she pulls aside the top of her shift, baring her breast to him. She prompts him to say more, as she bares her other breast. He claims his memory isn’t what it was earlier, as she reaches down to the laces of her gown. She asks after his arm again, and he replies she seems concerned and must really like him. She laughs… and then unlaces the gown, and pulls it apart to show him her naked body as she asks about his head. He feasts his eyes on her, and says she doesn’t even want to know what’s going on.
But then his vision fogs, and he begins to gasp. He falls back, sweating profusely. Tyene sounds concerned, noting his nose is bleeding. He touches it, sees the blood, and insists it’s only the dry air. Nymeria, seated earlier, approaches. So, too, does Obara. Tyene informs him that her dagger was coated with a poison from Asshai, called the Long Farewell. Bronn slides down to sit on the floor, breathing harshly, clearly distressed. It takes a long time to work, she states, but a single drop on the skin means death eventually. Then, taking the pendant she wears in her hands, she pulls away the central blue “gem” to reveal that it is a vial. She points out that it’s the only antidote.
Bronn, desperate, reaches for it… but Tyene withholds it until he answers her when she asks who the most beautiful woman in the world is. “You,” he gasps, and she finally throws him the vial, telling him not to drop it. Catching it, he drains it in seconds. Her sisters wander back to their places as Tyene tells him that she thinks he’s very handsome as well, as she closes up her gown.
Littlefinger looks through a peephole into his brothel, and finds the seven-pointed star painted on the walls and the fine furnishings broken and thrown about. He moves to another chamber, where the Queen of Thorns awaits. He apologizes to Olenna for the location of their meeting, but she’ll have none of it and says he isn’t, not really. He replies that he thought it’d be the safest place for them to meet, and Olenna jibes that it obviously wasn’t safe for his clients. Littlefinger is moved to say his brothel was like no other, thanks to the range of appetities it catered to and the desires that didn’t even exist until they “invented” them.
Olenna coolly remarks that Littlefinger has always been impressed with himself. At that, Baelish comes closer and says that the past is the past and that the future is the only topic worth discussing. In particular, he’s interested in discussing the future of House Tyrell. Annoyed, she tells him to not pretend he cares about the Tyrells, her grandchildren, or herself. Then she points out she should have known he’d come back to King’s Landing as soon as things went wrong. He starts to assure her, but she cuts him off and says that what she can promise him is that their fates are joined: they murdered a king together, and if the Tyrells fall she’ll have nothing to hide. Then she adds a threat: if anything were to happen to her during their meeting, they’d never even find what was left of Baelish.
Littlefinger denies having a role in what’s happening, and instead says that Cersei summoned him and he did not dare refuse her. When she asks why he was summoned, he explains that he had information that only he could provide, and he couldn’t keep silent or lie. Then, he adds, he knows of some things of which she’s unaware. Olenna takes that in, as Littlefinger goes on to say they have aligned interests. He notes he has a gift for her: a handsome young man, the same sort of gift he had for Cersei.
In a holding area near Meereen, Yezzan’s fighters prepare to fight in a small fighting pit. Many are nervous. Yezzan tells them that many of them will die today, as many have before them, but that that will be a rise in their station. Then he notes that those that triumph will fight at the Great Pit of Daznak in front of the queen. Telling them that this is the day their lives will mean something, he begins to pick out fighters. He selects four pairs of men, and Jorah and Tyrion are not among them.
“Valar morghulis,” he tells the selected men, and they reply, “Valar dohaeris.” Then he tells them to prepare themselves. They go off… and we see that among those watching are Daenerys herself, with Hizdahr and an escort of former masters, Unsullied, and a pair of Dothraki. Hizdahr explains to her that it is tradition that in the days leading up to the Great Games, it is the custom for rulers to visit the lesser fighting pits to give the honor of her presence to the fighters there. As Yezzan and his men come out, he spots Daenerys and is clearly surprised.
Hurrying over, he bows to her grace and his “future grace”, then hurriedly makes his men stand straight and directs them to say in unison that they fight and die for the glorious queen’s glory. Jorah, hearing that, rushes to see Daenerys in the stands. As the men fight brutally, one of the men succeeds in killing his opponent, and Daenerys looks away troubled. It’s clear she does not care for the “sport”, while the crowd cheers. Daenerys says she’s seen enough and starts to leave, but Hizdahr stops her by saying that it is tradition for the ruler to stay until a victor has emerged. Daenerys replies that she’s sacrificed enough for Meereenese traditions.
Jorah, seeing her preparing to leave, takes action by going back for his sword and a helmet. Tyrion—still chained—asks what he thinks he’s doing. Jorah ignores him, running to the entrance into the pit. Yezzan angrily curses him and tells him to wait his turn, and Jorah elbows him in the face, and then begins to set himself against the other men, proceeding to beat them one by one without using his sword: punching out one, striking another with a shield, yet another with a helm. Daenerys, not recognizing him due to the helm that hides his face, is intrigued by this fighter who does not kill his opponents. The other fighters in the holding area go to watch as well, while Tyrion struggles to get out of his shackles.
Taking up a knife, he tries to file through a chain. Jorah continues to beat one man after another, until he is the only man left standing. In the holding area, a large man with a heavy blade looks down at Tyrion, who stops what he’s doing. The man then turns, lifts the blade… and brings it down to cut through Tyrion’s chain, freeing him. He gives the Imp a silent nod.
In the pit, Jorah approaches the stands. The Unsullied and Dothraki guarding Daenerys react, but Jorah stops and takes off the helmet to reveal himself. Daenerys stares at him in shock, as Hizdahr glances at her. Then she orders men to take Jorah out of her sight. Jorah begs for a moment of her time, saying he brought her a gift. At that very moment, Tyrion steps out and says it’s true, Jorah has brought a gift. Daenerys asks who he is, and Tyrion says it’s a pleasure to meet her… and that his name is Tyrion Lannister.
In the Great Sept, a man of the Faith Militant leads Cersei as she carries something hidden under a cloth. She is led to Margaery’s cell. There she finds the queen living in squallor, without furnishings, coughing, her fine garments replaced with a grimey shift. Cersei insists it’s horrible and unacceptable conditions, and asks if Margaery at least has been fed properly. Margaery can barely stand to look at Cersei, whose glee at her opponent’s degradation is barely contained as she kneels to deposit the object and removes the cloth to reveal that it’s a bowl of venison, noting she had it for supper last night.
Margaery says nothing, and does not reach for the meal. Cersei stands and moves away, before explaining that she’s done everything she could, and that Tommen himself went to the High Sparrow to confront him but that the Faith seems to have left reason behind. Ignoring her words, Margaery simply replies with the accusation that she knows Cersei is behind all this. Cersei insists that they are making every effort, but Margaery says lies come easy to Cersei and that everyone knows it. “But innocence, decency, concern,” Margaery goes on, are not things Cersei pretends at very well and that that might be why Tommen was eager to cast Cersei aside for Margaery.
Cersei merely replies that Margaery is upset and not thinking clearly, and promises to return later when she’s calmed down. Margaery, seated still on the ground, tells her she doesn’t want to see her again. Cersei hopes she changes her mind, having heard men have been known to go mad in the isolation of the black cells under the Red Keep. Then she supposes that the isolation will end when the trial begins. Margaery, anger barely contained, tells her to leave. Cersei says she must, that her son needs her more than ever. Margaery, anger no longer contained, tosses the bowl of venison stew in Cersei’s direction and shouts at her: “Get out, you hateful bitch!” Cersei smiles before she leaves, and tells Margaery to sleep well. Margaery turns back to her corner, half-sobbing, while Cersei smiles to herself as she walks down the corridor.
Cersei is led to the High Septon by a man of the Faith Militant. The High Septon thanks him and the man leaves. The High Septon, seated, asks if Cersei has seen Margaery. She says yes, and remarks that the accommodations seem sufficient. Then she asks what happens now, and he informs her of his plan to try Loras and Margaery separately to determine if they are guilty of acts against the tenets of the Faith. At Cersei’s question, he notes that seven septons will stand as judge, “as it was in all trials before the Targaryens.” He adds that he himself will be one of them.
Cersei wonders what would happen if either or both confessed before the trial, and the High Septon replies they’d receive the Mother’s mercy. When she asks what that means, he explains it depends on the situation: the acts they are confessing to, the degree of their contrition. Cersei thanks him for bringing them the justice that they deserve in the eyes of the Seven. The High Septon regards her silently. He tells her that the chapel they are in is one of the oldest in King’s Landing, and she says she may have heard it at one point. Standing, moving to the altar at one end of the room, he explains that King Baelor the Blessed built the Great Sept around it but that men worshipped there long before him.
He wonders if she knows who carved the altar,and she says she doesn’t. He tells her that no one does, that the chapel bears no names because those who built it did not “inflict their vanity on those who came after them” as Baelor did in the “monstrosity” above. Cersei makes a polite sound. The High Sparrow goes on, touching the simple altar with a copy of the Seven-Pointed Star atop it. “Strip away the gold and the ornaments, knock down the statues and the pillars, and this is what remains,” he tells her. “Something simple… and solid and true.”
He then tells Cersei that the finery of the Tyrells will be stripped from them, their lies revealed and their true hearts laid bare, and that’s that it will be all of them. Approaching Cersei, he asks what they would find when they strip away Cersei’s finery. She gives him a fixed smile, not knowing what to make of that. The High Septon tells her that a broken young man came to them, with much to strip away that was weighing him down. But the young man unburdened himself, he says, letting go of vanity, pride, and sin. “Now his soul is so light,” the High Sparrow concludes, “he will float through the seven heavens like a bird.” Cersei makes another sound, still staring, uncertain.
The High Sparrow reveals that the young man has much to say about Cersei in particular. Another door opens, and Lancel enters to stand by the priest. Cersei realizes that Lancel has spoken of all he knows about her crimes, and starts to leave. The door opens before she can reach it, however, and a tall septa confronts her. Cersei tells the woman to move aside, but the septa merely grabs her and begins to drag her away. Cersei struggles as she shouts at the High Sparrow that he will order the septa to let her go, and shouts repeatedly that she is the queen. The High Sparrow and Lancel watch impassionately as Cersei is dragged away and an acolyte shuts the door, though they can still hear shouts of outrage.
Thrown into a cell like Margaery’s, Cersei falls to the ground. Before the septa and her companions leave, Cersei calls to them and tells them to look at her face. She informs them that it will be the last thing they see before they die. The septas shut the door, and bar it.