“The shadows come to stay.”
Beric (David Michael Scott) and the Hound (Rory McCann) are preparing for their final showdown in the trial-by-combat. The Hound straps on his armor, while Beric prays to the Lord of Light for guidance, “for the night is dark and full of terrors.”
And then he lights his sword on fire using his own blood. Badass. Arya (Maisie Williams) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) watch the ensuing fight scene anxiously from the sidelines as the Brotherhood chants “guilty, guilty, guilty.”
When Beric eventually loses the fight with a sword through the chest, Arya snatches a sword and runs to execute the Hound herself, but Gendry stops her.
And then, surprise twist! Beric is totally ‘alive’, because he’s a zombie creature man brought back to life via prayer. They’re still forced to let the Hound go, however, because the Brotherhood’s Lord of Light has deemed the Hound innocent of his accused crimes despite Arya’s eyewitness account.
Later on, Gendry tells Arya that he’s going to stay with the Brotherhood and smith for them. Arya protests, saying that he’s going to get himself killed, but Gendry is done serving men who proclaim themselves ruler; he’d rather stay with the Brotherhood, people who elect their own leader and who feel more like a family than an army. In a last ditch effort to get him to come with her, Arya offers to be Gendry’s family.
Gendry replies that she couldn’t be his family, because there would always be a difference of station between them. Arya is a relatively highborn lady, whether she wants to be or not, and Gendry thinks he’s just a lowly blacksmith.
Afterwards, Arya sits by the fire and whispers to herself the names of the people involved in murdering her father and breaking apart her family. She turns to ask one of the Brotherhood what he intends to do with her, and he tells her they will bring her to Riverrun and to her brother Robb, then ask him to donate to their cause. Beric comes up then, and tells Arya the story of his scars and his many rebirths.
In a heartbreaking moment, Arya asks them if they can bring her father back to her, but of course, they can’t.
Jon Snow and Ygritte
The wildlings are still wary of Jon’s (Kit Harington) supposed loyalty to their cause. Two of the men start to question him about the set-up of the Wall’s defenses, which they’re planning on attacking soon. Jon answers all their questions with obvious difficulty, but they’re still not convinced. Ygritte (Rose Leslie) backs him up, and afterwards taunts him about owing her a debt for saving him from getting his throat cut and vouching for him with Mance Raydar.
Ygritte teasingly steals his sword and runs off into a cave with Jon chasing after her. She tells him to prove that he’s no longer a crow by breaking his vows and having sex with her. Which he then does. Vigorously.
They cuddle and have pillow talk afterwards, where Jon confesses that he was a virgin and Ygritte gleefully tells him all about her previous conquests. She gets serious, then, and tells Jon that she wishes she could stay in the cave with him forever.
A band of men break into the room where the young Lannister boys were being held captive, and mercilessly slaughter them. Later, they’re brought before Robb (Richard Madden), Talisa (Oona Chaplin), Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), and Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) who are disgusted by their actions. Their reasoning is vengeance and that Catelyn is as guilty as he is of the boys’ deaths because she freed Jaime Lannister and prevented them from getting true revenge.
Robb orders the leader, Lord Karstark, to be taken to the dungeons, and to hang the rest of the men for treason. When one of them protests that he was forced to watch for the guards, and that he hadn’t killed anyone, Robb chillingly tells his men to hang him last so he can watch the others die.
Once his guards leave and Robb is alone with his inner circle, Edmure advises Robb to do his best to keep this quiet, because “Lannisters pay their debts. They never stop talking about it.” Catelyn and Talisa also try to keep Robb from killing Lord Karstark, knowing that if he does, Karstark’s bannermen will abandon Robb’s cause. Robb, however, sticks to his proverbial guns, and executes Karstark himself – as is the way of the North.
Those loyal to Lord Karstark abandon Robb, then, taking half of Robb’s forces with them. Robb is frustrated and depressed. Again. Talisa gives Robb some highly creative advice: don’t let Tywin win! Give Robb’s men a new purpose! Except she has no idea what that could be.
Robb has a eureka moment and decides to take Casterly Rock from the Lannisters. To do that, though, he needs to go ask Walder Frey, the man whose daughter Robb was supposed to marry, for more soldiers.
Jaime and Brienne
The Bolton men finally arrive at the stronghold where Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) waits, and deliver to their Lord the Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
Roose seems to have no time for the men’s antics, ordering them to cut Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) free and to stop humiliating Jaime. He then updates Jaime on what he’s missed while he’d been held captive – about the siege at King’s Landing, his father Tywin winning the battle, and of Cersei’s safety. Jaime collapses onto the ground in relief.
He’s then taken to a healer, who unwraps the bandages around Jaime’s stump and grimly informs him that his infection has spread, and just to be safe they might need to cut off the rest of his arm. When Jaime threatens to kill him if he tries it, the healer admits that they can try just carving off the main infected areas and burning out the rest of it with boiling wine.
Jaime agrees to this. He also refuses pain killers. Brave man, because the scene after that looks like torture.
A while later, Brienne is scrubbing the dirt off of herself in a luxurious looking bath when Jaime shakily walks in and joins her in the tub. Brienne is mortified, and curls herself up in the corner right up until Jaime makes a crack about her being unable to protect Renly. She then stands in front of him – tall, proud, and furious. Jaime apologizes, and asks for a truce and for her trust.
Jaime tells her about the Mad King, and how Jaime earned the name Kingslayer. His story is enthralling, but it takes a lot out of him, and he’s barely finished with it when he faints in the water, only to be caught in Brienne’s arms.
Stannis and Davos
Left by Melisandre a few episodes ago, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) comes to his wife Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald) and confesses his sins to her – that he had slept with Melisandre in the last season – but Selyse already knows and is fine with it, pleased even, because “no act done in service of the Lord of the Light can ever be a sin.”
She then walks to the other side of the room up to three yellowed jars holding human fetuses. Um, what the fuck.
Stannis leaves the room to meet up with his daughter, Shireen (Kerry Ingram), who has scales on half of her face. She asks her father about the Onion Knight, Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham), whom Stannis disavowed and had thrown into a dungeon the last time he saw him. Stannis tells Shireen that Davos is a traitor and to forget about him.
Shireen, however, doesn’t listen, and as soon as she’s able she sneaks out of her room and down to the dungeons to speak with Davos. He confirms that he’s a traitor, but Shireen still doesn’t care, and adorably tries to teach an illiterate Davos how to read. Davos looks fondly at her as she gives him his first lesson.
Jorah (Iain Glen) and Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney) bond over war stories as they ride next to Dany’s new army. Barristan tells Jorah that he’s tired of fighting for madmen and drunks, and that he wants to fight with pride for someone he believes in. Jorah replies that Dany is someone he believes in with all his heart.
Barristan then slyly suggests that Jorah not come with her back to Westoros, since his reputation as a slaver is pretty well known there and it might hurt Dany’s chances of being accepted by the people. Jorah is suspicious of Barristan since he just barely joined up with them and is already making such suggestions. He tells the man that he’ll go only if Dany wants him to.
A little ways away, Dany (Emilia Clarke) addresses the officers of her army and again tells them that they are free men, and that they are to elect their own leader. A super hot guy (Jacob Anderson) steps up, then, and when Dany asks what his name is he replies, “Grey Worm.” Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) tells Dany that all the Unsullied get names that signify their status as vermin, and Dany announces for all the Unsullied to throw away their slave names and choose their own names, ones that fills them with pride.
Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) tells Dany that the name he was born with is cursed – that he had that name when he was turned into a slave – while “Grey Worm” feels lucky because that was the name he had when Dany came to set him free. Dany looks touched.
Cersei and Tyrion Lannister
Cersei (Lena Headey) approaches Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillan) in the courtyard of the castles and orders him to use his contacts to look into the Tyrells before he leaves the capital.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), meanwhile, is doing his Master of Coin-ly duties by meeting with Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) and discussing the excessiveness of the royal wedding with her. He asks her to tone it down because they’re at war. Lady Olenna is as sassy as ever, and lets Tyrion know exactly how many men and how much food the Tyrells have supplied to fund this Lannister war, and that a royal wedding serves a purpose that is just as important.
She offers to pay for half of the expenses and then bustles off.
Sansa Stark (and everyone conspiring over her)
Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) spend the day watching Loras spar. Sansa asks Margaery when she might get to marry Loras, and Margaery tells her that as soon as she and Joffrey are married she’ll suggest it to him.
A few feet away, Loras and his squire, Olyver, flirt during a lull in the sparring and then have lots of sex later in Loras’ bedchambers. Loras tells Olyver that he’s getting married soon.
In the scene right after that, Olyver scuttles off to his boss, Littlefinger, and tells Petyr everything. Petyr immediately runs off to find Sansa, and then super pervs on her as he tries to figure out if she’s the one who’s engaged to Loras. Petyr puts two and two together quite quickly after he asks her if she still wants to come away with him during his trip. Sansa replies that it might be better to wait.
He then presumably rushes off to Cersei to tell her of what he’s learned, and Cersei tells her father Tywin (Charles Dance) who calls Tyrion for a meeting to inform him that he’s going to be marrying Sansa to prevent her union to Loras. Tyrion is wholly against this idea, but Tywin won’t hear it: this is happening regardless of whether or not Tyrion wants it to.
Tywin then turns his attentions to his daughter and tells her that she will be marrying Loras so she can secure Highgarden and the Reach. Cersei loses her smile, then, and begs Tywin not to “make her do it again.” Of course, Tywin’s mind is made up, and he leaves his children sitting there alone.
Healer: There will be pain.
Jaime: I’ll scream.
Healer: Quite a bit of pain.
Jaime: I’ll scream loudly.
Lady Olenna: The people are hungry for more than just food. They crave distractions. And if we don’t provide them, they’ll create their own. And their distractions are likely to end with us being torn to pieces. A royal wedding is much safer, wouldn’t you say?
Gendry: These men are brothers, they’re family. I’ve never had a family.
Arya: I can be your family.
Gendry: You wouldn’t be my family. You’d be my lady.
Robb: This one was only the watcher. Hang him last, so he can watch the others die.
Arya: Could you bring back a man without a head? Not six times. Just once.
Beric: He was a good man, Ned Stark. He’s at rest now, somewhere. I would never wish my life upon him.
Arya: I would. You’re alive.
Jaime: If I faint, pull me out. I don’t intend to be the first Lannister to die in a bathtub.
Davos: My lady, I can’t read the words.
Shireen: You can’t? I’ll teach you! I’ll come when Berd’s on duty and teach you. It’s easy. It’ll be fun.
Davos: No, no. Go. We can’t.
Shireen: Why not? What will they do? Lock us in cells?
[Cersei smiling brightly at Tyrion]
Tyrion: Stop that! You’re making me uncomfortable.
Watch the preview of next week’s episode below:
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.