Jon welcomes volunteers; Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor seek shelter; Jaime and Brienne discuss his honor; Daenerys balances justice and mercy.
The episode opens with Missandei teaching Grey Worm the Common Tongue and recounting her childhood. From what I remember, Grey Worm’s got a crush on Missandei, right? Aww cute. Dany interrupts the lesson because it’s time for her army to sneak into Meereen, and further convince the slaves to help them lay waste to the city and their masters.
White Savior Daenerys Targaryen floats through Meereen after the city’s been taken over and, in vengeance for the 163 slave children that had been nailed to posts outside the city, Dany has her army execute the nobles by crucifixion.
Jaime and Tyrion Lannister
Jaime continues his sparring lessons with Bronn. They discuss Tyrion’s upcoming trial. Bronn is sure that Tyrion had nothing to do with Joffrey’s death – since neither poison nor murder are Tyrion’s “style”. When Bronn finds out Jaime hasn’t been to see Tyrion yet, he encourages him to go by expounding on Tyrion’s love for and trust in his brother.
Jaime does go to visit Tyrion, who’s a little annoyed it took so long, and that he’s almost certainly going to die soon if either Cersei or Tywin have their way. Jaime confesses that Cersei asked him to kill Tyrion for her, and though he won’t do it, he’s not going to go out of his way to free Tyrion either. Besides, there are other suspects over Joffrey’s murder… like one Sansa Lannister/Stark, for instance.
Meanwhile, Sansa’s on a boat going far, far away from King’s Landing (yay!) while Littlefinger slinks around smirking at her in a gross way (nooo). Petyr Baelish tells Sansa he’s getting married to her aunt Lysa, and he’s bringing her to the Eyrie. Sansa cleverly figures out who didn’t help Petyr kill Joffrey – not the drunken fool, for obvious reasons, and definitely not Tyrion – before realizing that she’s now implicated in the crime because she’d worn the murder weapon around her neck.
Petyr tries giving Sansa some advice – “if [your foes] don’t know who you are and what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next.” She sees through it right away, and Petyr confesses that he killed Joffrey to further his own power-hungry goals, and that he made some shiny new friends out of the ordeal. By this point all I’m hearing out of his mouth is “blah blah blah” because I just want him to stop being in Sansa’s orbit, the creep.
Man, this episode is on point with the storyline segues. As Petyr tells Sansa about his new buddies, Olenna and Margaery Tyrell are seen strolling through the gardens. Exposition tells us Olenna’s planning on casually fleeing the city (good move, since she’s the one who helped Petyr kill Joff) while Margaery is waiting on an engagement to wee baby Tommen Lannister.
Olenna encourages Margaery to work her magic on Tommen before Cersei can turn him against her – and to act quickly, while Cersei is still consumed by grief for Joffrey. She also very smoothly confesses to killing the boy king, to Margaery’s complete shock. Oh, Olenna. How I will miss your conniving ways (assuming your exit from King’s Landing is your exit from the show.)
Jon tries to help train the new Night’s Watch recruits, but Alliser Thorne – whose hatred for Jon is now coupled with fear that Jon might soon be chosen by the rest of the men as the official Night’s Watch Commander – sends him off to do stewardly duties instead. He conspires with a friend to have Jon conveniently die in a battle.
Locke, the Bolton bannerman Roose Bolton sent off to do recon on the Stark children, has arrived at the Wall pretending to be a recruit and doesn’t waste time cozying up to Jon.
Thorne later sanctions Jon’s mission to kill the mutineers at Craster’s Keep, but only if people volunteer for it. Joke’s on him, because a whole lot more than he expected agree to go along – including Locke.
Cersei calls Jaime to her chambers. She first ensures that there are guards protecting Tommen’s rooms, then questions why exactly Catelyn Stark let Jaime go back when he was her prisoner. Jaime says he swore an oath to bring Catelyn’s daughters to her, in return for his freedom – leading to Cersei asking if that was an oath he’d be willing to break. Jaime tells Cersei he thinks Tyrion is innocent, but Cersei doesn’t want to hear it. “He’d kill us all if he could,” she says, before ordering Jaime to post more guards outside Tommen’s door and dismissing him from her room.
Guards, schmards – Margaery sneaks past them and into Tommen’s room that night easy peasy. Following Olenna’s advice, she acts playful and enigmatic with young, impressionable Tommen, connecting with the boy easily. Margaery clearly hopes these nightly visits will ensure that Tommen’s openness to marrying her even if Cersei protests.
Brienne of Tarth
Jaime gifts a set of armor and his personal sword made of Valyrian steel to Brienne, asking her to find and protect Sansa with it. Brienne promises to do so, for Lady Catelyn… and for Jaime. Oh, is this her love confession? It’s not entirely clear if Jaime gets it, but he does change the subject pretty quickly (and suspiciously). He gives his third gift to Brienne: a squire. Named Pod. Yay multi-tasking! Brienne will keep Jaime’s oath to Catelyn for him, Pod will (hopefully) prove useful to Brienne, and Pod will be safely away from all the people who want to kill him in King’s Landing.
Side note: Brienne names her sword Oathkeeper, which made me laugh because A) episode title name drop and B) “Lots of people name their swords.”
Craster’s Keep and Bran Stark
The men at Craster’s Keep are now led by a sadistic deserter named Karl (Burn Gorman). He’s given an excessive amount of screentime to do a speech that, I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to because I was too disgusted by the sheer amount of images of sexual assault, physical abuse, and unnecessary male gaze-y female nudity going on in the background. Game of Thrones isn’t even being subtle with the misogyny anymore.
So yeah, Karl rants about something or other. Eventually one of Craster’s wives comes in with a baby boy that was just born, and Karl decides to keep with Craster’s tradition and gets one of his men to leave the baby in the woods for the White Walkers.
Elsewhere in the same woods, Bran and company are alerted when they hear the cries of the baby echoing. Bran wargs out into Summer to investigate, but instead finds Jon’s direwolf Ghost trapped in a cage by the mutineers. Summer ends up falling into a trap, and when Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor try to rescue him, they’re captured by Karl and his men. Bran blurts out the truth of his identity to keep the other from being harmed. Looks like Karl’s got a trump card against Jon now.
The White Walkers
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen these guys! And they’re just as odd-looking as ever. A White Walker on a horse-like creature is seen carrying the baby from the woods across snow and ice and back to its lair, where it places the baby on an altar. Another White Walker comes up – this one looks way more important, maybe it’s some sort of White Walker Priest(ess) – plucks the baby up, puts a claw on one cheek, and turns the baby into a White Walker. Oh, so that’s what they’ve been doing to the children. I thought they were just eating them for dinner.
Grey Worm: All men must die. But I promise you, a single day of freedom is worth more than a lifetime in chains. … No one can give you your freedom, brothers. If you want it, you must take it.
Barristan: Sometimes it is better to answer injustice with mercy.
Dany: I will answer injustice with justice.
Tyrion: I know that one of my three judges has wished me dead more times than I can count, and that judge is my father.
Tyrion: Sansa’s not a killer. Not yet, anyway.
Littlefinger: A man with no motive is a man no one suspects. Always keep your foes confused. If they don’t know who you are and what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next.
Olenna: If I am to take one more leisurely stroll through these gardens I’ll throw myself from the cliffs.
Olenna: But I do know. You don’t think I’d let you marry that beast, do you?
Cersei: You’ve always pitied him. Our poor little brother. Abused by the world, despised by his father and sister. He’d kill us all if he could.
Jaime: It was forged from Ned Stark’s sword. You will use it to defend Ned Stark’s daughter.