We begin our new episode of Game of Thrones in the BWB Batcave, where Thoros is leading evening prayers and Lord Beric is getting into character in preparation for Sandor Clegane’s trial by (wait for it) FIRE!
First off, if this is supposed to be a fair fight in the eyes of the Red God, the flaming sword is a cheap trick, what with the Hound’s childhood traumas. Second, a trial by combat with a flaming sword and a combatant nearly seven feet tall is maybe not best staged in a fucking cave. Not that this is relevant, seeing as the Hound has overcome these issues and hacked Lord Beric nearly the fuck in half.
Arya doesn’t like the the Red God’s call, and pulls an espontaneo, unsuccessfully. The Hound’s unseemly gloating is cut short by a suspiciously not dead Lord Beric.
The Red God may not be doing much good for Stannis, but apparently if you’re on his good side there are some perks.
Meanwhile up north of the wall, there’s usual I Like You Boy horseshit with Double Agent SnowCrow, who has conflicted loyalties and such. Whatever. Also, John & Ginger finally get down. It’s a hot scene, and it’s about god damned time.
There’s nothing that cuts through the bullshit like robbing a guy, and so we have the darkly comic scene of the Hound being kicked out of the cave with empty pockets by a guy he just killed.
Ruthven’s name is apparently Locke. And the blandly presented sadism of Lord Flaymate is horrifying. He can’t resist driving Jaime to collapse as soon as he presents a weakness.
And it would seems that the Boxed Sorcerer from last week isn’t Qyburn, since here he is drooling over Jaime’s reeking rotten stump. Qyburn’s sadism is nowhere near as elegant as Flaymate’s, but he’s having a good time anyway.
Back in the capital, a smirking Cersei is underestimating Lord Twatbeard, and Tyrion is being schooled by Lady O. Along with Tywin, she appreciates facts, and can reel off precise numbers for troops and provisions her house has supplied to prop up the regime. And it seems she’s heard the tale of Joff setting a mob off and getting a septon eaten.
“I was told you were drunk, impertinent, and thoroughly debauched. You can imagine my disappointment at finding nothing but a browbeaten bookkeeper.” Oh Tyrion, you have been READ for FILTH. Have a fig.
And Arya loses another chum to the road. There’s no arguing with Gendry, who is correct on all counts, but you can see why Arya’s not happy with the way her day is going.
As a side note, it’s been pointed out to me that my nickname for Lord Karstark rightly belongs to another character, GreatJon Umber, whose hand got turned to dog food in season one. My mistake. I don’t think I’m going to bother giving Karstark a new nickname, though, since here he is murdering the Lannister hostages. That would be those kids we previously met for just long enough to establish their identities and importance to the plot.
Hauled in front of Robbo, with the kids he gutted as a floor treatment, Karstark has nothing to say we haven’t already heard, and isn’t hearing anything he hasn’t already disregarded. So Robbo’s choice is (a) do the smart thing and keep the old asshole as a hostage so his men don’t ride off and join the opposition, or (b) be a fucking Stark and honorably fuck yourself over. There are three votes for (a), but Rob’s the king here.
So there’s no surprise in seeing Karstark being led out in the rain to have his miserable madman’s head smacked off. He dies happy having had his god damned vengeance, and that he’s forced Robbo to slay a kinsman and kiss off half his army. Robbo knows this and ooh boy, he is not happy.
A trip in the flames, and Arya is remembering her prayers as Thoros drinks himself to sleep. She’s so miserable she can’t even be cheered at the thought of being ransomed back into the arms of her family. And we get a rundown of the Six Deaths of Beric Dondarrion, Servant of the Lord of Light.
Another flame jump and we get to meet Stannis’ wife Selyse, who apparently got him mixed up with Red Mel and doesn’t give a shit that he’s been banging her to make smoke monster babies. Then again, she’s praying to her flames in the dark when it’s clearly broad daylight out, and she’s got three stillborn babies in her bedchamber, pickled like alien facehuggers. Selyse has gone around the bend so many times she’s passed herself going the other way.
Stannis also has a daughter, Shireen, who’s a sweet kid with a skin condition and not a lot of friends. Stannis, by the way, makes Tywin look like a jolly and engaged parent.
Back at Harrenhal, Brienne is scrubbing herself bloody in a steaming bath when in hobbles Jaime, who has never looked worse. He takes a shot at the usual taunting and sexual bullying, gets a rise out of Brienne, and apologizes so fast that she can’t even process it. But Jaime’s apparently done screwing around with her and wants a truce, and to that end is willing to trust her with his darkest secret.
You’d think the biggest burden of secrecy Jaime carried around was Cersei, but apparently not. No, the thing he’s lived with for 17 years is that he earned the epithet of Kingslayer by keeping Aerys from pulling a Col. Kurtz on the capital city. The great secret that’s warped his adult life is that he’s a hero.
Shireen, by the way, is loyal enough to sneak a book into the dungeons for poor Davos, and to offer to teach him to read while the jailer is passed out. Admit it, it’s touching.
Speaking of Targaryens, Dany’s two daddies are still circling each other, grateful for the company but wary. Jorah’s not completely assured of Barristan’s loyalty, which is a bit rich considering his previous gig as one of Varys’ little spider babies.
Dany is busy meeting with the newly chosen leaders of her massive army, in particular the new maximum leader, Grey Worm. With his helm off, GW looks like a point guard on a decent junior varsity basketball team. I’ll admit to enjoying the scenes acted out in Valyrian. Dany sounds pretty badass in her mother tongue.
Up in Riverrun, Robbo is glaring at the map that he recently cleared half his army from and wondering what the fuck to do next. Luckily he has Nurse NITB to bounce ideas off, and he comes up with a plan that hinges on being able to placate the revolting and petulant Walder Frey. This will end well.
Back in King’s landing, Sansa is watching merrily as Ser Daisy swats some unlucky kid around with a dull sword. She’s smart enough to know that the plan to hang her on Loras will be a hard sell, but she clearly trusts Marge to get it done.
Loras, it seems, has some idea that his sexuality is a secret to the whole world and not just Sansa. The fourth set of muscular buttocks of the night doesn’t disabuse him of the notion. Unluckily, those buttocks are in the employ of Littlefinger, who is the last dude we want knowing about the Tyrell plan for Sansa. Which he confirms with a visit to Sansa, who barely has to speak to give herself away entirely.
Striding with Tyrion has given way to Trudging with Tyrion, as he drags to yet another meeting with his glaring dad and beatifically smirking sister. Apparently Littlefinger has briefed her, she has ratted to Tywin, and she’s just going to lie back and enjoy the moment. And with two silent stares, Tyrion gets volunteered for yet another great honor: Marrying Sansa before the Tyrells can seal the deal.
Cersei just about reaches critical smirk when Tywin pivots and strikes: She gets to marry Ser Daisy to keep the Tyrells sweet. Tywin lays down the law and storms out, leaving T&C stuck to their chairs with their faces imploding with pure rage.
Tywin remains a colossal dick and the champion player of the game. Still waiting to see him take a turn with Joffrey. So much to look forward to.