The House of Black and White. Cold, still, full of grimacing statues staring at you in a solemn silence. As the Faceless Man whispers prayers to a visitor of the temple near a clear pool, Arya Stark sweeps the floor. The Faceless Man gives the visitor a drink from the pool. The visitor then kneels before his deity as Arya approaches the Faceless Man. She wants to begin her apprenticeship and says so in her usual brash manner. The Faceless Man is not impressed. Arya must learn to serve if she wants to become a part of the House of Black and White. When she asks what god they serve anyway, the man answers with what seems to be a riddle, but then we remember that Arya was trained by a man whose mantra was “What do we say to the God of Death?” right before the lifeless face of the visitor appears to us. Men come and take him away. Arya wants to know where but doesn’t get any answer.
What’s the proper way to address you now? Queen Mother or Dowager Queen? – Margaery
In King’s Landing, Margaery and Tommen finally get married, which is good news for both because Margaery gets to be more powerful, while Tommen… gets a hot queen. It’s not like he can see past that anyway, right? The next scene shows us the King and his bride immediately consummating the marriage. Tommen is an adorable first-timer, and by that I mean that he is both clueless about everything and completely mind-blown. He is oblivious to a lot of things – I mean, he is an overprotected teenager, and he’s only that old because it’s the show. That being said, he does realize that he only got so far in life because his brother died, a fact that doesn’t seem to affect him that much because Joffrey was an ass. While they’re discussing Tommen’s family, Margaery takes her time to describe to Tommen, whom she calls a man and a king, how much he means to his mother and how he will always be her little boy. Just in case, you know, Tommen would come up with a case of being a teenager and decide to send her far enough from King’s Landing that she would never have any power again.
The next morning, Tommen takes a stroll with his mother who spends her time happily dissing Margaery. He almost openly offers her to go back to Casterly Rock, where she might be happier than she is in King’s Landing. Sweet boy. Cersei then visits with Margaery and she tells about Tommen’s sexual hunger to her cousins. Cersei probably intended on breaking Margaery’s face, but Margaery is on a roll and lands blow after blow on the Queen Mother, basically calling her a drunk old hag under her seemingly sweets words. Cersei leaves under the chuckles of Margaery and her cousins. Oh my. Margie, dear, Cersei is out to destroy you.
Stop being a bystander, do you hear me? Stop running. – Littlefinger
Moat Cailin! We follow what’s left of Theon Greyjoy as he gazes upon flayed people and serves Ramsay Bolton, who is apparently the one who flayed the corpses we just saw. Something about a lord not paying his taxes because he hates the Boltons. Roose Bolton explains to his son that they won’t get away with flaying the Northerners forever, especially now that Tywin Lannister is dead. So, to avoid being beheaded by angry Northmen, they should make alliances. And by alliances Roose Bolton means marrying their people. As it happens, he has the perfect bride for his son. Who will it be? Since we’re here, I think I can discuss this without it being considered a spoiler: Bolton pretty much kidnapped Jeyne Poole and made her pass as Arya Stark, because he didn’t have any of the Stark girls around and…
Oh my god. It’s Sansa. They went there. They took that road. Book readers, you can close volumes 4 and 5: the showrunners are taking this down a completely different path. Well, not really, I guess, and it’s not that surprising. It actually even make sense when you consider that they might not want to give this show 25 seasons and it already has a numerous cast. It wouldn’t do any good to bring back a secondary character that nobody cares about just when we started giving a shit about Sansa. I mean Young Lady Tremaine. Said young lady freaks the fuck out when she realizes where Baelish is taking her. Baelish tries to reassure her, telling her she won’t be marrying Roose Bolton (duh, he’s married to one of the million Walda Freys), but his son, Ramsay. By that, Baelish proves that he actually doesn’t know anything about Ramsay. If he did, he wouldn’t even have considered such an alliance. Anyway. He tells Sansa that he will protect her until the end, but that she has to stop running away. After all, it’s not like there’s going to be any change in her life if she doesn’t do anything. His words get to Sansa. They continue on, followed by Brienne and Pod from afar.
Nothing’s more hateful than failing to protect the one you love. – Brienne
When they set camp for the night, Brienne and Pod finally get a little heart-to-heart. Pod tells Brienne about the way he ended up squiring for Tyrion, whom he considers a good master. Brienne apologizes for not being as good as any of Pod’s former masters, but Pod doesn’t mind that much. He’s such a good kid. So good that Brienne finally offers him to teach him how to fight and how to ride a horse properly. She also opens up to him, revealing how she got to be in Renly’s kingsguard. Renly saved her when the whole world had decided to make her a joke. Oh my god, show. You can’t do this. I’m not over Renly’s death, you can’t make me remember how amazing he was right now. SHUT UP, SHOW, I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING. I hope Brienne gets Stannis’ head for this.
Honour got your father killed. – Stannis
Speaking of Stannis, we’re at Castle Black, where Stannis and Davos Seaworth meet with Lord Commander Jon Snow who has never looked sexier. Stannis wants to know if Jon will take his father’s name and title. Jon, being a man of honour (at least when it doesn’t involve Ygritte), refuses. He also wants to know how long Stannis and his men intend on gnawing on the Night’s Watch precious food reserves. Stannis assures him that they’ll be gone within a fortnight. By the way, what will Jon Snow make of his wildling prisoners? Or, you know, of Ser Alliser Thorne, the guy who hates him? Jon doesn’t know yet, and, as if he didn’t have enough to think about already, Davos Seaworth takes some time to suggest that maybe, just maybe, being the Shield that protects the Realm means that he should care about Stannis’ mission to overthrow the Boltons.
Who are you?
We find Arya playing with her coin when the servant we saw before calmly walks into her room, asks her who she is, then slaps the shit out of her when she gives her the answer she thinks is right (“No one”). Of course, Arya decides to end the game with her sword, but the Faceless Man intervenes, pointing out that for someone who claims to be no one, she’s got a lot of Arya Stark’s stuff. Point taken. Arya gets rid of her stuff… except for Needle. It’s a pretty powerful scene. The change that Arya has to go through to reach her goal is complete. She has to completely give up who she was, and what is Needle if not the embodiment of everything she is and everything she has gone through? She decides to hide it instead of throwing in into the river like the rest of her things. An understandable choice that is probably going to come bite her in the ass at some point.
Arya goes back to her sweeping, but not for long. The Faceless Man leads her to the room where the dead visitor from earlier has been taken. In complete silence, Arya helps the other servant wash the corpse. What they will do with it afterwards is another story.
Welcome home, Lady Stark. The North remembers. – Old Lady
Baelish and Sansa arrive in Winterfell! Remember when it was a place of joy, family love, and pushing little boys off towers? Yeah, I miss those days too. Now we get to see Theon sneak a peek at Sansa while Baelish introduces her to Lord Bolton and Lord Bolton introduces her to Ramsay, who does his best to be courteous. Sansa then follows an old lady to her chambers. An old lady who assures her that she is home in the North. Huh. That should be interesting.
At Castleblack, Jon still has a lot to deal with. While dining with his men, he spares Ser Alliser from the glorious task of digging a new latrine pit. Instead, he names him First Ranger, which should come in handy. Jon commands Janos Slynt to leave for Grey Guard, where he’ll be in charge, but, of course, Slynt decides to be a dick, refusing Jon’s authority and insulting him. Bad move. Jon commands his men to take Janos Slynt outside. At first, Slynt thinks it’s a joke, but when he finds himself bending over with Jon Snow’s sword near his neck, he finally realizes that he’s going to die. This is a turning point for Jon Snow, as he listens to Janos Slynt’s pleas and belated apologies. If he proceeds, he will become someone else, someone who holds power and acts on it. If he renounces, it may divide his men between those who will respect him for his mercy, and those who will hate him for it, as well as letting a dangerously unsubordinate element among his troups. The same kind of thing that ultimately killed Jeor Mormont. Then, under the eyes of his men and Stannis Baratheon, Jon Snow beheads Janos Slynt.
In King’s Landing, we enter a medieval version of Eyes Wide Shut. That, or the High Septon really wants to bang the Seven. Eh, why not. I do have a thing for Norse deities, after all. Oliver, posing for the Father, lets the High Septon worship the Maiden and the Stranger. At least, he’d like to, but Sparrows burst in and punch him in the face when he tries to intervene. Lancel Lannister and his fellow fanatics drag the naked High Septon out of the brothel and have him parade with his dong dangling freely between his legs.
High Sparrow. Sounds ridiculous, like High Duckling, or King Turtle. – High Sparrow
Of course, the High Septon is not quite pleased with that and immediately runs to the High Council to complain. They don’t take him seriously, of course, and he evens ends up giving ideas to Cersei. If there’s a fanatic out there ready to punish those who go against their faith, you can be damn sure that she will use that.
Later, we find Cersei in flea bottom, searching for the High Sparrow, the head of the fanatic order. The High Sparrow (played by Jonathan Pryce) is a seemingly affable old man, dressed in ragged robes, busy feeding the dirty poor homeless of King’s Landing. He thinks Cersei has come to arrest him. Instead, he learns that Cersei has locked the High Septon in a dungeon and is here to make an alliance with the Sparrows. She sends a message to Littlefinger through Qyburn, who may or may not be keeping a medieval Frankenstein monster in his lab, asking him to come to King’s Landing for a “meeting.”
Every ambitious move is a gamble. – Littlefinger
In Winterfell, while Theon does his best to stay clear of Sansa’s eyes, Ramsay Snow thanks Baelish for giving him such a beautiful wife. Baelish confirms what I feared: he doesn’t know the first thing about Ramsay Snow. But before he can start digging in, Roose Bolton interrupts them and takes Baelish for a stroll. He questions his position as a new warden of the North now that Tywin Lannister is dead. Baelish is not worried, even when Lord Bolton reveals that Cersei sent a message to Littlefinger. Littlefinger reminds him that he holds the Eyrie, and that the North and the Eyrie have proven their strength when they, oh, I don’t know, killed off most of the freaking Targaryens? Still, Bolton doesn’t trust him enough to let him respond to Cersei without knowing the content of the message. Good decision.
What am I? One more drunk dwarf. – Tyrion
Tyrion is bored. He’s very, very bored. That, and going crazy from having been forced to stay inside a large box for weeks. Varys tries to dissuade him but Tyrion is having none of it. The two of them end up wandering the streets of Volantis, specifically the slave market, where they come across a Red Priestess. Tyrion listens to her preaching: apparently, while Melisandre chose Stannis and Thoros of Myr chose Beric Dondarrion, this one sees Daenaerys in the old prophecy. You can’t blame either of them for choosing a completely different person though. Have you read the prophecy? It’s pretty damn vague. In any case, Tyrion japes about Daenaerys until the Red Priestess notices him. He then drags Varys to a brothel. There, they see a prostitute playing Daenaerys, but Tyrion decides to seduce another one, a quiet one whom he charms quickly with the power of his wit. However, when she decides to sleep with him, he realizes he can’t do it. Welp. Tyrion goes outside to take a piss. That’s where a man sneaks up behind him and captures him. His intentions? Taking him to the queen.