Previously on Game of Thrones: The Night Lands
Catelyn Stark arrives at Renly’s camp to represent her son’s interests in the coming war. Instead of an army on the march, she finds an army busy with a frivolous tournament. She’s not impressed, but Renly seems too busy with his romantic entanglements to care. His new wife Margaery is young, beautiful, and rich, but Renly is actually already involved with her brother Loras. Oops. Luckily, Margaery turns out to be a dutiful wife (redefining the definition of dutiful), and she casually mentions that as long as Renly gets her pregant she’s fine with anything. You know, because Renly is king now, and kings get to do what they want.
On the island of Pyke, everyone’s least favorite brother and sister duo (and that’s saying something considering Cersei and Jaime’s bid for the title) continue their sibling rivalry. Their father Balon reveals his master plan for attacking the north by sea, giving Yara the majority of the responsibility while Theon’s task largely involves overcoming the weak fishermen villages. Despite this, Theon decides to turn his back on the Starks and become a true ironborn of Pyke. This apparently involes kneeling on a beach, getting water poured on your face, and chanting.
Over at King’s Landing, Tyrion deceitfully and brilliantly concocts a scheme to find out which one of his trusted allies is actually loyal to Cersei. He secretly tells Grand Maester Pycelle, Varys, and Petyr three different versions of a plan to marry off Myrcella, Cersei’s only daugter. When Cersei, unable to contain her rage, confronts Tyrion, she unwittingly reveals her informant by blurting out the specifics of the plan. Tyrion finds his betrayer, Grand Maester Pycelle, in bed with a young woman (doubtless an employee of one of Petyr’s less savory establishments), and he orders the older man’s beard cut off before sending him straight to the prison cells.
Meanwhile, the younger Stark children continue to experience misfortune. A melancholy Bran hopes that his dreams of being a wolf are actually real, a welcome escape from his paralyzed body, but Maester Luwin rejects such hopes. However, Luwin also rejects the existence of dragons, so he might not be the best source. Sansa remains a forced guest of the Lannisters who killed her father. On the road to the Wall, Arya and her band of social misfits are attacked by King Joffrey’s men. Yoren and a few others are killed before the rest of the children are gathered up and captured.
- I was kind of wondering why Natalie Dormer would join the cast since, in the books, Margaery Tyrell spends most of her time in the background of other people’s scenes. Mystery solved! Margaery’s character in the show has been bulked up to that of the most understanding member of a weird royal threesome, a role apparently worthy of the former Tudors star.
- I liked how Yara admits to Theon that she let icky awkwardness unfold between them in the previous episode because she just wanted to know what kind of man he was. There wasn’t an easier way to do that?
- Part of me missed Dany and her dragons, but then again, if including them would have just involved more sad scenes of starvation in the desert, I’m okay they were left out.
- Thanks to multiple Season 2 trailer viewings, Varys’s speech to Tyrion seemed a bit empty without dramatic music in the background. It’s almost like I don’t expect voice-overs from trailers to actually show up in what they’re previewing.
Missing in action: Dany, Robb, Stannis, Melisandre, Joffrey
Body count: at least 3 — The bloodshed on the King’s Road was a little hectic, but we know at least 2 children were killed plus the (surprisingly) heroic Yoren.
Cersei: “You think a piece of paper will keep you safe. Ned Stark had a piece of paper.”
Catelyn: “They are the knights of summer, and winter is coming.”
Varys: “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”
Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.