Previously on Game of Thrones, ‘The House of Black and White’
Arya – The House of Black and White (Braavos)
Arya sweeps the floor of a large, dark room that resembles a mausoleum. She watches as Jaqen offers a man something to drink from a giant well, which I mistook for a moon door at first. The man drinks and then prays before a large statue.
Arya has had just about enough of sweeping floors. She’s been doing it for days. She didn’t come here to sweep floors, she says. She came to be a Faceless Man. Jaqen tells her she needs to crawl before she walks. Serve, he says. She must serve the Faceless God, not herself. Arya notes there are statues representing the many religions, but not one for the Faceless God. There’s only one God, he tells her. And every man knows his gift. Welp. Arya did say she served the god of death.
In case you miss the meaning, the praying man is now lying dead on the floor. Two men carry the body away, and a young blind girl ignores Arya’s question as to where they’re taking him.
Later, the blind girl walks into Arya’s quarters, demanding to know who she is. Each time she asks, Arya says no one, and the girl hits Arya with her cane. Much like sweeping floors, Arya has had enough of this shit, too, and is about to introduce the blind girl to Needle when Jaqen interrupts. They’re just playing the Game of Faces, the blind girl says, but clearly Arya is not ready.
Arya insists she is ready for whatever. If she is no one, he says, she needs to get rid of Arya Stark’s things. Arya loads up her clothes with rocks and tosses them into the sea. Her money, too. But not Needle. She hides it under rocks by the water.
Smart girl. You never know when you might need to cut a bitch.
This does the trick as Arya is promoted from sweeping floors to bathing the corpse of the next man who dies in the great room.
Cersei – The Crayola Wedding (Kings Landing)
Amid cries for the beloved Margaery, Cersei is carried to the sept where she watches her last son marry the smirking whore from Highgarden. She claps along with everyone else after Tommen and his bride exchange vows. If looks could kill…
Then we cut to Tommen and Margaery finishing up their consumation of said marriage and… ain’t nobody want this! How old is this child? There’s lots of panting and Tommen wants to know if he hurt her, because of the sounds she was making, it seemed like he might have. Ah, the old make them think it hurts bit. Well played, Margery. Well played.
She is not hurt, but asks for a break before they go again. He says he wants to do it all the time, all day, every day. Bless. He also notes that he doesn’t feel guilty his good fortune came at the expense of his brother’s life. This is because Joffrey was a twat, but Margery is too kind to say so. Then she slyly goes to work suggesting that Cersei’s old ass needs to be somewhere else.
Tommen immediately goes to Cersei and suggests that maybe, just maybe, she’d be happier at Casterly Rock. This kid has no chill.
Later, Cersei interrupts Margaery’s brunch with her ladies just to remind her that she’s around, I guess. Except Margaery manages to…
- call her mother even though Cersei threatened to kill her if she ever did that again
- insinuate that Cersei is a drunk
- insinuate that Cersei is old
- insinuate that Tommen is a tiger in bed (Ewwww!) and that Cersei might soon be a grandmother
- and remind Cersei that she is not the queen anymore
As Cersei walks away the girls giggle and I can’t help but think this won’t end well.
The High Septon is getting his freaky role-play on in Littlefinger’s brothel when Lancel and his monk brothers rush in. Despite Olyver’s warnings that this is one of Lord Baelish’s establishments (when has that EVER worked?), the High Septon is dragged out to the streets where he’s made to walk naked while being whipped.
“Sinner,” Lancel and his fellow Sparrows hiss at him.
The High Septon storms into a small council meeting to complain to Cersei. Qyburn brings up the fact that he was in a brothel. Mace is outraged. Pycelle, of course, is sympathetic. We all know Maester Pycelle loves the hoes. The High Septon claims he was tending to religious whores. They need prayer, too, do they not? Anyway, stop bringing up old shit! Just go to talk to the Sparrows’ leader, The High Sparrow.
Cersei takes a walk through Flea Bottom where the High Sparrow is feeding the poor. Even though it stinks and Cersei clearly thinks the funk is going to get all up in her pores, she asks him about the incident at the brothel. He says hypocrisy is a boil and lancing one is never pleasant. Even though he wants the High Sparrow executed, Cersei has arrested the High Septon instead. Hmmmm.
Cersei then visits Qyburn in his lab with a letter she’d like him to send LIttlefinger, wherever he is. Whatever she wants from him, she wants it quickly. When she leaves, a form under a sheet on a table jerks.
“Shhhh. Easy, friend,” Qyburn coos.
I guess The Mountain rides no more.
The Boltons (Winterfell) | Sansa, Littlefinger, Brienne, and Podrick (The Road to Winterfell)
Winterfell is being restored now that the Boltons have taken up residence. Theon limps through the courtyard and watches as flayed bodies are hung in an archway. Listen. What’s the Westerosi equivalent of Pier 1 Imports? I’m gonna need someone to make a trip for some potpourri or something. You know it must smell like hot garbage and fear all up in Winterfell.
Inside, Ramsay eats with his father, who scolds him on flaying people who refused to pay their taxes. Ramsay reasons that by killing the man, his wife, and his brother, and making the son watch, he got the son to pay the taxes without further incident. He calls that a win.
Theon (I’m not calling him Reek) listens as he serves their food. Roose makes Ramsay pay attention as he lays out how it is: he cannot hold the North alone. His deal was with Tywin Lannister, and now he’s dead. The Lannisters have never, ever sent their forces this far up north and he doesn’t expect them to do so now, to help him should the northerners loyal to the Starks revolt. And he seems almost sure they will, especially with his son outchea skinning folks alive. They need to form lasting alliances with other powerful houses. And now that Ramsay is a Bolton, he needs to marry a proper woman. And Roose has just the woman to solidify their hold on the North.
Yes, Sansa and Littlefinger approach Moat Cailin and she realizes they are headed to Winterfell so she can marry Ramsay. This poor girl. She loses her shit. She threatens to run, to starve herself. You know she’s serious when she’s willing to give up lemon cakes! Littlefinger tells her she has to stop sitting on the sidelines, letting life happen to her. The only justice is the one you make. Marry Ramsay and avenge your family. Then he waits to see what she decides. After a moment, she puts on her big girl panties and remounts her horse. They’re going to Winterfell and Littlefinger smiles.
From above, Brienne and Podrick watch. They’ll have to go around to catch up, and they’ll lose sight of them. This doesn’t concern Brienne because she knows exactly where they are going. Later, they stop to rest and Brienne learns how Podrick became a squire for Tyrion after the knight he previously served was hanged for stealing a ham. Tywin pardoned Podrick for his role and sent him to Kings Landing.
She apologizes for snapping at him all the time. Ever the nice guy, he says her snapping is how he’ll learn. She says she’ll properly train him how to fight and ride, starting tomorrow. Then it’s her turn to share as she talks about her father taking her to a ball when she was a young girl. All the boys fought to dance with her, each promising to marry her. Then she realized they were teasing her. She started to cry and run away, until Renly grabbed her to dance. He told her they weren’t worth her tears.
“But… but… gay,” is Podrick’s response.
Yes, she knew he was gay, but he did it to protect her and he earned her loyalty that day. She vows to kill Stannis for sending that shadow pussy poltergeist after Renly.
Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at Winterfell and I damn near lost my mind. So soon! In a scene reminiscent of the one in the first episode when King Robert came to Winterfell, Sansa and Littlefinger are received by the Bolton family: Roose, Ramsay, and Fat Walda. For a brief moment, Sansa looks like she might stab Roose in the throat, but she recovers quickly, smiles, and curtsies like a true lady. Miranda, Ramsay’s pyscho girlfriend, scowls nearby.
A woman shows Sansa to her room, in what used to be her castle. The woman says, “Welcome home, Lady Stark. The North remembers.”
Ramsay and Littlefinger watch Sansa walk through the courtyard. Ramsay promises to treat Sansa well. LIES! Roose wants to speak with Littlefinger in private. He’s concerned about a letter that arrived from Cersei. He’s already opened and read it. Even though Littlefinger assures him that Margaery is the queen and will have no problem with Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay, Roose is still concerned with LIttlefinger getting letters from Cersei, asking for favors. Littlefinger reminds him that the last time the Eyrie and the North banded together, they took down the Targaryens. In other words: Chill the fuck out. Now, he needs a raven to reply to Cersei. Roose wants to read the reply.
Jon Snow (The Wall)
Ollie the Ginger Minge Killer is now working under Jon Snow as his steward. He’s allowed to sit in on a meeting between the new Lord Commander and Stannis, where Jon turns down Stannis’ offer to be a real live boy. His place is at The Wall. Stannis notes that Jon is as stubborn and honorable as Ned, and look where that got his head.
Jon tells the would-be king that they won’t be able to house and feed his men, their own, and the wildlings for much longer. Winter is coming. Still. Stannis means to leave for Winterfell within a fortnight. He’ll be out of their hair then. And the wildlings? If they’d rather burn than fight for him, so be it. Jon can decide their fate, or he can see if Tormund is more open to compromise than Mance was. Either way, it’s Jon’s problem.
He tells Jon he might want to consider sending his enemies, like Alliser Throne, elsewhere. Jon thought you were supposed to keep your enemies close. Whoever said that didn’t have a lot of enemies, Stannis replies. I love him. He leaves, but Davos stays behind to offer up more advice. Stannis believes in him, he says. Jon is sorry to disappoint Stannis. Are you really, Jon?
Jon once again reiterates his desire to stay clear of the battle for the Iron Throne. Davos gets Ollie to point out a specific part of The Night’s Watch oath: “I am the shield that guards the realm of men.” Maybe the shield needs to get out there and get involved before there’s no realm to protect once the Boltons and the rest are done with it. Davos bars.
Jon calls a meeting to discuss assignments. First up: who will lead the efforts to build a new latrine? Jon pauses to eye Alliser, but gives the task to Brian because he’s a ginger. Everyone laughs. Jon gives Alliser the role of First Ranger. Then he assigns Janos Slynt command of Greyguard, a ruin. Janos is offended, and refuses to go. He sputters and cusses. Ollie looks like he wants to put an arrow through him.
Since it’s possible Janos misunderstood, Jon reminds him that was an order and not a request. Janos heard him the first time. Jon orders Janos taken outside, and Ollie to fetch his sword. In front of everyone, including Stannis, Jon gives Janos a chance for last words. The man begs for mercy and cries, but Jon cuts his head off anyway. Life comes at you fast.
Stannis nods his approval.
Tyrion and Varys (Road to Volantis)
Tyrion wants out of the wheelhouse. He’s sick of Varys’ face – though Varys argues it’s a perfectly good face. Despite the fact that Cersei has a bounty out on his head, Tyrion wants to stretch his legs. And get laid. They walk through a slave market in Volantis where Tyrion stops to listen as a Red Priestess spreads the word of a savior: The Dragon Queen. She catches Tyrion’s eye. Does she recognize him? He doesn’t stick around to find out. He and Varys head for a brothel.
There, the most popular whore is dressed like Daenerys. Tyrion sidles up to another and does his Lannister silver tongue bit. It works and she takes his hand to lead him away, but he can’t. Apparently, Tyrion is having performance issues. He apologizes and wanders off to take a piss.
Just as he’s finishing up, Ser Jorah appears. He bounds Tyrion and says he’s taking him “to see the queen.”
- Margaery is playing too hard and too fast. Gotta give Tommen time to marinate in that good good and you definitely can’t flaunt it in Cersei’s face in front of women below her station. Slow your roll, Margaery.
- What Jon did with Janos reminded me of what went down with Deanerys last week. Jon is not a bad person, and I’m sure he felt sympathy for Janos once he started begging – you could see it on his face. But Janos tied Jon’s hands. He couldn’t let him go, even if he wanted to. With Jon’s refusal to treat the wildlings like animals – and especially if he takes Stannis’ advice – I wonder how his men will feel about him beheading one of their own and not executing wildlings.
- Which queen could Jorah mean? Cersei to be pardoned and made a Lord of Westeros once more? Or Daenerys to return to her favor?
- How could an alliance with the Sparrows possibly help Cersei?
- Am I the only one not really worried about Sansa? Sure she has some possible allies there (Theon) or on the way (Brienne, Stannis), but I feel like everything she went through in King’s Landing, and the lesson she learned at the Vale have prepared her for this. Ramsay is a psychopath, sure. But Sansa is Lannister/Littlefinger-trained. I’m not ready to count her out as just poor Sansa.
- Tyrion, you big dummy! That’s what you get. Reckless Tyrion is going to get old fast.