Episode 3 starts off with Catelyn at Riverrun, at the funeral of her father. As the gathered watch uneasily, her younger brother Edmure attempts (without success) to shoot a fiery arrow to light their father’s floating funeral pyre. His uncle Brynden–the Blackfish–swipes the bow away, gauges the wind and let’s lose the arrow. Doesn’t even bother to look when it hits the mark, setting the pyre ablaze. Gangsta.
There are some touching Tully moments between Cat and her uncle, but that’s neither here nor there. More interesting is Robb’s dressing down of Edmure for recklessly losing several hundred men and coming away with nothing but two adolescent distant Lannister relatives to show for it. This odd power dynamic, of a nephew verbally smacking up his uncle, reminds us of who is in charge here. But it also, once again, underscores the tenuous position of the King in the North. Meanwhile, not-Jeyne-but-is-Jeyne Westerling (Telisa Maegyr) bandages up some Lannister kids. I hope they didn’t go through all that extra-embellishing of her character last season to just give her these throwaway scenes.
Back in King’s Landing, He-Who-Shits-Gold holds his weekly small council, where we get to see Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, our favorite eunuch Varys the Spider and the crafty Maester Pycelle, all make an appearance–a lot of shadiness in one place. Speaking of shady, Cersei shows up as well, and in a bid to emphasize her own standing and power, carries her chair to seat it next to her father. Tyrion, not to be outdone, quite loudly pulls a chair to the opposite end of the table from his father. Pure comedy. The meeting ends with Tyrion, quite to his disappointment, finding out he’s made Master of Coin–to a kingdom that is in debt and has the bill collectors circling. To lighten things up, we get a bit of required episode nudity as the young squire Podrick finally gets “deflowered” and turns out (on his first try with three experienced “professional ladies”) to be very good at it. Yeah. Right. Not bloody likely.
Out in the countryside, Arya (her identity blown last episode by The Hound), is now sorta-but-not (but really) a captive of the Brotherhood Without Banners led by the Red Priest Thoros of Myr–who I recalled from the book as being fatter, drunker and a lot more pious. Now he just has this whole Little John and his Merry Men thing going on. Initially sent out by Ned Stark to arrest The Hound’s even more monstrous brother, The Mountain, the band has turned anarchist, renouncing all ties to any house or kingdom and instead concerns itself with protecting the small folk. They take both Arya and The Hound with them, and in a touching scene full of baked bread Hot Pie bids us all farewell.
Speaking of pious Red priests, out at dreary Dragonstone, we get a glimpse of the Lady Melisandre and the would-be-king Stannis. Seems Melisandre has decided she needs to leave to get some Lord of Light business done. When Stannis tries to seduce her into staying, she pretty much tells him he’s just not man enough right now. Ouch.
Somewhere in the North, poor Theon has made his escape but is dogged by pursuers. After a desperate chase he’s captured and is set to receive some backwoods Deliverance type punishment, when someone comes to his rescue–slaying his intended rapists. Turns out, it’s the same mysterious benefactor who set him free from his torture prison. Innocent looking savior guy says he was sent by Theon’s sister. But all I can think of is a certain really sick and demented skin-flaying bastard. Beware Theon, beware. What rhymes with Reek…Meek.
Somewhere beyond the Wall, another bastard, Jon Snow, is in the company of Mance Rayder and the
Wildlings Freefolk. They come across a freakish spiral pattern of torn apart horses buried into the snow. Rayder informs Jon these horses belonged to men of the Watch, who had likely been turned to wights. What is actually left of the Night’s Watch stumbles back to the home of Craster the Molester and his dozens of daughter-wives. Craster, being the charming host, regales them with tales of sows and cannibalism. In the background, Samwell Tarly’s crush, Gilly, gives birth–to a boy. Ruh roh.
Meanwhile, across the sea, Daenerys is still in the slave port of Astapor, home of the Harpy. The Khaleesi is increasingly disturbed by the brutality of slavery around her, yet desperate to acquire the famed slave-soldiers The Unsullied in her bid to seize the Iron Throne. She meets again with the unsavory Kraznys mo Nakloz, a slave trader, and tries to bargain a price for the eunuch soldiers. He continues to make dismissive crass sexual insults through his translator, Missandei (who I remember being like a young girl in the book–but whatever) who skillfully puts his words in a more “diplomatic” light. Daenerys stuns everyone however when she offers one of her dragons for all the Unsullied. Even Kraznys has to take this seriously. He demands the biggest, and she says fine. Old Bear and Ser Barristan Selmy object, but the Khaleesi checks them both and they wisely shut it up.
So, the episode ends with a captured Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister, now prisoners of Locke, a man-at-arms sworn to House Bolton–led by Roose Bolton, who is ostensibly *ahem* fighting for Robb Stark. While tied together atop a horse, Jamie tries to give Brienne disturbing advice on how to survive the inevitable gang rape she’s going to receive at the hands of their captors come nightfall. While I do miss the Bloody Mummers, Locke and his own “brave companions” do sing a good tune while riding, and (turns out) they get on with the whole raping thing as well. As they take away a struggling Brienne, Jaime–all cool-as-cucumbers–informs Locke that Brienne is of noble birth, claims her father comes from an isle of rubies and says House Tarth would pay her weight in gems to have her back, preferably un-raped. This convinces Locke, who calls off the sexual violence. Jaime, confident of his way with words, tells Locke that House Lannister would pay dearly in gold to have its favored son back unharmed as well. For a moment, it looks like Locke is an easily bought man, and he has Jaime released. But, turns out Locke is actually a bit bitter of Jaime’s talking down to him, and his whole tricksy rich boy speech. Roughs up the kingslayer and tells him as much.
Oh yeah, then he pulls out a big ass knife and chops off Jaime’s sword hand.
:: drops mic. walks off stage ::
It’s hard out there for a Lannister.