Game Of Thrones Recap: "The Prince of Winterfell"
Further North, Ygritte brings Jon to her wildling commander, the Lord o' Bones, who lives up to his name with visually striking skeletal attire. It seems they've also captured Qhorin, and seeing as the famed ranger is far more valuable, there's not much reason to keep Snow alive. Except that Ygritte is sure Mance will want him. Jon's life is spared for the moment. Now they're even, she says. Yet Jon must wish he were dead once Qhorin tells him that all the other rangers were killed because they were looking for him.
Robb and Lady Telisa lament over the young wolf's arranged marriage to the Frey girl (last season, needed to cross a bridge, made a deal with Filch from the Harry Potter movies? There you go). They discuss Ned, honor, bravery, and what it means to lead when a man rides up and tells them the Kingslayer has escaped…
…And Catelyn's the one who let him go. She did it so the girls would be freed. Robb and Lord Karstark both are understandably furious. Robb thinks his mother was played for a fool, and wants her guarded around the clock. He doubles the number of men out looking for Jaime…
…Who just at this moment is getting whisked away by Brienne, whom the Kingslayer is trying to goad into a fight. He thinks there are only three men in the Seven Kingdoms (Likely the Mountain, the Hound, and Ser Barristan) who might be his match. Surely he could dispatch this woman easily enough. But Brienne isn't taking the bait. Not yet, anyway.
In Harrenhal, Tywin has just about had it with Robb Stark's undefeated streak. He means to ride out immediately, and see if they can get a full night's march before anyone's the wiser. Gregor Clegane will run things at Harrenhal in the mean time. Tywin makes sure Arya will stay on as cupbearer for the Mountain. That's a pretty terrible reward for her loyal service and scintillating conversation, but considering her reaction to the news is to try and find Jaqen H'ghar and tell him to kill Tywin before he leaves, well, we can probably call this one even. She fails, incidentally, and the Lannister army rides out in force.
As the wildlings march them across the North, Qhorin points out to Jon that it would be invaluable to have a crow in the wildling army. Jon has no idea how they'd accomplish that. Qhorin's got something of a plan, though, and it involves beating the hell out of Jon for all the wildlings to see.
In King's Landing, Tyrion and Bronn bicker like an old married couple while trying to plan how they'll defend the city during Stannis's inevitable siege. Varys shows up and congratulates the two of them on reduced crime rates. Turns out Bronn had all the thieves executed. Harsh? Maybe, but the sellsword promises them that in a siege, food is the biggest concern by far. Anyone liable to steal a lot of it had to be taken out. Tyrion deduces where Stannis will most likely strike. The Baratheon army has superior forces, but they've got the wildfire.
At the Fist of the First Men, Sam and a couple of the Night's Watch wonder if Jon and Qhorin are still alive before finding a cache of obsidian (called "dragon glass" in Westeros) weaponry hidden by some crow in days long gone by.
Arya finally locates Jaqen, and confirms that if she names Tywin now it might take quite a while for the assassin to make good on his debt. Anyone she names, though, will die. She names Jaqen H'ghar. He pleads with Arya to unname him, which she will, provided he helps her, Gendry, and Hot Pie escape. That'll take more than one death, says Jaqen, but he reluctantly agrees.
Cersei is upset that Joffrey wants to fight Stannis's forces, but Tyrion's all for it. Good for morale to see the King in the fray. But Cersei has a trump card to ensure she gets her way: She knows about Tyrion's whore. He's obviously shaken, and asks for proof. She produces not Shae, but Ros. Well Tryion did sleep with her in the pilot, come to think of it. The two of them both pretend to care about each other very deeply, and Tyrion threatens that one day, he'll cause his sister's joy to turn to ashes in her mouth. She just smiles.
Tyrion runs off and makes sure that Shae is, in fact, all right. Now we see for the first time how much he truly loves her, saying he'd kill for her and expects he'll have to. He has her promise that she belongs to him. He vows the same.
Roose Bolton tells Robb there's still no word from Winterfell, and offers once again to send his bastard to retake the castle. Robb agrees, convinced that Theon would never harm Bran or Rickon. Telisa enters, and asks how he's doing. Not well, obviously. He wasn't raised to be a king. She knows the feeling; she was supposed to be a proper lady. How did she get here, then? When she was a young girl in Volantis, a slave resuscitated her little brother after he drowned. She immediately decided she would practice medicine in a place without slavery, hence her presence on the battlefields of Westeros. That story turns out to be the final straw: Robb and Telisa have sweet, oath-breaking sex on the floor of the tent.
Per Jaqen's instructions, Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry meet up at midnight. They're supposed to just walk through the gate, but there are guards. Arya goes for it anyway. When the trio gets closer, they realize the soldiers are dead where they stand. Or hang, rather.
Stannis's fleet is just a day from King's Landing, and the rightful ruler of the seven kingdoms is in as good a mood as he ever gets. Davos talks about how strange it is to be low born (the son of a crabber) and raised to such a lofty position. He's earned it, Stannis has no doubt, recalling how Davos saved them all by smuggling in food to the besieged Storm's End during Robert's Rebellion. Stannis was barely commended for the victory, but it changed Davos's life. And for his continued loyal service, further rewards await the Onion Knight: If they win this battle, Davos will be Hand of the King. He's as honored as he is daunted.
Joffrey, Tyrion, and Varys anticipate the siege. Joffrey's itching to fight, and carve a red smile on Stannis's face. Despite the fact that the Imp and the Spider will both surely be executed if left to the remaining Baratheon's mercy, it's pretty clear they'd take at least some pleasure from the boy king's spectacular defeat. Varys and Tyrion wish they could converse as honest men, but their political reality doesn't allow it. Tyrion is surprised to discover how much he enjoys the game, and Varys is kind enough to tell him that he's an excellent player. Hopefully they'll both survive the next couple of turns. Varys shares that, according to his sources in Qarth, Daenerys Targaryen lives. And she's got dragons. Tyrion is more than skeptical, but Varys points out that, when the creatures are fully grown, none of it will matter. They'll all burn. "One game at a time, my friend," advises Tyrion.
Good advice, considering at the moment the Mother of Dragons is in dire straights. Jorah has a ship they can flee Qarth aboard, but Dany won't go without her scaly children. Jorah thinks it would be playing right into the Warlocks' hands to go to the House of the Undying, but she doesn't think she has a choice.
And back at Winterfell, Theon gives his first mate some gold to pay off the farmer for his "trouble," but they've already given him the iron price for his silence. Dead men tell no tales, and all that. Maester Luwin sees Osha sneaking into the Winterfell crypt with some bread. He follows and we see that, in fact, Bran and Rickon are alive and well, hiding right under Theon's nose. Turns out he's been trying to pass off a pair of orphans as the Stark boys.
Next week it all comes to a head with the Battle of the Blackwater Rush. Prepare for war.