Erm, okay, let’s just get to it. Spoilers! But only for the show!
Open with Bran dreaming that he can walk, hunting a three-eyed crow. Jon and Robb tell him to shoot it, but he misses. When he turns, his brothers are gone but Jojen (eh, spoilers?) is there, telling him that he can’t kill the raven because “the raven is you.” I guess not so much with the metaphor. In wakey-wakey land, Osha says they’d better get going.
Bolton interrupts Robb getting cosy with his lady wife to bring the Dark Words alluded to in the title. First of all, from Riverrun, where Lady Catelyn’s father, Lord Hoster, has died. From in Winterfell they learn the Ironmen have fled and left the castle in burnt ruins. They don’t know what happened to Bran and Rickon… wait, what? Are we re-writing things? I’m pretty sure Catelyn and Robb are supposed to believe they’re dead.
Theon wakes up to some torture.
Jaime and Brienne have some banter. Or rather, Jaime berates her a bit and she sticks up for Catelyn. Jaime also throws some insults at Renly for being gay, including a personal favourite of mine, “It’s a shame the throne wasn’t made of cocks, they’d’ve never got him off it.” However it seems that Brienne lacks my immature sense of humour. They run into a stranger, whom they attempt to evade.
Joffery is trying on dresses. Cercei asks him how he feels about Margery Tyrell, and the long and short of it is that Joffery’s a dick and expects “intelligent women to do as they’re told.” Ohhh, man, buddy, I know more than a few women who would love to have a word with you about that one. One of whom is your mother.
Sansa is also trying on dresses. Shae tries to warn her that Littlefinger is all littlefingering his way into her business. Loras Tyrell comes to take Sansa on a walk with Margery and her Granmother and huzzah! The Queen of Thorns! She’s crass and blunt and sly and much of this conversation is straight from the book, which should be motivation enough to read them and not just watch the show. Lady Olenna asks about Joffery and whether or not the rumours of his dickitry are true.
Before we hear Sansa’s answer (i.e. yes, very true), we move to her mother. Catelyn tells Talissa about how she wished for Jon’s death when he was a child sick with the pox. She realised that was pretty bitchy, so she prayed instead for his survival in exchange for instating him as a true son. But she obviously didn’t keep that promise. Now she feels like everything that’s gone wrong is her fault. I like when novel things, not from the book, happen on this show. It’s good to still be surprised, and usually they still fit in with everything overall.
Speak of the devil, Jon’s still trekking around up north. Mance is explaining how he rallied the many clans of wildlings together. Hint: it involved certain death. They come across Orell, who is warging in his eagle. Yeah, warg is a verb now. He was using his bird to espy the dead of the Night’s Watch.
Speaking of which, those who aren’t dead are hiking back to the Wall. Sam decides he should be left to die, but Small Paul and Grenn don’t want to let him get left behind. Mormont forbids him from dying as well. They continue trekking.
Back to Bran. Osha hears something and goes off hunting, when Jojen Reed comes to him. Osha gets her spear on him, but his sister Meera sneaks up behind her. They’ve come to travel with Bran. Does anyone else find it unsettling that ten years after Love Actually that kid looks exactly the same except taller and with a slightly more post-pubescent voice? No? Just me? Okay then.
Gendry is giving Arya a hard time for not ending the war with one of Jaqen Ha’gar’s kills. They’re interrupted by a band of brigands singing down the road. Thoros of Myr introduces his men as the Brotherhood Without Banners, who fancy themselves a group of Robin Hoods, defending the poor and what have you. Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie are forced to go along with them.
Tyrion comes to his room to find Shae waiting for him, contrary to his express wishes. She’s there to tell him about Littlefinger’s keen interest in Sansa. He asks where her concern stems from, and she explains that Ros made her suspicious. Goddamit, show, stop trying to make Ros a thing!
Joff and Margery are hanging out in Joff’s bedchamber, which seems wildly inappropriate, given that they aren’t married yet. He asks Margery why she didn’t make babies, and she is forced to admit that he was probably not that into her, you know, sexually. Joff gets all homophobic and Margery stokes his already considerable ego. She stokes it so well he allows her to hold her crossbow. Not a euphemism.
Theon update: still getting tortured. His torturers want to know why he invaded Winterfell. He says he did it because he hated the Starks. Seriously I have no idea what’s up with this right now.
Rickon runs off with Summer and Shaggydog. Jojen tells Bran that he’s a warg and that the crow represents the second sight. Jojen is also gifted with this ability, and presumably aims to help Bran develop his own talents at it. Osha is distrustful of a boy who has to have his sister fight for him.
Thoros and his merry men are at an inn with our young heroes. He asks Arya how they got free; she says Gendry stole the swords, and that she and he knew how to use them. When the men laugh at her, she draws her sword, but Thoros promptly disarms her with a flourish. Before the kids can leave, Anguy shows up with The Hound in tow. Much to Arya’s alarm, he reveals her to be a Stark.
Jaime is still teasing Brienne relentlessly. I continue to root for a USA-buddy-cop-show for these two. As they cross the bridge, he stumbles, but when Brienne tries to help him up, turns out it was a ruse! A ruse I say! He grabs her sword, cutting his leash. They fight, and Brienne has the best of him, but they’re interrupted by Roose Bolton’s men. I’m pretty bummed we don’t get to hear Vargo Hoat’s lisp. At any rate, they’re captured.
Well, it’s nice to see we didn’t have to spend too much time re-establishing what everyone else is up to. Also, am I the only one that feels like episodes without Danearys are a lot more tolerable? I don’t have issues with her in the books, but something about her on this show is entirely insufferable. The pacing is also a little overwhelming; at this point we have to be in so many places at once that this episode felt choppy. Last I heard Storm of Swords was still getting cut into two seasons; the show has time to develop some things, and they should use it. I understand trimming the fat, especially in regard to characters, but I want to see more drawn out scenes establishing chemistry between people, in the same vein as the Arya/Tywin stuff last season. But hey, there are still a lot of big things in store, and I doubt they’ll disappoint.