This week on HBO’s Game of Thrones, we finally, finally get to see some much-missed faces. Bronn, baby, Bronn. And Tyrion. And Stannis. Remember him? And Robb, the handsomest king. And Ros. Because we all thought she didn’t get enough valuable screen-time at the beginning of this season.
Lots of pieces were moved around the board this week as we move towards the biggest clash of kings at season’s end. And then there’s Dany’s story.
Warning: Episode reviews contain episode and book spoilers. If you want to remain spoiler-free, follow Leigh Butler’s read of ASOIaF. Tor.com is not liable for your further enjoyment of the series if later books get spoiled in the comments.
One of my favorite returning faces was Yara Greyjoy. Not-Asha returns to snark her way through a scene at Winterfell’s banquet hall and emasculate her little brother for being the only person stupid enough to not realize that murdering the heirs of Winterfell would make all of the North hungry for his head. Actually, Not-Asha calls Theon another word, one that got considerable, noticeable use throughout the hour.
I would kind of love a scene between Yara and Jamie, just to see who could come up with the most sarcastic jokes. My money’s on Yara, but Jamie’s tongue is nearly as sharp as his sword. He really has a talent for getting under people’s skins. Kudos to Brienne for keeping her cool. What an incredibly strong person she is. Cat, too, in her “woman’s honor.” I don’t know why Cat and Robb can’t learn about the deaths of Bran and Rickon yet. That was such a powerful motivator in the book and we watch mother and son cope with their grief in different ways.
I mean, not that Robb needed any special motivation to get horizontal with sexy nurse Talisa. I thought their love scene was sweet and well-earned. The more these two fall in love, the more our hearts will get ripped out later.
As for Cat, why would she possibly think releasing Jamie Lannister was a good idea? Why would she think he would keep his word and get her daughters back? The show made her decision seem a bit more reasonable, because if Karstark’s men killed Jamie in the night, she wouldn’t have anything to trade for Arya and Sansa. In the books, her decision seemed much more infuriating. Of course her actions as a mother were understandable, but as a war strategy? Not so smart.
My favorite scene was between Bronn, Varys, and Tyrion. Nerves are frayed as King’s Landing is preparing for a siege. Bronn seems to be preparing more than anyone else by rounding up the city’s thieves and taking them off the board for good. He’s a practical one. Clearly he has watched The Incredibles or read Watchmen and knows better than to wear a cape. (Cloak/cape, same difference.) Tyrion can read about sieges all he likes, but Bronn’s actually been there.
While the bromance between Bronn and Tyrion goes on, any kindness between Tyrion and his sister Cersei from last is gone when she made good on her promise to hurt someone he loves. We called it earlier in the season; Ros gets to be the stand-in for Alayaya in the books, at least in this regard. She must be one of the unluckiest whores in all of King’s Landing. I’m sure we’ll see her at a slave auction in Yunkai next season. Cersei really comes across as petty. Her son is a monster, there’s a pissed-off Stannis at her doorstep, the people are starving, but she’s still got time for this nonsense?
In Harrenhal, Arya has no wishes left to waste on small grudges. She lost her opportunity to take out Tywin before he moved against Robb. A blogger wonders why she didn’t say his name from the start. But I loved her using Jaqen’s name as her final name. So awesome.
Personally, I might’ve said Hot Pie’s because, really? All he talks about is hot pies. It’s both hilarious and annoying as hell. Gendry is to be commended for not putting Hot Pie’s chubby face between his mallet and anvil thus far.
I think I need a memory jog, because there’s a hugely important (and freaking cool) final scene with Jaqen we haven’t seen yet. A girl can’t leave her only friend like that, without taking back his name. Right? Where’s the weasel soup?
And where’s Ghost? Another welcome face we reconnected with this week was Samwell at the Fist of the First Men. It’s a lot more interesting to watch Sam and co. dig up all that mysterious dragonglass than a direwolf because we get a few more words of bleak wisdom from Dolorous “Debbie Downer” Edd. Jon, meanwhile is meeting a few more Wildings as a captive. Rattleshirt! Creepy as hell. Perfect. The Stark boys are really learning the hard way that their bad decisions can lead to death for others. If Jon had killed Ygritte like he was supposed to, those Night’s Watch men might not have died searching for him. I bet those dead brothers won’t think that one man in Mance Rayder’s inner circle was worth their lives.
For those keeping count, Stannis and The Onion Knight are two days away from King’s Landing. The preview for next week’s George R. R. Martin-penned episode, “Blackwater,” gave me a little chill. War is no longer coming. War is here. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss gave Entertainment Weekly a little preview of the Very Special Episode.
Game of Thrones airs 9PM E/PT on HBO.
Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com. She covers True Blood, Game of Thrones, and is also an avid gamer. She has also covered tech and TV for Geektress.com and Action Flick Chick. Follower her on Twitter @tdelucci