Clashing Kings: What is Dead May Never Die

Picking up right where we left off, Craster drags a bloody and beaten Jon before Mormont and declares the Night’s Watch can no longer count on his hospitality. Tough break, especially for the deer-in-the-headlights Snow, whom the Lord Commander takes outside and berates for getting them evicted from the incestuous old Wildling’s abode. Jon tells Mormont about the little matter of the infant sacrifice he witnessed, but it turns out the Old Bear knew exactly what was going on. This far north of the Wall, you can’t be too picky when it comes to allies.

A couple of knights duke it out before an excited crowd for the favor of would-be King Renly, who you may remember from last season as the younger, less heterosexual Baratheon. I’ve been told our beards look alike. Speaking of which, Loras Tyrell isn’t doing too well in the duel against his much larger opponent. Catelyn arrives to see Loras defeated and the victor revealed to be a woman: Brienne of Tarth. She’s rather tall, and not remotely as ugly as her literary counterpart. For her victory, Renly grants her wish to be a member of his Kingsguard. Catelyn starts on her gambit to ally with Renly, and belittles him and his soldiers just the right amount.

Balon Greyjoy plans to take the North while Robb is distracted by the Lannisters. Theon is upset both at the fact that his father wants him to attack Stark forces and that he isn’t being given that big a role in the mission. They argue over how much of a true Ironborn Theon is, and how unfair it would be to hold him accountable for the course his life has taken. He gets slapped, somewhere in there. Less satisfying than a Joffrey slap, to be sure.

Cersei makes an uncomfortable dinner with her younger, less evil children and Sansa more uncomfortable than it really needs to be.

In a well-handled adaptation of a sequence from the book, Tyrion informs Pycelle, Littlefinger, and Varys that he’s scheming to marry off Princess Myrcella, but gives each of them different details as to whom. He goes about it a tad blatantly, but I’ll allow it. The Imp’s got game.

Loras and Renly are making out, but the Knight of Flowers stops it at that: For political reasons, the King really should spend some time with the other Tyrell, his sister Queen Margaery. Renly’s not into that idea at all. Margaery comes in and attempts a bit of seduction, but realizes pretty quickly she won’t be of much use in that regard. She’s totally cool that her husband’s gay, as long as they work out a way for him to impregnate her.

Cersei is livid over Tyrion’s plans for Myrcella (specifically the variation he gave to Pycelle). He doesn’t let on about what he did, and Cersei gets so mad she pushes him down. I wish it hadn’t looked really funny, but what are you gonna do?

Theon, far more conflicted over the notion of betraying Robb onscreen than in the books, makes the last minute decision to burn the note he wrote warning of Balon’s oncoming raids. He gets baptized in the name of the Drowned God, now a true Ironborn.

Littlefinger isn’t happy to be on the less dignified end of the manipulator/manipulatee relationship, and tells Tyrion as much. Turns out that he’s not done with Baelish yet, though: Tyrion wants him to use Catelyn to free Jaime. Ooh, that’s not what the books did. Very excited to see where this goes.

And the trap springs: Tyrion and Bronn send Pycelle to the dungeons for informing to Cersei. The old man protests, and at least seems very genuine when he claims not to have poisoned Jon Arryn (the Hand before Ned? His death kicked off the series? Big mystery that we never really got an answer to? Ah well, moving on), but it’s too little too late.

Arya and Yoren have a chat while the rest of the Night’s Watch recruits slumber. How does Yoren sleep when he’s seen so many terrible things? He’s not entirely sure, but tells a story with a helpful nugget of advice: Say a prayer each night made up of the names of everyone you hate, then it’ll feel really good when you finally get the chance to murder them. Alright then!

And then there’s a commotion outside. Someone named Armory Lorch (a name that screams trust and compassion) is here on behalf of the King (the dickish blonde one) for Gendry. Yoren refuses to comply. He gets shot by a crossbow, and says he always hated the damned things for taking so long to reload. With that he kills the soldier who shot him and a few others before the men finally take him down. Wow. Mentoring Arya doesn’t give you a long life expectancy, but you sure go out with style. The soldiers round everyone up with some more bloodshed. One of the kids took an arrow to the knee (blah blah Skyrim reference) and says he’ll have to be carried. He gets stabbed in the throat. When pressed to reveal which one of them is Gendry, Arya thinks quickly and says it’s the boy that was just killed. Clever girl.

Well at least this one only ended with the murder of a child…or is that worse than a baby? Food for thought.

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