Daenerys drives a dragon-sized bargain in this week’s Game of Thrones, and if there’s anything that might make that vile slave trader shut his yap, it’s the prospect of a scaly, winged baby of his own. In other news: The realm gets a new master of coin, Theon briefly tastes freedom and can somebody give Jaime a hand? Let’s review the major developments that take place in “Walk of Punishment.”
HOUSE STARK: A RIVERRUN THROUGH IT | Catelyn’s dearly departed father is laid to rest in a boat and pushed out into the river; as the mourners watch, a man tries – and misses – to shoot a flaming arrow that will light the bier on fire. An older onlooker huffily pushes the younger man aside, nocks his arrow and lets fly; the burning projectile hits the boat just before it disappears around the bend. (Ye old baller!) When Robb later discusses his troops’ movements with the two men, we learn the elder is Cat’s uncle Brynden “Blackfish” Tully, and the younger is her brother, Edmure. Robb’s not pleased that Edmure didn’t follow his orders in a recent battle. As a result, their side lost hundreds of men and only gained two distant Lannister cousins as hostages.
In another part of the castle, Catelyn breaks down as she remembers waiting for her father to come home from various campaigns and wonders if Bran and Rickon did the same for her before they died. Her uncle bucks her up, reminding her that Robb thinks the boys are still alive, and encourages her to be strong for her son. Meanwhile, Talisa puts the fear of Robb into the Lannister POWs – who, as it turns out, are just little boys — as she sees to their wounds. Yes, she matter-of-factly replies to their big-eyed queries, Robb does turn into a wolf who eats his enemies’ flesh. But they’re safe, she assures them, because he only eats kids during the full moon. (For your dramatic peek at the sky outside the window, Talisa, you get a heh.)
HOUSE STARK: NEEDLE-IS-MY-COPILOT EDITION | When Arya gets mad at Gendry for helping their captors with their armor, she is told that she is a “guest,” not a prisoner. The gang prepares to leave, with a hooded Hound – who is an actual prisoner – in tow, but Hot Pie announces that he’s staying at the inn to bake for the owners. He hands Arya some bread vaguely shaped like a wolf (aw) and tells Gendry, “Don’t get stabbed,” as they ride away. “You don’t… burn your fingers,” the older boy replies as Arya rips into her gift (a girl after my own heart) and calls back that the loaf is tasty. (Aw again.)
HOUSE LANNISTER: PURSE-STRINGS EDITION | Tywin summons Baelish, Pycelle, Varys, Cersei and Tyrion to his quarters: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new small council! Suckup Cersei makes a big show of taking the seat at her father’s right hand; Tyrion makes a bigger show of noisily dragging (ha!) a chair to the end of the table, opposite his pop. On the agenda: Jaime’s whereabouts (nobody has any info), Roose Bolton’s taking of Harrenhal (doesn’t really matter; Tywin has named Littlefinger official lord of that estate) and the very newly landed Baelish’s imminent engagement to Lysa Arryn, sister of Cat, widow of pre-Ned Stark Hand Jon Arryn and Lady Regent of the Vale. Or you may remember her the way I do: The Reason I Will Never Breastfeed. (Side note: That link is mildly NSFW.) Cat’s crazy sibling “has always been positively predisposed to me,” he sniffs, missing out on the hilarious looks exchanged around the table. Oh, and Tyrion is to take Baelish’s newly vacated role of master of coin. He’s not pleased. “I’m quite good at spending money, but a lifetime of outrageous wealth hasn’t made me good at managing it,” he protests.
Nevertheless, he’s soon retrieving the official ledgers from their hiding place at Littlefinger’s brothel, and Podrick is soon retrieving his eyeballs from where they’ve tumbled into Ros’ cleavage. Guess what, kid? It’s your lucky, horny day. As a reward for saving Tyrion’s life during the battle of Blackwater, young Pod is gifted with two very naked courtiers and a nearly naked contortionist, as well as a bag of cash with which to pay them. “Pace yourself, lad,” Bronn says as he and Tyrion take their leave.
Later, Pod returns with all of the cash; Baelish’s ladies so enjoyed themselves, they wouldn’t accept it. (Ha!) The look on Tyrion’s face is fantastic as he pours a cup of wine for his squire and says, “Sit down, Podrick. We’re going to need details.” Does it make me a total perv to wish that scene had gone on a wee bit longer? (Probably.)
HOUSE LANNISTER: NO-GOOD-DEED-GOES-UNPUNISHED EDITION | Lashed back-to-back on a horse, Jaime tries to assert that Brienne was “not beating me,” during the swordfight their captors interruped; he is, of course, so very wrong. Always the charmer, he then informs Brienne she’ll be raped multiple times as soon as the men make camp that evening, and he advises her not to fight so she doesn’t get hurt. 1) Ugh. If not getting pummeled while you’re being sexually violated is the outcome you’re hoping for, life is really, really bad. 2) There is no way for me to convince you of this if you haven’t seen the exchange, but it’s a little sweet… in the most screwed-up of ways. What would he do in her situation, she asks? Oh, he’d make them kill him, he assures her, but he’s not a woman – “Thank God.”
The Kingslayer’s prediction starts to come to pass later that evening, but he saves Brienne’s virtue (and her teeth) by casually dropping that her father has great wealth in sapphires and will pay a high ransom for his “unbesmirched” daughter’s return. When that works, Jaime tries to negotiate for his own freedom. He thinks he’s onto something when he’s unchained, but pretty soon he’s flat on his face in the dirt. “You’re nothing without your daddy, and your daddy ain’t here,” his captor sneers. “Here, this should help you remember.” And just like that, the man uses a knife the size of Florida to cleave Jaime’s hand from his arm. Nicolaj Coster-Waldau’s screams are appropriately terrifying.
HOUSE WE-GREW-UP-AT-WINTERFELL-BUT-AREN’T-REALLY-STARKS | True to his word, the man who promised to free Theon returns to remove him from the torture device and send him off on a horse. Greyjoy is weak, wounded and aware he’s not in the Iron Islands, but he’s able to ride away in hopes of meeting his sister. Soon, though, four men on horseback catch him. Just as Theon is about to succumb to the same fate as Brienne nearly did, an archer takes out all of the men tormenting him. “You’re a long way from home,” the assassin tells a baffled Theon, “and winter is coming.”
Meanwhile, north of the Wall, Mance and his men reach the place Orell saw in the last episode, but find only an artfully arranged spiral of dead horse parts. The “dead crows” the warg spotted are no longer there; Mance doesn’t have to tell Jon that their absence means the White Walkers have reanimated them as wights. He orders Giantsbane and his men – including Jon – to climb the Wall and await his signal. “When it’s time, I’m going to light the biggest fire the north has ever seen!” he cries. (Anyone catch Ygritte’s face when Mance suggested an unhelpful Jon be tossed off the wall? I’m going to borrow one of your favorite phrases, Red, and say when it comes to masking fledgling feelings, you know nothing.)
HOUSE TARGARYEN | In Astapor, Daenerys continues to be disgusted by The Unsullied’s treatment, including the “Walk of Punishment” that awaits any man who transgresses the rules. Jorah says she can’t regain the throne without the slave soldiers, but Barristan suggests hiring sellswords instead – the exchange sets up an antagonistic relationship between the two men. When Dany meets with the slave trader, she offers to buy all 8,000 Unsullied, as well as all of the ones in training. They haggle until she offers him her biggest dragon, then it’s a done deal, with his pretty interpreter as part of the bargain – “as a gift.” Barristan and Jorah think the move is a mistake; after she dresses them down for doubting her in front of strangers, she pulls the interpreter aside to ask for her honest thoughts on the situation. “Valar morghulis,” the woman says, offering the High Valyrian for “All men must die.” Khaleesi’s response? “But we are not men.” Can someone please tell me the High Valyrian for “Aw hell yeah!”?
Now it’s your turn. What do you think Melisandre wants with some Baratheon blood? Does Sam seeking out Craster’s laboring daughterwife mean he’s getting less cowardly by the day? And did you get the Meereenese knot reference? Sound off in the comments!