We start off with a seriously injured Grey Worm being watched over by Missandei—and the body of Ser Barristan Selmy being looked over by Daenerys (well there’s another change from the books…). Dany is angry, pointing out that Ser Barristan came to serve her and now died butchered in an alley by cowards who hide behind masks. Yep. The Klan of Meereen sucks as bad as the one we got here. New-faced Daario Naharis wants to put the hammer down–secure one part of the city then make a full sweep to flush out all the “rats.” But she tells him she likes his earlier suggestion better–round up the heads of all the major families that might be behind the Sons of the Harpy, and squeeze em’ until somebody squawks.
When the Ghiscari noble Hizdahr zo Loraq who is nearby says “uhhh, but I’m the head of a noble family,” he gets arrested immediately. Oop!
Dany has the captured nobles taken to the dungeons (including Hizdahr), where the Unsullied push them forward at spear point. And we have a pretty good idea what’s lurking in those dungeons, hungry and waiting. She reminds the gathered nobles that she is the Mother of Dragons and that undisciplined children must be punished. It’s a bit of double-speak, at once referring to the near uncontrollable dragons she keeps and the uncontrollable city she’s trying to rule.
Then she has one of the nobles pushed forward on his knees–and he is immediately burnt the hell up in dragonfire! I mean burnt. the. f–. up! Toast! Bacon! Immolated! Two chained dragons, the near feral Rhaegal and Viserion, emerge from the darkness and rip his burning body apart–Jurassic Park style. Damn. Dany ain’t playing. She tells the quivering nobles as much, almost threatening to give Hizdahar to her dragons next. He closes his eyes while the others cower watching the feeding dragons, and says plainly “Valar Morghulis.” Dany is quite for a moment, then decides that’s enough for one night–“don’t want to overfeed them.” She has the gathered nobles sent away and stops for a while to watch her dragons feed on the fiery corpse, before leaving in turn. Dany done gone Nino Brown.
At Castle Black, Samwell reads a letter about what’s happening across the see with Dany (Westerosi Twitter) to Maester Aemon (the last known Targaryen on that side of the sea). Maester Aemon laments that Dany is by herself, away from those who can guide her. To be a Targaryen alone in the world he says, is a terrible feeling. Jon Snow walks in around then and asks for some private time with the elder maester. He tells the old guy he has to make a decision but that it might divide the Night’s Watch. Before he can finish Maester Aemon pretty much goes all Yoda. “Do or do not!” He tells Jon he’s the Lord Commander. And it’s time for him to recognize it. “Kill the boy” within he says, “and let the man be born.”
We next see Jon meeting with Tormund Giantsbane of the Freefolk. He offers the Wildling second in command a chance at freedom, to send him north of The Wall, find the Freefolk and bring them south of The Wall. He’ll even find them land to settle on–provided they fight alongside the Watch. Of course, Wildlings gonna Wildling and Tormund tells Jon he won’t ever make peace with Crows much less fight alongside them. When Jon calls Tormund a coward, the Wildling raises up and says those are easy words to tell a man in chains. So Jon unchains him and is like–now what? A surprised Tormund finally agrees, but demands Jon come with him to talk to the Freefolk. Let the Lord Commander give his people assurances that they won’t be killed if they follow him beyond the Wall.
The biggest test however comes when Jon addresses the Night’s Watch. Nobody’s having this alliance with Wildlings bit. Nobody, not even Dolorous Edd. Jon tells them they can either add the Wildlings to their army, or to the army of the dead by the White Walkers. But there’s just too much bad blood for them to hear that kind of logic. A tired Jon Snow heads back to the front office. When young Olly enters to bring him food, Jon asks the boy to speak his mind. And he does. He reminds Jon the Wildlings killed his family, right in front of him, and he ain’t for this peace thing either. Jon tries to tell the kid they have to unite, “Winter is Coming” and they can’t face it alone. But the boy who always looked up to him turns cold. This is gonna be a hard sell.
Somewhere further south, Brienne and Podrick Payne sit outside Winterfell trying to look after Sansa Stark. After evoking Catelyn Stark, they manage to wrangle a local loyal Northman to send a message into the castle. We next get to see naked Ramsay Bolton and naked Myranda (his weird killer lover) having a discussion about what’s going to happen now that the once-bastard is set to be married. Myranda’s jealous, but Ramsay’s not willing to let her go–marriage or no marriage. Then it kinda gets a little possessive, violent, tongue-bite-y and…nasty. Next.
Sansa meanwhile gets a message from one of the local servants that she still has friends about. She heads out to look at the castle tower and who saunters up all nice like? Myranda the killer. Run Sansa! Run! She introduces herself as the kettle master’s daughter and then somehow coaxes Sansa into the kennels to show her “a surprise.” After passing by a bunch of growling dogs she gets to the last kennel and finds–Theon. When she says his name, he shakes his head “No.” He tells her she shouldn’t be here. Sansa takes off with a WTF look on her face. Because seriously, WTF!?
In the next scene Reek (Theon) is serving wine as Ramsay asks if he has something to tell him. After Reek confesses that Sansa saw him and begs for forgiveness, Ramsay tells him he mustn’ keep secrets. Then he tells Reek to get on his knees and to give him his hand. There’s a tense moment where Reek believes he’s going to be punished in some cruel Bolton way, but Ramsay only says “I forgive you.” At a tense dinner later on, Ramsay has Reek actually come out and parades him in front of Sansa. He then forces Reek to apologize for murdering Brandon and Rickon (an untruth), making certain that he says “killing your brothers” and “your dead brothers” repeatedly. Because he’s a bastard. He goes on to point out Reek is the closest thing to living kin Sansa has left, and declares Reek will give away the bride. Poor Sansa, from one monster to the next. Then Daddy (Roose) Bolton drops the bomb to ruin Reek’s little party–that his Frey bride is about to have a kid, a boy. Uh oh.
A drunk and angry Ramsay later confronts his father, realizing his position is endangered. Roose then gives Ramsay a little family history–that his mother was some peasant girl he raped beneath the body of her dead husband. Charming. He tells him of how that same woman showed up months later with young Ramsay, who he had half the mind to throw into the river. But then he saw the crazy in young Ramsay’s eyes was his kind of crazy. So he raised him as his own. Then he turns to serious business, looking at a map where houses are arrayed. Stannis is massing for war he tells Ramsay, and the first place he’s going to hit is Winterfell. Ramsay needs to stop acting the fool, and take care of the business coming their way.
Back at Castle Black, Gilly is still awestruck at book learnin’ as Samwell Tarly tells her about the Citadel, where even more books are housed. When she apologizes for not “knowing things” you gotta wince. Samwell chastises her self-chastisement, telling her she knows a 100 things that can’t be found in books. Who should come for a visit then? Lord Stannis himself (no one in Westeros knows the fine art of knocking or making appointments it seems). He knows exactly who Samwell Tarley is. He also knows Samwell is the only person to have fought and killed a White Walker. He tells Samwell to keep reading, because they’ll need to know how to destroy the Walkers.
Stannis then goes to the Onion knight Ser Davos Seaworth, and tells him their army is ready to march. Ser Davos tries to persuade Stannis not to, but the would-be-king is insistent–and he’s taking his family with him. He takes his leave, but not before telling Jon he hopes he knows what he’s doing with the Wildlings. Then the army that had marched out to save the Night’s Watch marches off–to war.
Across the sea, Grey Worm awakes to find Missandei looking down at him. He is distraught at learning of Ser Barristan’s death and feels shame for failing him and his troops. When Missandei tells him there’s no shame, and that he fought bravely, he retorts no–he was afraid he would never see her face again. She kisses him. Black Love in Essos.
A weary Dany finally seeks the counsel of one person who’s been at her side all along–Missandei. Reluctant at first, Missandei tells the Mother of Dragons that she has seen her lean often on her advisers, but she herself needs to find the best way forward. And there has to be a way between the late Barristan’s conciliatory tones and new-face Daario’s request for a brutal crackdown.
Dany goes to the jail and talks to Hizdahr, who begs for his life. But she tells him she was wrong, that she will reopen the fighting pits as he wanted–though only to free men. She also says that to show her union to the people of Meereen, she will marry a head of one of their noble families. And luckily a suitor’s already on his knees. Dany gonna marry Hizdahr ya’ll.
Somewhere nearby on the sea, the sour relationship between Tyrion and his captor Ser Jorah Mormant plod along on their way to Meereen. Tyrion notices as well they’re about to go through Doomed Valyria. As they pass through they talk about the Doom of Valyria, recounting an old poem. And then Tyrion looks up and sees something on the winds–a sight he’s never seen before. It’s one of Dany’s dragons, Drogon, winging his way above Valaryia.
And then they’re attacked–by stonemen. Men that have been so affected by Greyscale its covered their bodies completely. Jorah warns not to let them touch him and begins fighting them off, only to lose Tyrion in the melee to a stoneman who drags him underwater. When Tyrion awakens its to Jorah Mormont’s face hovering over him. They’ve lost the boat, but saved. When Tyrion asks what now, Jorah suggests they walk till they find a fishing village. In the meantime he’ll go off and get some firewood. He does so, and then stops to roll up his sleeve and revealing a mark. He’s been touched–by one of the Stonemen. And infected.
Damn dude. That sucks.
Till next week, where plots from King’s Landing to Dorne heat up. Hang on.