Picking up directly after Tyrion’s impassioned speech at the end of last week’s episode, this week we find him back in his cell being lectured by Jaime, and maybe regretting his outburst. While Jaime is one of the few people to acknowledge the inequity of Tyrion’s trial he won’t defend him in the trial by combat. Jaime confesses that his training hasn’t been going well and his left hand is nowhere near good enough to duel anyone. Tyrion offers, only half-jokingly, that even if Jaime lost it would mean the end of their father’s line, but Jaime would rather live a little longer than spite Tywin.
The second, and last, of Tyrion’s prospects is even more disappointing. Bronn arrives, decked out in his King’s Landing finest, and informs Tyrion of his defection. The sellsword has agreed to marry a lady of the court named Lollys, she’s a more significant character in the books… but basically she’s a dumb and desperate lady who is second in line to inherit her family’s lands and holdings… Perfect for a resourceful and callous man like Bronn. Defending Tyrion was lucrative once, but even though Bronn admits he likes Tyrion, he won’t die for him. Bronn is very frank with Tyrion, reminding him of the reality of their relationship and the reality of facing the Mountain, and while he has a few tactics for a man that size it’s not worth his risk. Tyrion’s well has run dry and Cersei’s is plentiful, Bronn goes where the money goes. Period.
In the time between episodes the Mountain that Rides has made it from the Riverlands to King’s Landing. I know that I harp on this too much but the temporal and spatial relationship is all messed up. Anyways, this version of the Mountain is the most appropriate, truly gigantic and without mercy. Cersei approaches him slaughtering random prisoners, wielding a greatsword like a twig, to ensure that her champion is ready. This is really just a way to introduce the Mountain before next episode, he’s been mentioned frequently enough, but this is the third actor to play the part and the audience needs to be familiar with Gregor Clegane.
Gregor’s younger brother Sandor is still with Arya, and still walking around doing nothing. They come across an old man dying and in his final moments we see Arya’s obsession with death once again. She does nothing to comfort the dying man only pointing out that “nothing isn’t better or worse than anything, its just nothing”. The Hound puts the old man out of his misery, showing Arya exactly where to stab to kill a man properly, and she eagerly commits the information to memory. The two are then assaulted by Rorge(kinda) and Biter, and I’m just saying, if they had the drop on the Hound sending one of them to bite his neck (while Rorge just stood there) was probably the worst strategy. The Hound snaps Biter’s neck right away, and Arya turns, asks for Rorge’s name, adds him to her list, and then exercises her new knowledge by stabbing him through the heart. The bite on the Hound’s neck is actually pretty bad, but he won’t let Arya near him with the fire to cauterize the wound. The Hound is a strong guy, but we’ve seen infections take down even stronger men.
Daenerys has never forgiven herself for her role in Khal Drogo’s infection and eventual death, but this week she seems to have put him out of her thoughts. Daario has literally scaled the walls of her pyramid, and figuratively worn away her defenses it seems. He has come to her chamber uninvited to give her some flowers, and Dany commands he take off his clothes… The next morning Ser Jorah meets Daario in passing, Jorah on his way to the queen and Daario leaving. Jorah’s relationship to Daenerys has always ranged between loving her like a protective father and lusting for her like a creepy Littlefinger. His rage is fueled by the latter part of his psyche, although his words are more from the first. Dany has given Daario the command of the troops who will retake Yunkai. The old knight offers Dany some advice saying: “It is tempting to see your enemies as evil, but there is good and evil on both sides of every war ever fought.” Not only good advice, but also a great summation of the series, characters, families and armies are all morally distinct enough that we often don’t know who to root for. In the end, Jorah convinces Dany and she instructs him to tell Daario she changed her mind, that actually Jorah changed her mind, throwing the old man a bone and telling Daario not to be too proud of his.
Ser Alliser still has a bone to pick with Jon, even after Jon returns victorious from his ranging to Craster’s. Jon informs the watch that Mance’s army is within days from the Wall and that they need to be ready now. Jon suggests collapsing the tunnels through the Wall which would remove the Wall’s only weakness, but also the Watch’s only means of getting any supplies or information from the north. Ser Alliser still doesn’t’ trust Jon and has never liked him, he disagrees with Lord Snow’s plan and while the master builder is hesitant, he eventually agrees with Thorne. So again we get the promise that the Wildling’s are coming and nothing is being done about it.
Back in the capital Tyrion is definitely regretting all the enemies he’s made at court. Neither Jaime nor Bronn will fight for him and that leaves him out of friends and out of options. Oberyn Martell, the one wild-card of this season, pays Tyrion a visit. He recounts a story to Tyrion of the first time they met, Tyrion was still a baby but Oberyn and his sister Elia were introduced to Jaime and Cersei for potential marriage contracts. Having heard the rumors of the monster of Casterly Rock they wanted to see the baby. Tyrion, as Oberyn explains, was not a monster, then or now, and Cersei has given the Red Viper of Dorne the perfect reason to defend the dwarf. For sure the best scene of the episode, Tyrion’s surprise and overwhelming emotion at Oberyn’s decision is perfect, and finally Oberyn has a chance at justice.
In the Eyrie Sansa is delighted at the sight of snow, such a small taste of home inspires her to recreate Winterfell in the courtyard. Sansa’s very detailed castle is ruined by Robin Arryn, who starts to throw a fit before Sansa slaps him… finally. As it happens Littlefinger was creepily watching the entire time and proceeds to comfort Sansa and then kiss her. As if that wasn’t creepy enough Lady Arryn was also watching the entire time from a higher vantage point. Lysa calls Sansa to the Moon Door to talk to her, as Sansa apologizes for hitting the boy Lysa erupts on her for kissing Petyr. It’s Lysa’s worst fear come true in her jealous mind, a younger more beautiful version of Catelyn is stealing Peter away from her again. As the two struggle next to the open Moon Door Petyr enters and calls a stop to the madness. He slowly approaches Lysa reassuring and telling her that he’s only ever lover one woman… her sister. With that he shoves her out the Moon Door and out into empty space beyond.
With only Littlefinger and Sansa in the room he’s going to have to create quite a story about this, while it would seem like it was his plan all along, he most likely had something subtler planned. Littlefinger is the self-proclaimed lord of chaos however, and he has ways of adapting his plans. While the episode ended with a bang I would argue that its penultimate scene was the stronger and maybe even more significant. Oberyn Martell defending Tyrion Lannister is something nobody expected and that Moon Door has been teased since season one. Either way, look forward to next episode “The Mountain and the Viper” it’s pretty obvious what that means.