If you haven’t seen the second episode of season three of Game of Thrones, “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” then go to sleep and dream about a three-eyed crow instead of reading this, because there are spoilers ahead.
We open with Bran, who is dreaming–running on his own legs through a forest. He sees the infamous three-eyed crow and tries to shoot it with a bow and arrow. His older brothers are standing behind him, and he even hears his father’s voice in the trees. He takes the shot and misses, and right before he wakes he sees a strange boy. Once up, he is back with Rickon, Osha and Hodor, on the run. Osha doesn’t want Bran to talk about his dreams because they scare her.
At Harrenhal, Robb and Talisa are talking, but are interrupted by Lord Bolton. He has two reports: Lord Tully of Riverrun, Lady Catelyn’s father, is dead. Worse, Winterfell has been burned and its inmates slaughtered, with no sign of Bran or Rickon. Robb not only has to process this information himself, he has to share it with his mother. She clings to the idea that the boys might still be alive, and the Northmen prepare to travel to Riverrun to help bury Lord Tully.
While Robb and Catelyn speculate on whether Theon might have taken the boys hostage, we finally get a glimpse of him…and it isn’t pretty. He is being tortured in some dungeon, and the identities of his tormentors are not clear.
And at last we get to one of my favorite pairings: Jaime and Brienne. They are walking through the woods, Jaime naturally complaining the whole time. He is clearly trying to rile Brienne up. In general, she is unfazed by his continuous insults, but he finally hits pay dirt when he discovers she was in service to Renly. In her passionate defense of him, Jaime quickly susses out that she must have had feelings for him, and latches onto that information with delight, snorting out, “You weren’t Renly’s type, I’m afraid.” These remarks about Renly, and some others that are even more off-color, finally raise her ire. Before anything can happen though, they’re interrupted by a traveler, and as they cross paths he seems friendly enough, although Jaime thinks it’s unwise to let him live, in case he recognized them.
In King’s Landing, Joffrey is being fitted for wedding clothes while Cersei looks on. When Cersei asks him what he thinks of Margaery, he pronounces himself bored and brushes her off. All he’ll acknowledge is that she is pretty and seems intelligent, and when Cersei tries to warn him of Margaery’s manipulative side, he spouts a typically Joffrey-esque appraisal of smart women, saying she only tried to marry Renly because she was ordered to. “That’s what intelligent women do…what they’re told.”
Shae is helping Sansa dress, and warning her about Littlefinger’s intentions, indicating that Sansa should tell her if Littlefinger tries to get physical with her, or make demands on her. Then Loras Tyrell arrives to escort Sansa to pay a visit to Margaery and her grandmother, Lady Olenna. Margaery greets Sansa kindly. She presents her to her grandmother, who turns out to be a delightfully salty old creature–a woman who has lived long enough that she expresses her opinions very freely, something which is in short supply in the palace. She dismisses Renly’s claim to the throne, rues the Tyrell involvement in it (though owns they must see it through), and calls her own son an oaf. But all that is nothing to what comes next, when she directly asks Sansa what kind of person Joffrey is. Sansa is only speaking to her and to Margaery, but it’s obvious she’s terrified…and understandably so. Lady Olenna reassures her, but the thing that makes Sansa speak the truth is when they bring up her father, and she spits out, with justified hatred, “Joffrey did that.” She then describes how he made her go out on the wall to view her own father’s head, saying, “He’s a monster.” Not surprisingly, Joffrey’s reputation had already spread, so neither Margaery nor Lady Olenna seem very surprised by what they hear.
The Northmen are on the road to Riverrun, but Lord Karstark, one of Robb’s loyal bannermen, questions Robb’s judgment as they talk, and points to his marriage as a turning point in his ability to lead. The lady in question, Talisa, is riding up to Catelyn, who is sitting by the roadside, feverishly working on some kind of protective talisman for her children. Although she doesn’t exactly seem glad to see Talisa, she tells her the story of Jon Snow…how she despised him when he was brought to Winterfell as a baby, and prayed for him to die. Then he got the pox. Guilt-stricken, she prayed to the gods to save him, promising to love him and raise him as her own. The baby survived, but she did not keep her promise, and believes the ruin of their home and family is, as she bleakly states, a direct result of her inability to “love a motherless child.”