Things are done a certain way in the realm, and the various systems have been installed for the last 1,000 years. So that's the way they should remain, right? Several characters on Game of Thrones last night said, in one way or another, "Fuck the bullshit," and challenged others to think outside of their own natural world order. Last season, all Ned Stark (Sean Bean) got in return for his honor was an axe to the neck. This season, his survivors are not interested in making the same mistake—or face the threat of a similar fate.
The Lannister Family Reunion
We got our second glimpse of Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the caged KingSlayer, last night, and it was a vicious one. Granted, our introduction to this dude last season ended with him pushing a 10-year-old out of a window a few stories up, but in case absence made you forget how cruel Jaime Lannister is, "A Man Without Honor" allowed him to reintroduce himself.
Alton, the distant Lannister relative that Robb (Richard Madden) used as an emissary earlier in the season, returned, and was bunked with Jaime due to prisoner overflow. The two were unaware of their specific relation, but Alton revealed they met once before when he temp squired for Jaime, and it was, quote, "best day of his life." It was quite a Stan moment, but instead of laughing it off Jaime responds in kind with his own squire story, and how his skills paled in comparison. He's only really good at one thing: killing. And he puts his skill to use on his own, albeit distant, cousin in order to escape.
The act is not there to jump-start his plot (he's promptly recaptured), but it demonstrates a common way of thinking in Westeros: Honor gets you nowhere. What Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) would call "honor," Jaime calls "hypocrisy." His title technically calls his honor and loyalty into conflict every day, so he has reconciled it by just abandoning all attempts to live up to it. It's Jaime first and all others later, even third or fourth cousins.
The Dragon Coup
It turns out the two prime suspects in Dany's (Emilia Clarke) dragon theft both did the deed. Blue-lipped warlock Pyat Pree and Dany's host, Xaro (Nonso Anozie) are using the Dragon Mother as part of a larger conspiracy: to take over Qarth. That whole Thirteen regime is over. It would seem they plan to lock Dany up in the House of the Undying until the dragons grow but they don't get to enact it because Jorah (Iain Glen) shows up in the nick of time to get her out of there.
Before that, Dany has an identity crisis, with Jorah. Is she a khaleesi? A Targaryen? Who are her people? The only thing that defines her right now are her "children." She's definitely getting the hell out of Qarth next week, but not without the dragons.
Meanwhile, beyond the Wall, Jon (Kit Harrington) is still lost in the wild with Ygritte (Rose Leslie) and the sexual tension gets turned up after their night spent spooning. The banter goes from playful to existential, as Ygritte calls the Night Watch on all of their bullshit oaths, challenging the very nature of the Wall and the wildlings. How free is Jon really, if he's bound by all of those oaths? Of course, she's mostly just getting in his head so he doesn't notice that she's led him into a trap. That's yet another L this season for the young bastard.
The Stark Girls Chop It Up With The Lannisters
Last week, Sansa (Sophie Turner) almost got raped as a byproduct of Joffrey's foolishness, only to be saved at the last minute by The Hound (Rory McCaan). One would think that was the peak of her shitty time spent at the Red Keep, but this week things just keep getting worse.
We're alerted, in the grossest way possible, that Sansa has finally come of age, i.e. she's able to make good on that arranged marriage deal and produce some little Joffrey's, when the king decides he's into sex instead of making whores club each other. With Shae's (Sibel Kekilli) help, she desperately tries to cover it up, but to no avail. Joffrey is off-screen this week doing god-knows-what, but Cersei (Lena Headey) is there to sit semi-menacingly with Sansa and offer advice on how to live alongside a king you loathe.
By comparison, Arya (Maisie Williams) is living it up. Sure, she's currently the servant in a dragon-ruined castle to the man that's trying to kill her brother and crush her family, but, even while she considers stabbing him in the neck, she can't deny that she finds Tywin (Charles Dance) engaging. He feeds her well, they talk history, and he gives her a gold star for her wits. Arya, too, challenges the common nature of things in her insistence to be more than just a pretty, child-bearing hand-maiden. Even with people like the historical Targaryen sisters and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), the concept of women warriors is largely unaccepted.
Theon Goes Hunting
Last week we said that even in light of Ser Rodrick's grisly murder, there may be hope for Theon (Alfie Allen). Well, we were wrong. Burning children alive is the epitome of passing the point of no return.
Osha, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), Hodor and Rickon are on the run, and, as Bran points out, anybody with whom they seek refuge is going to be a target for Theon whenever he catches up. We're pretty certain that he didn't actually catch Bran and Rickon, but he burned someone's kids, either as a message that he's not to be fucked with, or to convince Winterfell that there are no longer any Starks present. He refers to the whole clash of kings as a "game," but it's clear that the weight of his actions are finally starting to catch up with young Greyjoy.
- We wouldn't blame Catelyn if she actually chopped Jaime's head off because he was asking for it, but that's just it. He knows, and hopefully she will realize, that if he dies Robb loses a lot of leverage.
- We have no idea what's good with the masked lady who knows every single thought that goes through Jorah's mind. Qarth is one weird city.
- Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Cersei shared a rare moment of sibling tenderness, with her confessing that she views Joffrey as a divine punishment for her and Jaime's unholy union.
- Sandor "The Hound" Clegan (Rory McCann) is one of the most inscrutable characters on the show. He obviously has affection for Sansa, even prophesying the day when the madman he will have to save her from will be his own king. And yet, he goes straight to Cersei when he sees Sansa's sheets.