Synopsis: The hound and another knight are having a battle to entertain King Joffrey on his name day. The hound discards with his opponent quickly, and when another competitor arrives, drunk, Joffrey punishes him, but Sansa, now a full sycophant, gets Joffrey to relent. Tyrion returns to King’s Landing crashing a small council meeting led by Cersei to announce his new role as Hand of the King. Cersei isn’t thrilled. Bran sits at the head of the table at Winterfell, with Maester Luwin listening to the needs of his people. Later, Bran sleeps yet sees through the eyes of Summer, his direwolf. Hodor and Osha take him to the spot he saw in his dream, while they look at a comet in the sky. Bran says it means Robb will win the war, but Osha says it means that Dragons are back. Speaking of dragons, that totally don’t exist anymore that anyone knows, Dany and her dragon babies and Jorah lead the Dothraki through a desert where the heat and starvation are taking a toll on her mission. Dany sends three of her men off to find salvation. The Nightswatch scouting team happens upon Craster’s Keep in the Haunted Forest. They note all of Craster’s daughters, but Jon asks, rhetorically apparently, what Craster does with all his sons.
A new location as we come upon Dragonstone and are introduced to Mellisandre, Stannis Baratheon, and Davos. The Red Witch burns the idols of seven, in support of Stannis, but not all of his people are supportive. Davos follows him faithfully, as Stannis dictates a letter declaring his rightful claim on the throne. In the field, Robb visits Jaime, his captive. Grey Wind, who has grown a bit since we last saw him, helps to taunt Jaime. Robb figures out Jaime pushed Bran out the window because he was with the Queen, as word of Joffrey’s true parentage spreads. Cersei enlists Baelish’s help to find Arya. Robb sends a message to Joffrey and Cersei that he will call off the war if his sisters are returned and they reject any claim on the north. Robb and Catelyn disagree with how to move forward. Robb wants to enlist help from the Greyjoys and asks Catelyn to broker a deal with Renly.
Cersei learns that Joffrey is not completely under her thumb. Joffrey questions his true parentage and claim on the throne but Cersei denies the rumor. At the brothel, Ros bears witness to the Kingsguard coming to murder Robert’s bastard. All of the city, Robert’s other bastards are killed, save for Gendry who is now on the wanted list, but he has left to go north with Arya and the others.
Comments: The series roars back with a vengeance. The war continues and while we don’t get a lot of movement right away, a lot of characters are exactly where we left them at the end of season 1, we do have the groundwork. Gendry’s importance might just be a red herring that never pays off but after destroying the other bastards of Robert, Gendry’s travels seem to be heading somewhere they have yet to go. Cersei gets to exhibit her ruthless nature with Baelish but she also sees the monster she created in Joffrey and that she may not have full control over that creature. Despite her villainous nature, Cersei is endlessly fascinating to watch. The same can be said for Catelyn, who is every bit as loyal to her family as Cersei is, though tempered with more grace and less ambition. Mellisandre, Stannis, and Davos all seem like worthy additions to the series.
Memorable Moments: Cersei putting Baelish in his place juxtaposed with her scene with Joffrey. Ros seems to have taken Baelish’s place as head of the brothel.
Tyrion (to Cersei): You love your children. It’s your one redeeming quality. That and your cheekbones.
Baelish: Knowledge is power.
Cersei: (to the guards) Seize him. Cut his throat. Stop. Wait. I’ve changed my mind, let him go. Step back three paces. Turn around. Close your eyes. (to Littlefinger) Power is power.
Dany: No one will take my dragons.
Foreshadowing: Sansa’s dry loyalty shows that she’s learning to play the game. The Hound sticking up for her suggests a fondness.
Title: A similar motto of sorts to the Lannisters always paying their debts. It’s a threat couched in a simple reminder, in reference in this case to Robb and his war.
Deaths: Dany’s horse, her first gift from Drogo. Maester Cressen in his standoff with Melissandre. Barra, Robert’s baby bastard, and a couple other nameless ones as well. And that knight in the beginning.