Synopsis: The episode opens with Bran running, so obviously a dream. There’s that three-eyed raven again. Bran chases the bird through the woods, and points his bow and arrow at it, with his brothers Jon and Robb talking him through it. Then they are gone, the bird flies and we see a strange boy tell Bran that he can’t kill the raven, that he is the raven. Dun dun dun. Robb and Talisa bask in their wedded bliss as Roose Bolton brings them news. Robb gives Catelyn a double dose of bad news. Her father has died, and that by the time Bolton’s men got to Winterfell, the castle was burned, the ironborn men had left and there was no sign of the boys. Theon wakes up tied a post, as a man begins to torture him. Cersei questions Joffrey about his feelings for Margaery. As she questions Margaery’s motives, her interest in the poor, and her questionable fashion choices, Joffrey kings himself right out of the conversation. Shae questions Sansa about Littlefinger. Shae offers support should Baelish do or try anything. Loras interrupts and Sansa has a new prince to fawn over. He brings her to the garden to see Margaery as she introduces her to her grandmother Lady Olenna Tyrell, an old woman with thoughts on everyone. Olenna asks Sansa for the truth about Joffrey, and she eventually gets Sansa to admit “he’s a monster.” Robb and his men march to Riverrun to attend Catelyn’s father’s funeral. Karstark tells Robb that he lost the war when he decided to marry Talisa. Talisa gets a chilly reception from her new mother-in-law but Catelyn tells her a story about caring for an ill Jon when he was a young boy, and how she blames herself for everything that’s happened because she could never care for Jon.
Mance welcomes Jon into the wildlings and they march through the snow as they move south. Mance tells Jon how he unified the multiple tribes. One of the wildling men sits in time out, meditating, his eyes white, and they tell Snow that he’s a warg. He can see through the eyes of animals. The men of the Night’s Watch continue along their path as well. Sam wants to give up, which Rast fully supports, but Grenn and Tollett get him back to stepping. Jeor charges Rast with ensuring Samwell makes it back alive, or Rast is toast too. In the woods, Summer hears a sound, and it’s the boy from Bran’s vision. He introduces himself as Jojen Reed, and his sister Meera. They’ve been looking for Bran. Arya, Hot Pie and Gendry decide to head for Riverrun to seek safety from Arya’s grandfather (little does she know). They are set upon by a group of men led by Thoros of Myr, and he says they are the Brotherhood without Banners, and they invite Arya’s crew to join them. Shae talks to Tyrion about Sansa and Baelish, but he is only concerned that she puts herself in danger when she visits him. Doesn’t keep them from getting down. Joffrey summons Margaery and questions her about her marriage to Renly. Even as she talks about her relationship, she flirts with the king. He shows her his new crossbow (not a euphemism).
As he’s tortured, Theon is asked why he took Winterfell. He admits he hated the Starks and wanted to punish them for holding him prisoner. He is covered in a hood, and tortured some more. A young man loosens his grips, says he was sent by Yara, and he will help him escape later. Jojen tells Bran that Bran is a warg and the dream Bran had was a dream they had together. Thoros and his squad eat and drink with Arya and the others when they are joined by their members who have a new captive, the Hound. He asks Thoros what they are doing with “the Stark Bitch.” As Jaime and Brienne continue, Jaime manages to break free and grab her sword. They fight until some of Bolton’s men find them. They know who Jaime is and aren’t about to let him go.
Comments: More introductions with Jojen and Meera, Ramsay (though we don’t know it yet), the Brotherhood with Banners, and most notably, Olenna Tyrell. This feels a bit like direct part two of last week’s episode as we get updates on those we didn’t last time-Arya’s team, Theon, and Bran. The concept of warging is introduced seamlessly with a quick intro with the wildlings, and more details from Jojen. There’s a glimmer of hope that Arya and Catelyn and Robb might all be heading towards the same place. Margaery’s clearly getting under Cersei’s skin and even though she’s good and we like her, there’s something off-putting about her blatant lust for power. Again the show likes to have characters pop up where you don’t expect them such as the Hound, who was thought to be gone after the battle of Blackwater, popping smack into the middle of Arya’s story. They are one of the best pairings on the show and I got a little excited to see it kicking off again. She’s always been one of my favorites on the show, but Michelle Fairley really is amazing in every scene she’s in. Such a complex character, full of grace in one moment, fierce in another, smart enough to manage the political machinations, but has such pure love for her children, and yet full of hatred for Jon Snow. It’s great watching her again. Brienne and Jaime’s story was juiced with the swordfight. He managed to hold his own still shackled, and yet she proved herself. Their paths crossing with the Bolton men will kick their story into a new direction.
Cersei: Margaery Tyrell dotes on filthy urchins for a reason. She dresses like a harlot for a reason. She married a traitor and known degenerate like Renly Baratheon for a reason.
Olenna (about Renly): Gallant, yes. And charming and very clean. He knew how to dress and smile and somehow this gave him the notion he was fit to be king.
Olenna: Once the cow’s been milked, there’s no squirting the cream back up her udder.
Olenna: Yes, all Lannisters are lions, and when a Tyrell farts, it smells like a rose.
Tyrion: Is there an idiot in any village who trusts Littlefinger?
Foreshadowing: Jojen tells Bran, the Raven is you, which he means quite literally, in a figurative sense. Sansa says Littlefinger is not in love with her, which may be true, but his interest in Sansa definitely broadens.
Title: An old saying that the books drop a lot in reference to ravens bringing bad news. In this case, the ravens brought bad news for the Starks with the death of Catelyn’s father and that the boys are missing.
Deaths: Technically Hoster Tully, Catelyn’s father, died off screen, even though we never saw him on screen.