Synopsis: Tywin pulls Ice, Ned Stark’s sword made of Valyrian steel, from its sheath and hands it to his forgers. It is melted down and two swords are made in its stead. Jaime receives the larger of the two new swords. Tywin wants Jaime to retire from the Kingsguard and he tells him to return home to Casterly Rock to rule in Tywin’s stead. Jaime says no. Tyrion, Bronn, and Podrick await the arrival of the Prince of Dorne. Tyrion says there is bad blood between the Lannisters and the Martells of Dorne. The party from Dorne arrives, but the prince has not arrived, and has sent his brother, Oberyn instead, only he’s not with them. At the brothel, Oberyn meets with a selection of whores with his companion Ellaria Sand. They choose one of the whores and Oberyn invites the man offering the girls to stay as well. All is well until someone in another room is singing “The Rains of Castamere,” the Lannister song. Oberyn taunts the men, stabbing one in the wrist until Tyrion enters, interrupting. Tyrion welcomes them to the capital. Privately, Tyrion asks Oberyn why he came to the wedding. Oberyn recalls how Tywin killed his nephew and niece, and that The Mountain raped and murdered his sister. Oberyn swears that the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts. Dany watches her dragons play in the air and feed on a sheep. When she touches them as they feed, one snaps back at her. Jorah cautions that dragons can never be tamed, not even by their own mother. Tyrion tries to comfort Sansa, still grieving the massacre of her brother and mother. He says even though Cat wanted him dead that he respected her. Tyrion returns to his chambers to find Shae ready to seduce him. He turns her down, and they argue. She says he tried to pay her to leave and he denies knowing what she’s talking about. As Shae leaves the room, a woman lurks in the hallway, having overheard everything.
Qyburn fits Jaime with a golden hand on his severed limb. Cersei thanks Qyburn for helping her with something else. He leaves as Jaime and Cersei fight. She is upset he left, that he started a war and disappeared. He tries to seduce her, but she won’t have it. He’s been gone too long. They are interrupted by the woman who overheard Shae and Tyrion. Tormund and Ygritte argue about Jon Snow. Tormund says if Snow still lives, even though Ygritte shot him, it’s because she wanted him to live. They are disrupted by Thens, a group of bald cannibals with scars over the heads. Fun bunch. Snow is back upright as the men of the Night’s Watch train. Jon talks about always being in Robb’s shadow, but he could never hate him. Sam says he felt the same way about Jon. Jon appears in front of the council of the Night’s Watch as he defends his actions. He admits to killing Qhorin, and that he laid with a wildling. He says that Mance is on his way to the wall with a hundred thousand men having united so many tribes. Maester Aemon says Jon is free to go. Brienne meets with Margaery and Olenna. She tells Margaery the truth of what happened to Renly. Jaime goes the security plans for the wedding as Joffrey sits in. Joffrey taunts his unclefather, ensuring that no one likes him.
Dany meets with nuDaario, who brings her flowers. He explains to her the details of the land, Mereen, that they are marching towards. As they near it they come upon a slave girl, crucified in the sun. Jorah says there is one on every mile marker between them and Mereen. Sansa hides out, as Jaime and Brienne watch. Brienne questions Jaime about his vow to return Sansa to the Starks. He questions where he could send Sansa that she would be safe. As Sansa walks alone, she is caught by the drunk fool whose life she once saved (back in the premiere of Season 2), he gives her a necklace as a thank you for having convinced Joffrey to spare his life. The Hound and Arya continue on and Clegane tells her that he’s taking her to the Vale to sell her to Aunt Lysa. They happen upon a few soldiers and Arya recognizes Polliver and notes that he still has her sword. Arya approaches the tavern where the men are, and the Hound follows. Polliver recognizes the Hound and sits with them. Things grow tense and when a fight breaks out the Hound with a little assist from Arya, kill all the men. Arya takes needle back as finishes off Polliver. Arya and the Hound ride off, Arya on a fresh new horse.
Comments: As with the premieres of season 1 and 3, this episode opens with a scene before the credits. A new threat to the Lannisters arrives with Oberyn, which is good since their main nemeses, the Starks’ numbers have been dwindling. Dany’s dragons have grown a lot over the break. She’s also got a new paramour in the form of a freshly recast Daario. While most of the show’s recasts have been seamless (Beric comes to mind) this one is less so (as is the pending third version of the Mountain). The original Daario had a harshness to him, and likely wouldn’t have worked as a love interest for Dany, but I also have trouble believing this guy beheaded his friends. Sansa’s defeat continues, but her road to recovery is about to begin. As far as season premieres go, it kicks off a bit slowly. Joffrey’s wedding can’t come soon enough, Dany’s forces are mobilizing, and the threat of the wildling’s pending assault on Castle Black looms large. The love story between Jon and Ygritte is now in its post-requited phase. Janos Slynt, after his exile from Tyrion has made his way to the wall, and even made it onto their council. He’s been busy while most of the men have been north of the wall. Arya and the Hound’s pairing continues to work with their entire caper at the Inn being a nice cap to the episode.
Alliser Thorne: You always know when a man is telling a lie How did you acquire this magical power?
Aemon: I grew up in King’s Landing.
Jaime (to Brienne): Are you sure we’re not related? Ever since I’ve returned, every Lannister I’ve seen has been a miserable pain in my ass. Maybe you’re a Lannister, too. You’ve got the hair for it, if not the looks.
The Hound: Fuck the king.
Foreshadowing: The necklace that Sansa doesn’t feel as important as it becomes. Arya knocks off a name from her list. With her second kill, she’s growing into a much different girl.
Title: Said by Tywin and Jaime, in reference to the swords made from Ned’s sword. Jaime received the first one.
Deaths: Polliver gets a needle from Arya. The Hound does away with the rest of his men.