King’s Landing needs to be prepared.  War is coming far sooner than winter.  Many vie for the Iron Throne. They’re coming for YOU Joffrey!

Here there be SPOILERS

Renly Baratheon and Catelyn Stark negotiate. “My son has no interest in the Iron Throne.” Rather quickly a deal is struck – Rob Stark will keep his title, King of the North, and the Starks will have dominion over all land north of Moat Cailin if Rob swears fealty to Renly as Ned did to Robert.  In the morning, Renly plans to destroy Stanis’ army then join Rob to defeat the Lannisters. This doesn’t sit well with Catelyn so she begs him to negotiate a peace instead of attacking his brother. He doesn’t get the chance to change his mind for the newborn smoke monster (you HAD to make it look like Lost? Really?!) glides in through the tent door, takes the form of a man and stabs Baratheon in the back before Brienne can save him! All hell breaks loose as the guards rush in and see Brienne over Renly and think the worse. No one listens to Catelyn as she tries to tell them what happened. Brienne (being the wonder woman she is) takes out all of the guards. (I don’t think this is going improve the situation) Catelyn implores her, “You can’t avenge him if you’re dead.” So they high tail it out of there before they’re clapped in chains.

Little finger (the bastard – we hates him we do) tries to get Ser Loras to leave Renly’s side before Stanis arrives. Loras wishes only to avenge Renly’s death. (Costuming side note – what in Westeros is Margaery Tyrell wearing? Worst outfit in GoT history!) Margaery echoes Catelyn, “You can’t avenge him from the grave.” Loras sulks off to get the horses. Renly, “Do you want to be a queen?” Margaery, “No. I want to be THE Queen.” Baelish may have a new pawn me thinks.

Cersei and Tyrion discuss their suspicions of who killed Renly. They don’t know for sure. (This strikes me as very odd. Both have superior spy networks and always know what’s happening. One of them may be lying. Or both, which is usually the case.) Tyrion wants to know what Joffrey has planned to protect the city. Cersei either doesn’t know or won’t tell him. By her smile we can tell she’s got something up those gorgeous sleeves.

Tyrion is not one to be left in the dark. He’s cunning and knows how to get information. He pulls the plans from his cousin Lansol. After some well-placed threats, Lansol spills that Cersei plans to use wild fire – a seemingly mythical substance. According to him, the city alchemists have all they need to launch it from the city walls at Stanis’ ships. He overheard Cersei talking to the pyromancers.

Stanis walks triumphantly through Renly’s camp. He grieves for the boy that Renly was but not the man he became. Ser Davos wants to discuss what he saw nights before but Stanis makes it clear he’s not to say another word about it.  All of Renly’s banner men have turned to Stanis’ side – all but the Tyrells, who have run. Stanis now turns his sights on King’s Landing. Ser Davos warns him not to take Lady Melisandre. Some believe she whispers orders in his ear and he obeys. (I know Davos is loyal to Stanis but the man helped her birth a frakkin smoke monster! Davos needs to keep his mouth shut!) Stanis agrees that Melisandre won’t be going to King’s Landing and then orders Davos to lead the fleet to Blackwater Bay, much to his disliking. “Hard truths cut both ways Ser Davis.”

Tyrion and Bronn walk the streets of King’s Landing and come across a street preacher talking out against the incest-born king and his evil demon monkey. (Um yaaaa that would be Tyrion he’s talking about.) People blame him for the city’s ills. (It is a pleasure to see how Tyrion and Bronn (dis)function. Perfect pair.)

Greyjoy smiles as he views his very first ship. He loses that smile quickly when he first meets his crew. They’re a happy feel good warm and fuzzy lot – not. Not only do they not listen to a word Greyjoy is spouting, they challenge him with a threat to take his ship. To add insult to insult, his sister arrives to mock him. As his crew takes off without him, his first mate takes him under his wing. “They’re all iron islanders. They don’t do as they’re told. They do as they like.” Greyjoy gets his thinking cap on fast though. The Stoney Shore is not far from where they’re going. They could take it and hold it till Stark’s men arrived.  “More impressive prize than a fisherman’s daughter.”  I’m thinking Greyjoy is going to do as he likes instead of what he’s told.

At Harrenhal – Tywin and his men realize they underestimated Rob. (Ya think?) He has a good mind for warfare and his men love him. But the same discontent that is spreading through his camp – men want to go home to bring in the harvest – is spreading in their own camp.  Arya has her little ears open as she serves them.  Nothing is outside Tywin’s attention. He stops Arya and asks her where she’s from. At first she claims Maidenpool, but he sees through it. He asks again, suspecting she’s from the North. This time she claims Barrowton and passes with flying colors. Tywin, “What do they say of Rob Stark in the north?” Arya, “They call him the young wolf. They say he rides to battle on the back of a giant dire wolf. They say he can turn into a wolf when he wants. They say he can’t be killed.”  Tywin, “Do you believe them?” As she looks him dead in the eyes without so much as flinching, “No my lord. Anyone can be killed.” As I said, Tywin catches everything, even this small threat. He makes a mental note and sends her off to find water.

After Arya stumbles through the halls, she finds more than water. Waiting for her is Jaqen H’ghar – the man from the wagon cage that spoke in the third person (I LOVE how he does this! It takes the edge off how hot he is).  He tells Arya that she stole three lives from the red god so they must give him three lives in return.  If she speaks three names “the man” will give them to the red god. (man I liiiike this guy). Arya is suspicious but starts by naming the Tickler.

In the North beyond the wall – the Night’s Watch are making camp in the winter waste at the Fist of the First Men – a place thousands of years old where the first man stepped. All turn as they hear a horn, “one blast for ranger returning. Two blast for foes. Three for white walkers.”

Tyrion, “Piss on wildfire and your cock burns off” as he holds a lovely green liquid. (Careful little man, you’re my favorite character. Don’t want you burning any part of you.) The maester of the pyromancers then takes him to a heavily locked room to show him 7,811 more bottles. I think we can almost see Tyrion’s jaw hit the floor, “You won’t be making wild fire for my sister any longer. You’ll be making it for me.”

Daenerys is training her dragon. She commands “dracaris” and it burns a little piece of meat, and then eats it.  She’s finally learning how these new toys work! As she and her maids talk it occurs to her that she knows nothing of this new place.  She suggests to Doreah that in order to get information, “men like to talk about other men when they’re happy.”  (ink wink) She then dons a gorgeous blue gown that Xaro sent as a gift. During a garden party she gets introduced to a few locals including on VERY creepy death like man (think the guys from the Buffy episode “Hush” and you’ll have the perfect visual) that calls her “Mother of Dragons” and gives her a rock. He says he represents the Warlocks of Qarth and extends and invitation to visit them.  Xaro explains that they drink “shade of the evening” which turns their lips blue (It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho… oops sorry had to be done) and allows them to see. Meanwhile, a masked woman approaches Ser Jorah.  She warns him that people will come to see Daenerys. She holds the power of fire.

Catelyn and Brienne discuss the smoke. Brienne believes it looked like Stanis. Catelyn thinks it looked like a shadow in the shape of a man. Both are a little put off by the whole thing. First, they head for Rob’s camp then Catelyn will continue on to Winterfell. Brienne believes Catelyn is a just woman and offers to serve until she has the moment to kill Stanis. Catelyn makes an oath of her own and swears to always give Brienne shelter. (Women of power unite!)

In Winterfell – Brann is growing into a fine leader. He sends 200 men (that they barely have) to help protect Torrhen’s Square.  When his Lordly duties are done he hails Hodor to take him to his horse. As they go, Brann asks Osha about the three-eyed raven. He tells her of his dream – the seas came to Winterfell. It flooded the walls and all that were in it.  She won’t tell him what they say about the raven, “they say all sorts of crazy things north of the wall.”

Back in Qarth, Xaro tells Daenerys that her “man servant” is in love with her. (I’m SO happy someone has addressed this finally!) She brushes it off in disbelief. She then asks Xaro why he bled for her. He takes her to a door. He tells a tale that he offered all the gold behind it to anyone that could open it. They all went home empty handed. The only thing that can open that door is the key around his neck. He offers her half of all that is behind the door if she marries him. She’s astonished and tempted. That much gold could be an army to take her to King’s Landing.

Later, Ser Jorah cautions her to not take this proposal. He believes she has a right to the throne and would be a good and gentle leader. People would love her not fear her. The passion he displays makes her uncomfortable but she agrees and sends him off to find a ship. (Poor Daenerys! She’s so young and naïve. Someone is going to rip that sweet heart right out of her chest! But then she’s got dragons so maybe we don’t have to worry – at least revenge will be entertaining.)

Arya is giving Gendry (whom should be shirtless in every episode) pointers on fighting when they hear a cry. The Tickler if found lying on the ground with his head turned in a VERY unnatural position.  Above in a window is The Man, Jaqen, smiling and eating an apple.  Once sweet playful Arya now stands over the dead man with a slight wicked smile, as if saying “oh ya this is going to work.”

Wait, that’s it? No sex scenes?  No over the top death scenes (there were two deaths but both with tame in comparison to GoT standards)?  No massive mind blowing plot twists? Is this the calm before the storm?

If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘Game of Thrones – Garden of Bones’ recap to catch up.