Quick and Dirty Plot:
Theon (Alfie Allen) has taken Winterfell. He promises Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) that he won’t hurt anyone. Then Ser Rodrik (Ron Donachie) is not having any of Theon’s nonsense and disrespects him. So Theon decides to behead Rodrik in front of Bran and that other Stark kid. Brutal. Osha (Natalia Tena) then seduces Theon, granting her her freedom. And in seducing him, she buys time for Bran, the littlest Stark whose name I don’t know and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) to escape. Osha is a real team player.
Robb (Richard Madden) has been flirting with nurse Talisa (Oona Chaplin) when Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) shows up. Catelyn reminds Robb, “You can’t flirt with hot nurses because you swore at the beginning of the season to marry that guy’s daughter.” Robb then learns about Theon and that he executed Rodrik. Robb vows to take back Winterfell. Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) says he’ll send his son instead so that Robb doesn’t lose the ground he’s gained on the Lannisters. Robb agrees to the plan but advises Roose to keep Theon alive so he can execute Theon himself.
Beyond the Wall, Jon (Kit Harington) has joined an expedition with several rangers. While there, they capture a Wildling woman, Ygritte (Rose Leslie). At one point, she escapes. Jon chases her down but becomes separated from the group. With night approaching, Ygritte convinces Jon that they have to snuggle up in order to keep warm. *insert Santana Lopez from “Glee” saying, “Wanky” here*
Cersei’s (Lena Headey) daughter is sent away to build an alliance with more people I can’t keep track of. Cersei is distraught. While walking back to the castle, someone throws feces at Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). Angered, Joffrey orders the guards to kill the people in the crowd. This incites a riot. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) attempts to get the guards to stop their attack; no one listens to him. Sansa (Sophie Turner) gets separated from guards in the chaos and is almost gang-raped before The Hound (Rory McCann) swoops in to save the day.
At Harrenhal, Tywin (Charles Dance) picks up that Arya (Maisie Williams) may not be a peasant girl like she first claimed. While Arya is serving Tywin, a guest arrives: that bitch Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen). Arya attempts to conceal her identity. It is unknown if Littlefinger does recognize her. He leaves before we know it. Arya then steals some important war correspondence and is caught. Desperate to not face consequences, she asks Jaqen (Tom Wlaschiha) to kill the person who caught her. What is her body count at now?
At Qarth, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is continually shot down by people to barter for the ships she needs. Xaro (Nonso Anozie) also continues to talk about wealth a lot. Then, after being turned down, Daenerys returns to her quarters to find that her guards and her handmaiden have been slaughtered. Her dragons have been stolen. Jorah (Iain Glen) and others begin to search for the dragons. The audience then sees the dragons brought to a mysterious tower by a hooded figure.
Woof. Y’all, there are so many plot lines that I have to keep track of! Did everyone just have a white board or something? Map out all of the people, their storylines, what’s happening to them? Sometimes, I like having a lot of story, many characters to pay attention to, but it has become cumbersome to have SO much happening. Six completely separate settings happened during this episode. Just thinking about this makes me tired. I am hoping that storylines start to come together more.
I have been up in arms about Theon. I hate him now. I was pretty indifferent about the character at the beginning. The moment he turned on Robb, I knew I hated him. Now, he killed Rodrik, literally someone who cared for him as a child, and he is threatening Bran, who is physically disabled, and the other one, who is a small child. Does Westeros not have therapists? You do not solve your Daddy Issues by betraying your friends who were basically your family and murdering people. That’s just not how it’s done.
His continued betrayal has shown me that I actually care about Robb Stark more than before. Previously, Robb just felt like a very minor, slightly insignificant character. After Ned’s death, he became more central, but I have an overall annoyance with the Starks. This season, I really like Robb. He is really stepping up to the plate, being aggressive and strategic against the Lannisters, who are my mortal enemies. I know they’re fictional characters, but they truly are my mortal enemies. Robb has really proved to be a thoughtful and smart leader. With Ned and Catelyn as his parents, I am truly surprised.
Robb isn’t the only Stark I like. Sansa has been one of my favorites since day one. This episode was so problematic in the way Sansa was almost treated. I have historically taken issue with their treatment of women, especially when it comes to gratuitous sex scenes or all of the depictions of sexual violence against women. I think this show is not alone in its poor treatment of its female characters. This happens when there are no women in the writers’ room. This entire show is written by men. The books’ writer is a man. There are so many female characters, good characters for female actors, and quite frequently we find them reduced or subjected to depicting some heinous violence against them. Let’s look at Sansa: Very frequently, her character is reduced to being a whiny teenager. After she is used to advance Ned’s storyline for a bit, we see very little of her. Then, we finally have her involved in the plot, and she is almost raped by a group of men.
I am finding that I am enjoying the show in a very conflicted manner. I am quite invested. Do I want the Starks to win? No. But I do want to see someone, even if it is the Starks, defeating some of the Lannisters. Am I ready to watch Theon get wrecked by Robb? Absolutely. Do I want to see more of Daenerys putting men in their places? Yes. But I don’t want these moments diluted by deplorable sexual violence against the women. The violence against the male characters all relates to war and the tragedy of combat. Yet, we find our female characters continually violated to do what exactly? Show that men abuse women? Yeah, but would it not maybe have more weight if that sexual violence against women showed proper consequences against the perpetrators of violence? I know in this episode The Hound murdered all of the almost-rapists. That’s some kind of justice. It has only taken 16 episodes of that to occur.
I am hoping that the sexual violence against the female characters will start to lessen. Deep down, I know it will continue. But, I will hold out hope that our female characters will not continually face sexual violence and, instead, can be super powerful badass forces.
Rodrik — cue “Abide with Me,” traditional hymn
Rodrik, my dude. I am so sorry that mop-headed nincompoop Theon executed you for being loyal to Robb. Theon is the worst. You literally trained him; however, apparently not good enough because he had to take a few whacks at your neck before fully beheading you. Okay, this sounds victim-blamey. You did not deserve this end. Murdered by a coward and a hack.
- Theon can choke.
- I hate Littlefinger too.
- Hey, it’s Rose Leslie!
- Oh, she escapes. Byyyyeeee.
- Someone threw shit at Joffrey. He deserved it.
- Um, someone protect Sansa!
- Hell yeah! Tyrion, hit him again!
- “What killed him?” “Loyalty.” Shit, girl.
- “The Greyjoys are treasonous whores.” FACT.
- Someone stole her dragons, huh.
“Game of Thrones” is available to watch on HBO and HBO Max.
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Feature image credit: HBO
Morgan Roberts (she/her) was by films and television. She spent many nights watching “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” or whatever the family rented from Blockbluster. Morgan is particularly interested in cinematography, supporting female filmmakers and “Fleabag.” Outside of a deep love of film, Morgan is passionate about mental health advocacy, gender equality and true crime podcasts. Morgan also contributes to In Their Own League.