Editor’s Note: This recap contains spoilers for this and previous episodes in the Game of Thrones series.
Now that she has finally made it inside the House of Black and White, Arya Stark finds herself at a loss for what to do next. She claims she wants Jaqen to make her a Faceless Man, but has a hard time reconciling her past with her future.
After a nameless servant plays a rather mean trick on Arya, Jaqen tells the young Stark to truly begin the path to becoming a Faceless Man, she must give up all of the trappings of her old life.
Arya discards her clothes and coins easily enough but has a harder time parting with her sword, Needle, which Jon gave to her way back in season one.
She instead hides the sword amongst some rocks by the water, which means we may be seeing Needle again sometime soon.
The last we see of Arya this episode, she and the nameless servant are washing down a dead man’s body for an unknown purpose.
Love is in the air in the Red Keep. The marriage of Margaery Tyrell to Tommen Baratheon, marks the first happy wedding this show has seen.
Mere hours after their nuptials, Margaery wastes no time in getting into her good husband’s graces by slipping in small snide remarks against his mother under the guise of worry.
The next day, Tommen is trying to convince Cersei to return to her ancestral home of Casterly Rock. But Cersei is not having any of this and informs her son her home is wherever her family is.
As adamant as she is to remain in King’s Landing, even Cersei is beginning to realize how loose her grip on the city has become. She tries to confront Margaery, but Margaery is clearly unafraid of her new mother-in-law and even laughs at her well within her earshot.
Meanwhile, the Sparrows mentioned in the season premiere finally make their first appearance when they forcefully apprehend the High Septon while he is enjoying himself inside of one of Littlefinger’s brothels. Being the head of all religion in Westeros, the High Septon goes to Cersei demanding the execution of the leader of the Sparrows for the embarrassment he has endured.
However, Cersei is impressed by the High Sparrow and begins scheming with him in the unorthodox soup kitchen he set up in one of the city’s back alleys. Whether or not this holy man is as treacherous as everyone else in King’s Landing has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, in the dark offices of Maester Qyburn, something under a white tarp moves and we all shiver.
Though it’s good to be back in Winterfell after so many seasons, one wishes it would be under different circumstances. The Boltons now control the ancestral home of the Starks, making Roose Bolton, Robb Stark’s murderer, the Warden of the North.
However, the Northerners are not easily won. Few support Roose’s claims, especially when his former-bastard son Ramsay flays anyone who won’t do what he says.
In an effort to solidify his hold on the region, Roose sets up a marriage between Ramsay and Sansa Stark, much to Ramsay’s surprise.
Outside of Moat Cailin, Sansa is not thrilled to hear of her engagement. She almost breaks down right there until Littlefinger comforts her in the creepiest way and urges her to do whatever it takes to right the wongs done against the Starks. When the two finally arrive in Winterfell, Sansa soon finds she has more supporters than she first thought while Littlefinger and Roose try to figure out where they stand with one another.
Not far from Littlefinger, Brienne and Pod patiently follow behind. We finally get a bit of Brienne’s backstory and what her goal is once the safety of Sansa is assured: the death of Stannis Baratheon.
Up north, Jon Snow is getting used to his role as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Stannis is still trying to get Jon to join his cause, but Jon is adamant that his place is nowhere but the Wall. Stannis leaves in a huff and Davos Seaworth reminds Jon that Stannis would not bother with someone he did not believe in.
Despite his best efforts to win over the brothers who did not vote for him, there are still many against Jon’s command. The most vocal of these brothers is Janos Slynt, former head of the guard down in King’s Landing. He refuses Jon’s order to go restore Greyguard, one of the many ruined castles lining the Wall. Now faced with the first sign of disobedience, Jon makes a quick choice. Jon beheads Janos himself despite the man’s pleas for mercy as his head is laid upon the block. When he looks up, Jon sees Stannis nodding at him from the distance.
Tyrion is losing his mind after spending time on the road with Varys. He demands to be let out of the wheelhouse in Volantis. There he comes across a woman preaching about the Lord of Light and claiming Dany is the new savior. Tyrion seems skeptical, but leaves in a hurry when the priestess gazes just a little bit too long at his face.
Varys tries to warn the Lannister about showing his face, but Tyrion does not take the warnings seriously. He goes to a brothel, a place where he usually feels safe, but finds he is no longer up to sexual encounters after murdering his lover at the end of last season.
However, an old face rears his bald head as Tyrion pees outside: Jorah Mormont. The episode ends with Dany’s former confidante tying and gagging the Imp and claiming he will be taking the Lannister to Cersei, who has offered a lordship to anyone who brings her Tyrion’s head.
There was more action this episode, though I doubt it was what anyone was expecting. A lot more time was spent on minor characters, which I suppose is part of the show’s attempt to keep up the slow worldbuilding.
There was no Dany or Dorne this episode, a shame since those have been my favorite segments so far. Though it is important to have proper exposition, I do wish the plot was moving a bit faster. We’re almost halfway through the season and I still feel like we haven’t gotten anywhere substantial. It’s still too early to write the entire season off, but something needs to change soon or this might be the first disappointing season of Game of Thrones I’ve ever experienced.
In case you missed it, here is a link to last week’s recap!
Do you think this season is too slow? Too fast? Just right? Tell us in the comments!
Rosie Brown is a sophomore prospective journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.