All you nerds hoping for the first annual “Clegane Bowl” rejoice! For Sandor Clegane, The Mountain’s brother, formerly known as The Hound, lives! We meet him in the cold open, in a green valley, helping some an ascetic troupe to raise what looks like a sept. Septon Ray (Ian McShane) tells the story of how he found and saved him, and Clegane tells him that it was hate kept him going. When three ragged members of the Brotherhood without Banners approach the camp, it’s to rob them of coin or food, but see that they’re poor, and seemingly ride off, with ominous words: “The night is dark and full of terrors.” When Clegane returns from chopping wood, he finds them all dead. He storms off, axe in hand, heart full of hate…but to where? There’s no one he hates more than his brother.
In the North, Jon treats with the wildlings, convincing them to fight. But the lords and ladies of the North, those who haven’t seen the Walkers and the wights, are a tougher sell. In the audience of Lady Lyanna Mormont, the 10-year-old heir of Bear Island, Jon discovers a more capable leader than many we’ve seen. So who is she? Her mother Maege, the previous Lady Mormont, followed Robb Stark when he called their banner, and died in his service, leaving 10-year-old Lyanna in charge. Her mother was in charge because her brother, Jeor Mormont, had renounced his lands and title as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Remember when he gifted Jon with Longclaw, his Valyrian steel bastard sword? Their brother, Jorah Mormont is in Essos, with grayscale, having just helped Daenerys ecape from Dothraki captivity, looking for a cure. We first heard of Lady Lyanna when Stannis was roaming the north, trying to call banners of the northern lords to march on Winterfell. Her response? “Nah, we only recognize Stark, King in the North.”
Lady Lyanna is named after Ned’s sister (and the impetus for Robert’s Rebellion, the war that put a Baratheon on the throne and started this most recent mess), and she takes no shit. She’s only convinced by Davos’ pleas that the fight they’re in is everyone’s war. They win her support, and that of her 62 fighting men. But House Glover gives a hard pass, and they’re going to need a lot more if they’re going to re-take Winterfell.
When she realizes how desperate their situation is, Sansa finally cracks, and sends a raven to Littlefinger, and his knights of the Vale. He’s certainly not to be trusted, but Sansa is desperate—just how he likes it. She’s sent Brienne off to Riverrun to recruit the Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully, but how can he help while he’s under siege?
The Freys have Riverrun, the ancestral Tully castle, under siege, but are handling it ineptly. So Jamie and Bronn (remember him, Tyrion’s champion?) show up to whip them into shape. After a quick dick-measuring contest with the two Freys, Jamie emerges the clear winner, and shouts marching orders, He parleys with the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark’s uncle, with each actor chewing up the scenery. But it’s ultimately a stalemate — the castle has enough provisions for two years, so the Blackfish is content to wait them out.
Yara, Theon Greyjoy, and their fleet have reached Volantis, and the closest brothel. Theon is dejected; his favorite thing to do was to use his “sword,” but all he can do now is feel sorry for himself. His sister gives him quite possibly the most effective pep talk ever, saying, essentially, either roll with me and drink this beer, or kill yourself. He chooses beer, and Yara goes to “fuck the tits off this one” before they set sail for Meereen — and Daenerys.
In King’s Landing, we get confirmation that Margaery is still fighting the High Sparrow, and that he’s skeptical of her, as well. During their chat, she shows off her knowledge of scripture, and he reminds her that he knows people who know all the scripture but don’t embody any of it. He also tells her that it’s her duty to fuck Tommen, even if she’s not in the mood. “Congress does not require desire on the woman’s part, only patience,” he says, before threatening her grandmother. No wonder the ladies love him. His insistence lays bare just how important Tommen is to his plans; if Margaery wields Tommen, and he wields Margaery, he can seize power from the shadows.
The proof of Margaery’s resistance comes during her meeting with her grandmother; she convinces her to leave town for her safety, and smuggles her a secret note with a drawing of a rose, the siege of House Tyrell. But what’s her plan?
In Braavos, Arya negotiates passage to Westeros, but gets caught by the Waif, who stabs her in the belly a few times. But she escapes, jumping into a canal as the waif watches for her to come back up. She will almost certainly survive, so it’s the best possible outcome — the Waif (and the Faceless Men) seem to think she’s dead, which would preclude their pursuit of her back to Westeros. It’s the only way she’d be free of them. But first, she needs a doctor.