This week’s episode begins with Lord Commander Jon Snow preparing his horses to ride beyond the Wall and enlist the help of the Wildlings. Jon brings Tormund Giantsbane with him, of course, and he must be unshackled if he is expected to ride with them. A majority of the Night’s Watch remain incredibly unhappy with this decision and only Sam is there, ever supportive of his friend, to give Jon the dragonglass dagger he killed the White Walker with, “just in case.”
After Jon’s departure, Sam and Gilly are in visiting Maester Aemon with Little Sam and Maester is delighted by the little baby’s laughter and squeals. Maester Aemon warns Sam to take Gilly far south before it is too late.
At Winterfell, Reek is tasked with bringing breakfast to Sansa who is locked away in her quarters. When he enters we see Sansa is in a terrible state: she is sobbing and covered in bruises. She rises and tells Theon that every night since her wedding Ramsay visits her here to have his way and every day she is locked away. Reek tells her it could be much worse and Sansa tells him she does not see how it could be. The look on Reek’s face tells her it absolutely could be and she asks him what Ramsay did to him. Reek refuses to answer, but Sansa insists, never calling him “Reek,” always “Theon.” Reek tells her Theon is no more and she yells at him that he is Theon Greyjoy and from a great family and begs him to help her. Sansa tries desperately to instill confidence in Reek in hopes this will cause him to stand up against Ramsay. She tells Theon that she still has friends in Winterfell and what the old woman told her to do. Sansa gives the candle to Theon and tells him to place it in the tower window for her. Theon screams he is Reek, only Reek, but he does take the candle.
Reek leaves Sansa and heads outside, looking up at the broken tower in the distance and then to the candle. He begins to ascend the tower steps and when he gets to the top we see Ramsay Bolton, enjoying his breakfast. This is not the broken tower; Reek has taken the candle straight to Ramsay. Outside we see Brienne looking to the tower window, void of any light…
Sam and Gilly check in on Maester Aemon again when Aemon awakes with a start saying he had a dream he was old. With this, Maester Aemon gives up his last breath. Sam is charged with giving Aemon’s eulogy and it is an amazing one. Sam truly admired the maester. Unfortunately, Sam has almost run out of allies with Maester Aemon now dead and Jon gone.
Sansa is summoned by Ramsay and he has her walk with him through the courtyard. As they walk, Ramsay speaks about Stannis and how his men are not prepared to fight in the extreme cold but these men here in the north are. Ramsay brags about his soldiers being used to the cold and how he will soon be Lord of the North and Sansa will be his Lady, of course. Sansa briefly asks about Ramsay’s yet-to-be-born sibling and what will happen should it be a boy. Ramsay seems almost unaware of what she is referring, so she goes on to clarify that a full blood heir always has more claim than a bastard, which Ramsay is. Ramsay reminds her he was made legitimate by King Tommen, and, of course, Sansa quips back that it came from another bastard. She is getting to him, and Ramsay tells her bastards are having a great year, even Jon Snow: “The Bastard of the North” was made Lord Commander. Sansa is completely taken off guard by this and Ramsay tells her he had almost forgotten why he summoned her. He has her turn around as they have reached their destination to find the old woman who gave Sansa the candle, totally flayed – with Reek standing near her body. Ramsay forces Sansa to look upon the woman (just as she was forced by Joffrey to look upon her father’s decapitated head) and tells her that Reek informed him of her plans. He cannot see why Sansa would want to leave her home and her husband. Ramsay then has her taken back to her quarters as it is far too cold out for a lady.
Ramsay was right about Stannis’ men, unfortunately. Davos must report to Stannis that their supplies are dwindling, 40 horses froze to death the previous night, and all 500 of the Storm Crows abandoned them in the middle of the night. Stannis instructs him to hire more men, but Davos suggests they go back to Castle Black. Stannis refuses this and states he will not be known as “The King Who Runs.” Davos reluctantly leaves to see what he can do and Melisandre is there to assure Stannis he is right to stay the course. She reminds him that she has already seen visions of his victory and he must believe and make the proper sacrifices to win. Melisandre reminds Stannis that it is by his blood that he will have victory and when Stannis reminds her they have not found the bastard Gendry, Melisandre tells him that they already have his blood here with them in camp. She wants to use Shireen in her rituals to ensure Stannis’ victory, but Stannis is completely against it and denies her. We can only hope he sticks with that decision.
Gilly is doing laundry when she is cornered by two men of the Night’s Watch. She tries to fight them off and things are looking dire for her when Sam comes in to rescue her. He draws his sword and, of course, the other two men treat Sam like a joke. One holds a struggling Gilly while the other beats Sam’s face to a pulp. Even after the severe beating, Sam gets up again and again tells them men he will not allow them to harm Gilly. Gilly tries to save Sam as well by telling him not to try and help her, but the two men are not impressed by either of them. As the men have Gilly pinned against the wall and Sam is trying to be his most intimidating, it is Ghost who comes to their aid. The direwolf comes around the corner into the room, snarling and snapping at the two men who hastily release Gilly and take off. That night, Gilly tends to Sam’s wounds when they both finally do what everyone has been hoping would happen all along. They consummate their relationship in probably the most sweet sexual scene in the entire series.
Tyrion and Jorah are taken to the auction block and the slavers begin with Jorah. He is eventually auctioned off for 20 gold and Tyrion fears he may be left behind or worse and demands to be bought alongside Jorah. Tyrion tells the man that purchased Jorah that they are a team and so must be purchased together. The man looks at Tyrion and inquires what he could possibly want with him. Tyrion tells the man he is also a great fighter and the man has a severe look of doubt so Tyrion quickly dispatches another slave and the man agrees to buy him as well.
Daenerys is in bed with Daario and they are discussing her upcoming marriage. Daario is obviously jealous and suggests she marry him instead. Daenerys tells him she cannot and he tells her that makes her the only person in Meereen who is not free. Daario makes one last request, that she gather all the Masters and High Masters of all the great houses and has them slaughtered. Daenerys is appalled by this and states she is their Queen, not a butcher. Daario suggests that “all rulers are either butchers, or meat.”
Lady Olenna goes to visit the High Sparrow on behalf of Margaery and Loras. Olenna offers everything she can think of from money to power to even withholding food from King’s Landing in exchange for the release of her two grandchildren, but the High Sparrow is not having any of it. He truly has no interest in anything she has and only wants to reclaim the city’s morality and rebuild from the reign of sinners. Olenna tells him that he is being used by Cersei, one of the worst of them all.
Cersei is with Tommen and tells him that starving himself will not help Margaery be released. Tommen is very upset and tells Cersei that he loves Margaery and he would go to war with the septon to save her. Cersei suggests that she visit her, make sure she is alright, and see if she can talk to the High Sparrow on his behalf.
Meanwhile in Dorne, Myrcella goes to visit Jaime while he is being held in a rather nice room, and she does not understand why he is even there. Jaime explains that she is in danger and he came to get her and take her home. Myrcella tells him Dorne has been her home for years, and while she did not want to go at first and was told she had to because it was her duty, she now wants to be here. She loves Trystane and cannot wait to marry him. Myrcella makes a very good point that her mother and uncle don’t really know her anymore nor do they know what is best for her. She leaves Jaime with this sting.
In the prison cells, the Sand Snakes are in a cell across from Bronn and he is singing the day away. Tyene claps when he finishes his song and she and Bronn banter about beautiful women. She entices him into admitting she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen by removing pretty much all her clothes. As he is still reluctant to admit it, she asks him how his head is. He gets woozy and she explains her dagger was poisoned when she cut him as they fought and he will soon die. The only antidote is in her necklace and she will only give it to Bronn if he admits she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Bronn does, of course, and she tosses the antidote to him.
Lady Olenna meets secretly with Littlefinger in one of his torn apart brothels. She is still lividly upset and he tells her he was summoned back to King’s Landing by Cersei for information he could not keep from her. Olenna tells Littlefinger that should anything happen to her or her House she would have no problem spilling the beans about their joint involvement in killing Joffrey. Littlefinger tells Olenna what he told Cersei and offers up even more information that he did not give to Cersei. He has a plan, as usual.
Jorah and Tyrion are in the waiting area of the lower pits. They and the other slaves will be dueling today to win a chance to compete in the main fighting pits. The fighters are taken out leaving Jorah and Tyrion to wait their turn. As they are, Daenerys and her soon-to-be-husband arrive. Hizdahr explains that it is tradition for the Queen to visit each of the lower pits to show her support. The men chant that they fight and die for her honor and Jorah hears this from where he and Tyrion are waiting. Jorah goes to the other end and can see Daenerys watching the fighting and as the men fight and ultimately kill each other she becomes more and more distressed. Jorah can see he must make a move now and so grabs a helmet and runs outside. He quickly takes down the other fighters just as Daenerys was about to leave. Once he is the last one standing, he removes his helmet. Daenerys is pissed at the sight of him and orders him removed. Jorah pleads with her, telling her he has brought a gift. Just then Tyrion walks out and proclaims he is her gift, Tyrion Lannister.
Cersei kinda does what she told Tommen she would and goes to visit Margaery. She bring Margaery some food and pretends to sympathize with the terrible conditions of the cell Margaery is being held in. Margaery is not stupid though and screams at Cersei to leave her, throwing the food across the room. When Cersei leaves, she is taken to see the High Sparrow. Cersei first confirms that the Tyrells would be destroyed by the upcoming trial and can barely contain her pleasure with what she has accomplished. The High Sparrow then talks with her about removing the gilded gold and decoration from the city and its individuals to see what is underneath. At the end of their chat, the High Sparrow makes mention of a man that came to them who needed to be stripped of many things. He was stripped of his pride, his name, his sins, and he had much to say about Cersei. In walks Lancel Lannister and, after trying in vain to leave, Cersei is taken into custody, tossed into her very own filthy prison cell, her crimes to be named later.