The second episode finds the ladies of Westeros back in full force. Margaery is playing her game of chess with Joffrey like a master – outplaying even his mother. Brienne may not be able to out-think Jaime Lannister, but she trounces him physically (his months of captivity probably didn’t help him there, though she does have him bested him by several inches). Shea refuses to abide Tyrion’s warnings, continuing to skate on dangerously thin ice now that Tywin has returned to the castle. And we can’t forget about Arya, sharp as a whip and who could obviously end up running the country if only coincidences would start to run in her favor.
What with all the feminine mystique rolling around Westeros, the wheel of power continues to rotate, bringing those from the bottom up to the top, and vice versa. Cersei finds herself falling more and more out of favor with her son, who can barely seem to stand the sight of her. Margaery, meanwhile, beguiles the young Joffrey with her flashy clothes and gentle manner. But a brief interview with Sansa gives her to the insight to Joffrey’s character she needs: he has a cold, hard heart, one that won’t be melted by her soft-shoe prancing with orphans.
Luckily, Margaery has a firebrand for a mentor – her grandmother, Lady Olenna. Charming, bold and certainly not one who minces her words, Lady Olenna is the most honest and straightforward character that Kings Landing has seen since King Robert. I hope we see much more of her – she brings back the lively unpredictability that made Robert such a joy to watch. But her game is a much longer con, methinks.
Jaime, whose luck continues to turn the farther he gets from Robb’s army, continues to seize any opportunity to undercut his forbidding jailkeeper. He soon learns that he may be better off in Brienne’s company than shod of it – she is more intimidating to an enemy than he is. Continuing their long trudge through the underbush, they are betrayed by a wandering farmer heading toward Riverrun. Though Brienne is a deeply imposing figure, even she can’t fight off the entourage of Locke, a pointed-face local baron who seems to possess a uniquely mercenary heart.
Meanwhile, Catelyn gets terrible news from her childhood and married home: her father has died at Riverrun, and news finally reaches the army of the sacking of Winterfell. Robb releases her from detainment and dutifully marches his ranks to pay homage at his grandfather’s funeral. Though he cannot forgive his mother for releasing the Kingslayer, Talisa makes every effort to bond with her new mother-in-law. Catelyn remains cold to her, echoing the theory of many in Robb’s army that his choice to defy Lord Frey by marrying Talisa will be their downfall.
After escaping Harrenhal, Arya is travels in the company of Gendry and the fat delinquent. Impressing anyone they come across with her sheer fearlessness, they find themselves taken kind of hostage by the Brotherhood: a group of wandering bandits who have sworn off the government and any banner-carrying alliance. It’s the closest thing to kindred spirits that she’s come across, but her identity remains a dangerous secret, and she can’t risk staying long where she might be discovered. Even as she sets to make her getaway, luck isn’t on her side: the Hound is captured and brought to the camp, of course he recognizes her without hesitation.
For a country that is purported to be as large as South America, it certainly seems like a small world.
On the road north, Osha, Bran, Rickon and Hodor make a new pair of friends: Jojen and Meera. Jojen is a thin, pasty boy who first appears to Bran in his dream, and then arrives at their camp in the flesh. Meera is a tough sparkplug who plays protector to her sensitive brother. Jojen sees and hears more than he lets on at any given moment, and explains to Bran why he’s been seeing a three-eyed raven in his sleep and how it’s possible that he can put his brain into the mind of his wolf.
It’s clear that Bran’s gifted, and Rickon possibly is too. It terrifies their caretaker, Osha, who silences Bran every time he so much as mentions a sleeping jaunt in the body of another animal. With Jojen as a new guide, Bran could explore these activities in a more thorough way, and hopefully discover a supernatural power as valuable as Daenerys’. With Catelyn cleaving to her superstitions and Bran learning about his unusual propensities, it may not be Robb who is the Stark with the most powerful cards to play in this war.
These recaps are for the GoT TV Series only. I haven’t read the books, so please don’t spoil any forthcoming plot points in the comments. If you have read the books, please enjoy the dramatic irony and that feeling you get from being just a bit more knowledgable than the rest of us, but keep it to yourself. Thanks!