“Game of Thrones” Recap: Release the Hounds

Big dogs of both human and fanged varieties played big parts in this week’s episode. Let’s jump right in!

We start the episode running through the woods at ground level – either I’m rewatching Evil Dead, or we’re in one of Bran’s kooky dreams again.

Sure enough, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) – who can walk in his dreams, like the kid from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors – sees the Third Eye Blind Raven, and he tries to shoot it with Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) help. He misses. He hears Ned’s voice, then some bratty kid who looks like a Muppet Baby version of Tate from American Horror Story shows up to tell him that he can’t kill the raven because the raven is HIM. Is this like that “one set of footprints” thing?

Hey – speaking of Brandon Stark, it’s time to catch up on everyone’s favorite Westerosian breakfast cereal:

Bran wakes up and tries to tell his dream to Osha (Natalia Tena) – who is smart enough to tell him that she’s not the least bit interested in learning what a twelve-year-old boy who has a hot nanny and no Internet access dreams about.

Over at Robb Stark’s (Richard Madden) camp, his wife – whose name I can’t remember to save my life – calls him “King of the grim, bearded, stinking barbarians.” Oh – so he won the Mr. Leather competition? Atta girl!

They are interrupted by a dude named Bolton bearing two letters: one apparently brings the news that Robb’s pep-pep (Catelyn’s dad and the head of Riversomethingorother) is dead. The other says that oh by the way your hometown has been burned to the ground and your brothers are missing. Guess it’s a “bad news is, there is no good news!” kind of day, eh?

Speaking of no good news, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) is strung up to a wooden X and some dude crams a knife under his fingernail.

Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), meanwhile, has Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) on a leash. He tries to get her to talk, and when he gay-baits Renly (with the admittedly kind of awesome “It’s a shame the throne wasn’t made of cocks or they’d never have gotten him off it!”) she finally bites. Before she can behead him he changes his tune: “I don’t blame him, or you – we don’t get to choose whom we love.” I’d almost accept this apology, but I don’t exactly want a sister-f*cker going to bat for me. Call me old-fashioned!

They cross paths with an old farmer and Brienne refuses to kill him, despite Jamie’s insistence the they have been recognized.

Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is getting fitted for his Sweet Sixteen dress and he barks, “NO FLOWERS!” before texting his BFFs that he cannot BELIEVE that his stupid mother actually thought he wanted a chocolate fountain at his party because she KNOWS that chocolate totally makes him break out in hit T-zone. UGH.

Cersei (Lena Headey) takes every opportunity to diss Margaery, and says that she doesn’t trust her. After treating us to a shirtless scene that I did NOT sign up for, thank you very much, Joffrey tells his mom to buzz off.

Elsewhere, Shae (Sibel Kekilli) is dressing Sansa (Sophie Turner) and she flat-out tells her that Littlefinger is up to no good but that she will protect her from him. They are interrupted by The Lorax (Finn Jones), who comes to take Sansa to tea with Marge and her nana. On the way Sansa tells Lorax that he once gave her a rose and he’s all, “Huh? Oh yeah – sure I did..” before popping off into the nearest truck stop for a “new air freshener.”

Sansa is introduced to Lady Olenna Tyrell, who is played by the legendarily fabulous Diana Rigg. It’s genius casting, because Marge looks EXACTLY like a young Kinky-Bootsed Dame Diana, no?


Olenna is not all about the royal marriage, apparently – and what’s more, she does NOT gladly suffer anyone who gets between her and her cheese. She doesn’t want to wait until after the lemon cake course, and she doesn’t want to sit through Sansa’s sob story about her dad getting his head cut off in front of her. Just give the old hen her damned cheese already!

Dowager Countess Olenna asks Sansa to spill the T about Joffrey, and after hesitating for a full 3 seconds Sansa is all, “HE’S A MONSTER.” Lady Olenna and Marge (Natalie Dormer) don’t seem particularly bothered by this bombshell, and they promise not to tell that Sansa told them anything. Hmm.

Back up North, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) is making a dreamcatcher or some sh*t and Lady TalisaMilano (Oona Chaplin) asks if she can help. Catelyn is initially all “BACK THE F*CK OFF MY DREAMCATCHER, SAMANTHA” but then she softens and shares a story about how she made one of these for a pox-ridden little Jon Snow even though he’s not her kid, and she promised God she’d give him her family’s name if he got better, and then he did, and then she totally took it back and now God hates her and it’s all her fault that everyone has cancer, or something. Martyr complex much, Cate?

Robb’s grey-bearded adviser tells him that marrying the chick from Charmed was a big mistake, and not just because it means they’ll get a three-page Christmas letter from Holly Marie Combs every year.

Up beyond the wall, Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds) explains to Jon Snow how much his job sucks, because he has to get like all these bitches who hate each other to get along – just like that scene at the end of Mean Girls where Tina Fey makes everyone do Trust Falls in the gym. “And everyone hates the cave people.” Well, I probably wouldn’t want to catch one of those either. He says the only way he got these people to cooperate was to tell them that they are ALL going to die if they don’t move south. That’s what we call “Giuliani Style”.

Oh – the Wildlings or whatever the hell they are have a “seer” whose eyes go all ping-pong ball when he jumps into animals. At first I thought he called him a “wog”, which would be a bit racist, but after a good amount of Googling I think he said “warg”. Oh – and he saw dead crows, which means some Night’s Watch dudes have bit it.

Speaking of, we catch up with Spamwise Tarly (John Bradley), who is getting bullied by some guy named Ross. (Really? Okay.) Ross calls him “piggy” (cough*potcallingthekettlefat*cough!) and tells him to stop walking and just die already, and Spamwise does. Luckily, super-hot Night’s Watch guy, Grenn (Mark Stanley), goes back for him, and Spamwise tells him that he’s upset that they ran off without him when the White Walkers showed up. Awww. They remind him that he’s fat and they all could have died because of him. Is this Biggest Loser: North of the Wall Edition?

Bran wakes to find Osha and the Big-Ass Dire Wolf on guard – Baby Tate from American Horror Story appears, and so does his sister (Ellie Kendrick), who has a knife at Osha’s throat. Tatelet, whose name is Jojen Reed (Thomas Brody-Sangster), somehow charms the wolf to like him, and he tells Bran that he’s come a long way to meet him.

We then catch up with young Arya (Maisie Williams) – yaaay! – who is stumbling through the forest with hot Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Hot Pie (HIS REAL NAME), who are asking her how the eff she blew Jaqen’s “three names of people to kill” offer so badly. But they’re interrupted when some beardy dude named Thoros from the Brotherhood of No Banners (Paul Kaye) shoots an arrow at them. The Brotherhood of No Banners? Is that some anti-Google-Ads hacker thing?

Tyrion (Peter Drunklage Dinklage) comes home to find Shae in his room. He pretends to be upset about the fact that Instant Secks is waiting for him, and she tells him that she’s got to protect Sansa. They bicker and make up.

Marge visits Joffrey, who is playing with his new crossbow. He asks her why she was such a lousy wife to Renly that she never had his heir, and she says that Renly was reeeeeeeeallyreallygay. Joffrey says that the judges will accept that answer, and Marge adds that as king he could totally make being Renly illegal if he wanted to. Wait – her own brother is like, 100% Renly! She’s up to something. Joffrey offers to show her how to use his new crossbow, adding that he’d like to watch her kill something. Okay, so girlfriend is TOTALLY playing Joffrey right now, right? My foreshadowing meter was pinging at that exchange…

Back in the dungeon, Theon gets grilled about his takeover of Winterfell, and his answers earn him a bag over his head. After his nonplussed inquisitors leave (having put a giant screw through his foot), some young chumscrubber tells Theon that Yara sent him and he’s going to free him tonight, and he unscrews his foot like a half-turn. That must be a relief!

Back in… wherever they are… Tatelet Jojen calls Bran a “warg” and says that he’s one, too. Apparently the 3-eyed raven brings sight of the future or past, and Tatelet’s father, Halland Reed, saved Ned Stark in the Rebellion.

At the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, Arya and her pals misbehave at the dinner table of Thoros McBeardy long enough for him to agree to let them go. But just as they’re on the way out, McBeardy’s guys bring in The Hound (Rory McCann) – who instantly recognizes Arya: “What in seven hells are you doing with the Stark bitch?” Uh-oh. Hey, Arya – maybe next time you can THROW ON A GODDAMN BASEBALL CAP OR SOMETHING.

Brienne contemplates how to get Jamie across the river, and decides on just walking him over the bridge. Jamie sits down in the middle like a good goat. When she tries to get him to move he grabs her sword – but she has another! They swordfight and she knocks him the f*ck down but just then a group of guys arrive that know he is Jamie Lannister because the farmer from earlier tipped them off. They carry a bloody banner but are working for the King of the North – which is Robb – I think? And is that the banner for House Bolton? Like the guy who brought the letters to Robb? 


Notably Absent: Ygritte, Yara, Littlefinger, ToriAmosandre, Stannis, Varys, Daenarys, Neilpatrick Harys

Notably Dead: Nobody. Wait, can that possibly be right?

Quote of the Week: Jamie proved that reading is, indeed, fundamental with his takedown of Renly. The library is closed, ladies.

All in all another rather uneventful ep but we do see things starting to align and move toward some inevitably crossed paths. There seemed to be an oddly prominent showing for House Bolton, so I went ahead and whipped up a house crest:

True, the banners the guys use in the show have a red X that represent a man with his skin flayed off, but I think this is much scarier. And the X calls to mind Theon’s current sitch – related?

Anyway, it was great to have Arya back and I’m thrilled that they are giving Bran a boyfriend after all the trouble he’s gone to growing out his hair.

Speaking of, this ep earned seven out of ten shampoo bottles:

What’d you wargs think?

In 2003, Brian launched the world's first website devoted to horror film from a gay perspective (CampBlood.org), mining an untapped (and occasionally unintentional) source of entertainment and bringing together a huge and colorful population of gay horror fans and filmmakers. When he's not pulling skeletons out of closets, Brian writes reviews for horror megasite Bloody-Disgusting.com, general film site Freezedriedmovies.com, and can be found on the ever-informative RottenTomatoes.com. Brian is also a filmmaker, having produced, written, and directed two shorts (the dark romantic comedy An Apple a Day and the eerie suspense piece Two Story House) that have played at film festivals worldwide and left audiences generally uneasy. A born-and-bred Midwesterner, Brian studied Mass Media and Film at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (I know – crazy, right?) before fleeing the district for the warm and occasionally stinky shores of NYC. Brian is a proud member of the Online Film Critics Society, loving husband to illustrator Andy Swist, and benevolent overlord of their two cats.