The Maester’s Quick-Hitting Questions and Things to Watch Out for Going Into Episode 2
How many times did Tyrion poop through a hole?
Using a rough estimate of the length of Narrow Sea crossings from last year — and adding a few days to account for weather, rough seas, and downtime at the docks — let’s assume Tyrion was pushing his fecal waste through his crate hole for about a week. Or, roughly 10 to 14 Imp poops, assuming a healthy digestive system, scooped through said hole.
Who was the prince that teen Cersei was supposedly promised to?
Rhaegar Targaryen, son of Aerys II Targaryen, a.k.a. the Mad King. Lord Tywin was Aerys’s Hand for 20 years and angled for Rhaegar and Cersei to wed. For reasons somewhat unclear, King Aerys turned Tywin down. Years later, Robert Baratheon caved Rhaegar’s chest in at the Battle of the Trident, effectively ending the Targaryen dynasty.
Varys is kinda full of shit.
’Twas a nice little speech the ex–Master of Whisperers gave Tyrion about the future of the country, the good of the realm, and how he knew Robert Baratheon would be a disaster from the beginning, which was why he’s been plotting a Targaryen restoration. But it’s not like the Targaryens were paragons of peace. Mad King Aerys had people burned alive without a trial and Robert’s Rebellion was in no small part a result of Aerys’s brutality.
Whether Varys’s intentions are purely motivated by some kind of altruistic patriotism or whether he has something cued up for himself on the side is something to watch.
Does barbecued Mance count as king’s blood?
It’s a gray area, but, since “King-Beyond-the-Wall” is an unofficial title used primarily by non-wildlings, my guess is: probably no.
There’s no villain on par with Tywin or Joffrey, but that’s because everyone is weak.
No one is on a strong footing this season. Daenerys is dealing with an insurgency and a city whose loyalty is unclear. The Boltons are hated by everyone they’re supposed to govern. Jon has to somehow maintain the Watch’s independence without angering Stannis. Stannis wants to build an army of wildlings, and the North hates wildlings.
So, no. No Tywin or Joffrey, but there are plenty of other things for everybody to worry about.
It’s a Shame This Wouldn’t Fit in Tyrion’s Box
Superfan Crazyperson Power Rankings of the Week: Characters Missing in Action
Mallory “Mother of Dragons” Rubin: Friends! Lovers! Cousins! Lancel is back! Did you spot him? He had short hair, bare feet, and a very self-righteous expression. It’s possible that you’d forgotten all about him, because we last saw him whimpering with an arrow in his armor during the Battle of the Blackwater, way back in Season 2. It’s also possible that his sudden reappearance has you trying to recall which other characters have vanished without a trace — from the show, your mind, or both. Fear not: Unlike Cersei, we’re here to help.
THE FORGOTTEN FIVE
1. Jaqen H’ghar: A man has been gone for far too long. A man said farewell at the end of Season 2 and has not returned since — surely, a man has not had patrol duty that entire time? Maybe a man crossed paths with a girl at a roadside inn while wearing a different face, but decided not to say hello for fear of having to share his chickens with a Hound? No matter. A man gave a girl a coin to use, should she ever need to find him, and now a girl has said the words “Valar morghulis” and set sail for Braavos. Remember: All men must die, all men must serve, and a man must reappear on our television screens before we turn to wolfsbane darts to ease our despair.
2. Brynden Tully: What about Edmure Tully, you say? Why mention the rogue uncle, but not the lordly nephew, when both evaporated from our lives during the infamous Red Wedding, you ask? Well, while Edmure’s fate may be more relevant to those in the Riverlands, we’re way more fussed about where the self-styled Blackfish got to after leaving the great hall to take that pressing leak. Let’s be real: Whom are we missing more, the guy who can’t shoot arrows, screws up his king’s battle plans, and is so busy making sexy-time with his new bride that he doesn’t realize most of his family is being slaughtered a few rooms away? Or the badass who crafted his own sigil, told Edmure, “The laws of my fist are going to compel your teeth,” and compared Walder Frey to a “wet shit”?
3. The Brotherhood Without Banners: These dudes did a pretty shitty thing when they sold Gendry to the Red Woman, but we’re willing to overlook that transgression for the sake of entertainment. As Hagrid might say: How often do you come across an immortal lord, a loaded priest, and a horny archer, even if you’re in the trade? Well, since midway through Season 3, not nearly often enough.
4. Gendry: Speaking of Gendry: How alarmed should we be that the last time we saw Robert’s pepper-haired bastard, in the Season 3 finale, he was rowing away from Dragonstone on Davos’s orders, casually admitting that he’d never been in a boat before? (Despite, you know, having been in a boat with Melisandre mere episodes prior?) Surely Gendry didn’t survive countless bowls of brown, a stint in Stannis’s dungeons, and a leech to the longsword just to perish on the open seas?
5. Nymeria: Can direwolves swim? Are Faceless (Wo)Men allowed to have pets? Arya and Nymeria are lone wolves now, but wouldn’t they be stronger together than they are apart? Nymeria managed to make the most of her two episodes of Season 1 screen time, mauling Joffrey’s arm before Arya banished her for her own protection; surely she could take some bites out of the other pesky posers on Arya’s list?
Also worth trying to remember: Rickon, Osha, and Shaggydog; Illyrio Mopatis; Benjen Stark; Balon Greyjoy; Syrio Forel; Myrcella Baratheon; Pyat Pree; Ilyn Payne; and, of course, Drogon.
BONUS! Borderline Weird Mallory Rubin Game of Thrones Memorabilia of the Week
Mance Rayder: Burned at the Stake Play Set
A Song of Ice and Please, Ye Old Gods, Anything But the Fire!
[Jon Snow enters the dark, dank cell of Mance Rayder for a chat about the imprisoned King-Beyond-the-Wall’s looming fate.]
“So here we are.”
“Here we are.”
“You know what Stannis wants?”
“He wants me to bend the knee.”
“How are you feeling about that?”
“You know, I respect him, I guess. But if I bend the knee for a southern king, that’s not going to be a great look for me? My whole deal is not bending the knee. I’m the No-Kneel King; it was my campaign slogan.”
“Still. They’ll kill you if you don’t. Just saying.”
“How will they do it? Beheading? Hanging?”
“They’ll burn you alive.”
“I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t be fire.”
“It’s fire. It’s his thing.”
“If I’m killed at all, I would very much like it to be less painful than that. What if we do something else? Am I being crazy?”
“They’re pretty set on fire.”
“Maybe they just haven’t considered other options? I could eat a giant feast until my heart stops or stomach explodes. It would be quite a spectacle for the lookie-loos.”
“Come on now.”
“Opposite direction of what they’re thinking.”
“This is a tough one.”
“Super tough, Mancey.”
“OK, I wasn’t going to suggest this except as a last resort. But the thing where they cut off my manhood and put it in a nice walnut box with some silk on the inside, then they send that box to a loved one? That’s pretty awful. Think of the look on my sweet mother’s face when she sees that.”
“You’d stay alive, though.”
“I would. But the rest of my life isn’t going to be amazing.”
“I worry it’s going to be the fire no matter what we say.”
“The fire. Huh.”
“What if I’m dead first? People can gather in a circle around the pyre and shout nasty stuff at me, get it all out. It’ll be cathartic for them in a way my anguished screams never could.”
“You have to be alive for it. That’s the whole point. Look, if you’re not going to kneel—”
“I’m sorry, kneeling’s still off the table.”
“I respect the way you’re sticking to your principles in the face of being burned alive.”
“I appreciate that. Can you promise me one last thing?”
“At least float the penis compromise? You never know, Stannis could be into it. That ladyfriend of his is a real sickie.”
“Thanks, pal. You can’t catch the Hail Maery if you don’t throw it up there.”
“You got it.”
“The fire’s going to suck so bad.”
“It really is.”
[Jon Snow exits the cell. Mance makes sure he’s gone. Then, for a moment, he kneels. But just for a moment. The fire is going to suck so bad.]
ICYMI: The Watch the Thrones Podcast, With a Very Special Message From Westeros’s Hottest Political Candidate
The Unfortunate Perils of Travel-by-Box
Dave Schilling: Have you ever been on an airplane where they tell you that the in-flight satellite TV is broken? You’d planned to watch reruns of Gilmore Girls for the duration, but you have to flush that notion along with the Whopper Jr. you ate before boarding call. You would have bought a damn magazine if they’d just told you ahead of time. What are you going to do? They got rid of the SkyMall catalogue. You don’t play games on your phone because you’re not a child. The best entertainment option you could come up with is counting the number of times your seatmate falls asleep and then violently wakes back up again, or listening to the one Fiona Apple album you randomly have on iTunes. (You swear you didn’t buy it. It just appeared there, like that U2 record. Really.) Imagine that feeling of isolation and total boredom, but then add being stuffed into a box with only one hole, made both for breathing and for squeezing between 10 and 14 poops through. That’s what Tyrion Lannister had to experience in his trip to Pentos. He didn’t even get the Whopper Jr. before boarding call.
In some ways, his trip wasn’t all that different from flying on an American commercial airline. For one, he admitted he was drunk the whole time, which I have to cop to, too, when I travel. Drinking loosens me up for all the scintillating conversations I’m going to have with the flight attendants. That said, I’m guessing Tyrion didn’t have a call button installed in his box when he needed Varys to bring him a neck pillow. Our Maester estimated that the boat ride to Pentos took around a week. There aren’t enough copies of SkyMall in the Seven Kingdoms to get me through that journey. How anyone, even a man of small stature, could last a week in a wooden crate with no chance to stretch his legs is beyond my comprehension. The next time I fly and the Wi-Fi isn’t free, I’ll be sure to appreciate the fact that I don’t have to literally shit where I eat.
Musical Interlude: You Dance or You Die
WWJD: What Would Joffrey Do?
John Lopez: Up until Sunday’s premiere, I’d have done a spit take if you’d told me I’d ever feel sorry for Cersei Lannister. But Westeros’s Mother of the Year has a lot on her plate now that Daddy’s gone and, try as she might, drinking all the wine in Dorne won’t make it go away. Lacking Tywin’s ruthless counsel and with her back against the wall, I think there’s but one question she should ask herself as she tries to solve her many problems: “What would Joffrey do?”
Bummed that that cradle-robbing siren Margaery Tyrell has wrapped your last and most pliable son/king around her seductive finger? WWJD?
First, order two of Littlefinger’s finest courtesans to dance au naturel before Tommen; then, just as the virginal scales fall from his kitten-loving eyes, execute them with a crossbow. He’ll get the picture and so will Margaery.
What about that cackling witch whose mocking prophecy still tugs at the darkest corners of your mind? WWJD?
Duh, conduct a kingdom-wide witch hunt and feed all suspected witches to ravenous bears. No more witches, no more prophecy: simple as that.
Yeah, but pretty much every ambitious backstabber in King’s Landing has your number now that Tywin’s not there to play puppet master with the purse strings. WWJD?
This is an easy one: public executions and shame-beatings for those you don’t kill. Don’t worry about silly questions like innocence or loyalty; the more random it is, the more effective. And maybe throw in some crossbow just for kicks.
Cousin Lancel has gotten freakily religious and he’s spouting off about a higher moral order like he’s going to spill the beans about your incestuous affair and his convenient part in the mysterious death of your first husband. WWJD?
Two words: more crossbow.
That devil-imp brother of yours is out there across the Narrow Sea, and you know he’s got your number. And crossbows don’t shoot that far. WWJD?
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned dwarf burlesque show to cheer you up. And see that crossbow leaning up unused against the corner? That thing’s not going to fire itself.
How to Survive a Long, Slow Elevator Ride With Melisandre
Ben Lindbergh: It’s the summons no one wants to receive: Stannis needs to see you, and he’s waiting atop the Wall. It’s not the destination you dread: Even though Bran the Builder had the same regard for safety railings as the guys who built the Death Star, you won’t get a better view of the wight-infested wilderness anywhere.
No, the real problem is the time it takes to get to the top of this …
… in an elevator operated like this:
With a winch-driven departure, there’s no chance of pulling a Larry David and ascending in sweet solitude; unless you’re Ilyn Payne, you’re going to have to make small talk. And since you’re on your way to see Stannis, you’re probably going to be riding with the Red Woman. So how do you keep your seven minutes with Melisandre from becoming as uncomfortable as Jon Snow’s?
1. Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.
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2. Relax. As long as you aren’t related to royalty or currently tied to a stake, Melisandre probably doesn’t pose an imminent threat. When you’re Westeros’s last line of defense against wildlings and White Walkers, you have to learn to treasure the times when your worst fears are awkward silence and sexual tension.
3. Stick to neutral subjects. Admittedly, it’s not easy to avoid politics and religion when you’re talking to a priestess who also advises a king on reclaiming his semi-rightful throne. At the Wall, “Nasty weather we’re having” is always an applicable opener, but Melisandre can twist any idle observation about temperature into a request to learn more about the Lord of Light. The only gaffe worse than complaining about the forecast is ignoring the next rule:
4. Don’t discuss the kids. In normal social situations, asking a parent for an update on his or her offspring is an obvious icebreaker. Try to resist this impulse: You don’t want to see Stannis Jr.’s baby pictures.
5. Maintain perspective. Sure, Melisandre got her conversational skills from The Room and smells of “smoke and blood.” But everyone else at the Wall smells way worse, and Melisandre’s hotline to R’hllor makes her a naturally radiating heat source. Here’s a short list of people you really wouldn’t want to be stuck with on the slow ascent to the top of the Wall:
So remember: There are worse ice-elevator companions in Westeros. Count your blessings.
Exit Music: The Game of Harmonium