40 Days. 40 Episodes. Game of Thrones, S3E2, “Dark Wings. Dark Words.”

Ah, finally, the last episode I have to recap fully in my 40 Days. 40 Episodes. experiment.

It opens with Bran running through the woods. The three-eyed raven appears, he nocks an arrow to his bow, recalls his brothers teaching him how to shoot, and fires at the raven. He misses it. Then he turns to see Jojen Reed who tells him he can’t kill the raven because the raven is he. Bran wakes.

Talisa and Robb are having a moment when Roose appears. He says he has news from Riverrun. Cat’s father has died. Robb and Cat plan their travel plans. Robb also tells Cat that by the time Roose’s bastard got to Winterfell, the ironborn were gone. She wonders if they know anything about Theon.

Cut to Theon, on one of the Bolton’s racks being tortured. So how did get fall into the hands of the Bolton’s?

Brienne and Jaime are having their constant conversation–he provoking her, Brienne praising Lady Stark (a woman she’d known for a day or two before swearing service to her). Just as he’s gotten to his provoking-est, a man stumbles along. Jaime tells Brienne to kill him. She refuses. As I’ve pointed out before, Game of Thrones is basically a show about the marginalized characters giving solid advice to the heroes who ignore it.

Joffrey is getting fitted for a nice new suit. Cersei tests Joffrey by asking about Margaery whom he describes as “an ideal match.” Cersei presses him, what does he think of her? When he gives her facts, Cersei just outright undermines Margaery to Joffrey. He cuts off her “what you need to do” statement with “I don’t need to do anything.”

Shae is trying to figure out what Littlefinger’s interest in Sansa is. Ser Loras invites Sansa to hang with Margaery and her Olenna. Sansa is hilariously blind to Loras’s preferences. Olenna is pretty immediately forthright: “Once the cow’s been milked, there’s no squirting the cream up her udder.” I’m still happy Olenna is Emma Peel from the Avengers. Olenna has called Sansa to discuss how cruel Joffrey really is. Rightly, Sansa is suspicious of this talk. But Olenna convinces her that she can tell the truth. Finally, Sansa relents, “He’s a monster.”

Back “at war,” Robb marches to Riverrun for the funeral. He hasn’t fought a battle in forever. Lord Karstark tells Robb that in his opinion he lost the war as soon as he married Talisa. How right. Cat, in mourning, is making another of those dreamcatcher things for Bran. Talisa speaks with her about her children. Cat tells a touching story about caring for Jon when he was a sick baby. It’s nice to see her make up for being such a witch to him when he left for the wall. Sadly, in the story, she prays for Jon to live and she’ll tell Ned to give him the “Stark” name but she doesn’t go through with it.

Mance and Jon bond. In a bit of timeless wisdom, Mance explains, “Everyone hates the cave people.” Mance’s strategy for uniting the clans was simple tell them they’re going to die unless they do. They’ve seen the White Walkers. They know. Then Jon meets his first warg. Well, his like 6th actually, when you count his entire family.

Elsewhere, in Hoth, one ranger is giving Sam shit about something. I guess, the ravens? It’s entirely unfair but I suppose in the show, they wanted Sam to prove himself to the rangers by killing that Walker. But in the book, when he’s a pretty competent Maester-in-training who ALSO kills a Walker, he’s more of a bad-ass.

Bran meets the Reeds. They don’t really explain who they are yet.

In other walking news, Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry are walking. They hear singing so they hide. The song is “The Rains of Castamere”–one of two songs (along with “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”) that they’ve invented in Westeros. The Robin Hood looking dudes are too fun to be evil. They explain they’re the Brotherhood Without Banners. They take the three with them to meet that other undead guy.

Shae is still openly flaunting her relationship with Tyrion by letting herself into his chambers. Shae has a problem for Tyrion. She tells Tyrion she’s worried about Sansa and Littlefinger. She wants Tyrion to protect her (but one season later and she’s totally pissed that he has to marry her). But one second later, she’s jealous that Tyrion finds Sansa attractive. They have a little spat and then she takes off his pants.

Margaery joins Joffrey in his chambers. He’s going hunting. His talk is somewhat threatening. He’s holding a crossbow and asks her about her marriage to Renly. She subtly tells him she and Renly weren’t, you know, doing it. Joffrey is really pleased to hear this and tells her that he’s considered making Renly’s “perversion” a crime. She fondles Joffrey’s crossbow which is his surrogate penis. He shows her how to work it. She asks to go hunting sometime. This impresses Joffrey. When she says her father would never take her hunting, he says, “you no longer belong to him.” Then she holds his crossbow and wonders about the excitement of killing something.

Theon is being painfully tortured still. His captors are asking him why he took Winterfell. Who told him to. He tells the truth in all sorts of ways but they keep torturing. As the torturers leave, we see a man sweeping up. He removes Theon’s hood and says, “Your sister sent me.” He tells Theon he’ll return that night.

This part of the story (for readers) is a weird attempt to explain the relationship between Ramsay Snow (Roose Bolton’s bastard, the original Reek) and Theon (Reek 2). In the book, Ramsay has been weirdly ingratiating himself to Theon within Winterfell. Theon has named him “Reek” because he smells so terrible. Then there’s this weird coup and Reek is all, “Surprise, bitch! I’m Ramsay!” But they’ve skipped all that in the show. So Ramsay plays this weird release-and-catch game with Theon to establish a somewhat similar tone of trust and distrust.

Back in the North, Bran’s caravan walks on. Jojen explains to Bran what being a warg is all about. “The raven brings The Sight,” he says. Then Jojen tells Bran how they both saw Ned die. It wasn’t a dream. That’s The Shinning.

Arya and Gendry talk to the Brotherhood about what they’ve been up to. They’re about to be set free when some other Brothers show up with the Hound. He spoils it all for Arya by asking, “What in seven hells are you doing with the Stark bitch?”

Jaime and Brienne contemplate how to cross a river–water or bridge. Jaime’s hectoring pushes Brienne to choose the bridge. Jaime messes with her almost the entire way across, antagonizing her until he can grab a sword from her. Then there’s another great sword fight. Jaime is a real shit-talker. And Brienne just scraps the hell out of him. Just as she knocks him down, riders show up with that farmer guy who saw them in the woods. He knows it’s Jaime. The lead rider is Locke–Roose’s “best hunter” that he mentioned earlier. Roll credits.