Game of Thrones Season 5 – Top 10 Moments

As supplementary reading to the Season 5 recap, we count down some of the best moments from the season. While Season 5 is wildly unpredictable, it also remains the most depressing of all seasons.

10. Cersei’s Prophecy

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Game of Thrones shows us a rare flashback, as a young Cersei meets a witch, who makes a bunch of cryptic, but accurate prophecies about her, including her marriage to Robert Baratheon and the subsequent deaths of her children.

[Spoiler Alert] It’s interesting to note a part of the prophecy from A Feast for Crows that didn’t make it into the show. “When your tears have drowned you, the valonqar (brother) shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”

9. Shireen

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Stannis had been on a redemption arc this season: helping the Night’s Watch, marching to kill Ramsay Bolton, and correcting people’s grammar. But, he commits the ultimate irredeemable act when he burns his daughter alive, in one of the most horrifying and controversial scenes in the show’s history.

8. Walk of Shame

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Cersei is forced to take a walk of atonement through the streets of King’s Landing for her sins. I think it’s as good a time to remind the High Sparrow and Septa Unella that the Lannisters pay their debts.

7. Arya kills Meryn Trant

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Arya crosses off the first name in her kill-list, Meryn Trant, in Kill Bill style. It is bloody, brutal, and a satisfyingly gory death.

6. The Martells send their Regards

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The Dorne storyline ends on a devastating note as Myrcella dies of poisoning, after a heart-warming emotional moment between Jaime and his niecedaughter.

5. Jon is elected Lord Commander

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After Jon turns down Stannis’ amazing offer to make him Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell, he is elected the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.

4. Dany and Tyrion

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The alliance of these two fan favorites is yet to happen in the books, which makes their meeting all the more electrifying. Dany and Tyrion size each other up in a fascinating scene, involving sharp and witty exchanges that are everything we’d hoped for. Tyrion passes his interview in flying colors and Dany decides to take Tyrion as her chief advisor.

3. Et Tu, Brute

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In the season finale, Jon finds himself facing a mutiny led by Alister Thorne and a band of Night’s Watch brothers, who don’t approve of his decision to ally with wildlings. Several knives are buried into Jon Snow’s heart with the words, “For the Watch”. The final blade that kills Jon belongs to Olly, his steward.

2. How to Ride Your Dragon

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I hadn’t fully enjoyed this epic sequence initially, since it follows Shireen’s death and I hadn’t gotten rid of Shireen’s screams out of my head by then. But taken in isolation, Dany escaping the Daznak fighting pits on Drogon’s back, after the dragon torches the rebellious Sons of the Harpy to smithereens, is one of the most amazing and climactic moments of the season.

1. Hardhome

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The Battle of Hardhome marks one of the most exciting and thrilling battles in the show’s history, as Jon and the wildings face off against the White Walkers and their wights. Jon kills a White Walker using his Valyrian sword, and the battle ends with the iconic scene of the Night King locking eyes with the fleeing Jon Snow, raising his arms slowly, and resurrecting every wildling who died in the battle.

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Game of Thrones Season 5 – Recap

With the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, here is a quick-ish summary of all 7 seasons and 67 hours of TV’s greatest ever spectacle. This is a recap of Season 5.

Even though Season 5 ends on the same cliffhanger as in A Dance with Dragons, the latest book in the series (which was released waaaaaay back in 2011!), it marks the first time the show starts to depart from the books. So, while it makes for a wildly unpredictable season, it also remains the most depressing and my least favorite of all seasons.

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King’s Landing

There’s a power vacuum in King’s Landing following Tywin’s death, as Cersei and Margaery fight for control over Tommen, who’s caught between a rock and a hard place. In an ill-advised move hoping to undermine the Tyrells, Cersei arms the Faith Militant, a decision she comes to regret. The High Sparrow, the leader of the Faith, arrests Loras, and locks up Margaery and Cersei for good measure. Cersei is forced to confesses to her adultery charges and take a walk of atonement.

Essos

Tyrion and Varys reach Pentos, where Tyrion is kidnapped by Jorah, who hopes this might earn him a place on Dany’s friendzone again. Jorah gets infected by greyscale before the pair is captured by slavers. If you find this segment boring, try reading Tyrion’s adventures in the book as he joins a mummers group, befriends a female dwarf, sails across the high seas with a sellsword company, and mentors a guy claiming to be a Targaryen. Fortunately, we can skip all of that and get to Mereen where Tyrion meets Dany!

There is a rebellion brewing in Mereen as the Sons of Harpy murder a lot of Dany’s men, including Ser Barristan. (If it’s of any consolation, he’s still alive in the books and will probably remain so for another 50 years, judging by GRMM’s writing speed.) In a bid to placate the Mereneese, Dany agrees to open the fighting pits, which leads to Jorah introducing Dany to Tyrion. Dany and Tyrion size each other up before she agrees to take him as her advisor. Shortly afterward, the Harpies stage a coup at the fighting pits. With Dany’s entourage heavily outnumbered, Drogon swoops in and rescues Dany.

Dorne

The Dornishmen are understandably not pleased about Oberyn Martell getting his eyes gouged. Cersei is worried about Myrcella, who is engaged to the Dornish crown prince, and sends Jaime and Bronn on a diplomatic mission to bring her back. The plan doesn’t work and Myrcella ends up dead, after being poisoned. Again, if you found this a pointless detour, count yourself lucky you didn’t have to read about characters such as Hotah, Doran Martell’s bodyguard, and Arianne, Doran’s daughter, who tries to seduce a Kingsguard knight to get to Myrcella.

Braavos

Arya reaches Bravos and enlists herself in the House of Black and White for “Assassin 101”. When Arya kills Meryn Trant, who was the first name on her list, Jaqen a man gets annoyed and makes Arya blind.

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Stannis, who had saved the Nights Watch from the wildlings at the end of last season, marches to Winterfell in an ill-advised move to attack the Bolton army. He burns his daughter alive as a sacrifice to the Lord of the Light, in one of the most controversial scenes in the show’s history. His army is easily routed by the Boltons, and Stannis dies rather tamely at the hands of Brienne, who gets revenge for Renly. Meanwhile at Winterfell, Littlefinger arranges a marriage between Sansa and Ramsay Bolton, in the show’s most devastating arc, which left me mentally scarred.

At the Wall, Jon is elected Lord Commander, after he turned down Stannis’ offer to make him Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. One of his first decisions is to make peace with the wildlings, which doesn’t go down well with other members of the Nights Watch. But Jon decides to accompany Tormund to Hardhome, where the defeated wildling army is camped. In an ensuing EPIC battle with the White Walkers and their zombies, Jon kills a White Walker and rescues a small group of wildlings. When he returns back to the Wall, he faces a mutiny, led by Alister Thorne, and is stabbed to death.

Here is a quick recap of how the Starks fared. Jon Snow, dead. Sansa, raped. Arya, blind.

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Captain Marvel – Movie Review

Captain Marvel takes a while to get going, but once she finds her stride, it makes for a fun and enjoyable ride.

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Captain Marvel is the 21st entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also marks a parting of ways with the origin story template Marvel had been using Phase One. Rather than telling how Vers/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) got her powers, the movie lets the audience piece together Captain Marvel’s origin story through flashbacks, against the backdrop of an intergalactic Kree-Skrull war. Carol Danvers is living amongst the Krees in an alien world at the start of the movie. A series of incidents lead her to Earth (Planet C53) where she runs into a digitally de-aged Nick Fury. Brie Larson’s chemistry and easy comradery with Samuel Jackson is a big highlight in the movie.

Ben Mendelsohn can add his portrayal of Talos, a Skrull warrior, to his interesting resume that includes Rogue One and Ready Player One. There are no doppelganger villains like in most MCU origin movies (Iron Man vs Iron Monger, Black Panther vs Killmonger, Ant-Man vs Yellow Jacket). Jude Law makes his bow in the MCU, donning Kree colors, as Carol’s haughty mentor. However, the true star of the movie is Goose, Carol’s cat who steals every scene she’s in.

The MCU is now so rooted in contemporary pop culture that Marvel can take liberties in cramming as many easter eggs as they want. I watched the movie only a week after release and the movie theatre wasn’t exactly what you would call sophisticated. So, it came as a surprise when the crowd was able to appreciate even obscure references to the larger MCU. While Carols’s quips didn’t always garner the amount of laughter Tony Stark would take for granted, it will be interesting to see how she fits in the Avengers team. If what we have seen so far is any indication, it is going to be amazing. The post-credit sequence was just pure comicbook fun!

The hype had been relentless for Captain Marvel, ever since excited fans saw Nick Fury page Carol Danvers at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. It was never going to be easy and the movie could have easily floundered under the weight of so much expectation. Admittedly, the first hour is a bit flat, making it seem like a filler episode before the big Avengers finale, bringing to mind Eleven’s unnecessary visit to Chicago in season 2 of Stranger Things. But the movie picks up from the second act, and it makes for a fun and enjoyable ride as it sets up Avengers: End Game perfectly.

Game of Thrones Season 4 – Top 10 Moments

As supplementary reading to the Season 4 recap, we count down some of the best moments from the season. Season 4 is roughly based on the second half of A Storm of Swords, which happens to be the best book in the entire series and is packed with so many game-changing twists and turns.

10. Hound/Arya vs Brienne/Pod

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Game of Thrones has a penchant for pairing unlikely characters together on hilarious road trips. When two of these pairs run into each other, Brienne offers to take custody of Arya. The Hound isn’t having any of this, and the two end up fighting, quite literally, tooth and nail.

9. Moon Door

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While Littlefinger pushing Lysa out of the Moon Door was an expected twist, Sansa’s ‘confession’ to bail him out was quite brilliant.

8. The Night King

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This creepy ritual was a huge deal for book readers, who learned more about the White Walkers in these 5 minutes than in 5 clunky books!

7. Bran’s Vision

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Bran’s Weirwood-fueled visions are intriguing – an abandoned Iron Throne, snowfall in King’s Landing indicating winter has come, and more tantalizingly, a massive dragon shadow flying over King’s Landing. When coupled with the Three-Eyed Raven’s declaration that Bran will never walk again, but will fly, this vision can mean a lot more!

6. The Purple Wedding

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Joffrey’s nuptial poisoning feels like poetic justice for the Red Wedding. Arya was probably annoyed she couldn’t do the honors herself, but fans around the world were happy with the satisfyingly violent manner of his death.

5. The Adventures of Arya and the Hound

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Arya and the Hound square off against the Mountain’s men in a scene reminiscent of a Tarantino movie for its absurd, but brilliant dialogues. HBO cheated us of a great scene when the Tickler was killed by Jaqen H’ghar instead of Arya, but they make amends by substituting the Tickler with Poliver, another of the Mountain’s henchmen, who happens to be on Arya’s list.

4. The Trail of Tyrion Lannister

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Emmy darling Peter Dinklage outdoes himself with a stirring soliloquy as he vents out his resentment towards his family. While in the books, the scene ends with Oberyn agreeing to be Tyrion’s champion, I was more than happy to have the show end with Tyrion’s satisfied look before the screen fades to Rains of Castamere.

3. The Murder of Tywin Lannister

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Tyrion has a final ‘heart-to-heart’ with his father, before unloading a couple of crossbow bolts. Another gratifying death.

2. Battle of Castle Black

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In its biggest battle since ‘Blackwater Bay’, Game of Thrones delivers yet again with so many great moments – giants wielding bow-and-arrow and riding mammoths, intense duels (Alister Thorne vs Tormund, Jon vs Styr), Ghost getting to rip off a few throats and finally Ygritte dying heartbreakingly in Jon’s arms.

1. The Mountain and the Viper

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In one of the most riveting fights in the show’s history, Oberyn seeks vengeance for his sister and her children, while defending Tyrion. Oberyn gains the upper hand against the hulking Mountain with some acrobatic and graceful moves. As he circles the fallen Mountain continuously taunting, ‘you raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children,’ he gets momentarily distracted. That’s the only opening the Mountain needs, and he knocks Oberyn down and gouges his eyes out, all the while confessing to his crimes.

As good as this scene was, it’s still so much better in the books.

Honorable Mentions:

Bran warging into Hodor, Stoneheart (don’t google if you don’t know this already), Oathbringerkeeper, Valar Morghulis, and Ser Pounce!

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Game of Thrones Season 4 – Recap

With the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, here is a quick-ish summary of all 7 seasons and 67 hours of the greatest ever spectacle on TV. This is a recap of Season 4.

Season 4 is roughly based on the second half of A Storm of Swords, which happens to be the best book in the entire series and is packed with so many game-changing twists and turns. So, strap in for a rollercoaster season that captures every epic scene from the book, but omits a major WTF scene. It initially annoyed a lot of book fans (including yours truly), but HBO’s decision makes a lot of sense now.

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King’s Landing

With the Stark army comprehensively defeated, the capital prepares for a royal wedding that will seal the alliance between the victorious Lannisters and Tyrells. The ‘Purple Wedding’ throws up some great conversations between key characters, including Oberyn Martell, who seeks revenge for his sister’s death at the hands of the Mountain during the sack of King’s Landing. Joffrey makes the most of his last day, by being a jerk all through the 77-course meal and offending more or less every single guest, before he dies of poisoning in a satisfyingly violent manner. The assassination is masterminded by Olenna and Littlefinger, through an elaborate ploy involving Sansa’s necklace, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. Cersei suspects Tyrion and Sansa, and has Tyrion thrown into the dungeons, while Sansa flees the city. Joffrey’s death paves the way for young Tommen to sit on the Iron Throne. Margaery promptly gets herself engaged to Tommen in her third bid to become Queen. After handling Joffrey, this is child’s play for her.

In Joffrey’s murder trial, Cersei presents overwhelming evidence against Tyrion. She needn’t have bothered since Tywin was going to mete out a death sentence anyway. Tyrion demands a trial by combat after a stirring, Emmy-worthy speech, and in a huge twist, Oberyn offers to be his champion after discovering Cersei’s champion to be the Mountain. In an epic duel, Oberyn gains the upper hand over the hulking Gregor Clegane, but when he gets momentarily distracted, the Mountain knocks the Viper down and gouges his eyes in one of the show’s most sickening deaths. Tyrion gets a death sentence, but Jaime and Varys, who had testified against Tyrion during the trial, help smuggle Tyrion out of King’s Landing. Before escaping, Tyrion unloads a couple of crossbow bolts and kills his father.

Essos

After Astapor and Yunkhai, it’s the same at Mereen as well, where Daenerys overthrows the masters and frees the slaves. After taking over the city, she realizes that she’s never done any ruling herself and finds that it’s a lot harder than razing cities to the ground. She is forced to banish Jorah for spying on her early during the first season and puts her dragons on house arrest after Drogon burns a child alive.

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Bran’s wanderings finally take him to the Three-Eyed Raven, who declares that Bran will never walk again, but will fly, whatever that means. Jon’s intel on the wildling army falls on deaf ears, until a blast is heard announcing a wildling attack. Led by Jon Snow, the brothers of the Night’s Watch hold off the wildlings in a thrilling battle, in which Ygritter dies in Jon’s arms. When Jon is negotiating with Mance, Stannis arrives, and the Baratheon forces rout the untrained wildling army in a swift battle.

Riverlands

Jaime, who has been training with Bronn, gives his Valyrian sword, a gift from his father, to Brienne, with instructions to keep Sansa and/or Arya safe. Sansa has been smuggled out of King’s Landing by Littlefinger, who masterminded Joffrey’s death, and is taken to the Vale, where Littlefinger has married Sansa’s aunt Lysa and taken control of the Eyrie. When Lysa tries to kill Sansa over perceived jealousy, he pushed her off the Moon Door.

Arya and the Hound have their own adventures, riding ponies, eating chickens and killing Lannister henchmen until they run into Brienne and Podrick. Brienne bests the Hound in a brutal fight, but Arya slips away and heads for Braavos, her passage sealed with the iron coin gifted by Jaqen H’ghar. Valar Morghulis!

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Game of Thrones Season 3 – Top 10 Moments

As supplementary reading to the Season 3 recap, we count down some of the best moments from the season. Even if you can’t rewatch all the episodes, these scenes require mandatory viewing.

10. Chaos is a Ladder

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Littlefinger and Varys, perennially locked in a game of real-life chess, square off against each other due to conflicting ideologies – Varys’ desire to keep the realm intact, regardless of who sits upon the throne, against Littlefinger’s willingness to let the world disintegrate into chaos if he can use it as a ladder.

9. The Climb

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Talking of metaphoric climbs, watching Jon and Ygritte climb the Wall is just exhilarating. At the very top, we are treated to an incredible, sweeping view of Westeros.

8. The Hound vs The Lightning Lord

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In a brutal and intense duel, the Hound and Beric Dondarrion, who is wielding a flaming sword, rain savage blows on each other. Even with Arya cheerleading for Beric, the Lightning Lord ends up getting killed. However, he is resurrected by the red priest Thoros after hastily muttering a few words. Seems much simpler than Horcruxes.

7. Cersei and Tyrion

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Despite spending lesser time together this season, Cersei and Tyrion actually start to bond over their common problems – their forced marriages, their father’s lack of affection and of course, Joffrey being a jerk. There is a hilarious scene when Tyrion and Cersei spy on an unsuspecting Sansa and Loras taking a stroll, and Tyrion wonders aloud. ‘It’s hard to say which of the four of us is getting the worst of this arrangement.’

6. Game of Chairs

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This is a scene I thoroughly enjoyed. The small council members quite literally play the Game of Thrones as they jockey for positions around Tywin. And just like that, the balance of power is established in the small council.

5. The Redemption of Jaime Lannister

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This iconic scene marks the beginning of Jaime’s redemption arc. Jaime lays his soul bare to Brienne, confessing the real reason he killed King Aerys, the man he’d sworn a sacred oath to protect. When Brienne asks why he didn’t confide the truth to Ned Stark, Jaime responds, ‘By what right does the wolf judge the lion?‘ And right on cue, Team Lannister (me!) erupts into cheers.

4. Mhysa

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This was the balm Game of Thrones offered to cure post-Red Wedding syndrome. It’s nowhere as good as the Season 1 finale, which started the whole trend of ending season finales with dragons, but it’s still an extremely gratifying scene.

3. The Bear and the Maiden Fair

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Jaime and Brienne are in the list for the second time. When the Bolton soldiers force Brienne to fight a bear, Jaime heroically leaps into the pit and saves her. Despite being filthy, weak, and weaponless, Jaime still cuts a dashing figure as he pushes his way past Locke (‘Sorry about the sapphires’), with the show’s best rendition of The Rains of Castamere thrumming in the background.

2. The Red Wedding

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The Lannisters send their regards, and it’s devastating. I still remember myself sitting disbelieving and shell-shocked after reading the Red Wedding chapter on my daily commute. I ended up getting down several stations after my stop.

Ramsay Snow did warn us back in Episode 6, ‘If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention’. That should have been our first clue. Ned Stark’s beheading should have taught us that no character was truly safe. But, no amount of foreboding would have prepared us for the Red Wedding. It is one of the most devastating and brutal scenes in TV history, but it is delivered flawlessly.

1. Dracarys

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“A dragon is no slave.” And Dany swept the lash down as hard as she could across the slaver’s face. “Drogon,” she sang out loudly, sweetly, all her fear forgotten. “Dracarys.” The black dragon spread his wings and roared.

Ever since I read this scene, I’d been dying to see it in live action. Director Alex Greaves adapted it faithfully to deliver a truly EPIC scene, that will go down as one of the greatest ever moments in Game of Thrones.

Honorable Mentions:

‘Sam the Slayer’ killing a White Walker, Jaime and Brienne (again!) dueling, and Arya stabbing a Frey soldier.

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Game of Thrones Season 3 – Recap

With the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, here is a quick-ish summary of all 7 seasons and 67 hours of the greatest ever spectacle on TV. This is a recap of Season 3.

The War of the Five Kings started in Season 2. Of those five kings, one got killed by a shadow baby and then they were four. The struggle for the throne continues to rage in Season 3 and it delivers a heady mix of unlikely alliances, stunning revelations, and shocking betrayals.

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King’s Landing

In recognition of the Tyrells’ role in routing Stannis at the Blackwater, King Joffrey is now betrothed to Margaery Tyrell. With the Tyrells in town and Tywin Lannister taking up his Hand duties, King’s Landing is stacked with schemers and plotters embroiled in a zero-sum game.

Watching Cersei and Margaery hurl thinly veiled barbs at each other is so much fun. Unlike Sansa, Margaery knows how to deal with Joffrey and has him firmly in her claws, much to Cersei’s chagrin. She complains about the ‘little doe-eyed whore’ to her father, who ignores her and continues to write letters. With Sansa’s engagement to Joffrey called off, she unwittingly becomes the most sought-after bachelorette in the realm. The Tyrells plot to marry Sansa to Loras, but Tywin steals a march on them by declaring marriage alliances between Tyrion and Sansa, and Cersei and Loras Tyrell, potentially making Cersei both the mother-in-law and sister-in-law to Margaery.

Talking of weird relationships, Jaime and Brienne continue their hilarious journey from Robb’s camp to King’s Landing. Jaime taunts Brienne about Renly’s ‘preferences’ and before you know it, they are trading blows in an epic sword fight. The noise brings Bolton soldiers to the scene, who take the two as prisoners, and chop Jaime’s hand off. They reach Harrenhal, where Jaime intimidates Roose Bolton into setting him free. The Bolton soldiers force Brienne to fight a bear, but Jaime heroically leaps into the pit to save her.

The North

Robb goes from being the ‘King in the North’ to the ‘King who lost the North’. Despite a string of victories, he loses his momentum and a significant chunk of his army due to a series of bad decisions. In desperation, he gambles on a bold move, which would require support from the Freys, the house he betrayed when he married Talisa. Walder Frey agrees to Robb’s new terms and throws a party to celebrate their newly forged alliance. What follows next is devastating, brutal and completely unexpected, unless of course, you’ve read the books. The Freys and the Boltons, on Tywin’s orders, murder the Starks in coldplay blood. Robb Stark, dead. Catelyn Stark, dead. Robb’s pregnant wife, dead.

Meanwhile, Arya runs into a group of outlaws, the Brotherhood without Banners, who run into the Hound. Arya accuses the Hound of murder, leading to a trial by combat. The Hound kills Beric Dondarrion, but he is promptly resurrected by his red priest Thoros. Another follower of the Lord of Light, Melisandre makes a trip to visit the Brotherhood and borrows Gendry, Robert’s only surviving bastard son, for a ‘blood’ sacrifice. Arya ends up hitching a ride with the Hound and just about escapes the Red Wedding. At Winterfell, Theon changes hands from one torturer to the next, before his mysterious captor is eventually revealed to be Ramsay Snow, Roose Bolton’s bastard son.

The Wall

Jon meets Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-The-Wall, who sends him and Ygritte along with a handful of wildlings to scout ahead. Jon and Ygritte have a lot of fun doing some sightseeing, climbing the Wall, and making out in a cave. It’s all so romantic until Jon reveals he is a spy and breaks Ygritte’s heart.

Bran continues to be haunted by disturbing visions. Their motley gang is joined by Meera and Jojen Reed, who can see into the future. Bran wants to go beyond the Wall to, er, stop the White Walkers, while Osha decides to take Rickon somewhere safe. He would have fared a lot better with Bran. Just saying! Bran’s journey almost coincides with Jon and the wildlings. When Jon can’t bring himself to kill an innocent villager and fails the litmus test, Bran wargs into his direwolf and helps him escape.

Bran does run into Sam, who has killed a White Walker with dragonglass. The Nights Watch send a raven to all the Westerosi ‘kings’ asking for reinforcements against the impending threat. With so many battles going on, nobody pays any heed except for Stannis, who spent most of the season licking his wounds at Dragonstone, but finally, decided to listen to Davos’ advice.

Essos

In the far East, Ser Barristan Selmy, a legendary knight who was dismissed unceremoniously by Joffrey in Season 1, joins Danaery’s Queensguard. Now that she has a Commander, she goes shopping for an army. She ‘buys 8,000 Unsullied, warrior eunuchs renowned for their fighting prowess, after that ‘dracarys’ scene. After freeing the slaves at Astapor, she captures Yunkai thanks to a surgical strike led by Jorah, Grey Worm, and Daario Naharis. The season ends on a rousing note as the slaves declare her Mhysa (mother) and lift her up to the skies.

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