Later, Varys tells Tyrion that Shae is in imminent danger from his father Tywin. Fearing the worst memory of his youth repeating itself (his father torturing a prostitute he loved), Tyrion decides to dump Shae The Funny Whore. To do that, he has to be quite cruel. This is another scene that's tough to watch, like you're secretly eavesdropping on a couple having a painful, semi-public fight. I wanted to live-tweet the play-by-play to remove some of my own discomfort:
-- She's calling him "my lion" and trying to seduce him again. #KingsLandingBreakup
-- He's just offered her servants, money, and a house in Pentos. I totally think she should take it. Run Shae! #KingsLandingBreakup
-- Getting nasty: "You're a whore! I can't be in love with a whore. I cannot bear children with a whore." This is clearly hurting him even more than her. #KingsLandingBreakup
Can you believe that once upon a time, everybody had to break up like this, arguing face-to-face? Thankfully we can now simply stop replying to somebody's text messages like civilized people.
Dragonstone: Can we skip Dragonstone? Is that okay? Don't tell the Recap Police. Melisandre is executing non-believers (still), grumpy Stannis is grumpy about his defeat (still). Their story is boring and full of repetition. One good line: "There is only one hell, princess, the one we live in now."
North of the Wall: Bran uses his direwolf-vision to eat deer. Hodor takes him to the godswood tree, and he sees a bunch of things that got fans excited when watching HBO's trailer. He's told where to find the mysterious "three-eyed crow" he's seeking, and we assume this person is a wizard of some sort. He's given flashes of the past (hey Ned Stark, don't get too attached to that sword) and, most interestingly, what we assume is the future: The King's Landing Throne Room with the roof torn off and snow falling in the room -- winter has come, bitches!
More tantalizingly: A massive dragon shadow flying over King's Landing. Can we assume from this Dany eventually makes it to King's Landing and unleashes fiery wrath? Note that Martin wrote this episode, and those flashes -- correct me if I'm wrong -- were not in Bran's visions in Martin's book, A Dance With Dragons, suggesting these are brand new teases for what might happen in Books 6 and 7.
King's Landing: Okay, time for the really fun stuff.
Joffrey gets his presents. It's the first of several scenes where he demonstrates how incredibly cruel and petty he is right up until the moment he dies, and the first in a series of beats showing an escalating conflict between the king and his uncle. Tyrion gives Joffrey a royal self-help book to make him a better king, Awaken the Dragon Within or something. Tyrion had to know this was a spectacularly poor gift choice as Joffrey is never going to appreciate a book, especially one that suggests he needs leadership pointers. In an episode filled with awesome Jack Gleeson moments, I think I loved his delivery of Joffrey's condescendingly polite response to Tyrion's gift the best: "Now that the war is won, we should all find time for wisdom."
Joffrey really loves Tywin's present, however, a badass Valyrian sword. He tests its sharpness by hacking the hell out of Tyrion's book. Of course, Joffrey wants to name it, too (as we were told by The Hound last week, "lots of c---ts name their swords"). Somebody yells out "Widow's Wail," which naturally appeals to Joffrey. "Every time I use that it will be like cutting off Ned Stark's head all over again," he says as Sansa looks on.
We get a super quick marriage ceremony. Margery has to kiss him, but she presumably doesn't know that she only has to do this once. "Better her than you," Tyrion tells Sansa, as if to say: "Hey, at least I'm not that guy...right? I'm still better than him, right?"
At the wedding party, we're treated to a series of unique character pairings and nearly all concluded with a devastatingly great quote-able line. Let's grade each:
Bronn and Tyrion: Tyrion wants reassurance Shae is gone and feels rather awful about the whole #KingsLandingBreakup. Bronn assures he put her on a ship for Pentos. "Now go drink until it feels like you did the right thing." Grade: B+
NEXT: 6 royal smackdowns