It's a hard knock life for the women of Westeros.
You're told what to do, how to behave and who to marry. There's no birth control and the feminine hygiene products are likely very unsatisfactory. Honestly, unless you're walking around with three dragons, you can never so much as hope to win an argument. And on this week's Game of Thrones, several ladies received bad news or worse:
Ygritte is tethered (literally) to a man planning to betray her people. Arya's friend was carted off (literally again) by a witch. Sansa's marital dreams were crushed. Brienne was denied her freedom. The Queen of Thorns was outmaneuvered by Tywin. And a certain working girl was used for Joffrey's target practice. Not that the boys had it all that much better, but at least no man in Westeros can be forced to marry against his will (they're just bullied into it). We open and close this week with two desperate couples hoping for a happy ending:
North of the Wall: Portly Sam and slack-jawed Gilly have a slightly awkward first date as he tries to impress her with his campfire skills and dragonglass. No luck there. Once again, Gilly is not interested in non-pragmatic gifts. But the fact that Sam is high-born does seem to perk her interest, as does his lullaby. I'm thinking that dragonglass, since Sam is showing us, must come into play later this season, right? Sam then starts enthusing about Castle Black's luxurious accommodations, such as a warm fire and venison stew. Mmm, that venison stew sounds--
Woods: Ugh! Rabbit skinning. Lot of rabbit skinning. Meera and Osha are bickering about how there's more than one way to skin, uh, a rabbit. But it's literally hard to hear them over the visuals on the screen (this shouldn't make sense but it kind of does). Between this scene and Tywin's stag-butchery in season 1, Thrones could inspire a new cable TV content advisory warning of "GS" for Gratuitous Skinning.
Suddenly Jojen has a seizure. Someone yells, "What's wrong with him?" Hey, that someone was Rickon Stark! The Maggie Simpson of Westeros actually had a line, and it looks like he's aged another couple years since he had his last close-up. The next time Rickon speaks he'll probably have a beard. We're told Jojen seizes when he has visions. In this case, he dreamed of Jon Snow at The Wall. Thanks kid for dreaming a helpful transition to--
The Wall Base Camp: Jon Snow and Ygritte prepare to climb that Grade 5.15z monster that separates Westeros from the northern wasteland with gear that even Sir Edmund Hillary would find sketchy. Jon Snow is rightly terrified. Ygritte says she's been wanting to climb The Wall all her life ("Because it's there" is the classic reason for climbing a mountain, but North of the The Wall the reasoning is probably more like "because it's the only thing there"). She gives Jon some crude crampons that she acquired by kicking a guy in the nuts. I'm sorry, but are those crampons really going to stay on his feet climbing 700-feet of ice if he just ties them?
Ygritte then teases Jon about going down on her. I bet you probably don't even need to be any good at oral sex to score points in Westeros, just the slightest effort will earn you a marriage proposal (hell, just being fertile earns you a marriage proposal!).
Ygritte then spills that she knows Jon is still loyal to the Night's Watch. Of course she does -- he's not a very good liar and he comes off far too noble to be a traitor. But Jon doesn't have to worry about her tattling, only her wrath if he goes through with his plan. "You're going to be loyal to your woman," she decides for him, noting the The Night's Watch and Mance don't care if they live or die ... "it's you and me that matter."
She makes a great case. The Night's Watch vs. the Wildlings is like trying to decide whether to go to a seminary school or Arizona State -- no contest if you value fun. But Jon doesn't seem to let "fun" enter into his decision-making much. He swears he won't betray her, which puts him in a terrible position. He's going to break his word to somebody. If he breaks his word to Ygirtte, she says she's going to cut off his c--k. Clearly, you must guard your junk around Ygritte.
NEXT: Arya spins the witch