It is often hard to keep track of all the moves in the game of thrones. The number of characters and storylines provides for a very broad playing field. But fret not, faithful followers of House Gatewatch of Wyknett – Hear Me Roar provides an overview of the events from S2 to get you all ready and geared up for the coming season.
Stannis Baratheon, the late King Robert’s oldest surviving brother and the rightful king of Westeros, discards the old gods and adopts the religion of the fire god R’hllor. When fringe benefits include a hot charismatic priestess and a prophecy that you will win the throne, theology comes very naturally to a man. He lacks ships and men, though, so his ultimate two‑part solution is a) promising pirates speed dates with queen Cersei, and b) making shadow babies with Melisandre. The gestation period of the latter is kind of short, so Davos Seaworth, Stannis Baratheon’s short-fingered right hand, gets to witness the creepiest thing crawling out of a woman’s nether parts since [insert your favorite inappropriate reference].
Tyrion returns from the field to crash King Joffrey’s party and take over as acting Hand of the King. No mean feat what with Cersei being uncooperative, and Joffrey going all Herod on his father’s bastards and fifty shades of psychopath on both Sansa and any gift-wrapped whores he can find. Tyrion manages to ship off his niece Myrcella to the safety of Dorne in the far south in order for her to get some tan and a new alliance. Joffrey has no PR skills and royally mishandles the situation during the one percent protests in King’s Landing. It takes several torn limbs, spilled guts, and one rabid Hound to get it back under control. With some suspiciously green pig shit in store, Tyrion awaits the inevitable siege.
Robb is on a winning streak in the Riverlands, weaponizing his direwolf Grey Wind, and using the once cute furry pup to intimidate Jaime Lannister, his captive. Catelyn is sent south to negotiate with Renly Baratheon, another pretender to the throne, who has married Margaery Tyrell, the sister of his lover Loras, which makes for a triangle to excite even Pythagoras. But Stannis commits fratricide by proxy as Renly is skewered through the heart by the shadow assassin Melisandre sent forth, and Catelyn has to flee. She is joined by Brienne, the woman warrior in Renly’s Kingsguard and a grown-up version of Arya the Stereotype Breaker. Robb falls in love with Talisa, a foreign field nurse apparently sharing his foot fetish. When Catelyn frees Jaime and sends him to King’s Landing escorted by Brienne in exchange for Sansa and Arya, who the Lannisters claim to have in custody, Robb has her put under guard. He then marries Talisa, because a girl in the hand is worth two under Walder Frey’s bridge.
Theon is sent home to the Iron Islands by Robb to secure the allegiance of his people. There he fondles his sister and deals with a metric ton of daddy issues, so it is good that at least his mother is out of the picture. Theon is compelled to make a name for himself, so he turns on Robb and seizes Winterfell while everyone is playing the king of the hill game down south. Bran and Rickon prefer other childhood games such as hide and seek, so they escape, double back, and hide in the crypts, aided by Osha and Hodor. Theon cannot find them and is a sore loser, so he burns two orphan boys and passes their corpses as the Stark kids, which does wonders for his campaign of winning the northern hearts and souls. Even his ironborn warriors get fed up with him, and once Winterfell gets surrounded by Robb’s allies, he receives a green-on-blue smack to the head and is transformed into a one-way pass through the siege lines. Bran, Rickon, and their two companions emerge from the crypts to find Winterfell an empty, smoldering ruin. They head north, with Hodor grinning all the way, thankful for the wheelbarrow.
Arya travels with fresh recruits for the Night’s Watch, hoping to reach the north and keeping out of pissing contests, but they get attacked by Lannister forces. Alas, poor Yoren, we loved thee well. Arya manages to save Jaqen H’ghar from a burning maximum security wagon before she is rounded up with the rest. Still hiding her identity, she gets to serve as Tywin’s cupbearer at Harrenhal, the temporary Lannister base of operations in the Riverlands. Jaqen, now in Lannister employ, turns out to be this mysterious assassin with the skills of David Copperfield and Houdini (except no death he delivers is an illusion) and he offers Arya a three-for-one deal. Two of her tormentors meet their maker, but Tywin gets away riding out to war in time. Arya cashes in her store credit on Jaqen helping her, Gendry, and Hot Pie escape. One extreme makeover later, Jaqen parts ways with the rest of the bunch, leaving Arya the means to reach the free city of Braavos if and when she so chooses.
The army of King Stannis, bolstered by all his late brother Renly’s former bolt-of-cloth holders – save for the Tyrells, who retreated after the assassination – converges on the capital, but Tyrion’s fireproof (well, not exactly) plan blows much of the fleet out of the water in an absinthe-hued wildfire explosion. Tyrion rallies the men and defends the city against the survivors until a Kingsguard knight acting on Cersei’s orders provides him with a facial rearrangement. The combined Lannister and Tyrell forces arrive to win the day before Cersei can empty the wine cellar and finish telling her bedtime story to Tommen. Stannis is forced to retreat with the meager remains of his army, Tywin is lauded as the savior of the city, and Tyrion’s powers are taken away from him. The Lannister-Tyrell alliance is cemented by Joffrey’s betrothal to Margaery, so we get to see Littlefinger explain to Sansa that her prospects of marital rape have just been downgraded to regular rape. Oh joy.
Across the Narrow Sea, Dany has figured out that new-born dragons, awesome pets as they might make, lack firepower and overall usefulness before they grow up. Stranded in the Red Waste, Dany’s gamble of sending out three scouts pays off, for one comes back with the head still attached and an X on his map labeled Qarth. The ragtag group manages to get admitted to the city despite the fact that the spice merchant of Qarth, or the spice king as he calls himself, is a keen linguists who likes to argue pronunciation, meaning, and grammar. Dany’s visa sponsor is Xaro Xhoan Daxos, another wealthy merchant member of the Thirteen, the ruling council. Thanks to Xaro’s self-inflicted supersized papercut, Dany does not have to reveal how weak her lizard babies still are. While she is trying to negotiate a good shipping deal for a pack of Dothraki before next Christmas, her dragons get stolen by the deceitful Xaro, who is in cahoots with the warlock Pyat Pree. Dany manages to retrieve the dragons from the House of the Undying, stopping at a vision-fuelled 3D tour of the known world first, and toasting Pyat Pree second. Dracarys is apparently Valyrian for ‘set phasers to crisp’. Once they get rid of Xaro as well by imprisoning him in his spacious stone vault, Dany’s Dothraki can finally satisfy their itch and start a fundraiser to buy ships to take them west. That is to say, they pillage Xaro’s mansion.
Meanwhile, beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch (no, not a band name, but it could work) are a-ranging to figure out what the deal is with wildlings, the walking dead, White Walkers and other things starting with W. They stop at Hostel Craster, known for its conditional hospitality and gender-biased employment opportunities. Oh, and for incestuousness, the perennial GoT theme. Sam Tarly gets the hots for Gilly, Craster’s daughter-wife, but before he can make a pass, the crows are kicked out because Jon wants to find out what happens to Craster’s male progeny. So off they go further north, setting camp at the Fist of the First Men, from where the renowned ranger Qhorin Halfhand leads the Night’s Watch equivalent of Seal Team Six to infiltrate the amassing wildling army and assassinate Mance Rayder, the self-styled King Beyond the Wall. The mission goes FUBAR, Black Crow Down style, when Jon the ranger‑wannabe fails to execute the POW Ygritte, gets lost, and is led into a wildling trap. He redeems himself somewhat by helping Qhorin commit assisted suicide in a duel, gaining a measure of trust from the wildling band and a backstage ticket to see Mance. Back at the Fist, an army of the undead controlled by White Walkers closes in, bypassing Sam, who is too scared to register as a blip on their living being radars. This shit just got real. Again.