“What do you desire most in this world?”
“I have always found that to be the purest of motivations …”
– Petyr Baelish & Loras Tyrell
Season 2 episode 3, The Ghost of Harrenhal sees the Baratheon brothers finally face off. Stannis and Tyrion remain the dominating forces on the leaderboard, but Brienne and young Arya Stark are moving up quickly. Margaery Tyrell takes a slight dip, but Littlefinger may have a plan to turn that around.
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The episode opens in Renly’s tent as he prepares for battle. Brienne arms him as he discusses an alliance with Catelyn. He reveals that he is unperturbed if Robb should want to retain the title King in the North, but he would have to pledge fealty to the Iron Throne. Catelyn agrees and just as Renly declares that the Starks and Baratheon will defeat their foes together as they have many times before, a Shadow detaches from the wall and plunges a sword through his heart. Brienne screams as she helplessly watches her King die. Renly’s guard enter and immediately assume Brienne is responsible.
Catelyn tries to explain what happened but swords are already drawn. Brienne defends herself easily besting the two Knights. She turns back to her King, but Catelyn tells her they must flee. As word spreads of Renly’s death his bannermen flock to Stannis’ cause. All except the Tyrells. Loras holds vigil of Renly’s body while his sister begs him to return to their seat Highgarden with her, but Loras refuses to leave. He wants vengeance against Stannis knowing it must have been him behind Renly’s death. Littlefinger appears noting that the Lannisters are fighting Stannis as well.
Renly Baratheon receives -3 Death points for being killed by the Shadow
Brienne of Tarth earns 3 Victory points and 1 Valar Morghulis point for defending herself against Renly’s guards.
Catelyn Stark earns 1 Survival point for escaping the fray.
Stannis Baratheon earns 2 Valar Morghulis points for ordering Renly’s death and 3 Alliance points for the allegiance of Renly’s bannermen.
Tyrion brings Cersei news of Renly’s death. She is pleased, but Tyrion is more cautious knowing that Stannis is by far the superior battle commander. He pleads with Cersei to discuss the city’s defenses with him, but she shuts him out. He learns from his new spy Lancel that she has commissioned the Alchemists’ Guild to produce Wildfire for her. An extremely combustible substance that she plans to heave over the city walls to rain fire on Stannis’ men.
Cersei Lannister earns 3 Alliance points for her agreement with the Alchemists’ Guild.
Meanwhile Stannis is consolidating his troops, he informs Davos he plans to move against King’s Landing at once. Davos councils him to not bring Melisandre with them, lest his victory become hers, and surprisingly Stannis agrees.
Tyrion and Bronn make their way to the Alchemist Guild. They note the unrest in the city as people preach of the crowns wickedness. Bronn explains that Tyrion is receiving much of the blame because he is the new face at court, Joffrey and Cersei were present when times were good.
Theon Greyjoy prepares to board his ship The Sea Bitch, but find his crew less than respectful of his command. Yara does not help matters when she appears to mock him. He finds an ally in his first mate Dagmar Cleftjaw who gives Theon the idea to continue north and raid Torrhen’s Square.
Theon Greyjoy earns 3 Alliance points for Dagmar’s allegiance.
Dagmar Cleftjaw earns 3 Alliance points for allying himself with Theon.
At Harrenhal Tywin is growing increasingly frustrated with Robb’s continued success on the field and his commanders seem at a loss as to how to get the upper hand. Arya see the recruits from the Night’s Watch she freed from the burning wagon, all wearing Lannister sigils. She angrily confront Jaqen who notes she wears the same badge. He tells her that she stole 3 lives from the god of death and they must be repaid. He tells her to speak a name and death will come to them,she says “The Tickler.”
Arya Stark earns 3 Alliance points for her arrangement with Jaqen.
Jaqen H’ghar earns 6 Alliance points for allying with the Lannisters and his arrangement with Arya.
Biter earns 3 Alliance points for allying with the Lannisters.
Rorge earns 3 Alliance points for allying with the Lannisters.
To the far north the Night’s Watch makes camp at the Fist of the First Men, an ancient ring fort. Sam is amazed to be in such a historical place. Then a horn cuts through the air and the brothers wait anxiously, 1 blast means wildlings, 2 means Rangers returning, and 3 warn of the White Walkers, but Sam notes that hasn’t happened in thousands of years. Jon is pleased to see they herald the arrival of Qhorin Halfhand, a legendary Ranger.
At the Guild Tyrion discovers that Lancel had told it true and there were indeed many pots of wildfire on hand. Fearing Cersei’s plan could lead to accidents that would threaten the city, he tell tells the Pyromancers they will be making wildfire for him now.
Tyrion Lannister earns 3 Alliance points for his agreement with the Alchemists’ Guild.
Daenerys and the Dothraki are made welcome at Xaro’s palace. Dany shows her handmaidens how she has taught the dragons to spit fire with the Valyrian word “Dracarys.” The Dothraki grow increasingly uncomfortable around all this finery and confused by their position as “guests” being that they are so often the conquerors. Xaro hosts an affair bringing many of the city’s elite to pay their respect to The Mother of Dragons. Among them are the mysterious warlock Pyat Pree who invites her to the Temple of the Undying and the masked Quaithe who warns Jorah that Daenerys is not safe as all will lust after her dragons.
Brienne and Cat stop to water their horses and discuss their next move. Brienne still seethes to avenge Renly, but Cat points out that Stannis is more protected than ever. She offers Brienne come into her service since her House is and enemy of Stannis. Brienne agrees provided Cat does not hold her back when the time comes. Brienne swears her sword to Lady Catelyn.
Catelyn Stark earns 3 Alliance points for Brienne swearing loyalty to her.
Brienne of Tarth earns 3 Alliance points for swearing her sword to Cat.
In Winterfell Bran presides as Lord as his bannerman bring forth their troubles. New reaches that Torrhen’s Square is under attack. Maester Luwin is shocked that the Lannisters had made it this far north undetected. Bran sends Rodrick Cassel to gather men and disrupt the attack. Later Bran and Osha discuss his strange dreams and the three-eyed raven. Bran asks her if she’s ever heard anything about a three-eyed raven, but she avoids the question.
Beyond the Wall Qhorin informs Commander Mormont that Mance Rayder has gathered the wildlings and suggests the best plan of attack may be to send a small force to kill Mance and scatter his army. Jon offers to go with him and Mormont relents saying, “I hope you make a better ranger than you do a steward.”
Jon Snow earns 3 Honors points for his promotion to Ranger.
With his party ending Xaro takes time to speak to Daenerys.He suggests they form a marriage alliance offering his influence and all the wealth in his Valyrian Vault to help her retake the throne, but she is skeptical. When he tells her of Roberts death she is overjoyed, but Jorah points out that rich men like Xaro make investments not gifts and he will want something in return. He advises she find her own way.
At Harrenhal Arya watches as Gendry tests out a sword and gives him pointers on his stance. They are interrupted by a sudden scream. Arya and Gendry run out to see The Tickler fallen to the ground with his head twisted almost all the way around. Arya looks up to see Jaqen casually eating an apple. Arya allowed herself to smile at her justice.
Arya Stark earns 2 Morghulis points for ordering the Tickler’s death and 3 Revenge points for crossing a name from her list.
Jaqen H’ghar earns 3 Morghulis points for killing The Tickler