Up at The Wall, Jon Snow is man of the hour for saving the Lord Commander's life, but that doesn't prevent him from wishing he could join his brother Robb in battle, or at least go to King's Landing to protect his sisters. Maester Aemon reminds him that his duty is to his new family, the men of the Night's Watch, and assures Jon that he understands how he feels. Turns out that the good Maester is the brother of the Mad King, and was forced to wrestle with his own conscience during the dust-up that left his family dead.

Things are going a bit sideways for Tyrion, too. He and Bron are ambushed by Shagga and other tribesmen of the Vale, but Tyrion trades their lives for a promise that he'll provide the brutes with better weapons and armor, as well as turn over the Vale to their control. The tribesmen escort Tyrion to his father's camp, and the elder Lannister is less than thrilled to see his diminutive son. He's somewhat more enthusiastic about the tribesmen who he figures will be helpful in battle, provided they can stop squabbling amongst themselves long enough to attack some of the Stark forces. Shagga demands that Tyrion fight alongside them, and Tywin assigns all of them to positions in the vanguard, which Tyrion figures is pretty much equivalent to a death sentence. In an attempt to take the edge off his impending doom, Tyrion hires an enigmatic woman named Shae to be his companion and bed partner for the duration of the campaign. She's happy to comply, so long as he never asks about her parents.

One evening, as Tyrion, Shae, and Bron are playing drinking games, we learn just how cruel Tywin can be. When Tyrion was 16, he and Jaime came across a young girl fleeing her would-be rapists. While Jaime dealt with the thugs, Tyrion took care of the girl. One thing led to another and they both quite drunk, rolled into bed together, he fell in love and asked her to marry him. Turns out it was all a set up because Jaime thought it was about time Tyrion popped his cherry, so he hired a whore to play the part of damsel in distress. To add to the humiliation, Tywin made Tyrion watch as she shagged his guardsmen for a silver a pop - and wound up with so much money that she couldn't hold it all. Delightful family, those Lannisters. Tyrion finally gets a stroke of luck, sort of, when he's trampled by Vale tribesmen and gets knocked unconscious on the way to the fight with Robb's army. He misses the entire thing, but does at least get wounded enough to almost earn Tywin's approval. Almost.

Back at King's Landing, Sansa begs Joffrey for mercy on her father's behalf. He agrees, saying Ned can be allowed to take the black and live out his days with the Night's Watch, on one condition: he must first confess his treason. Varys pops down to the dungeon to relay this news to Ned, who isn't willing to trade his honor for his life. That's all fine and dandy, says Varys, but what does Ned think will happen to Sansa once he's pushing up daisies? Arya might've managed to escape, but Sansa is alone and defenseless. Ned takes this to heart, and when he's hauled in front of the public of King's Landing, he does indeed confess his crimes and declare Joffrey as rightful heir. Much to Sansa and Cersei's horror, Joffrey goes back on his word, and one swipe of the sword later, Sansa and Arya - who'd been hiding in the crowd - are mourning their late father.

Comments on