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After several weeks in which the episode was diced into pieces so small they would pass through a soup strainer, this week's adventures in Westeros made fewer hops while delivering more meaty morsels.

We got some direct White Walker action, some Dany sans dragons negotiations, and a royal wedding. This isn't exactly Kate and William ... though, come to think of it, it did somewhat resemble Charles and Di.

Best of all, we get Game of Really Complicated Family Relationships, in which Sansa becomes Joffrey's aunt, mama Cersei becomes Joffrey's sister, and Margarey becomes her brother's daughter ... or is it Sansa's niece. In any case, it's fun to watch Diana Rigg puzzle through it.

Come on in if you've already watched or don't mind being spoiled.

Across the narrow sea, Daenerys Targaryen gets a mother-of-dragons-load of sexual threats from a trio of mercenaries who have been hired by the city of Yunkai to stop Dany and her army of Unsullied from carrying out the threats Dany made against the city. Dany tries to persuade the Titan's Bastard and his fellow land pirates to pitch in their lot with hers. The bastard seems more interested in living up to his name by making one crude sexual remark after another. Dany sits through it all with tolerance, though not without asking Ser Barristan to be sure that the Bastard bites it if it comes to a fight.

After leaving Dany, the mercenary leaders decide that they'd rather fight than switch, and dispatch the non-foul-mouthed member of their trio, Daario, to assassinate Dany. Daario proves pretty skillful at the breaking and entering, showing up in Dany's tent surprisingly un-punctured by either Barristan or the Unsullied, but Daario then delivers a present in the form of the head of the Titan's bastard and that other one who isn't Daario or the Titan's bastard. Dany has her new allies.

At the rugged shores of Dragonstone, red priestess Melisandre delivers Gendry to Stannis Baratheon. Having already depleted Stannis' kingly juju to make her shadow baby, Melisandre wants to use Robert's bastard son as a new source of king's blood. When it's clear that this means some form of "off with his head" (or some other part) Stannis slips down to the dungeon to visit Dragonstone's own Jiminy Cricket, Davos the Onion Knight. As usual, Davos delivers heartfelt, and completely sensible, advice. Not as honor bound as dead Ned Stark, nor as law bound and self-centered as Stannis, Davos remains the most grounded, most honest man in Westeros. Not bad for a former smuggler.

Rather than going for the full sacrifice in one shot, Melisandre seduces Gendry into the kind of position that in many movies leads to laughter over being found bound and tied by a hotel maid. In this case, it leads to the red priestess dropping a series of fat leeches onto Gendry's chest, then roasting the little blood worms while cursing Robb, Joffrey, and Balon Greyjoy (self-proclaimed king of the Iron Islands, in case you forgot, which would be understandable at this point).

The ceremony of marriage between Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark had it all. Beautiful bride. Handsome groom. Sadistic ex-fiance boy king who took this opportunity to torture his uncle and his soon-to-be aunt. Not only do we get Joffrey stealing the stool that Tyrion needs to drape a cloak around his new wife's shoulders, we also have the king promise to drop by and sexually abuse Aunt Sansa. Meanwhile, in the stands Rigg's Queen of Thorns mulls the ever more tangled family trees of the Lannisters and Tyrells, and Cersei gives a cold shoulder to prospective husband Loras.

But compared to what happens when Margaery calls Cersei "sister," the treatment that Loras gets is kind. If Margaery is a skillful player of court intrigue, Cersei is as subtle as a ton of bricks. Armed with swords. She vents her frustration of the impending tangle of weddings by threatening to strangle Margaery and kill her family. Not exactly the way to kick off good relations with a future daughter in law/sister in law.

Following the ceremony, Tyrion celebrates by guzzling a flagon of wine (it's a fantasy world, so you just know wine comes in flagons) and threatening to castrate the king. Much as we'd all like to cheer at that ceremony, and despite Tyrion having very good cause, this doesn't seem like the most politic of public statements.

Next, we're up north watching a couple of figures in the snow. Jon and Ygritte? No. Some of Bran's crew? Nope. Hey, it's Sam and Gilly. Almost forgot about them. Sam demonstrates again that he's incompetent at making fire, while a chorus of ravens gathers on a branch outside. Gradually that cluster of birds becomes a squawking mass that would give Hitchcock chills. Sam steps out to find a White Walker approaching and, rather bravely, actually, attempts to fend it off with his sword. The metal blade proves useless against the super-cooled enemy, but that obsidian blade that we discovered back last season, and which Sam spent some time staring at in his last appearance, actually does in the White Walker.  Sam the slayer!

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Tue May 21, 2013 at 07:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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