Remember last episode, when Theon Greyjoy decided he wanted to do something more dramatic with his time than just raid fishing villages? Well, he successfully took Winterfell and killed Ser Rodrik! However, Osha (the wildling lady who's been a Stark prisoner for awhile now) sleeps with Theon and stages an escape for herself, Rickon, Bran, Hodor, and the wolves. Rickon is the youngest Stark; he hasn't really done much so far. Anyway, the point is that Theon took Winterfell but immediately lost two children, one of whom can't walk.
North of the Wall, the rangers attack a group of wildlings. But one of them is a girl named Ygritte, and Jon Snow can't bring himself to kill her. So he pretty quickly gets cut off from the rest of his squad, trapped in the snowy wilderness with a wildling lady.
Arya listens in on a discussion between Tywin Lannister and Littlefinger and possibly gets away without Littlefinger recognizing her. But when she steals a note, she gets caught by Amory Lorch. I know that name because she immediately tells that name to Jaqen, who kills him just as he's opening the door to Tywin's room.
Oh, and Joffrey continues to be an idiot. He provokes a riot and Tyrion smacks him in the face again. Sansa nearly gets gang-raped, but the Hound rescues her. And someone steals Dany's dragons.
You know how some shows take their titles from the episode's dialogue? Like someone will say, "This certainly is... a distressing dilemma!" and then the episode will be called "Certainly"? For some reason, Game of Thrones likes to title its episodes based on dialogue from the previous episode. No one says "The Old Gods and the New" in this episode, but both Catelyn Stark and Brienne said it last week. So presumably there will be something about old gods and new gods in this episode, at least metaphorically? Let's find out!
Previously: Theon planned to take Torrhen's Square, which the Starks mistakenly thought was the Mountain. And I repeated their mistake in the recap. Oh, the shame! The important thing to know is that when Bran sent two hundred soldiers to defend Torrhen's Square, he was reacting to Theon's attack. And when Theon made that attack, he knew he wouldn't be able to hold it. That's the key information from previous episodes. Also, I'm told that if you're trying to get your baby dragon to breathe fire, you should say "Dracarys" instead of "Trakaris" like I said in last week's recap. Baby dragons are very sensitive, so I'm sure it makes a huge difference.
The credits have King's Landing, Harrenhal, Pyke, Winterfell, the Wall, and Qarth. I'm bored with those places. It's been a couple weeks, so I say it's time for someone to go someplace new.
We start in Winterfell itself, where Maester Luwin shuts a barn door against the sound of fighting and frantically writes a letter. A raven squawks. Luwin attaches the letter to the raven and sends it off just before soldiers burst in.
Bran Stark wakes up in his bedroom just as Theon Greyjoy kicks in the door. Theon announces that he's taken Winterfell. It doesn't seem to bother him that he's taken it from a little boy whose legs don't work. He explains to Bran that he sent men over the walls with grappling claws. Bran has been out of the loop for a while and doesn't understand what Theon's talking about since the last time he saw him, Theon was Robb Stark's boon companion. Theon explains that he's a Greyjoy, not a Stark. And he needs Bran to come down to the courtyard and yield Winterfell to him in front of everyone. Bran, since he's basically a Stark, refuses to yield. He'll fight to the last man! Theon sits on the bed and explains that he's already taken the castle, so the only thing Bran really has power over is his own people. And if he doesn't want all of his men killed, he'll have to yield to keep them safe. Theon goes to leave (and to find Hodor, who's supposed to be carrying Bran everywhere) and Bran asks if he hated the Starks the whole time. Theon does not answer.