Catelyn and Robb go to Riverrun for Hoster Tully's authentic Viking-style funeral. Robb takes some time out to yell at his bannermen for not following his brilliant military strategy, while Catelyn mopes about how she'll probably never see Bran and Rickon again. I think the real problem was leaving Bran in charge of Winterfell in the first place. He seems like a nice boy and all, but he wasn't very good at defending a castle.
On the other side of the war, Tywin Lannister has turned his eyes to politics. He reassembles the Small Council, which leads to some very entertaining jockeying for position, then sends Littlefinger off to marry Lysa Arryn. She's the crazy lady who was breastfeeding her son well past the age where it would have stopped being creepy. And then he puts Tyrion in charge of the kingdom's finances, which seems like a conflict of interest, since the kingdom owes a great deal of money to the Lannisters. Tyrion reluctantly takes the job, then he treats young Podrick to a night of debauchery at Littlefinger's brothel. But the whores won't accept any money for it, which seems odd.
There are also two near-rapes. One comes when Theon escapes from his unknown captors but gets chased down. His pants are pulled down and things are about to go poorly for him when his mysterious savior, well, saves him. The other is Brienne, who's dragged offscreen and is screaming when Jaime says that she's from the island where all the sapphires come from. So she gets brought back, apparently unbesmirched. But Jaime has not made any friends, so he gets his right hand chopped off. Chop!
Up north, Mance Rayder finds a lot of severed horse heads, artfully laid out in a spiral. This means that it's time to attack Castle Black, for reasons which are not clearly spelled out. The Night's Watch are getting back toward The Wall, but they spend the night at Craster's, which is always creepy.
And the most important news is that Hot Pie decides not to continue being Arya's comic relief sidekick. She's being brought along somewhere, but Hot Pie is staying behind at the inn. He's going to be a baker! And I know it's unlikely, but I hope he gets to just stay there and peacefully bake things without being killed by anyone.
Opening credits. The highlighted places are King's Landing, Harrenhal, Riverrun, Winterfell, The Wall, and Astapor. Riverrun is a new place in the credits, so that's fun. Although it got mentioned back in the first season, so it's not an entirely new to us. And I have been informed that the mythological creature on the walls of Astapor is a harpy, not a sphinx. I actually feel bad about that, because I like to think I'm good at identifying mythological creatures. If a catoblepas shows up, I'm on the case.
A white-bearded man lies in a boat full of straw, which is pushed out into the river by Robb. He'd be Catelyn's father Hoster Tully, then. Someone walks up and sets an arrow on fire. Then he fires it into the air and misses the boat. Good one, dummy. He also misses with the second arrow. It's not the best-run funeral ceremony I've ever seen. Robb stifles a laugh. The boat is floating farther down the river. The third arrow fails to hit the boat. So this grizzled dude who looks a little like Billy Connolly steps up and shoves the archer out of the way. He checks the wind and fires. Then he hands the bow back without looking to see the result. He's like an extremely arrogant bowler. But he's also extremely good because the arrow hits and the boat goes up flames. The good archer walks away without looking back as the boat floats out of sight. I'm no Viking Funeral Expert, but I think you probably want to have a few rehearsals of the fire-arrow trick before the main event. Or just shoot the boat when it's closer to shore.
Now Robb is holding court. Well, he's looking out the window while his uncle complains about something at the stone mill. His uncle is the one who was not very good at archery, so this is Edmure. The Billy Connolly-looking guy is also here, and he threatens Edmure on Robb's behalf because Edmure calls him "nephew" and not "Your Grace." The people on this show are all very concerned about the proper etiquette due to kings, although they also forget it a lot. Robb tells Edmure he was supposed to wait for the Mountain (or "Tywin's mad dog") to come to him, not push him back to Casterly Rock. Edmure is confused because he thought he won a valiant battle and took a stone mill. But Robb wanted the Mountain to chase Edmure into the open so Robb could surround him and kill him. The Mountain doesn't have a strategic thought in his head, according to Robb. So why is he such an important general, then? Edmure protests that he took Willem Lannister and Martin Lannister as hostages, but Robb points out that they're only 14 and 15. And anyway, Robb hasn't sued for peace even though his sisters are hostages. So is Tywin going to sue for peace now that they have his father's brother's great-grandsons? Edmure admits that they will not. I'm glad to see someone in this world understands that their enemies won't stop attacking them just because they hold hostages. Oh, and Robb complains about the men Edmure lost because they have fewer men to lose than Tywin does. Robb returns to looking out the window and comments that Tywin has lots of patience. I like how they just assume that Tywin is in charge of the opposing army. They're right, of course, but surely they're supposed to pretend that Joffrey's involved somehow. They never even mention Joffrey anymore, and he's the king they want to replace. He's also the one who had Ned beheaded. Tywin wasn't even there!