'Game of Thrones' Recap: Family Matters

A king's power pales in comparison to that of a family's bond.

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The last vestiges of the Stark men are left to wander the North, with both attempting to reach The Wall. One Stark has a bit of good luck (for a change), as Bran is found hiding by Samwell Tarly and Gilly. Tarly recognizes Summer, Bran's direwolf, and instantly makes the connection between Bran and Jon Snow.

Tarly promises he can reunite the two until Bran informs him that he has a calling beyond a reunion with his brother. Despite Tarly's warnings of the grave danger that lies beyond the wall, Bran assures Tarly that his task must be accomplished despite the severe risk at hand.

Meanwhile Jon Snow is alone in his quest to return to Castle Black, only to be tracked down by his scorned wildling lover, Ygritte. While she holds him at arrowpoint, Snow confesses that he never planned to fully turn his back on his fellow brothers in the Night's Watch, but his feelings for her have not wavered. He also believes that she feels the same way.

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Jon is mistaken, and Ygritte shoots him through the shoulder with an arrow. Overcome with grief, she buries two more arrows in Snow as he flees on horseback. Snow makes it back to Castle Black in the nick of time, with Tarly pulling him off his horse before Jon could succomb to his wounds.

Before rescuing Jon, Tarly meets with Maester Aemon, begging for forgiveness after he deserted his post on The Wall. He infores Aemon that all of the legends and myths about what lies north of The Wall are real, posing an imminent threat to the Seven Kingdoms. Aemon sends every available raven south to warn Westeros's elite that winter is, in fact, coming.

One of those dispatches saves Davos Seaworth's life. As Stannis Baratheon is set to sentence Davos to death for helping Gendry escape and avoid being sacrificed, Davos presents Stannis with a warning from the Night's Watch. While Stannis is stunned enough that Davos has taught himself to read, he defers to Melisandre about what this means for Davos's fate.

Through the "magic" and "sorcery" Davos decried earlier, Melisandre gleans that Stannis will be an integral part in saving Westeros from certain doom. Furthermore, he can only do this with help from Davos, and his life should be spared. Stannis obliges, but not before reminding Davos that the fire gods he earlier decried were the only thing that saved him from an untimely end.

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Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen is waiting for what she hopes is an end to her own hostilities. She sits outside Yunkai, waiting to see if she is faced with a violent slave uprising or a new faction of loyal followers. As the gates to Yunkai open, slaves pour out and congregate around Danys, waiting for a decree of freedom.

As she tells the crowd that their freedom is their own hands, they cry out to her in worship, deeming her their "Mhysa," or mother. She is hoisted above the crowd by her new followers, praised as a liberator by her new following. By creating a new bond with Yunkai's slave population, Danys has found that being the mother of dragons pales in comparison to the power of a new familial bond.

Other observations

-Cersei and Jaime together again! Not the most heartwarming reunion ever.

-I believe Walder Frey didn't move from his feast seat during the entire Red Wedding. Even as his chamber maids rid the hall of the last pools of Stark blood, Frey drinks away like the whole massacre was just another evening's entertainment. He had to have been sitting there for hours, or days, even. What a cretin.

-Thank you for reading along throughout this season. By the looks of it, a wide number of you enjoyed Game of Thrones over the past 10 weeks. Hopefully it will be enough to keep you satisfied for the 10-month layoff between Season 3 and Season 4.

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