What do the women of Westeros want? We’ve seen how ostensibly powerless the women of “Game of Thrones” are: no direct influence over matters of state, war or sometimes even their own lives. But the subtle influence of women on history is a recurring theme in the show, and in the latest episode, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” especially.
Ygritte wants Jon Snow to commit – not so much to her, but to the wildling cause (and also to her). She also doesn't want to reciprocate the affections of the creepy eagle-tamer Orell.
Jon points out that the histories of Westeros are littered with failed wildling invasions from the north – six in all, all failures. But again Ygritte reminds Jon that he’s one of them now.
Sansa doesn't want to marry Tyrion. Margaery gently reminds her that as far as Lannisters go, Tyrion’s nowhere near as bad as his nephew. Plus, Sansa’s future son with Tyrion could be the lord of both Casterly Rock and Winterfell. But this happy bit of news reminds Sansa about where babies come from, and that just makes her sad again.
Shae also doesn't want Sansa to marry Tyrion. He gives her some very nice gold chain necklaces as a kind of preemptive apology and floats the idea of buying her a house in the city and providing for any of their future children. Shae would rather run away across the Narrow Sea; Tyrion, fearing that he'd lose all of his status if he disavows his family, doesn’t want to risk ending up as an amusement in the East.
Tyrion complains to Bronn, who doesn’t quite see the problem with having a beautiful whore and marrying a beautiful woman who comes with, in all likelihood, a vast kingdom.
King Joffrey, fresh off murdering the expositional former prostitute Ros with a crossbow, summons Tywin to complain at him. Tywin’s moved the Small Council meetings to the Tower of the Hand, so the king would have to climb stairs to attend them; and he’s not doing anything about Daenerys or her dragons in the East. But Tywin doesn’t think the dragons are anything to worry about at this point and offers to arrange for Joffrey to be carried up the tower stairs if he wishes to attend meetings. It’s not as viscerally satisfying as Tyrion’s slap in the first season, but it's about a thousand times more menacing.
Catelyn Stark would like her son to get a move on; Robb is due at the Twins to apologize for breaking his promise to Walder Frey and offer Edmure as a substitute groom for one of the Frey daughters. But the rain is really annoying to march through, so Robb decides to make Lord Frey wait a little longer to get his consolation wedding.
Talisa wants Robb to know that she’s probably pregnant! Also, she'd like to get a good look at that map showing the positions of Robb’s armies that he keeps by the bedside as she writes a letter to her “mother” (that fan-made theory about Talisa being a secret Lannister spy seems increasingly credible).
Arya just wants to get back to her family, but the Brotherhood Without Banners decides to delay that trip a couple days to harass a Lannister scouting party. She runs off and is promptly snagged by the Hound.
Brienne wants Jaime to keep his oath to Catelyn and send the Stark girls home from King’s Landing (most people aren’t aware that Arya went missing), and Jaime agrees. He’s setting off for the capitol without her but is confident that Brienne’s father will ransom her from Bolton’s sadistic hunting master, Locke.
On the road, Jaime hears that Locke has rejected the Lord of Tarth’s offer of 300 gold dragons for his daughter – thanks in part to the notion planted by Jaime that Tarth is home to the best sapphire mines in Westeros – and is instead planning some gruesome end for her. He threatens/cajoles his escort to take him back to Harrenhal, where he finds Brienne being forced to fight a bear. Jaime jumps in the pit, and the Bolton guards tasked with seeing him safely to King’s Landing help him and Brienne out. Jaime flat-out tells Locke he’ll have to kill him to get to Brienne, and Bolton’s primary interest is in seeing Jaime making it back alive to Tywin.
Melisandre wants Gendry to wake up and realize what pretty much everyone else figured out last season: he’s the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon. “There’s power in king’s blood,” Melisandre says – how much blood is necessary, though? We don’t find out quite, yet.
Theon’s already shed a bit of blood in the torture chamber. After getting the skin stripped off of his pinky finger last week, things for him are starting to look up when two girls sneak in and unbind him. But just as things get hot and heavy, the hornblowing torturer reappears and calls the girls off. Unlike last week’s pinky-flaying, we don’t really see what happens next, but it seems pretty certain that he’s completely lost another, more precious organ. If Theon ever runs into Varys, they can commiserate.
Osha wants the kids that she’s in charge of to realize how incredibly dangerous the lands north of the Wall are. The original plan was to take Bran and Rickon Stark back to Jon at Castle Black, but Jojen, relying on his visions, says they need to go out into the wilderness. Osha is dead-set against it, having some rather personal experience with the undead menace in the north – her former lover returned to her as a living corpse once and almost choked her to death.
Daenerys wants to free the 200,000 slaves in bondage in the city of Yunkai. But the city, which has heavy walls and provisions, would prove a harder peach to pluck than Astapor. Yunkai’s slave masters are pretty confident they can withstand a siege, but their emissary still offers Daenerys gold and ships if she promises to be on her way. But Daenerys is pretty committed to the whole slave-freeing mission now and offers the Wise Masters of Yunkai a simple deal: free all the slaves, give them compensation for their labor or be destroyed.