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'Game of Thrones' Recap: Let's Make a Deal

Robb negotiates with the Freys, while Tywin and Olenna come to terms.

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"Game of Thrones" -- "Valar Dohaeris"
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Rose Leslie and Kit Harington in the "Game of Thrones" Season 3 premiere, "Valar Dohaeris."

The Episode "The Climb" in a Nutshell:

What happened:

  • Jon and the Wildlings climb the Wall
  • Tywin and Olenna cross verbal swords over marriages
  • Robb makes restitution with the Freys

Body count: 1

Nudity count: 1

Dragon sightings: 0

New people and places: None

Best line: "Old. I'm something of an expert on the subject." -- Lady Olenna

What's the deal with… Bolton's offer to let Jaime go? After sending his men to hunt down the Kingslayer, why would he flip-flop like that?

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Real loyalty is a rare commodity in Westeros: Alliances are constantly fluctuating, intentions changing, priorities reversing. A bitter Arya sees that for herself when the Brotherhood gives up Gendry, while Sansa sobs over her shattered dreams. And for one "Game of Thrones" character, shifting loyalty results in the ultimate cost: death.

North of the Wall: Sam and Gilly

Is there anything Sam can do well? He and Gilly are still on the run, and she has to instruct him on how to make a fire properly. That doesn't prevent her from getting starry-eyed as he tells her about his previous, high-born life and how tall the Wall is. And as he sings a little song for Gilly and her baby, we're reminded of what a sweetheart he is. But how long can a sweetheart last in this unforgiving land?

In the North: Bran and the Reeds

In maybe the grossest scene we've seen yet on "Game of Thrones," Osha and Meera are skinning rabbits and sniping at each other. Bran implores them to stop fighting, and they make peace… sort of. If these two don't throw down soon, we'll be surprised.

Meanwhile, Jojen is having a seizure/vision; when he wakes up, he says he saw Jon Snow -- on the wrong side of the Wall and surrounded by enemies. Hmm, they were heading to Castle Black to find him. Now what?

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At the Wall: Jon, Ygritte, and the Wildlings

As the Wildlings outfit themselves with pickaxes and special climbing shoes, Ygritte confronts Jon: She knows he hasn't really switched sides. But it's OK; she won't tell Mance or Tormund, because she's his woman now. They need to be loyal to each other. "Don't ever betray me," Ygritte warns.

In a series of breathtaking scenes, the Wildlings begin to climb the Wall. Suddenly, there's a huge avalanche! Jon and Ygritte fall and dangle off their rope lines, but Tormund and Orell, at the top, can't bear their weight, so Orell decides to cut them loose. Desperate, Jon starts swinging side to side, and finally manages to get his pickaxe into the Wall just as the rope is severed. Then, he hauls up Ygritte -- her hero! Orell can't look at them in the eye.

When they finally make it to the top of the Wall, Ygritte gazes out at the white, frozen tundra she's spent her entire life in. Then Jon tenderly takes her to the other side -- it's green and living. They kiss passionately. (Yeah, we watched this GIF about a thousand times. So?)

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Somewhere in the North: Theon

Sigh. It's Theon with Mystery Torture Guy again. "You've been wondering why you're here, where you are, who I am, why I'm doing this to you," MTG tells him. YES, SO HAVE WE ALL! MTG pushes Theon to guess as he slices his little finger off, bit by bit. Theon spits out that they're at Karhold, the residence of Lord Karstark (the one whose head Robb chopped off last week). And he's torturing Theon because he's one of Robb's bannerman. Gasp... MTG says he's right! Finally, some answers!

Psych. MTG was lying. Seriously, this is getting frustrating.

Riverrun: Robb, Catelyn, and the Tullys

Walder Frey's sons have come to parlay with Robb. They're not happy that he didn't honor his agreement to marry one of Frey's daughters. But Robb needs their troops -- especially now that he's lost Karstark's men -- and tries to be as conciliatory as possible.

He gives them Harrenhal, but they want one more thing: his uncle, Edmure Tully, married to a Frey daughter. Edmure moans and groans about it for a bit, but finally agrees. The wedding will take place within the fortnight, so Edmure can't get cold feet.

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Harrenhal: Jaime, Brienne, Bolton

Lord Bolton is dining with Jaime and Brienne, who's been given a ridiculous pink dress to wear. He muses that Jaime is worth a lot of money, but he's willing to send him back to King's Landing without ransom to make up for Jaime's maiming. Is he that afraid of Tywin Lannister? But Brienne won't be accompanying him; she'll stay to face charges of abetting treason!

Near Harrenhal: Arya and the Brotherhood

As Arya practices her archery with the Brotherhood's men, a visitor rides up. It's Melisandre!

Being that they're both red priests, she knows of Thoros of Myr. He was supposed to turn Robert Baratheon toward the Lord of the Light. Instead, he drank and slept around King's Landing. They take her to see Beric, and she's astounded that Thoros brought him back from the dead six times. Thoros himself admits that he stopped believing in the Lord of the Light until he revived his friend the first time. And now he has the zombie-making touch!

So what does Stannis want, Beric wonders? "You have someone he needs," Melisandre says. No!!! It's Gendry! He's Robert's bastard and has king's blood in his veins.

Beric and Thoros seem regretful, but stand aside as Mel and her soldiers take Gendry. Arya is outraged. Where is their loyalty? She marches up to the priestess and calls her a witch, but Melisandre just stares into her eyes. She can see different colors -- they're the eyes of people she will kill. "We will meet again," Mel whispers.

King's Landing: Sansa, the Lannisters, and the Tyrells

After last week's Olenna/Tyrion battle of wits comes our second-most-anticipated scene: Olenna vs. Tywin. She's not a fan of his plan to marry Cersei to Loras. "Old," Olenna says. Too old to bear Loras heirs. He needles her about Loras's homosexuality. "A sword-swallower, through and through," she shrugs. But who cares, did Tywin ever… explore? Hell to the no, he replies.

He's the pot calling the kettle black, Olenna points out, since his children slept with each other. Tywin denies it, and then threatens to name Loras to the Kingsguard, so that he won't be able to marry at all. Checkmate. Olenna is impressed. "It's a rare enough thing, a man who lives up to his reputation," she says with grudging respect.

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Meanwhile, a blissful and dreamy Sansa is taking a walk with her not-future-husband, Loras. Cersei and Tyrion spy on them. Which of the four of them will be most miserable, Tyrion wonders? He asks his sister if she tried to have him killed, and learns that it wasn't her -- it was Joffrey. Of course, because Joffrey. Is. The. Worst.

Tyrion decides to bite the bullet and inform Sansa of her new fate. He goes to her room, where Shae (his lover) is helping her dress. "This is awkward," he says. Understatement much?

Meanwhile, in the throne room, Baelish is gazing at the immense Iron Throne when Varys comes up on him. The eunuch taunts him about not getting what he wanted (Sansa). A cold-faced Baelish muses that Varys's confidante Ros was a "bad investment." So he gave her to a "friend."

Varys says he did it for the good of the realm, to prevent it from descending into a pit of chaos. "Chaos isn't a pit," Littlefinger snarls. "Chaos is a ladder."

Cut to a smug Joffrey with his crossbow, as he walks by a trussed-up, dead Ros, whose body is riddled with bolts. And cut to Sansa, sobbing as she watches a ship that won't be carrying her sail away. The shifting winds of loyalty have cost them both dearly.

Get a sneak peek at next week's "Game of Thrones" right here:

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"Game of Thrones" airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.

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