Dark Wings, Dark Words

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Dark Wings, Dark Words
Game of Thrones
Episode # Season 3, Episode 2
Airdate April 7, 2013
Director Daniel Minahan
Episode chronology
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"Valar Dohaeris" "Walk of Punishment"
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"Dark Wings, Dark Words" is the second episode of the third season of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 22nd episode of the series. Written by Vanessa Taylor and directed by Daniel Minahan, it aired on April 7, 2013.

Bran dreams of the three-eyed raven again and meets new allies. Ravens bring dark tidings to Robb at Harrenhal. Sansa is introduced to Margaery and Olenna Tyrell. Shae asks for Tyrion's help protecting Sansa. Jon Snow meets a warg in the wildling army. Sam struggles to stay alive. Arya crosses paths with the Brotherhood Without Banners. Cersei and Margaery try different approaches to controlling Joffrey. Jaime provokes Brienne into a duel, but finds himself recaptured.

The title of the episode alludes to an ancient Westerosi proverb about messenger ravens, because urgently delivered letters often contain bad news. In this episode, ravens bring Robb Stark news of both his grandfather's death and the Sack of Winterfell.


Beyond the Wall

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) joins the wildling army on its march south. Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) reminds Jon he will not hesitate to kill him to protect his people. He explains that his army is made up of ninety clans, who speak seven languages and have numerous tribal rivalries. He only united them all by telling them the truth: they will all die unless they get south of the Wall.

Mance takes Jon to visit a scout named Orell (Mackenzie Crook), who is in the midst of an out-of-body experience. Mance explains that Orell is a warg who can enter the mind of animals and is using his power to scout ahead. Ygritte (Rose Leslie) is surprised Jon has never met a warg before. When Orell comes back into his own body, Mance asks what he saw. Orell replies that he saw the Fist of the First Men covered with "dead crows."

Meanwhile, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) collapses from exhaustion on the retreat from the Battle of the Fist of the First Men. Rast (Luke Barnes) blames Sam for hiding instead of fighting and insists they should leave him because he is slowing them down. Grenn (Mark Stanley) and Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton) try to get Sam up, but Sam only mopes that they left him behind at the onset of the battle, even though they refuse to leave him now. Lord Commander Mormont (James Cosmo) returns to sternly forbid Sam to die and order Rast to keep Sam alive on pain of death.

In the North

Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) dreams of the mysterious three-eyed raven again. Reliving old memories, he shoots an arrow at the bird but misses. Then a boy appears to tell him that he cannot kill the raven because he is the raven. Awakening suddenly, Bran explains his dream to Osha (w:Natalia Tena|Natalia Tena]]), but she insists they have enough problems without adding dark dreams and insists they continue on their way north to the Wall.

Later, the boy from the dream approaches their camp unarmed. Osha comes up behind him with a spear, but the boy's sister surprises Osha and puts a knife to her throat. Osha points out that Bran's direwolf Summer will tear them apart, but Summer only sniffs the boy's hand and turns away. The boy introduces himself as Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie Sangster) and his sister as Meera (Ellie Kendrick), claiming they have come a long way to find Bran.

Continuing their journey, Bran and Jojen discuss their dreams. Jojen explains that Bran is a warg and with practice he can consciously enter his wolf and control his actions. Bran asks if his dreams of the three-eyed raven are part of being a warg, but Jojen explains that is different. The raven brings the related ability known as "the Sight," which allows one to see the past, present, and future. He confirms that Bran's dream when his father died was an example of the Sight, and Jojen himself had a similar dream the same day. Jojen explains that when he told his father, Lord Howland Reed, about Lord Eddard's death was the first time he saw his father cry. Bran recalls that Howland Reed saved his father's life in Robert's Rebellion. Jojen replies that his father never speaks much about the war.

At King's Landing

While King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) is being fitted for new clothes, his mother Cersei (Lena Headey) presses for his opinion of his bride-to-be Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). Joffrey says she will make a good match and secure their power. Cersei points out Margaery dotes on the poor, dresses provocatively, and married Renly Baratheon for a reason, but Joffrey insists Margaery only married Renly because she was told to, as a good woman should. Cersei attempts to connect with her son, but he brushes her off immediately.

While dressing Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) in her chambers, Shae (Sibel Kikilli) cautions Sansa that Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) has offered to help her for nothing, which means he must be after something. Sansa naively thinks his childhood friendship with her mother should be enough, which Shae interprets to mean Baelish is sexually attracted to Sansa. This disturbs Sansa, since Baelish is so much older. Shae explains that men often do not see it that way and urges Sansa to come to her if Baelish asks her for anything or does anything to her.

Ser Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) invites Sansa to meet Lady Margaery and their grandmother, Lady Olenna Tyrell (Dianna Rigg). As they walk, Loras cannot seem to recall giving Sansa a rose at the Tourney of the Hand, and he leaves immediately after introducing her to Margaery. Lady Olenna proves a very blunt and cunning woman, who declares her son Mace Tyrell a fool for supporting Renly's very tenuous claim to the Iron Throne. Olenna asks Sansa what Joffrey is truly like, since he is to marry Margaery. Sansa is reluctant, but when Olenna mentions her father's reputation for truth Sansa's eyes blaze and she angrily recounts how Joffrey promised mercy, then beheaded her father and made her look at his head. Sansa immediately backtracks, but eventually the Tyrells get her to call Joffrey a "monster." Olenna is disappointed but unsurprised, and Margaery only shrugs. Sansa worries they will call off the wedding, but Olenna assures her Margaery's father is too intent on a royal marriage.

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) returns to his new chambers to find Shae has sneaked in. He warns her that his father will kill her if she is caught, but she seems unconcerned. She asks Tyrion to protect Sansa for Petyr Baelish. Tyrion points out that he no longer has the power to interfere, and Sansa's great beauty and old name will draw many suitors. Shae accuses Tyrion of being attracted to Sansa, which he struggles to deny. Shae plays jealous and they playfully bicker she begins to undress him.

Joffrey summons Margaery to his chambers, ostensibly to ask if she needs anything before he goes hunting. Perhaps influenced by Cersei's words, Joffrey quickly brings up Margaery's previous marriage to Renly. Margaery insists she only tried to do her duty as a wife. When Joffrey points out such duties would include sex with a known traitor, Margaery feigns demure shyness and delicately uses Renly's known homosexuality to paint herself as a dutiful but frustrated bride. Margaery then skillfully diverts the conversation to Joffrey's exquisite new crossbow and quickly deduces that Joffrey is excited by sadism. She uses this to flirt with him by asking if he would like to watch her kill something, which Joffrey admits he would.


Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) awakes in a dungeon after being knocked out before the Sack of Winterfell. Without even asking a question, men in ironborn clothing begin torturing him by prying his fingernails off with a knife. Later, they progress to slowly twisting a screw into his foot, repeatedly asking why he captured Winterfell. First, Theon tells the truth (that he wanted to rule the North), then a half-truth (that he wanted to bring honor to his father and House Greyjoy), then a frantic lie (that he wanted to hurt the Starks), but they do not seem to care what answer he gives. When the guards finally leave, a servant boy (Iwan Rheon) unwinds the screw and says Theon's sister Yara has sent him to rescue Theon, but they must wait until the castle sleeps, so he leaves Theon alone again.

In the Riverlands

At Harrenhal

King Robb Stark (Richard Madden) is having a tender moment with his wife Talisa (Oona Chaplin) at Harrenhal when Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) interrupts with bad news from Winterfell and Riverrun. Robb's maternal grandfather, Lord Hoster Tully, has died after a long illness, and Ramsay Snow reports that Winterfell has been sacked and Bran and Rickon (Art Parkinson) are missing. When Robb tells his mother, the news reduces Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) to tears. Robb assures her the boys may have escaped or been kept as hostages, though he has not received any demands yet.

Leaving Roose Bolton to garrison Harrenhal, Robb rides to Riverrun for his grandfather's funeral. Lord Rickard Karstark (John Stahl) declares the march a distraction, but Robb rationalizes that his uncle, Lord Edmure Tully, will provide reinforcements. Karstark argues that the Lannisters and Tyrells still outnumber them two-to-one. When Robb asks if he has lost faith, Karstark insists he still believes in revenge but thinks Robb lost the war the day he married Talisa, breaking one marriage alliance and throwing away any opportunity for another.

Meanwhile, Talisa notices Catelyn making a prayer wheel and offers to help, but Catelyn insists only a mother can make one for her children. Catelyn reveals she has made them only twice before: when Bran fell and when Jon Snow was deathly ill. Catelyn explains that she felt guilty for praying that Jon would die because she was jealous of his mother, so she promised the gods she would raise him as her own. However, when Jon recovered, Catelyn could not keep that vow and now she blames all her family's misfortune on the gods' displeasure.

North of Harrenhal

Travelling north from Harrenhal, Arya Stark (Maise Williams), Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) run into a small party of the Brotherhood Without Banners led by the red priest Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) and Anguy the Archer (Phillip McGinley). Thoros is amiable and claims he only wants to talk, but is very insistent they come with him. Hot Pie recognizes the Brotherhood as the outlaws the Lannisters were hunting around Harrenhal and resists, but Anguy intimidates him with his impressive archery.

Thoros treats them to food and drink at the inn at the crossroads. When asked how they escaped Harrenhal, Arya says Gendry used his position as an apprentice smith to steal them weapons. Thoros asks where Gendry trained, and Gendry admits he worked for Tobho Mott in King's Landing. Thoros recognizes the name and declares that Tobho charged twice as much as anyone else, but Gendry claims the work was twice the quality. Thoros praises his salesmanship, but remains doubtful they fought their way out of Harrenhal, so Arya sets out to prove her swordsmanship. Amused, Thoros quickly disarms her despite being quite drunk. Satisfied enough with their story, Thoros permits them to leave, but as they head for the doors, Anguy returns with Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann), whom the Brotherhood have captured. Arya attempts to edge past while Thoros taunts the Hound, but the Hound stops her and reveals her true identity to everyone.


Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) bicker while making their way across the riverlands to exchange Jaime for the Catelyn Stark's daughters. Brienne remains wary of Jaime and keeps him on a short leash. When Brienne angrily denies supporting Stannis, Jaime deduces that she served and fancied Renly. He points out Renly was not attracted to women, which Brienne calls a foul rumor. Jaime insists Renly's sexuality was a very open secret, but when Brienne gets physical he admits he does not blame anyone for who they love. Their argument is interrupted by a farmer with a heavy-laden mule, who realizes they are avoiding the kingsroad to avoid detection. Jaime urges Brienne to kill the man to keep their movements secret, but she refuses.

Later, the pair are forced to choose between fording a turbulent river or risking detection by taking the bridge. Brienne decides on the bridge, but halfway across Jaime sits down and refuses to move. When Brienne tries to haul him to his feet, Jaime steals her spare sword and cuts his leash. The pair enter into an extended duel on the bridge. Initially, Brienne is hard-pressed by Jaime, who is a master swordsmen. However, Jaime lacks armor and his manacles restrict his mobility, allowing Brienne to wear him down with body checks, kicks, and punches. Soon, the malnutrition and dystrophy from a year spent in chains saps Jaime's strength and he slumps to the ground in exhaustion.

Just then, riders from House Bolton arrive, led by a man named Locke (Noah Taylor). The farmer Brienne chose not to kill appears to confirm their identities (since he remembers Jaime from a tourney) and is rewarded with silver. Jaime glares a Brienne before offering Locke a bribe. Locke asks if it will be enough gold to buy him a new head when Robb found out, and his men move forward to take the pair prisoner.


"Dark Wings, Dark Words" introduces seven new characters into the series: Lady Olenna Tyrell, the matriarch of House Tyrell, played by Dianna Rigg; Thoros of Myr and Anguy of the Brotherhood Without Banners, played by Paul Kaye and Phillip McGinley respectively; Jojen and Meera of Greywater Watch played by Thomas Brodie Sangster and Ellie Kendrick; Orell the warg, played by Mackenzie Crook; and the "Boy" who helps Theon, played by Iwan Rheon.

After two seasons as a recurring character, Joe Dempsie (who plays Gendry) was upgraded to the main cast for his first appearance in Season 3.

Main cast members Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister), Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), (Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish), Iain Glenn (Jorah Mormont), Conleth Hill (Varys), and Carice van Houten (Melisandre) do not appear in this episode and are not credited.

Character List


Differences from the books

The episode is primarily based on material from chapters 1, 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 18, 21, and 29 of A Storm of Swords. In addition, the introduction of the Reeds is taken from chapters 21 and 28 of A Clash of Kings.

The following scenes do not appear in the books:

  • Bran encountering Jojen in a dream.
  • Osha's hostility toward the Reeds.
  • Shae asking Tyrion to protect Sansa.
  • Brienne and Jaime encountering the farmer.
  • Theon's torture[1]
  • Cersei's argument with Joffrey.
  • Margaery's seduction of Joffrey.
  • Robb Stark's occupation of Harrenhal.
  • Catelyn's monologue about Jon Snow.
  • Rast's hatred for Sam.

References and notes

  1. It should be noted that in the novels, nearly all details of Theon's captivity are slowly revealed in A Dance with Dragons.

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