So that happened.
In the unlikely event you're unaware of the events of last night's episode, I'll refrain from revealing anything until after the jump. Suffice to say, after the last four episodes of Game of Thrones, I'm willing to add a new item to the list of classic blunders: never get involved in a land war in Asia, never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line, and never attend a wedding in Westeros.
Locations (* = new): King's Landing, Dragonstone, The Dreadfort, Winterfell, The Wall, Meereen
Ser(s) Not Appearing In This Episode: Jon Snow, Samwell Tarly; Daenerys Targaryen, Ser Friendzone, Arya Stark, The Hound, Littlefinger
I confess, I didn't think we'd get to the Purple Wedding (AKA the Most Anticipated TV Death Since Lori From The Walking Dead) this early in the season, even though it sets the stage for many of the events in A Feast for Crows. Still, the way it just sort of ... happened was something of a surprise.
Maybe it was a conscious effort to diminish the impact of the Mad Men premiere.
But before we get to that, there are other things afoot in Westeros. To the north, Ramsay Snow (Iwan Rheon) and his "lady" Myranda enjoy a little of the Most Dangerous Game, hunting a terrified girl while Theon/Reek (Alfie Allen) watches. Fun's over right quick when dad Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) shows up at the Dreadfort, with Lady Walda (nee Walder) in tow (Locke, who removed Jaime's hand, is there as well). Bolton reminds Ramsay he's not a true Bolton, i.e. stop flaying people. As a retort, Ramsay shows him just how domesticating cutting off a man's junk can be.
"Reek" also reveals another key fact: Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive.
Speaking of them, we visit Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and company north of the Wall for the first time this season (Hodor!). Bran's "warging" is getting out of control, as he continues shifting into Summer for longer and longer periods of time. Jojen (Thomas Sangster) and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) warns him against such tomfoolery. The group finds a heart tree, touching it reveals to Bran they must continue north, and also gives Bran visions of dragons flying over King's Landing. That's some good foreshadowing there, Lou.
Things are festive -- I guess -- on Dragonstone, where Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) sacrifices three men, including Lord Florent, Stannis' brother-in-law, to the Lord of Light (you know, the only god of love and compassion). This is prelude to an awkward dinner where the Stannis (Stephen Dillane), Melisandre, and Queen Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald), who complains about daughter Shireen's sassy mouth. Melisandre pays the girl a visit in a scene that was squirm inducing even by GoT standards: "There is only one hell, princess: the one we live in now." Nice of you to drop by, lady!