For those who can’t live without a Game of Thrones episode even for one week, Vulture has cobbled together an episode that could have aired on Sunday night, based on what transpires in the books. Apologies to George R.R. Martin, for bastardizing his text, and apologies to David Benioff and Dan Weiss if we venture too close to what they’ve got planned next — this is our best guess at what would have been between episodes seven and eight of season four.
Morning, at Dreadfort. Ramsay hands Theon/Reek fresh clothes, and he starts to slowly, painfully, get dressed, looking cautiously at his “master” while insisting, “I’m not Theon Greyjoy, my Lord. I’m Reek. Your Reek.” Ramsay laughs. “You’re Reek. You’ll always be Reek, no matter how sweet you smell. But you will pretend to be a prince. Theon Greyjoy, of the Ironborn.” Theon/Reek looks confused. Ramsay starts to explain. “You were going to be our hostage. We were going to trade you. But you heard my lord father — we’re going to Moat Cailin. I will give you a horse. I will give you a banner. You will give us the North. And then he will give me his name.” Ramsay walks over to a map. “Our armies are trapped south of the Neck. There is only one road,” he points with his finger. “To the east, sea. To the west, swamps. This causeway is the only way north, and these three towers plug the end. You need to uncork this bottle.” Theon/Reek shows a glimmer of recognition. “I’ve come this way before … ?” And then he shakes his head, violently. “No. No. That was some other man.” Ramsay grins. “Theon has been here before. Theon knows these towers. This is the Drunkard’s Tower. This is the Children’s Tower. This is the Gatehouse Tower. Robb Stark once held that, with my lord father. Now it is infested with Ironborn. But they will surrender to their prince. You will tell them I am merciful. I am merciful, aren’t I?” “Yes, my lord.” “You will be tempted to betray me. A man would turn against me. But we know what you are, don’t we?” Theon/Reek looks down, and nods. Ramsay straightens Reek’s collar. “Stand up straight. Theon would be proud.”
Morning, in the Eyrie. Sansa/Alayne comforts Lysa Arryn’s orphaned boy, Robyn, who is sobbing, and leaves his room. Littlefinger is waiting outside. “Some lies are love,” he tells her. “Best to spare the boy.” Sansa starts to walk away. Littlefinger grabs her arm. “This lie may spare us,” he tells her pointedly. “Else you and I must leave the Eyrie by the same door Lysa used.” Sansa gives him the blank face she learned to give the Lannisters. Littlefinger continues. “People are coming. They will want to hear your account of Lysa’s death.” Sansa for a moment looks scared. “A touch of fear will not be out of place,” he encourages, pressing on. “It was a horrific thing you witnessed, her stumbling like that.” Sansa breaks his grasp. “The things she said …” “Ravings,” Littlefinger waved his hand dismissively. “My wife was mad. You saw that for yourself.” Just to leave, she nods and walks away, but she doesn’t look convinced.
Day, in the Riverlands. Brienne and Podrick go through a fish market in Maidenpool, where they find the local lord dispensing justice. A platform is raised beside the water, where Lord Tarly looks down at the men accused of crimes, and there is a gallows with ropes enough for 20 men, some already taken. One of the men being judged cries, “I never hurt no one, m’lord! I only took what the septons left when they run off.” Lord Tarly is harsh. “It is customary to take a finger from a thief. Leave his thumbs,” he tells the guards. As the man is dragged off, sobbing, Tarly looks at Brienne, frowning. “My lady. To what do we owe this … honor?” “My Lord Tarly. I have been sent to look for … to look for …” Brienne hesitates, and it’s clear that this man intimidates her. “How will you find him if you do not know his name?” And then, abruptly, “You should never have left your father’s hall. You never should have donned mail nor buckled a sword. This is a war, not a harvest ball! Go where you want and do as you will, but when you’re raped, don’t look to me for justice.” Pod gives Brienne a look, What’s this guy’s problem? and Brienne gives Pod a look back, like This is pointless, let’s move on, and they continue on their path.
When Brienne glances back, she sees that one of Tarly’s knights is following them on the road. “Who is that?” Pod asks Brienne. “Ser Hyle Hunt. At Highgarden, when King Renly called his banners, some men played a game with me. Ser Hyle was one of them,” she tells Pod. “It was a cruel game, hurtful, and unchivalrous.” She seems to hesitate — should she share her pain with Podrick? She decides to trust him. “I had never been courted before. But the men in Renly’s camp started being very kind to me, and I wasn’t expecting that. One brought me flowers. One sang me love songs. Ser Hyle outdid them all. He talked to me. He made me laugh. And he even trained with me one day, which meant more than anything.” Pod beams, thinking this is a love story. Brienne continues, shaking her head. “But I refused them. I refused them all. Every time some strange knight paid me a compliment, I wanted to scream, ‘What do you want?’ Lord Tarly eventually summoned me. He told me that the knights had a wager on who was going to claim my maidenhood. He put an end to their sport, because the purse was getting so large, it was only a matter of time before one of them decided to claim their prize by force.” Pod is no longer smiling. “Lord Tarly told me that the blame was mine. And that if I had any regard for my virtue or the honor of my House, I should return home and beg my father to find a husband for me.” Brienne’s face is dark. “But I came to fight. To be a knight.”
Day, in King’s Landing. In the background of the throne room, Tommen plays with Ser Pounce. “Bring the mice to justice!” he tells the kitty. Oberyn walks in and chuckles. “Is this what it is to be king?” he half-asks himself. To Tommen, he says, “Do you know, by law, the Iron Throne should pass to your sister, Myrcella?” Tommen looks confused. “By law?” he asks. “By Dornish law, yes,” Oberyn tells him, in a kind but insistent tone. “She is older than you. And as it happens, Myrcella is in Dorne.” Cersei walks in, and has overheard. “What is the meaning of this?” she asks. “I wonder,” Oberyn smiles, “where you would stand if Dorne crowned Myrcella as the ruling queen? You say you miss her. But would you defend her?” Cersei looks angry, intrigued, and skeptical, all at once. “And what about Tommen?” Oberyn gestures magnanimously, “Tommen could have Casterly Rock. He would be as great a lord as any in the realm. But wouldn’t you agree that Myrcella is the lawful heir?” A look flashes on Cersei’s face — she hadn’t considered her daughter as queen, is it too late? Or would this bring war? She shrugs. “Now is not the time.” “Yes, I know,” Oberyn smiles. He and we know what Cersei does not — that he is Tyrion’s champion. “Let’s talk after the trial.” “Yes. Let’s.”
The first wave of visitors come to the Eyrie. Lord Nestor Royce and his retinue of a dozen knights and men-at-arms. “Lord Nestor, High Steward, you will recall Alayne, my niece?” Littlefinger introduces Sansa, who curtsies but doesn’t speak. “Be a good girl and bring Lord Robyn to the High Hall to receive his guests.” She nods, and goes to Robyn’s room. He looks like he was up all night crying. His eyes are red and raw, his nose swollen and runny. “Fetch me the washbasin,” she commands a servant, and starts to wipe his nose. “Lord Nestor Royce has come up from the Gates to see you,” she tells him. “I don’t want to see him,” Robyn sniffles. “I want a story.” “After,” Sansa says, kindly. “First you must see Lord Nestor.” “Mommy said he was dreadful.” “You miss her, I know,” Sansa tries. “I loved her, too.” A lie, but a kind one. She pulls his cloak on him. “There. You look a proper lord now.” She takes him by the hand, and leads him down to the High Hall. He looks like a lost little boy.
Later, in the solar, Littlefinger confers with Lord Nestor Royce, with Sansa attending them. “This will not be the end of it,” he tells Littlefinger. “My cousin means to question you.” “Yes, yes, and Symond Templeton will join him, and Lady Waynwood, too,” Littlefinger chimes in. “And Lord Belmore, young Lord Hunter, Horton Redfort, Strong Sam Stone, the Tolletts, the Shetts, the Coldwaters, some Corbrays.” Royce looks impressed. “What do you intend to do?” “What can I do?” Littlefinger leisurely gives the flames a stir in the fireplace with his poker, and then goes over to a chest, where he pulls out a parchment. “My lord, this is a token of the love my lady bore you.” Royce unrolls the parchment. “It bears the Arryn seal, but the signature …” “Lysa fell before the document could be considered for her signature, so I signed, as Lord Protector,” Littlefinger adds lightly. Royce rolls up the parchment, and clutches it — he has wanted this for a long time. “So a toast, my lord,” Petyr offers. “To House Royce, Keeper of the Gates of the Moon … now and forever!” Royce drinks cheerfully and takes his leave. When he is out of sight, Littlefinger grabs Sansa’s wrist. “Do you understand what happened here?” Sansa hesitates. “You gave Lord Nestor the Gates of the Moon to be certain of his support.” Littlefinger nods, proud of his pupil. “You might have had Lord Robyn sign it, but instead …” “I signed it. Why?” “So … if you are removed, or … or killed …” “His claim to the Gates will suddenly be called into question.” Littlefinger grins, proud of his own clever trick, proud of Sansa for figuring it out. Sansa doesn’t look pleased, however.
Night, in the Riverlands. Brienne and Podrick pass by the remnants of a fire. “Halloooo?” Podrick calls out. “Anyone here?” “Be quiet,” Brienne tells him, gripping her sword. A dirty man emerges. She recognizes him — and so do we. He’s one of Locke’s men. “You again, woman? What, did you miss our friendly faces?” “Stay away,” she insists. Two more men emerge from the foliage, blades drawn, and she’s backed into a corner. “Drop that pretty sword and might be we’ll go gentle on you, woman,” one of them threatens. She charges, and gives the blade a hard turn. “Your turn,” she tells the second man. Pod throws a stone, and hits one of them in the head. Brienne doesn’t hesitate — she flies at the third man, slashing his cheek, and then as she pulls out the blade, she cuts his hand off. “That one was for Jaime!” she cries. As they’re about to leave, the knight that was following them from afar approaches. “Ser Hyle Hunt. Did Lord Randyll Tarly command you to follow us?” Brienne demands. “He commanded me to stay away from you. Lord Randyll is of the view that you might benefit from a good hard raping.” He chuckles, and she bristles.” Then why do you follow us?” “It was that, or return to gate duty,” he grins, as she looks at him warily. “Keep your distance, ser. I don’t need your kind of … protection.”
Night, at Castle Black. Maester Aemon walks up to Jon Snow and Sam Tarly. “If we don’t have enough men, do we have enough straw?” Jon and Sam look confused. “Make straw soldiers,” the master instructs. “Dress them in black. Have them guard where we cannot.” Jon and Sam start building approximations of men, draping Night’s Watch clothing on them, positioning them on towers tops and roofs to beef up their numbers. “Scarecrows,” Sam suggests, and Jon smiles, his grin quickly fading as they get to work on the straw soldiers. Some even clutch spears, or have crossbows cocked under their arms. Someone else yells out instructions: “The pitch goes to the hoist! The oil goes up the steps!” “Do you think this will help?” Sam asks. “We can only hope,” Jon replies, stealing a look at Ghost in his kennel.
Night, somewhere in the Riverlands. Arya twitches in her sleep. We see her dream, the way we’ve seen Bran dream. She’s dreaming of wolves. A great pack of wolves, with her at the head. Nymeria. In her wolfie dream, she smells something. Dead men are on the banks of the river’s edge. Her brothers and sisters are tearing at their flesh. She’s hungry, she wants to eat too, but only the scent matters. She swims, following her nose. She sees a white thing face down in the mud. Dead flesh. The sound of horses turns her head. Arya’s eyes open.