As the episode opens, we see Tywin Lannister having Ice, Ned Stark’s sword, broken and forged into two separate swords (note the episode’s title, “Two Swords”).
The opening credits play, highlighting this season’s important locations: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, the Dreadfort (home of House Bolton), Winterfell, The Wall, and Meereen (the largest city in Slaver’s Bay).
Jaime Lannister is examining one of Tywin’s new swords, made of Valyrian steel. Jaime notes that no Valyrian steel sword has been forged since the Doom of Valyria. Tywin tells him he took it from someone who no longer needs it (Ned Stark). He tells him that the sword was absurdly large, and so he had it forged into two swords. Jaime thanks him, though he has trouble lifting the blade with his left hand. Tywin tells him he’ll have to train his left hand.
Tywin tells Jaimie he can’t serve in the Kingsguard with one hand. Jaime argues. Tywin tells him he will go home to rule at Casterly Rock, but Jaime continues to argue. Jaime worries about breaking another vow, given his reputation, but Tywin assures him there is precedent for the King to release one of his guard from his service, which Joffrey will do. Jaime refuses. Tywin becomes frustrated tells him to go. Jaime offers the sword back, but Tywin tells him to keep it, saying that a “one-handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.”
Tyrion is outside the city with Bronn and Podrick, amongst commoners. They are awaiting the Prince of Dorne and his entourage on the King’s Road. Tyrion explains the he was sent because there is bad blood between the Martells of Dorne and the Lannisters. Podrick reads the banners as they come, but does not see the sigil of House Martell (a red sun pierced by a spear).
Tyrion inquires about the prince’s whereabouts. One of the Dornishmen tells Tyrion that the prince is too sick, and sent his brother, Oberyn, in his place. Tyrion asks where Oberyn is, and the Dornishman tells him that Oberyn has been in the city since this morning. Tyrion leads Bronn and Pod back to the city to find Oberyn “before he kills someone.” Given Oberyn’s reputation, Tyrion suggests they’ll find him at a brothel.
Oberyn Martell is, indeed, at Littlefinger’s brothel. He and a lady friend are examining some of the women, who they note are pale to show that they do not work the fields. They are looking for someone who is “not timid.” When their host – a boy substituting for Littlefinger – calls her a lady, the woman explains that she is not a “Lady,” but a bastard, cutting through pleasantries.
Oberyn and his friend make a selection and tell the others to leave, except for their host. The host argues that he is not “on offer,” but Oberyn says that everyone who works for Littlefinger is “on offer” and tells the host to take off his clothes. The host still protests, but Oberyn reminds the host that he is talking to a prince, something the host has never been with. The host says he’s wildly expensive, and Oberyn tells him, again, to take off his clothes.
Oberyn stops when he hears someone singing “The Rains of Castamere” from another room. He finds them, two Lannister men with a whore each. Oberyn tells them he doesn’t see many Lannisters in Dorne. The Lannisters say they don’t see many Dornishmen in the capital because they don’t like the smell. Oberyn’s friend and the host try to defuse the situation, but the Lannister assumes Oberyn’s lady is a whore and asks why she is being wasted on a Dornishman. Oberyn approaches as the two men stand and the whores leave. Oberyn gets in a standoff with one of them. As the Lannister reaches for his longsword, Oberyn quickly whips out a dagger and stabs the Lannister’s wrist to the table, telling the Lannister that a longsword is a poor choice in close quarters.
Tyrion and Bronn enter and Oberyn pulls the dagger out. The other Lannisters leave, and Oberyn begins kissing his lady. He introduces her as Ellaria Sand to Tyrion, who he calls the king’s “Uncle Imp.” Tyrion asks for a word with Oberyn in quiet.
They walk outside. Tyrion says the king is grateful for Oberyn coming, and Oberyn says the king is insulted because Oberyn is only second born. Tyrion wants to know why Oberyn is here, sure that it’s not simply for the wedding. Oberyn tells of how the last time he was in the capital was for the wedding of his sister, Elia, to Rhaegar Targaryen. Elia had children with Rhaegar, but Rhaegar left her to kidnap Lyanna Stark and ended up starting a war. The war ended when the Lannisters sacked King’s Landing. Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, in the employ of the Lannisters, found and killed Elia’s children, then raped her and cut her in half. Oberyn says he knows that anything the Mountain did was on Tywin Lannister’s orders. He tells Tyrion to let Tywin know that he is here, and that “Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”
We cut to Daenerys, still in Essos, petting Drogon while Rhaegal and Viserion fly over the sea. They’ve grown much larger. Jorah Mormont approaches, looking unnerved by the dragons. The other Rhaegal and Viserion land and the three dragons begin eating a goat. Dany reaches out, but Drogon snaps at her. Jorah tells Dany that dragons cannot not be tamed, not even by their mother.
Dany rejoins her army, but doesn’t see Daario or Grey Worm. Barrister Selmy tells her they are gambling. She goes looking for them. Her followers great her as Mhysa as she walks by. Dany finds Grey Worm and Daario in a competition to see who can hold their sword out longest for the right to ride next to Dany on the march. She tells them that Mormont and Selmy will ride with her because they did not keep her waiting, while Daario and Grey Worm will take up the rear. She tells them the last man holding his sword can find a new queen to fight for, and the two men both drop their blades very quickly.
Shae is serving food to Sansa Stark, telling her she needs to eat something. Sansa politely declines. Tyrion arrives and also tries to convince his wife to eat. He asks for a moment alone with his wife. Shae stares him down before leaving. She catches Tyrion holding Sansa’s hand just before Sansa pulls away. Sansa says that she lies awake all night, staring at her canopy, imagining how her mother and brother died. Tyrion tells Sansa how he respected and admired Robb and Catelyn Stark, and that Catelyn would want Sansa to carry on. Sansa leaves to visit the Godswood. Tyrion says prayer can be helpful, but Sansa says she doesn’t pray anymore, the Godswood is just the only place where people don’t talk to her.
Tyrion goes back to his chamber and is surprised to find Shae in his bed. Tyrion explains that things are tense, and that’s why they haven’t had time to visit together lately. Shae tells him he needs to relax. He says it’s not a good time, and she says it’s never is a good time now that he has his child bride. Shae wants to know if Tyrion loves Sansa. Tyrion says no. Shae accuses Tyrion of trying to have her shipped away, saying her gave her diamonds. Tyrion says he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. One of Cersei’s spies overhears the conversation and sees Shae leave.
Elsewhere, Qyburn is fitting Jaime with a golden, prosthetic hand. His complaining prompts Cersei to call him an ingrate. Jaime says a hook would be more practical, but Cersei says the hand is more elegant. Cersei thanks Qyburn for his help with an “other matter” and Qyburn leaves. Jaime notes that Cersei drinks more than she used to. Cersei lists off reasons why, ending with her own upcoming marriage to Loras Tyrell. Cersei asks Jaime if he is really going to stay in the Kingsguard. Jaime says the Kingsguard keep him close to her. Cersei is angry that Jaime left her alone at King’s Landing. Jaime is incredulous at her anger and they argue until Cersei’s spy comes to the door.
We see Ygritte, fletching arrows. Lots of them. Tormund asks if she plans to kill all the Crows herself. Ygritte want to know why they aren’t moving, and Tormund says they are waiting for Mance Rayder. Tormund accuses Ygritte of letting Jon Snow get away. They hear a signal whistle and are approached by Thenns. The Thenn leader notes that they lost their Warg (Orell) and their Crow (Jon Snow). The Thenn asks if Ygritte belongs to Tormund. Ygritte says she belongs to no one. The Thenn says she’s too scrawny, and wonders why the meat south of the wall is much better. He tells Tormund that, just once, he should try crow, and we see a human hand roasting over the fire.
Back at Castle Black, the Night’s Watch is practicing archery. Sam is going to see Jon Snow, who is mourning the loss of Robb, recalling how he was jealous of Robb, how he wanted to hate him but never could. Sam says sometimes he wants to hate Jon, because Jon is better at everything. Sam says they’re ready for Jon. Jon says “he’s” been wanting to hang him for a long time, and now he has his chance. Sam says Jon’s done nothing wrong. Jon says he’s done plenty wrong.
“He” is Alliser Thorne, who questions Jon about the death of Qhorin Half-Hand. Jon says he didn’t murder him, but Thorne says Jon put his sword through him. Jon explains Half-hand’s plan to plant a spy in Mance Rayder’s army. Jon admits to breaking his vows with Ygritte. Janos Slynt calls for Jon’s death for the crime, but Maester Aemon notes that, if they beheaded every Night’s Watch member who breaks their vow, the Wall would be manned by headless men. Jon explains the strength of Mance Rayder’s army, uniting Thenns and giants. He explains Mance’s plan to siege the wall and the great bonfire that will be used as a signal. Maester Aemon tells Jon that they will not be taking Jon’s head today. Thorne reminds Aemon that Thorne is the acting commander. Aemon says that Jon is telling the truth. Thorne questions where he got the magical ability to tell when a man is lying, and Aemon replies “I grew up in King’s Landing.”
The Queen of Thorns is with Margaery Tyrell, examining jewelry for the royal wedding. She is, of course, displeased by all of them and sends their women to find better. Brienne of Tarth comes to them and Olenna expresses how impressed she is with Brienne. Brienne asks for a moment alone with Margaery. The two walk as Brienne tells Margaery about the shadow creature that killed Renly Baratheon. Brienne promises vengeance.
Jaime is going over wedding security with Joffrey, who is paying no attention. Joffrey tells Jaime how the people love him for winning the war, but Jaime reminds him that the war isn’t over. Joffrey is ungrateful and unimpressed. He examines the Book of Brothers, which chronicles the history of the Kingsguard. Joffrey notices how little there is written about Jaime. Jaime says there’s still time, but Joffrey questions if there really is for a 40-year-old man with one hand. Joffrey leaves and Jaime slams the book closed.
Daenerys is discussing Meereen with Missandei. Daario approaches, asking to discuss a matter of strategy. Missandei takes her leave. Daario present Dany with a Dusk Rose. Dany threatens to make him walk the rest of the way, but Daario explains that she must know the culture if she is to be welcomed by its people, saying that is part of strategy. He then pulls out another flower, called harpy’s gold. He presents the flowers to Dany and leaves her.
Dany’s army halts. They see a slave child nailed to a sign, pointing the way to Meereen. There is one at every mile marker on the way to Meereen. Selmy offers to have them buried before Dany can see them, but she insists on seeing each and every one and orders they be buried without their collar.
Brienne and Jaime and looking at Sansa from afar. Brienne reminds him of his oath to keep her, and Arya Stark, safe. Jaime assumes that Arya is dead, and says that Sansa is a Lannister now, but he can’t admit that Sansa is safe in King’s Landing. The two leave.
Sansa starts making her way out of the Godswood after sensing someone else there. It’s Ser Dontos, the knight demoted to a fool, who is drunk. He thanks Sansa for saving his life at Joffrey’s name day celebration. He gives her a necklace, a family heirloom from his house’s better days. Sansa says she will wear it with pride.
Arya is riding with the Hound. Arya wants her own horse, but Sandor says he won’t let her have one. He says he plans on selling her to her Aunt Lysa Arryn in the Vale. They come to an inn where they see Polliver, who killed Arya’s friend, Lommy, and took Needle. Arya storms off to get Needle back. The Hound says they’re not going in, but the door opens and he is spotted. They go inside.
The men inside are in the process of raping the innkeeper’s daughter. Polliver notices the Hound and commands the innkeeper to pour him some ale. They chat about the war and end up discussing the Hound’s brother, the Mountain. Polliver invites the Hound to join them in searching the inn for stuff to steal and then continue onward to King’s Landing. Polliver explains that, with the King’s colors, they can do whatever they want. The Hound says he’s not going to King’s Landing and expresses his feelings about the King and then things get tense. Sandor begins demanding more and more of Polliver’s chickens. A fight breaks out, and, eventually and by sheer numbers, the Hound goes down, but he fights his way back up. The Hound goes down again, but Arya knocks one of Polliver’s men out with a pot then kills him. She then comes up behind Polliver, steals back Needle, stabs Polliver in the back, knocks him over, says just enough to remind him of who she is, and slides the blade through his neck.
The episode closes as Sandor and Arya ride away from the inn, eating chickens as they go.