Chapter 42 (Jaime)
Steelshanks Walton escorts Jaime from Harrenhal and back toward the House of Lannister with several hundred men. Jaime is anxious about returning home with a severed hand. After a draught of dreamwine, Jaime has a vivid and symbolic nightmare, in which all of the important people in his life play a part, including Brienne. Concerned for her safety, Jaime convinces Steelshanks to return to Harrenhal so they can rescue her. When they arrive, Jaime sees that Vargo Hoat has Brienne fighting a bear in a pit with only a blunted sword. Vargo Hoat’s ear is also mutilated, because he tried to rape Brienne, so she ripped his lobe with her teeth. Jaime leaps into the pit and helps Brienne, and ultimately Steelshanks’ archers shoot the bear to death. Seeing no point in a battle, Vargo Hoat lets them leave without a fight. When Brienne asks why Jaime returned to save her, he admits he dreamt of her.
Chapter 43 (Catelyn)
Robb, Edmure, Catelyn, and 3,500 bannermen leave for the castle known as the Twins to celebrate the marriage of Edmure and Roslin. Robb leaves Jeyne behind. They struggle with rainy weather and a difficult river to ford. Catelyn insists that Robb name an heir until Jeyne can have a son. Robb thinks of naming Jon Snow his heir, but Catelyn doesn’t approve and suggests Jon Snow can’t be trusted. They argue until Robb walks off. In the following days, Robb continues to make battle plans, as he expects to win back his alliance with the Freys. When Catelyn asks how she can help, Robb tells her to stay safe, a passive role that Catelyn resents.
Chapter 44 (Samwell)
Samwell and Gilly arrive in the abandoned village of Whitetree. Samwell walks while Gilly, still in pain from childbirth, rides their horse. They make camp, feeling exhausted and miserable. Samwell sings a sweet song, and he remembers that his stern father detested the lyrics. Suddenly they are attacked by the reanimated corpse of Small Paul, one of the Night’s Watch, who has come back as a wight. Samwell tries to use the obsidian dagger, but it shatters on Small Paul’s armor. Finally Samwell is able to set him on fire, but outside he finds Gilly surrounded by wights. Out of nowhere a rider on a giant elk calls Sam, and when he and Gilly mount up with him, Samwell sees that he has black, frozen hands.
Chapter 45 (Arya)
Sandor and Arya, who is now Sandor’s prisoner, travel a great distance. They reach a river, which Arya guesses is Blackwater Rush. Sandor conscripts a ferryman to take him across, but because he has little money, he threatens the ferryman with violence. The boat hits a fallen tree and a boatman falls into the river, probably drowning in the rapids. Sandor gives the ferryman a promissory note, which the ferryman calls worthless. After an argument with Arya, Sandor reveals that the river is not the Blackwater, but the Trident. While Arya guessed that Sandor was taking her to the Lannisters, he is actually taking her to the Twins, where he intends to ransom her to the Starks.
Chapter 46 (Jon)
Making his way back to the Wall, Jon warns the people of Mole’s Town that an army of wildlings approaches. When he reaches the Wall, the first to identify Jon is Donal Noye, the blacksmith. Rumors have spread that Jon has defected, but Jon explains his orders from Qhorin Halfhand. He receives medical treatment from Maester Aemon and learns that Commander Mormont died in a scuffle at Craster’s Keep. Jon relates his intelligence, but also admits to breaking his vow by sleeping with Ygritte. Jon is informed that Winterfell was destroyed and Bran and Rickon are dead, but Jon does not believe the news, because he saw Bran’s direwolf not long ago and it knew him.
Jaime’s dream reveals all his fears and feelings of guilt. When it starts he finds himself under Casterly Rock, the ancestral home of the Lannisters, in a dark place that he fears. The voices of all the Lannisters over the years tell him it’s his place, as does Cersei, and the feeling of doom he associates with the place suggests he feels he is being condemned somehow by his family. The only thing that gives him relief from this fear is the sword he picks up, which makes him feel like he can defend himself. He also finds Brienne there suddenly with her hands bound and asking Jaime to free her, implying Jaime feels a measure of guilt for having left her imprisoned at Harrenhal. The ghostly forms that then appear are mostly Jaime’s brothers from the kingsguard, and when they all judge him for killing King Aerys, he desperately wants to explain to them why he did it. They don’t listen, however, and close in around him. The episode makes clear that, though Jaime believes he did the right thing in killing Aerys, he still feels guilty, and persecuted as well. To Jaime, these feelings are closing around him like the ghosts, and threaten to overwhelm him.