Footnotes of Ice and Fire: Beyond the Wall, Ser Pounce, and More

Game of Thrones and the massive world of A Song of Ice and Fire can be confusing, so we're here to help break down some of the storylines with some insight and context from a book reader. Here, find the backstory on "Oathbreaker."

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Game of Thrones and the massive world of A Song of Ice and Fire can be confusing, so we're here to help break down some of the storylines with some insight and context from a book reader. Here's the backstory on the "Oathbreaker" episode as it relates to the White Walkers and that baby, Tommen's cat, Bran beyond the wall, and where Littlefinger is headed. After you check out our recap, we'll guide you through what you may have missed. No spoilers, we promise.

The White Walkers' baby-changing powers

The books have given little information on the White Walkers and their powers, so book readers were just as surprised as show watchers when Craster's last baby boy was turned into a White Walker. We've known since the first scene of the entire show that the White Walkers can reanimate dead people into what they call "wights." But this is the first instance of them having the ability to transform a living human into what appears to be a full-on White Walker.

Though unexplored in the books, there is one small hint about this power to transform humans into the Others. When the Night's Watch mutinies at Craster's Keep, Gilly and one of Craster's wives/daughters implore Sam to take Gilly's baby boy away back to The Wall and to safety (via Reddit):

"If you don't take him, they will."
"They?" said Sam, and the raven cocked its black head and echoed, "They. They. They." 
"The boy's brothers," said the old woman on the left. "Craster's sons. The white cold's rising out there, crow. I can feel it in my bones. These poor old bones don't lie. They'll be here soon, the sons."

The baby's brothers are coming, and so is the cold, she warns, suggesting that those brothers are White Walkers. We previously saw White Walkers take away another of Craster's sons in season two, an early hint that the show would emphasize this aspect more than the books do. An army of blue-skinned, blue-eyed Walkers is coming — and they just all might be Craster's children.

Tommen and Ser Pounce

As we mentioned last week, the new King Tommen Lannister has been aged up from about seven or eight in the books to his tween age in the TV show. That allows scenes like from "Oathbreaker," in which Tommen's wife to-be Margaery shows up in the middle of the night for some prepubescent flirting. The midnight visit and emphasis on secrecy already makes us wonder about the age of consent in Westeros, but it's certainly better than if Tommen were as young as in the books.

In addition, this scene introduced one of book-readers' favorite characters: Ser Pounce the cat. The books don't explain much about Tommen's personality, except that he loves Ser Pounce with all his heart. Thus, book-readers love Ser Pounce the cat. Long live the king, and long live Ser Pounce.

Littlefinger and Sansa's adventure

Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger only briefly mentioned his plans with Sansa, so it's worth clarifying them. After helping Sansa escape from the Red Wedding, the two are secretly headed off to the Eyrie to meet up with Sansa's aunt Lysa Arryn. There, Littlefinger plans to marry Lysa, all while protecting Sansa from harm.

You might remember Lysa as the crazed sister of Catelyn Stark from the first season, who put Tyrion on trial for killing her husband, which Tyrion won by combat via Bronn (you may have noticed Bronn referenced that moment while guilt-tripping Jamie to go visit his poor brother in jail). Lysa is also the mother of that awful, breast-suckling toddler Robert. Before that, she was married to Jon Arryn, the former Hand of the king whose death opens the first season of the show. She has been a single mother since then. But Lysa and Petyr were close growing up together as children, and so the two plan to get back together and get married. That marriage will presumably allow Littlefinger to step into the claims of the Arryn family, giving him even more power. Oh Petyr, you crafty son of a gun.

Bran, Locke, and beyond the Wall

Several stories at the Wall and beyond took a decidedly non-book turn this week. For one, there's the presence of Locke — the same guy under Roose Bolton's command who chopped off Jaime Lannister's hand — fighting alongside the Night's Watch. Last week's episode made his goal at the Wall clear: talk to Jon Snow and find out what he knows about where the two living Stark boys are. But Locke doesn't exist in his current form the books; the character who chops off Jaime's hand is a foreign sell-sword who isn't associated with the Boltons.

Still, Locke's purpose in the show is to figure out what Jon knows — that Bran is still alive beyond the Wall. Of course, Jon doesn't know that in the books either. Yes, Sam meets up with Bran, Hodor, and crew for a few minutes as they cross under the Wall, but he doesn't spill the beans to Jon in the books. So that's a totally new angle the show has taken up.

Meanwhile, Jon and a small group of Night's Watch soldiers go to attack the mutinied men at Craster's Keep north of the Wall. Unbeknownst them, though, Bran and crew are captives in the house, which sets up an intriguing interplay among Jon, Bran, and Locke. If Jon and Locke encounter Bran, how will each respond?

Sorry to beat a broken record, but none of the Craster's Keep storyline happens in the books either. Once Gilly and Sam flee the keep back to the Wall, we don't directly hear what happens to the men who mutinied there.

So as much as I'd like to help you understand what's happening and what's going to happen here, I know nothing more than what the show has given us. Book readers and show watchers alike are in this together in terms of ignorance.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.