Things just got a "little" creepier on HBO's "Game of Thrones" for -- who else? -- Sansa Stark.
On season 4's episode 7, titled "Mockingbird," the red-headed daughter of Winterfell got herself caught in a love triangle yet again, this time involving pretend-uncle and ever-cunning Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, who smuggled her out of King's Landing and brought her to live with her crazy, jealous aunt. Meanwhile, other pairings also manifested themselves, one long-anticipated, another odd and strangely emotional. And speaking of emotional, we finally got to learn the Hound's troubled childhood backstory.
Check out seven highlights from the episode, which aired on Sunday, May 18.
1. THAT kiss
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), known to non-family members by the false identity of Alayne, Littlefinger's niece, is stuck at her completely insane Aunt Lysa's (Kate Dickie) dreary, mountaintop castle -- complete with a "moon door" -- a gaping hole in the stone ground where people can be tossed to their deaths. Truly the cutting-edge of Realm-era architecture -- how was that thing built? Anyway, Sansa, homesick for the family home that has been destroyed and probably bored out of her mind, begins to construct a replica of Winterfell out of snow.
Along comes her latest husband-to-be (note: Sansa is still technically married to the imprisoned Tyrion Lannister, but marriage laws differ greatly in the Realm of make-believe), probably one of the most annoying TV child characters of all time, Robin Arryn, aka Sweetrobin ((Lino Facioli). The ironically-nicknamed boy proceeds to help her "improve" her Winterfell snow model by adding a moon door and botches up the attempt, prompting him to destroy the entire project in anger. Sansa slaps the boy and he runs off, presumably to tell on her to his mommy.
As many English Lit majors know, snow typically symbolizes innocence and, well, death. So you can imagine what happens next.
Uncle Roy- sorry, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) has been watching the entire scene from afar and walks over to Sansa. She asks him bluntly why he murdered King Joffrey, who had ordered her father, mother Catelyn and brother Robb killed, to which he responds: "Given the opportunity, what do we do to those who've hurt the ones we love?"
Thanks for the explanation, Khan. Anyway, Sansa showcases a tiny smile at this remark.
"In a better world -- one where love can overcome strength and duty, you might have been my child," he says, moving closer to her. "But we don't live in that world."
OK. Now we're going there.
"You're more beautiful than she ever was," he adds, touching the tip of one of Sansa's red locks.
Then, after Littlefinger surprisingly throws some shade at Sansa's mother, Catelyn Stark, her danger-to-society nutso aunt's sister, he tells her, "Call me Petyr," takes her head in his hands and then ... then...
Yep, they make out for 10 whole seconds. Sansa breaks away from the kiss and appears stunned. She then runs off. And the stalker has been stalked -- her aunt has been watching THEM this whole time. Will we soon witness the Realm's first unmanned flying Sansa Stark?
Online supporters of a Sansa-Petyr relationship dub it a "creepyship" and their relationship has understandably spurred controversy due to her young age. "Game of Thrones" is known for its eyebrow-raising pairings that feature actual incest -- namely, Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime and Gilly and her sisters and their father / husband Craster.
Note about Sansa's age: This is one of many controversial scenes in the "Game of Thrones" franchise and is featured in "A Storm of Swords," the third in George R. R. Martin's series of novels on which the show is based (although there, Littlefinger helps Sansa build her Winterfell replica and calls her a "snow maid" after kissing her.)
In the book, Sansa is said to 12 at this time. On the show, she is supposed to be about 15. In real life, the British actress who plays the character, Sophie Turner, turned 18 in February. Aidan Gillen, the Irish actor who plays Littlefinger, is 46.
2. Hell hath no fury like a psychotic aunt scorned
Sansa's total nutcase of an aunt calls her over and the girl apologizes for hitting So-Not-Sweetrobin but Lysa is furious about something else -- the intimate moment with her husband, of course. She proceeds to hold Sansa by the hair and shove her in front of the gaping moon door, shrieking about how she saw the kiss. ("I pulled away!" Sansa wails) Littlefinger shows up and coaxes her to step away from Sansa and sweet-talk her for several seconds. He calmly informs her that there is one woman he has ever loved -- her sister -- and pushed her to her doom.
Question: Did The-Complete-Opposite-of-Sweetrobin ever actually tattle on Sansa to dear old mum? Because if he did, you would think she'd be angrier about a person who assaulted her son than she would about her creepy husband cheating on her. Also, if she were a decent person, she'd probably be angrier that he sexually molested an underage teenager.
3. Daenerys Targaryen is bored now -- ho hum, how should she fill the time?
Queen Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is stuck "ruling" Meereen, the latest land she conquered (sorry, freed) and her hunky man-at-arms boy toy Daario (Michiel Huisman) decides to surprise her with a visit to her private quarters, along with a bouquet of wildflowers (second one). She appears unimpressed but then is like, well, don't really feel like listening to my subject while about their lives anymore, so what the heck -- Daario, go ahead and strip. We get a shot of a man's behind and a seemingly pleased Dany.
Her friend-zoned adviser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) shows up later and is horrified when Daario passed him while putting on a shirt.
Note: The writers of "Game of Thrones" are all about fairness, so obviously, the next scene shows Melisandre (Carice van Houten) lying naked in a bathtub and having a casual conversation with her lover Stannis Baratheon's wife, Queen Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald), about how her god requires her only child, her daughter Shireen.
4. What's in a name? Death.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Sansa's long-lost sister, is still on the run with captor The Hound ((Rory McCann), who wants to sell her for ransom to said mental case aunt. With the help of her super thin sword Needle, Arya, who lost her childhood innocence long ago when her home was conquered and her father beheaded in front of her, Sansa, and the people of King's Landing, is on a revenge quest to kill those who helped murder her family.
In this episode, Arya stabs to death a man but only after he tells her his name at his request. In "The Princess Bride," Inigo Montoya rehearses telling the murderer of his father his name before killing him. Arya makes it a point to know her victim's names before she delivers her own final blow.
5. The Hound shows his human side.
The Hound finally reveals how half of his face got burned -- his older brother, The Mountain, shoved his face in fire after he started playing with one of his toys. Arya seems somewhat moved by his reveal, made after he refused to allow her to burn his open neck wound to avoid infection. He accepts a compromise -- he agrees to allow her to watch it out and stitch it closed. The entire scene, from the confession to the tender medical treatment, is very moving.
6. Chatty waiters and delicious pies
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) is on a mission to rescue Sansa. She and her incompetent squire, Poddrick Payne (Daniel Portman), take a lunch break at a tavern, where she scarfs down a kidney pie. The waiter turns out to be Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey), Arya's old friend who had been bought as a bar-slave. One-upping Brienne on questionable table manners, he pulls up a chair and proceeds to tell a boring story about how he made the dish, much to Brienne's annoyance. This may also be a tongue-in-cheek homage to the multiple, detailed food descriptions found in the books.
Brienne tells Hot Pie their actual mission -- to find Sansa, which Poddrick does not approve of, since it gives away their alliance in pro-Lannister territory. Luckily, Hot Pie is one of the good guys and he informs them later that ARYA Stark is alive and with The Hound and is likely on the way to her aunt's house. Brienne concludes Sansa may be there as well and the two set off on the path that will take them there. Luckily, they'll avoid the moon door.
7. Hello! My name is Prince Oberyn ..
Following last week's epic speech at his murder trial, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), falsely-accused of killing Joffrey, requested a "trial by combat." The outcome of this looks grim and looks like it will see his vindictive sister and the late king's mother Cersei's "champion" beating either the dwarf himself or a fighter of his choosing to a pulp rather quickly. Why? Because she has chosen The Mountain, brother and disfigurer of Hounds. The fighter, an actual mountain of a man, is seen demonstrating his skills and basically annihilating a group of men in combat.
So who will be Tyrion's champion? His friend and brother Jaime, Joffrey's secret dad / Cersei's lover, has one functional hand and confesses he would be unable to be victorious. Tyrion's confidante and Jaime's sword fighting teacher, Bronn (Jerome Flynn), tries to argue that he WOULD fight for him but that there is nothing of value in it for him ... and basically admits he's scared, which Tyrion seems to respect. (Mountain. Of a man.)
Suddenly, Prince Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) appears. He had served as a judge in Tyrion's trial and is in King's Landing on a revenge quest -- he aims to kill the man who raped and murdered his sister -- Princess Elia Targaryen. That man is ... The Mountain. A champion has been found!