Can infamous, sister-raping “Kingslayer” Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) find redemption through noble deeds?
He tries, at least, by honoring a vow made to the late Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) in “Oathkeeper,” Episode 34 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
In exchange for his freedom, Jaime promised to retrieve Catelyn’s daughter Sansa (Sophie Turner) and bring her home. True to his word, Jaime dispatches Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) to find and defend Sansa.
Before they part, Jaime presents Brienne with a squire, suit of armor and priceless Valyrian sword.
“They say the best swords have names,” Jaime tells her. “Any ideas?”
“Oathkeeper,” Brienne replies.
So where’s Sansa? She’s at sea with amoral “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen) as they flee the banquet where King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) was poisoned. Sansa suspects Littlefinger orchestrated the murder -- and he admits it.
Joffrey, “a vicious boy with a crown on his head,” was an unreliable ally, Littlefinger explains.
“My new friends are predictable, very reasonable people,” he says. And Joffrey’s demise was “something my new friends wanted very badly.”
Those new friends are Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) and her wealthy kin, including granddaughter Margaery (Natalie Dormer), who wed Joffrey and was widowed hours later.
“You don’t think I’d let you marry that beast, do you?” Olenna asks stunned Margaery, telling her she must quickly “do what needs to be done.”
That would be seducing future king Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman), Joffrey’s naive younger brother.
“I don’t think you’re supposed to be here,” Tommen says when Margaery enters his bedchamber and wields her feminine charms.
Are more nocturnal visits welcome? Sure! Just don’t tell vicious mom Cersei (Lena Headey).
Up north at Castle Black, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) calls on his fellow Night’s Watch “crows” to join him on a perilous mission beyond The Wall. They must capture or kill their traitorous comrades at Craster’s Keep.
If Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds) and his wildling army get there first, however, they’ll learn from the deserters that Castle Black is easily toppled.
Volunteering for the mission is Locke (Noah Taylor), a fierce fighter with a hidden agenda. He’s under orders from Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) to kill Jon’s half-brothers Brandon (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson).
Eliminate the Winterfell heirs and Roose controls northern Westeros.
Speaking of Bran, he happens upon Craster’s Keep with companions Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), his sister Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and servant Hodor (Kristian Nairn).
Bran spots Jon’s direwolf, Ghost. But before they can free the animal, Bran and his entourage are seized.
“You’re no wildling,” exclaims head mutineer Karl (Burn Gorman), realizing he has a highborn hostage. When Karl threatens to slice Meera’s throat, Bran blurts out his identity.
“And I thought this was going to be another boring day,” Karl says with a sneer.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) stands ready to conquer Meereen, the mother of all slave cities. Commander Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and a few of his Unsullied warriors slip into the walled city and arm the downtrodden.
“No one can give you your freedom, brothers,” Grey Worm proclaims. “If you want it, you must take it.”
And that’s what they do, overwhelming their enslavers and exalting Dany as the “Breaker of Chains.”
Military advisor Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) urges Dany to spare the masters by answering injustice with mercy.
“I will answer injustice with justice,” she firmly replies, remembering the 163 slave children crucified at mile markers leading to Meereen.
Now slave masters are nailed to the signposts. And the Targaryen dragon banner flies high and proud above the city.