Viewers know any episode of "Game of Thrones" entitled "Garden of Bones" isn't going to be filled with anything less than another deposit to the hit HBO series' hefty body count - and this week doesn't disappoint.
The episode opens with another major, though only briefly glimpsed, victory for Robb Stark (Richard Madden), presumed King of the North, over the House Lannister forces loyal to King Joffrey, the boy tyrant who beheaded his father.
In the bloody aftermath, Stark's eye is caught by a lady tending to the wounded on the battlefield, one with little patience for either side in the increasingly bloody conflict. Judging from the look on his face, Robb's promised engagement to Lord Frey's daughter is the last thing on his mind.
"A lot of what happens to Robb this year, is based on instinct and intuition," Madden told the News. (Look for the full interview in two weeks) "And he follows his heart, which he's done until this point and its paid off, but actually following his heart will start to be detrimental to him this year I think some of the decisions he makes."
Another Lannister defeat in battle has King Joffrey (Jack Gleaosn) incensed back at King's Landing - a tantrum he takes out on his bride-to-be and Robb Stark's sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner), aiming his crossbow and her in the middle of the throne room.
"Killing you would send your brother a message - but my mother insists of keeping you alive," he hisses.
That doesn't stop him from having one of his knights beat her and rip her gown.
Joffrey's uncle, Lord Tyrion, Hand to the King and Holder of an Emmy (Peter Dinklage), comes to Sansa's rescue.
"No one threatens the king in the presence of the King guard," says the knight.
"I'm not threatening the king, I'm educating my nephew," retorts Tyrion. "Bronn, the next time he speaks, kill him. That was a threat. See the difference?"
Tyrion cooks up an idea to have a pair of prostitutes visit Joffrey's bedchamber so the king can *ahem * work through his anger issues. But the teenage despot just ends up torturing them, too.
Meanwhile in the Red Waste, one of Daenerys' (Emilia Clarke) riders returns with a fresh horse and good tidings about a city called Qarth, teeming with merchants anxious to meet "The Mother of Dragons."
Her advisor, Ser Mormont (Iain Glen) warns her that when the merchants shut the doors to their city, the desert outside becomes a garden of bones - hence the ominous title of the episode. With her people starving, though, Daenerys doesn't have a better option but to head that way.