As the title implies, The Sword in the Darkness
has a special focus on Gared Tuttle, former squire to Gregor Forrester and new recruit for the Night’s Watch. When Lord Gregor forced Gared to flee The Twins with a cryptic message for his Uncle Duncan concerning the mysterious "North Grove," it was hard to know what to make of it. What is the North Grove, and why must it never be lost? Well, we start getting a few answers here, but there are numerous complications that threaten this mission. Firstly, Gared formally takes the black in this episode; the Night’s Watch is his new family now, and the punishment for losing sight of that is death. And with the appearance of a familiar but incredibly unfriendly face at Castle Black, the poor boy must tread carefully…
Rodrik Forrester is between a rock and a hard place. His body remains mostly broken, his brother is held hostage at Highpoint, and a garrison of Whitehill soldiers has been stationed inside of Ironrath. They are almost entirely a cruel lot, making everyone’s life a total misery if and whenever possible. Furthermore, the despicable Lord Ludd Whitehill has installed his fourthborn son Gryff as the leader of the aforementioned garrison. Rodrik’s story this episode is by far the most upsetting the series has been since the Bastard of Bolton murdered Lord Ethan in cold blood. It’s a painful exercise in futility and a sharp reminder of what kind of world we’re occupying. The Whitehills (save one or two) are needlessly and almost cartoonishly cruel human beings, which makes some of the writing a bit unbelievable, but they are fun villains to hate – and they give you plenty of opportunities to do just that.
As with the show, the most interesting story takes place in the Westerosi capital of King’s Landing. Mira Forrester continues to play politics at court with some of the most powerful and dangerous men and women in the Seven Kingdoms, along with her foolish handmaiden friend Sera. It’s her job to curry favor with those in power; whether it’s in the form of an exclusive (and lucrative) ironwood contract between the crown and Ironrath or whatever future assistance from future Queen Margaery Tyrell, any aid is welcome at this point. But the pitfalls are many and dangerous. First of all, anyone who knows how King Joffrey’s wedding feast pans out is naturally wise not to put their faith in the otherwise honorable Master of Coin Tyrion Lannister. And why is Tom (the "coal boy") always so eager to help Mira stay out of trouble? Could he be one of Varys’ little birds?