Last week I complained about how quickly paced the episode was. Events moved so quickly from location to location that the viewed were treated to nice case of whiplash. This week visits several places, but at least we’re given time to absorb what exactly is happening in each place. The tension is rising as we head into the back end of the season and with only four episodes left, I imagine it’s going to continue to build.
The Old Gods and the New had me from the first scene. While I was expecting it, and was prepared for the anger it would bring, I didn’t expect the episode to jump in with both feet. I should know by now that the writers don’t hold back and Vanessa Taylor, who penned this episode, started this episode out with a bang.
Things start in Winterfell with Maester Luwin frantically trying to send a message via raven as what sounds like all hell breaking loose outside his bolted door. It seems that Winterfell is under siege and since we already know that Theon is trying to prove something to his father, the conclusion is obvious. And speaking of Theon, Bran is woken in his bed by Theon, telling him that he’s taken Winterfell, but Bran still has the people. In order to keep them safe, Bran is to tell them that he has yielded Winterfell to Theon and in return, Theon will not punish them.
Out in the courtyard, Bran does just that but there are a select few who make their opinions knows, resulting in one guy getting the butt of a sword to the head. Ser Rodrick shows up and makes his disgust of Theon’s actions known and insults him in front of Theon’s men. Theon orders Ser Rodrick be taken to the dungeon to be dealt with later, but Theon’s first mate tells him that the man should pay the iron price. This is a prime example of just how green Theon really is. He tries to find another way, but knows if he’s going to gain the respect of his men, he needs to have Ser Rodrick killed. Then he’s told that he needs to do it himself. When he does, he can’t even make it clean kill. It takes a few strikes of his sword, and then his foot to get Ser Rodrick’s head off. I’m thinking this is a precursor to the trouble that Theon is going to have down the road.
Osha pledges herself to Theon and worms her way into his chambers, and eventually his bed. I figured she had ulterior motives even when she told Bran that she wasn’t going to let herself get washed out to sea, referring to Bran’s dream. Once Theon is passed out after their tryst, Osha sneaks out of his chambers, kills a few guards and gets Bran, Rickon, the direwolves and Hodor out of Winterfell.
Meanwhile, in the extreme north, Jon has left Commander Mormont and the other to search for the wildlings with Qhorin Halfhand and his small band of men. They come upon the camp they spotted in last week’s episode and soon dispatch the wildlings, all except one……the one that Jon got a hold of…….who happens to be a woman named Ygritte. Super. Qhorin orders the woman’s death since she will be of no use to them and Jon says he’ll take care of it. For some reason they leave him to his business, but Jon can’t bring himself to cut her head off. She briefly gets the upper hand and escapes, but Jon runs after her and finally catches her again. The problem is that he can’t find his way back to the group and needs her help. The two make their way back only to discover that the men have moved on, leaving Jon stuck for the night with Ygritte. He ties her up but since they have no shelter, and can’t risk building a fire, they have to spoon for warmth…a situation that she tries to take advantage of as she begins to grind against him. He tells her to stop, but she plays innocent. It’s going to be a long night for Jon and if he’s going to survive the north, he’s going to have to put away his compassion.
Arya is still working at cup-bearer for Lord Tywin. During one of his council meetings, Tywin discovers that Arya is able to read, and chastises one of his men who can’t after a message was sent to the wrong place. The council discusses Robb’s advancements and Arya listens intently while she clears plates and refills cups. After the meeting, the two share a moment when Tywin asks her who taught her to read. Her answer is part lie and part truth….which is always what makes a lie convincing.
Their conversation is cut short however when one of Tywin’s men tells him that Petyr Baelish is there to see him. Bad news for Arya because he knows her. Arya does her best to stay out of Littlefinger’s eye line, but a couple of times he tries to get a look at her. She avoids him and when Littlefinger mentions the Stark girls, we’re left wondering if he actually knows who she is or not.
After the Littlefinger incident, Arya takes a risk and swipes a letter concerning Robb from Tywin’s table. She leaves and once outside, runs into Ser Amory Lorch, the man who was chastised in her presence earlier. He grabs the letter from her but since he can’t read, he doesn’t know what it says. Arya tells him that it is from Tywin and he sent her to take it to the armory. He doesn’t believe her and tries to grab her to ask Tywin about it. Arya is quick though and is able to get away. She’s finds Jaqen H’ghar and gives him the second name. Amory Lorch. She tells him it must be done immediately however or her cover will be blown. Ser Amory makes it to Tywin’s door, but once the door opens, Lorch falls to the floor dead.
Tensions in King’s Landing are on the rise and it’s all because the people really hate the Lannisters. The group of them are down by the waterfront seeing Myrcella off as she’s being shipped to Dorn. Joffrey yells at Tommen for crying and Sansa shows that she’s becoming a bit bolder by defending him. Cersei tells Tyrion that she hopes he finds someone to love so that he’ll know how she feels when she takes that one person away from him.
On their way back to the castle, the crowd grows restless and someone throws a cow patty at Joffrey, hitting him right in the face with it. He orders death to pretty much everyone, but the crowd has other plans. They’re caught up in a swarm of people and even the King’s Goldcloaks can’t keep them at bay. One guy even loses an arm to the hungry mob. Tyrion orders everyone back to the castle and tries to keep tabs on Sansa, but she’s lost in the melee. Once back at the castle, Tyrion slaps Joffrey across the face…again….and orders that Sansa be found.
Meanwhile, she’s been captured by three men who plan to have their way with her. Luckily, the Hound shows up, kills the men and saves her. I think the Hound is rather fond of his little bird, even though he serves Joffrey. I’m wondering if push came to shove, what he would do and how far he would go to help her. He’s been there for her more than once and I’m sure this won’t be the last time.
Later on when Shae is cleaning her up, Sansa loses it and tells Shae how she hates the King. Shae tells her not to speak of such things, but Sansa tells her that she trusts her. Shae wisely informs her to trust no one.
Robb walks through his camp greeting his soldiers here and there when he catches sight of Talisa as she writes a letter. The two go back and forth, and we, along with Robb are left wondering just who this woman is. She asks about his battle plans, which was a bit odd, but he doesn’t give away any info. Instead their exchange is cut short when Catelyn and Brienne show up. Robb introduces Cat to Talisa and she’s quick to take note of the chemistry the two share. As a mother does, she reminds Robb of his station and the fact that he’s been promised to someone already. The two are about to have that mother/son argument when word from Winterfell arrives.
Robb is enraged at Theon’s betrayal, while Cat gives him the I-told-you-so about trusting a Greyjoy. Robb is determined to head north to take back Winterfell but Roose Bolton tells him that he does he’ll lose all that he’s gained. Roose tells him that he’ll send his bastard to take back Winterfell and will have him kill Theon in the process. Robb agrees to the plan to take back Winterfell, but not to kill Theon. He tells Roose he wants Theon brought to him so that he can look Theon in the eye and ask him why. Then he will be the one to kill him.
Dany has had a bit of a rough go lately. Her storyline isn’t anywhere near as exciting as it was last season, and to make matters worse, there is no Jorah in this episode. Xaro Xhoan Daxos proposes once again and once again she refuses. He takes her to meet with the Spice King so that she can try to secure some ships for her campaign to take back….or as he pointed out, to take the Iron Throne. They bicker back and forth about grammar and who has what at their disposal and the longer the conversation goes on, the more pissed Dany gets. She finally lays down a threat, telling him that she will take what she’s owed by fire and blood and how she’s the mother of dragons. Her speech however falls on deaf ears and the Spice King makes his exit.
Upon their return to Xaro’s place, they find that all of his guards have been killed and Dany finds one (only one) of her handmaidens dead. She also realizes that her dragons are gone. The episode ends with a lone, cloaked figure climbing steps that lead to a tower. You can see the dragons tails peak from underneath the covering on the figure’s back.
So….a couple of notes about this episode……
-Like I mentioned before, Jon is going to have to sack up if he’s going to survive the north. He’s a good guy, and he has gotten stronger since last season, but this week he got snookered by a chick.
-I love any episode that has Tryion slapping Joffrey. It’s funny and full of win no matter what the situation is. Now if only he would slap Cersei as well.
-Robb is becoming more of a man as well as a King. While he was walking through the camp this week, he’s got the respect of his men like his father did. But I’m curious about this Talisa. Is she friend or foe?
-Dany isn’t quite the little girl that was sold to Drogo last season, but she’s getting a little too big for her britches. She’s learning a harsh lesson right now and I think it’s time she listened to Jorah’s counsel. She young and inexperienced in the ways of people and it’s a weakness that is glaring right now.
-The show has taken some turns from the source material which isn’t really a bad thing. As long as the writers stick to the core I think they can afford some changes here and there. Four episodes left until the season ends and they’ve got some ground to cover. The series is in great hands so I expect a mind-blowing finale.Tags: Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones 2.06, Game of Thrones recap, Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 6, Game of Thrones The Old Gods and the New, GoT, HBO, Iain Glenn, Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage, Richard Madden