Only two episodes are left and with them, the war that has been raging finally looks like it’s going to hit the shores of King’s Landing. This latest episode felt like it could and probably should have been a two-hour episode. With so much going on all over Westeros, little time was given to characters who would have benefited from a little more screen time. We haven’t seen Stannis in the last couple of episodes and we only get but a snippet of him this week. However, that being said, the small scene he did have, gave us more insight into his character than the sum of his screen time as a whole.
Every story has characters that you will loathe. But for me, it’s a rare occasion where there is a character whose face I wish I could rip off. It happened in the Harry Potter books, and it’s happening again now. Theon make me so mad I can’t even see straight. The final shot of last week’s episode where he hoisted the remains of the young boys up for all of Winterfell to see left me shocked and angry. Once I calmed down however, I questioned on if the remains were actually those of the Stark boys. We get the answer to that question in this latest episode and the action picks up in Winterfell.
After the events of last week, Theon had sent word for his sister to join him at Winterfell and commanded her to bring 500 men with her. He gets part of his wish, as Yara arrives at Winterfell, but with only about 20 men. When Theon confronts Yara in the dining hall, she tells him that she didn’t bring the men for him. Instead she’s been sent by their father, Balon, to retrieve Theon and bring him back to Pyke. Disgusted at the thought, Theon goes on and on about defeating the Starks and taking Winterfell as his own. Yara chides him asking which Stark boy gave him more trouble, the cripple of the six-year old. Theon doesn’t take kindly to his sister’s insults and tells her that whoever rules Winterfell, rules the north. Yara reminds him that they’re sea-born, but he doesn’t listen.
Yara then switches tactics and becomes an ole softie, telling Theon a story about how he was a horrible baby and screamed all the time. She recalls how she wanted to strangle him to shut him up, but when she looked down on him in his crib he looked up and stopped crying and smiled at her. She tells him that he belongs with the family, but he won’t leave. Before she leaves she begs him to not die so far from the sea.
Later on, Theon instructs Dagmer to cut down the bodies of the children. He also gives Dagmer gold to pass on to the farmer to compensate him. While this exchange is taking place, Maester Luwin looks upon the bodies of the children. When he turns around he sees Osha stealing some bread, then disappear. He meets her down in the crypts and she tells him that they decided to go to the one place Theon would never think to look. It’s revealed that Bran and Rickon are still alive and hiding out in their own home. Maester Luwin tells Osha about the farmer’s boys, and he says Bran and Rickon can never know because the guilt would be unbearable. The episode ends with Bran awake, listening to Luwin and Osha talk while Hodor and Rickon sleep.
North of the Wall
Since Jon made the mistake of not killing Ygritte, he’s paying the price now. Last week she got the upper hand and now he’s a prisoner of the wildlings. She takes Jon to join the rest of their party and she hands him over to the Lord of the Bones. When Lord Bones, or Rattleshirt as he’s known to the Watch, orders Jon’s execution, Ygritte steps in and tells him that Jon is Ned Stark’s bastard and Mance Rayder will want him alive. Rattleshirt agrees to not kill him and Ygritte tells Jon that they are now even.
As if his situation could get any worse, Jon realizes that they have also taken Qhorin Halfhand prisoner as well. Jon asks about the rest of their men, but they’re all dead. Jon realizes that it’s because of him and Qhorin tells him to make sure it wasn’t for nothing. Qhorin then starts a fight with Jon and pushes him down a slope, where Ygritte comes to his aid. I think Qhorin’s plan is for Jon to kill him, which will put him in the good graces of their enemy. If that’s the case, will Jon have the resolve to kill one of his own?
Meanwhile, Dolorous Edd, Grenn and Sam are back at the Frostfangs digging in the snow speculating on what happened to Jon and the others. Since they haven’t returned, the men fear they’re dead, but Sam refuses to believe it. Grenn continues to dig and finds that his shovel meets stone. After a little digging by hand, the men uncover an old Nights Watch cloak that’s been used to wrap shards of dragonglass.
Lord Tywin discuss their next plan of attack with his counsel, while Arya does her cup-bearing duties. She listens intently while they talk about Robb’s success and how they will take advantage of the fact that Robb has sent part of his army to retake Winterfell. Tywin decides that they will ride through the night and take Robb’s forces by surprise. He gives command of Harrenhal to Ser Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain, and with it, Arya’s service. He tells Arya to watch Clegane’s drink because he’s already miserable company when he’s sober.
On the verge of a proper freak out, Arya seeks out Jaqen H’ghar, but she can’t seem to find him anywhere. She watches on as Tywin mounts up and rides away from Harrenhal. This actually kind of bums me out because I really loved the volley of words Tywin and Arya exchanged. They are each great characters in their own right, but on-screen together, the chemistry was incredible.
Arya finally finds Jaqen and asks him how long it takes for someone to die after she’s given a name. He tells her that death is for certain but the timing is not. She’s not pleased and names him as her third name. This shocks him and he commands her to unname him. She says she will, but in order to do so, he must help her and her friends escape. Jaqen appeals to her by pleading with her and agrees to help her escape and tells her to walk through the gates at midnight. She agrees and with Gendry and Hot Pie in tow, she does as instructed, even though there are guards present. As they approach the gates, they see that the guards are already dead.
After his successful sacking of The Crag, Robb walks with Talisa and tells her about Ned and how he’s betrothed to a Frey girl. He explains that it was out of duty because he needed access to cross a bridge in order to take his army south. He tells her that he doesn’t want to rule Westeros, but that his family isn’t safe until the Lannisters have been defeated. Their conversation is cut short when news of Jamie Lannister’s escape is brought to him. Robb finds out that it was Catelyn who set Jamie free and when confronted, she doesn’t deny it. She tells him that she did it for Sansa and Arya’s safety. Furious, he orders her to be kept under guard and sends more men after Jamie.
We catch up with Jamie, who is actually still shackled, being led to a river by Brienne. He tries, unsuccessfully, to goad her into showing him her sword skills, but she just continues on, throwing him into a boat and rowing down river.
Later that evening, Robb sits in his tent stewing over his mother’s actions. Talisa arrives to check in on him and Robb asks her how she became a doctor. Talisa tells him how, when she was young, she was on the road to learning all of the high-born lady skills. Until one day she witnessed a slave bring her brother back to life after he drowned. She swore then that she would learn the trade and that she would never live in a slave city again. She apologizes for such a long story, but looking at Robb, it seems she’s got more than just his attention. He blurts out that he doesn’t want to marry the Frey girl and she admits that she doesn’t want him to marry her either. Going against everything, they end up stripping each other right there and go at it on the floor of Robb’s tent. On a side note….it’s scenes like this that make me really happy that they’ve aged the characters. Robb’s like, 14 in the book and that would just be wrong. Here I’m able to appreciate a Richard Madden shirtless scene without feeling like a dirty old lady.
Tyrion is gearing up for the impending battle that Stannis is bringing by reading up on the great battle strategies of Westeros. Bronn sits quietly cleaning his nails and everything he does, irritates Tyrion. I could honestly watch these two for days. Varys enters and compliments Bronn on his work in cleaning up the city since he’s taken over the Gold Cloaks, even though he refuses to wear one. Tyrion doesn’t like his methods, but they have been effective. Changing topics, Tyrion tells the two that he thinks Stannis will go for their weakest spot, Mud Gate. He tells them that they will bombard Stannis with the one thing they have an abundance of….pig shit.
Later on, Tyrion and Varys seem to finally be on the same level when Varys compliments Tyrion on his success at performing the Hand duties. Joffrey arrives and boasts about going to war and being the over-confident pain in the ass he is, tells how he will kill his traitor uncle. He remarks how the people say that Stannis never smiles, and says he’ll give Stannis a red smile when he cuts him from ear to ear. Tyrion jokes to Varys about it saying “Imagine Stannis’ terror” to which Varys replies “I’m trying”.
As if dealing with Varys, Bronn and Joffrey weren’t enough to tire him out, Tyrion then has to suffer through a meal with Cersei. She doesn’t want Joffrey fighting, but Tyrion tells her that he’ll be well protected. Thinking she has the upper hand, she tells Tyrion that she has his whore. For a moment he looks shocked, but manages to cover it well. She tells him that the bruises will heal, but if anything should happen to any of her children, the manner of pain and suffering that will be inflicted cannot be measured. Tyrion remarks that as far as he knows, Cersei could have already ordered the woman’s death. Cersei has her brought in and instead of it being Shae, it’s Ros. Tyrion approaches her and tells her that she must be brave, to which she replies to him to not forget about her. Tyrion then turns to Cersei and utters the best. line. ever: ‘A day will come when you think you’re safe and happy and the joy will turn to ashes in your mouth and you will know the debt is paid.’
Tyrion then rushes to his chambers calling out for Shae, who was there waiting for him. He fears for her safety telling her that he would kill for her. He tells her that she’s his and she replies that she is, and he is hers.
Not much to report on the Dany front this week unfortunately. BUT….fortunately her entire scene was shared with Jorah and we all know how I love me some Jorah. He tells her that he’s found them a ship with a good captain and they can sail for Astapor as early as the next morning. He tells her that they are not safe in Qarth and need to leave. Dany refuses to leave without her dragons and tells him to help her get them back. She tells him that if he truly wants to serve her (which we all know he does, but in a different sense) then he will do what needs to be done. He tells her that they are not her children, they’re only dragons. She tells him that even so, they are the closest thing to children that she will ever have. He’s a goner the minute she touches his face and asks him if he remembers how she emerged from the fire unscathed. He tells her he will remember it long after he’s forgotten his own mother’s face. ::BIG SIGH::
Stannis and Co. are making their way to King’s Landing and should arrive in just a few days. He talks to Davos about how the high-born men in his service make fun of Davos’ title of being the “onion knight.” Stannis talks about how he was ordered by Robert to hold Storm’s End, which he did with a skeleton crew. Most of his men fled and Stannis and his troops were starving while doing their duty. Until Davos smuggled in food for them. After the siege ended, Robert awarded Storms End to Renley, adding insult to injury. Stannis tells Davos that even though he was a smuggler and the other men don’t think highly of him, Stannis does and tells him that when Stannis takes the throne, Davos will be his Hand.
A couple of notes….
So…lots going on in Westeros and beyond and only two episodes left before the end of the season. I really loved the scenes between Tyrion, Bronn and Varys and the little jab at the hard to pronounce names that litter the books.
Richard Madden is the bomb. His expression during Talisa’s story said everything he was thinking. A lot can be said with an expression and the eyes and he nailed it in this scene.
The pig shit Tyrion was referring to has to be that wildfire shit that’s in those jars. There was a reference made a few episodes back and I’m thinking all of that is going to come into play next week when the war hits the shores of King’s Landing.
I can’t believe Catelyn. I’m so disappointed in her right now. She made a horrible, horrible decision not even aware that the Lannisters don’t have Arya. I would love for Arya to come across Robb’s camp to be reunited with her brother and mother. That would be awesome. I doubt that will happen, but a girl can dream.
Theon needs to be bitch-slapped.Tags: Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones 2.08, Game of Thrones recap, Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 8, Game of Thrones The Prince of Winterfell, GoT, HBO, Iain Glenn, Kit Harrington, Maisie Williams, Richard Madden