Don’t miss Regina Thorne’s recaps of “The North Remembers,” “The Night Lands,” “What Is Dead May Never Die,” “Garden of Bones,” “The Ghost of Harrenhal,” “The Old Gods and the New,” and last week’s “A Man Without Honor.” All caught up? Good. Now, on to...
Game of Thrones Season 2, episode 8, “The Prince of Winterfell”:
This week, regular recapper Regina Thorne is on hiatus, which means we’ve had to bring in not one but TWO people to cover for her fabulous recaps! Rest assured, however, we will mention every time that the Night’s Watch folks are wandering around without hats, while Ygritte and friends are sensibly covered up.
This week’s episode opens in way that can only be described as amazing. Well… as long as you are in the “Theon deserves everything he gets for being a little whiney snot” boat like me. Theon’s sister Asha arrives at Winterfell along with her group of roughnecks and then proceeds to lay into Theon and explain just how big of an idiot he is. You just can’t seem to talk much sense to this guy. She explains how Theon has effectively isolated himself from any possible reinforcements and in one grand, bold action simultaneously eliminated his best chance at grabbing power and made himself a target of all the rage the North could possibly muster. *Starts slow clap* Bravo sir, I salute you.
Out beyond the Wall, Ygritte presents a bound and tied Jon to Rattleshirt. The Lord Of Bones wants to know why they bother keeping him as a prisoner, and that they should just kill him right away. He’s wearing this totally gruesome death mask, which perhaps shields the wind. Jon, per usual, has no hat, and helicopter mothers everywhere worry he’ll catch a cold. Ygritte is quick to point out that Jon is the Bastard of Winterfell and Mance may want to be the one to decide whether or not Jon deserves to live or die. Rattleshirt, never one to bother with the trouble of thinking things through, defers to Ygritte and decides to take Jon prisoner. Ygritte tells Jon they’re even now for his saving her life back there.
Meanwhile, Robb and Talisa talk about marriage; well, Robb’s betrothal to a daughter of Frey in exchange for free use of the Twins. Just when he is getting down to telling her about what kind of king he’d like to be and how much he wants peace, a messenger arrives to break the news that ol’ Jaime has escaped, thanks to a little help from Catelyn. Needless to say, Robb is less than happy.
Catelyn tries to play the “think about the children” card, but Robb is having none of that. He explains that they are at war and they needed Jaime and without him they are unable to bargain from a position of power. (Am I the only one that sees this in conflict with that whole desire of peace? Okay, they killed your dad, I get that. However, if you are wanting peace so bad, time to swallow that pride, son and bend your knee. If not Joffrey, then to Stannis. I digress….)
Off in Harrenhal, Tywin and his boys are talking about their problems. Namely Robb, who is a pretty big problem. Kevan talks about playing things cautious, saying that Robb may shift to a more conservative strategy while Tywin is the only one willing to call a spade a spade and points out that Robb is in fact a young man, yet unacquainted with defeat and “he’ll risk anything at any time.” At some point, we have to ask: How many people are in one room deciding on crucially dangerous battle strategy? No wonder Varys has his little birds, Tywin’s got a freaking flock in there! Not to mention Arya is all ’Little pitchers have big ears,’ eavesdropping as she pours wine for Tywin’s coterie. Eventually, Tywin talks himself out and decides on an offensive—leaving that night for a surprise attack—and Arya goes in search of Jaqen to take advantage of her final name.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion is surrounded by books and Bronn. Bronn is pointedly not helping in searching for an effective strategy for the defense of the city in the event of Stannis’s siege. The best bromance in Westeros is on the verge of an argument when Varys walks in and praises Bronn on the reduction in thievery throughout the city. Tyrion, knowing Bronn, asks how it is that he accomplished this. Bronn explains that he simply rounded up all known thieves and took care of the problem (now all they have to worry about is the unknown thieves, in an irrefutable bit of logic, even though it’s taking the ’stop-and-frisk’ policy to an extreme). Tyrion initially isn’t too happy, and then Bronn explains what thieves can do to a city under siege, which leads both Varys and Tyrion siding with practicality instead of justice.
Back in the Frozen North we find Sam, Dolorus Ed, and Random Guy digging in the snow, doing Night’s Watch stuff (digging latrines! Fun!). Sam wonders where Jon might be, while the other two explain that he’s probably dead, pointing out that there aren’t any old, successful rangers, or old ones for that matter. Random Guy finds a marker of the First Men under the snow and Sam gets a bit excited, in a way only ubernerds can (because you know Sam would totally be a Game of Thrones fanboy if he weren’t, actually, in the show). Under the marker is a bunch of dragon glass (obsidian) wrapped up in a Night’s Watch cloak.
Back at Harrenhall, Arya finally finds Jaqen and tries to give him Tywin’s name. When Jaqen explains that it may take a month or more to kill Tywin, Arya makes sure Jaqen will live up to his promise and will kill whomever Arya says. At which point Arya gives Jaqen his own name. Needless to say, the assassin is a bit stressed out by this. Arya offers a trade, she’ll take back his name and call it all even if he helps her, Gendry, and Hot Pie to escape. He finally says he will, and tells Arya to have the three of them walk out of the gate at midnight.
Meanwhile, back at the Tower of the Hand, Cersei and Tyrion are having a dinner of lamprey pie—apparently some of the best said pie Tyrion has ever had (do fantasy series ever not have lamprey pie? You have to wonder if the characters ever long for a simple steak and potatoes meal, rather than lamprey pie, leg of lamb, roasted turnips, and a syllabub for dessert. And now we’re hungry). Cersei tries a bit of carrot and stick with Tyrion (carrots!). She politely asks that Tyrion keep Joffrey from the fighting in the upcoming siege. Tyrion tries to explain that Joffrey will need to be seen by the troops and they will fight harder if they know he is there with them. Carrot failing, Cersei relies on the stick. She reveals that she knows about Shae, has Shae in her possession, and that if Joff gets hurt or killed, Shae will suffer equally.
Tyrion tries to play it cool; he asks Cersei to prove that she hasn’t already killed Shae. Cersei then has the guards bring her in, and they bring in some poor girl that is certainly not Shae. Does Tyrion reveal that Cersei is so wrong it hurts? Nope. He asks the poor girl if she is all right, then promises that Cersei will one day pay and that all her joy will turn to ash.
Back with Robb, we see him talking the Fate of Winterfell with Roose Bolton. Roose explains that his bastard is still in the area with enough men to take the castle. Robb agrees to turn the Bastard of Bolton loose on Theon, saying that any Iron Island man that surrenders is to be given free passage home—except, of course, our favorite dummy.
Talisa comes in and Roose excuses himself. They continue their conversation about what kind of man Robb wants to be. (You know, in my experience all that talk is pretty cheap. Just sayin’.) Talisa shares a story about how when she was young her brother was saved from drowning by a slave. That’s when she decided not to be an ordinary lady who dances and recites Valyrian poetry (and the story, as we’re about to find out, unleashes Robb’s own Valyrian steel, if you know what we mean). Robb then says that he doesn’t want to marry the Frey to whom he’s betrothed, and the two get down to acting on all that sexual tension that has been beating us all over the head ever since they met. Yep, the men of Game of Thrones are doing our gender proud, let me tell ya.
Who else was worried someone would walk in while they were doing the horizontal Valyrian dance? Were there locks on those tents?
Back with Tyrion. The acting Hand is surveying the wall with Joffrey and Varys. Joffrey, in his infinite wisdom, thinks that the perfect time to go on an offensive is on the eve of a siege. Robb will never expect it. No one expects the
Spanish Inquisition Lannisters! Poor Tyrion and Varys are struck mute by the stupid. When the boy-king leaves, The spider and the imp have a little chat about The Game. Varys commends Tyrion’s ability and brings up that Dany is still somewhere in the east with her Dragons. Tyrion asks that they play only one game at a time.
Speaking of the Mother of Dragons: In Qarth, Dany has her stubborn little head set on going into the House of the Undying to retrieve her babies. Jorrah tries to explain that this is in fact a trap set by her enemies and she is walking straight into it. Dany throws a fit and poor Jorah, love-sick puppy that he is, promises that he’ll be there with her, no matter what. Then she totally plays into his crush, cupping his cheek with her palm. Dany, don’t cock-tease poor Jorah! He’s already so spoony about you he is willing to face (in his mind) almost certain death to get your fiery reptiles back.
Oh, hey, it’s Brienne and Jaime! The world’s least likeliest couple are on the run, presumably to head back to King’s Landing to exchange the Kingslayer (who could also be called the Wisecracker) for the Stark girls. Jaime spends most of his speaking time calling Brienne ugly, and she practically rolls her eyes, as though she’s never heard that before. He tries to persuade her to undo his tied hands, but Brienne—in addition to being ugly—is not dumb. She gets a canoe and boy scouts Jaime into it, sailing off down the river while Robb’s men are chasing after them.
Back in Winterfell, Maester Luwin sees Osha going into the crypts where she has hidden Bran and Rickon. Luwin explains that Theon must have used two other boys, probably The Farmer’s. (Why does Winterfell only have one farmer?) Osha says that Bran and Rickon can never find out, but too late, Bran is not really asleep at all! Poor Bran.