May 21 2012 1:19pm

Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 8: Brotherly Love and Hate

Robb Stark in Game of Thrones Season 2

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.

Talisa in Game of ThronesMeanwhile, 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.

Tyrion and Varys in Game of Thrones Season 2 episode 8In 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?

Joffrey in Game of Thrones Season 2 episode 8, Prince of WinterfellBack 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.

Megan Frampton is the Community Manager, Romance, for the HeroesandHeartbreakers site. She has never had lamprey pie. You can find her at Twitter @meganf, or on her website,

Christopher Morgan works for and He lives in New York City. Wants to be Tyrion when he grows up, and can be found on Twitter as @cmorgs_65.


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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Great recap, you guys! I really enjoyed last night's episode and am really looking forward to the battle scenes in the next couple episodes--I know the show's execs really wanted that to turn out right, so it'll be interesting to see whether it did...

But back to last night's episode. So...was Cersei just messing with Tyrion last week when they were bonding over what a sociopath Joffrey was? And okay, I have to say that while I still don't get the appeal of Jaime as a person (I mean, I do get that he's hot), I did like the scene with him and Brienne.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
@redline_ I really like that the show is showing just how unpleasant Jaime can be, what with last week's killings and all. Because Jaime--both the character and Nikolaj--are hot and charming, and it's easy to forget all the terrible things Jaime has done when looking at his pretty face and hearing his wit.

I think the show is having Cersei struggle much more visibly with Joffrey's psychopathy, whereas in the books we don't get her POV about Joffrey, so we don't see as much what she thinks.
3. Miss_D
I love that Yara/Asha called out Theon for being absolutely terrible at strategy and trying to gain respect. His daddy issues have lead him down a path from which I don't think he'll be able to redeem himself.

I love my eye candy - RIP Drogo - Robb is maturing but I am getting a bad vibe from his behavior.

I enjoy the chessmastering going on between Tyrion and Cersei. As good as they both are at this type of game, I'd put my money on Tyrion to win in the end, mostly because I think he's overall more mentally stable than Cersei.
4. ChelseaMueller
I love that we see Cersei realizing Joffrey is a sadist, when she'd hoped he would turn out like Jaime. Then we see Jaime being out for No. 1. Maybe the apple doesn't fall THAT far...
5. Miss_D

I don't see Jaime as a sadist despite his silver-tongue lapses of remorseless behavior at times. He's a cunning warrior and definitely ruthless yet I've seen him care about Cersei and about Tyrion. He's disgusting in a lot of ways - incest and attempted murder of a child are great examples - but I think Jaime does have a conscience. I don't think Joffrey cares about anything other than himself/ his glory. Joffrey's also a coward and a nitwit, two things I would never accuse Jaime of being. Inbreeding tells with that one.
Megan Frampton
6. MFrampton
@ChelseaMueller and @Miss_D: I think Jaime is only concerned about what Jaime cares about, and that is limited to two things: Cersei and Jaime, in that order. So whatever he has to do to get those two things right, he'll do, no matter what the consequences. He just plain doesn't care. In that respect, he's more sociopathic than sadistic, since he doesn't derive pleasure for doing what he does. He just does it.
Christopher Morgan
7. cmorgan
See, I've always seen him as something different. Now I was late to the Jamie party, and as everyone here at H&H knows, I LOVE calling someone a sociopath. But I've never thought of Jamie as either a sociopath or selfish.

Jamie did what he thought was right. And for that he bears the stigma of Kingslayer. What was the endgame for Ned and Robert if not the death of Arys? Hell, Robert killed the crown prince in battle. So what it's ok to break an oath as long as you're not a bodyguard? I don't think Jaime is any more evil/crazy/psychotic as much as he is the product of the whole Chivalry thing they got going, just like Brienne and The Hound.

@Megan, I don't think it's that he doesn't care. He does what he does BECAUSE he cares. He cares for Cersei, for Tyrion, for the kingdom. He is just never thanked for any of it. Not by anyone. I'll give the guy a little snootiness, not everybody can be as celebrated as Ned. Just look at ol Stannis.

The Mountain is the crazy one.
Regina Thorne
8. reginathorn
You guys did such an awesome job, I'm tempted to retire :D

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.

You know, it really drove me NUTS that Catelyn didn't mention that Karstark was going to kill Jaime if she didn't let him go. Because that would have certainly negated Jaime's value as a hostage (AND gotten Robb's sister(s) dead - since neither Catelyn nor Robb knows Arya isn't in King's Landing.) I'm not sure how much power Jaime's severed head would bring Robb and they made a huge point of explaining that Jaime wouldn't last the night last episode.

I have to confess I find Robb and Talisa utterly lacking in chemistry. Whether it's the writing (she's such a cliche!) or the actress (who has not impressed me in the other thing I saw her in) or the fact that they're really forcing this thing, I just cringe whenever they're onscreen together. (Ygritte, now, is a whole different story. I love her!)

@cmorgan - I definitely don't think Jaime just enjoys killing for the sake of killing and to me, that was a huge misstep in the last episode. Even going by the show alone, I can't reconcile the guy who wouldn't kill Ned Stark after a Lannister guardsman wounded him because it wasn't "clean" with a guy who coldly plots the murder of his own cousin (who was no threat to him at all.) And I don't think they needed to show him as *more* evil - were a lot of people not clear on the evil thing after he tried to kill Bran? It's not as we've forgotten that!

It's like the show forgot that Jaime's raison d'etre is "the things I do for love"; it's just that love isn't necessarily sunshine and roses and Volantene hotties. Sometimes love involves really dark and terrible things like screwing your sister and trying to kill children. But that's always Jaime's motivation, so the killing of Alton just seemed totally out of character to me.
9. ChelseaMueller
I should clarify -- I don't think Jaime's a sadist. I just think he's most concerned with himself. His only concerns for others are in relation to what will make him happiest.

Joffrey has a similar sense of ego. Only he doesn't want/need others to make him happy.
Christopher Morgan
10. cmorgan
Yeah...I think Joff has gone full on Sadist. Home Boy needs
counseling, or maybe a hug from his dad. But then sometimes you just got to put 'em down, it's really the only humane thing to do.
Regina Thorne
11. reginathorn
@ChelseaMuller - His only concerns for others are in relation to what will make him happiest.

I don't think that's true at all, even for the Jaime established on the show. He didn't kill Aerys to make himself happy (he certainly doesn't like being called the Kingslayer); he genuinely loves Cersei and wants her to be safe (which is why he attempts to kill Bran, who poses an immediate threat to Cersei's life if he should happen to mention that he saw the Queen doing it doggie style with her brother!) And he loves Tyrion, which is why he attacks Ned Stark after Ned claims responsibility for Catelyn's kidnapping of Tyrion.

Jaime's not a good or moral person - I think that's pretty clear from the first episode of the series - but he certainly isn't the selfish monster that Joffrey is.
romance reader
12. bookstorecat
2 things: The girl Cersei thought was Tyrion's lover was our old friend Roz from Winterfell. Things are obviously going well for her, careerwise.

Secondly, the burned bodies Theon put on display were presumably the orphans Bran himself sent to help the farmer bring in his harvest (because his own sons were away fighting with big brother Robb).
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