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May 14 2012

Review: Game of Thrones Season 2 – A Man Without Honor

TYG breaks down the 7th episode of Game of Thrones Season 2. It was a little slow, but important things did happen. A Man Without Honor was such a perfect title for this episode, but which man earned the most dishonorable award? Hit the Jump to read the opinions of G, Mike and Lorenzo, who are all readers of the books.

Mike

How amazing was the song playing at the end of the episode? What a perfect fit to the mood many must have felt at the end of that episode. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY Catelyn Stark! Theon has grown to be a huge monster, and Alfie Allen has really continued to impress me beyond measure. He’s the guy that everyone can hate, but you just know he hates himself. In every scene Theon is portrayed as being a kid walking on a minefield, he’s so unsure of every action he makes. Where would this story be without him?

I really feel like this episode was a tale of strong conversations. Well start with the King Slayer. “So many vows, they make you swear and swear.” It’s about time the comical Jamie hit the show. Jamie is the character you hate to love, but never really hate him for long. The conversation he has with Cat was amazing, and he even called Brienne a beast; that alone was worth a few laughs. Here is a guy who just had a heart warming conversation with a cousin who squired for him, and just when you think they are bonding like good family members should; Jamie beats him to death so badly, his body is left shaking on the floor. He then tries to escape, but is caught. However, this was not before he killed the son of Lord Karstark. Robb Stark is insulted in front of his men, and Jamie is locked up again. A whole lot of nothing…. nope… every action has an equal reaction.

Jamie hates being called the King Slayer, a name that is synonymous with his lack of honor. No one in their right mind would not have slain the Mad King. As he says, what if your vows all overlap. As a knight you are supposed to protect the innocent, but what if your king is killing the innocent? You are supposed to do as your father bids you to do, but what if your father despises the king? This conversation really explains that sometimes you need to do what is necessary in the particular circumstance. Honor, justice and what is right is not always so clear cut, and now he suffers with the name he deserves regardless of the circumstance. The real stab in the gut to Cat was the mention that he himself has more honor then the late Eddard Stark, who fathered a bastard, where as Jamie has been faithful to Cersei. (Yup the secret is out) This is a strong accusation as Ned was portrayed as the most honorable man in the 7 Kingdoms, and died for his honor. Even the Hound took shots at Lord Stark this episode, may he rest in peace… What did Cat do with thecKing Slayer? Did Karstark get his revenge? Soo many questions!

Qarth is just full of surprises, and it looks like we have a new king. Dany’s character has really done a 180 for me this season, and most of the time acts like a pretentious spoiled brat, who deserves the world on a platter. The entire happenings on Qarth are new to me, but I really do not feel a connection with the city, or the lack of regard it has for its council. The murder of the other 11 really felt wasted, maybe it is because there are soo many good things going on in Westeros. To me it just feels like a ploy to make things more interesting across the sea, but really, I couldn’t really care right now with the war of 5 kings brewing.

Tywin and Arya’s relationship gets more interesting every week. Tywin is a smart guy, and he is slowly breaking Arya down, the questions keep getting more personal, and Arya in continually testing her boundaries, I could watch an entire episode with these two actors, its so tense. Tywin has let the mountain loose telling him to do whatever it takes to find the Brotherhood without Banners, who seem to be causing quite a stir. For those of you who are still lost on who they are: The Brotherhood was originally founded by Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr. After reports of marauding raiders in the Riverlands had reached King’s Landing, the Hand of the King, Eddard Stark sent out a force under the command of Beric Dondarrion, including some of his own men, to stop the marauders and bring them to justice. According to witnesses the raiders were led by a man of monstrous size, whom Eddard realized could only be Ser Gregor Clegane. Once King Robert died and the Lannisters assumed control of the Iron Throne, Beric’s men became the outlaws but they still fought on for the justice of the smallfolk and in the name of King Robert and Eddard Stark.

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Ygritte is an awesome character, she really makes a strong case for Jon Snow to switch sides. You can tell that she really likes him, and even offers “I could teach you how to do it”. “You know nothing Jon Snow”, expect to hear that a lot more often now. It’s funny because she is a playful character, but ultimately leads to his capture. In an episode about honor will Jon Snow listen to the rather convincing red head, or remain a man of the night’s watch. It is a tough choice considering he is surrounded…

Lastly, Cersei, what great Mother’s Day advice you gave Sansa. Do not try and love too many people because it will make you weak, but love your children. This scene was absolutely great, and much needed, as it brings the viewers into the world of how it is to be a woman of power in the game of thrones. As one would suspect, the woman are treated as being lower then the men, and Robert never even wanted to be around Cersei in her time of need while birthing ‘their’ children. She continues to tell Sansa that Joffrey will not treat her with the courtesy she deserves, and in the end she will most likely continue to suffer greatly, and be unhappy for position (being a Queen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be).

In the conversation with Tyrion, HBO tries to continue the theme of making us feel back for Cersei. They have a truly touching moment, and she actually explains that she thinks the gods are punishing her for her time with Jamie. We feel bad because we like Tyrion, and we know he feels bad but never shows weakness and embraces her like a good little brother should. During this conversation you get the feeling that Tyrion wants to get rid of Joffrey, and even refers to him has an uncontrollable dog with a crown. Overall, I am happy that Tyrion kept is guard up, and didn’t show weakness to Cersei.

This was definitely a slower episode, however, strong conversation kept the mood just right, and the ending woke up anyone who was starting to doze off. I am not sure if this was done on purpose or not, but Mother’s Day just seems to have fit nicely along side some of the themes of the episode, as well as I stated before the name of this episode is spot on. There is a find line between honor, justice and just plain over zealous action, this will be a recurring theme in episodes to come.

7.5/10

P.s. Rickon is on the scene!

 

G:

Without getting too long winded here this episode was slow. It was a full reverse from last weeks episode. Unlike some of the earlier episodes this season though it was easily carried quite well by the stellar performances from a vast majority of the cast.

It’s really starting to become painful for me to watch any scene where Theon does anything. He really comes across as being a child here. He has no idea how to keep order, how to rule, how to ensure the loyalty of his men and he sure as shit does not know the first thing about honor. All that time watching Robb Stark be a hulking badass must have melted his brain or something. Alfie Allen does some great work here and really carries the sense of confusion that Theon must be feeling.

“Did you pull a knife on me in the night.” that was the best line in Game of Thrones so far. This was really the first episode where we get a good idea of who Ygritte is and how she relates to Jon Snow. There was a lot of key dialogue said between them mixed in with Ygritte’s blatant attempts to seduce Jon Snow. There was some talk about Mance Radar and how he used to be a Crow. But the really impressive part was when you find out that Ygritte wasn’t just flirting with Jon because she wanted some action. She was actually lowering his guard, forcing him to questioning his allegiances to the watch so she could lead him into a trap. Let’s see how Jon Snow will get out of this. Also it needs to be mentioned since she is new to the show. Rose Leslie is doing great as Ygritte she is really bringing the character to life the way I picture her in the books (minus the teeth thing) and shes a stage 10 hottie so no complaints!

At Harrenhal we got a lot more dialogue between Arya and Tywin. The Brotherhood without banners is mentioned again, and Tywin send the Mountain to deal with them. Did anyone else notice a different actor for the Mountain in this episode. I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure that’s not the guy who LOVES Mortadella in Season 1. I love the Lannisters and Tywin’s dialogue here is a big reason why. He knows there is more to Arya then simply being a commoner. Arya for her part is starting to strongly consider killing Tywin. There was just so much subtext pact into this conversation I felt bloated just watching it. Also Arya’s “Most girls are stupid!” line is a good indicator she is probably smarter then most of the population of Westeros…. Screw You Sansa!

Speaking of Sansa. Her pep-talk with the hound is amazing. Her freak out at flowering was also pretty ammusing. Thankfully I’m not a women but if I was that would of scared the ever loving shit out of me to! Granted I’m not the one trying to be impregnated by Joffery so I guess maybe I know nothing. I still have no sympathy for Sansa even post rape. She largely brought her own missery down on herself so until she figures out a way to get out of it she can lie in her own mess. On the other hand I never had any regard for Cersei in the books. She is the Lannister I don’t like. Lena Headly and the show have spun that around hard. She really comes off as more empathetic and less stupid in the show. Her advise to Sansa, her sisterly talk with Tyrion. There is a women under all that crazy murderess venom that is really just trying to protect her kids. Sure she sucks at it but at least in the show she is aware of this. Not so much in the books.

Dani and Qarth did not wow me as much as the rest of this episode. Other then Ser Jorah I geeve about the rest of Dani’s group. They are dropping like fly’s anyway. Her freak out on Xaros, her complete rejection of Jorah’s affection and her panic in the throne room of the King of Qarth just makes me feel like Dani the mother of dragons should of used a condom and waited till she was more mature to squeeze out her triplets. I’m starting to draw parallels between Dani and Viserys. Which is not a good thing.

Ah Robb Stark… how I loathe thee. Everything that went on in Robb just serve to shakeup the Young-Wolf’s hold on his men. Jamie stole the show here in more ways than one. His dialogue with his cousin and then Catelyn really drive home the basis of this character. Jamie can see through a lot of the stuff the comes along with acting honorably. He makes some crazy bad decisions but at least he doesn’t let others people’s perception of honor drag him around by the balls. Jamie really only cares about himself and the main reason for that is what he considers his finest moment (Killing the Mad King) was met with insults and a moniker he despises. Even Ned Stark whose dad was roasted by Aerys blames Jamie for killing him. Jamie tried to do the right thing once and got burned for it. He doesn’t give a crap anymore and it’s hard to fault him.

As Far as the ending goes I found it bland and it didn’t really have the shock factor I think they were going for. Maybe it’s because I read the books first but I just don’t feel like it achieved the cliffhanger goal very well. Overall though the dialogue in most cases between the characters makes up for the lack of forward momentum so I need to give this episode an

8.0/10

Lorenzo

As usual I’m a couple of days late with my thoughts, conveniently broken down by characters:

Theon: Great acting by Alfie Allen in conveying what I perceive as a slightly different take on Theon than the books. My perception of Theon in the books was of a slightly meaner slightly more (foolishly) self-assured character than the little boy walking around in big boy shoes we’ve been seeing on the show. Makes Theon a slightly less contemptible character than he is in the books and makes him at least a little less insufferable. This being HBO they also took the opportunity to get Natalia Tena (Osha) naked on-screen as part of the escape attempt engineered to get Bran and Rickon out of Winterfell. Sadly this episode ends on a cliffhanger ending with two battle burned little boys being hoisted up in Winterfell. It remains painful to watch how much of a fool Theon is…so eager to try and wear the big boy pants but so utterly foolish and destructive behaviour because he cannot fathom any other way to try and make others respect him. As G said, prolonged exposure to Robb’s hulking badassery must have melted his brain.

Dany: Thank God she’s acting less like her brother in this episode than the last one, but still, she’s coming across far to much like a whiny entitled child for my liking lately, not at all the impression I got of her in the books at this point where she was at least trying to act with some dignity and wisdom. I’m not at all happy about how the changes from the books (the theft of the dragons, assassination of the other leaders of Qarth) have helped to engineer a situation where Dany ends up at the house of the undying out of compulsion rather than her own curiosity. Wake me up when the writers have decided to stop having her act the fool.

Jon Snow: I thoroughly enjoyed the interplay between Ygritte and Jon in this episode, it’s clear she has a genuine fondness for him and her playfulness lights up the screen in her scenes with him (see above morning wood incident) right up to the point where she draws him into an ambush. It’s fascinating to watch how Jon is slowly being enticed by the freedom…amongst other things offered by Ygritte, now he faces a decision on which path to take that he will have to consider carefully. I like the greater moral choice he is being forced to make vs. the way this part happens in the book.

Jamie: God damn Jamie was amazing in this episode. From the reminiscing with his cousin to brutally mutilating him in an escape attempt and to one of the great conversations in this episode with Cat (covered by Mike), Jamie basically stole the show in this episode. The great irony of Jamie’s life so far is that he has spent his life cursed for the one vow he broke for the right reasons. The Mad King did not get his nickname just for fun. You could not find a more just kingslaying than that of the Mad King, and yet for this Jamie is looked upon with such contempt that he pretty much says “Fuck it. If they gonna hate anyway, might as well LIVE IT UP!” and so Jamie is cursed to live condemned for the wrong reasons instead of the right ones.

Cersei and Tyrion: Oh my. When G described this episode to me (in between filming War-Game Wednesday this week) this was the scene he focused on the most and for good reason. The subtext in this scene was so thick you needed a steak knife to get through it. In the TV series continuing campaign to make Cersei at least a little likeable, we get a scene where she acknowledges for the first time that Joffrey is a complete monster, not even bothering to reproach Tyrion when he refers to Joffrey as a mad dog with a crown but not a leash. She acknowledges that she sees him as a punishment from the Gods for her incestuous relationship with Jamie, but to me what is so profound about this scene is her reaction to Tyrion trying, honestly trying, to console her by saying her other two children are good. It an an admission from Cersei that Joffrey really is a complete monster. In turn Tyrion proverbially walks as softly as he can in this scene, showing real compassion for what Cersei has to live with having birthed. That Joffrey may need to be allowed to die is left hanging in the air without being stated.

Cersei and Sansa: Once again, the show continues its campaign to make Cersei less utterly despicable than she is in the novels. She shows some kindness to Sansa and tries to console her in saying that while Joffrey is not a very good man, at least she will have her children to love and raise, while passing on a very Cersei piece of advice in telling her that the more people you love the weaker it makes you. For those who haven’t read the books, they may not understand the path Cersei took to reach what she has become. She was, in many ways, exactly like Sansa as a young maiden who had a huge crush on Rhaegar Targaryen and ended up with Robert, not of her choosing, who whispered the name of Lyanna Stark (who was the only woman *he* had loved) on their wedding night. Basically Cersei was just much like Sansa in believing in all the fairytales of what being a woman was like and her soul was crushed by the reality of it. At least that’s my reading of what set Cersei on her current path.

Overall I really liked the episode and give it an:

7.5/10

About the author

Mike