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May 21 2012

Review: Game of Thrones Season 2 – The Prince of Winterfell

TYG breaks down the 8th episode of Game of Thrones Season 2. It was an anti-climatic episode, but there is always a calm just before the storm. Hit the Jump to read the reviews of G, Mike and Lorenzo, who are all readers of the books.

Mike:

With the end-game of Season 2 on the horizon, it was important for HBO to take some time and set up some plot points before the blood and flames started to envelope Westeros. Although I would not call this episode a “snore-fest”, like I have heard others call it, it was slow. However, some important things happened, which i will highlight to you. Remember the show is about playing the game of thrones, treachery and planning takes time, and HBO needs to hit some important notes for the upcoming season.

Spoiler Alert!! Ned Stark is back in Season 2. Ok, I’m sorry, Ned Stark isn’t back, but I’m pretty sure those are his bones. I can’t say for sure, but those look like 3 of the silent sisters behind the cart, transporting something. Usually the silent sisters do these kinds of things, remember when Littlefinger met Catelyn, and there were the ladies that brought in his bones? Silent sister just doing their Westerosi duty. I wonder why Littlefinger didn’t just teleport them there..

Let’s talk about the major plot points this episode had to hit before things got crazy. Let’s start with Catelyn Stark, now that we know she has decided to let Jamie live, we also learn that she let him go free, and is sending him back to Kings Landing under the protection of Brienne of Tarth. She thinks that if she returns Jamie, she will get her daughters back. Let’s put the best case scenario on the table here, Brienne will walk into King’s Landing with Jamie, and demand to have the Stark girls back as a trade for Jamie, with hundreds of Gold Cloaks just watching. How does Catelyn even think this trade will go over fairly? That’s the problem she is not thinking, she has caused serious unrest within the Army of the North. Robb Stark made a good decision by looking his mother up for treason, but will it be enough? There are a lot of unhappy soldiers within in the ranks, and many men died during the 4 battles he has won. Capturing the King Slayer was a huge advantage, and now they have lost it.

It gets worse, Robb Stark just spit in the face of Lord Walder Frey. Here is a man who is already upset enough that he is always slighted, and never given his dues. He mentioned this in season 1, and Robb will have really pissed off this grumpy old man when he learns that Robb and the Volantin girl(Talisa) are now together. I know what you guys are thinking, its not really a big deal, people in this show have sex all the time. Well, your wrong, she is a Highborn girl, and his father was Ned Stark. Robb Stark is not the type of character to just “hit it and quit it.” He made a very big mistake, and will have to stand by it. He may be a genius on the battlefield but is a real dimwit diplomacy wise.

Theon is continuing to act like a child, taking Winterfell was a stupid decision no matter how your spin it. For an army of people who are strongest at sea, why take a castle in the heart of the North. He continues to forget that the Greyjoy’s care nothing for lands, castles and farms. The Iron born are seafarers and survive by raiding and pillaging. They “do not sow” – they only reap. His sister Yara begs him to reconsider his current situation, after she insults him a bit and explains that she is going to leave him, and play no part in the defense of Winterfell. Theon is put in a very tough situation. During this, time at Winterfell we also learn that Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive. Those burnt bodies are actually the adopted farmers children. The ones that Bran, as acting Lord of Winterfell had given him to help him in his work. I definitely like the way the events unfolded in the book over the show, I kind of feel like this whole event was anti-climatic. Theon does mention that they should give the farmer some money for the loss of the adopted children, but Dagmar explains that he has already killed all the ‘witnesses’.

Traveling even further north beyond the Wall, Jon Snow is a captive and so is Qhorin. After they were split up, Qhorin went to look for Jon Snow, and they were captured. Ygritte pleads with Rattleshirt (the lord of bones) to spare his life, and eventually she succeeds. It looks like she wants to keep Jon Snow around for a little while longer, possible convince him to become a member of the free-folk. Playing to the same tune, Qhorin has an outburst tossing Jon Snow down the hill, but before this happens he tells him that he is to be an infiltrator in Mance Raydar’s camp. Where the hell is Ghost? I liked him better in the books.

Over at Harrenhal, Arya mocks Jaqen’s speech impediment. Kidding! I actually like the way she speaks, because it develops into one of my favorite lines in the series. ” A man can go kill himself.”, this happened because Arya learned that Tywin is riding through to night to attack Robb Stark’s camp, and decided to leave her with ‘The Mountain”. In the end Arya used her wits to have Jaqen help her, Gendry and Hot Pie escape the camp. This opens up a world of possibilities for Arya’s story, where is she going to end up? In related new, Jaqen is a killing master, holy crap….

“I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you’re safe and happy and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth. And you’ll know the debt is paid.” Tyrion Lannister. (Tall words) Although the sour dialogue between Cersei and Tyrion was great, the take-aways from Kings Landing are: That Joffrey will be riding into battle to ‘inspire’ the troops, Cersei thinks that this is a plan by Tyrion to have Joffrey killed, and that Tyrion realizes that he loves Shae “I would kill for you, do you know that? And I expect I’ll have to before this is over.”

Stannis is a day or so outside of Kings Landing, and Bolton’s bastard is a day or so away from Winterfell. Making this a very nice set-up episode for things to come. It was a bridging episode, things needed to be mentions and put in your face so you will remember them. Overall it was slow, but I liked it. I guess that’s because i know what is going to happen, and I am foaming at the mouth with anticipation.

7/10

G:

I wish I had more to say about this episode but the fact of the matter is there wasn’t really much here that I feel is worth mentioning.

Really in the North a few things happened Theon got a visit from his sister who was very unimpressed with the way Theon has performed. Taking Winterfell was logistically a stupid decision, especially for a kingdom whose main military strength is at sea. We also had Osha reveal that Bran and Richon are still alive..Joyous!

In the world beyond the wall not a lot went on as we see Jon and Qhorin are held captive. Sam and the rest of the Night’s watch find a trunk with obsidian (Dragon’s Glass) wrapped in a Night’s Watch cloak. The relevance of this will be show shortly.

Robb Stark made one very good decision and one very poor one in this episode. Robb finds out that his mother is behind Jamie’s escape and promptly locks her up. Frankly though considering she committed treason she’s lucky that’s all he did. Jamie being free will be sure to cause issues later. Catelyn releasing Jamie is going to fracture morale and cause major problems for Robb’s unity. Robb did nothing to remedy his prospects by closing the Volantin girl. Breaking his marriage pact with the Frey’s will definitely not go over well. This turn of events marks the first real error that Robb makes since becoming King in the North. We also see that Catelyn didn’t just let Jamie go free, she assigned Brienne to escort him back to King’s Landing. Really Brienne is just having a horrible time lately.

Back at Harrenhal, Tywin launches a night march to secretly attack Robb Stark to try to get back the momentum in the war. The run-away best part of this episode was with Arya and Jaqen. This played out just like the books but it was amazing to see Arya turn the tables on Jaqen and in the process free herself and her friends. ” A man can go kill himself.” That line had me in tears.

In the south crap is really hitting the fan, Bronn is running around killing thieves, Varys is talking in riddles, and Cersei is threatening Tyrion and kidnapping his whores. All this while being moderately entertaining really lacked any significant plot development and just dragged the episode for me. Except for the only two scenes that popped out. Cersei and Tyrion really convinced us of their loathing for one another. Cersei picking up Rosie and not Shae probably stopped Tyrion’s heart, but made for a touching scene with Shae later on, adding some much needed ground under their relationship.

The episode also showed Stannis and Dani but Dani’s story did not move forward at all except to mention her potential exodus to Astapor and Stannis basically talked about Davos’s history and how he got his Sigil.

All in all this episode was the weakest this season so far for me. The plot did not move forward at all and it lacked the stellar dialogue from last episode. On the plus side the remaining episodes should be non-stop action because any more setup at this point will just waste important time.

6.0/10

About the author

Mike