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Game of Thrones Review: SE02 EP07 – “A Man without Honor”

There is a lot going on in this week’s episode of Game of Thrones. More characters are sharing screen time than in past episodes but the show manages not to inundate you with filler scenes.

“It’s better to be cruel than weak” ~ Theon

Is it? Theon spouts some pseudo-Machiavellian line about leadership but once again, fails at every turn. Theon has been blindsided by a wildling woman and he allowed the escape of mere children and the village idiot. Osha has escaped, along with Hodor, Rickon and Bran. One of his men disrespectfully points out Theon’s blunder and Theon attempts to make himself look tough by beating him. This doesn’t help his image. He’s trying to put a bandage over a gaping wound and he’s not fooling anyone, not his captives, and certainly not his men. When Theon loses their scent and fears looking like a fool he punishes the people by burning some children to make his point. He still looks like an idiot, and a scared, desperate boy trying to look like a man.

In the cold of the North, Ygritte discovers Jon’s a virgin and taunts him. Jon learns that Mance Raider was once a “crow” but he wanted more so he left the Watch. She is putting doubts in Jon’s mind about his choice to join the Watch, and presses him about freedom and duty. She flees and Jon pursues her straight into an ambush.

“It’s hard to put a leash on a dog once you’ve put a crown on his head” ~ Tyrion.

Tyrion tells Cersei that Joffrey needs to start acting like a king. The populace hate Joffrey and Cersei isn’t doing her job controlling him. In an honest conversation with Tyrion, she finally admits to incest with Jamie and wonders if Joffrey’s savagery is because of their union. The Targaryen’s married brother to sister and madness ran in their lineage, she worries that Joffrey’s penchant for cruelty is a punishment for their sin. This was an interesting scene, Cersei finally comes clean to her brother and both are left in awkward silence afterward. Tyrion offers some initial words of comfort but in the end, has nothing left to say after this admission. It’s a strange, brief, bonding moment.

“Killing’s the sweetest thing there is.” ~ The Hound

Sansa wakes from a horrible nightmare where she relives her attack. She thanks the the Hound for saving her life and he tells her he enjoys killing and she should be thankful that he does. Sansa doesn’t understand the Hound and why he rebuffs her attempts at kindness. There is a lot Sansa doesn’t understand – her naivety is mind boggling. Compared to Arya, she is clueless as to how people work and the ways of the world. At King’s Landing, Sansa is learning the hard way.

“Love no one but your children, on that front a mother has no choice.” ~ Cersei

Sansa gets her period and wants to hide it from Cersei but fails. She fears that now she will be forced to have a baby with Joffrey. Cersei shares womanly wisdom with her about love, marriage and family. This is a potent scene – as much as you hate Cersei, she gives Sansa a much needed wake up call. Cersei shares some insights from personal experience because she sees how badly Joffrey treats Sansa and there might be a part of Cersei that sees her younger self in Sansa. What’s most interesting is that Cersei releases Sansa from the obligation of loving Joffrey. She has to do her duty but she doesn’t have to love him. Cersei tells her that love makes you weak and the only people you should love are your children. These are the conversations Sansa needs to have in order to survive the political minefield that is King’s Landing.

“An upstart and a charlatan; empires have been built on less.” ~ Xaro Xhoan Daxos

Xaro looks into the disappearance of the Dragons. He wants to help Dany get them back. Meanwhile Ser Jorah goes to the strange masked woman for the dragons. The Thirteen are called together and murdered and Dany finds her dragons have been taken to The Houses of the Undying.

“My life has left me uniquely unfit for constraint” ~ Jamie

Apparently true…Jamie sits in the cell with a messenger who is a distant cousin. The young man tells Jamie what an honour it was to squire for him and Jamie shares some kind words of encouragement. Suddenly, the kind moment is gone and Jamie kills the boy and a guard in an attempt to escape. When Jamie is found, a Carstark, wants Him dead since Jamie strangled his son with his chains. Kat later spends time alone with Jamie and he taunts Kat with Jon Snow and Ned’s infidelity. This proves too much for Kat and she asks Lady Brienne for her sword.

Lastly, Tywin offers Arya food and conversation – he is kind to her and tells her the history of Harrenhal and it’s fall. Arya gets comfortable talking to Tywin but shares a little too much information revealing that she is not a commoner. Tywin is onto her but he doesn’t press the issue because he likes Arya.

Join us next Sunday, on HBO at 9pm for another exciting episode of a Game of Thrones.

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