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Game of Thrones Review – Season 2 Episode 8: The Prince of Winterfell

“Don’t die so far from the sea” ~ Yara (Asha) Greyjoy

Another week of Theon failing in the leadership department. Theon expects honour and praise from his sister for his taking of Winterfell and gets nothing but scorn and contempt. In front of her men she chastises him for killing little boys. She has come North to bring him home. In a moment of kindness, she dismisses her men and speaks to Theon in private telling him she doesn’t want to see him die here in the North, and she’s doing him a service by bringing him home. Theon, however, is obstinate and insists on staying to try prove himself worthy to his father and Yara. Meanwhile, Theon’s secret is revealed to Maester Luwin; he sees Osha and knows Rickon, Hodor and Bran have survived. To add insult to injury, they are hiding in the Stark burial crypts right under Theon’s nose. This renders Theon a complete failure. He’s been wholly outsmarted by a Wildling woman, two children and the village idiot. The boys hanging from the walls are some farmer’s sons. What more can we say? Time and time again, Theon is proving he has no idea about warfare, no idea about leadership and no idea of how to keep the respect of his men. This might be his undoing.

“We’re even now, Jon Snow.” ~ Ygritte

Ygritte saves Jon’s life after the ambush since the Wildlings want to do away with him. She stops them from killing Jon by claiming Mance Rayder will be interested in him because he is Ned Stark’s bastard. Jon soon learns his ranger party was killed and he and one other crow are left. The remaining man mistreats Jon to show that they are not together anymore so that Jon can have an “in” with the wildlings.

“All my life men like you have sneered at me, and all my life I’ve been knocking men like you into the dust” ~Brienne.

Jamie travels in secret with Brienne of Tarth and repeatedly mocks her. She manages to hold her ground in spite of his nasty barbs. This scene was brief but enjoyable. It will be interesting to watch these two bicker all the way to King’s Landing. Their dynamic is humourous and who knows? Jamie might actually learn a thing or two from the ‘ugly and boring’ Brienne of Tarth ;)

“I don’t want to marry that Frey girl.” ~ Rob

Meanwhile, Rob is unhappy about his arranged marriage to the Frey girl and furious at his mother’s betrayal for freeing Jamie. Jamie was the only card Rob had to play in defeating the Lannisters in King’s Landing. Kat is an utter fool if she thinks Cersei will hand over her daughters once she has Jamie back. She’s more likely to kill them in revenge for capturing Jamie in the first place. Rob has been undermined by his mother, and Kat has angered the Carstark family by robbing them of their only means of revenge after Jamie strangled their son trying to escape. Lastly, she has made Rob look weak. In retaliation, Rob has her put under guard and decides to disregard his mother’s wishes and makes love to Lady Talisa of Volantis. Rob and Talisa are in love and although Rob is usually obdient and dutifull, he has no intention of following through on his previous promise after such betrayal.

“There will come a day when you think you’re safe and a happy and the joy will turn to ashes in your mouth” ~Tyrion.

Cersei is upset that Tyrion is sending Joffrey into battle. Tyrion argues that Jamie was fighting at seventeen and that men will fight harder for their cause if Joffrey’s not seen clinging behind his mother’s skirts. In retaliation, Cersei steals his whore as punishent, but the funny thing is, it’s not Shae! Cersei is smug and very pleased with herself but she is played for a fool when Tyrion realises her mistake. He plays the part of the distraught lover well and returns to find Shae safe in his chambers. Cersei has tried to play “the game” and failed. Tyrion truly has the upper hand here. He is even aknowledged by a master at the game – Varys. Our friend ‘the Spider’, makes an appearance and has a very candid conversation with Tyrion about his abilities and desires.

“We could throw books at his men” ~ Bronn
“We don’t have that many books” ~ Varys

Tyrion is also concerend with Stannis’s eventual siege of King’s Landing. He spends time pouring over military and tactical tombs much to Bronn’s amusment. Tyrion wants help with siege planning from Bronn but Bronn’s street knowledge is more useful than anything written in books. He demonstrates this when he has all the known thieves in the city executed. He explains that during a siege they steal all the food and sell it at ten times the price to make a profit – information not found in Tyrion’s books. It’s a rather funny scene with Bronn refusing to wear the fancy apparel of the Goldcloaks, wishing to remain in the shadows and schooling Tyrion. For all of Tyrions highborn learning, Bronn teaches him a thing or two about warfare.

“They are my children and they are the only children I will ever have…take me to them” ~ Dany

Dany, Stannis and Arya have small scenes in this week’s spisode. Ser Jorah tells Dany they must flee because they aren’t safe in Qarth. He wants her to sail to Astapor. Dany refuses to leave without her dragons and won’t be swayed. They decide to go to the Houses of the Undying to take the dragons back from the Warlocks.

Stannis tells Davos about his past issues with Robert; how Robert gave Storm’s End to Renly and he never fought a day in his life. He compliments Davos for saving his life when they were starving and besieged and he says if he wins the Iron Throne, he will name him his Hand.

Arya overhears Tywin speaking about Stannis approaching King’s Landing. Tywin makes plans to ride out at night. She knows it’s time for her to leave or be found out. Arya looks for Jaqen – the man who helps her kill people on her hit list. She makes her final request – she wants his help to escape. He refuses so she names him as her final hit. In order to have her unname him, he agrees releuctantly to help her, Gendry and Hot Pie flee Harrenhal.

These scenes were all interesting plot points used to build up to the season’s end. While there wasn’t much blood and glory, there was plenty of intrigue . The pieces are falling into place for what’s looking to be an exciting finale.

Join us next week for the second to last episode on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Sunday at 9:00pm.

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