Game of Thrones, Season 2, Ep 8 “The Prince of Winterfell”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

The North: Well, Jon is captured by a band of wildlings. It turns out they captured another member of the Night’s Watch somehow, and put him with Jon. Talking, this other guy suggests that Jon pretend to turn to their side, so as to infiltrate them and get information about their plans to attack south of The Wall. Then he unilaterally stages a scuffle with Jon, in an apparent effort to make it look like this other guy is angry with Jon. This seems like a pretty poor deception, and I’ll be surprised if the wildlings fall for it. How stupid do they need to be to trust Jon? Yeah, okay, exactly as stupid as he was to trust the wildling woman who led him straight into this trap in the first place…

Meanwhile, the rest of the group are looking fruitlessly for Jon, and stumble across a carved rock buried in the snow. Samwell reckons it was placed by the gods or something. Underneath it is a cache of spearpoints made of obsidian, or as they call it “dragonglass”. Hmm. It seems this has been left here by another Watchman. Presumably these weapons will come in handy at some point, though it’s hard to imagine how a situation might arise where they are more useful than the men’s own swords. Maybe they can be used to slay dragons?? Well that would be handy against Daenerys’s eventual forces.

Winterfell: Theon is still going nuts trying to maintain control over Winterfell – now he’s slaughtering all the ravens to stop news getting out. His sister Yara arrives and does exactly nothing to support him, instead criticising Theon for capturing a place so far from the sea that they can’t defend it with their ships. Good work, Yara – make Theon even more bitter and resentful, I’m sure that’ll add to his mental stability. I fully expect Theon to go on a lunatic bender at some point and come to a sticky end.

The old advisor guy, Maester Luwin, spots Osha stealing some food and follows her. Oh, shock! Bran and Rickon are alive and hiding in the crypts. Returning to Winterfell seems risky, but they spout some babble about it being the last place Theon will be looking for them. Hmmm… that usually works better in theory than practice. So yeah, Theon murdered some farm kids and pretended they were Bran and Rickon. The guy’s messed up. Bran should just lay low for a week or so, and Robb’s forces will liberate Winterfell and drag Theon away. But maybe his dreams will return and indicate something else…

Robb’s Camp: I knew Cat wouldn’t kill Jaime. Turns out she ordered Brienne to take him to King’s Landing to exchange him for Sansa and Arya (though she has no idea Arya isn’t there). Anyway, Robb is livid when he finds out and turns on his mother, having her locked up. Robb then vows to retake Winterfell and kill Theon for betraying him. He’s pretty angry. Enter the nurse, Talisa is her name, and she talks about the vagaries of war with him until they decide they’d have more fun stripping each other’s clothes off than talking…

Well, it was obvious from the very first episode where Talisa appeared. The complication is that Robb promised he’d marry the daughter of that guy who let him cross the river a few episodes back, to attack a Lannister army. Well, I guess we’ll see if he can manage to get out of that one. But hey, anything can happen in a war.

Brienne drags Jaime across the landscape, and Jaime tries his best to charm his way into being released, but it’s patently not working with Brienne. She seems a lot more reliable than many other people in this land. I fully expect her to get Jaime to King’s Landing – and then we’ll see Cat’s plan go utterly pear-shaped, because I know Joffrey won’t let Sansa go, and Arya isn’t even there. Then Robb will be doubly mad at his mother.

Harrenhal: In a war council, Tywin decides the time is right to attack Robb’s army. Overhearing all this, Arya is desperate to do something. She seeks out the “three death wishes” ex-prisoner and prepares to name a third name. I’m sure it’s going to be Tywin, or possibly Joffrey, but she says a name I don’t recognise. My wife and I look at each other and both say, “Who??” And then when the prisoner guy answers, we understand, Arya has named him. It’s a trick, because he doesn’t want to die, and negotiates for Arya to “unsay” his name in exchange for a different favour: Arya wants him (his name is Jaqen) to help her, Gendry, and their fat friend to escape from Harrenhal, tonight. Jaqen reluctantly agrees, telling her to walk out the gates at midnight.

At midnight, Arya watches the guards posted at the gate, looking for a sign. Not seeing any, she decides to proceed on blind faith, and leads Gendry and fat guy towards the gate. Then she notices all the guards are dead where they stand (or at least paralysed). So they escape into the night.

I’m not sure what they’ll do now. Either follow Tywin and try to sabotage his attack on Robb, or speed past Tywin to warn Robb. Or maybe find a raven and send it to Robb. Either way, I’m glad Arya is free and able to do stuff again. I wonder if she’ll ever find her sword Needle again. It seems like the plot-related thing for her to inevitably be reunited with her blade, but given the twists in this story, I wouldn’t be surprised if she never found it again.

On a ship: We get a brief update of Stannis, sailing towards King’s Landing. He should reach the city within a day or two… so it looks like a big battle is not too far away.

King’s Landing: Meanwhile, Tyrion is discussing defence of King’s Landing with Varys. Things seems grim. They fear Stannis’s forces pose a significant threat. Apparently Joffrey wants to lead from the front in the battle, which suits Tyrion just fine. But Cersei accuses him of wanting to get Joffrey killed, and rages at Tyrion. She says she knows about “his whore” and has taken her into captivity – but when the woman is brought into the room it’s not Tyrion’s actual girlfriend at all, but someone else! Tyrion plays a straight bat, promising this other woman that he will do what he can to free her, says a few angry words to Cersei, and storms out.

Tyrion returns to his room and his girlfriend, Shae, is there, oblivious to Cersei’s plot. Now what the hell is Cersei playing at here? I find it very hard to believe that she made such a mistake. How can she possibly know that Tyrion is secretly hiding a lover in the castle, but then so blatantly fail to figure out who it is?? I don’t think she’s made a mistake at all – I don’t buy it for a second. It’s part of some deeper and even more devious plot of Cersei’s, to make Tyrion think he has the advantage over her, I’ll wager.

Qarth: Jorah wants to leave Qarth with Daenerys, but she refuses point blank to go without her dragons. She’s getting more and more impatient with Jorah, possibly out of fear of the revelation by the wizard guy that Jorah is in love with her (whether true or not… it certainly looks plausible). She orders Jorah to take her to the House of the Undying, where the wizard says he has the dragons, and he reluctantly agrees.

This seems like a dangerous move, but I don’t know what else Daenerys can do at this point. She can’t very well abandon the dragons. Presumably something will arise that lets them get away with their current seemingly overwhelming lack of resources. Maybe the dragons are already loyal enough to her and dangerous enough to have killed all the wizards or whatever is waiting in the House of the Undying. That’d be fun – she walks in expecting a confrontation, and everyone’s dead, with her dragons sitting there on the pile of bodies waiting for her.

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