It’s Game Of Thrones Season 2, Episode 8 entitled “The Prince Of Winterfell,” a reference to the possibly-burnt ‘Prince’ Bran (aka “The Even Younger Wolf”) and his brother Rickon (aka “The Wolf Who’s Constantly Eating Wolfnuts”), who’ve yielded Winterfell to its current ‘Prince’ Theon (aka “Dick Wolf”).
Theon’s sister Yara arrives in Winterfell to ridicule Theon and confidently sit in chairs:
Yara tries to convince Theon to leave Winterfell before Northern forces instantly slaughter him, but when Theon stubbornly refuses, Yara tells him the touching story, “When you were a baby, you used to scream all the time. Also, you couldn’t walk, speak, or understand things, and now, you’re four times larger and can speak and walk upright and are an adult. My point is, if you’re gonna get obviously killed because you have no idea what you’re doing, at least do it closer to the sea so we can have a traditional Pyke Funeral with squid pallbearers in tuxedos.”
Over at Camp Robb, Jaime Lannister has escaped in the custody of Brienne, making for the show’s first official Tally-Smally couple, not unlike a reverse Chris & Adrienne Bosh. Needless to say, Jaime is slightly confused when his blindfold is removed:
Jaime launches into his stock Silence Of The Lambs speech to make Brienne mad, saying she couldn’t beat him in a “fair fight”, and adding “I’ll bet you couldn’t even catch me if you undid my chains, gave me a 20 minute head start and I jumped on that horse.” Brienne keeps her cool, saying “Don’t worry – the day may come when I accidentally crush your spleen sneezing,” and they share the world’s most unawkward boat ride:
Robb tells his men to double the search party for Jaime, doing his best Tommy Lee Jones Fugitive impression, then confronts Lady Stark for acting behind his back, yelling “GOD, Mom, stop undermining me!!!!” and runs to his tent to listen to his ‘Westeros equivalent of Nirvana’ cd, which is just ravens playing a harp. Later that night, he’s visited by the company hotsurgeon Talisa, and whuh-oh, the beginning of this scene looks familiar:
Talisa tells a steamy, flirtatious story about her brother almost drowning and being resuscitated by a slave, and Robb just can’t resist being like, “How about I resuscitate you… with mah D-nevermind, cool story” and they kiss:
At this point, Robb’s done his best to live in his father’s overly-honorable footsteps, doing what’s necessary to keep winning wars and not swerving from the cause for his own personal interests after Winterfell winter-fell, but just as Ned Stark’s honor brought him nothing but headlessness, Robb’s now been undermined by his own mother, and is starting to realize the benefits of choosing selfishness (e.g., ignoring his wedding-betrothal) over relentless, dispassionate honor. Which is a long way of convincing himself, “It’s Business Time.”
Robb and Talisa engage in the Westeros custom of “consensual rape,” also known as sex:
At King’s Landing, Tyrion and Bronn desperately cram war-books for their impending Stannis encounter / Tactics 201 Final:
Cersei tells Tyrion she wants to keep Joffrey off the battlefield, having just sent her daughter away, but Tyrion insists that having Joffrey on the battlefield will lift the soldiers’ spirits:
Cersei keeps conspicuously smiling, though, and when Tyrion takes notice, Cersei says she’s finally figured out a way to hurt someone Tyrion loves: His ‘prostitute with a heart of gold’, who she’ll kill if anything happens to Joffrey. We obviously knew this was coming, but what we didn’t know was, Cersei accidentally grabbed Tyrion’s random lover from last season:
Tyrion pretends to be terrified and tells Cersei she’ll pay for this (again, Game Of Thrones characters, we’ll just assume everyone will make everyone else pay for everything at some point, so we don’t need to keep re-iterating this like it’s a new fact each time – it’s basically the GoT equivalent of the reality show “I came here to WIN”). Tyrion rushes to Shae’s chambers afterwards to make sure she’s safe, and we see that, startlingly, even Johnny Comebacks over here has a weak spot:
Joffrey, obviously, isn’t concerned with Stannis’ impending arrival, boasting that he’ll gladly meet Stannis on the battlefield personally and give him a smile he can’t not smile because it’s actually a big cut:
Basically, Joffrey knows as much about war as Daniel Radcliffe does about sex:
Varys pulls Tyrion aside and compliments his Hand-of-Kinging ability, one shady motherf***er to another, and informs him “In addition to Stannis attacking with two kingdoms’ worth of soldiers and Robb Stark attacking us with the entire North behind him, Daenerys Targaryen is alive and has three dragons and wants the Iron Throne, just FYI. Also, Mance Rayder has 80 million troops and 450 tanks that shoot zombies at you.” Tyrion’s like, “Yo, one book at a time, Castrated George R.R. Martin.”
Speaking of Stannis, he is indeed just days from the walls of King’s Landing, and shares a touching moment with Davos, his most trusted advisor and a proud wielder of his ‘onion’ banner:
For some reason, I’ve been so conditioned by Game Of Thrones to expect cruelty in every scene, I kept thinking Stannis was gonna whip out a knife and stab Davos for some randomly angry reason (“Send my regards to Mr. Krabbs…” “Wha?” [STAB]), but Stannis just tells Davos that when he finally sits on the throne, Davos will be his Hand, as well as Head Royal Onion Guy (he’s consolidating some cabinet jobs). Also, contrary to Joffrey’s assumption, Stannis does actually smile, and not just when he’s f***ing firewitches on Risk boards:
At Harrenhal, Tywin Lannister catches word that Robb has dispatched an auxiliary force to retake Winterfell, and jumps at the opportunity to pre-emptively strike Robb’s depleted force, and also tortures the 37 people who brought him this information. The soldiers jump at the opportunity to “Kill some wolves!”, which is kind of amusing – it’s like the Westeros equivalent of War-slurs, like when WWII soldiers would use “Kraut” to dehumanize their German opponents, only in this case, they’re calling the Stark soldiers something that’s stronger than actual humans, which is kind of the opposite of the point. That really amused me for some reason.
Arya knows she has to warn Robb but can’t reach Jaqen before Tywin leaves the castle (these are the types of sentences we have to ignore when trying to convince non-GoT watchers that “seriously, it’s not that complicated once you get into it”), and in her desperation to find her murder-helper, she accosts the Westeros version of Chunk:
Arya finally finds Jaqen, who launches into his standard cryptic “The death is certain, but who is to say the certainty of time, the girl asks, and yet the man responds with a response that is not a response, as it is, in death, also not one of…” Arya tells him that time is of the essence, and Jaqen responds that expedience wasn’t part of the deal, just general death, so Arya pulls a Bugs Bunny on him and names Jaqen as her third murder victim, and Jaqen’s like “That’s not faiw!”
Arya says she’ll un-jinx Jaqen if he helps her escape, and tells her that she’ll walk through the castle gate at midnight. Midnight falls, and surely enough, Arya, Gendry and Chunk stride through the gates past a contingent of slaughtered guards. Does Jaqen get sh*t done or what? He’s like two episodes away from just making himself king.
Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand are taken prisoner by the band of wildlings and brought before The Lord Of Bones, a huge fan of Kael from Willow:
We STILL haven’t seen Mance Rayder? Who knew that this band of wildlings was actually some giant bureaucracy, with responsibility delegated out to like a dozen different levels of managers? The Lord Of Bones accepts Ygritte’s pleas to keep Jon alive, though he admits “This goes somewhat beyond my authority as Wildlings Executive HR Consultant, West Coast Division. I’m gonna have to loop in the CFO from our Tokyo office before I sign off on this.”
Qhorin tells Jon that when the wildlings attack the wall, it’ll be helpful to have someone fighting within their ranks, so he launches into a loud angry pretend-assault against Jon, blaming him for getting the rangers killed and kicking him down a snow hill. Jon’s like, “Why are you mad at me, just one second ago you were saying I should infiltrate their ranks and I agreed! I swear that happened, other wildlings!”
Over in Qarth, we only get one scene of Dany convincing Jorah to take her to the House Of The Undying to reclaim her dragons, noting that she possesses magic-resistance powers herself (she can only be hit by +1 weapons or greater, amiright – anyone?), and that Jorah should probably help her before he completely transforms into Paul Hogan:
Next Episode: Jorah tells Pyat Pree, “Yeeww call that a dragon?”
Back in Winterfell, we learn, surely enough, that Bran and his brother are alive, and that Theon did in fact just grab two kids from that nearby farm and burn them beyond recognition (“Two questions for you, farmer. 1, Have you seen Prince Bran, and 2, Never mind, are these your kids?) Theon and Dagmer agree to compensate the farmer in the form of a $10 gift certificate towards their next Winterfell complaint-table request.
The episode concludes with Osha telling Maester Luwin that the boys are safely hiding in Winterfell itself, but she doesn’t want to tell Bran about the dead boys and ruin his conscience so NEVER SPEAK OF THOSE TWO KIDS GETTING MURDERED CAUSE OF BRAN, then the camera pans over and Bran’s awake listening to her:
Overall, a less crazy episode than last week plot-wise – this week’s big ending twist essentially just undid last week’s big ending twist – but it was still a tense, interesting setup episode, and with only two episodes left in the season, there’s a distinct sense of “this is gonna be bad” looming over everything, even the more mundane scenes (hence, my thinking Stannis was gonna stab Davos randomly).
Although, by “something awful” happening, that could very well mean “Joffrey painfully dying,” which would be the least awful something imaginable. In fact, is there even an English word that’s far enough away from the word ‘awful’ to accurately describe such an occurrence? We’ll leave it at “scrumtrulescent”.
Game Of Thrones Episode 8 thoughts? Predictions for the final two episodes (no book spoilies, you bookworms!) Most likely to be dead by the end of the season? (Theon? Joffrey? Stannis? Dragon #2?) Leave ‘em all in the comments.