Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO ©2011 Home Box Office

As Game of Thrones Season 2 heads into the home stretch it continues to up the ante, with more betrayals, backstabbing, and unnecessarily horrific imagery than usual. Thank goodness for Ygritte and her unabashed attempts to get into Jon's pants. This episode needed the humor.

Read on for Wetpaint Entertainment's recap of Season 2, Episode 7: "A Man Without Honor."

Beyond the Wall: Keeping an Oath

Let's start with the fun(ish) part. In today's one lighthearted sequence, Jon is more-or-less the only character to act with any honor, and all it gets him is a bad case of blue balls. He wakes up cuddling with Ygritte, and no, that's not a knife in his pocket, he's just happy to be sleeping with her. She teases him about it mercilessly as they wander, lost, through some more jaw-droppingly gorgeous winterscapes.

Banter turns into a tense moral debate that reveals a bit more about the Wildlings. They're very attached to their concept of freedom; they bow to no King unless they chose him, like they've chosen former-Night's Watch member Mance Rayder. They also see all of the North as their's — even the part south of the wall. After all, they were there first. I bet you can come up with a real-world parallel or two if you think about it for a second. See?

Ygritte tries to tempt Jon with the lure of freedom, practically throwing herself at him as she talks about the life he could have if he ran off; log cabins and fishing and women and all that nice stuff. She fails to mention the undead zombies who randomly attack you. She then straight up offers to teach him about sex. Jon turns her down, claiming he knows how it works. You're a virgin, Jon. You so do not. “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” Ygritte spits.

Later, the odd couple are totally lost. Ygritte makes a last-ditch attempt at blackmailing Jon into boning her, and when that falls through she deftly escapes to the hills, where her Wildling buddies are waiting, surrounding Jon. Shoulda had sex with her when you had the chance, buddy, because it looks like you're screwed either way.

Harrenhal: A Friendship Blossoms. Kinda

Probably the best addition to the show so far is the unexpected bond that is developing between Tywin and Arya. Well, the one-way bond, anyway. Tywin seems to like her; Arya wants to stab him in the neck.

Anyway, Tywin is convinced the dart that killed Amory Lorch last week was meant for him; he thinks it was launched by an agent of the Brotherhood Without Banners, which is apparently not some Westeros version of Doctors Without Borders. He tells one of his men to go burn down a bunch of farm houses until they learn something about the Brotherhood. He's like Theon, but less whiny.

Then Tywin forces Arya to eat at his table while he ponders legacy: This is the war he'll be remembered for, and if there's one thing Tywin cares about, it's leaving a good name for himself and his house. Arya grabs a knife, but before she can work up the nerve to stab one of the most terrifying men in the Seven Kingdoms in the back, he comes to sit with her. They have a brief history lesson, and then he reveals that he's totally on to her: He knows she's noble born. Arya tries to cover, but he mostly seems amused. Heck, he even gives her pointers on how to blend in better. We can only assume that he has no idea that she's a Stark, or this conversation would go a bit differently.

King's Landing: Oh, Fine, Make Cersei Sympathetic Again

Sansa has been underused this season, but she gets a lot of good stuff this episode. First, she tries to thank the Hound for saving her last week. He responds be being creepy, as is his way. She wonders why he has to be so hateful. “You'll be glad of the hateful things I do one day, when you're queen and I'm the only thing that stands between you and your beloved king.” Point taken.

Later, Sansa gets her period, which is not a joyful step in the growing-up process, but a sign that she's a woman, old enough to bare Joff's kids and, presumably, marry him. Ew. She and Shae quickly try to cover the evidence, but the Hound finds her out.

Cersei comes to tell her about the birds and the bees. It's actually one of the most interesting scenes of the episode. Cersei warns Sansa that love makes you weak, and opens up about what a terrible husband Robert was. Every time she gave birth, he went on a hunting trip. (But hey, Jaime would always come into the room with her. They seriously have one of the most loving relationships on the show, which is twisted on several levels.) “Love no one but your children, on that front a mother has no choice,” she advises. Sansa tries to protest that she loves Joffrey, but no one is buying that. Even Cersei knows he is the worst.

She reveals as much in a later scene with Tyrion, where he complains, once again, about what a terrible king Joff is. The situation is getting desperate: Stannis, his fleet of ships, and his ill-gotten army are less than a week away. Cersei wonders if Joffrey's awfulness is the price for her sins (read: incest). To which modern genetics answers: Yeah, kinda. The Targaryens used to marry brother to sister, but half the Targaryens were mad. Tyrion points out she and Jaime beat the odds: Their two younger children turned out sane. Cersei just cries. If only her motherly instincts were duller, then they could just kill Joffrey and everything would be better.

Qarth: An Unexpected Coup

Speaking of Targaryens, Dany's grip on the situation on Qarth is getting even weaker now that her dragons are gone. Although Xaro assures her that he just wants to help her, she doesn't trust him. Or anyone. Not even Jorah, really. She seems to have realized that no matter where she goes, everyone turns on her, and she no longer believes everyone in Westeros will just rise up to greet her even if she does get over there. She tells Jorah to find her dragons.

He tries to do so by going back to that mysterious masked lady we met in Episode 5: "The Ghost of Harrenhal." She uselessly declares he's in love with Dany (no, duh), gets him to swear he would never betray Dany (no, duh), and then says Dany is with the thief right this very moment (how useful).

Cut to: A meeting of the council of the thirteen, where the warlock we met before reveals he stole the dragons. They're safe in the House of the Undying, where Dany can go and raise them while Xaro reins as the new king of Qarth. Xaro's not even apologetic about it. He's just like, yep, me and these warlocks are taking over. What're you gonna do? Dany watches in horror as the rest of the thirteen are slaughtered.

Jorah shows up in time to help Dany run away, but the warlocks still have the dragons. So there's that.

Riverlands: A Man With Too Many Oaths

The most riveting scenes of the night go to one Mr. Jaime Lannister. He's had basically nothing to do all season, but he more than made up for it tonight.

The Lanniser cousin who has been shuttled back and forth between the Riverlands and King's Landing is temporarily housed in Jaime's cage due to lack of space. Cue a fascinating scene in which Jaime and the kid bond over their days as squires. Jaime is in turns cheeky, kind, humble, proud, and self-reflective, remembering what it was like to live out a dream of glory and ruefully explaining that the only thing he's good at is fighting. He's deeply charming, not just in a surface way, but more fundamentally: His honesty wins his cousin over. Then he stabs the cousin, strangles the guard, and escapes. Wham.

Of course, it doesn't last, and later he gets dragged back to camp in chains. Karstark, the father of the guard he killed, wants to chop off his head, but Cat won't have it. She sweeps in, all anger, declaring that Jaime is their prisoner and he will be kept safe. In case you've forgotten, if the Starks were to kill Jaime, the Lannisters would almost certainly murder Sansa. So, that's probably where her passion is coming from. She manages to convince the men to put Jaime back in his cage.

However, as the night goes on and the men get drunker, things are not looking good for the Kingslayer. As Brienne points out, no one is going to raise a hand to defend a Lannister if and when Karstark decides to chop off Jaime's head in a drunken rage.

So Cat goes to confront Jaime. What she expects to get out of this, we don't know, but if she's looking for an apology, she's out of luck. Jaime is still all sarcasm; this is not a man who cowers in the face of death. When he insults Brienne, Cat jumps to her new BFF's defense, reminding Jaime that he has broken every vow he's ever taken. That starts Jaime off on a very interesting speech, where he rambles about all the vows he's been made to swear. Protect your King. Honor your father. Protect the weak. But what if they are in conflict? Your father hates your King; your King is a crazy person. What then, huh? He's not wrong.

But then his rambling leads to insults as he starts needling Cat about Ned's affair, and Jon, and how Jon must have been a constant reminder of Ned's infidelity, and how she must have hated him, and oh, that must have sucked and...

… Cat demands Brienne's sword. Is she going to lose control and kill Jaime herself? Tune in next week to find out!

Winterfell: In Case You Felt Sorry for Theon...

And the worst for last! Over at Winterfell, we begin with Theon freaking out because Rickon and Bran escaped. This is not good for his already sucky public image, especially because his men apparently know he was boning Osha. Way to fail to impress anyone, Theon. It's time for a manhunt!

On the hunt, Maester Luwin attempts to appeal to Theon's humanity. That goes about as well as you'd expect. Theon tries to excuse his general terribleness by reminding Luwin that he was torn from his home when he was a kid. Yeah, we get it, dude. At some point the “I had a bad childhood” excuse starts to wear thin. This is Westeros. Who didn't have a bad childhood? The only thing that keeps us a tad sympathetic is that it's clear Theon is becoming completely unhinged.

Meanwhile, Bran, Rickon, Osha, and Hodor are merrily on the run, subsisting on nuts and not much else. They come to a farm, but Bran refuses to stop there, because it would put the farmers at too much risk. Chip off the ol' block, this one. He's as honorable as Ned. But when has that ever done anyone any good?

Later, Theon finds the farm, but the trail dies there. Theon gets all rant-y about how he can't give up, and he'll beat the dogs and his men and the whole damned world until he gets some info out of someone. Then one of his men finds the unfortunate farmer, and Theon sends Luwin off. He's got a completely crazed look on his face. That can't be good...

And it's not! The episode ends with Theon revealing the hanging, blackened bodies of two dead children. Two dead bodies the cameras linger on, leaving us queasy. Things are not going well for the Starks. Screw you, Theon. Screw you.
 
Random notes:

  • Also of note in the Riverlands: Robb is off accepting surrender away from camp, and he brought his love interest with him.
  • "If you're my prisoner you're not a free woman, that's what prisoner means.” Ha.
  • Add Ygritte to the list of characters we like even more on the show.
  • “My life has left me uniquely unfit for restraint.” Jaime has the best lines about himself.
  • This episode is packed with scenes worth rewatching. Both Jaime scenes. Arya and Tywin. Cersei and Sansa. Cersei and Tyrion. For an episode with a huge body count, it was really the conversations that won the day.
  • Needs more Tyrion.
  • Lots of changes from the books again. Books fans: What did you think?

 

What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!

 Catch the next episode of Game of Thrones on Sunday, May 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

 Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.

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