As Game of Thrones Season 2 draws to a close, everything is building to the big battle next week. Are you excited? Because we're already counting down the hours. But before the fighting starts, there were a few more ducks to put into order, and the result was a chatter-heavy episode that was filled with some wonderful interpersonal moments.
Read on for Wetpaint Entertainment's recap of Season 2, Episode 8: “The Price of Winterfell.”
The Princes of Winterfell
Let's start with the titular location. Despite his apparent triumphs, Theon is not having a great time. Yara rides into town, casually dominating the place with her sheer baller-ness. Instead of enforcements, she's brought a mandate — daddy Greyjoy wants Theon to come on home. See, it turns out the Greyjoys don't actually want Winterfell. A castle hundreds of miles from water doesn't really do them any good, especially now that Theon has pissed off the entire north by killing Bran and Rickon. Yara sums it up in her uniquely eloquent way: “Are you the dumbest c*nt alive?”
When Theon doesn't want to give in she softens, slightly, and tries to appeal to him as a sibling by telling a touching story about the time she wanted to strangle him when he was a baby. She leaves, begging Theon to abandon his folly.
We circle back around to Winterfell at the end of the episode for the big reveal: Bran and Rickon aren't really dead! They're actually hanging out in the tunnels below Winterfell, as Maester Luwin learns when he spots Osha stealing them food. Theon couldn't find them, so he killed the farmer's kids instead. So, Theon still sucks, and now Bran has one more thing to feel guilty about. But hey, at least he's alive.
Beyond the Wall: An Unfortunate Reunion
Way up north, Ygritte hands Jon over to a man named the Lord of Bones. That's the bad news. The worse news is that the Lord of Bones already has a Night's Watch prisoner: Qhorin Halfhand. Ygritte has to talk the Lord of Bones out of gutting Jon, arguing that as Ned Stark's bastard, he might be of interest to Mance Rayder. So now she and Jon are even.
Qhorin and Jon talk as prisoners. Jon admits he couldn't kill Ygriette. Qhorin is all yeah, I figured that one out, and now I'm going to die because of it. See that it wasn't for nothing.
Later, he expands on that, whispering that a man inside the wildling camp could be invaluable. He wants Jon to be a spy, basically. To get the ball rolling on this plan he starts yelling about Jon being a traitor and pushes him down a hill. Ygritte watches this like, huh. Interesting.
We also check back in with the rest of the Night's Watch. Sam and friends are digging latrines, grumbling about life and arguing about whether or not Jon is still alive when they dig up an old covered hole. It's filled with a Night's Watch cloak, a horn, and a handful of spearheads made with obsidian. How mysterious.
In the Riverlands: A Romance Is Born
Robb and Talisa walk slowly through some beautiful woods, chatting about the woman Robb has to marry and how amazing Ned was and all of Robb's feelings about his war and blah blah blah. The point is, Robb's a good person and they're bonding. But! Their romantic walk is interrupted by the news that Jaime has escaped. How? How could this terrible thing happen?
… Yeah, it was Cat. She let Jaime go in the hopes that she could get Sansa and Arya back. And you know what? She's not apologizing for it, even if it has pissed off all of Robb's men. Robb declares she needs to have guards on her from now on. Given that her biggest moves so far have been arresting one Lannister for no reason and letting another go, that's probably a good idea. Robb also sends a ton of men after Jaime.
Later, Roose Bolton assures Robb once again that his bastard will take care of the Winterfell situation, and Robb decides that any of the Iron Born who surrender will be free to go home — except Theon, of course. Roose thinks the rest will turn on the “Prince of Winterfell,” and we're inclined to agree. Poor Theon. Literally no one in Westeros likes him.
Roose leaves and Talisa shows up, and asks how Robb is. Answer: So not good. They dance around apologizing to each other, Robb shares his worries about being a good King, and then she tells a really unnecessarily long story about how her brother almost died until a slave saved him, and that's why she's a nurse. Then they have sex! Even though Robb is supposed to be marrying someone else! That seems ill-advised, and we're not sure if we're sold on this romance, but at least it's really good sex. It's nice to see a sex scene on this show where both people are into it.
On the Road: The Odd Couple
Of course, Cat didn't let Jaime go on his own: He's being escorted back to King's Landing by none other than Brienne. They only have one short scene, but already these two are pitch-perfect. Jaime talks a mile a minute, Brienne deadpans back at him without getting ruffled, we laugh. They're a regular comedy duo, with some juicy underlying tension, because if Jaime ever does make Brienne snap, we're in for one hell of a sword fight.
But for now, we'll make due with the verbal sparring. We leave them on a boat, Jaime still tied up. Question: What happens to Brienne if they get caught? Will Robb's men forgive her part in Jaime's escape? Just one more thing to worry about...
Harrenhal: A Last Request
Tywin decides to ride to attack Robb, which finally inspires Arya to ask Jaqen to kill him. How did she not think of that sooner? Seriously.
Bad news: It's too late now. Jaqen can't guarantee he'll get to Tywin before Tywin gets to Robb. Arya gets mad. He promised to help! But, no, that's not true: He promised death, not help. So Arya's like fine dude, YOU. Kill yourself. Damn. The unflappable Jaqen cracks as he begs for her to un-name him, even asking, “please.” It's always startling to see someone so in-control show fear. Arya agrees to un-name him, but only if he helps her and her friends escape.
Which he does, by hanging all of the guards. Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie just waltz on out of Harrenhal. Well played, Arya. Very well played.
King's Landing: Preparations Are Made
It feels like we haven't had a King's Landing-heavy episode in a while, but this week was all about it. We'd forgotten exactly how compelling Tyrion can be in large doses.
First, we're treated to a cute Tyrion-Bronn bromance scene, which Varys interrupts so they can all ponder exactly how screwed they are when Stannis lays siege to the city. We learn that Bronn and the rest of the City Watch have started rounding up and, it's implied, killing thieves. His logic is that in a siege, the worst thing is not the fighting, but the starving, and thieves are the ones that prosper. Desperate times and all that. We also learn that Stannis knows King's Landing really well. Basically, things are gonna suck.
Then Tyrion and Cersei have yet another sizzling scene. He suggests Joffrey go into battle, but she sees through that: He's trying to get Joff killed. No kidding. But Cersei thinks she has the upper hand, because she has captured Tyrion's beloved prostitute. Peter Dinklage does a magnificent job showing Tyrion internally freaking out while he tries to maintain his external cool.
But it's okay. Cersei, in her infinite incompetence, has the wrong prostitute. It's not Shae, it's Ros. Of course it is. Tyrion assures Ros that she will be okay, and she replies “don't forget me,” which we take to mean “you'd better give me all the money when this is over.” Tyrion warns Cersei that one day, he will hurt her for this.
Tyrion runs to find Shae, and, in one of the most romantic scenes of the whole show, declares they need to be more careful. “You're mine. Promise me,” he begs. “I'm yours. And you are mine,” she returns. Aww.
Finally, Tyrion and Varys hang out with Joffrey, who wants to strike out against Robb, because he is just the stupidest, worst person and has no idea how the world works at all. He also wants to give Stannis a “red smile from ears to ear.” Tyrion's deadpan “imagine Stannis's terror” just about sums it up. We hope you do die in battle, Joffrey. Or, just, like, trip and fall off a building. Whatever. We're not picky.
Then Tyrion and Varys have a fascinating little conversation where they both, in their veiled way, agree that it would be nice if they could team up. They'll never speak as two honest men, but they seem to reach something of an accord here. In the end, they want the same thing: To survive to play the game another day. And for now, that means they're on the same side, because if Stannis takes over, they're both in trouble.
(Varys also mentions that he's heard Dany and her dragons are alive, but they agree that that's a problem for another day.)
Qarth: They ARE Her Babies
Speaking of Dany and her dragons, Jorah has found a ship and is ready to skip town tomorrow, but Dany's not having it. Her dragons are her babies, even if Jorah doesn't agree. He says some logical things about how the warlocks are powerful and she really has no leverage, but she has the upper hand here, because he's desperately in love with her. She strokes his beard and asks him to take her to the dragons, and he's all uh...
We're not sure what, if any, feelings she has for him, but she sure can play him like a fiddle.
The Narrow Sea: A New Hand
We haven't seen Stannis in several episodes, but his one scene here does a good job reminding us what he's all about. We get a bit of back story, too. During Robert's rebellion, Stannis held Storm's End while it was under siege; they almost starved to death until Davos smuggled in some food, which explains their relationship. But here's the catch: After all that, Robert made Stannis give Storm's End to Renly, which he did, because it was his duty. He followed the rules all his life, and now the rules say he's king, so he's going to be king. To which we can only say: Fair enough, dude. He may or may not be the best choice for the job, but we can sympathize.
Anyway, he announces that Davos will be his Hand once he sits on the throne. That's another thing we like about Stannis: He doesn't play politics, at all. He doesn't care that Davos is the son of a crabber. Heck, he likes that Davos has adopted the onion as the symbol of his house as a way to stick it to the men who mocked him. We like that, too. Neither of these men are cut out for court the way it's run now, but we have a feeling the game would change a lot under Stannis's rule. Maybe Davos could manage to be the first moral Hand to not meet an untimely death.
Stannis and his men are only a day or so away from King's Landing, so you know what that means: Next week, we finally get to see a battle. Get ready guys, because it's going to be great.
- Every time we cut back to north of the wall, we gasp out loud because the scenery is so gorgeous. Every single time.
- Great Yara line: “We both loved our mother. We both endured our father.”
- Robb's sex scene needed more of Robb's butt. *shallow*
- Arya showed a bit of her sadistic side when she hurt Hot Pie to get info out of him. Girl has a crazy streak.
- The Tyrion line of the week is straight from the books: “I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you're safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you'll know the debt is paid.”
Catch the next episode of Game of Thrones on Sunday, May 27 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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