Hold on tight, you guys, War is really Coming this time. I promise, there will be a great battle — and it’s likely going to happen in next week’s episode, which just so happens to be directed by Dog Soldiers and Centurion director Neil Marshall. But more on that later. For now, we’ll just focus on the eighth episode of season two, “The Prince of Winterfell,” in our weekly column known as Blog of Thrones, the people’s champion of Westeros and the first place you should come on Monday mornings for all the juiciest Game of Thrones watercooler discussion. This week we get to use dirty words, contemplate strategies and watch one of our favorite characters finally get what’s coming to him.
As always, Blog of Thrones is written from the perspective of a relative novice to George R.R. Martin’s books. It focuses solely on Game of Thrones the show and assumes that you’ve seen everything up to the latest episode. If you travel down this Kingsroad and find yourself spoiled, the king will know the reason why.
Theon Greyjoy is a Cunt
This week’s episode saw not one, but two great emotional standoffs between siblings. In the North, Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) wins this season’s award for most entertaining cursing spree as she tells her brother just what sort of man he is. It’s a pivotal moment for (what we can only assume is) the soon-to-be-late Theon Greyjoy, as he’s given a way out of his well-dug hole by his warrior goddess of a sister. But pride takes over, as it has at every turn for the young Ironman, and he chooses to once again blaze his own path. One that we can’t help but believe ends abruptly in the near future with a good portion of his guts on the floor of Winterfell. He really shouldn’t have kil… told everyone that he killed the little Starks. Speaking of which — this week’s big non-twist — it was difficult not to jump into the comments last week and tell many of you how right you were about Bran and Rickon. It wasn’t a secret the show’s writers kept very well, foreshadowing like crazy, so it’s nice to see that they didn’t try to keep up the rouse for very long. Remember though, the important thing isn’t that we are fooled, it’s that other folks in the North are fooled. And for all they know, Bran and Rickon are fried chitlins hanging from the walls of Winterfell. A fact that won’t bode well for Theon’s chances.
The other big emotional standoff this week came in the form of more brilliance from both Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage. In a moment I’ve been waiting for since reading it in the second of George R.R. Martin’s books, Tyrion Lannister shows off just how well he plays the game. When he says to his sister, “I will hurt you for this,” we know he means it even though she’s clearly got the wrong whore. Dinklage sells it with award-worthy form, just as Tyrion Lannister would. Impin’ ain’t easy friends, but this half-man’s got game.
What kind of King do you want to be?
Episode eight’s main purpose is to set us up for what is to come: two final episodes of the season that will undoubtedly explode with violence, mysticism and wild moments that will have us pulling out our hairs one-by-one until season three begins airing. So it’s important that we get to check in with each of the would-be kings and see what they are up to. Robb Stark is mad at his mother, but really just wanted to play doctor with his new field medic girlfriend. Lord Frey may not approve of Robb getting down with someone who is not one of his inbred daughters, but I certainly approve. Those elder Stark boys are the only ones in Westeros not getting laid. What kind of show is this if we don’t get to see our heroes get the girls? Don’t worry, Jon Snow, you’re probably next.
Elsewhere, Stannis Baratheon is still a mean old bastard. But at least he’s sailing toward a battle with his Onion Knight in tow. He’d also be displeased to hear what his little shitcicle nephew had to say about his less than sunny disposition. As a matter of fact, a few moments of Joffrey being pure brat were welcomed this week, if only to remind us that he’s a little pissant. It’s part of the draw of Tyrion Lannister as the show’s heart and soul — he has to put up with the boy king. And finally, we get about 30 seconds with the now dragonless Mother of Dragons. She’s still stubborn and Stormborn and not taking the council of her knight. But she’s headed straight for a confrontation at the House of the Undying, which sounds ominous enough.
Imagine Stannis’ terror…
Even though the breakneck pace of episode eight makes the whole thing fly by, director Alan Taylor and producers Benioff and Weiss (who got writing credit on this and the upcoming two episodes) spend just enough time with each of the main characters to realign us with everyone’s current standing. Because once the battle begins, it might get a little messy.
Also, how about the balls on that Catelyn Stark, eh? Releasing the Kingslayer with his new favorite verbal punching bag, Brienne the Beauty. That’s a pairing we should all look forward to checking in on again soon.
This Week’s Final Thought: How is it that only slaves know how to perform CPR around here?
Line of the Week: “Maybe we can throw books at ‘em.” Oh, Bronn.
Next Week: War. Is. Here.
Tyrion Lannister, badass.
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