Another episode is in the books. My recap and reactions are below. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read A Clash of Kings. As such the post itself and the comments will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read ACoK yet, you can discuss this episode in our non-book reader recap. Thanks!
Lots of action in King’s Landing this week, so let’s start there. Tyrion and Bronn discuss planning for the upcoming battle. Varys joins them. And the discussion turns to how ugly a siege can get. That night, Cersei and Tyrion share dinner where Cersei reveals that she has caught his whore. Cersei threatens to kill her if anything should happen to Joffrey. Tyrion thinks she is talking about Shae, but turns out it is Ros. Tyrion rushes back to his room to find Shae safe and sound. The next morning, Joffrey, Tyrion and Varys inspect the battle preparations. Joffrey promises that he will kill Stannis himself. Tyrion and Varys do the verbal equivalent of an eye roll. Varys then complements Tyrion on the way he’s played the game. He then reveals to him that Daenerys is alive and in Qarth. And she has dragons.
Over in Qarth, Dany and Jorah are on there own. Jorah has found a ship and wishes to sail for Astapor. Dany refuses to leave her children behind. She orders Jorah to take her to the House of the Undying.
Beyond the Wall, Ygritte takes Jon to Rattleshirt. He wants to kill him but Ygritte convinces him that Mance will want to talk to him. Qhorin has been captured as well, but the rest of his band is dead. Qhorin tells Jon that he can make their deaths worthwhile, if he can go undercover with the wildlings. To help with the ruse, Qhorin acts that he is furious at Jon for causing the death of his brothers.
Speaking of his brothers, Sam, Grenn and Dolorous Edd are busy digging in the snow when Grenn makes a discovery: a cache of dragonglass wrapped in the black cloak of a man of the Night’s Watch.
Robb Stark is on his way to or from the Crag, talking with Talisa. A rider comes up and delivers the news: his mother has released Jaime Lannister. Robb returns to camp and orders his mother be put under guard. That night, Robb and Roose converse and we learn that his bastard is a few days from Winterfell. Talisa enters the tent and Robb asks how she became a nurse. She tells the story of a slave in Volantis saving her brother’s life from a near drowning. Her and Robb then have sex.
Meanwhile, Brienne is escorting Jaime to King’s Landing. They bicker and argue over who can beat who in a fight and then set out by canoe.
Out at sea, Stannis and Davos sail towards King’s Landing. Stannis remarks that he admires Davos’ loyalty. He recalls the time he saved them all when Storm’s End was undersiege. Stannis promises Davos that he will become his Hand, once he wins the Iron Throne.
In Harrenhal, Arya learns that Tywin is riding out immediately. She attempts to find Jaqen so she can order Tywin killed, but he is out patrolling. When he returns, she asks him to kill Tywin immediately before he can attack her brother. Jaqen tells her he can’t do that, so she names a different name: Jaqen H’ghar. She refuses to unname him unless he helps her and her friends escape from Harrenhal. He agrees and tells her they will be able to walk out of the gate at midnight. That night, Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie wait for Jaqen, but he is nowhere to be found while the guards are standing by the gate. Arya decides to walk towards the gate and they realize that the guards are already dead. They walk out of Harrenhal.
Winterfell is where the episode opens and ends. At the open, we see Yara arriving with her men. Theon is disappointed that she has not brought a very large force. Yara says she isn’t staying, she is heading home and she wants Theon to come with her. Theon refuses. Later, Theon and Dagmer talk about paying the farmer “for his troubles”. Luwin overhears… and then sees Osha sneak into the crypts. Luwin goes down into the crypts where Osha is hiding with Hodor, Bran and Rickon.
What I Liked
Bringing it back to the books – The last couple episodes have veered quite a bit from the books, but this episode brought it back in a good way. I can now see where the writers are going with most of these storylines. Sure, the way they got there has been a bit different, but it looks like the end points are going to be the same.
“That’s the only time a man can be brave.” – A fantastic line that was cut from season one, gets brought back by the writers here, as something that Ned once told Robb. Maybe it loses some of its impact being told secondhand, but I was happy that it made it into the show in any case.
Tyrion and Bronn… and now Varys – Can we expand the old buddy comedy to include one more? Any combination of these three in a scene equals pure gold.
Arya gets clever – This was one of those great moments in the book and I loved seeing it on screen. Both Maisie and Tom played it well, with Arya’s glee at pulling a fast one on Jaqen and Jaqen getting increasinlgy annoyed. Yeah, there was no Weasel Soup incident in the show, but I don’t think that is such a great loss. And the way they handled Jaqen setting up their escape was pretty badass. Now, if they skip his face changing and him giving her the coin, I will cry foul. But I feel confident that Arya will run into Jaqen again before the end of the season.
Brienne and Jaime – Are these two great or what? Can’t wait until next season…
What I Didn’t Like
A slow burn – This episode was all about getting the pieces into place for the final two episodes. While I enjoyed it, not all that much happened. I think an episode like this shouldn’t be happening this late in the season. I imagine there were a few new viewers that kept waiting for the shit to hit the fan and it never did. Of course, we know that next week is the BIG episode, but I think the writer’s could have paced things a little better to try and get a little more action into this episode.
Cersei’s power play – While I enjoyed this scene (and other than Ros replacing Alayaya, it was ripped pretty much straight from the book) did anyone else think that the show version of Cersei is a bit contradictory? Just last week, she was lamenting how Joffrey is insane and uncontrollable and saying he is the “price for our sins”. Now she is all about protecting him at all costs, even going so far as to capture and beat the whore that she assumes her brother loves. In the book, Joffrey wasn’t nearly as cruel and Cersei supports him 100%, so this move made sense, but in the show, Joffrey is a complete despot while Cersei has been shown to doubt his sanity. This is the problem with making small changes in the story and characters; you lose consistency when you go back to the book for a later scene and the characters act in a way that seems incongruous with how they’ve been presented in the show so far.
Robb’s romance – As I was watching Talisa tell her story and seeing Robb’s reaction, I was thinking to myself, “Please don’t have sex, please don’t have sex.” I know that we have a ton of storylines to get to each week and so they can’t spend a lot of time building this up, but man, I really wish they would have had them sleep together next week, or even two weeks from now. We didn’t really get a sense that Robb was struggling with betraying his honor at all. The second they are alone together and sharing an intimate moment, the clothes are off. I think if they had ended their final scene tonight with the beginnings of a kiss, only to have Robb break if off, clearly wanting her but struggling to keep his word, it really would have sold this tragic love story. Then in a week or two, after some more time spent with these two and after the audience clearly understands that Robb is trying to stand strong but is obviously head over heels for this girl, then Robb can finally give in to his urges.
What did you all think of tonight’s episode? Share your thoughts below and also don’t forget to give the episode a rating in our weekly poll!