Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Game of Thrones 2.8: The Prince of Winterfell

Forbidden Love

Well all I can say about this episode is boy Arya is one smart girl. After hearing that Lord Tywin is going to march on Robb Stark, Arya seeks out Jaqen H’ghar to cast her last name and have him kill Tywin. Unfortunately, she cannot find Jaqen before Tywin leaves Harrenhal, so Jaqen asks her to choose a different name. Cunningly, Arya names Jaqen as the third man he has to kill. This puts Jaqen in an awkward position and Arya the upperhand in bargaining. In return for unnaming him, Jaqen promises to help Arya and her friends escape. True to his word, at midnight, Arya is able to walk out of Harrenhal untouched and on her own to find her way back to Winterfell. 

Robb Stark has a troublesome day this episode. He finds out that Catelyn let Jaime Lannister escape. Now he faces a disgruntled group of soldiers and a mother who defied him. He places Catelyn under house arrest. Thank god he is not Joffrey because who knows what evil, painful death Joffrey would have thought up if his own mother let a prisoner go. Robb does have a lighter moment in this episode. He continues to court Talisa Maegyr. I do not know what it is about forbidden courtly romance that makes it so appealing and seductive. The great loves of Lancelot and Guinevere and Marc Antony and Cleopatra have become iconic stories of forbidden love and a model for this love story between “spoken for” Robb and Talisa. The flirtation reaches a climax this episode when Robb blurts out  that he does not want to a marry a Frey and in a heated passion, he and Talisa rip off each other’s clothes and go at it on the floor. 

Tyrion also has several interesting encounters this episode. My favorite involves him talking battle strategy with Bronn and Varys. Bronn has to be one of my favorite characters. His one line zingers cause me to chuckle and he is the only one who is a match for Tyrion’s wit. Jerome Flynn, who portrays Bronn, does it brilliantly and showcases his incredible acting range. It is amazing that he can be on two different shows at the same time and convincingly portray and transform into two different characters. This year he starred alongside Matthew Macfadyen in Ripper Street, playing a very shy and conservative police sergeant who has trouble finding love and does not really stand up to authority. At the opposite end of the spectrum, he transforms into Bronn for Game of Thrones, a scoundrel and sellsword who never met a price he didn’t like and has no problem spouting his opinions no matter how highborn the recipient is. In this episode Bronn actually adds human character to the upcoming siege informing Tyrion and Varys that it is not just the battle they need to worry about but the hunger and starvation the people will suffer because of the battle. He opens the door to the possibility that Tyrion will not only be facing a battle outside of the city walls but also inside. 

Tyrion also has a heated exchange with Cersei. This episode it seems Cersei gets the better of Tyrion discovering that he once again has fallen in love with a whore. In exchange for Tyrion not making Joffrey fight in the upcoming battle, Cersei promises not to harm Tyrion’s love. It is to our surprise, however, when Tyrion asks to see his love and make sure Cersei has not already killed her that Cersei produces the wrong prostitute. Now of course Tyrion being too smart to let Cersei know she has captured the wrong whore plays along acting like the woman in the room is the one he adores. Though you know that Shae is still safe, the way Tyrion looks at the prostitute and promises that she will not be harmed seems completely sincere. Tyrion has proven to be a humane man and you know that he will not sacrifice an innocent woman just to get his way. I do not know how Tyrion managed to acquire morals when all of the other Lannisters severely lack them but I am glad because Tyrion is a fun character and I like cheering for him. 

Overall those are the main story points though other storylines briefly make an appearance. Brien is taking the Kingslayer I guess back to King’s Landing. Jon Snow is now a captive of the Wildlings along with another Night’s Watch man. Daenerys convinces Ser Jorah to take her to the House of the Undying so she can retrieve her dragons. Stannis is a day away from King’s Landing and promises Ser Davos the role of the King’s Hand once Stannis regains the Iron Throne. Finally Bran and Rickon are alive and hiding in the crypts of Winterfell right under Theon’s nose. 

The next episode promises to be epic with the battle between Stannis and King’s Landing that the whole season has been gearing up for. Only two episodes left!