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‘Game of Thrones’ Review: “The Prince of Winterfell”

Game of Thrones the Lord of Winterfell
HBO

War is coming next week, so don’t despair just yet! ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 sails through its eighth episode of the season, as Tyrion learns that his sister Cersei has caught the scent of someone dear to him, while Arya names a surprising next name to Jaqen, Rob gives in to his passion for the beautiful Lady Talisa (Oona Chaplin), and Jon Snow finds himself a captive of the Wildlings up North.

Last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode “A Man Without Honor” saw  Sansa (Sophie Turner) moving closer toward the horrible thought of bearing Joffrey’s children, Ygritte (Rose Leslie) taunting Jon Snow through the North, Theon (Alfie Allen) searching or Rickon and Bran, and Daenerys finding herself in the middle of a deadly coup, so what will the latest episode bring?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 episode “The Prince of Winterfell!”

At Winterfell, Theon’s sister Yara finally arrives to oversee her brother’s accomplishments, but maintains her brother’s stupidity in conquering a location so far removed from their seaward strength, and executing such valuable hostages as Bran and Rickon Stark.  More than that however, Yara presses her brother genuinely to return home with her, lest he die alone in Winterfell for his actions in enraging the North.  She reminds him how she pacified his unruly nature once as a baby, and begs her brother not to continue in this foolish cause.

Over in the frozen Northern Wastelands, Ygritte brings Jon Snow before the Lord of Bones, but with Jon as his second Night’s Watch hostage (Halfhand being the first), the leader doesn’t see much value in keeping Snow alive.  Ygritte steps in however, and points out that as Ned Stark’s boy, their leader Mance will make the final decision, telling Jon afterward that they’re even for sparing one another’s lives.  Afterward, Halfhand relays how the other watch members died trying to find Jon Snow.

While Robb Stark and Lady Talisa share a lovely stroll explaining his promised marriage to the Frey girl, a scout arrives with some distressing news: Robb mother Catelyn has set free Jaime Lannister, hoping to reclaim at least some of her four captive children!  Furious at his mother’s betrayal, Robb sends men after the Kingslayer, but Brienne’s already led him a great deal away, bearing his foolish taunts the entire time.  Are you smelling the epic Brienne / Jaime fight as much as we are?

Over in Castle Harrenhal, Arya hears of the latest plot for Tywin Lannister’s forces to mount a surprise attack on a distracted Robb Stark, though the girl fails to find Jaqen in order to pronounce her third kill in time.  Meanwhile in the North, Halfhand and Jon Snow plot a means for him to gain the Wildlings trust by fighting with his commander, while Tyrion Lannister, Bronn and Varys study up on the great siege’s of Westeros in order to mount a defensive strategy against Stannis Baratheon.  And what’s this shiny pretty set of dragon-glass tools Samwell Tarly and the other Night’s Watch men discover buried in the snow, under a rune marked by the “First Men?”

When Arya finally tracks down Jaqen, she criticizes his inability to get a job done in a timely fashion, but ultimately devises away to escape from Harrenhal; either Jaqen kills a number of guards to allow for her escape, or she’ll name her third name as Jaqen himself!  Clever girl.  Less than clever however is Cersei Lannister, who reveals to Tyrion that she’s uncovered his secret love, and plans to inflict equal pain on her if Joffrey ends up harmed by Tyrion’s plan to have the King fight alongside his men at the coming siege.  In truth, Cersei has mistaken Ros for Tyrion’s lover, and both silently agree to continue the charade for the moment.  Afterward, Tyrion rushes to Shae’s side to profess his love, and for the two to swear devotion to one another.

Back at Robb’s camp, Robb plots out his revenge on Theon when Lady Talisa arrives to ask the stupid question of how her King is faring, betrayed by his mother, adopted brother, and with four siblings missing or incarcerated.  Ever falling for one another, Lady Talisa shares a bit more of her history, in that watching her brother’s life saved through CPR one day was what brought her into healing.  And speaking of matters of the body, why talk, when the pair can get down and dirty right there on the tent floor?!  Who needs clothes, or betrothals to bridge girls?

That night, Arya and her cohorts observe the guards standing at the Castle Harrenhal gates, wondering what move Jaqen will make, before they notice that al the guards are dead, rather grossly propped up to look like they’re guarding the place.  Smell ya later, Harrenhal.  Across the sea, Stannis Baratheon converses with Davos Seaworth, and extolling on his great loyalty by imparting the tale of how he held Storm’s End through desperate starvation at the behest of his king brother, yet never spoke up about Robert offering the land to Renly instead.  Valuing loyalty as he does, Stannis elects that Davos will be his Hand to the king once his siege is complete.

Over in King’s Landing, Tyrion lays his usual acerbic smackdown on Joffrey’s style of ruling and preparations for the coming battle, before taking a moment aside to share with Varys their mutual love of this crazy game of thrones.  Varys has heard rumors of Daenerys and her dragons’ rise to power over the seas, but Tyrion defers him that they only need play one game at a time.

Speaking of Daenerys, Jorah insists that his Khaleesi abandon her dragons to the House of the Undying and take the next ship out of Qarth, but ultimately relents when Dany preys on his affections to let her reclaim the only “children” she’ll ever have.  And speaking of children, back in Winterfell Maester Luwin spots Osha, as we learn that the burned bodies  hanging from the gate belong to the farmer’s boys, not Bran and Rickon.  Osha hopes not to burden Bran with the knowledge of what happened to those boys, though the young prince is already listening.

Just two more episodes to go, and only one until that big battle we’ve been hearing so much about!  ‘Game of Thrones’ can often make it seem like more is happening than it really is, so while “The Prince of Winterfell” isn’t the most eventful episode, its still got loads of good character beats, and plenty to get us excited for the rest of the season.

Still, if you think this was good, just wait until next week!  Did you get your fill of sword-swingin’ ‘Game of Thrones’ action?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Game of Thrones’ next effort “Blackwaterl” on HBO!

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