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‘Game of Thrones’ Review: “The Old Gods and the New”

Game of Thrones The Old Gods and the New
HBO

Hooray for war!  Sweet, off-camera war! ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 lays siege to its sixth episode of the season, as Kings’ Landing erupts in riot, threatening the life of young Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), while Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) seizes control of Winterfell, and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) makes a new friend up north of the wall.

Last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode “The Ghost of Harrenhal” saw  Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receiving an interesting proposal during her stay in Qarth, while Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) oversaw his nephew’s preparations for the coming war, and a deadly turn of events for Renly Baratheon saw Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) out on the run together, 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 Old Gods and the New!”

War!  But of course, we don’t see anything.  A battle rages throughout Winterfell, as Maester Luwin scrambles to send a raven out, before being caught.  Theon awakens Bran in his bed, gently ordering him to surrender Winterfell in order to spare its people, to which Bran reluctantly agrees.  Having yielded, Bran gathers with Theon in the courtyard to make the announcement to the people, who curse his name.  Osha offers to take up arms with Theon, but gets rejected, as the guards bring in Ser Rodrik Cassel.  Cassel spits in Theon’s face rather than submit, an offense that Dagmer insists to Theon that Rodrik Cassel must pay the iron price for!  While everyone begs for his life, Cassel resigns, and Theon reluctantly swings a sword (multiple times, eww) to sever his head…

Out way beyond the wall, Jon Snow, Halfhand and his crew continue traipsing through the snow, Halfhand reminding Jon that he needn’t give his life so readily or happily just because it’s expected of him.  They happen upon a Wildling camp, and manage to slay all but one, a beautiful redhead girl named Ygritte!  When she refuses to provide any useful information, the men leave Jon Snow to the task of killing her, though Jon hesitates at the last moment.  In the surprise, Ygritte manages to flee, covering a bit of distance before Jon catches her, still unable to kill her, and now lost from his men.

Over in Castle Harrenhal, Tywin Lannister berates one of his councilmen for addressing a raven to a Stark-loyal man, when servants announce the arrival of Petyr Baelish.  Afraid of being recognized, Arya does her best to hide her face as Baelish explains to Tywin how the Tyrells might prove loyal even after Renly’s death.  Though he doesn’t call attention to it, Baelish eventually does seem to notice Arya, as he segways into a potential bargain from Catelyn Stark to release Jamie in exchange for her daughters.  You know, that one over there, pouring the wine.

As the royal family oversees young Myrcella’s departure, Cersei swearing to take someone Tyrion loves, King Joffrey berates his young brother for crying and storms off.  As the family proceeds back through Kings’ Landing, unrest gets the better of the unruly mobs, who hurl a cowpie at Joffrey’s head!  While Joffrey screams for the people to be punished, a riot breaks out and Tyrion does his best to assure everyone’s safety, losing the royal priest to the crowd.  The Lannisters manage to get themselves to safety, though Sansa Stark finds herself dragged off!  Blaming Joffrey’s stupidity for the riot and reminding him that they need Sansa alive to trade for Jaime Lannister, Tyrion serves up his most famous slap right across his kingly nephew’s face!  Most of the King’s guard ignore Tyrion’s pleas, but the Hound himself manages to save young lady Stark moments before being raped by several men of the crowd.

Across the sea, Daenerys waits for the Spice King to meet with her, Daxos reminding her that she could avoid having to beg for help if she’d accept his offer of marriage.  When he finally arrives, the Spice King turns down Dany’s request to borrow his ships, noting that she offers no real promise of return on his investment, as Daenerys has no assurance the people will rise to support her claim to the throne of Westeros.  Mother of Dragons, immune to fire, and prophetic though her dreams may be, Dany won’t be taking Westeros with the Spice King’s ships.  Jerk.

Back in Harrenhal, Arya sneaks into her possession the letter regarding Tywin’s plans for Robb Stark, covering herself by lying about her father having taught her to read, something that reminds Tywin of his old difficulties teaching young Jaime to read.  When she manages to steal herself away from the room to read the letter, she runs smack into Tywin’s subordinate Amory Loch, who demands an explanation for why she has it.  Faltering, she manages to break away while Amory heads straight for Tywin!  Cashing in on the second of her free murders, Arya implores Jaqen to kill Amory post-haste, barely getting a poison dart in Amory’s neck before he falls dead in Tywin’s doorway.

Back over the wall, Jon Snow leads a bound Ygritte, before stopping to settle down for the night.  Still refusing to build a fire for fear of being seen, Ygritte suggests they cuddle up close for warmth, grinding into him all sexy-like against his wishes.  Play on, Jon Snow..

Robb Stark returns to his camp after a long day of King in the North-liness, greeting his loyal followers, when he spots Lady Talisa.  You know, that nurse woman he’s been eying (who for some reason isn’t named Jeyne Westerling).  The pair make flirty chitchat over whether or not she’s a proper lady, when the return of Lady Catelyn Stark throws a wrench into the works.  Cordial though she is, Catelyn reminds her eldest son that he has inherited his father’s responsibilities, and has been promised to another, much as she wishes he could follow his heart.

What then?  Why, news from Winterfell of Theon Greyjoy’s attack!  While the news seems incredulous, Robb’s second-in-command reminds him that he can’t yet abandon his attack on the Lannisters, but that they will take back Winterfell, and bring Theon before him to answer for his crimes.

Speaking of the dastardly Theon, Osha once more offers herself to the would-be Lord of Winterfell, though this time it’s Theon’s spear she looks to take a hold of!  Exchanging sex for freedom, Osha waits until Theon has had his fill and drifted off to sleep before sneaking out, killing a guard in her path, and secretly leading Bran, Hodor, and young Rickon Stark away…

While Shae tends to the wounded Sansa, quieting her hatred of Joffrey and explaining that her life would be easier if the young princess didn’t place her trust in anyone, Daxos walks with Daenerys back in Qarth.  It seems no one wants to help poor Dany with her quest, though Daxos explains how he too came from very humble beginnings, and sometimes the path to wealth is not always pure and honest.  Before he can finish his story, they happen upon most of Dany’s Khalasar murdered, and her dragons stolen from their cages!

Across the city, a mysterious hooded figure carries the shrouded dragons toward an ominous looking tower…

Boy, things just keep getting worse for everybody!  Arya on the cusp of being caught, Robb unable to pursue the one he truly loves, the Lannister reign in Kings’ Landing falling apart, and now Winterfell?  Seems like the only one coming out ahead is Jon Snow, even if he’s separated from his men, with a new ladyfriend to keep him company!  And hey, maybe one day they’ll actually show us, you know, a war!

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 “A Man Without Honor” on HBO!

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