‘Game of Thrones’ season 2, episode 8 recap
An imp and a eunuch walk into a castle.
Last week’s episode ended with the image of two crispy Starks on the end of a rope. Were they really the boy Lords of the North, or was Theon Greyjoy just using two peasant corpses to freak everyone out? (We think so. We didn’t sit through all of Bram’s dopey dream sequences for nothing.)
This week kicks off with Theon’s sister Yara coming up to Winterfell to put her feet up on the table , drink wine and call her brother a “dumb cunt” (repeatedly.) Apparently Father Balon is less than pleased with Theon’s decision to go rogue, that being this far from the sea is unmanageable for those with iron in their blood.
Beyond the wall, Ygritte presents Jon Snow to a bunch of grotesque dudes wearing animal skulls like hockey masks. Turns out they’ve also captured Qhorin Halfhand, the leader and last surviving member of the Black Watch away team. It doesn’t look good for either of ‘em.
Somewhere behind Robb Stark’s line, the would-be King in the North is with Talisa, talking about his desire for peace (and moping a bit about his betrothal to one of the dames from House Frey.) A messenger comes to let them know that Jaime Lannister has “escaped in the night.”
Turns out, however, that Cate Stark let him go behind Robb’s back, hoping to gain an advantage with so many of her children missing. Robb is not thrilled with the idea, and sends forty men out to “find the Kingslayer” and puts his own mother under watch. (Kids these days!)
Jaime is under the care of Brienne of Tarth, who is quick to make jokes about the blonde giantess.
Good news, you don’t have to sit in a dung-filled cage anymore. Bad news, this is your escort home.
At Harrenhal Tywin and his Lieutenants continue to plan their war in the presence of Arya Stark, hiding as a cup bearer. Tywin seems to be the only one who understands the mentality of a young man who hasn’t experienced defeat . “He’ll risk anything at any time,” he barks, “because he doesn’t know to be afraid.” He decides on an offensive, and Arya looks in vain for Jaqen (her assassin pal) before he leaves.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion sits with a giant text in his lap, worried about Stannis Baratheon’s approach. He nips at Bronn for cleaning his nails and not wearing a City Watch gold cloak. With some prying from Varys the eunuch, Bronn admits that the dip in thievery is due to the fact that all the known thieves have “disappeared.” With a coming siege, the biggest fear isn’t the invading army, but starvation, and with thieves around it will be impossible to maintain any order. Tyrion kinda shrugs in understanding of this fascist tactic, reminding all the Tyrion fans that – wow – even the good characters on Game of Thrones are evil.
Back North of the Wall, Samwell Tarly and another member of the Night’s Watch are digging in the ice and mud to see a stone with a symbol on it – made by “The First Men.” Underneath are Night’s Watch cloaks and weapons made of obsidian. All the Deep Space Nine fans in the audience smiled at the utterance of that word.
At Harenhal, Arya finds Jaqen and gives Tywin’s name for her third hit. He tells her it can’t be done, so she orders him to kill himself. He won’t refuse, but, in his own tongue-twisting way, tells her, “woah, you’ve sure got a pair!” They come to the agreement that he’ll be released of his debt if he helps her escape.
Queen Regent Cersei confronts Tyrion, demanding to know why he has encouraged King Joffrey to fight in the war. She is convinced that after he sent her daughter away to get married in Dorn, he wants to kill off Joffrey. He claims that Joffrey needs to be seen fighting to keep the men inspired. Cersei has a trick up her sleeve, however – she has Shae, Tyrion’s whore/girlfriend, and she swears that if Joffrey is hurt, she’ll kill Shae.
The trick’s on Cersei, though – the woman she’s captured is someone else. Tyrion plays along, though, then runs back to find Shae okay. His actions reveal that, yes, he actually loves her and if anyone ever found this out he’d be vulnerable.
Someone tell Cersei that not all prostitutes look the same.
Then Robb Stark starts yapping to his nurse girlfriend again, she starts going on and on about her childhood and then something truly miraculous happened – I realized this episode is somewhat of a bore. No one had been murdered, no one has had deviant sex and other than Tyrion and Bronn joking about the pronunciation of the author of the Westeros history book, there haven’t been any memorable jokes. Eventually, Robb and his woman do get naked, but by then I already zoned out and was wondering if it was too late to order Indian.
Next we see Arya Stark and her pals ready to leave Harenhall (and she’s telling that fat kid to shut up – a natural leader!)
On Stannis Baratheon’s ship, the would-be King tells Davos Seaworth that he will be the first crabber’s son to be the King’s Hand. Stannis has got a lot of anger in him – still burned up that his older brother Robert disrespected him in favor of Renly. Even with both of them dead, it would appear that Stannis has something to prove. Don’t count this man out.
In the capitol, Varys and Tyrion jaw a bit about Lannister family history. Varys admits that Tyrion plays “the game” well and Tyrion admits that he enjoys it. The Eunuch also mentions that there is rumor from over in Qarth that Daenerys Targaryen is alive and that she has three dragons. “One game at a time. . .” Tyrion demurs.
In Qarth, however, the Khaleesi is scheming to get her dragons back from the House of the Undying. Jorrah tries telling her that despite the moniker “Mother of Dragons,” they are not, in fact, her children. She doesn’t respond that well, I can assure you. I don’t know why Qarth’s new King Xaro Xhoan Daxos is keeping her from seeing the dragons. Weren’t they all pals at the end of last week’s episode?
Back in Winterfell, Maester Luwin catches a glimpse of Osha the Wildling – as I suspected she’s got the Stark boys tucked away safely. The cajun children at the gates are, indeed, the farmer’s boys, but Osha says they’ll never know the truth, “the boys have suffered enough.”
So have we, wasting fifty-seven minutes on an episode where pretty much next to nothing happened. With only two episodes left in the season, this all felt like a vamping to me.
I give this one 4 Whispering Eunuchs Out of 10.
Photos courtesy of HBO