Title: Game of Thrones
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Watched: Episode 17 – May 13, 2012
Title: A Man Without Honor
Summary: Just before the storm
The title of the episode refers to the return of Jaime Lannister, who after a five episode absence, is back with a vengeance. This is the section of the story, in the middle end, where things move very rapidly. There are themes of trust and themes of captivity, but none jumped out at me as totally dominant.
We open with Theon waking to the missing boys. With the killing of Roderick he’s turned down a dark road and becoming increasingly comfortable with the shadows. Case in point, he beats the crap out of one of his men in frustration.
We briefly see Bran, Osha, Hodor and the wolves (yay wolves). They pass a farm and note that they used to play with the farmer boys. This tiny remark sets up something big, but it will probably be lost on the first time audience.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaVcUyzc-dA&feature=youtu.be]
Then we cut to John dragging his prisoner Ygritte across the frozen waste. These are my favorite moments of the episode. Broken into three sections, Ygritte gives John a delightful hard time. About his bone and stones. About his people. About freedom. She tempts him with sex. She tempts him with freedom. And it’s all good fun to watch. We even get one iteration of her signature line from the books, “You know nothing, John Snow.”
Then we’re treated to a gorgeous view of Harrenhal and some cruel work at the hands of the Mountain. The place is huge and pretty cool looking. These big vistas do a decent job of making season two look bigger than season one. Tywin shows his mean side in setting the Mountain loose. In the books, he comes off much more evil as he surounds himself with scum of the earth like Hoat, the Mountain, and Lorch. Here, he has more restraint. He and Arya have some more inappropriate conversation. It’s a little weird, but the chemistry between these two fantastic actors makes it totally worthwhile.
Speaking of chemistry, Sansa bumps into the hound. This brief scene serves to reinforce their peculiar relationship too. Nod to the SanSan crowd that it is.
And then Dany and Xaro have a bit of a convo where he tries to get her to trust him. I never understood Xaro’s angle in the books, and I don’t here either.
Another big view of Robb’s camp. These Robb scenes, being as they don’t exist in the book, are lacking the intensity of emotion GRRM is so good at. Here we see a junior Lannister returning the message from Cersei. We also learn Robb is off for a couple of days, and determined to take the “hot nurse” with him. Perfunctory really.
Riffing on the prisoner situation, Theon is at the farm looking for Bran and Rickon, and not having a great time of it. When he interrogates the farmer he announces his new motto, “better to be cruel than weak.” So he has chosen, and if one were to put it in classic medieval terms, at the cost of his immortal soul.
Jorah and Danny talk about trust. Xaro’s observation and subsequent revelation to her that he’s in love with her has shifted the dynamics of their relationship. Can she trust him? He’s got such blue eyes!
In the third John and Ygritte installment she really lays on the seduction thick and crude. The actress does a fine job with the character too. She runs again, and John finds himself in a bit of a turn around. These last two episodes have really brought the John arc back into the forefront like they are in the books. His movement was feeling a bit anemic for a while.
Sansa dreams of death and wakes to her first period. Shae tries to help her conceal this, but the hound stops by. So on to have a chat with Queen Cersei. The queen really is much more sympathetic and complex in the show than the books. In the novels, she more than Joff instigates a lot of the negative goings on. Here she’s just lost control of her son. In her own cruel way, she gives Sansa sincere advice, like “love no one but your children.”
Then the return of Ser Jaime. He’s in proper form talking to his cousin (or third cousin or whatever). He even tells a Ser Barriston story, because we know we haven’t seen the last of that fine actor. Alas, it’ll take more than captivity alone to make a nice guy of Jaime. He’s not to be trusted. And don’t get in his way.
Jorah is on the hunt for the dragons and goes to visit the new character: prophetess, metal mask fashionista, and masseuse. Cut to Dany meeting with the council of thirteen. The warlock admits to taking the dragons, Xaro gives a speech, and lots of people die. This is all pretty diferent than in the book and I can’t say that I fully understood what happened. Was Xaro in league with the warlocks? Seemed perhaps so, but I don’t see why.
Jaime is recaptured and Cat is there to stop the troops from killing him. Barely. Karstark is pissed. This is a little different than the books where I think the Karstark boy was killed by Jaime in one of the battles, but essentially similar. Jaime is in fine and classic form with his quips though.
Cersei and Tyrion share an interesting scene. She admits she doesn’t control Joff and he actually offers her some solace. For a moment it looks like they might hug, but not. Again, there is more complexity to their relationship here than in the books. Some things gain, some things lose.
Cat interrogates Jaime in his pen. He’s really amusing as he tries again to draw her anger to a murderous boil. If he’s going to die, he wants to die in control. His comments to Brienne are especially hilarious. “Is that actually a woman?” and “Where did you find that beast?”
Finally, Theon is back at castle black. And things are black indeed. Let’s just say I was reminded of that bit in Star Wars (“A New Hope”) where Luke finds out what happened to his aunt and uncle. Pretty grisly.
All in all, a great episode, if not as quite as good as the one before it. All my favorite characters were represented. I don’t miss Stannis and Davos. Sure we only get one Arya scene and one Tryion scene, but things are really moving. I swear, when plotting these books, GRRM must draw out each thread and say continually to himself: “make them do well, make them suffer, make them do well, make them suffer!”