Title: Game of Thrones
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Watched: Episode 18 – May 20, 2012
Title: The Prince of Winterfell
Summary: A little rushed
Last week’s episode ended with Brienne drawing her blade, but this begins at Winterfell with the titular Price of Winterfell, Theon, killing all the ravens to stop word of his treachery. His sister arrives and presses him to return home so as not to die. Somehow this scene felt stilted, her rapid shift from haughty to concerned a bit forced.
Then in the far north, Ygritte and her men deliver Jon to the Lord of Bones (wearing a plastic skull helmet). Qhorin is there too, captive as well, Jon’s fault. Bones wants to gut the bastard, but Ygritte repays her debt by convincing him not.
Robb strolls through pretty Irish countryside while talking to his girlfriend the nurse. I still don’t love their chemistry, even though they talk about Ned. Then Robb learns of the Kingslayer’s escape. New viewers will undoubtedly be confused, because he escaped and was recaptured last week.
Some minor clarity (for those who haven’t read the books) is offered when Robb returns and confronts Cat. She tries to explain. Karstark is furious, but I wasn’t really feeling his acting. Robb arrests his own mother, which is vaguely Oedipal.
Really, Cat sent Brienne off to haul Jaime back to Cersei and trade for the girls. And we see this now, but the show’s need for brevity has trimmed it to the bone. Still, Jaime is great fun teasing Brienne and it’s fun to watch him muscled around by this enormous girl.
Arya is doing table duty again when she learns that Tywin is about to ride and she is to be left behind with the Mountain (uh oh). She runs off past some grisly hung men and finds Hot Pie and Gendry, but she’s really looking for her pet assassin. Presumably she has finally decided to use her third death to rid the land of Tywin. In the book, this has a real feeling of urgency. The show’s efforts to make Tywin more human have diluted that, but everything has trade offs.
Back to Jon. Qhorin hints that Jon should try to infiltrate the wildlings and starts to taunt him. This is extremely brief, and also likely to be lost on new veiwers, but it’s an important bit of info.
Tyrion and Bronn have an amusing chat and Vary’s shows up again. Oh, how I missed him. They discuss the difficult task of defending the city. All three of these actors are in fine form.
Sam and the Crows, still on the Fist of the First Men, are digging latrines and find an ancient cache of obsidian blades. What could those mean? Something obviously as it got two minutes of precious screen time.
Arya finds Jaquen too late. But, always too clever for her own good, she forces him to help her escape by naming his own name. In order to avoid killing himself, he reluctantly agrees to help her.
Tyrion and Cersei are eating lamprey pie (again a nod to the books). Last week’s moment of fraternal love is long gone, for Cersei announces that she holds Shae and is holding her as ransom against Joff’s security. Ty plays it cool, even when she’s brought in and revealed to be Ros (good riddance). Afterward Ty is not so reserved with Shae. He even extracts from her what is akin (in a hooker kind of way) to vows.
Robb talks to Bolton to put pressure on the Bastard retaking Winterfell. Then Talesia (sic?) comes in. He’s stressed, and as usual doesn’t really play much of the king with her. Contrast him with the insufferable Joff! This time around their chemistry is much better as she tells a story of her brother’s near death. There seems to be a sibling theme going on in this episode because we have this story, Theon’s sister’s about him as a baby, and the rivalry between Ty and Cersei. Robb throws his Frey engagement to the wind and plays some serious doctor with the nurse. Do any of the actresses in this show not have nudity clauses in their contract?
Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry sneak through the gate Jaquen has prepared. All the guards have been viciously murdered and propped up. Jaq’s quite the killer.
Stannis and Davos sail toward King’s Landing. They talk of Davos’ rescue of Storm’s End. His whole Onion Knight story is being spooled out in tiny doses. I wonder if the non-readers will get it, but it’s nice to hear.
Joff is playing at being a proper soldier. One just loves to hate him, from his manner to his ridiculous girly man posturing. I can’t wait for… Anyway, Tyrion and Vary’s have another great talk. I do love V. Ty unveils his desire to stay hand (and alive) while V lets slip the threat of Dany and her dragons.
Speaking of, a brief scene where Jorah and Dany discuss what to do. He councils safety, she won’t leave her dragons. Although she has only this one moment in the episode, it’s a good one.
In Winterfell, Maester Luwin sees Asha and tracks her down into the crypt to put our minds at ease. Given the gratuitous hint dropping, I doubt most viewers really thought they were dead. In the books, it was pretty worrisome, as GRRM has killed before!
Overall, this episode had some great scenes but felt rushed and disjointed. So much is going on here that the writers trimmed aggressively to set everything up before next week’s Battle of Blackwater. They’ve done the best they can, but I wonder if noobs (non-readers) will make perfect sense of it.