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Game of Thrones Episode 208, The Prince of Winterfell

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Game of Thrones 208, The Prince of Winterfell

On the eve of war, Tywin marches, Stannis sails, Tyrion schemes, and Theon is belittled by his sister. Oh, and Nurse Pointless gets naked with the King in the North, possibly earning herself a new nickname.

Let’s knock a few of the lesser plotlines out of the way quickly: nothing of significance happened in Qarth (so why did they waste our time with Dany and Jorah?); Jaime and Brienne begin their journey back to King’s Landing/the best buddy cop show on TV right now; Jon Snow is saved by Ygritte, then set up by Halfhand to become a double-agent; Sam and the other brothers find some dragonglass hidden in the snow; and we learn the somewhat mundane tale behind why they call Ser Davos the Onion Knight, plus we get a bit more proof that Stannis’ alignment is Lawful Bitter.

Everyone’s least favorite Iron Islander is summed up neatly by his sister: “You are weak. And you’re stupid.” She also drops a couple of C-bombs for good measure. Theon’s all bluster, swearing he’ll hold Winterfell and doesn’t intend to die. Yarra observes that Iron Islanders are pretty good on the sea, but without a land-based army he has no hope of holding landlocked Winterfell. In fact, all he’s really managed to do is piss off every northern lord and siphon off some of Robb Stark’s forces. Meanwhile, Osha, Hodor and the Stark boys are hiding out right under Theon’s nose.

Robb is in the middle of some serious war business, but he has plenty of time to stroll in the woods with Nurse Pointless. My theory last week that she exists solely to put more pressure on the “arranged marriage to Walder Frey’s daughter” plotline was borne out when Robb grouses about it, even admitting that (like me) he doesn’t even know the Frey girl’s first name. Later, Robb is in the middle of some more serious war talk with Roose Bolton when Hello Nurse blunders into his tent. Robb dismisses the clearly-not-all-that-important meeting with Bolton (“Yeah, sure, send your bastard to Winterfell to retake it and rescue my brothers, whatevs…booty call time.”) so he can hear the indescribably boring story of how Nurse Nightingale found her true calling. Turns out CPR was invented by slave fishermen.

Then the two of them share a tender moment. Actually, they knock boots, literally. Robb never takes his pants off, and Nurse Boots reveals that she was going commando under her gown. But she totally leaves her boots on. Did the end of that scene imply that Robb was a little quick on the trigger? Seemed like their building passion ended rather abruptly, then she gave him that, “It’s ok, it happens to every man once in a while,” laugh.

Catelyn Stark is most likely a character the average viewer admires. She’s virtuous, doesn’t care for power, isn’t greedy, and is faithful to her family. We do get a little glimpse of her flaws this week, though. In the novels, her terrible treatment of Jon Snow is a bit more evident, but now her somewhat selfish (if understandable) devotion to recuing her daughters puts Robb’s military endeavors and northern alliance at risk.

Tywin is at Harrenhal freaking out that Robb is about to assault Casterly Rock (Tywin’s home base), even though Robb seems to be in no position to do so. So he leaves Harrenhal immediately for a long ride and hopefully a surprise attack on Robb’s army. This forces Arya to scramble to find Jaqen so she can name Tywin and have him killed, but Jaqen is on patrol. Later, Jaqen refuses to help Arya, since that wasn’t part of the deal. Then she tricks him into helping her by naming him as the third victim of his assassination arrangement. To get her to unname him, he agrees to help her, Gendry, and Hot Pie escape at midnight. Arya gets the best line of the episode again, this time not even saying a word – when Jaqen accuses her of having no honor, her tiny shrug is brilliant. There’s a creepy moment, too, when they arrive at the gate to find the guards all still in position – but butchered. That takes a huge shortcut through a chunk of Arya’s story, but she ends up in the same place – on the run once again. Too bad we won’t get to see her and Tywin together any longer.

The meat of the episode involves Tyrion trying to prepare for the war that is all too close to their doorstep. There’s some hilarity with Bronn, who once again proves that he knows how things are going to go down once the battle begins, and that he can pronounce the names of obscure ArchMaesters better than Tyrion. We briefly meet Tyrion’s squire, Podrick, then Cersei plays the blackmail game by revealing that she’s captured the whore Tyrion has fallen in love with.

She trots out the whore, only to reveal to Tyrion and the audience that it’s…the wrong whore! Cue sad trumpet sound. So many whores, who can keep them straight? Tyrion keeps a straight face, and Incorrect Whore (my dear Ros) makes a play for future considerations by going along. Remember the sliver of sibling sympathy we felt last week between Tyrion and Cersei. I’m guessing from lines like, “Your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth,” that it’s gone now. I’m putting that in the family Christmas card this year. Tyrion then plays it totally cool by running directly to Shae in a panic and coaxing a vow of devotion from her.

Finally, we get a wonderful scene that starts with Joffrey acting like a 17-year-old with a new Camaro. Tyrion and Varys chat over the castle wall, with Varys getting in some fantastic zingers. But then the conversations turns to Daenarys Targaryen and her dragons. Tyrion shrugs off the matter as something of little import considering the war at hand. Varys speaks more ominously of what may happen when the dragons grow to adulthood. This part of the scene was shot with the flame from a guttering torch in the foreground, bathing Tyrion and Varys and all of King’s Landing in fire.

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Posted by on Sunday, May 20th, 2012. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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