May 21 2012

Game of Thrones Review: “The Prince of Winterfell”

Published by at 12:00 pm under Reviews,Television

“Un-name me.”

Only two weeks left and the great War of Kings appears to be coming to a head. I’m not sure if Stannis will invade King’s Landing this week or next, but it’s clearly soon, and shit’s going to go down.

This week was the “reckoning of bad decisions,” as various characters had to live with the questionable choices they’ve made.

It’s no surprise that the Starks make up two of the bad decision makers, as Catelyn let Jamie go scott-free and Jon Snow learns he got most of his Night’s Watch troupe killed when they were out looking for him after he failed to execute his wilding girl.

I mean, could you?

Catelyn’s decision seems incredibly stupid at first, as why would simply setting Jaime free help her get her daughters back? It’s not like she brokered an official exchange with Littlefinger, where Sansa and Arya would be returned for the Kingslayer. Just sending him on his merry way with Brienne (her and Jaime’s banter was fantastic by the way) won’t get anything done.

Of course, had she NOT done this, the mob would have lynched him for his many, many crimes, and they’re left without bargaining power OR goodwill. Of course the Lannisters don’t have Arya, and Cersei seems to have grown attached to Sansa, but I suppose Catelyn doesn’t know that.

Jon Snow’s mistake was just him being a pansy, as we all know by now. I’m very curious to see more of Wildling society, and a guy wearing a bizarre skull mask (what kind of skull was that?) is certainly a good start. More interesting perhaps is the secret Night’s Watch bundle under the First Man stone. Why the hell is there a bunch of obsidian spearheads and a horn there? Seems random, but I’m sure there is more light that will be shed on that soon enough.

Seriously, what kind of skull is that.

Lastly, the third party facing a reckoning for their misjudgment is Theon, who miraculously is not dead yet, but had his sister show up and tell him how dead he’s about to be. I’m a little confused as to what the Greyjoys want however. Did they not want to take over Winterfell? I know they’re “Island people” but it does seem like a pretty big get for them.

I’m not sure if the fact that the two young Starks are alive was supposed to be the big “surprise” moment of the episode, but I imagine most of us guessed that was coming from practically the moment we saw the bodies. Not exactly one of Game of Thrones’ best slight of hands, but I suppose it gets the job done moving the plot forward.

But what was a good trick? Cersei getting Tyrion’s “whore” wrong and him playing along .What I am NOT clear about is if he set this up purposefully (by giving her the necklace) or if someone else did it for him (Varys?) I say this because I thought he did it on purpose, but then he seemed really distraught when he raced back to Shae. I still think she’ll end up dead, but who knows? Was the “fake” whore Roz? I couldn’t tell.

Loved this scene. The show shines in its quiet moments. Varys is a really underrated character.

Tyrion really seemed passionate about Shae at long last, and love spread all the way up north to Rob Stark as well. He and the medic (sorry, I still don’t know her name) finally gave into temptation and the result was probably the only non-gratuitous sex scene in Game of Thrones history as no one was being raped, or paid, or were related to each other. It was actual…passion. A true rarity in a show filled to the brim with sex.

I think my favorite small moment from the episode was Joffrey shit talking Stannis, claiming he was going to go all Joker on him and put a smile on his face. Is it just me, or does it seem a little out of place for Joffrey to be wanting to rush out into battle? Any time there’s been even a tiny bit of conflict (Arya and the Butcher’s boy, the town mob), he cowers in fear. Does he honestly think he’s going to rush out into combat to meet Stannis? I know he’s a cocky douche, but it’s a bit out of character.

I have no idea what’s going to happen with Daeneyrs and her dragons. I know all the book readers have said that currently her plot is diverging from the original storyline, but I’ve heard other say it’s because her time in Qarth in the books was rather boring. I like Daenerys, but I really do think her story is a bit too disconnected from everything else going on. That sentiment is best summed up by Tyrion not giving a shit that she’s still alive, and Varys saying that her dragons are going to need years before they’re dangerous. I hope it doesn’t actually take years for her to be relevant.

Jorah’s passion is really starting to come through.

I suppose you could say the same for Jon Snow and his White Walkers, but I at least find that plotline more interesting. I’m curious to see his evolving relationship with Yvette Ygritte, and to learn the mysteries of the Walkers, the First Men, the Wildings and all that. Qarth seems less intriguing right now.

Only two more to go. I’m getting sad already. Feel free to discuss, and remember, no book spoilers!





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24 responses so far

  • Monchofos

    I really did not understand what was up with Daenerys bit on last night’s episode, I was expecting the House of the Undying to show up, but it was just her talking with Jorah, what was the point of this? I cant for the life of me remember what they talked, mostly because I just shut off whenever Daenarys or Jon Snow show up (well Ygritte is pretty to look and her accent is so thick) just like in the books because seriously man are they boring.
    Loved the Tyrion bit where he cant pronounce the book title, and I knew Roz(Ros?) was gonna be the place holder for Alayaya, that girl is seriously shagging one of the show runners she just keeps showing the hell up in most episodes, this is the first time she was actually pertinent.
    And Joffrey is not completely out of character, I thought the same coming into this part of the book, why would Joffrey be in battle? but then I thought, Joffrey is a huge prick, and now this huge prick is king, he surely feels like he is god amongst men by now, thats why he believes he is invincible.
    NEED MORE JAQEN!

  • http://rearadmir0l.blogspot.com/ rearadmir0l

    Not spoilers, but especially after last night, I have determined Im watching a very awesome, enjoyable show that just happens to share the name of a book I once read, but not really much else.

  • http://www.mandyatlarge.com Mandy

    So glad the Night’s Watch troupe isn’t killed and it was just a scouting party or something that got that one guy captured. Is interesting how they are setting him up to be the inside man.

    Catelyn must have gone crazy… I am curious to see what her plans are… even with Brienne, they can’t just waltz right up to the castle.. not to mention force a trade for the girls. (girl rather.)

    And what if they do try this and only one girl gets released.. what will Brienne do with Jamie then?

    Tyrion’s “whore” I’m almost certain was NOT Ros.. I think it was either that girl he saved from the old guy.. or the girl who was made to bludgeon the other whore by Joffery. I think I’ve seen her before, but I really don’t think it was Ros.

    She definitely seemed to know Tyrion, enough to genuinely(?) believe he would save her…

    Tyrion did seem to be a little surprised during this scene with Cersei. Could just be a clever trick on his part to keep Shae safe, but does make me curious about the necklace. Perhaps Varys gave the girl a necklace in order to throw off Cersei and gain favor with Tyrion?

    Rob’s medic chick reminds me of Jennifer Love Hewitt…

    Joffery’s reality is whatever he makes it. His delusions of grandeur are spiraling out of control. Right now he is a cocky little boy hiding behind a big guard.. of course he’s going to act like that. “I’ll cut him ear to ear”… It’s when he is alone or his guards are compromised that Joffery tucks his tail between his legs to cower in fear.

    I MISS DAENERYS! She has really spent her time on the back burner this season… I really hope it picks up in these last two episodes..

    Come on next Sunday!

  • Joe

    I think the “Whore” Cersei has is Ross and the necklace is the one that Tyrion gave her way back in season one when he visited Winterfell.

    This show rocks cant wait for the big battle that has to be just around the corner!!!

  • Uncoolaidman

    Jaime. Ygritte. The girl with Robb is Talisa.

  • Forkbeard

    Theon’s mistake in taking Winterfell is that it strands him in hostile territory hundreds of miles from his resupply ships. He was so keen to prove himself worthy and show that he could take the castle that he didn’t stop to think about what he would do when he had it.

  • truant

    @Joe yes, i’m pretty sure that was the same necklace Tyrion gave Ros in season 1.

    @rearadmir0l: it is taking its liberties in getting there, but i think the end results are mostly going to be the same. i was actually really happy with the course correction in this episode to get us back a little closer to cannon.

    @Paul: the Cat/Jaime sequence was slightly different here, and the books might help clarify (no spoilers). in the books, Cat decided to send Brienne to escort Jaime to King’s Landing in exchange for her daughters after hearing that Theon “killed” her sons, not just captured them, so it was an act of desparation to save her surviving children. both Brienne and Jaime swear oaths to her before departing, but whether or not Jaime’s word is worth anything as a Kingslayer (and now a kinslayer in the show as well…that didn’t happen in the book), well, that remains to be seen.

    was very glad they added the scene with Jaime and Brienne escaping downriver already, because that is actually Chapter 1 in the 3rd book! of course, they did that before…Arya meeting up with the Night’s Watch party at the end of the 1st season was actually Chapter 1 in book 2. makes for better flow/continuity, so i don’t mind!

    overall, great episode. can’t wait for the battle next week, and i really hope they do the House of the Undying justice…there’s some really important things that need to happen in these final two episodes!!!!

  • truant

    @Uncoolaidman: Talisa? is that it? hadn’t caught it yet. was only referring to her as “not-Jeyne” in my head.

  • Sara C.

    @Mandy: Ros = Tyrion’s “whore” = the girl who was made to bludgeon the other whore by Joffery.

  • Laura

    Part of me thought Cersei brought in the wrong woman on PURPOSE, with the intent of following Tyrion to see who he really loves, since she knew that he would run to see if she was okay after seeing Roz (or whoever that was). I was just waiting for someone to burst in when he was talking to Shae. I guess I was wrong, but it seemed weird to me that Cersei did something wrong, because she always seems to have everything in order.

    And how awesome is Ayra? She has come in to her own this season, and I love her scenes.

  • http://www.unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi

    Ah I do remember him giving her that necklace way back when. This all makes sense now. It WASN’T on purpose. Thanks everyone.

  • Monchofos

    I always forget Oona Chaplin’s character name, this all seems fishy, I know she is supposed to be a stand in for Westerling, but being Volantis a free city, how is she a highborn girl? GRRM doesnt expand much about the cities other than having Daenarys Stormbore dragging her entourage through them and saying how most women have a bare tit or something, but whats Chaplin’s sigil? Family name? Of all the camps why Lannister’s (I think, she was picked up as a residue from Stark attack to the camp yes?) This is not fishy to anyone except Roose Bolton? And Cat’s decision has much more impact when it is made after Bran and Rickon are believed death.
    As Truant said, it makes more sende that the poor woman is desperate.
    And Nicholas Coster-Waldau is seriously kicking ass as prisoner Jaime.

  • http://www.mandyatlarge.com Mandy

    @Sara C Ahh… that explains everything. What a great weaving of threads, I had forgotten about that from S1.

    Still, surprised Cersei didn’t think it was a trick. Seems so obvious.

  • Uncoolaidman

    Yea, Talisa is the name. I can’t honestly say I got it from the show. I had to read a review to find it. Not sure why they changed it unless they wanted to keep her from being confused with Jeyne Poole, even though she’s been on screen only once.

  • Connor

    Talisa did look worried when I think one of the scouts mentioned the Crag. I’ll say no more from that point.

  • Sara C.

    @Mandy: Yeah, Ros leaves Winterfell for King’s Landing on the back of a turnip cart in season 1. She’s also the one learning from Littlefinger how to sort of manage the brothel (and how to sex up another lady during that one long expository monologue he gave), and was present for the baby killing (Robert’s bastard) that took place there. She was created for the show, as a sympathetic stand-in for the audience, I think. The problem is, they have her disappear from the action so often that it’s hard to remember she’s the one doing all this stuff. Which is too bad, because she was real close to being awesome.

    And I think Cersei didn’t realize it was a trick because she has been losing her shit all over the place this season. She realized she can’t control Joffrey, she doesn’t have Jaime or even her father at King’s Landing for support, and Tyrion is figuring out all her weaknesses/strategies quicker than she can try to hide the chinks in her armor. All that plus her strangely touching scenes with both Tyrion and Sansa over the past couple of episodes has lead to me actually feeling for her. To my horror.

    And then Arya/Tywin scenes leave me loving that guy, and now Jaime is turning into a BAMF. Are the Lannisters my new favorite house?! Yikes.

  • Wermine

    Perhaps this season’s finale parallers first season’s finale and Danny’s dragons will be fully grown thanks to House of the Undead’s magic? That way Danny wouldn’t be useless in season 3.

  • Sidekick

    The actress playing Talisa is absolutely brilliant in delivering her monologue about her brother. It was verbal foreplay, as Robb’s only appropriate response is to kiss and undress her.
    My full thoughts on this episode and my theory on the mysterious Varys are on my Game of Thrones Blog (No Book Spoilers).

  • humps

    The 1st or 2nd episode that we got to see the medic, was also when father Lanister got word from his scouts/spies that Rob had his army still north of a certain checkpoint (sorry, not sure on the names and actual words used). And somehow I got the feeling that Talisa is the source of the information. I think it was the way she muffled away one of her little notes when she encountered Rob, and the subsequent meeting when she entered the strategy tent and Rob made somewhat of a meaningful show of covering all the maps on the table.

    Paul – the way I think Joeffry meant to translate his Joker scene, was to have his uncle Stannis ride up to the gates to discuss what’s happening, or will be happening. And in this moment of conversation, Joeffry, sly as he think he is, will step up and do what needs to be done to his ‘traitorous’ uncle. And indeed, I don’t see him rushing out in front of his cavalry charging.

    I haven’t read the book yet, not listened to any audiobook, or in any way know the storyline. It’s just the thoughts I collect watching the show.

  • John

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it already, but Rattleshirt (not sure if he got a different name in the series) wears a giants skull as a helmet. He also wears various other bones as armor.

  • Cheryl

    I LOVED Brienne and Jamie, can they be a couple next season? Please? And can Cersei find out and try to fight Brienne? Please?
    I’m only half kidding. Anyways, I don’t think it was that big of a mistake to let Jamie go…he isn’t alone/free to do whatever he wants. Had Jamie been a prisoner in the camp much longer those men would have killed him for sure or mutiny against Rob for not killing him.
    A question: Those dragons are going to take years to be any kind of threat (so we keep being reminded), do these books span that many years? I’m not looking for spoilers but I’m just kind of disappointed they don’t really ‘do’ anything except sit in cages…I guess I was sort of hoping for Dany riding them around, burning stuff…like why need a ship when you can fly? *shrugs*

  • Henry

    @Cheryl Each book spans a few months or a year roughly, they all follow on from each other immediately, Dany needs the ship because she has her people that she wants to transport.

    I like the changes they made to the book for D

  • Henry

    (Sorry hit enter)
    Dany, her story was relatively boring in COK and the changes they made don’t hurt the story.

  • Sarah

    I can almost guarantee that the dragons wont be fully grown for at least another season, as the producers will want to avoid the huge budget needed for fully fledged cgi dragons at all costs.

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