Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Game of Thrones, Season 2, Episode 7: A Man Without Honour

In Harenhal we have standard shots of grimness and cruelty. Tywin is convinced that the death of his soldier (who was going to reveal Arya’s note stealing last week) was an attack on him. Ser Gregor the Mountain, who is not a Nice Man, is doing lots of hanging and torturing assuming that the death was caused by “the Brotherhood”. And, yes I agree with Tywin, that’s a ridiculously pretentious name.

He monologues away to Arya (who is awesome) about the war and his legacy and some exposituion about the history of Harenhal while Arya contemplates stabbing him in the back. But she joins in and reveals she knows rather a lot about the history herself. Tywin pokes her that he knows she is of noble birth but she continues to dance around him – I love how these two spar.

In Kings Landing Sansa approaches the Hound, Sandor Clegane in the halls to thank him for rescuing her from last week’s riot. She objects to how harsh and hateful he is – but his comeback is good as well, he may be rough and unpleasant but his actions protected her - and he also subtly made it clear he intends to stand between her and Joffrey.

Sansa wakes to find she has had her first period. With Shae (who has clearly thrown her loyalty in with Sansa, at least against Cersei) she tries to hide evidence of it (when she has her first period she is considered old enough to marry Joffrey) and Shae threatens a servant to keep it secret – but Clegane finds out and news reaches Cersei. Cersei discusses her own pregnancies and giving borth – with the late King Robert’s indifference, and her brother Jaime’s devotion. It’s also clear that whatever illusions Cersei had about Joffrey are at very least dying. Cersei’s delusion and cynicism is painful to see and extremely well acted – how love causes her to support people even when she knows she shouldn’t (Joffrey, again) and how you shouldn’t love anyone except your children – with whom you have no choice (again, the bitterness over Joffrey).

Cersei and Tyrion have one of their pleasant little meetings and they both discuss how they can’t control Joffrey. And Cersei wonders if Joffrey is their punishment for Jaime and her’s incest (pretty much confirming it to Tyrion even after he gives her the chance to pretend Robert is his father). Tyrion comforts her with Tommen and Marcella – surprisingly sweet, gentle children. It’s the first time we’ve seen these two act as siblings with Tyrion moved by his sister’s grief.

At Robb’s camp, the Lannister messenger/prisoner returns with news that Cersei is not accepting their peace terms, unsurprisingly. They have so many prisoners they lack places to put them so Robb, in his honour (gods save us from Stark honour!) decides to put him in the same cage as Jaime Lannister. Talisa wants medical surprises and so will come with Robb to the Cragg where he is negotiating a surrender. I predict more flirting.

The visiting Lannister and Jaime reminisce with the visitor clearly hero worshipping Jaime. There’s lots of reminiscing and exposition until Jaime reveals his escape plan – which involves Visiting Lannister dying (or Jaime beating him to death). The gaoler (the son of Lord Karstark) comes in to investigate… alone and gets a chain round his neck from Jaime.

If he escapes he doesn’t get far before being recaptured and Lord Karstark demands his head – to be talked into delay by Catelyn (in a masterful speech) to wait until Robb returns from accepting the Cragg’s surrender.

But anger grows through the night and Brienne says that the Karstarks or their men will try to kill Jaime before dawn – and if that happens who would fight to protect a Lannister? Catelyn goes for a dramatic confrontation with Jaime – who has wonderful points to make about the conflicting oaths a knight must swear in between insulting Brienne for being so tall and broad and insulting Catelyn for Ned’s infidelity.  Catelyn asks Brienne to give her her sword.

In Winterfell Theon wakes to discover that Bran and Rickon have escaped. He is unhappy about this – which certainly makes me happy. He is bemused that 2 disabled people (Hodor and Bran) can escape capture – which shows both Theon’s demeaning attitude towards them and how very wrong he is. So he calls up some horses and hounds to track them (what? Is he using Winterfell hounds, they’re collaborating? Or do the Iron Isles – seafarers and raiders – commonly have packs of dogs on their ships?). Theon is confident that his sister’s 500 men can hold Winterfell (and that Ned Stark apparently believed 500 men could hold Winterfell against 10,000 – so I assume the a) Ned was exaggerating and Theon didn’t realise or b) the castle has lasers or c) is actually a Transformer because there’s no other way that’s likely).

They can’t find a scent – but Theon does find some nut shells that Hordor was cracking for Rickon. And later we see him display the charred bodies of 2 children

Up in the north, beyond the Wall, John the Pouty continues his walking holiday with Ygritte rather than execute her. This may be up there with most incredible screw up in the series. Ygritte continues the flirting and taunting his virginity and whose ancestors were here first so deserve the land and who is killing who unjustly, as you do. More talk of “freedom” and flirting until she makes the inevitable escape attempt and run into a Wildling ambush.

Across the sea, Daenerys and Xaro are discussing Daenerys’s missing dragons (never mind the slaughtered serving girls). Xaro makes it clear how obviously he is not the culprit and how much he will work with her side by side to get them back – her response is… not exactly diplomatic to say the least and is carries more than a hint of tantrum about it.

Ser Jorah returns and, thankfully, we have some grief for her dead and lost serving maids who have been with her so long through so much and for the people she brought to Qarth. We also get to see a return of some of Daenerys’s good sense – or self-pity – wondering exactly who her people are and doubting the vision of the Seven Kingdoms people waiting for her return.

Ser Jorah goes to see Quaithe, the priestess of Assai in her mask – who knows many things, including that Jorah betrayed Daenerys in the past. She says the one who stole her dragons is with her now. Cut to Daenerys and she is with the 13, Xaros and the Warlock. We get some surprises tere – the Warlock has taken the dragons and they’re in the House of the Undying, and Xaros is the new king of Qarth – and the 13? Well they all have warlock clones with knives behind them who step forward and slit their throats. Daenerys runs but is interrupted by another warlock clone – Jorah stabs him in the back and empty clothes fall to the floor (seems they’re not charlatans after all).

Ok this episode, I praise it for the lack of sex, prostitutes and naked women (we had one back shot of a naked man all episode) that’s a complete turnaround! If it weren’t for the fatc the season is already shot I’d almost assume

But I have to criticise it for so very little happening. There was a lot of foreshadowing, lots of talking,  then a few concrete actions pushed in at the back – we saw many people – Arya, Cersei, Tyrion, Robb, Tywin (even Sansa and Shae) talking but doing very little. We spend a lot of time with Daenerys but only on incident happens right at the end-  same with Theon. This episode seemed to drag