All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As much as I can, I am going to try and keep things episode/season specific. It’s out of respect to the narrative as well as the later seasons. Onwards!
2.7 A Man Without Honor
A couple of meanings for us here- Cat says this directly to Jaime, who is not only sleeping with his sister but fails to keep his oath and keeps having a hand in the death of his kings. He commits fratricide in this episode, which is pretty much the lowest of the low in Westeros. Jaime also brings up Ned’s fathering of a bastard. Jon begins to doubt his role in the Night’s Watch. There’s also a touching scene between The Hound and Sansa, as he questions what honor and knighthood actually means and tries to deter her from humanizing him by talking about killing. I would consider all three of these characters on the more decent and worth people on the scale and three of the characters who change the most over the course of the show, even if it is slowly and quietly.
We open and close the episode up at Winterfell, where Theon’s men have discovered that Osha, the boys, and Hodor have escaped and are nowhere to be found and when it’s time to point fingers, they’re all like, “Yeah, well Theon kind of didn’t use his brain on that one.” The escape party has since left the crypts and are hiding out near a riverbank where Rickon remembers that they aren’t too far from the farm where Bran sent the orphans to and that family is sure to help them. CLOSE UP ON SOME WALNUTS, BECAUSE FORESHADOWING. In order to show his men who is boss, Theon leads them on a wild goose chase in the Westwood, until they reach the farm that Bran has just housed the two orphan boys. The hounds can’t find the scent, but Dagmar finds visual proof that they were there in the form of WALNUT shells because nobody but young boys of noble birth eats WALNUTS in Westeros. Theon, still on a downward spiral from killing Rodrik Cassel has pure tunnel vision- he doesn’t have a choice except to uphold his commitment to being Ironborn, as lame as it is.
The episode closes when Theon returns to Winterfell with two bodies which he hangs right outside the entrance and he has conveniently burnt their faces to the point where they are unrecognizable. Maester Luwin cries out in distress and from Theon’s face, he realizes that there is now no coming back to Winterfell with open arms. I’d count this deserving of the phrase The North Remembers. (Maybe… not in the way Ramsay brings it up in Season 5, but you know.)
I just want Qarth out of the way. Back from his boat search, Jorah tells Dany nobody got anything done without help, but Dany doesn’t quite trust that Jorah isn’t helping her without wanting to bed her. Jorah goes to see the woman with the cool mask from the party, whose name is Quaithe and Quaithe knows that Jorah was once working against Dany, but it loyal to her. She says that Dany is with her enemy- but Dany is with the 13 leaders of Qarth and it can be any one of them. Pyat Pree admits he stole the dragons and tells Dany she’s welcome to retrieve her children at his House of the Undying. multiplies himself, and kills the other members of the council- except Xaro, who made a deal with Pyat to take over Qarth and take Dany’s dragons.
This is such a meaningless side plot- kind of like a bad season of a mystery show that has a not so interesting case to solve and some guy just waltzes in and asks to be arrested. Xaro is one of the dullest characters to have set foot on this show. And the consequences and fallout that would happen after the slaying of the 13- is actually inconsequential on the show, as Dany just never goes back and stops caring after getting her dragons back.
Beyond the Wall, Ygritte cracks a couple of morning boner jokes at Jon because she’s awesome and smart as a whip. She quickly figures out that Jon’s a virgin and has probably never seen a naked woman and if he has, it was not much. Ygritte ponders out loud if all the men of the Night’s Watch pass time furiously masturbating at each other, which turns into a debate about the morals of the Night’s Watch and the Realm versus those of the Wildlings. According to Ygritte, the Wildlings (or Free Folk as they are properly known) were in the North long before and up until the Wall was built and that Jon’s people took what was rightfully theirs as well as their ways of life away from them. Jon tries to play the noble house card, saying the Starks have a long line of ancestry that leads to the First Men- the Ygritte wants to know why they are fighting under these common ancestors and he has no answer for her.
Ygritte’s poking goes a little deeper, asking Jon what he thinks the term “free” is, the willingness of his Night’s Watch oath, and the traditions of Westeros, including the one of succession according to direct lineage. She reveals that Mance Rayder didn’t just declare himself the King Beyond the Wall, but was chosen to lead the Free Folk by the people themselves. Using Mance as an example, she challenges Jon to make his own decision- but knows that he’s bound to his oath, so it’s just a few backhanded compliments until Jon slowly begins to realize that everything he’s every grown up with hasn’t really given him anything he wants- and what exactly does he want?
This scene also drops the first of many, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Let’s add that to the drinking game list. We might have to start sipping instead of straight up shots.
Ygritte, being familiar with the landscape and all, recognizes that she’s close to her territory and starts distracting Jon with questions from 5-Year-Olds on Road Trips. Then she raises her voice and prompts Jon to chase her- straight into a handful of Wildling scouts. Jon, ya dumb.
Again, the dynamic between Ygritte and Jon is palpable- she’s the first to challenge him to think beyond the parameters of Westeros and the first to make him question the leadership and traditions he’s blindly been following. She realizes she can get to Jon and that his unresponsiveness is actually absorbing all the information she gives him. Ygritte plays a huge role in molding Jon’s mentality of including the Free Folk- not just because they become involved romantically, but under her guidance and helping him realize that there really is no difference between them and the Realm.
Down in King’s Landing, poor Sansa is just running into bad luck over and over again. She tries to thank the Hound for saving her, but he just reminds her that he’s a violent murderer and even if she doesn’t like it, she’ll have no choice but to rely on him once she marries Joff. Then, she has a nightmare about being raped in the alleyway from the previous episode only to wake up in a pool of blood as she’s just had her first period. Sansa and Shae both know this means she is now capable of having Joff’s children and they are both terrified at the prospect of Sansa becoming his slave. Shae catches Cersei’s spy only to find that the Hound has made the discovery as well. As if her day wasn’t bad enough, Sansa is summoned to Cersei’s chamber- but Cersei gives her some realistic expectations of what life will later bring, as she sees a bit of herself in Sansa, having been married off to a King that never cared for her. She acknowledges that while Sansa will never love Joffrey, Sansa will love her children and no one else. To some extent, Cersei tells Sansa she knows exactly how terrible Joff is when she says Sansa can only try to love him. It’s the first of many mentoring scenes where Sansa quietly absorbs Cersei’s mentality, role, and command tactics.
Later with Tyrion, Cersei is a bit reflective of her own children and the life she has given them and she questions out loud if she’s being punished for her affair with Jaime by having a little monster as her firstborn—it’s the first time Cersei admits her affair and Jaime’s fathering of her children to Tyrion. It’s a nice little scene they get to share before Cersei suddenly remembers she hates Tyrion and things go back to normal.
Over in Harrenhal, Tywin thinks that Amory Lorch’s assassination was an attempt on his own life- which a SMART person would have done, but Arya is a child so… joke’s on Tywin, I guess. With the help of the Mountain aka Ser Gregor Clegane aka the less likeable Clegane, Tywin goes after the Brotherhood Without Banners, a small group of outlaws led by Beric Dondarrion that Robin Hoods their way around Westeros, protecting peasants and commoners from bullies and noble houses. The group was somewhat created by Ned, who ordered Dondarrion to bring back the Mountain when he was off terrorizing the Riverlands somewhere in Season 1. Tywin’s plan is to enrage the Brotherhood even more by burning villages and forcing them to give up their hiding spots.
Tywin’s not completely distracted by Lorch’s murder, as he’s still somewhat warm towards Arya, noting that her diction is impeccable and her pronunciation of “my lord” is no where near as jumbled as a lowborn girl would sound- “milord”. He’s a little too fond of her as he doesn’t suspect her of anything or even come close to arresting her or finding out who she really is. And it goes both ways- it doesn’t seem like either of them really want to hurt the other. Too bad. Lots of lives could have been saved. I wonder if Arya will ever have a, “I should have killed Tywin when I had the chance and the Red Wedding might not have happened” moment.
Over in Camp Stark, the Lannister scout returns to Robb and tells him that Cersei has rejected his terms as Robb knew she would. There’s a bit of silent dissent among the Northmen, as Robb’s been keeping enemy soldiers alive to use as bargaining chips and has been using resources to keep them fed and alive. On top of that, Robb favors Talisa, who keeps declaring she has no loyalty to the North and no place in the war- so when Robb starts to edge over to her side (solely in favor of her looks, mind you), the Northmen rightfully feel betrayed and as if the North is no longer Robb’s priority. How can the King in the North choose a lover that shows absolutely no loyalty to his people? IT’S A GREAT QUESTION, NORTH. Some excellent background acting by Roose Bolton here as he’s just silently taking notes of the displeasure in Lord Karstark’s voice and at first objects to Talisa spending time with Robb but then moseys on out once he sees the opportunity to further crack Robb’s image. When Robb cavorts off with Talisa to pick up medical supplies, Jaime takes advantage of the lack of leadership. First, he kills the Lannister scout who was also his cousin- but this is only to lure in and strangle his guard, Torrhen Karstark, the eldest son to Lord Rickard of House Karstark.
Naturally, Lord Rickard wants revenge for his son’s death and immediately goes to kill Jaime but Catelyn still believes he is the bargaining chip to get Sansa and Arya back. This puts the Starks in a very unfortunate position as now they are arguing for their enemy’s life over their allegiance to their own vassal houses and distributes more opposition from the North houses to House Stark. To further that, Lord Karstark puts on blast that Robb is riding around with Talisa instead of looking after his own men. Cat tries her best to be diplomatic, but it really does look like the war is moving in favor of the Stark’s own personal interests. At night, the Northmen are getting drunk and Brienne and Cat recognize that they are on very thin ice protecting Jaime and-
Brienne drops the line, “Who wants to die defending a Lannister?” This line has never stuck out to me before, but I’m thinking this is some real foreshadowing of what might come in the final season- the question is, who will it be? I can most certainly see Brienne sacrificing herself for Jaime, after knowing their relationship. GOT drops these little nuggets like no other.
Alone, Cat tells Jaime he has no honor and Jaime questions Ned’s honor, having an illegitimate son, and stirring up bad memories of how hard it was to have Jon Snow in the picture Fed up with having her own family used as a tactic against her, Cat tells Brienne to grab her sword.
On deck, 2.8 The Prince of Winterfell! Something tells me this episode will also open with Theon. Just a hint.