Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 8: The Prince of Winterfell

Robb Stark is having a merry conversation with Talisa about his upcoming nuptials to an unnamed Frey daughter and the powerful duties and responsibilities of being a lord. It’s all very pleasant until they get a message – Jaime Lannitser escaped during the night, Catelyn the Spunky freed him in the hope that this would lead to Sansa and Arya being freed. Naturally, Lord Karstark, whose son was killed by Jaime Lannister

Brienne is escorting (well acting as prison warder) Jaime Lannister while he tries to taunt and mock her – not that it gets him very far.

Robb seeks more comfort with Talisa in face of Theon’s betrayal, his mother’s foolishness and all the other stresses of his life, exchanging more small talk and personal history stories. Which leads to Robb and Talisa finally giving in to the sexual tension  in a sex scene where Talisa strips naked and Robb manages to keep his trousers on, uh-huh.

At Harenhal Arya is still playing servant to Lord Tywin while he has a war council. Tywin plans a secret march to get ahead of Robb’s forces – and to leave Arya at Harenhal with Clegane the Mountain.

Arya shows a much craftier side – having lost the chance to name Tywin to Jaqen, she names Jaqen himself as someone Jaqen has to kill. She will un-name him only if he helps her and her friends escape. She secures his help (if not his happiness). It seems the ridiculously stifling Stark sense of honour and Tully lack of sense has skipped Arya at least.

In Kings Landing Tyrion is stressed over the up coming siege and trying to plan defences. For added stress, Varys congratulates Bronn (the new head of the city watch) on the reduction in crime rate – by rounding up all the suspected thieves and killing them. Tyrion isn’t especially thrilled by this tactic but Bronn and Varys believes it’s necessary in a siege when shortage and theft are rampant.

Cersei has dinner with Tyrion and they discuss Joffrey’s intention to fight – Cersei obviously doesn’t want to, he’s only a boy. But, as Tyrion points out, there are boys of the same age in his army fighting for him. She protests his place is not on the battlefield and Tyrion points out it’s not on the throne either (best line of the episode).

But Cersei has her own plan – kidnapping and abusing a prostitute to control Tyrion, relying on his affection and love for her and threatening her to ensure that Joffrey comes to no harm. Except they got the wrong prostitute – the one they have captured and abused is Ros, not Shae. (Ros is, again, disposable). Naturally Tyrion runs to check on Shae and warns her to be more careful.

Later Tryion and Varys have the joyful task of listening to Joffrey who wants to strike against the Starks while they’re distracted (as Tyrion points out, there is a siege approaching in Kings Landing). Neither Tyrion nor Varys are especially impressed by Joffrey’s boasting . This gives Varys and Tyrion chance for some verbal fencing – though their extreme intelligences and natural suspicion makes it difficult. After much discussion and exposition (really well done) we find that Varys is aware of Daenerys and her dragons – though everyone is far too distracted to worry about her.

Stannis is sailing on Kings Landing with his fleet and having some more exposition with Ser Davos, the Onion Knight and declaring that he intends to make Ser Davos his Hand of the King (he has to win it yet). Other than some not very necessary exposition, I’m not sure what the point of this scene was.

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