We are now a week away from the highly anticipated "battle" episode of this second season of Game of Thrones, and, in series time, Stannis Baratheon's (Stephen Dillane) fleet will be at the gates of the Red Keep in even shorter span. That impending threat, amongst many other dangers, sent characters scrambling and making some bold, potentially game-altering decisions out of desperation during most of last night's episode, "The Prince of Winterfell."
The Lannister Family Feud
Our first glimpse of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) shows him humorously bickering with Bronn while practically sweating over Stannis's approaching ships. Obsessing over which gate the eldest Baratheon might choose to approach from is now the least of his worries however, as the battle of wits between he and Cersei (Lena Headey) just got real.
We predicted exactly how the cruel Queen would strike at her brother in retaliation for sending Myrcella away, and last night she finally showed her hand. She views Myrcella's ejection, as well as Tyrion's support of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) fighting in the coming war (where he will probably die), as a veiled ploy to edge her and Jaime's (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) twisted family out of King's Landing. Her counter move: holding Tyrion's "whore" hostage. And she'll go scar for scar with whatever Joffrey endures.
The only problem is, she's got the wrong whore. It's unclear whether Roz (Esme Bianco) willingly took Shae's (Sibel Kekilli) place or not, but she's assumed it regardless. Surely she knows Tyrion will repay her in kind down the road, but damn is she having a shitty year.
"I don't want to marry the Frey girl."
Yes, Robb (Richard Madden) and Talisa (Oona Chaplin) the hot nurse finally consummated their weeks-long courtship. These are trying times, so who really gives a fuck about political betrothals, anyway? Once you're telling shorty about dad and she's recounting a life-defining moment from her childhood, it's time to stop playing games and just call it what it is.
Robb could use a little levity, anyway. The Greyjoy clan are shooting down any and all ravens that would give him word on what's going on back home. He's still playing battle chess with Big Daddy Lannister. And, in possibly the most desperate move of the night, his own mother went behind his back and fucked up his leverage game.
Last week it seemed like Lady Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) was about to put Jaime Lannister down; instead, she let him out. Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and Rickon's uncertain fates are the last straws of her strong will, it would seem. More than half of her family is in harm's way, so as foolish as she knows it is, she has given into Littlefinger's offer and released Jaime in alleged exchange for Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa. It was a dumb move, but we empathize with her.
Storm The Gates, Or, Better Yet, Just Walk Through
The Tywin-Arya side sitcom was cool while it lasted but the principals of that storyline have finally gotten tired of lamping in Harrenhal. Head Lannister (Charles Dance) is tired of getting bested at every turn by Ned Stark's barely adult son and has decided to say fuck it all and ride on Robb with the same brash impulsiveness that's been working so well for his enemy.
That lights the fire under Arya to take action and help her brother, but interestingly she doesn't ask Jaquen (Tom Wlaschiha) to kill Tywin, seeing as he's already left. She names Jaquen himself, as by his strict moral code he has to do what she asks or else honor her third name. What she asks, is to let her Gendry, and that horribly overweight kid finally get the hell out of there. As always, Jaquen delivers with style.
Meanwhile, her elder brother, Jon (Kit Harrington), has gotten the Rangers into a fine mess through his misadventures with Ygritte (Rose Leslie). Everyone except Halfhand is dead, and the awesomely dressed Lord of Bones is taking him and Jon to see Lord Mance, the self-appointed King of the Wildlings. Is Halfhand's plan to make the wildlings believe the Rangers have casted Jon out really going to work, though?
Theon's Days Are Numbered
The once chill Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) is spinning further and further down the rabbit hole. As many suspected, he burned a Northern farmer's two children and passed them as the Stark boys, and he keeps ranting and raving for respect. Dude is starting to sound like Ray J that time he called the Breakfast Club. Yeah, you took Winterfell, cool story bro. Now what? After sonning him yet again, Yara (Gemma Whelan) gives him sound advice. Get back to Pyke before it's too late. We have a feeling he's not going to take her up on it though.
- The young Starks are hiding in plain sight with Osha and Hodor, by the way.
- Dany (Emilia Clarke) popped up for a quick scene to declare what we all knew anyways: She isn't leaving without her dragons children, dammit.
- We also briefly checked in with Stannis, he of duty and loyalty. His brother Robert may not have honored how Stannis held him down during the Targaryen rebellion, but he vows not to sleight Davos (Liam Cunningham) in the same manner. If and when they take the Red Keep, the Onion lord will be the new Hand.
- We would totally watch a spin-off of Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Jaime on the Kingsroad.