TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 8 – The Prince of Winterfell

Theon Greyjoy’s victory at Winterfell does not earn him the respect he so desperately craves, Tyrion’s fears about his sister are realised and Stannis Baratheon draws closer to King’s Landing.

We all know by now that this second season of Game of Thrones has been leading toward a battle. For a while it was unclear as to which of the pretenders to the Iron Throne would reach King’s Landing first, but Stannis Baratheon is now the closest to attacking. Within the walls of the city, Cersei thinks she finally has the upper hand over her brother, but the woman she believes to be his mistress is not Shae. Tyrion plays the part convincingly enough for her to lay off the scent, and the scene is a joy to watch. Peter Dinklage may be slightly hampered by the accent he uses in the show, but there is little doubt that he is one of the best things about Game of Thrones. The games he plays in order to gain power and influence are always entertaining and this week’s shenanigans are no exception. As well as this, there is a wonderful moment between Tyrion and Shae that not only reminds audiences of how talented Dinklage is, but shows some depth and humanity to the character. As well as this, news of Deanerys’s dragons has finally reached King’s Landing.

Theon’s sister Asha arrives at Winterfell and reminds her brother that his victory there does not change anything and he is still a fool. Theon is a character that comes off as a vicious killer, but there is more going on with him than meets the eye. It is this struggle between the person that Theon is and the one he wants to be that makes the character – and his many many failings – so interesting to watch. By now, most of us have guessed that the two bodies Theon hoisted up on the walls were not the Stark boys; Osha is keeping them safely hidden in Winterfell, but they run the risk of being discovered, even with Luwin on their side.

On the other side of The Wall, Jon Snow is still a captive but an opportunity to infiltrate the Wildlings and gain their trust presents itself, the question now arises, will Jon be man enough to do what he must? Robb Stark is falling more and more in love with the nurse Talisa every day, but this may cause problems down the line as he is promised to the daughter of a powerful and dangerous man. Catelyn and her son argue over this, and the fact that Jaime Lannister escaped, but neither one backs down; Catelyn does not tell Robb that she has tasked Brienne to bring Jaime to King’s Landing in the hopes of exchanging him for Arya and Sansa, and Robb follow’s his heart and sleeps with Talisa.

Tywin Lannister finally decides on a course of action and sets off to join the battle for King’s Landing, leaving Arya behind at Harrenhall. She is too slow to get Jackan to kill the Lannister patriarch, but she plays a clever game so he will help her and her friends escape. She’s a smart one, that Arya. Finally, Daenerys decides to take her chances and enter the House of the Undying to claim her dragons back.

This episode of Game of Thrones felt like the final set up for the battle; all the pieces are falling into place and the battle for King’s Landing is about to begin. The in-fighting between the Lannisters is going to be interesting to watch play out and, while it is a shame that Arya did not get her revenge on Tywin Lannister (yet), it seems clear that he is not riding for his hometown, but rather to join his children in King’s Landing. Arya, Daenerys, Brienne, Cersei and Catelyn are proving themselves to be smarter and more cunning than their male counterparts, but when the battle finally begins, it is going to be the men fighting for their lives.

Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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