S02 E06 – THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW: The episode opens with a shocking turn of events and the extent of Theon’s treachery is revealed. After sending some men to seize control of the Torrhen Square, a province under the protection of Winterfell, Theon knew that the Starks would have had no choice but to send out a force of men to take it back; men thay can ill-afford with Robb Stark away fighting the Lannister’s further south. This is a tactic which leaves Winterfell itself undefended, and under cover of darkness Theon climbs the walls with only a handful of his own men and is able to take control. Bran’s dreams of the sea coming to drown Winterfell have come true, with the Iron Island Greyjoy representing the sea. Young Bran has no choice but to yield Winterfell to Theon to keep his people safe from harm.
Despite his victory Theon is still conflicted, and he is surrounded by people who he grew up with, people who trusted him and trained him – the captured wilding Osha is the only one who seems ready of pledge fealty to Theon. Ser Rodrik Cassel is hauled in, having been apprehended returning from Torrhen Square. He has trained Theon since he was a boy and his betrayal cuts deep with the old man. He spits in Theon’s face – something that should be punishable by death, and although Theon is at first reluctant to pass such a judgement, after counsel from Dagmer Cleftjaw, he is left with no choice. As is the Winterfell way, he who passes sentence should carry out the execution himself. Theon is no Eddard Stark though, and the execution is clumsy. It takes multiple swings of his sword before Ser Rodrik’s head is taken off, in a grotesquly grisly scene.
There is much tension for Arya this week as she continues in her role as Tywin Lannister’s cupbearer, getting quite close to him in the process. He learns that she is better able to read than many of his men and is intrigued by how this can be and this prompts more questions from Lannister about who she is and where she has come from. Arya holds her own though – telling him that her father, a stone mason, taught her to read. A fact that strikes Tywin as odd, since stone masons are not considered to be educated men. The tension mounts further when Lord Petyr – Littlefinger – Baelish arrives for a meeting with Lannister and there is a real danger that he might recognise Ayra. He looks at her suspisiously, but if he does recognise her then he does not say anything.
Later she steals a letter from Tywin’s desk which she knows references her brother Robb, but as she scurries away with it she is apprehended by Amory Lorch, who demands to know where she is going and what she is carrying. He takes the letter from her, but there’s a good chance he can’t read it. In panic Arya escapes and desperately tries to find Jaqen G’har, the man who owes her three lives. When she does find him she screams Lorch’s name at him and he has to kill him quickly, before he manages to tell Tywin Lannister what Arya has been up to. Somehow, Lorch is killed as he walks into Tywin’s office – Jaqen G’har is a very efficient killer it would appear.
North of the wall Jon Snow accompanies Qhorin Halfhand as they seek to take out the Wildling lookouts camped in the mountains. The bleakness of the landscape on the North is conveyed well as the groups of rangers walk through the icy wilderness taling about their lott in life and how no-one cares about them even though they have sacrificed everything to protect the realm from the horrors beyond the wall. When they eventually find the wildling lookout post the rangers dispatch them efficiently – all except one, who is a woman named Ygritte. Jon is surprised by this an does not kill her. Qhorin is not really impressed by her being a woman, thinking she would kill them all soon as look at them. They can’t let her live – she will just run to Mance Rayder and their cover will be blown. He charges Jon with executing her, but unfathomably leaves him to do it on his own. Ygritte is wiley one and she tries to talk her way out of trouble – but the truth is Jon is could man who could not strike down a defenceless woman in cold blood. When his sword falls, he misses her neck and she makes a run for it. Jon manages to recapture her, but the chase is protracted by the time he recaptures her they a seperated from the other rangers.
In Kings Landing Tyrion is seeing through his plan to marry Princes Myrcella to Trystane Martell, thereby joinging the houses of Dorne and Lannister and securing a powerful ally in the upcoming battle for the Iron Throne. Cersei is not happy with this and threatens Tyrion with just retribution should he ever find himself in a position where he loves someone so dearly that he could not bear to be without them. She will take that person away from him, just as he has taken away her daughter.
As the royal party return to the palace thay find themselves having to walk amongst the royal subjects and people of Kings Landing. This is a bad move. The people are starving and there is much discontent towards the king. Quickly things turn ugly and the crowd start hurling abuse at the king. Joffrey is hit in the face by a flying mud pie and he immediately starts demanding that the perpertrator be executed. A mob rises up and starts to attack them. THe immediate members of the royal party are sheperded to safety, but others at not so lucky. A maester is dragged to his death and torn to pieces by the baying crowd. Sansa is cut off and captured by three men who want to rape her. She is saved by the hound after Tyrion sends him back out onto the streets to look for her. Joffrey would have been happy to let her die, but Tyrion realises that if anything happens to Sansa then Jaime Lannister, held hostage by Robb Stark, is as good as dead.
Word of the fall of Winterfell reaches Robb Stark’s Camp, interrupting Robbs reunion with his mother. Roose Bolton brandishes the letter sent by Raven from Whitehaven. Robb is furious, and promises to return to Winterfell to retake his castle. Only counsel from Bolton convinces him otherwise. Since he is king he does not have to do everything himself. Bolton can send word to his bastard son at the Dreadfort and they can raise an army to recapture Winterfell. The Lannister’s are on the run, if Robb marches all the way back North then the lose what ground he has gained.
Back at Winterfell Theon is about to fall victim to the oldest trick in the book – the trick only a woman can pull off. Osha comes to his chambers and offers him her body in return for her freedom. After sleeping with Theon she sneaks out of his chambers, kills a guard on the way out before rallying Bran, Rickon and Hodor and escorting them from Winterfell and to safety
While all this is going on, Daenarys Targaryen is still trying to secure a fleet of ships and an army of men to take her back to the seven kingdoms where she can reclaim the iron throne. She seeks an audience with the second richest man in Qarth, the Spice King, but the negotiations are nothing more than wordplay between the two of them. The Spice King does not believe this to be worthwhile trade, since there is no guarantee that she will win her battle for the throne even if she does manage to raise an army to challenge for it. All Daenerys has to back up her claim is the belief that she has seen the truth in her dreams, and her dreams have been known to come true. She returns to the home of Xaros Daxos Xhoan disappointed that she cannot find the support that she desires and needs. However worse news is to come when she opens the door to find her blood riders and handmaidens slaughtered and her dragons stolen.