S02 E08 – THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL. Theon Greyjoy is the new prince of Winterfell. Having taken the great castle of Winterfell with only twenty men, his sister Asha arrives from Deepwood Motte, but not with the army of five hundred men he needs to keep his prize. Asha thinks him a fool and she rebukes him for what he has done. Killing the Stark boys was a stupid move, now every man in the North wants Theon’s head. Her tone softens somewhat when she pleads with him to return to the Iron Islands with her rather than die alone in Winterfell, but when Theon refuses she turns her back and walks out, leaving him to his fate.
Jon Snow is a prisoner of the Wildings, victim of his own chivalrous nature which led him to spare the life the wildling woman Ygritte. The Lord of Bones, a Wilding lieutenant would have him dead, but Ygritte convinces him otherwise, saving Jon’s life and repaying her debt. Qhorin Halfhand has been captured too and Jon is saddened to learn that the rangers were taken when they went looking for Jon after he failed to kill Ygritte. Basically its all Jon’s fault. Seems the Halfhand has a plan though – if the Night’s watch could position a man on the inside of Mance Rayder’s army, a spy, then they could seize the upper hand. Jon doesn’t think they would trust him, but Qhorin says they would, if Jon does what needs to be done. Then without warning, Qhorin starts shouting at Jon blaming him for their capture and the death of rangers. After a brief scuffle Jon is thrown down a snowy slope and its evident to all that the two are now enemies.
Robb Stark, the King in the North is falling in love – problem is he is promised to a daughter of Walder Frey. In season one, Robb was marching south with his army in a futile effort to take the fastest possible route to Kings Landing and to save his father. Robb’s mother Catelyn negotiated a deal with Frey which included the promise of Robb’s hand in marriage in turn for Frey lowering the bridge across the Green Fork. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time, but not so much now that Robb is falling for Talisa Magyr, a battlefield nurse from Volantis. His mother is still causing problems for him now and word reaches Robb of Jaime Lannister’s escape – ably assisted by Catelyn Stark herself. Catelyn it seems can not sit idly by while her daughters a imprisoned by the Lannisters and without her son’s consent she arranges to have Jaime freed, thinking to place her trust in Tyrion and exchange the Kingslayer for her daughter in Kings Landing, where Brienne is escorting him in chains. Robb is not at all happy with this news and places his mother under armed guard while pledging to recapture Lannister. Still at least he has the consolation of finally getting laid. Later he confesses to Talisa that he doesn’t want to marry the Frey woman and she confesses that she doesn’t want him to, and then they get it on….
In Harrenhal Tywin Lannister decides its time to make a move. With Stannis’ fleet sailing for Kings Landing and Robb Stark’s army poised to march on Casterly Rock (the seat of the Lannisters), Tywin Lannisters instructs his men to ready the troops to ride at nightfall – he wants a full night’s march before Stark realises they are on the move. Arya is dismayed at this news and hurriedly tries to find Jaqen H’ghar in order to whisper Tywin Lannister’s name in his ear; thereby instructing to have him killed. But Jaqen H’ghar is nowhere to be found and Arya can only watch as Tywin rides out of Harrenhal. Despondent, Arya goes about her business until eventually she runs into Jaqen H’ghar. Now she wants him to help her escape Harrenhal, but Jaqen only promised death, not help. He wants her to tell him the final name and his debt to her is done. Wily Arya leans in and whispers Jaqen’s own name. Jaqen is mortified by this, his own rules dictate that he must kill who ever she names, but he does not want to kill himself. Arya says she will unname him if he helps her escape. Jaqen H’ghar has no choice but to do so. He instructs Arya to be at the castle gate at midnight. Ayra, rounds up Hot Pie and Gendry and they wait until midnight watching the gates of the castle, wondering who to get passed the guards. But they don’t have to worry about that. Jaqen has already dealt with them.
Tyrion and his sellsword, Bronn (now commander of the city watch) provide some comic relief in Kings Landing with Bronn irritating Tyrion by picking his fingernails clean while they should be planning for the coming siege. The learned Tyrion is reading a History of the Great Sieges of Westeros, by ArchMaester Ch’Vyalthan, and listening to them trying to pronounce author’s name is quite funny. Varys appears and the plans for the city’s defence don’t really get much better, but Varys at least tells them how to say Ch’Vylathan, while claiming the ArchMaester was quite a bad writer.
Later Tyrion is taking supper with his sister Cersei. Tyrion is trying to convince her to allow Joffrey to lead his troops in the coming battle, but Cersei is having none of it, for fear of any harm coming to her son – in order to make sure that Tyrion doesn’t put him in harms way she plays her hand, revealing that she knows about Tyrion’s love for his whore. Tyrion it seems is outmaneuvered , assuming that Cersei has Shae. But he is mistaken, Cersei has the wrong Whore (to be honest, not sure which one she is, but she must have worked for Tyrion before now), but she plays her part well. Protecting both Shae and Tyrion she begs him not to forget her. Cersei tells Tyrion that she will be safe so long as no harm comes to Joffrey.
Back in Winterfell, Theon is fighting a losing battle with his conscience. The dead bodies of the two children are ready to be cut down and buried. He would have us believe that the bodies are those of the Stark boys, but they are not. They are the children of the farmer where Theon tracked the boys to before losing their trail. Osha, Hodor, Bran and Rickon are much closer than he realised. Hiding out in the crypts of Winterfell beneath his very feet.