Game of Thrones: The Prince of Winterfell Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, May 21, 2012
*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*
There are only two episodes left in Season 2 of Game of Thrones and Westeros is an absolute powder keg. A sweeping eighth episode has set up the final two episodes for what looks to be a volatile and rewarding end to the season. This installment really seemed to be about the pieces on the board moving into their final positions and it was totally gratifying. The themes throughout the episode were consistent for the major players save for Khaleesi Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who is still in Qarth complaining about her dragons. I just do not see much coming from that specific storyline this season. Although I do hope that we do get a chance to see the House of the Undying and discover where Khaleesi stands in the game by seasons end.
The episode was a terrific springboard for what looks to be a fantastic finish. Dialogue driven scenes thrived in episode 8 that brought all of the main characters discussing the imminent war. As we all predicted last week, the two burnt child corpses are not those of Bran & Rickon. “Prince” Theon is met by her sister and her men and although he thinks he is doing well by taking Winterfell, he is informed that neither his sis nor father will help sustain him. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) is now a prisoner of the Wildings after being spared his life. In an excellent scene between Cersei (Lena Headey) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), the siblings discuss the coming siege and whether or not King Joffrey will fight. Cersei thinks she has played her hand nicely after Tyrion had her only daughter shipped away from King’s Landing. However, her grace does not realize that she has captured the wrong whore of Tyrion. In a rare moment of weakness, Dinklage’s Tyrion shows wide range when he is reunited with his love Shae (Sibel Kikilli) and they swear their love for each other. Varys the Spider (Conleth Hill) makes a return in this episode and although not a “friend” of the Hand, their discussion is layered in both trust and deception. Self-preservation seems to be Varys’ only concern.
The King of the North Robb Stark (Richard Madden) has learned of his mother Cat’s treachery after releasing Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) from the pen. The entire dynamic between mother and son has now shifted as Cat made a desperate move to save her other children. She is now a prisoner of her own son and with that she rationalizes what she has done being good for the cause. This was a tough play for me as I am trying to establish whether or not Jaime simply got in her head or Cat’s strategic move has a greater purpose.
Although it was a dialogue heavy episode and light on action, I was glad to see some of the landscapes of the territories in backgrounds and such. The vastness of King’s Landing and the fleet of Stannis are just two of the sceneries I am looking forward to on a broader scale. This definitely has me psyched to see how the war will play out on these beautiful backgrounds and see these sweeping sites used on a broader scale. “The Prince of Winterfell” was a terrific pedestal for the final two episodes giving us a peek into practically everyone on the board and what their proposed closing plans for the season are. But of course, all of those plans may just fall apart when the battle begins. Next week : WAR!
Mania Grade: B+
Episode: The Prince of Winterfell
Starring: Alfie Allen, Nonso Anozie, Gwendoline Christie, Ralph Ineson, Sibel Kekilli
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Written By: David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator)