Game of Thrones: The Prince of Winterfell Review -

Game of Thrones: The Prince of Winterfell Review

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  • 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)
  • Network: HBO
  • Series:

Game of Thrones: The Prince of Winterfell Review

Only two episodes left

By Jarrett Kruse     May 21, 2012

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! 



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isgrimner 5/21/2012 9:17:06 AM

I too noticed the landscapes they used in this episode and thought they did a better job than some in the past.  Much better than the site they chose for Stannis and Renly's meeting, which I suspect was just a way of not having to show either of their armies in the background. 

The scene between Cersei and Tyrion was probably the best of the episode, though Arya threatening Jaqen with his own name was a close second.  But I think Cersei believing she had pulled one over on Tyrion and how she gloated was a pretty good performance by Lena Hedley and shows while no matter how devious Cersei is in some things, she is many times a fool. 

How they handled Bran and Rickon had me fooled somewhat, not that they were still alive, but when they showed them out of Winterfell, I thought they were going in a different direction than having them hiding in the crypts.  I thought it was more ambiguous in the books as to whether or not Theon actually had them killed.  I think the series showing the two farmer's kids on screen kind of telegraphed it.  I recal when I found out that Bran and Rickon where still alive feeling a bit conflicted.  I was happy they were still alive, but then I thought about  those two farmer's kids.  Those two kids  where still innocent kids that were killed just so Theon could send a message to those he had conquered.  If you were paying attention you could see Theon being a bit conflicted in that he was having gold sent to the farmer, as though that would make up for the loss of his sons.  If I recall correctly, I rember thinking to myself here that if George doesn't show somebody dying like Ned did when he lost his head, maybe I should hold out a little hope till you see an actual body.   Whether or not that thought has served me well, could be considered a spoiler to tell.  

Jon's story had me worried, because it was a departure from the books, but after seeing Quorin captured too, I can now see where it is going.  

We got just a hint of Brienne and Jaime traveling and of course Jaime is trying to get into her head.  I'm pretty sure Nic will do well with the dialogue to come, but well see if the actress playing Brienne can hold her own.

Spoilers from all the books follow:

I was worried about Jon & Quorin, but now see how they'll take care of it and otherwise am fine with it.  I guess it is just a way to be able to show Jon and Ygritte "bonding"  while they were alone.   I really hope they actually show Quorin "ordering" Jon to do what he does.  Have they cast Mance Rayder yet?  I doubt we'll see Val or Tormand Giant's Bane this season.  I read books two and three back to back, and they kind of just seem like one book to me, so I'm a little fuzzy on where one stops and the other begins.  Maybe Jon doesn't make it to Mance until next season. 

I think I was right about Harrenhal not changing hands so much and thus Arya and her "soup."   It really didn't make sense to spend the limited screen time to go through that just to give it back to Tywin's men.  I'm guessing Jaqen will give Arya back needle when he gives her the "coin".   A little disappointing to not have Arya kill the gate guard if they don't have something similar happen.  I just think her killing the guard builds on the fact that Arya is becoming desensitized to killing and death. 

So Robb's chick here is not the mentally challenged chick he actually married.  I wonder if they'll have it as part of Tywin's plan like in the books or not. 

I recall Tyrion being a much better Hand than what they've shown in the series.  I wonder if keeping him somewhat in check in the series is an attempt to not have him not come across as too unbelievable.  I've seen the arguements of those that claim that Tyrion is Martin's "Mary Sue" character, though I've also seen arguements that Jon and Arya are also Mary Sues.   

I'm pretty happy with the direction the show is going.  I only point the stuff out that is different mostly out of a talking point of interest. 


isgrimner 5/21/2012 9:22:55 AM

Forgot one thing I wanted to mention.

And its a kind of a spoiler but I'm not going in too much depth and since it was a random scene in the episode, you probably should have thought it would be somewhat important.

Nice to see Sam and the guys find the obsidion weapons.  Granted Ghost didn't lead Jon to find them like I thought was happening back when they had Craster talking to the others, but at least they did get found.   

swisshammer 5/21/2012 9:56:28 AM

Great episode. I absolutely love this series. It's easily the best show on television (and that's saying a lot).

A couple complaints: I'm a little pissed at the changes they made to Arya's story. The book's handling of her story is MUCH better: more nuanced and subtle. This has me worried that they will be changing her final confrontation with Jaqen. It was easily one of my favorite parts to read in the book, and would be amazing on screen, but I have little faith that the show's writers will remain true to the book.

I know they feel like they should add some scenes to non-narrator characters in the show, but the whole scene between Stannis and Davos kind of felt contrived. Yes, Stannis takes Davos' counsel seriously, but he's always maintained a certain "you are lowborn and I am highborn" stance to their relationship in the book. In the novel, it's not Davos who leads Stannis' ships in battle. Stannis is cognizant of how it would look to his bannermen if he were to have "The Onion Knight" lead them in battle. So this scene was more of a throwaway for me. It just didn't mesh with how I feel their relationship works.

violator14 5/21/2012 10:09:18 AM

Bitch stole my dragons!!!

SarcasticCaveman 5/21/2012 12:16:42 PM






My biggest beefs with this season so far are 1.) They totally blew Robb's romance with this chick out of proportion.  In the book, it was pretty much briefly mentioned how they met and fell in love, and Cat tears him a new one for betraying the deal they had arranged with the Freys for being allowed to use The Crossing...I guess HBO's quota for fucking wasn't being met...anyway, 2.) They have so far entirely left out Jojen and his sister...they are crucial to Bran's storyline.  What gives?


That said, I still love the show, and it is probably the best thing on TV...just wish it stayed as close to the books as Season 1.

jdiggitty 5/21/2012 3:43:46 PM




Robb wasn't a POV character in the second book. Everything he did was off scene and talked about second hand. Cat still has time to scold him since his relationship isn't exactly public yet.

I suspect they are using Osha and Hodor in Brans storyline instead of the Reeds. It doesn't appear they are pursuing the Warg angle anywhere so the Reeds might not be needed as much as they are in the book. 



hanso 5/21/2012 4:43:09 PM

 Is anyone else tired with the mother of dragons?  All that bitch does is call herself the mother of dragons.  Every damn episode.  We get it, u got dragons.  Now take your damn clothes off!

Also, does anyone care who gets the throne?  I'm not sure who am I suppose to root for from watching the show other than the Lannisters must go.  I'm guessing its suppose to be Robb but the cat don't want the throne.  I'd rather it'd be Tyrion.

swisshammer 5/21/2012 6:05:16 PM

Hanso: Every damn show. Every damn show. Hahahaha

TheSilentKiller 5/21/2012 6:10:54 PM

Hanso - Hodor gets it.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 5/21/2012 10:21:26 PM

I can't wait for the part when Tyrion kills Joffrey and uses his head like a puppet.

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