Game of Thrones

Season 2 Episode 8

The Prince of Winterfell

44
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 20, 2012 on HBO
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
327 votes
12

EPISODE REVIEWS
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TV.com Episode Review

  • WAR IS NOT HERE YET

    Game of Thrones: Pre-War Jitters

    Things came to a grinding halt this week in preparation for next week's expected fireworks as the characters bonded in the face of impending war.

  • Episode Summary

    EDIT

    Jon and Qhorin Halfhand are taken prisoner by the wildlings. Catelyn is arrested for releasing Jaime. Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie plan their escape from Harrenhal.

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    SUBMIT REVIEW
    • The Prince of Winterfell

      7.0
      Another strong episode of Game of Thrones. The Jon and Ygritte story continues to be something creative, different while still being one of the great relationships at the same time.
    • Only preparing us for the season finale, but still filled with rememberable conversations.

      8.5
      "The Prince of Winterfell" doesn't include any action scenes at all, but you feel that it serves as the preparation for what happens in the next episode and as that, I found it to do a very good job. However, . Weiss and David Benioff, the creators of the show, don't desist from including outstanding drama moments. Most of those happen in King's Landing where people seem to be in direct preparation for war (the whole setting just looked a little too calm for me considering the looming battle) while Harrenhal also gets its deserved attention. Not really in the fore anymore (rhyme alert!) are the story parts with Jon Snow and Daenerys, but I sense huge surprises waiting for them nevertheless in the final two episodes of season two. Winterfell and the Stark camp receive a fair amount of screen time as well, Stannis and Davos return after a short absence with a rather forgettable conversation that only includes one important sentence in two minutes of talk. Alrighty then, lots of stuff to talk about!



      Perpetually entertaining, but notably great in this episode were the several scenes at King's Landing, every single one involving Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. The only Emmy-winning cast member of the show never disappoints with his acting, yet in this episode, I honestly found more joy in the actors sharing the scenes with him. Lena Headey went back to being bitchy, the solitary thing she does better than having sex with her brother. Then there's Jerome Flynn as Bronn, spitting out hilarious one-liners pretty much every time he opens his mouth, Conleth Hill as Varys, whose only job seems to be having interesting conversations with all sorts of royal family members in the city, and Sibel Kekilli as Shae, the German actress who always failed to impress me until this episode and the ones before it, in which she mostly overcomes the unnaturalness she's had until that point.



      Maisie Williams once again did a terrific job as Arya - her conversation with Jaqen H'ghar may have been the best moment of "The Prince of Winterfell" but I found the group conversation in Tywin Lannister's dining room to be unnecessarily prolonged. Another scene overstaying its welcome happened in the tent of King Robb. Lady Talisa telling him a story of her childhood was definitely unneeded, yet it resulted in her taking her clothes off, which relativizes my criticism. I mean, as objective as I try to be in my reviews, that girl got a helluva booty. In a completely different matter, Brienne of Tarth got to spend time with Jaime Lannister, arguably the funniest scene this episode had to offer.



      Rose Leslie didn't lose her charm, only her screen time in this episode while seeing Qhorin Halfhand again made for some nice dialogue. Sam, Grenn, and that other nameless Night's Watch fellow who's never gotten an introduction, but is somehow there since the beginning of this season, use their time to dig comfort stations, during which Sam discovers a rotten Night's Watch cloak. Well, that was thrilling.



      Across the Narrow Sea, more specifically in Qarth, Daenerys is spending way too much time on whether or not to rescue her stolen dragons from Pyat Pree, thus the one scene there, her discussion with Jorah Mormont, was virtually useless. Now, to finally come to the episode's title, "The Prince of Winterfell", there's Theon Greyjoy, the douchebag with daddy issues who recently killed Bran and Rickon. But, why is Isaac Hempstead-Wright's name included in the opening credits, then? An interesting solution comes at the end of the episode.



      All in all, I enjoyed "The Prince of Winterfell" quite a lot and best of all was the way the tension for the following episode was built. Practically every story part in this episode was a set-up for the big season finale starting with "Blackwater" and left me wondering about all the things that could possibly happen. Way to go!moreless
    • Arya's looking for a breath of life...

      10
      ...but all the choirs in Harrenhal sing "no" as the hutsman, er Jaqen H'ghar is nowhere to be found. See, a man has patrol duty - A man can go kill himself! - its Arya's response. Thus, began one of the best power plays since Tywin Lannister took her for cupbearer, for a man must kill whoever she names. Poor Arya wanted to name Tywin to protect Robb, but Tywin has already gone away, so a girl names a man and a man couldn't look more upset - A girl must be joking, a girl must unname a name! - but Arya won't do so, not unless Jaqen helps Gendry & Hot Pie escape.



      If a man helps her out, a girl must do as he says. The girl is happy to obey. Even if Gendry looks not so happy himself. It's one thing for Arya to need Jaqen and another, entirely different, to risk her own life for him, so the blacksmith boy can't help himself but to yell her name for half of Harrenhal to hear it ...if it weren't because Jaqen has already killed the guards, by the time Arya walks Gendry and Hot Pie through the main gate.moreless
    • Betrayal (Show and Book Spoilers Ahead)

      8.0
      This week Theon has all of the ravens in Winterfell killed so that word of Bran and Rickon's death won't reach any of the Northerners. Tyrion continues to look for a way to defeat Stannis Baratheon's massive numbers by going through the histories of Westeros with wit accompanied by Varys and Bronn. Robb and Talisa continue their relationship and finally admit their feelings for one another and have sex in his tent. Robb has also hit a low point since returning from the Crag with the Kingslayer being let go by Catelyn and Robb orders her arrested for her betrayal. Jon is presented to Rattleshirt (the Lord of Bones) by Ygritte and it turns out that Quorhin Halfhand has also been captured by them but Quorhin protects Jon by projecting his worth to Mance Rayder alive rather than dead as a son of Ned Stark. Quorhin plays a dangerous game with Jon pretending and committing fully to making the wildling captors believe that he hates Jon and he's turning his cloak on the Night's Watch. The two have a scuffle and Jon goes with it. Clearly it's the only way that they will be able to get information on the full capabilities of the Wildling army Mance has assembled and their discreet discussion on how it must be done is great to show how cunning the Halfhand really is. Tyrion is given a scare when Cersei, while having dinner with him, accuses him of wanting to have Joffrey killed during the defense of King's Landing. She says she has his whore but it's not Shae it turns out to be Ross. Clearly Varys fed her wrongful information on the subject or something but Tyrion having to cover it up by pretending that it hurts him, and he truly does not like seeing an innocent woman hurt. But the near scrape leaves his desperate for Shae and he tells her that he would kill for her and that he will probably have to. Cersei remains ever cold despite her touching moment with Tyrion last week when she disclosed how she could not control Joffrey anymore. But Tyrion's line about revenge will I hope come back to haunt Cersei dearly. Tywin Lannister leaves Harrenhal to fight Robb he says but he leaves before Arya can get to Jaqen to give him Tywin's name for killing. Instead of a name she asks for help escaping Harrenhal and Jaqen complies by killing the guards on duty but making it look like they are still on watch. Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry escape from Harrenhal and onto greener pastures. We get a great brief scene between Jaime and Brienne where she's putting him into a boat and her taunts her about her ugliness and makes himself a hassle on purpose. Jorah advises Dany not to go to the House of the Undying following last week's reveal from Pyat Pree the sorcerer. But she says that a mother must never leave her children and he complies. The reveal at the end of the episode was a weak reconciliation for people who thought that Bran and Rickon were dead for only a whole week. In the book it wasn't revealed until the last chapter that Bran was even still alive in book 2 as a surprise now they just want us to see "hey guys we didn't kill children or anything that would be too hardcore even for us." Theon is also visited by Yara who rather than bringing the 500 men he was promised is given twenty instead and they bond while she tells him to come home with her and abandon Winterfell but he refuses for fear of shame from his father. She tells him not to die far from the sea but he sends her away. At the Fist of the First Men Sam Grenn and Pyp uncover dragonglass daggers hidden in a worn out old black Night's Watch cloak that has to be there for something. But last but not least we see Stannis and Davos about to land in King's Landing on the Eve of what is presumed to be the battle for his winning of the kingdom. Stannis is by far my favorite new character and he is much more fleshed out in the series with a face to see his human beyond being guilty of fratricide. As a younger brother I understand his reasoning behind living in Robert's shadow and how he and Davos got forgotten in Robert's Rebellion and Robert and Ned Stark took all of the credit for it in the histories. The scene brings a lot of pull to Stannis's need to rule not because he wants to but because it is his right by all the laws of Westeros. He may be hard to like and rough around the edges but since he gives the Lannisters such a wedgie I love him all the more (but I don't want Tyrion to die obviously). But from the promo next episode will focus on the Battle of the Blackwater I presume which is what I've been waiting for all season. Yeah epic battle sequences! But now we have a smooth landing strip to pave the way for the last two episodes of the season as the War of the Five Kings rages on.moreless
    • Even compared to the books, this episode was pretty great.

      9.0
      First of all I have read the books so this review will be from that perspective. So far this season, the episodes have been a bit of a let down compared to the epicness of the books and also quite slow which is really saying something about the quality of this episode.



      This episode sees Jon get back on track with what happens in the book which is great cause his storyline just keeps getting better and more interesting as it goes on.

      Arya's storyline is altered quite a bit but still heading in the right direction. I love the actor who plays Gendry, he's great. Also having Tywin involved with Arya in the first place makes it pretty interesting.

      I really liked Rob and his love interest in this (although it's a different person in the book), even though it's a pretty bad choice on his part.

      Catelyn's decision to let Jaime free is ridiculous but more justified in the books (she had been told that Bran and Rickon had been killed)

      Joffrey starting to take a back seat in things which is good as he is abnormally ignorant.

      The whole 'dragons stolen' subplot with Dany doesn't actually exist in the book. I also kind of wish they would speed her storyline up a bit to get back to what's in the book, it also doesn'tt really add too much.

      All in all this episode was very entertaining and faster-paced than previous ones. I look forward to Blackwater and seeing how each storyline is interpreted.moreless

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (4)

      • Tyrion Lannister: (to his sister Cersei) I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you're safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth. And you will know the debt is paid.

      • Tyrion Lannister: The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where is the god of tits and wine?
        Lord Varys: In the Summer Isles, they worship a fertility goddess with sixteen teats.
        Tyrion Lannister: You should sail there immediately.

      • Lord Varys: And if Stannis does attack the Mud Gate, what is our plan?
        Bronn: We could throw books at his men.
        Lord Varys: We don't have that many books.
        Bronn: We don't have that many men either.

      • Yara Greyjoy: (to her brother Theon) Don't die so far from the sea.

    • NOTES (0)

    • ALLUSIONS (0)

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