HBO’s Game of Thrones: 206 – “The Old Gods and the New”

Last night HBO gave us another excellent episode of what is arguably the best show they’ve ever produced. And that comes from someone who was a huge fan of both The Sopranos and Deadwood.

We opened on the taking of Winterfell, or rather the ‘just been took’,  by the young Prince Theon Greyjoy, who – like several other characters on the show – is quite obviously in over his head. What started as a ploy to win over his father, the taking of the defenseless castle where he was raised, quickly turns into unwanted bloodshed and the botched execution of the very man who trained him – Rodrik Cassel. This ham handed ordeal takes place right in front of everyone, and it’s something the youngest Stark boys aren’t likely to forget anytime soon. This was a real turning point for Theon, who in all likelihood will fail to win the respect of his father before Rob Stark kills him. After this, and under the cover of night, Bran and Rickon leave Winterfell with Hodar and Osha, and accompanied by each of their dire wolves. What more protection can you ask for?

The Stark girls are having an equally terrible time. Arya, still the cup barrier for Tywin Lannister (The evil dude from Last Action Hero), is proving herself smarter than your average slave and reluctantly engages in conversation with the Lannister patriarch. At one point he asks her about her father, and eventually what killed him. Her answer…

Brilliant. How can you not love this girl? But then something potentially terrible happens. Lord Petyr Baelish comes to meet with Tywin and recognizes the missing Stark girl. Baelish, not one to show his hand easily sits on the information and allows Arya to continue her ruse.  This however makes Arya jumpy and reckless, and with no idea how long she can stay hidden in plain sight, she decides to do her part and aid the war effort. She steals a letter off of Tywins table, information for Rob, and in her panic she runs right into Ser Amory Lorch, a man who can seal her fate. Lucky for her she has a 2 man balance still owed to her by Jaqen H’ghar and she cashes in one of them before Lorch can report back to Tywin. Narrowly escaping the reveal she so desperately needs to avoid.

As for Sansa, she’s worse off yet this week. What starts as pure joy for the audience…

…quickly becomes a riot with no shortage of limbs being torn off and Joffrey cementing his own fate. The backlash however sees young Lady Stark chased down an alley as several men who I can only assume smell terrible, attempt to steal away her virtue. That is until the hounds arrives…

And where is the good King while his dog rescues his betrothed wife (the only member of the Stark family that actually wanted to come to King’s Landing)? While be scolding by his uncle of course…

Tyrion attempts to explain to his Nephew/King the repercussions of letting Sansa die, and what that would mean for Jamie, who remains Rob Stark’s prisoner. Joffrey remains unconvinced he is not untouchable…despite getting slapped all the time. The kid just don’t learn.

As for Ned Stark’s other 2 sons, the hero and the bastard, things were less terrible than usual this week. Jon Snow is north of the wall, and his refusal to slay a woman has him stranded with her his prisoner. She seems none to upset about it either…

So while Jon Snow is spurning the advancements of a girl who seems far too attractive to be a wildling, brother Rob is getting straight up cock-blocked by Mama Stark.

So while the troubles of the older Stark kids range far and wide from aggressive attempted rape, passive aggressive rape, and cock blocking Mom, the younger siblings are left to handle the consequences of a war they are not even directly involved in, except for use as pawns.

Across the narrow sea however, the Mother of Dragons is having issues of her own. After the 13 have almost all rejected her request for ships, something more sinister happens. She returns to her lodging to find her people slain and her dragons taken.

It would seem as thought the creepy warlock dude from last week is behind these crimes, and will surely have to answer to Daenerys before all is said and done. Right? Ah, who knows. This is Game of Thrones, and worse acts have gone unpunished before.

Overall, the episode was great. Theon taking Winterfell, Osha getting naked, The Hound disemboweling rapists, Joffrey getting hit. Repeatedly. I can’t wait for next week. 4.5/5 Bears. 

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