Game of Thrones Review: Building to a Battle

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A battle is coming to Game of Thrones. The Battle of Blackwater, to be exact, and it will go down in one week's time when Stannis and his army reach Winterfell.

And "The Prince of Winterfell" prepared viewers for this epic event, moving various players in to place, yet not actually moving the story along in any exciting manner.

Varys and Tyrion

Heck, arguably the most memorable development from the hour took place off screen: Catelyn letting Jaime Lannister go.

This led to a number of fun (Brienne dealing with Jaime), emotional (Robb telling his mother off, nearly calling her a traitor and ordering her to be locked down) and naked scenes (Robb and hot nurse girl getting it on), but it also felt like something rather important was glossed over.

What, exactly, did Catelyn tell Jaime about his permitted escape? How did he react? What about the men?

Unfortunately, this wasn't the only example more action taking place off screen than on. Again, yes, it was entertaining to watch Arya bargain for Jaqen H'ghar's life with Jaqen H'ghar himself. But the season is making Jagen look like some mixture of Batman, Robocop and Chuck Norris.

He can apparently kill anyone at any time, in any way, no matter the number. It would have been nice to actually see this honorable man make work of those three guards, don't you think?

Instead, the storyline was rushed along in order to free Arya (and pals Gendry and Hot Pie, of course) so she could play a role in next Sunday's battle.

Most of the episode felt that way. We spent scat time with Jon Snow and Dany; just enough, really, to remind viewers of their predicament. We learned what we've all assumed since last week: that Theon did not really kill Bran and Rickon, and we were left to wonder how Bran will deal with the guilt of knowing just who he did kill.

The most in-depth storyline of the episode fell to Tyrion and the inner workings of King's Landing, which at least means it was fun and revealing to watch. It's impossible to say enough good things about Peter Dinklage at this point, but he positively killed every moment of the scene where Cersei led him to believe Shae had been captured.

He was confused... then shocked... then panicked... then you could almost see his mind churning as he realized the best course of action would be to pretend that the battered woman there was, indeed, his whore. And this praise is heaped on Dinklage before we even arrived his heartfelt plea to Shae soon afterward. Just great work all around by the Emmy winner.

And a fascinating alignment that may be forming between him and Varys, as each can foresee the fall of King's Landing if Joffrey is left in charge.

That's where we stand heading into next week. "The Prince of Winterfell" was definitely the slowest episode of season two, but it was a calm before what promises to be a bloody, gory, Westeros-altering storm.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (183 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

Jose t

Besides he said last night that Robb is too close to Casterly Rock and Tywin can't lose his own castle and his gold mines....

Jose t

In the books, Twying doesn't know stannis is taking his army to King's Landing, but he has a battle he has a battle that he loses against someone I won't say who, and that pushes him south where a messenger reaches him and tells him of the impeding fall of King's Landing... Here he does know but doesn't care


I do believe they explain a reason for Tywin not being able to march towards King's Landing in the book. But they miss it in the show. My memory is a little hazy, but I do believe it was due to his positioning with the Greyjoy's and Stark's. Not to mention Stannis takes Storm's End in the book. So I do think Tywin is unable to move from Harrenhal for a good while. I know the show isn't based on the books exactly, but I do believe that is why he hasn't moved into position yet. (Granted it has been awhile since I've read the second book.)


I feel this show is a little unrealistic for one good reason: Tywin would have defended King's Landing. If it was so obvious that Stannis was marching on King's Landing in the next few days that Tyrion and Varys are expecting it, then Tywin must have gotten word of this by now. He would have sent a huge host to defend the city instead of trying to fight the Starks while Stannis kidnaps Joffrey, Cersei, Tyrion and Tommen. He knows the Starks are busy with the Greyjoys. He could spare some troops and some time to take out Stannis' army.


reach.... Kings Landing. It wasn't too much of a gripping episode but next week looks really good.

Jose t

Stannis is going to King´s landing....where joffrey and the rest of lannisters are.... Winterfell is in the north...FAR AWAY from stannis baratheon´s host.....

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Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 8 Quotes

I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth. And you will know the debt is paid.

Tyrion Lannister

Has anyone ever told you you're as boring as you are ugly?

Jaime Lannister