DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS EPISODE—SPOILERS BELOW!
To start off this week, I have one correction. I said last week that there were only two episodes left in the second season, but there are actually three. In other words, after this episode, there are only two episodes left. I’m sorry if I made you sad with that mistake. Moving on!
“The Prince of Winterfell” can probably be interpreted a few different ways. Is it Theon? Well, as the episode begins, that’s the assumption. Could the Prince be his sister? The level of commitment and respect from her (and Theon’s) troops would suggest that she holds a more significant title, and let’s face it, she’s not much of a lady.
After Yara arrives, she and Theon exchange harsh words over his treatment of the Stark boys, and she tells him that he is to return to the Iron Islands because his foolish actions will bring to Winterfell a hunt for his head. In a private moment, she appears to actually love Theon, despite the consistent mockery that she displays to him in public.
In the North, Jon is brought before the Wildlings and is presented to the head guard—king of the Bones. He initially wants Jon dead, but Ygritte stands up and saves his life because she’s sure that Mance Rayder will want to speak to the bastard son of Ned Stark. Rayder never appears in this episode, but from the excitement GoT Reddit book fans share, his entrance should be welcome.
We jump to Robb’s camp. He walks in the woods with the nurse Talisa, with whom he obviously is infatuated. In a shared quiet moment, they’re interrupted by the news that the Kingslayer has escaped. Robb returns to camp and confronts his mother, Lady Stark, and places her under arrest. He is visibly hurt by her actions and sees no alternative to the position he’s in. As he sends eighty men after the Kingslayer, we see next that Brianne has him. As Jaime and Brianne begin to talk trash to each other, they sneak off in a boat and begin to sail off down river—presumably towards King’s Landing.
At Harrenhal, Tywin talks to his generals. Tywin fears Robb not only because he hasn’t lost a battle, but especially because “he doesn’t know enough to be afraid,” which makes him a dangerous foe. Tywin tells his general to prepare the army—they’re leaving immediately upon nightfall. Arya, fearing that her opportunity to have Jaqen kill Tywin is slipping away, rushes to find him.
King’s Landing prepares for siege. Tyrion reads through all the books that he can find on strategies to survive one. Bronn laughs at him, knowing books will not save him. Varys enters shortly after. He, Tyrion, and Bronn knowingly look at each other and acknowledge that their defenses are weak.
The following short scene comes out of nowhere but clearly will have lasting implications with the story. Sam and others from the Watch dig trenches in the snow and one of them hits something solid with their spade. Upon clearing the snow, they find a large flat stone marker with a package hidden under it. Upon opening it, they find obsidian (dragon’s glass) arrowheads and a horn, which is apparently from the Night’s Watch. That’ it. The mystery of the scene is likely to have a huge impact in the story, but as I understand GRRM, it may not have a payoff for quite some time.
Back at King’s Landing, Cersei confronts Tyrion while he eats. What begins as their familiar playful sibling rivalry takes a swift and cruel turn when Cersei reveals that she has Tyrion’s “whore.” Her threats of retribution to the “whore” for any harm that comes to Joffrey should he fight against Stannis or her daughter Myrcella, are real, vicious, and right in line with her typical cruelty. Tyrion, who suspects that the threats may be a hoax, asks to see Shae. But the woman brought in is not Shae. Tyrion plays the game and pretends it is as she is dragged away. He mutually threatens Cersei at the end of the terrifically acted and written scene.
Back at Robb’s camp, Robb talks to his generals about the upcoming battle. He’s aware of the consequences and is furious with Theon. Robb’s continued mercy towards other armies ceases with Theon. Talisa then enters. After a brief story about her brother and how she gave up being a noble maiden, they get right past the excessive sexual tension and make love on the floor of the tent. Robb doesn’t want to marry the Frey girl he’s been promised to and wants to follow his heart. Its pains me to say that this brave, honest, noble, and truly kingly man is unlikely to survive this story. It just doesn’t seem likely given the way these types of characters exist within this story. And that just sucks.
It’s night now, and back at Harrenhal; Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry wait for Jaqen after Arya has convinced him to kill himself or help them escape. She grows impatient and sneaks into the open to find that all the guards are dead, stuck upon spikes. She and the boys walk right out of the front gates.
On the ships, Stannis talks with the Onion Knight about his loyalty, bravery, and respect. He offers him the position of Hand of the King when he takes the throne. It’s clearly an honor for the Knight, and he graciously accepts. That’s it for Stannis this week. Knowing that they’re just one day away from King’s Landing, we cut to the walls of the city to see the siege preparations.
Tyrion talks with Varys and Joffrey about the defenses. Joffrey being the arrogant little shit that he is, boasts about how he’ll give Stannis a “red smile” from ear to ear when he defeats him. Tyrion and Varys pretty much just ignore it. After a brief battle of wits and riddles, the two seem to cut down the walls between them and begin to trust each other, albeit warily. Varys tells Tyrion that he has heard from ravens that Daenerys is alive at Qarth and that she has three baby dragons. Varys seems visibly scared of this new threat and admits that when those dragons are fully grown, the fight is over. Tyrion is quick to remind him to focus on one battle at a time.
I’m going to barely mention Daenerys here because her scene is pretty much as short as it can get. She wants her dragons! She’s going to get them at the House of the Undying! Ok, got it. Same old story—moving on.
Lastly, we return to Winterfell and Theon. He wants to bury the bodies because he thinks that the message has been lost on the citizens of Winterfell. Maester Luwin is about to approach them, when he sees Osha sneak off with bread into the crypts of Winterfell. In a reveal scene (which I suspected last week), we see that Bran, Rickon, and Hodor are all alive and living in the crypts. It’s confirmed that the farmer’s boys from last week were the bodies we saw and that Theon knew this to be the case. Confirmed—Theon is a huge asshole with no soul.
After a sigh of relief that the Stark boys are alive, the episode ends with a preview of the next two episodes. War is finally here and it looks like it’s going to be dark, violent, full of fire, and intense. The siege of King’s Landing is here and I can’t wait for it. Let’s do this!