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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
When we last left Winterfell, Theon Greyjoy had (apparently) killed off Bran and Rickon while waiting for reinforcements from the Iron Isles to arrive. Instead, his sister, the hardened Yara arrives and demands Theon return to Pyke to face his father. Theon, to his credit, has long realized he belongs in neither world, and decides to remain in Winterfell, keeping the spoils of his victory and continuing to stick a thorn into the sides of both his hated father and his captor/friend Robb Stark. By episode’s end, Theon has established himself as a fearful idiot, but his tenuous grasp on Winterfell remains, at least for a few more episodes (I’m only assuming Robb’s men will re-take Winterfell before season two’s end). Additionally, it is revealed that the rumors of Bran and Rickon’s deaths were greatly exaggerated. The wildling woman Osha has kept them in the catacombs, figuring (correctly) it’d be the last place Theon and his men would ever look. How genius! It has been said the wildlings are resilient and clever, and I’m glad the show has played on that.
Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Tyrion, Bronn, and Varys are all planning for Stannis Barratheon’s eventual siege. Tyrion clearly seems like the most affected member of his family. He suggests that the family either flee King’s Landing to avoid an eventual takeover, or that Joffrey should suit up and fight alongside his men (because it would be more inspiring to have Joffrey fight with them or something, despite the fact that Joffrey is incompetent). Cersei, still obviously upset that her only daughter has been sent off to Dorne, reveals she will kill Tyrion’s beloved whore should anything happen to Joffrey or anyone else in her family. A relieved Tyrion sees that she has taken the wrong whore captive, but the threat is enough to scare the crap out of him, causing him to be a bit more careful with his plans in the future.
In Harrenhal, Arya Stark enlists Jaqen to help her and her friends (Gendry and the fat nameless kid) escape from the dreadful black castle. Jaqen has apparently laid waste to the guards at the gate in rather horrific fashion (each man has a solitary spear jammed straight through his chest). The three make their way out of Harrenhal to parts unknown. It will be nice to get a few more Arya/Gendry scenes (they work so well together) but we are saying goodbye to the Arya/Tywin scenes unfortunately. Tywin has gathered his men and run off to attack either Robb Stark or Stannis (it’s not exactly clear which, but it’s probably Robb Stark). Speaking of Robb, he finally quits making googly eyes at Lady Nurse Talisa just long enough to have sex with her in a well thought-out moment that surely won’t reap any consequences whatsoever. Robb has a lot of his father’s qualities, though he is obviously not as battle-hardened nor as politically seasoned as his father was. He is betrothed to one of the Frey girls, and this will surely be a huge mistake.
Beyond the wall it is revealed that Quorin is taken prisoner along with Jon Snow. The two devise some plan to escape, but have not yet been given the screen-time to execute their plan yet. This plot is boring, especially since we know that Mance Rayder isn’t going to be revealed until season three at the earliest (what point would revealing him with only two episodes left this season serve?). Back at base camp, the members of the Night Watch uncover a hidden cache of ancient weapons. It isn’t revealed what purpose they’ll serve however. It’s just more world-building and plot set-up. Speaking of which, the one scene Danaerys has tonight serves only to set up what’s going to happen next week. This show has been building up a tremendous amount over the last few weeks. If season two follows season one’s path, that means a majority of the pay-off is going to happen in next week’s ninth episode. I’m just hoping it’ll be worth it!