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‘Games of Thrones’ Recap: S02E6 “The Old Gods And The New”

 

Hey everyone,  I’m here to tell Recap . By way of introduction, I should explain that,  I haven’t even read a word of the books (but I’ve been watching the show since it premiered) so my perspective is going to be a little different. I have no idea what’s coming or how faithful it is and I can only talk about what I thought about the show itself, instead of the show as an adaptation.

Which may explain one of my biggest deviations from the Game of Thrones party line: I just don’t care about Jon Snow. Don’t get me wrong, killing a white walker is a very cool thing to do, but I’m just not that invested in his character at all. I spend most of the Jon Snow impatiently waiting to go back to King’s Landing or Arya or something that I find more engaging. He’s mostly been a side-player this season, so, of course, the first episode I have to recap is Jon Snow-heavy.

Still, there’s some interesting parallels between Ned’s bastard and his adopted/stolen ward as Snow shares the majority of the spotlight with Theon Greyjoy, who conquers Winterfell at the start of this week’s episode. Both were raised by the Starks, despite never really being Starks, and both faced moral quandries involving killing somebody. But in Theon’s case, it was just obnoxious, as he kills Ser Rodrik to make a point and win the respect and fear of the rest of Winterfell.

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Jon Snow, on the other hand, chooses to risk the respect of Qhorin and the others by not killing Ygritte, the wildling girl they come upon. Honestly, I was not happy with the way this played out. Why did Qhorin and everyone else leave instead of sticking around for the two seconds it should have taken to kill her? Did it need to be that drawn out? Still, things picked up a little after she got away. Jon Snow caught up to her and the two went to try and catch up with the others, before ending their exhausting day of near murder and running through the ice with a snuggle.

Meanwhile, at King’s Landing, things are getting more and more dire for the Lannisters. Cersei continues to be furious that Tyrion has sent her daughter off to get married Joffrey also tells Sansa that a prince should not cry, an interesting contrast with Theon’s slightly more sensitive leadership advice that he gave to Bram.

The peasant unrest inside the city reaches a fever pitch when someone throws a cowpie at Joffrey, who responds in his classic Joffrey way by ordering everyone in the square be killed. The peasants turn violent and the guards are easily outnumbered. In the panic, Sansa gets separated from the group and cornered by violent, angry peasants who very nearly rape her. However, the Hound shows up in the nick of time and kills the men. Meanwhile, at the palace, Tyrion screams at Joffrey for his idiotic decision-making and, once again, lives out all of our fantasies by slapping the crap out of him. Even Joffrey seems to realize that the situation is getting dire.

At Harrenhall, the Tywin/Arya continues to pay massive dividends, first in an extremely tense scene where Petyr Baelish stops by to chat with Tywin. The intelligence sharing and general scheming would be interesting enough, but there’s the added tension of Arya in the same room as the man who betrayed her father and the question of whether Baelish will recognize her. It doesn’t happen, but that was definitely my favorite scene of the episode.

Later, Arya tries to steal a message detailing Robb’s troop movements, and gets caught. About to be exposed, she goes to Jaqen H’ghar  and uses her second murder on the guy. Jaqen takes him out seconds before he can rat out Arya to Tywin But she also kind of bonds with Tywin, as he opens up to her about his father.

Meanwhile, Robb Stark gets the news of Theon’s conquering of Winterfell and wants to bring the army back but, once again, his kingly duties interfere with his personal desires and his advisors talk him into marching on and sending a small force to retake the castle But the people in Winterfell can actually kind of take care of themselves. Specifically, Osha, who seduces Theon, steals his dagger, kills a guard, and gets Hodor, Bram, and the direwolves out of the city.

In Qarth, Daenerys continues her quest to get a ship, bringing her back to that douche who wouldn’t let them into the city in the first place. She gets all grandiose with him, but he is not particularly interested in betting a ship and all the money that comes with that on Daenerys’ claim to the throne. Things get even worse for her, however, when she returns to find several of her people murdered and her dragons stolen by a mysterious person in a cloak.

So yeah, this week’s episode continued with the season’s general motif of A LOT happening and, I’m not going to lie, with just four episodes remaining in the entire season, I’m starting to get a little antsy. Between Stannis, the unrest in King’s Landing, Daenerys trying to get a ship, the Greyjoy family fun-time hour, Arya in Harrenhall, Tyrion vs Cersei, Sansa, the Tyrells, Winterfell, Robb Stark, and everything on the other side of the Wall there’s like 8 million balls in the air and, while a large number of them will carry over to next season, there still needs to be some kind of resolution at some point. I guess as much as I’ve been enjoying the back-biting and politicking, I’m ready to see some real action.

Part of me wonders if that’s just the antsiness that comes with all of these HBO shows and their more novelistic season structures. Still, I wonder if the pressure of having to adapt a book as dense as A Clash of Kings in a single season is starting to wear on the show’s writers. There’s just so much to take care of here that watching  the show can be exhausting and, right now, it’s tough to tell where this is all leading.