Game of Thrones: “The Prince of Winterfell” Review

Game of Thrones: “The Prince of Winterfell” Review

By adminTuesday - February 21st, 2012Categories: Reviews

In this week’s episode, we watch the characters make one rookie mistake after another as they all play the Game of Thrones.

Theon Greyjoy, the so called Prince of Winterfell, is met by his veteran warrior of a sister named Asha.  She tells him that Theon’s decision to burn the Stark children as a message was both cruel and stupid, and her sentiment is shared with Robb and the rest of his Stark brethren as they believe that Theon wouldn’t dare to harm the family that once took him in as one of their own.  These scenes reassure the viewers that Theon will receive a terrible and deadly comeuppance, even after revealing that the young Bran Stark and his party are safely hidden away right under Theon’s nose in Winterfell.  It would not surprise us to see Theon become abandoned by both the Stark’s and Greyjoy’s as he implodes in a way even Anakin Skywalker would be ashamed of.

Not all rookie mistakes were made by young characters as the widow Cat Stark betrays Robb after freeing Jamie Lannister in an effort to get her own children back in a prisoner exchange.  While we can understand that the Lady Stark has gone through hell and back, her decision to let Jamie go feels out of character and her desperation needs to be strengthened in further shows.  One thing’s for sure, if Cat learns that her children were burned to death then the short string she is on will get snapped.  Even though the Stark children are safe, she may not discover the truth until it’s too late, and we could find a once noble character declining into a tragic Shakespearean figure.

Jamie Lannister is tied up and led by Cat Stark’s amazon guard, Brienne.  Following the theme in this week’s show, Jamie continues the trend of rookie mistakes and leaves the viewers scratching their heads.  Brienne sneaks Jamie through the woods as she is berated by the Lannister, and we are left wondering why is Jamie constantly baiting an armed and armored vengeance-seeking guard?  We understand that Jamie is overconfident to a fault, but he’s relying too much on Brienne’s sense of honor.  After all it only takes a few words about Jamie trying to escape in order to justify the burly Brienne in killing him.  But members of the Stark’s and Lannister’s aren’t the only ones guilty of questionable decision making, as seen in Brienne’s decision to paddle a small canoe of a boat.  While Jamie may have been tied up, he could still rock the boat and send the armor burdened Brienne struggling in the river.  If their hasty decision making is of any indication, things will not end well in the story arc revolve around the trio of Cat, Jamie, and Brienne.

Someone who has been around long enough to not fall for rookie mistakes would be Game of Throne‘s premier bad ass, Sandor Clegane.  In a funny and revealing scene starring alongside Tyrion and Vaerys, we learn that Sandor won’t wear the gold cloak that his newly appointed position as Commander of the Nightwatch dictates.  He refuses to get needlessly slowed down by wearing a clumsy cape or advertise himself as a walking target, and Sandor had the wherewithal to include that in their agreement.  Not only has Sandor mastered the basics of tactical gear, he knows how to strategically fight as he shares his experience about how cities under siege fall due to starvation instead of bloodshed, which explains his ruthless tactics in killing off thieves.  Having Tyrion, Sandor, and Vaerys together is an entertaining mix of characters and is a combination we hope to see throughout the series.

Like a kid exploiting a wish-granting genie for a million more wishes, Arya makes a mockery out of the mysterious Jaqen and his promises to kill three different people for her.  On Arya’s last target, she exploits Jaqen by commanding him to kill himself as she tests his honor, and she does this to work out a deal with Jaqen to help her and her friends escape after learning she would no longer be serving Lord Tywin Lannister.  Jaqen begrudgingly accepts the deal under the circumstances that she follows his directions to the letter, and Arya’s party end up escaping at the price of a few dead guards.  While more plot development is welcome, we are still sad to see not only Jaqen’s killer relationship with Arya fading away, but more importantly the dynamic duo between Tywin and Arya.  Through the dinners and conversations with Tywin, the Lannister family doesn’t seem to entirely evil and offers depth to the light haired yet dark family, making us rethink our perceptions and wonder who or what is being misunderstood in the game.

But if Lord Tywin gives hope for seeing some good in the Lannister’s, the conniving sibling rivalry between Tyrion and Cersei reminds viewers that they would still cripple a child.  Cersei makes it personal when reveals she knows of Tyrion’s secret love.  The QueenRegent’s revenge-seeking went through the roof when Tyrion sacrificed her daughter to a far away kingdom to strengthen relations with another kingdom, and the tipping point was sending brat king Joffrey to war to gain frontline battle experience.   However it turns out that Cersei’s torture victim was not Tyrion’s real love interest,  and is instead a brave servant that’s taking a sword strike for the team.  While watching Peter Dinklage fight through the tension and balance a wide array of emotions, we are left wondering why the hell do the Lannister’s even put up with all of this drama in the first place.  Especially after Tyrion threatens that something terrible will happen to Cersei and those she cherishes when she least expects it.  The Lannister’s are clumsily showing their hands and overestimating their power, and considering Tyrion’s background of rising through the ranks from head of the sewage to hand of the king, it’s not much of a surprise that the players of the Game of Thrones are relying more on the heat of the moment than wisdom.

In one of the worst story arcs seen in the show, Robb continues to fall in love with the medic Lady from Volantis named Talisa.  She tells him of her story about being a helpless child watching her drowning brother get rescued by a peasant and how it moved her, topping off with a topless sex scene.  While watching Talisa mount with plenty of gratuituis shots of her curves masked the clumsiness of the love interest, we just aren’t invested in this story arc.   Love at first sight manages to find itself prevailing above the grim circumstances like Talisa’s open disgust at the revenge fueled war and Robb’s lack of a plan for the aftermath.   However like other story arc seen in the show, Talisa could prove to be another plot twisting backstabber, and become a weakness for Robb and the Starks.

In several short snippets we find movement in a handful of other story arcs of the series, in fact the only regular character that isn’t featured on screen would be Sansa.  The Mother of Dragons and her guard Jorah exchanging dialogue where Dany announces that the dragons are the only kids she’ll have, much to the chagrin of her loving and much devoted knight who has found a boat to escape on.  We learn that Stannis along with his family and people were left to die defending Stone’s End, and wronged when it was given to then-infant Renly.  However these scenes feel like shoehorned exposition and were details that were better served before Renly’s murder in order to get the viewers invested in Stannis’ motivation.  In another short scene we find Jon Snow held captive by the Wildlings and being sent to see one of their leaders, and back at the Nightwatch we find the comedic relief digging up tools left by the ‘first men’ of Westeros, setting up another element to the epic story arc.

This episode left us re-examining the characters involved in the show.  Most of the major characters fall into hasty and questionable decisions and their actions simply aren’t believable.  Whether it’s Tyrion and Cersei somehow tolerating eachother or Cat Stark’s decision to free Jamie Lannister, these characters amaze us in their naivete.  The episode also felt like another vessel to move the overall story arc and doesn’t invest the viewers to care enough about the characters.  While that’s not necessarily a bad quality, especially with performances from Peter Dinklage, the amount of story arcs Game of Thrones feel like food samples rather than a full meal.   But if you get past these plot holes you’ll find an hour’s worth of entertainment that only slows down with Robb’s romance, but even that is saved by Talisa’s booty.


Arbitrary Review Rating Number : 80%