Game of Thrones – Season 2 Episode 6: Recap

The old gods and the new

Disclaimer: This is a recap of the sixth episode of Game of Thrones Season Two, and contains spoilers about the episode. Read only if you've already seen the episode, or care not about taking the train to spoiler town.

Screen Art
Title Game of Thrones - Season Two, Episode 6
Studio HBO
Director Alik Sakharov
Starring Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Etc.
Genre Fantasy
Rating TV-MA
Release Year 2012

Recognition comes in many forms: it can be a sign of respect in terms of position, or it can simply be noticing another human being. Both of these are at play in the most current episode of Game of Thrones.

As it was hinted at in the previous episode, Theon has taken Winterfell with a handful of men, since Bran sent Ser Roderick with soldiers to protect another holding that Greyjoy men were attacking as a ploy. This is Theon’s move to prove to his father that he is not a boy, and certainly not some soft girl created by the Starks. By taking over the castle of the man who raised him, Theon proves his loyalty to House Greyjoy – and yet as Theon attempts to explain to Bran the “rules” of this particular game, he really still seems just a child. It’s like a game of capture the castle: Theon explains what he wants Bran to do, stating it in a tone that sounds like an elder brother teaching a younger sibling. But eventually Theon is pushed to truly prove himself a man by executing Ser Roderick – at least Ned’s teaching of “the man that gives the sentence should swing the sword” holds true when Theon delivers the killing blows himself. In true Greyjoy fashion, Theon believes that he can scare the people of Winterfell into submission, but Osha easily proves that fear is no way to rule when she sneaks both Bran and Rickon out of Winterfell by night.

Ygritte's milkshake brings all the crows beyond the wall

Another wilding has also entered the story – Jon Snow and his fellow men of the Night’s Watch attempt to engage and destroy a nest of scouts. But when one of them proves to be a woman, Jon’s sword falters. He’s left to deal with the redhead by his own choosing, but Ygritte, as she names herself, is almost too much for him to handle. In an attempt to prove himself an able man of the Night’s Watch (and perhaps also to carry out Ned’s belief that the man who passes the sentence should wield the sword), Jon recaptures Ygrette, and yet finds that he cannot kill her. This is also due to Ned’s teachings; Jon does not see Ygrette as a threat. He only sees her as a woman who needs to be protected, perhaps like Arya or Sansa. He knows that he can’t let her go, or else she’ll alert Mance Rayder and his horde of wildings, so instead he ties her up and the two begin to search for  the other crows that left Jon behind.

Speaking of Arya, she’s doing quite well as Lord Tyrion Lannister’s cup bearer. Though she’s doing her best to stay under the radar and not let anyone know she’s a Stark, slowly little things are starting to slip out. In the previous episode it was the fact that she was a Northerner – in this episode, it’s revealed that she can read. That’s not an easy feat for a peasant to pull off, since learning costs good coin and most lower-class citizens work their hides just to feed themselves and keep a roof over their heads. The need to remain hidden becomes even more desperate when Petyr Baelish shows up to inform Tywin of the Tyrell’s interest in doing business with the Lannisters. At first he doesn’t notice the youngest Stark girl in the room, but since Arya is essentially forced to be around them and constantly refill their cups, it isn’t long before he starts to suspect just who this servant girl might be. But for some reason known only to Littlefinger, he keeps this knowledge to himself; not unsurprising, since he obviously plays his cards close to his chest. But another soldier is not quite so interested in using things to his advantage, not after he catches Arya stealing a note with information on Robb’s whereabouts. Just as he is about to inform Tywin, Jaqen manages to put him down with a well-aimed blow dart. Two of Arya’s three names have been used.

Risk is the stupidest game ever

Robb is quite easily proving himself to be the best king of the lot – while Joffrey is busy demanding his subjects’ heads, the eldest Stark son is moving about his people with ease, ensuring their needs are being met and making sure that they’re happy. He ends up running into Talisa again (though he refers to her as Lady Talisa this time – could she possibly be Jeyne Westerling in disguise?), with whom he attempts to invite back to his tent for dinner, but is interrupted by the reappearance of his mother. Catelyn and Brienne have freshly arrived after their escape from Renly’s former encampment, and though mother and son share a brief hug, Robb doesn’t seem all that relieved to have his mother back in one piece. Did the news about her being implicated in Renly’s death not reach him? Regardless, his mother is all too observant and quickly tells Robb to squash any feelings he may have for this new woman – he’s promised to a Frey after all, and to renege on a deal already struck would bring horrible consequences upon the King in the North. But this is set aside when a crow arrives from Winterfell, bearing the news that Theon has sacked the castle. Robb is so enraged that he allows Roose Bolton to send a crow to his bastard, telling Ramsay to go and fetch Theon alive so that the Young Wolf can strike the traitor’s head from his shoulders.

Meanwhile, Myrcella is being seen off by the court as she leaves for her new home in Dorne. Cersei promises Tyrion that she will make him suffer, by hurting the one thing he has grown to love. Tyrion is truly baffled by the way Cersei is acting, but larger problems rear their heads when the group begins to proceed back into the city – the people, who start off benevolent to their king, quickly turn sour as they beg for food. One miscreant throws a cow pie at Joffrey, who instantly loses it and calls for the execution of everyone in the immediate vicinity. Overkill much? Tyrion thinks quickly on his feet and gets everyone rushed to safety, but in the mayhem Sansa is left behind. She’s cornered by three men with bad intentions, but the Hound rescues her before any true damage (at least beyond mental) can be inflicted upon her. Sandor takes “the little bird” back to the keep where she is removed to her quarters to be inspected and cared for by Shae. Tyrion thanks Sandor for saving Lady Stark, but Sandor merely shrugs off the remark with a nonplussed “I didn’t do it for you.” So who did you do it for, Sandor?

Dany waits for no man

Over in Qarth, Dany is slowly being taught that the path from poverty to wealth, in Xhaos’ words, is not always pure. The Last Targaryen is trying to convince at least one of the nobles to lend her enough ships to take her and her people to Westeros so that she might claim her birthright: the Iron Throne. Each noble has their own price, however: the spice king refuses to do business with her because there is no promise of a return on his investment, the silk king’s best customers are the Lannisters, and the copper king requires Dany spend a night with him in exchange for one ship. Used to being lauded and pampered, Dany refuses to lower herself, perhaps having grown a head as large as her deceased brother Viserys (though thankfully not as crazy). Xhaos attempts to explain that when he came to Qarth, he had nothing, and he did things that he was not proud of – but look at him now! Just as this wonderful little supportive speech ends, they step into the courtyard of Xhaos’ home, only to find it littered with bodies. All of the Dany’s Dothraki guards have had their throats slashed. Dany races up to her rooms, only to find Irri dead on the floor, and the cages that once held her dragons empty.

The last sight we see in the episode is of a cloth-draped man carrying a cage with all three crying dragons inside of it, walking toward an impossibly tall tower ringed with spikes.

So what will happen next week? Who’s Ramsay, and will Theon put up much of a fight? Where are Bran and Rickon running off to? And who took Dany’s dragons?! Tune in next time to find out!

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