The Prince of Winterfell

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"The Prince of Winterfell"
Game of Thrones episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 8
Directed by Alan Taylor
Written by David Benioff
D.B. Weiss
Production code 208
Original air date May 20, 2012 (2012-05-20)
Running time 54 minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"A Man Without Honor"
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"Blackwater"
Game of Thrones (season 2)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"The Prince of Winterfell" is the eighth episode of the second season of HBO's medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. The episode is written by series co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed, for the third time in this season, by Alan Taylor. It premiered on May 20, 2012.

Plot[edit]

In King's Landing[edit]

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) plan the defense of King's Landing, with the aid of several old texts. When Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) asks how they plan to hold off Stannis's ships, Tyrion replies with "pig shit," referencing an earlier meeting with Pyromancer Hallyne and his pots of wildfire.

While dining with his sister Cersei (Lena Headey), Tyrion is accused of plotting to have King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) killed during the defense of King's Landing. Cersei tells Tyrion that she has kidnapped his prostitute lover and intends to hold her to ensure Joffrey's safety, but when Cersei orders her brought into the room Tyrion discovers that she has mistakenly kidnapped Ros (Esme Bianco) instead of Shae (Sibel Kekilli). After promising Ros that he will free her, Tyrion angrily swears Cersei will pay for what she has done.

Later, Tyrion tries to get Joffrey to understand the danger they face, but Joffrey's inexperience and arrogance leave Tyrion fearful for the coming battle. Varys informs Tyrion that Daenerys Targaryen is alive and that she now has three dragons. Tyrion, skeptical about the dragons, says that they will play that "game" later, since Stannis is their main concern now.

On the Baratheon fleet[edit]

Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) and King Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) plan the siege of King's Landing, during which Stannis decries the disrespect his nobles show to Davos due to his low-born status, despite his excellent service. They recall memories of the siege of the Baratheon ancestral castle Storm's End, during which Stannis held the castle even in the face of starvation, until Davos heroically broke through the siege line with food supplies. Stannis comments on his bitterness over King Robert handing over Storm's End to Renly after the war and not him, and vows that he will make Davos his Hand once he takes the Iron Throne.

At Harrenhal[edit]

Lord Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) decides to fight Robb's army now that their attention is on the Greyjoys' capture of Winterfell and departs Harrenhal leaving Ser Gregor Clegane (Ian Whyte) at its command. Arya (Maisie Williams) tries to have Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) kill Tywin before he leaves, using the last of three "lives" she was owed, but she is not able to find Jaqen in time. Instead, she decides to ask Jaqen to help them escape. Jaqen explains that an escape would cost more lives than their current bargain, and after some thought, Arya names Jaqen himself. After he asks her to take his name back, she does so on the condition that he help her escape with her friends Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkley). True to his word, Jaqen kills the entire evening's watch guarding the entrance to Harrenhal, allowing the three to escape.

In the Westerlands[edit]

King Robb (Richard Madden) returns from the Crag with Lady Talisa (Oona Chaplin) and is informed of Jaime Lannister's (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) escape and his mother's involvement. When Robb confronts Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), she admits to having her knight Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) spirit Jamie to King's Landing to trade for Sansa and Arya. Angered with his mother's betrayal, Robb has Catelyn placed under guard. Later, Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) assures Robb that his bastard son Ramsay is only a few days from Winterfell; Robb decrees that mercy will be shown to any surrendering Ironborn except Theon, hoping it will give Theon's men incentive to betray him. Bolton shows distaste with his king's merciful attitude but obeys. Lady Talisa then enters Robb's tent where he confides in her about his problems. After she tells him a story about why she chose to help those in battle, Robb confesses to her he does not want to marry one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters as his mother promised to Lord Frey as a deal for their alliance. Talisa also wishes the same, and the two consummate their relationship.

Beyond the Wall[edit]

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is presented to Rattleshirt (Edward Dogliani) by Ygritte (Rose Leslie) and her companions. Rattleshirt wants Jon killed, but Ygritte convinces him otherwise by saying that Mance Rayder will want to meet Eddard Stark's bastard son. Qhorin Halfhand (Simon Armstrong), who was also captured, tells Jon he should pretend to defect to Mance's army so the Night's Watch can learn about Mance's plans. To make Jon's defection look real, Qhorin starts a fight with Jon.

At the Fist of the First Men, Sam (John Bradley-West) and Grenn (Mark Stanley) discover an ancient Night's Watch cloak, which contains a strange horn and a cache of dragonglass weapons.

Across the Narrow Sea[edit]

Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) advises Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to leave the dragons behind and to flee Qarth in a ship that is leaving for Astapor, but she refuses to leave without her dragons. Daenerys asks Jorah to take her to the House of the Undying, where the warlock Pyat Pree has said they are being kept, and Jorah reluctantly obeys.

At Winterfell[edit]

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) orders the messenger ravens be killed, so word of the deaths of Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) Stark will not leave Winterfell. Soon after, Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) arrives with a few riders, which angers Theon, who had ordered his sister to send 500 men to help him hold the castle. Yara reveals she has come to Winterfell instead to bring him back home because his decision to execute the Stark boys will only bring the wrath of all the North down on his head. Despite Yara's pleas, Theon refuses because he doesn't want to be seen as a coward abandoning Winterfell.

Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter) sees the wildling Osha (Natalia Tena) stealing bread and retreating to the crypts beneath Winterfell. He follows her and discovers that both Bran and Rickon are alive and well. Osha explains that after reaching the farm, they had doubled back to Winterfell itself to evade Theon's patrols. Luwin deduces that Theon's men murdered a farming family and burned their sons' bodies in the Stark boys' stead. He asks Osha to keep it from Bran since he would blame himself, but Bran overhears their conversation.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

The episode was written by producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the original work of George R. R. Martin.

Casting[edit]

Edward Dogliani joins the guest cast of the show playing the wildling leader Rattleshirt, also known as "the Lord of Bones."

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

The first airing of "The Prince of Winterfell" matched the series high ratings with 3.86 million viewers and a 2.0 share among the 18-49 demographic. The second airing brought an additional 1.04 million viewers and a 0.5 share.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The A.V. Club gave it a B+.[2] IGN gave it a rating of 8 out of 10.[3]

Accolades[edit]

This episode won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Series.[4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]