‘Game of Thrones’ 2.08 Recap: “Death Is Certain, The Time Is Not”

All right, I’m all caught up on ‘Game of Thrones’. (See, that didn’t take very long at all, did it?) I noticed an interesting theme in this week’s new episode, which seems to be all about people who stand their ground even when they’d probably be safer and smarter to flee.

We start with poor, stupid Theon Greyjoy, ‘The Prince of Winterfell’ himself. Theon’s sister Yara arrives in Winterfell, unimpressed by his conquest. She also has not brought the 500 soldiers that Theon requested. She informs him what a futile effort and poor strategy it was to capture a kingdom so far inland, when their family’s power is based on the sea. Yara tells Theon that she has come to bring him home, but even an uncharacteristically sympathetic display of sibling affection can’t convince him to leave. Theon refuses to abandon his prize.

With Stannis Baratheon’s fleet just two days away from King’s Landing and the capital’s defenses hopelessly inadequate, Tywin Lannister’s advisers recommend that King Joffrey retreat to safer ground. The Queen Regent Cersei also wants her son to run. But Tywin will not have his grandson appear weak, and the cocky little shit Joffrey thinks that he’s invincible. Tyrion also considers it for the best that Joffrey should stay to lead his troops in battle, even as he struggles to plan the city’s defense. Of course, I don’t think that Tyrion would mind so much at all if Joffrey were killed and martyred.

Over in Qarth, after the betrayal by Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Jorah pleads with Daenerys to escape the city as soon as possible. Strong minded as ever, she will not leave her “children,” and reminds Jorah of the magic that allowed her to survive fire. Dany also seems to have finally admitted to herself that there are no hordes of supporters in Westeros awaiting her return. She needs her dragons back to claim the throne.

As I suspected during the last episode, young Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive. Theon killed a couple of farm children and mutilated the corpses. In another peculiar example of staying put against better judgment, the Stark boys, Hodor and Wildling slave girl Osha have snuck back into Winterfell and are hiding right under Theon’s nose. Maester Luwin discovers this when he spots Osha scrounging for food.

Meanwhile, Arya Stark is just about the only person in the episode with enough good sense to recognize when the time is right to get the hell out of where she is. Upon learning that Tywin plans to move his army against Robb, Arya very cleverly uses her final wish with Jaqen H’ghar to manipulate him into helping her and her friends sneak out of the Lannister compound. I expected her to wish for Tywin’s death, but this is probably a smarter move.

Other Developments
  • The Wildling girl Ygritte brings captive Jon Snow into her camp. Clearly developing feelings for him, she saves his life from “The Lord of Bones” and arranges for Snow to be brought to their leader, Mance Rayder. Snow learns that only one other member of his scouting party has survived and was captured; the rest were slaughtered while searching for him. The episode sets it up for Snow to pose as a turncoat and join the Wildlings, in order to work as a double-agent in their midst.
  • Catelyn has let Jaime Lannister go. At least, she had Brienne sneak him out of the camp in order to trade him for the Stark girls. Robb is furious when he finds out, and essentially arrests Catelyn by putting her under guard.
  • While digging a latrine, Jon Snow’s bumbling friend Samwell finds a secret cache of weapons made of precious “dragon’s glass” under an engraved rock. He believes these were left by “the First People.” I guess this is important.
  • After the previous episode’s brief display of humanity, Cersei is right back to evil bitch mode. She believes that she’s found Tyrion’s weakness by arresting the whore that he’s in love with so as to blackmail him into better protecting Joffrey. The only problem is that she’s got the wrong whore. Tyrion puts on a show of looking desperate, but later sneaks back into Shae’s arms.
  • Robb finally gets it on with the pretty nurse Talisa (that’s Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter, Oona Chaplin) he’s been flirting with for the last few episodes.
  • En route to King’s Landing, Stannis tells Ser Davos that he intends to name him the new Hand as soon as they’ve taken the throne.
  • Varys has finally received word from across the Narrow Sea that Daenerys still lives and has dragons. I sometimes forget just how far away from everything else she’s supposed to be.

The scenes for the next episode tease us with glimpses of the siege of King’s Landing, which promises to be epic. I can’t wait!

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