Game of Thrones: The Night Lands   First Watch 
April 3, 2015 7:18 AM - Season 2, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Robb sends Theon to win an alliance with his father and the fierce warriors of the Iron Islands. Cersei and Tyrion clash on how to rule in King's Landing. On the road north, Arya confides in Gendry. Ser Davos enlists a pirate to join forces with Stannis and Melisandre.

Lord Varys: "Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and l keep on paddling."

Longer Summary (contains spoilers)
"This week, our linked pair are Tyrion Lannister and Theon Greyjoy, who have both found themselves as strangers in lands that shouldn't be quite so strange."

- In The Riverlands: Having won three victories, Robb Stark offers the Lannisters peace in exchange for the North's independence.
- At Pyke, Theon expects a warm homecoming and finds his father's distrust instead. Balon Greyjoy believes Theon has spent too much time with the Starks, making him weak and possibly disloyal. His sister Yara is now Balon's presumptive heir. Balon sends his children to battle, intending to take the North in Robb's absence.
- North of King's Landing: Arya continues to pose as a boy while traveling north with Yoren and his Night's Watch recruits. She meets Jaqen H'ghar, a caged prisoner. Gendry is being hunted by the Kingsguard, but Yoren refuses to turn him over. Arya reveals her identity to Gendry and swears him to secrecy.
- In King's Landing: Tyrion settles into his new role as Hand. Varys threatens to reveal Shae's presence to Tywin. The Small Council rejects Robb's terms, as well as Jorah Mormont's request for more men for The Wall. Tyrion has Ser Janos arrested and exiled to the Night's Watch, promoting Bronn to commander of the Kingsguard.
- At Dragonstone: Davos Seaworth and his son, Matthos convince pirate Salladhor Saan to join his 30-ship fleet with Stannis' forces. In exchange, Saan will be allowed to ransack King's Landing. Melisandre seduces Stannis with the promise of a son.
- Across The Narrow Sea: Rakharo's horse returns to Daenerys' camp, carrying his head in one of its saddlebags. Ser Jorah tells her the khals are rejecting the idea of a khalasar ruled by a woman. Daenerys vows revenge.
- Beyond The Wall: Samwell rescues Gilly, one of Craster's wives, from Ghost. She tells him she wants to leave Craster's keep, out of her fear of what he will do if her unborn child is a boy. Sam takes her to Jon, who refuses because of Lord Commander Mormont's orders not to get involved with Craster's wives. Later, Jon notices Craster taking a baby into the woods at night and follows him. He sees him leave the child for the White Walkers, but before he can intervene Craster surprises him and knocks him out.

Cersei: "...You want to be Hand of the King?!
You want to rule?! This is what ruling is; lying on a bed of weeds, ripping them out
by the root, one by one, before they strangle you in your sleep!"
Tyrion: "I'm no king, but I think there's more to ruling than that."
Cersei: "I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK! You've never taken it seriously; you haven't, Jaime hasn't. It's all fallen on me."
Tyrion: "As has Jaime repeatedly, according to Stannis Baratheon."
Cersei: "You're funny. You've always been funny.
But none of your jokes will ever match the first one, will they?
Do you remember, back when you ripped my mother open on your way out of her and she bled to death?"
Tyrion: "She was my mother, too."
Cersei: "Mother gone, for the sake of you. There's no bigger joke in the world than that."

Introduced in this episode
* Balon Greyjoy, Lord Reaper of Pyke and the head of House Greyjoy. Father of Theon and Yara Greyjoy.
* Yara Greyjoy, an "ironborn", Theon Greyjoy's older sister and his only surviving sibling. Raised at Pyke, the stronghold of House Greyjoy.
* Salladhor Saan, pirate-lord and sellsail from Lys, who commands a fleet of thirty ships.
* Podrick "Pod"Payne
* Jaqen H'ghar, a Lorathi criminal
* Rorge, a criminal
* Biter, a criminal
* Pyke, the Greyjoys' seat of power on the Iron Islands

Balon Greyjoy: "No man gives me a crown. l pay the iron price. l will take my crown, for that is who l am. That is who we have always been."

Notes (From here.)
* The episode title is the Dothraki term for the land of the dead.
* Tyrion's removal of Janos Slynt is not entirely of his own initiative: in the books, his father Tywin considered it one of Cersei's many follies that she handed out the drastically disproportionate reward of a seat on the Small Council and lordship of Harrenhal to a lowborn and infamously corrupt man like Janos. Thus, Cersei can't overturn the decision to remove him, because Tyrion had explicit orders from Tywin to do so, which also berated Cersei for elevating Janos in the first place. However, it was Tyrion's decision to not only strip him of his title but exile him to the Wall, because he felt he was of questionable loyalty and because he was disgusted that Janos was a baby-killer.

Yoren: [holding his dagger to a Gold Cloak's crotch]:
"It's a funny thing; people worry so much about their throats that they forget about what's down low.
Now, I sharpened this blade before breakfast. I could shave a spider's arse if I wanted to, or I could nick this artery in your leg.
And once it's nicked, there's no one around here who knows how to un-nick it."
posted by zarq (4 comments total)
This is a First Watch with Books thread.

Please do not reveal spoilers for subsequent episodes from any source.

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 7:18 AM on April 3, 2015

Between Season 1 and 2, HBO started a Game of Thrones tumblr (spoilers!) where fans could submit their GoT-inspired artwork. Check out the Ned Stark head-on-a-pike cake pops.


Maureen Ryan's recap over at the Huffington Post doesn't spoil anything that happens in future episodes and is a good analysis of the episode and series themes:

* Characters' ongoing conflict between pragmatism and principle.
* Characters being forced to confront their ability to be flexible, when their core values (old belief systems, old values, old gods, old grudges, old enmities) are challenged.
* When does practicality slide into amoral behavior?
* When does the flexibility of one's beliefs render them useless? (and vice versa)
* If good people tolerate systematically evil actions, how can they consider themselves good?
* How do those on the fringes of society deal with their status as outcasts, rejects, schemers and rebels?
posted by zarq at 8:40 AM on April 3, 2015

I find the Ironborn kind of fascinating as a concept because while obtaining feudal titles basically comes down to "be good at fighting and on the winning side", the Ironborn are literally just bandits that everybody agrees are part of the aristocracy. It's bizarre that the Greyjoys are considered nobles.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:13 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Pope Guilty, some of that may be due to history that isn't in the show - (and I hope ancient history isn't considered spoilers). Long story short, at various times past, the rulers of the Iron Islands also held parts of the Riverlands, the Reach, and the Westerlands. At the time of Aegon's Landing, House Hoare was counted as King of the Iron Islands and the Riverlands, and King Harren Hoare had just finished building Harrenhall.

The Riverland lords quickly sided with Aegon, as they hated the Iron Islanders. And House Hoare was utterly destroyed in the fall of Harrenhall. The Greyjoys pledged alliegance to Aegon and were made Lords of the Iron Islands, while House Tully was given the Riverlands in return for their support.

Anyways, the Ironborn are a fascinating little piece of history in their own right, given their strangely different religion from everyone else and the traditions that have evolved from it (reaving, the iron price, etc).

What I really did like about how the show handled Theon was in bringing out his internal conflict when he is confronted with his blood family versus his adopted one; it is not so well handled in the books.
posted by nubs at 3:14 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

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