Death To Joffrey The False King!

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and YES that's ME riding Ghost the dire wolf!


30 minutes until The Battle of Blackwater!

If you haven’t read the books you have no idea what you’re about to see. This is the episode that George R R Martin wrote and directed. It’s the episode they spent most of this seasons budget on. Big things about to happen!!!

Game of Thrones Showrunner David Benioff strongly suggests that some beloved characters won’t make it out of next week’s Battle of Blackwater:

One great advantage we have over the movies is that when one of our characters wades into battle, we’ve spent almost 19 hours with these characters. You know them so well and hopefully you’re worried for them. And some of them are gonna die. There is a way of shooting a battle where you see an army of a hundred thousand attacking an army of two hundred thousand. There’s also the ground’s eye view where you’re an infantryman and you’re running out there with an axe or a sword or something, you’re not seeing the grand scale of it. You’re just kind of seeing what’s directly in front of you. And that can be a really visceral way of shooting a battle.


'Game Of Thrones' Prepares For Battle Of Blackwater The Lannisters and the Baratheons are gearing up for battle in season two's penultimate episode.

The calm before the storm is upon Westeros — and that says a lot, considering that the so-called “calm” includes an obscenely abused prostitute in King’s Landing, two charred hanging corpses in Winterfell, stolen dragons in Qarth and bruised, beaten prisoners of war north of the Wall.

But believe it or not, that really is just the palate-cleanser before a monumental battle strikes the Seven Kingdoms. All season long, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has warned viewers that “war is coming,” and next week, it’ll finally be here via the fabled Battle of Blackwater, an all-out slugfest between the Lannister forces and the trueborn Baratheons. Which side will win? It’s too early to say. But no matter who emerges victorious, we can promise you this: Just as Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview once warned, there will be blood.

Keep reading for a recap of this week’s “Game of Thrones,” which sets the stage for next week’s epic battle.

The Princes of Winterfell
Theon Greyjoy has fallen hard throughout season two. Last year, he was simply an unlikable boy; now, he’s a full-on baby-killer who doesn’t know when he’s lost. Theon’s unquenchable desire to please his father and prove himself a worthy Ironborn has turned him into one of the most wanted men in Westeros. Even his sister Yara, typically the type to smack Theon across the face well before offering him words of encouragement, expresses her sibling loyalty to the younger Greyjoy, doing her best to get him the hell out of Winterfell before Northerners come calling for his head. Her words fall on deaf ears; Theon stays in Winterfell, and the bastard Ramsay Bolton is just days away from claiming vengeance on behalf of Team Stark. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Theon, the boys he’s so desperately looking for — Bran and Rickon — are more or less right under his nose, hiding in the crypts of Winterfell. A brilliant hiding spot … spooky but brilliant.

The Seeds of Betrayal
Further north, Jon Snow’s inability to kill the wildling girl Ygritte has led to his captivity at the redhead’s hands, but it also might prove his saving grace: Ygritte clearly has interest in Jon, enough to keep him alive a little bit longer. (It doesn’t hurt that the other wildlings, the Lord of Bones in particular, know that Jon’s the bastard son of Ned Stark, either; that makes him a decent bargaining chip worth holding onto.) Another reason why Jon might flourish under captivity: Qhorin Halfhand, also a prisoner, is doing everything he can to distance himself from Jon, to make it clear that Snow betrayed his vows and the Night’s Watch in keeping Ygritte alive. How much of it is Qhorin’s actual wrath against Jon or just a ploy to weaken the wildlings? We’ll have to keep watching to find out.

What’s a Stark Without Honor?
Jon Snow isn’t the only Stark dealing with issues of honor. After his mother, Catelyn, betrays the cause by freeing the king-slayer Jaime Lannister and shipping him back to King’s Landing with Brienne in tow — all in an effort to rescue Sansa and Arya from the Lannisters’ clutches, mind you — Robb is left feeling more crushed than ever. With the entire North looking to him for leadership and his own flesh and blood betraying him — not to mention the recent treachery of his best friend Theon — the King in the North is understandably down and out. So who can really blame him for doing the proverbial “dance with dragons” with Talisa of Volantis? Sure, he’s promised to a Frey, but the man’s got needs, and it’s clear that this is more than just a physical fling. That said, there’s also no doubting that Robb’s dishonored himself by blemishing his pledge to marry a daughter of House Frey. Just how badly that comes back to haunt him and his is something we’ll see in the future, I’m sure.

The Wolf and the Lion Break Up
More heartbreak for Team Stark, though this is more of the viewership variety: The secret “Tywin Loves Arya” show-within-a-show is now at an end. The Lannister patriarch leaves Harrenhal to defend King’s Landing against Stannis, without so much as a parting word of advice for the young wolf. Their dynamic stands out as one of the highlights of season two, and it’ll certainly be missed in the episodes to come. Still, Arya’s continued friendship with faceless man Jaqen H’Ghar remains a strongpoint of the season, and I suspect we’re not completely finished with their kill-happy partnership … not just yet.

War, War Everywhere
King’s Landing has been a spit-show all season long, and come next week’s episode, it’ll be a full-on bloodbath. The upcoming episode is appropriately titled “Blackwater,” as in the bay King’s Landing sits upon and the site of the impending battle between Lannister loyalists and Baratheon banner-men. Sunday’s episode perfectly set the stage: In King’s Landing, Tyrion does his best to keep himself together in light of Cersei ordering the prostitute Ros beaten beyond recognition (because she incorrectly believes her to be Tyrion’s lover), the peoples’ growing mistrust of Tyrion despite his behind-the-scenes efforts to protect them, and the very real threat of war coming to the Seven Kingdoms’ capital in just a few short hours. Out at sea, Davos Seaworth is given the unexpected news that if Stannis beats Joffrey and claims the Iron Throne, the title of Hand of the King will be his. Without a doubt, the stakes are big on both sides of the battle, and it’s hard to find someone to root for: Davos is likable enough, and Stannis, hard as he is, is certainly a better pick for king than the cruel Joffrey. But even though the Lannisters are horrible people, Tyrion’s on their side, and we love Tyrion. What happens to the Imp if Stannis and his men win the day? For Tyrion’s sake, let’s hope we don’t find out.

'Game of Thrones' recap: Marking time until 'Blackwater'

Next week on “Game of Thrones” is the big blowout episode everyone’s been drooling for since before the season began. It’s the one written by the books’ author, George R.R. Martin, directed by “Descent” auteur Neil Marshall and featuring Stannis Baratheon’s all-out assault on King’s Landing. Based on the 30-second preview, it looks to be an epic hour of TV.

This week … Did we mention next week is “Blackwater”?

Not every episode of “Game of Thrones” can be filled with thrilling plot turns, and this week’s episode, “Prince of Winterfell,” was one of those place-holders. As the season speeds toward its conclusion, we did another spin through the multiple story lines, giving everyone a scene or two to establish their places before the final dash across the finish line. And although it’s good to give certain plot points time to breathe, there also seemed to be a lot of marking time.

CHEAT SHEET: All you need to know about “Game of Thrones”

That’s not to say the episode was totally without merit. There were several nice moments and key bits of setup, such as Brienne’s and Jaime’s canoe trip toward King’s Landing and the discovery of the cache of dragonglass at the First of the First Men. But there were also several moments that were easy to see coming — Robb Stark and Talisa finally hooking up, Stannis and Davos sailing along toward King’s Landing and the revelation that Bran and Rickon weren’t actually killed and strung up on the walls of Winterfell. (Did anyone really believe they’d been killed?)

Peter Dinklage continues to own every scene he appears in — one moment putting on a brave poker face for his sister Cersei to conceal the identity of his lover, Shae, (Cersei mistakes the wrong prostitute for Tyrion’s lover) and the next minute collapsing into a puddle of emotional goo for Shae herself. A few scenes later, he’s strategizing with Varys on the walls of King’s Landing without missing a beat.

Daenerys gets only a brief scene in the episode, in which he resolves to visit the House of the Undying to get her dragons back (as if there was any doubt after last week that she would). And Jon Snow is delivered into the hands of the wildlings (which we knew last week). Still, unsurprising as these scenes may be, they seem necessary to establish attitudes and points of view before the action in the two weeks to come.

Theon, meanwhile, earns the title of the episode, but comes across as increasingly clueless and in over his head in regard to his control of Winterfell. Even his own sister arrives to attempt to get him out of his sticky situation, but poor, clueless Theon insists on holding on to his prize. No matter what the cost. This whole campaign won’t end well for him, surely.

Arya and her pals finally escape from Harrenhal, with the assistance of the extremely lethal Jaqen H’ghar. Arya’s cunning and ruthlessness continue to grow week after week, and it’s no surprise that Tywin Lannister took a shine to her during their time together. Unfortunately, Tywin rides off before Arya gets to fully express her feelings about him (probably in the form of a knife), but you can be sure she won’t forget her debts. Though many have railed against the second season’s increasing deviations from the source material, they did provide many moments of unexpected pleasure, such as the scenes between Tywin and Arya shooting the bull about ancient Westerosi history. It wasn’t in Martin’s novels, but it should have been.

Though “Prince of Winterfell” wasn’t an exceptional episode, it was a necessary one. There’s something like seven different story lines happening at the same time as we near the end of the season. Without all the talky-talky this week, the hacky-slashy-stabby of next week wouldn’t carry nearly as much impact.

Now we just have to mark time ourselves, waiting for Stannis and Davos to pull up at the Mud Gate.

The sex-and-violence tally

Talisa and Robb finally admit their feelings for one another and are extremely naked not two minutes later. Meanwhile, the only blood spilled comes from some unfortunate crows and two guards at Harrenhal, dispatched off-screen by Jaqen H’ghar.

Extra-credit book report

Tyrion spent a great deal of time in “A Clash of Kings” preparing for Stannis’ assault. Though you only got glimpses of the planning, all those pieces came together beautifully during the actual assault. In the TV show, Stannis is practically at the gates and Tyrion still doesn’t seem to have any clue about how to repel him. Which means whatever Tyrion does to stop the fleet in “Blackwater” probably won’t be nearly as complicated in the set-up as what occurred in the book.


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— Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Varys (Conleth Hill) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) prepare for the assault on King’s Landing in “Game of Thrones.” Credit: HBO