"The Night Lands" is the second episode of the second season of Game of Thrones. It is the twelfth episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 8, 2012. It was written by executive producers David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by co-executive producer Alan Taylor.
Stannis uses Ser Davos to seek out new allies for his war with the Lannisters. On the road north, Arya confides in Gendry. Robb Stark sends Theon Greyjoy 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.
In the Seven Kingdoms
In the Riverlands, Arya Stark continues to pose as a boy while travelling north with Yoren and his Night's Watch recruits. She is drawn to the caged prisoners when Jaqen H'ghar asks her for water and introduces himself. A pair of Gold Cloaks approach the party and Arya hides, believing that they have come for her. They deliver a warrant for the Royal bastard Gendry but Yoren intimidates them into leaving empty handed. They promise to return with more men.
Arya asks Gendry why he is wanted and he admits that he does not know. He tells her that he was questioned by Lord Jon Arryn and Lord Eddard Stark in the months before he fled King's Landing. He questions why she thought that they had come for her and tells her that he has seen through her disguise. Arya reveals her identity to him and swears him to secrecy.
In King's Landing, Varys discovers Shae living with Tyrion Lannister in the Tower of the Hand and makes implied threats about revealing her presence. Tyrion warns Varys not to underestimate him. Alton Lannister delivers King Robb Stark's peace terms to the small council and Queen Regent Cersei Lannister rejects them. Grand Maester Pycelle relays a message from the Night's Watch requesting manpower and warning of wights. Tyrion is the only one to take the warning seriously.
Ros struggles to continue her work as a prostitute having witnessed the murder of the infant royal bastard Barra. Petyr Baelish threatens her with a tale about selling an unhappy girl to a depraved customer in order to recoup his investment. He orders her to return happy after a night off.
Tyrion has Lord Janos Slynt for dinner and questions him about the massacre of the royal bastards. Janos freely admits his involvement but will not reveal who ordered the attack. Tyrion has Janos arrested and exiled to the Night's Watch and installs Bronn as Commander of the City Watch in his place. Cersei confronts Tyrion about his actions. He warns that she is losing the support of the people but she claims that she does not care. He concludes that Joffrey ordered the massacre, having initially suspected that it was Cersei. He jokes about her relationship with Jaime and she says that he has always been funny. She ends the discussion with the barb that his finest joke was killing their mother when he was born.
On Dragonstone, Davos recruits the Lysene sellsail Salladhor Saan and his fleet of thirty ships to King Stannis Baratheon's cause. His son Matthos Seaworth encourages him to learn to read so that he can study the holy texts of the Lord of Light but Davos is happy to put his faith solely in Stannis. Melisandre seduces Stannis with the promise of a son.
Theon Greyjoy travels to the Iron Islands on a merchant ship and sleeps with the Captain's daughter. He tells her that he is expecting a warm reception and is crushed when there is no one to meet him when he disembarks in Lordsport. A woman offers him a ride to Pyke and he attempts to seduce her throughout the journey. He is further disappointed when his father Balon questions his loyalty and his memory of his roots having spent nine years as a ward of House Stark. He delivers Robb Stark's letter suggesting an alliance against House Lannister. His guide enters and he is shocked to realize that she is his sister Yara when Balon greets her warmly. Balon rejects the proposal and compares Theon unfavourably to his sister. He insists that he will follow the ironborn tradition of paying the iron price (meaning to take something through force) and says that no-one will give him his crown. When Theon warns his father that he will not defeat the Lannisters, Balon retorts that he has no intention of fighting the Lannisters.
Across the Narrow Sea
Daenerys Targaryen and her khalasar lie exhausted in the heat, their water dwindling as they wait for the return of her bloodriders. Rakharo's horse returns riderless and Ser Jorah Mormont discovers his head and severed braid in its saddle bag. He surmises that Rakharo was caught and killed by a rival khalasar. Irri is devastated by the death and believes the mutilation will prevent Rakharo from entering the night lands, the Dothraki land of the dead. Daenerys promises to hold a funeral for Rakharo.
Beyond the Wall
Samwell Tarly rescues one of Craster's wives, Gilly, from Ghost when he bothers her for food. She confides her desire to flee from the keep because of her fear for what Craster will do if her unborn child is a boy. Sam takes her to Jon and she begs him to take her with the ranging but will not say what she is afraid of. Jon refuses to aid her because of the Lord Commander's orders not to get involved with Craster's wives.
Jon notices Craster taking a baby into the woods at night. He follows him and sees him leave the child to the White Walkers. Before he can intervene Craster surprises him and knocks him out.
- Main: The Night Lands recap
A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.
- The title refers to the Night Lands, the land of the dead in Dothraki religion. Irri is devastated that Rakharo will not go to the Night Lands because his body was mutilated by his killers without being burned.
- The scene in which Rakharo's severed head is discovered and Irri mourns his death (in a protracted exchange of Dothraki language dialogue) was filmed as part of the next episode, "What is Dead May Never Die". It was moved to this episode in post-production.
- The episode covers material from chapters 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, 24, 25 and 26 (Arya II, Tyrion II, Arya III, Davos I, Theon I, Daenerys I, Arya V, Tyrion V, Jon III, Theon II, and Tyrion VI) of A Clash of Kings.
- 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.
- A screenshot of Robb Stark's letter to Balon Greyjoy, which he sent Theon to deliver, was posted in the In-Episode Guide for this episode. The visible portions read:
- ...House Greyjoy Lord of the...
- ...years ago our houses fought as enemies...
- ...unite them against a greator foe. Your son has proven himself a formidable warrior and...
- friend of House Stark. Give him command of your fleet to crush the Lannisters and I will give you...
- independence you sought some nine years ago...
- shall be king of the Iron Islands as I am King...
- North, free of the oppression of the [Iron Throne].
- The Lannisters have left their...
- ...[Casterly Roc]k largely undefended and...
- Theon speaks for....
- As writer Bryan Cogman explained, the production team wasn't sure in Season 2 if they would eventually be able to include Stannis's daughter Shireen Baratheon in the TV series. Thus a considerable amount of thought actually went into Melisandre's line in this episode that Stannis has "no sons", because they wanted to leave their options open to later say that he does have a daughter (and as it turned out, the TV series was ultimately able to introduce Shireen in Season 3):
- "At that point, we honestly didn't know if we would include Shireen or not — we never know how many characters this show can handle so we sometimes hedge one way or the other. So we made it clear that Selyse had given Stannis "no sons", leaving the door open for Shireen if we needed her."
Tyrion Lannister: "I don't like threats."
Varys: "Who threatened you?"
Tyrion Lannister: "I am not Ned Stark, I know the way this game is played."
Varys: "Ned Stark was a man of honor."
Tyrion Lannister: "And I am not, threaten me again and I will have you thrown into the sea."
Varys: "You might be disappointed with the results. The storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish and I keep on paddling. Come my lord, we shouldn't keep the queen waiting."
Cersei Lannister: "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 Lannister: "I'm no king, but I think there's more to ruling than that."
Cersei Lannister : "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 Lannister : "As has Jaime repeatedly, according to Stannis Baratheon."
Cersei Lannister : "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 Lannister : "She was my mother too."
Cersei Lannister : "Mother gone, for the sake of you. There's no bigger joke in the world than that."
- King Balon Greyjoy
- Princess Yara Greyjoy
- Salladhor Saan
- Podrick Payne
- Jaqen H'ghar (as played by Tom Wlaschiha)
- Rorge (as played by Andy Beckwith)
- Biter (as played by Gerard Jordan)
- Captain's Daughter (as played by Amy Dawson)
- Only 15 of the 25 starring cast members for the second season appear in this episode.
- Starring cast members James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark), Richard Madden (Robb Stark), Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane), and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) are not credited and do not appear in this episode.
- Alfie Allen is credited ahead of Maisie Williams when he was credited after her in "The North Remembers".
- John Bradley is credited after Stephen Dillane, Carice Van Houten, Jerome Flynn and Conleth Hill when he was credited before them in "The North Remembers".
|Game of Thrones Season 2|
|#01 "The North Remembers"||#06 "The Old Gods and the New"|
|#02 "The Night Lands"||#07 "A Man Without Honor"|
|#03 "What is Dead May Never Die"||#08 "The Prince of Winterfell"|
|#04 "Garden of Bones"||#09 "Blackwater"|
|#05 "The Ghost of Harrenhal"||#10 "Valar Morghulis"|