"The Old Gods and the New" is the sixth episode of the second season of Game of Thrones. It is the sixteenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 6, 2012. It was written by co-executive producer Vanessa Taylor and directed by David Nutter.
In the Seven Kingdoms
At Winterfell, Maester Luwin frantically sends off a messenger raven just as a band of raiders from House Greyjoy, led by Theon Greyjoy, take over the undefended castle. Off-screen, the few hundred defenders that remained behind in the North left Winterfell undefended to repulse an Ironborn raid against Torrhen's Square to the south, but the attack was actually just a feint meant to lure away Winterfell's garrison. Theon tells Bran Stark to assemble everyone in the courtyard and surrender the castle to him, and left with no defenders Bran submits. Ser Rodrik Cassel is captured by Theon's men as he is returning from Torrhen's Square. He spits in Theon's face, and Dagmer Cleftjaw insists that Theon must kill him, or lose face in front of his Ironborn raiders. Theon executes Ser Rodrik. Later that night, Osha the Wildling has sex with Theon, but then sneaks out of his room while he is asleep and kills one of his guards. Osha frees Bran, Rickon Stark, and Hodor and smuggles them out of the castle.At King Robb Stark's army camp in the Westerlands, Robb chats with Talisa, who has followed his forces on their campaign. Robb introduces Talisa to his mother Catelyn Stark, who has returned from the Stormlands along with Brienne of Tarth. They are interrupted when Lord Roose Bolton arrives with the terrible news sent by Luwin's last messenger raven, that Theon Greyjoy has betrayed them and Winterfell has fallen to the Ironborn. Furious, Robb intends to march his army back to the North to repel the invasion, but at the cost of leaving the Riverlands to Tywin Lannister's main army. Roose Bolton offers that the few hundred soldiers left scattered in the North can be rallied by his own bastard son, Ramsay Snow, who is still in the North at the Bolton's castle-seat, the Dreadfort. Given the small size of the Ironborn invasion, a skeleton force which is only succeeding because the North is so lightly defended, it would be easier to send messenger ravens back north and let Bolton's bastard organize a defense, than to retreat Robb Stark's entire Northern army group back to Winterfell and abandon the Riverlands. Robb agrees, but insists that Bolton's men take Theon alive...so Robb can look him in the eyes and ask "Why?" before personally executing Theon himself.
At Harrenhal castle, in the main base camp for the House Lannister army in the Riverlands, Tywin Lannister berates Ser Amory Lorch for delivering a letter to their enemies instead of their allies, because he cannot read properly. He discovers that his cupbearer "Arry" (secretly Arya Stark) can read. Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish then arrives at camp and meets with Tywin, and Arya hides because Littlefinger has met her before and knows who she really is. Baelish discusses the assassination of Renly Baratheon, and how this means that most of the noble Houses from the Stormlands have now rallied under the banner of his older brother Stannis Baratheon. However, House Tyrell of the Reach has retreated its large army back to their capital at Highgarden, and has not joined Stannis. Baelish discusses with Tywin the possibility of forming an alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell.While Tywin is distracted, Arya sees that a letter on his table is about her older brother Robb Stark, so she snatches it and runs away. As she makes her way through the castle, Amory Lorch sees that she is holding the letter and grows suspicious. Amory heads to tell Tywin as Arya runs to find Jaqen H'ghar. She finds him, she tells Jaqen that Amory Lorch is the second name she owes him. Just as Amory Lorch opens Tywin's door, he falls down dead, a poisoned dart lodged in his neck.
In King's Landing, the royal court including King Joffrey Baratheon, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, Prince Tommen Baratheon, and Sansa Stark are at the docks seeing off Princess Myrcella Baratheon as she departs in a ship bound for Dorne. As per the plans Tyrion has been developing, she will stay in Dorne with House Martell until she comes of age to fulfill the marriage alliance to their youngest son, Trystane Martell. The High Septon of the Faith of the Seven offers a blessing for her departure. The streets of the capital city are overflowing with starving refugees from the War of the Five Kings, as Cersei ignored both Tyrion and Janos Slynt's earlier warnings that something had to be done to care for the starving peasants or there would be mounting discontent with her son's rule.As the royal party travels back to the Red Keep through the crowded streets, the refugees and commoners of King's Landing hurl insults at King Joffrey, and ultimately, hurl cow excrement into Joffrey's face. Despite being accompanied by only a few dozen guards facing hundreds of peasants, Joffrey impetuously shouts orders for his soldiers to kill them all. A general riot then breaks out and spreads throughout the city, with the royal party barely making it back to the castle in one piece. The High Septon is torn limb from limb by the mob.
Tyrion Lannister is flabbergasted by Joffrey's stupidity, as he should have realized both that his orders would cause a riot among the starving peasants and that he was badly outnumbered. When Joffrey defiantly insists that Tyrion can't speak to his king this way, Tyrion slaps him across the face, noting that he has now been able to slap the king, but his hand hasn't magically fallen off. With Joffrey sulking, Tyrion desperately tries to secure the castle. With most of the regular Lannister army in the Riverlands fighting in the war under Lord Tywin Lannister, the scant two thousand City Watch guards have difficulty containing the riot, and chaos reigns throughout the city. While Tyrion, Joffrey, and Cersei made it to the safety of the Red Keep, Tyrion realises to his horror that Sansa Stark got lost in the crowd, though Joffrey is once again oblivious to how important she is as a political hostage. Sansa is being dragged away by a mob of angry men and is about to be raped, when Sandor "The Hound" Clegane arrives and fights off her assailants, saving Sansa's life.
Beyond the Wall
The scouting party of the Night's Watch led by Qhorin Halfhand has left the expeditionary base, their main force set up at the Fist of the First Men, and continues searching for the Wildlings in the Frostfangs mountain range. They encounter a small group of Wildling scouts and engage them in combat, killing all except one: a red-haired young woman named Ygritte. Qhorin orders Jon Snow to execute her while the rest of them continue on up the mountain. Jon hesitates, giving Ygritte enough time to make a run for it. Jon pursues and captures Ygritte, but they have become separated from Qhorin's scouting party. With darkness falling, Jon and his prisoner have to settle in for the night, hoping to link back up with Qhorin when daylight returns.
Across the Narrow SeaIn Qarth, Daenerys Targaryen tries to negotiate with the Spice King for ships to return to Westeros in. However, he considers it to be too risky an investment - considering that she has no army and has no open supporters in Westeros - and she receives nothing. Returning with Xaro Xhoan Daxos to his mansion, they find Xaro's guards dead, Irri dead on the ground, and Daenerys' dragons missing, their cages empty. A hooded figure carries the dragons in a covered box up steps towards a tower.
- In the novel A Clash of Kings both Catelyn Stark and Brienne of Tarth swear oaths in the name of the Old Gods and the New. In the series their oaths featured in the preceding episode "The Ghost of Harrenhal."
- The scenes depicting Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand beyond the Wall are filmed on-location in Iceland. The frozen landscape and glaciers in the background are real, not CGI or a matte painting.
- Screenshots reveal that the letter on troop movements in the war that Arya Stark steals from Tywin Lannister's desk reads: "Marching ten thousand west [...]/the Tooth (Golden Tooth). Estimate to reach you by week's end. Sc[...]/Robb Stark moving troops south by coast. Alert Serret [...]/turn east at Silverhill." House Serret are the lords of Silverhill, located in the southern Westerlands, south-east of Lannisport.
[A city wide riot starts in King's Landing after Joffrey orders his men to attack a crowd of peasants, and the royal party barely makes it back within the gate of the Red Keep as the streets descend into chaos]
King Joffrey Baratheon: "Traitors! I've have all their heads!"
Tyrion Lannister: "Oh you blind, bloody fool!"
Joffrey: "You can't insult me!"
Tyrion: "We've had vicious kings, and we've had idiot kings...but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king!"
Joffrey: "You, you can't!"
Tyrion: "I can, I am!"
Joffrey: "They attacked ME!"
Tyrion: "They threw a cowpie at you! So you decide to kill them all?! They're starving, you fool! All because of a war you started!"
Joffrey: "You're talking to a king!"
[Tyrion slaps Joffrey across the face, sending him sprawling]
Tyrion: "And now I've struck a king! Did my hand fall from my wrist?!" [To the guards] "Where is the Stark girl?!"
Joffrey: [growling] "Let them have her!"
Tyrion: "If she dies you'll never get your uncle Jaime back! You owe him quite a bit, you know!"
- Only 15 of the 25 starring cast members for the second season appear in this episode.
- Starring cast members Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon), Carice van Houten (Melisandre), Conleth Hill (Varys), James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn) are not credited and do not appear in this episode.
- Jack Gleeson is credited after Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams when he was credited ahead of them when they last appeared together in "Garden of Bones."
- In the opening titles, Jack Gleeson, who plays Joffrey Baratheon, has his sigil changed to a Stark Direwolf, rather than a Baratheon stag.
In the books
- Ser Rodrik Cassel doesn't die in the fall of Winterfell to the Ironborn, nor is he killed by Theon Greyjoy.
- Theon does execute a Northerner who spits in his face after being taken captive, but it is Benfred Tallhart, captured when Theon first lands in the North at the Stony Shore. Also, Theon executes him by ritualistically drowning him in Ironborn fashion, not by decapitating him.
- Ser Amory Lorch is not killed by Jaqen H'ghar.
- The events shown in Qarth in this episode do not happen in the books.
- Jon Snow doesn't get separated from the Night's Watch's scouting party due to recapturing Ygritte in the books. He lets her go when he is unable to execute her.
- Roose Bolton is commanding a northern army fighting in the east near Harrenhal so does not speak with Robb in person. The general idea that they should send word north for his bastard son Ramsay Snow to try to liberate Winterfell from the Ironborn is, however, essentially present in the books, but it communicated via messenger raven.
- Osha does not seduce Theon but does ultimately help Bran, Rickon, and Hodor escape Winterfell in a different manner.
- Littlefinger does not meet with Tywin Lannister personally to discuss a possible alliance with House Tyrell. The discussion represents planning that is conducted via messenger raven. Littlefinger travels straight from King's Landing to the Tyrell army gathering at Bitterbridge, though both of them and the Small Council are exchanging letters via messenger raven.
- The riot in King's Landing begins with the royal entourage stopped by a dazed refugee peasant woman standing in the middle of the road, holding her blue and dead baby, which starved to death because of the war. Joffrey callously throws a coin at her which bounces off the dead baby, and Cersei condescendingly tells Joffrey to leave the "poor woman" alone. The refugee woman then snaps, drops her dead baby like a sack of flour in the street, points at Cersei and starts shouting "Brotherfucker!", as the whole crowd takes up the chant. Ser Aron Santagar and Ser Preston Greenfield of the Kingsguard are killed.
- Jaime is not noted to have had any difficulty with reading.
|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"|