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The Old Gods and the New

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"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.

The episode won a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Make-Up (Non-Prosthetic) in September 2012[1].

Arya has a surprise visitor; Dany vows to take what is hers; Joffrey meets his subjects; Qhorin gives Jon a chance to prove himself.



In the Seven Kingdoms


Theon approaches Bran, then takes over Winterfell.

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. Theon had lured the defenders away with a feint at Torrhen's Square and then infiltrated the castle using grappling claws. Theon tells Bran Stark to surrender the castle to him to save his people. Bran submits in front of his assembled people. 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 botches the beheading of Ser Rodrik horrifying the people of Winterfell. Later that night, Osha the wildling has sex with Theon, but then sneaks out of his room while he is asleep. Osha frees Bran, Rickon Stark, Hodor, and their direwolves, Summer and Shaggydog, smuggling them out of the castle and killing one of Theon's guards in the process.

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. Furious at Theon's betrayal, Robb intends to march his army back to the North to repel the invasion. Roose advises that the few hundred soldiers left scattered in the North can be rallied by his bastard son, Ramsay Snow, who is in the North at the Dreadfort. They could overcome the small Ironborn invasion force. Roose warns that retreating the entire Northern army group would lose everything they have gained. 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 him.

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 arrives at camp and meets with Tywin. Arya tries to hide her face to prevent Littlefinger from identifying her. Baelish discusses the assassination of Renly Baratheon, and the subsequent rallying of the noble Houses from the Stormlands 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.

Later Tywin questions Arya about her origins. While Tywin is distracted, Arya sees that a letter on his table is about her older brother Robb Stark, so she snatches it. She reads the letter and then runs downstairs with it. She bumps into Amory Lorch who sees that she is carrying the letter and grows suspicious. Arya runs away and Amory heads to tell Tywin. Arya runs to find Jaqen H'ghar. She tells Jaqen that Amory Lorch is the second name he owes her. Just as Amory Lorch opens Tywin's door, he falls down dead, a poisoned dart lodged in his neck.


Joffrey has excrement thrown on him by rioting peasants.

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 Tyrion's plans, 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.


Sansa is almost raped.

As the royal party travels back to the Red Keep through the crowded streets, the starving refugees and commoners of King's Landing plead for bread and hurl insults at King Joffrey, and ultimately, someone throws 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 riot erupts 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 enraged by Joffrey's shocking 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 realizes 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 slays her assailants. He carries Sansa to the castle and orders handmaids to take care of her. Tyrion thanks Sandor for saving Sansa's life, but Sandor bluntly responds that he didn't do it for him.

Beyond the Wall


Jon first lays eyes on Ygritte.

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 Sea


Daenerys discovers that her guards have been slain and her dragons are missing.

In 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 strangled to death, and Daenerys' dragons missing, their cages empty. A hooded figure carries the dragons in a covered box up steps towards a tower.


Main: The Old Gods and the New recap

A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.


  • The title refers to the Old Gods worshiped primarily in the North and the Seven-Faced god of the Faith of the Seven, also referred to as the New God or Gods. In the series their oaths featured in the preceding episode "The Ghost of Harrenhal."
  • When Tyrion admonishes Joffrey that if Sansa dies the Starks will kill his captive "Uncle" Jaime, saying "You owe him quite a bit, you know!", recall that back in the Season 2 premiere, "The North Remembers", Joffrey told Cersei that he'd heard of the "rumors" being spread by Stannis that Joffrey is really Jaime's bastard son and a product of incest, he just refused to believe they could be true. Joffrey scowls at Tyrion's insinuation about his relationship to Jaime.
  • 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.
  • LetterFromTheOldGodsAndTheNew

    Composite screenshot of Arya's letter

    Screenshots reveal[2] that the letter on troop movements in the war that Arya Stark steals from Tywin Lannister's desk reads: "Marching ten thousand west to Lannisport through the Tooth (Golden Tooth). Estimate to reach you by week's end. Scouts report Robb Stark moving troops south by coast. Alert Serrett he should turn east at Silverhill." House Serrett are the lords of Silverhill, located in the southern Westerlands, south-east of Lannisport.
  • Irri does not die in the books: Irri's death was apparently not a creative choice, but forced because actress Amrita Acharia had to leave production on the TV series. Acharia apparently had to leave because she wasn't able to obtain Norwegian citizenship (even though most of her family has it), and thus wasn't able to extend her EU work visa.[3]
    Doreah kills Irri

    Deleted scene of Doreah killing Irri.

    • According an interview Amrita Acharia gave after this episode aired, a death scene for Irri was actually filmed but was not included in the final edit of the episode: "I’m waiting for Daenerys to come back so I’m running up the stairs. “Khaleesi, are you back yet?” And the dragons are gone. Out of nowhere, there’s a noose around my neck. I think it’s hard to be strangled on screen because obviously to an extent to make it look real, you really have to be a bit strangled. So I had massive bruises on my neck the next day. I was proud. Battle scars. Death scenes are fun."[4] Acharia also pointed out that the Daenerys/Irri sex scene which occurred in the third novel will now never happen.
    • An image from a deleted scene later surfaced revealing that it was actually Doreah who personally strangled Irri to death, instead of just indirectly betraying her to her death. As this is from a deleted scene it is not canonical and should not be considered to have actually happened.[5]

Memorable Quotes

[A city wide riot starts in King's Landing after King 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'll 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!"

[Ser Rodrik Cassel is brought in front of Prince Theon Greyjoy after he takes Winterfell]

Prince Theon Greyjoy: "Ser Rodrik, it grieves me that we meet as foes."
Ser Rodrik Cassel: "It grieves me that you have less honor than a back-alley whore. You were raised here, under this roof! These people are your people!"
Theon: "They are not my people."
Rodrik: "King Robb thought of you as his brother!"
Theon: "My brothers are dead! They died fighting Stark men, men like you!"
Rodrik: "Aye, they died fighting a war your father started! Lord Stark raised you among his own sons!"
Theon: "Among them, but not one of them! I was his hostage, taken from my home!"
Rodrik: "If he were alive to see this..."
Theon: "He's not, he's dead. Seven Kingdoms are at war and Winterfell is mine!"
Rodrik: "I should have put a sword in your belly instead of in your hand!"
Theon: "You've served this house faithfully, old man, but keep talking and I'll--"
[Rodrik spits in Theon's face] "Take him to the cells and lock him up--"
Dagmer: "You cannot let that stand, he must pay."
Theon: "I'll lock him in his cell until he rots--"
Dagmer: "No! He has to pay the iron price. They'll never respect you while he lives."


Main: The Old Gods and the New/Appearances


First Appearances




Guest starring


Cast notes


Promotional images

Promotional video

In the books

The episode covers material from the following chapters of A Clash of Kings.

  • Chapter 35, Jon IV - Jon is unable to keep Ghost close to him.
  • Chapter 37, Tyrion VIII - Littlefinger positions himself to negotiate with House Tyrell.
  • Chapter 38, Theon III - the death of a northerner at the insistence of Theon's men.
  • Chapter 39, Arya VIII - Arya orders a second murder from Jaqen.
  • Chapter 40, Catelyn V - Catelyn returns from the Stormlands, context changed dramatically.
  • Chapter 41, Daenerys III - Daenerys is unable to obtain ships through negotiation.
  • Chapter 42, Tyrion IX - The departure of Myrcella and the riot of King's Landing.
  • Chapter 47, Bran VI - Bran awakens to find Theon in Winterfell and surrenders the castle to him.
  • Chapter 51, Theon IV - Theon sends word to Deepwood Motte for help. Theon sleeps with a Winterfell servant. The escape of Bran and Rickon is reported to him but not seen from Bran's point of view.
  • Chapter 52, Jon VI - the capture of Ygritte.
  • Chapter 53, Sansa IV - Sansa recalls being rescued from the riot.
  • Chapter 57, Theon V - a beheading at Winterfell, context changed dramatically.
  • Chapter 67, Theon VI - the death of Ser Rodrik, context changed dramatically.

There are several changes from the source material.

  • Scene 1: Because Luwin is not a point of view character this scene does not feature in the book. The book features a wolf dream where Bran hears the sounds of the attack through Summer in chapter 46, Bran VI. Luwin does report being able to send messenger ravens while talking to Bran later in the same chapter.
  • Scene 2: This scene is adapted from chapter 46, Bran VI. Dagmer is not present for the discussion in the book because he remains at Torrhen's Square during Theon's occupation of Winterfell. The discussion is shorter in the book with Bran not asking Theon if he hated them the whole time and Theon spending less time explaining the mechanics of the attack (this explanation is left to Luwin in the book).
  • Scene 3: This scene is mainly adapted from Chapter 46, Bran VI but also features elements of Chapter 37, Theon III and Chapter 50, Theon IV.
    • The scene takes place in the great hall of Winterfell rather than the courtyard.
    • It is Mikken rather than Farlen who speaks up in the book. Mikken is ultimately killed for his defiance.
    • Theon accepts Osha's fealty in the book although much of the dialogue is the same.
    • The chapter ends with Theon accepting Osha's service.
    • Ser Rodrik Cassel is not captured and doesn't die in the fall of Winterfell to the Ironborn, nor is he killed by Theon Greyjoy. His death occurs in Chapter 66, Theon VI.
    • 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. This occurs in Chapter 37, Theon III. It is Theon's uncle Aeron Greyjoy who convinces him of the necessity of the death rather than Dagmer.
    • Theon conducts a similar botched execution (with a different victim) in Chapter 56, Theon V.
  • Scene 4: Jon's inability to control Ghost is loosely drawn from Chapter 34, Jon IV. Jon's discussion with Qhorin is not present in the books.
  • Scene 5: The war council scene is new for the series. Littlefinger does not visit Harrenhal in the books but convinces Tyrion to let him broker an alliance with House Tyrell during a small council meeting in King's Landing in Chapter 36, Tyrion VIII.
    • The risk of Arya being identified is not so prominent because no-one who knows her is at Harrenhal.
    • 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.
    • Arya Stark is never cupbearer to Tywin Lannister. In the books, Arya is a cupbearer at Harrenhal, but to Roose Bolton, who had captured Harrenhal from the Lannisters.
  • Scene 6: The raid on the wildling lookout's camp takes place in Chapter 51, Jon VI.
    • Jon and Stonesnake have to climb a cliff face to surprise the wildlings and there are only three of them in the book.
    • Because Qhorin is not present it is Stonesnake who initially questions Ygritte with Jon. Many of his lines have been given verbatim to Qhorin in the show.
    • Jon keeps Ygritte as a captive while waiting for Qhorin and she tells him a story about Bael the Bard which is not present in the episode.
    • Qhorin then determines that they cannot take her with them when he arrives in the book. The same dialogue is used in the show.
    • 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.
  • Scene 7: The departure of Myrcella takes place in Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
    • Myrcella does not weep in the books. She comforts a crying Tommen before she is rowed away.
    • Cersei insists on sending four ships with Myrcella, weakening the fleet at King's Landing. In the show only one ship is seen at anchor.
    • Sansa challenges Joffrey's assertion that princes should not cry with historical examples rather than a reference to Rickon.
    • Bronn is present for this scene in the book but not in the episode.
  • Scene 8: The riot immediately follows the departure of Myrcella in Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
    • 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.
    • The thrown excrement incites Joffrey in the same way in the books but after the crowd have been riled up by his treatment of the bereaved woman.
    • The royal party are mounted in the books.
    • The Hound does not stay by Joffrey's side, having been sent to get the man who threw the excrement.
    • Ser Aron Santagar and Ser Preston Greenfield of the Kingsguard are killed.
    • The death of the High Septon is reported by Gyles Rosby rather than being seen directly by Tyrion.
  • Scene 9: Tyrion's confrontation with Joffrey takes place in Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
    • Cersei is present for the confrontation in the book but not in the show.
    • Tyrion is more violent with Joffrey in the book and the Kingsguard separate them.
  • Scene 10: Sansa recalls being attacked in the riot in Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
    • Sansa is almost pulled from her horse but not chased into a back alley.
  • Scene 11: Tyrion orders the Kingsguard to retrieve Sansa after confronting Joffrey in Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
    • It is Ser Boros Blount who refuses to follow Tyrion's orders to go back for Sansa rather than Ser Meryn Trant. Cersei insists that they comply in the book while Joffrey takes no part in the discussion.
    • Ser Mandon Moore was specifically responsible for Sansa but abandoned her to guard Joffrey.
  • Scene 12: Sansa recalls being rescued by the Hound in Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
    • She was not almost raped in the book.
    • Another noblewoman Lollys Stokeworth is brutally raped by the mob in the book as reported to Tyrion in Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  • Scene 13: More violence in the riots is consistent with the description in Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  • Scene 14: Sansa is brought to safety by the Hound in Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
    • Tyrion is pleased to see her returned but does not congratulate Clegane.
    • Clegane's line about the "Little Bird" being hurt is taken verbatim from the page.
    • Clegane is ordered back out to help fight fires and it is then that he says he will not do it for Tyrion but instead to find the horse he lost in the riot.
  • Scene 15: Daenerys discusses difficulty obtaining ships with Xaro in Chapter 40, Daenerys III but it was the Pureborn that she approached rather than the Spice King (who are not an established faction in the series). The discussion is only referenced in the book.
    • Daenerys does note not being offered any refereshment by the pureborn.
  • Scene 16: An added scene with Arya and Tywin.
    • Tywin's discontent with his father's weakness is established in the books.
    • Jaime is not noted to have had any difficulty with reading.
  • Scene 17: Arya names a second victim to Jaqen in Chapter 38, Arya VIII. It is Weese the cruel understeward rather than Ser Amory that she names in the books.
  • Scene 18: Ser Amory Lorch is not killed by Jaqen H'ghar.
  • Scene 19: Robb is not a point of view character in the books and we do not see any scenes in his camp in the Westerlands. Catelyn returns to safety by travelling to Riverrun and does not meet with Robb. She arrives in Chapter 39, Catelyn V. This is before the capture of Winterfell in the book so she does not receive word of it.
  • Scene 20: As stated earlier Jon allows Ygritte to escape in Chapter 51, Jon VI and does not recapture her. Ygritte's attraction to Jon is established later in the books and is based on his capture of her which is a wildling custom.
  • Scene 21: Robb, Catelyn and Roose are separated by great distances at this stage in the books and no such meeting occurs there.
    • 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 raven.
  • Scene 22: Theon sleeps with a Winterfell servant in Chapter 50, Theon IV but it is Kyra rather than Osha. Kyra has not been established in the TV series.
    • Osha does not seduce Theon but does ultimately help Bran, Rickon, and Hodor escape Winterfell in a different manner.
  • Scene 23: Sansa discusses the riot in Chapter 52, Sansa IV but it is Sandor Clegane that she speaks to rather than Shae. Shae has not yet been established as a maid at this point in the books.
  • Scene 24 and Scene 25: The escape of Bran and Rickon is discovered by Theon in Chapter 50, Theon IV rather than shown first hand in the books.
    • Drennan is found dead and Theon guesses that he was killed while undressing for a woman.
  • Scene 26 and Scene 27: These scenes have no basis in the books.
    • The dragons are not stolen.
    • Irri is not killed in Qarth.


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"

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