"The Prince of Winterfell" is the eighth episode of the second season of Game of Thrones. It is the eighteenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 20, 2012. It was written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by Alan Taylor.
At Winterfell, Theon receives a visitor and holds down the fort. Arya calls in her final debt with Jaqen in a way that displeases him. Robb is betrayed. Tyrion and Varys find common ground. Dany ignores Jorah's advice. Stannis and Davos approach their destination, and Davos is offered a reward.
Beyond the Wall
Ygritte brings Jon Snow before the Lord of Bones, who orders him executed, because he has already captured Qhorin Halfhand and doesn't need two "crows" for questioning. Ygritte convinces him to spare Jon because of his Stark blood. Qhorin initiates a plan to install Jon as a spy within the wildling ranks.
Across the Narrow Sea
Ser Jorah Mormont advises Daenerys Targaryen to leave her dragons and flee Qarth, as he has recently booked passage to Astapor. She insists on attempting to reclaim them and asks Ser Jorah to lead her to the House of the Undying, without knowing what lies in wait.
In the Seven Kingdoms
Yara Greyjoy arrives at Winterfell with a small band of men, but instead of bringing reinforcements she offers Theon only advice. Winterfell is too far from the sea, they can't successfully defend it with so few soldiers, and the North is rising against him. She implores Theon to abandon the castle and return home with her, but he refuses to give up his prize. Dagmer tells Theon that after killing the orphans, he also murdered the farmer and his wife.
Luwin spots Osha sneaking into the catacombs. He follows her inside, and she explains that after reaching the farm she doubled back, using a stream to mask their scent from the hounds. Luwin urges her not to tell Bran and Rickon about the children Theon had murdered, but Bran is sitting up behind a corner and listening to them.
Tyrion Lannister scours history books seeking inspiration for his plans to defend the city. He takes advice from Bronn and Varys and infers that he has decided to make use of the stocks of wildfire. King Joffrey Baratheon is full of bravado, but his mother is worried about letting him fight. She tries to ensure his safety by kidnapping the prostitute Ros, believing that she is Tyrion's lover. Tyrion is relieved that Shae is safe but vows revenge against his sister.
Lord Tywin Lannister is torn between needing to defend King's Landing and wanting to drive King Robb Stark from the Westerlands. He decides to march west, leaving Arya Stark at Harrenhal to serve his castellan, Ser Gregor Clegane. Realizing that she has missed her chance to kill Tywin, Arya pressures the assassin Jaqen H'ghar into aiding her escape from Harrenhal. She forces him to help her by giving him his own name as the third death he promised. She will only revoke his name when he agrees to break her and her friends out of the fortress. Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry walk through the gates at midnight, as Jaqen instructed. They escape Harrenhal, realizing that the guards have been killed.
Robb is furious when he learns that his mother Catelyn Stark has freed his prized captive Ser Jaime Lannister. He tells her that she has betrayed him and orders her kept under guard. Catelyn has sent Brienne of Tarth to escort Jaime to King's Landing to exchange him for her daughters, Sansa and Arya. Brienne uses a canoe to evade pursuit. Robb plans to relieve Winterfell by turning Theon's men against him with an offer of mercy, issuing his orders to the bastard of the Dreadfort through Roose Bolton. Robb seeks solace in the arms of Lady Talisa Maegyr, ignoring his betrothal to House Frey.
A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.
- The Lord of Bones
- 19 of 25 cast members for the second season appear in this episode.
- Starring cast members James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish), Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), and Carice van Houten (Melisandre) are not credited and do not appear in this episode.
- Jack Gleeson is credited ahead of Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Richard Madden, Maisie Williams and Alfie Allen when he was credited after them when they last appeared together in "The Old Gods and the New."
- Sibel Kekilli is credited ahead of Jerome Flynn and Conleth Hill when she was credited after them when they last appeared together in "What is Dead May Never Die."
- Guest star David Sheehan's name is spelled incorrectly in the credits as David Sheenan.
- The episode title refers to chapter 37 of "A Dance with Dragons", the fifth novel in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire.
- The episode won a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Costumes in a Series in September 2012.
- Yara Greyjoy refers to her brother Theon Greyjoy as the Prince of Winterfell in dialogue. Theon styled himself Prince after taking Winterfell. In A Clash of Kings, Theon openly styles himself Prince of Winterfell.
- Lord Karstark says a line about "the Father," one of the aspects of the godhead in the Faith of the Seven, but the Karstarks worship the Old Gods of the Forest. Writer Bryan Cogman responded about this: "the line about Karstark praying to the Father in 208... yeah, I should've caught that. Karstark would be strictly Old Gods, I think. If it helps, you could read it as "I'd even break my faith and pray to the bloody FATHER if that's what it took to bring my sons back"... but I'm not sure that was the intent. But maybe it was. I try my best!"
- Tyrion and, by extension, Varys, become the first ongoing characters west of the Narrow Sea to be aware of the survival of Daenerys Targaryen and the existence of her dragons.
- Talisa's speech to Robb Stark explaining her backstory in Volantis is an invention of the TV series. In the books, Talisa's equivalent character is Jeyne Westerling, a noblewoman from a minor Lannister vassal family, House Westerling. This is the only scene in which Talisa ever explains her altered backstory, but the changes do not appear to be fully researched and contain several contradictions:
- Robb Stark is around 18 years old in Season 1, because he was conceived at the start of Robert's Rebellion, which ended 17 years ago (increasing his age in the books by two years). Numerous other times in the TV series itself, characters have mentioned that Westeros is at the end of a very long summer which has lasted for 10 years (the start of autumn was officially announced in the Season 2 premiere). When Talisa describes her backstory, she says that she and her brother went to bathe in the Rhoyne River when she was 12 years old, because it was the hottest day in the "three year summer." The 10 year long summer that ended in the Season 2 premiere began when Robb was around 9 years old. It is possible (though unlikely) that an autumn/winter/spring cycle quickly occurred during a single year, preceded by a three-year long summer (the seasons are not regular). In which case this incident could have occurred no more than 11 years ago when Robb was around 5 to 6 years old. Talisa, however, states that she was 12 at the time, meaning she would have to be at least five to six years older than Robb. In the books, Jeyne Westerling is roughly the same age as Robb Stark, and while Talisa in the TV continuity is a separate character, the actors playing Robb and Talisa were actually born within two weeks of each other. When the writers developed this altered backstory for "Talisa" including an off-hand mention of a "three year summer," they apparently didn't consider that the current summer lasted for ten full years.
- The nobles and slaves of Volantis never mingle, and they are one of the most segregated of the Free Cities. On the other hand, Talisa's story somewhat implies that she and her brother sneaked off because their parents were away at a wedding and they weren't supposed to be in mixed company at the river, and this was just an exceptional incident in which all classes mingled at the river due to a heatwave.
- Talisa says that drummers were playing for "coppers" on the east bank of the river. "Copper Pennies" are a Currency of the Seven Kingdoms, not Volantis. The Seven Kingdoms use the Gold Dragon coin, of which Silver Stags and Copper Pennies are smaller denominations. Volantis uses round gold coins called "honors"–there may be smaller Volantene denominations made of copper, but they have not been mentioned in the books.
- Talisa's speech does, however, accurately relate a detail from the books, that slaves in Volantis are given facial tattoos so people can recognize them just by looking at them.
Cersei Lannister: "Do you know why Varys is so dangerous?"
Tyrion Lannister: "Because he has thousands of spies in his employ? Because he knows everything we do before we do it?"
Cersei: "Because he doesn't have a cock."
Tyrion: "Neither do you."
Cersei: "Perhaps I'm dangerous, too. You, on the other hand, are as big a fool as every other man. That little worm between your legs does half your thinking for you."
Tyrion: "It's not that little."
Tyrion: "I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth... and you will know the debt is paid."
Joffrey Baratheon: "They say Stannis never smiles. I'll give him a red smile, from ear to ear."
Dagmer: "What's this?"
Theon Greyjoy: "Gold...for the farmer. For his...trouble."
Dagmer: "His troubles are done. He's feeding the crops now. His wife too. You want to keep a man silent, you silence him."
Osha: "Who was that out there...hung from the gates?"
Luwin: "Must have been the farmer's boys."
Osha: "He killed them and burned them....and passed them off as the little lords?"
Luwin: "Shh, shh, shh. They mustn't know. Bran would blame himself."
Osha: "They'll never hear it from me. The little lads have suffered enough."
In the books
- The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Clash of Kings:
- Chapter 34, Jon IV: The dragonglass weapons are discovered.
- Chapter 38, Arya VIII: Tywin leaves Harrenhal.
- Chapter 41, Tyrion IX: Tyrion and Varys discuss Stannis's impending attack.
- Chapter 47, Arya IX: Arya gives Jaqen his own name to get what she wants.
- Chapter 49, Tyrion XI: Tyrion makes final preparations for the defense of King's Landing.
- Chapter 54, Tyrion XII: Cersei confronts Tyrion with a captive.
- Chapter 56, Theon V: Yara visits Winterfell to try to convince Theon to leave.
- Chapter 68, Jon VIII: Jon and Qhorin are captured by the wildlings. Qhorin plans to make Jon a spy in their ranks.
- The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Storm of Swords:
- Chapter 1, Jaime I: Jaime is escorted towards King's Landing by Brienne.
- Chapter 2, Catelyn I: Catelyn is imprisoned for freeing Jaime.
- Chapter 36, Davos IV: Davos is appointed as Stannis's Hand.