Connect with us

TV

Game of Thrones Season Two, Episode 8: “The Prince of Winterfell” Review

(The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones debuts on April 14th, marking the beginning of the end for HBO’s cultural touchstone. Over the years, we’ve covered all 67 episodes of the series, and are revisiting those original reviews in our new retrospective series titled, “Winter is Coming”. We’re pulling these straight from our vacuum sealed digital time capsules, so step into the virtual time machine with us and read our impressions from way back! With the benefit of hindsight, there is plenty of reasons these reviews will raise some eyebrows)

****

As is standard in installment-based narrative drama, sometimes you need an hour just to put the pieces in place. “The Prince of Winterfell” fits the bill as a table-setting ep, but it abuses that privilege a little too freely. It becomes hard not to sympathize for the newly freed Jaime Lannister as he begs Brienne for a fight; it would certainly have livened up the pace a bit.

Thank the Gods for Tyrion Lannister. It’s no secret that Peter Dinklage can and has acted circles around most of the rest of the cast, but it’s almost ridiculous how much he hogs the hour’s best scenes (and how much the other plotlines suffer in comparison). Whether he’s speculating over a dragon-full future while scanning the horizon with the returned Varys, reuniting with his beloved Shae, talking employment apparel and Westerosi pronunciation with Bronn, or verbally sparring with Cersei (more on that later), his scenes are consistently the most fun and watchable, and it’s not a coincidence.

Unfortunately, much of the rest of “The Prince of Winterfell” is a bit of a slog, prepping us for next week’s sure-to-be-epic battle but not shedding much new light on our characters or what they’re up to. The worst offender is easily the way-too-long scene between Robb and Lady Talisa in which she explains…and explains…and explains why she’s a nurse and not something more traditionally befitting a lady of her breeding before they fall into bed in a moment that’s meant to feel warmly romantic, but mostly makes one yearn for time spent with some of the more engaging figures just about anywhere else in the Seven Kingdoms. As usual, the Jon Snow scenes are increasingly snooze-worthy; I suspect that when the Wilding leaders threaten to gut him, a tiny cheer mounts in the darkest recesses of many viewers’ hearts. Another disappointment: Catelyn’s betrayal of Robb, which seems both strategically useless and a needless undermining of that character’s formerly considerable intelligence.

“The Prince of Winterfell” sits on its hands ’till next week’s carnage

A little better is the scene we get between Davos and Stannis as they make their final approach on King’s Landing, which fills us in a little on their dynamic as well as their respective histories of faithful service to [ruler of the period in question]. It’s as nakedly expositional as the show gets, but Liam Cunningham and Stephen Dillane are two of the show’s strongest, most natural presences, so it goes down easy. Speaking of the Baratheon crew, though, it’s more than a little surprising just how little we’ve seen of Melisandre, given her…contributions and Carice van Houten’s pedigree (seriously; if you’ve never seen Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book, Netflix it immediately). Hopefully, we’ll get a little more about of her before the season’s out, even if she’s not on the water with Stannis.

Back to Tyrion for a moment. While the Robb/Talisa scene falls flat in its attempt to brighten Westeros with the all-consuming power of lurve, Tyrion’s scene with Shae works considerably better, thanks to the effectiveness of his exchange wih the thoroughly doomed Ros, who Cersei mistakes for his secret mistress. It’s too bad the Cersei-Tyrion scene is marred both by some off-brand dialogue revolving around cocks and their significance; it’s also a little unfortunate just how thoroughly it’s been demonstrated that, contrary to her suggestions, she’s nowhere near as cool an operator as Tyrion. It would be nice for him to have an opponent of comparable intelligence – perhaps Varys will do the trick a little later on.

It’s entirely possible, of course, that next week’s episode, written by Martin and directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Centurion), will erase any misgivings with blunt force awesomeness. But there’s an inescapable sense that, though Benioff and Weiss apparently done much to condense and arrange the books’ plot threads for maximum efficiency, there was still a little more plot-crunching in order than we’ve gotten in the past few weeks.

Simon Howell

Written By

Simon is a sometimes writer and podcaster living in Toronto.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Facebook

Trending

Anti-War Anti-War

Three Bestselling Anti-War Novels, Three A-List Film Adaptations…Three Flops:  Castle Keep, Catch-22, Slaughterhouse-Five

Culture

Vesper poster Vesper poster

Vesper: Sci-Fi That Thinks Big With Limited Means

Culture

Unforgiven movie review Unforgiven movie review

Unforgiven Ushered the Western into its Afterlife 

Culture

Your Full List of All Upcoming Marvel Movies Your Full List of All Upcoming Marvel Movies

A Full List Of Upcoming Marvel Studios Film And TV Releases

Culture

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The 10 Greatest Comic Issues Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The 10 Greatest Comic Issues

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The 10 Greatest Comic Issues

Comics

Nope Nope

Jordan Peele’s Nope Explained: A Spectacle of “Bad Miracles”

Film

Alex's War (2022) Alex's War (2022)

Alex’s War, a Documentary Study of Alex Jones, Misses the Big Picture 

Film

All Out 2022 Predictions All Out 2022 Predictions

Way Too Early Predictions for All Out 2022

Wrestling

Signs movie review Signs movie review

M. Night Shyamalan Signs Finds Comfort at the End of the World

Film

Outer Range Outer Range

Amazon’s Sci-Fi Western Outer Range is Too Much of a Good Thing

TV

Detective vs Sleuths Detective vs Sleuths

Detective vs. Sleuths: Buckle Up for a Bumpy Ride

Culture

Marvel at San Diego Comic-Con Marvel at San Diego Comic-Con

Marvel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022: A Full Recap

Culture

Bullet Train movie review Bullet Train movie review

Bullet Train Makes All the Wrong Stops

Culture

Best Movies of 2022 So Far Best Movies of 2022 So Far

20 Best Movies of 2022 (So Far)

Culture

Sci-Fi And Superheroes Sci-Fi And Superheroes

Buried Treasures, Hidden Gems – Movies Due For a Revisit: Sci-Fi And Superheroes

Film

High Noon at 70: When Time is of the Essence

Features

Connect