Entertainment Magazine

Review #3507: Game of Thrones 2.7: “A Man Without Honor”

Posted on the 15 May 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss
Directed by David Nutter

It’s almost hard to believe, but there are only three episodes remaining in the season. By this point in the first season, King Robert had died, Joffrey had taken the throne, and Ned was betrayed and taken prisoner. It’s not quite as clear, now, that we’re hurtling toward climactic events, but one might suspect that this is all building up to a battle for King’s Landing. I’ve just been surprised to find that this show has once again seemingly failed to conform to my expectations for how a serialized drama would be structured. Season 1 turned out to be more of a prologue. And season 2, which has been surprisingly low-key, could so far be described as an extension of the prologue.

Review #3507: Game of Thrones 2.7: “A Man Without Honor”

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it might just mean that the scope of the show is even larger than previously thought. But it does mean that season 2 has largely maintained that feeling of being in the setup phase. For all I know, this could also mean that the battle for King’s Landing, if one is actually coming, will be saved for a later season. Part of me kind of likes that “Game of Thrones” may end up being something that is best appreciated when watched as part of a complete series box set, but knowing that I’d never be patient enough to wait for the whole show to air before watching all of it, I have to consider whether each season has enough story content to make the wait between seasons bearable.

But that’s a discussion best continued when the season has actually come to a close. A lot can happen in three episodes. And really, a lot has happened already, even if it feels like everyone has spent the season preparing for war rather than fighting it (which technically isn’t really the case, anyway–at least, not for everyone). It does feel as though we haven’t seen enough of Stannis and co., though. And Jaime (the “Man Without Honor”) has been sitting in a pen all season, seemingly forgotten, only now getting a chance to step back into the limelight. That said, it’s an impressive return for the character. Jaime is such a devilish, wise-cracking rogue; somehow utterly despicable and likable at the same time. I hope that he plays a bigger role in the events of the next season.

Oddly, I found myself most engaged by the goings-on in Qarth. I’d guessed that either Xaro or the warlock were behind the stealing of Daenerys’ dragons. As it turns out, both of them were. Or more precisely, Xaro agreed to obtain the dragons for the warlock, and in return, be made king of Qarth. Not simply charlatans, the warlocks seem to have real power, of a sort. Now, this warlock seems happy to keep Daenerys and her dragons together, under his control. Xaro’s earlier joke about the warlocks thinking that their “parlor tricks” were real magic seems amusing now, given that Xaro was just repeating the lie for his own purposes. It seems Daenerys was wrong to think that Xaro wasn’t as ambitious as she was. I didn’t think that Xaro would so easily let go of Dany and her dragons. I’m not sure what fans are going to think of all this, though, given that it’s apparently a pretty big deviation from the books (that’s the word on the streets, anyway).

I was also glad to see more of Jorah than usual. He’s always been one of my favorite characters, but he seems to have had little to do during this season, until now. I like that we’re finally getting some insight into his motivations. It’s kind of starting to make sense, now, why he’s so incredibly loyal to Daenerys. Sure, we already know that he’s secretly in love with her, and that he sees her as not only the rightful heir to the throne, but one who would make a strong, but compassionate leader. But there may be more to it than that. At one point, Jorah functioned as Varys’s spy, and received a pardon in return for information that almost led to Dany’s death, had Jorah not decided to intervene (or, perhaps Varys wanted him to intervene?). Jorah’s guilt seems to factor into his fierce loyalty, as the mysterious masked woman points out. How the heck does she know so much, anyway? Perhaps she, too, is from the House of the Undying.

Taking a giant leap over to that other outcast, stuck in frigid conditions, Snow’s story does seem to be getting gradually more and more interesting. I much prefer seeing Jon out on his own, forced to make his own decisions and figure out what kind of person he is. Most of his scenes, this time, involve the considerable sexual tensions developing between him and Ygritte. It’s kind of hilarious to watch this crazy, sexually-liberated woman make a complete mockery of Jon’s up-tightness and destroying his arguments. I particularly enjoyed her comment about what her people would do with a spear if someone ever told them they couldn’t have sex. She does have a good point. If they’re so similar, why are the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings constantly fighting each other? I guess we’ll get to know these Wildlings even better, now that Jon is their prisoner.

The Tywin/Arya scenes don’t differ dramatically from what we’ve seen already, but they’re still one of my favorite parts of the show. Tywin seems to really enjoy having someone to talk to who can compete with his intellect. Arya really is too smart for her own good. Tywin is starting to grow more suspicious of Arya than ever, even playfully accusing her of posing as a commoner. Her clever deflections don’t seem to totally defuse Tywin’s suspicions, but have the effect of making Arya more interesting to Tywin. It’s interesting to hear Tywin once again worrying about his legacy. It’s what matters to him more than anything, it seems, and I think it makes him easy to relate to. Creating a lasting legacy is the closest he can get to achieving immortality.

King’s Landing offers up a few small, but interesting scenes. There’s a great scene in which Sansa talks with the Hound, who reveals that he saved her simply because he loves killing people. It’s in his nature. Later, Sansa wakes up from a nightmare and finds that reality is just another nightmare. She’s just begun menstruating, meaning that she’s ready to bear children for Joffrey. Shae does her best to help her cover this up, but it’s no use. Subsequently, Cersei has a talk with Sansa and gives her some surprisingly decent advice. She actually gives Sansa permission to not love Joffrey. After all, she did hail from a similar situation with Robert, so she can kind of understand. Then we get another surprise in the form of a nearly reconciliatory scene between Tyrion and Cersei. It does seem as though Cersei is softening, somewhat, but I don’t think she’s completely lost her edge yet.

Meanwhile, at Winterfell (or, in the area of Winterfell, anyway), Theon is becoming more ruthless than ever. I guess it is probably having the intended effect of earning his men’s respect. But good grief, he sure has descended to new lows. It’s virtually a foregone conclusion that the hanging, charred bodies do not belong to Bran and Rickon, but poor Maester Luwin, one of the most gentle, likable characters on the show, is led to think that they do. More likely, the bodies belong to those two other children mentioned by Rickon: Jack and Billy. On a lighter note, Hodor (another one of the most gentle, likable characters on the show) put a smile on my face during his brief exchange with Osha.

“A Man Without Honor” isn’t quite on par with the equivalent episode of the previous season, but it’s as strong as any episode has been this season. Likely, the greatest division of opinions will result from what is said to be the most drastic deviation from the source material to date. If this plays into future events in a meaningful way, as a non-fan of the books, I can accept it. But if this is just a way to pad out a storyline that won’t ultimately matter, then I’d question its inclusion. On its own merits, I like it, but I suppose I’ll have to see where it goes.

Rating: 8/10

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