Game of Thrones – The Prince of Winterfell
And so we are given another title that applies wonderfully to many of the shows characters and not at all to the episode in question. The title of Prince could apply to the lost little lost leader Bran who is assumed by the people of Winterfell to now be a burnt corpse ( and in the most stretched out twist revelation ever we are expected to go along with them until the final seconds of this weeks episode, screw SPOILERS that turn was obvious a week ago), it could also stand for Theon, the lost son who has taken the city in question off of one father figure on the behest of another betraying a brother or a few in the process, ensuring that this inter-familial spite stays strong in the blood of the next generation; finally we have Jon Snow who has in the past bestowed the title upon himself in an effort to regain respect and keep his head and has that call echoed this week, but each time that he does so the sounds slip right off him, that surname of his confounding any and all of his efforts to excel, as Arya’s gender do hers. So who then was
Who knows? More important than knowing who stands as the titular prince is understanding the connotations of the word; A prince is a child, a prince is secondary, a powerless position gifted as a present through birth, death or marriage and not something earnt like a true throne and so in a way to call someone in Westeros a prince is to insult them. Yet we see again and again the Starks all struggle with their positions, wanting so much to stand strong as second to their dear departed dad in a world where such small dreams are seen as weak; all of them that is, besides Robb who stopped being a son and started being a man the second that he declared himself King of the North; a father and not a son, as his moving monologue this week informed us, subservient to no one. Given how much danger his siblings have gotten into thanks to their small steps towards power one has to wonder whether or not exceeding them is truly a smart thing to do, but then again apparently Robb is a rash but ridiculously talented general, something that I’m yet to see illustrated, so who knows?
The other half of the title is a much less illustrative one, though it still bears some speaking on. Winterfell was the first place we ever saw in the series, it is as much our home as it is the Stark’s, but I don’t feel like I am being too subjective when I say that it is a special place. The people that it bears are of a higher level than those elsewhere – they are stronger, nicer and more noble, community spirits – and the city itself seems to shelter them in a stronger way than anywhere else in Westeros, as we see in the final seconds of Bran huddled in one of its basements. Compare this to King’s Landing’s Lannisters, who have the scope and scale of their city, but also its crudeness and cutthroat sensibility.
These traits are not unchangeable however; Theon -who once called Winterfell home, back when he was a good boy; his change in home city marking a clear change in character – is warned to head back to the warmth of his own bed lest he die in a strange and hostile land – he seems at odds with the place, shocked by the gates and surprised by the fencing; how quickly the place can turn on you when you in turn turn on it…or something. The episode in fact made a point of showing us just how far all of these characters have come and how much this family wishes that they could only go back home again, clicking their heels three times.
Really though, I’m talking about all this vague stuff like setting dictating character because A) because that’s just what I do here but also B) because well, nothing really happened this week, like seriously nothing at all. I’ve been hearing about Blackwater since late last year and have been excited ever since, despite having no idea what in the hell it means; now though I’m starting to get worried, what kind of event can justify all this time spent straggling through tedious plot lines and how are they going to tie everything together in the final two episodes when it’s taken them eight to set the stage for an opening act? The pacing of this season has really seemed like that of a show with episodes to spare, one that was picked up for a full twenty-three week run, none of this ten hour nonesense and so as good as some of the individual moments are the whole is looking less and less like it will come together satisfactorily.
Though on the plus side I am really starting to get into the shows rhythm’s in that i’m developing a spidey like sexposition sense; as soon as I see a female character dressed a certain way or pulling a certain pose – like Robb’s girl was tonight – I know instantly that after five minutes of emotional muttering there will be yet another needless bout of nudity. So there’s that. Mostly though this was a rather weak episode, one that i found to be an entirely unmemorable experience and it came right after an episode that got me excited for the show again. An intelligent imp – though I’m afraid I cannot pronounce his name – once asked, “Why are all the gods such vicious cunts?”. I on the other hand wonder, why are we?
See you at Blackwater.