Created by: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Cast: Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Lena Heady, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Iain Glen, Harry Lloyd, Jason Momoa, Kit Harrington, Aiden Gillen, Alfie Allen, Richard Madden, Jack Gleeson, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams
Synopsis: Eddard Stark is now in prison for treason, and daughter Sansa, infatuated with Joffrey, sends word to Rob to swear fealty. He responds by calling every banner loyal to his father to war with the Lannisters. Jon Snow’s own loyalty to his father leads to rash decisions, yet a new threat from beyond the wall takes precedence over these matters.
The events of this episode start immediately from the point of the cliffhanger moment from the last, with hardly a moment to catch one’s breath. The repercussions of Baelish’s betrayal are widespread, and are on display to be seen, with Stark’s retinue being murdered, and attempts made to capture his daughters. Arya manages to escape, but we hear little else of her in this episode.
The above synopsis covers a great deal of what subsequently happens, and it is great stuff. Rob moves to war, his first time in command of an army. He has a lot to deal with, in particular earning the trust of more seasoned veterans. Catelyn tries to aid him in asking her sister for swords, a plea which lands on deaf ears, largely due to the extent to which her sister has taken leave of her senses. Some time is also spent in the Dothraki camp, which is great to watch but does little to evolve the plot beyond showing the extent to which Drogo is now loyal to Daenerys.
On the surface therefore, not a lot happens subsequently to the thrilling opening, but that is too simplistic a conclusion to be taken from this episode. After declarations of war, the line that Rob walks in controlling his army is very fine, yet he does come across as strong and capable despite his youth, even when making unpopular decisions. Later in the episode he does finally get his mother’s counsel, and despite her fears for him it is clear he has her support. Jon Snow cannot break his vows to the Night’s Watch, and his frayed emotions do show through, as does the temper he has been prone to previously. He remains a very likeable character however, and shows strength when the new threat arises from beyond the wall. It seems the mysterious giants that have been little more than myth for a millennium are waking once more.
With two episodes left to the season, all the pieces are in place for a thrilling conclusion.
3.5 stars out of 5
Game of Thrones Episode 8 trailer