A Man Without Honor (Season 2, Episode 7, Game of Thrones)
It’s hard to completely despise the Lannisters when they are the most interesting people in the Seven Kingdoms. They certainly are the most complex and faceted. It’s easy to imagine what Sansa, Jon Snow, Catelyn, Daenerys, or Stannis will do in a certain situation – but not so much with the Lannisters (except maybe Joffrey).
The most interesting characters are not so predictable and I would put The Hound, Ser Petyr Baelish, and Lord Varys in with the Lannisters when it comes to interesting story lines. What are they up to? What has made them what they are? What regrets do they have? They make me curious and as a result, I tend to write about them more.
It’s not that scenes with Jon Snow or Daenerys aren’t interesting – they are. It’s just that they are not as complex. The great things about scenes with Jon Snow and Deanerys is that they are usually the most visually spectacular. The great vastness of the ‘beyond the wall,’ the colors of Qarth, the enormity of The Wall, the novelty of the dragons all contribute greatly to overall excellent presentation that Game of Thrones is – but doesn’t (for me) inspire the most interesting discussions.
A closer look at the Lannisters
This episode delves deep into the heart of the Lannister family. Since Tywin rode into Harrenhal on his white horse, there have been wonderful scenes with him and Arya, and those interactions continue in ‘A Man Without Honor.’ Here is a man who doesn’t have a high regard for women, but is nonetheless fond of his northern, girl cupbearer. While he tells Arya that she reminds him of his daughter, I can’t help but feel that perhaps Arya is getting more attention from Tywin than Cersei ever did in her childhood.
We also learn that legacy is much on the mind of Tywin. I believe he is sharing something deeply personal (and perhaps something he has shared with no one else) when he tells Arya, “This will be my last war. Win or lose.” Those two simple sentences say so much: Tywin is feeling his mortality and that he is not convinced of the outcome of the war with Robb Stark.
Through conversations with Sansa and Tyrion, Cersei also shares some incredibly personal information. Cersei discovers that Sansa has menstruated and soon shall be about the business of bearing “little princes and princesses.” She assumes (as best she can) the maternal duties of explaining to Sansa the messy business of giving birth.
She shares how King Robert Baratheon would head off to hunt when she was in labor but Jaime was by her side in the birthing room. She warns Sansa not to expect any such devotion from Joffrey. “You may never love the King, but you will love his children,” explains Cersei. And then she shares that loving
makes one weak and vulnerable and that Sansa should only love her children.
Later Cersei and Tyrion discuss the fact that Stannis and his troops will be at Kings Landing in four or five days and the difficulty of controlling Joffrey. Tyrion implores Cersei to help him control Joffrey. During this conversation, Cersei’s demeanor toward Tyrion is completely different than the hostility and loathing she showered on him as Myrcella left Dorne. She is vulnerable. She is sorrowfully resigned to the fact that Joffrey is a monster. Tyrion does his best to make her feel better – pointing out how sweet and good Myrcella and Tommen are.
“It’s a good thing I am who I am. I would have been useless as anything else.” Jaime Lannister
Alton Lannister is captured by Robb Stark’s men and is put into the same cell as Jaime. Alton once served as Jaime’s squire at a joust. As they reminisce about the joust, it is obvious that Alton worships Jaime. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is a splendid actor and plays Jaime with a well-balanced blend of arrogance, wit, deadliness, and intelligence.
Jaime remembers and acknowledges that Alton served well and had the rare gift of being there when needed and remaining out of the way when he was not needed. Alton remembers it as the best day of his life and tenderly shares all the details he treasures from the day with Jaime. We learn that Jaime served as a squire for Barristan Selmy, and in doing so, he too felt himself a part of a dream come true, “He was a painter. A painter who only used red.”
Jaime asks Alton to serve him one more time, “You’ll only have to do one thing. You’ll have to die.”
Jaime escapes but is quickly recaptured and brought back to the camp. Catelyn begs for his life when Lord Karstark goes to kill Jaime. Later, she goes to speak with Jaime, with Brienne at her side, it is Jaime who does most of the talking and turns the table on her when she accuses him of being a man with no honor.
“I told you what would happen!” Theon Greyjoy
The episode begins with Theon Greyjoy waking to find that Osha, Bran, Rickon, and Hodor have escaped. He quickly assembles hounds and a search party, including Maester Luwin, to go retrieve his hostages. And interesting question is: Is Theon also a man without honor? Granted, even though he was a hostage, Ned Stark treated him well. But Theon is right when he points out to Maester Luwin that he was raised ‘among’ them but not as one of them. As bumbling and awkward as he is in the role of Prince of the Iron Islands – he is acting according to Iron Island standards. My sympathies, of course, are with Bran and his entourage.
Theon calls all the people of Winterfell into the courtyard where he announces, “I told you what would happen!” The episode ends with Theon revealing the hanging burnt bodies of two boys to the crowd and a stricken Maester Luwin.
“Every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin.” Cersei Lannister
“Aegon Targaryen changed the rules. That’s why every child alive still knows his name 300 years after his death.” Tywin Lannister
“I never been with any woman but Cersei so in my own way I have more honor than poor old dead Ned.” Jaime Lannister
“I always hoped he’d be like Jaime. He looks like him…in a certain light.” Cersei
“Do you think I’d be in my position if I had lost a war?” Tywin Lannister
“Most girls are idiots.” Arya Stark
“A dog doesn’t need courage to scare off some rats.” The Hound
The Old Gods and the New (Season 2, Episode 6, Game of Thrones)
The Ghost of Harrenhal (Season 2, Episode 5, Game of Thrones)
Garden of Bones (Season 2, Episode 4, Game of Thrones)
What Is Dead May Never Die (Season 2, Episode 3, Game of Thrones)
The Night Lands (Season 2, Episode 2, Game of Thrones)
The North Remembers (Season 2, Episode 1, Game of Thrones)
AV Club: http://www.avclub.com/articles/a-man-without-honor-for-experts,73736/
Watch along with me: Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season