‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 2, Episode 6: ‘The Old Gods and the New’ Recap

Published 3 years ago by , Updated May 7th, 2012 at 4:02 pm,

Richard Madden Game of Thrones The Old Gods and the New Game Of Thrones Season 2, Episode 6: The Old Gods and the New Recap

Is it possible to ever completely know someone – to truly understand what drives them, inspires them, and makes them do what they do? According to Game of Thrones, every man, woman or child is capable of surprising even those closest to them, and that moment – where the unexpected reveals itself – can often times be that which defines a person forever.  Sometimes, the reveal is gradual, something which slowly exposes itself over time; while in others it is far more explosive, and completely undermines long held beliefs and alliances.

So, when ‘The Old Gods and the New’ opens with Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) having successfully taken Winterfell, the betrayal itself is as confounding as the fact that he actually seems to have pulled it off.  Given Theon’s history with the Starks, this sudden turnabout is so shocking that Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) responds almost as though Theon is playing some sort of practical joke on him. Once it’s established that Theon is serious, however, their relationship works to prevent largescale bloodshed, as Theon gently suggests what a good lord would do – yield.

Even when Bran announces the siege to be true, Theon still has trouble convincing those in Winterfell that his threat is more than the idle musings of some petulant young man. Unfortunately for Ser Rodrik Cassel (Ron Donachie), an ill-advised loogie into the face of his captor results in Theon making an example to the people of Winterfell and his own men, by amateurishly executing Ser Rodrik. Perhaps Theon could benefit from the tutelage of Manu Bennett’s Crixus in the ways of cleaving a man’s head off in a single blow.

When word of Theon’s betrayal eventually reaches Robb (Richard Madden), his march back to Winterfell is halted only by the knowledge that all advances made against the Lannisters will be lost in his absence. Reluctantly, Robb agrees to delegate the recapture of his castle to Lord Roose Bolton, with the caveat that he bring Theon back alive. Given that Osha (Natalie Tena) successfully played Theon and secured an escape for herself, Bran, Hodor (Kristian Naim) and Rickon (Art Parkinson), whoever arrives in aid may find Winterfell devoid of Starks.

Conversely, the events in King’s Landing work to be a kind of twist on Theon’s taking of Winterfell. Whereas in the North, someone thought to be a trusted ally reveals himself to be just the opposite, Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) learns that the esteem he grants himself and his position is certainly not shared by those he rules. Apparently, the length of a king’s reign can sometimes be directly related to how well guarded he is while in the company of his own people.

After seeing his sister Myrcella (Aimee Richardson) sent off to the Martells of Dorne, Joffrey’s party is beset by an increasingly agitated mob that begins by pelting him with insults concerning his birth, and gradually move to tossing excrement in his face. After Joffrey demands the people be killed, a full-on riot breaks out and the citizens of King’s Landing transform into a murderous horde, taken to literally tearing those traveling with Joffrey limb from limb. The ensuing chaos sees Sansa (Sophie Turner) briefly lost in the mob and nearly raped and murdered, until Sandor “The Hound” (Rory McCann) steps in and deals with the unruly lot. Still, as satisfying as it is to see people of that ilk meet a violent end, it pales in comparison to Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) laying a smack across Joffrey’s face, illustrating just how poorly a title – even one as powerful as king – can shield a person from those determined to do him harm.

Lean Headey Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones The Old Gods and the New Game Of Thrones Season 2, Episode 6: The Old Gods and the New Recap

As far as people determined to do harm, it’s hard to tell which is which in the North. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) learns from Qhorin Halfhand (Simon Armstrong) that when it comes to the Wildlings, it’s either kill or be killed. So after coming upon a small group of them, Halfhand and the other Rangers do away with all but one woman named Ygritte (Rose Leslie). After finding himself unable to execute her, Snow loses track of his group chasing after the escaped Wildling girl. Though he catches her, Snow finds himself facing a long night without shelter in the company of a young woman who would rather see him dead.

Somehow, Jon’s predicament still seems favorable to the situation of Arya (Maisie Williams) or even that of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). After doing well for herself and impressing Twyin Lannister (Charles Dance) with her intelligence and wit, Arya nearly has her cover blown by the arrival of Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen), who either doesn’t recognize her or keeps the knowledge to himself to leverage something in the future. Still, Arya’s smarts get her into trouble with a semi-illiterate Lannister bannerman, and she has to use her second kill-wish with Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), in order to maintain her cover at Harrenhal.

Meanwhile, frustration abounds as Daenerys fails to find anyone amongst the traders in Qarth willing to support her quest to claim (not reclaim) the iron throne. All the while Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anonzie) constantly reminds her that she would already be sailing the Narrow Sea had she merely accepted his marriage proposal. As irritating as that must be, things prove to be far worse for the Mother of Dragons. Upon returning to her temporary abode, Daenerys finds most of her Dothraki to have been killed and her dragons snatched by persons unknown.


Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with ‘A Man Without Honor’ @9pm on HBO. Take a look at the preview for next week’s episode below:

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  1. For the first time in season the episode flew by, and I was shocked that it ended so quickly. All the changes that the HBO writers made were quite good, and in particular the theft of the dragons leaves open nice followups. Spoiler: I doubt very much that Theon’s coming fall can ever be as horrible on HBO as it was in the books. As far as the Reeds are concerned, they are almost certainly gone. Why? The series cant have all the characters the books have. Usha is quite popular with the audience and filmamakers and not to mention easy on the eyes (very). Since she has the mystical element that the Reeds had, she will be an admirable fill-in to lead the Stark boys. Spoiler 2: although, now, how will that party split in two as in the books?

  2. I really didn’t like most of the changes in this episode, although some of them (such as the developing, Erm, relationship(?) between Arya and Tywin) are quite interesting; Baelish’s knowledge about Arya is also a nice twist. I have to admit, Jaqen’s reaction to Arya’s demand with regards to Amory Lorch did make me laugh though, despite it’s departure from the books..

  3. There have definitely been some departures from the books this season, which is mildly disappointing to me so far, but at the same time, I can’t deny that it’s made for a better watch. As mentioned, Arya and Tywin make for a much more compelling story than Arya and a foul-tempered cook in the books. Arya’s kill-wishes are also much more satisfying than in the books (where a couple of unknowns got killed instead of these much-more important figures.) Jon and Ygritte got off to a rockier start than in the books, which is probably more believable. And I’m definitely happy Lolly wasn’t in the series, as I felt bad for that girl after she was raped by the crowd – and Sansa being near-raped is still frightening enough by itself.

    As for Daenerys, at the start of the season I was actually thinking she’d have very limited presence this year, and was wondering how she’d get more screen time. The theft of the dragons seems to have helped that, so I’m fine with that change. Certainly fine. Plus, it’s more dramatic.

    So far I have to admit the changes have been very smart. I miss the Reeds but I agree that Osha and Bran are enough by themselves. I do have to admit I wonder how they will handle Bran and Rickon’s splitting off in Book 3 though without the Reeds.

    • I don’t see the point why they should split bran and rickon (maybe i forgot why or missed something) the only dissapointment about the exclusion of the reeds is that howland reeds is the only person still alive who can conferm jon snow true parents!

  4. Most of the changes aren’t bad but what is this Robb ordering Ramsey Snow(Bolton’s Bastard) to retake Winterfell. I won’t ruin it for people who haven’t read the book in case cool stuff still happens but this makes no sense what so ever. The Ramsey Snow subplot could have easily been left in, not sure why they changed it.

  5. another great episode that just flew by..
    only gripe i have with the show, as many have pointed out.. so many characters so little air time.. wish the season was longer, Starz did a great job with Spartacus season 1 – it was 13 episodes that really allowed the character(s) to develop.. I know HBO cant do that, the production cost am sure are much higher on this show then Spartacus..
    but man, i wish they would spend more time on each character…

    if i recall this episode was the first time we saw Rob Stark season since the season opener??

    regardless- amazing show…

  6. The only thing that I dislike is Lord Tywin (in the books) would never spend time chatting with a serving girl.

  7. Greg, normally I’d agree that Tywin wouldn’t do that. However, Tywin recognizes there’s more to Arya than just a “serving girl”. The fact that she was able to conceal her gender from everyone but him, she can read, she’ll look lords in the eye (he may even suspect she’s not a commoner) probably makes him think she could be a good tool down the line. He’s not above nuturing talent when he sees it, regardless of its origin.

    Rickon seems to be more feral every time we see him. Perhaps that will lead to a way for him to be seperated from the others.