If you thought Westeros to be a cynical place before, the newest episode of Game of Thrones has definitely set the bar a wee bit higher. With a title like 'A Man Without Honor,' it seems likely the reference would be toward the ungrateful adoptee/lifetime Stark hostage Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). However, in typical GoT fashion – especially this late in the season – the show goes on to illustrate how, in their own unique way, the title of 'A Man Without Honor' can and does apply to most men in the series.
Not surprisingly, Theon's run on Winterfell hasn't gone as smoothly as it should have – what with having to take Sir Rodrik's head, and the two youngest Starks escaping capture. Still, on the bright side, Theon has learned that the only way he's going to earn the respect of men is through fear and intimidation. So when one particularly mouthy fellow makes words sounding a bit like an accusation that Theon's thought's were on Osha (Natalia Tena) when they should have been on maintaining grip on his former home, the petulant Greyjoy delivers a firm, but fair, beating.
While Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) have a decent head start, courtesy of Osha and Hodor (Kristian Naim), they're smart enough to realize that since Theon has unleashed the hounds, the head start will be eaten up quickly. To his credit (and perhaps in defiance of Theon) Bran is reluctant to ask anyone for help, knowing full well the wrath any person would face upon inevitable questioning from Theon and his men. After finding the remnants of Rickon's snack of choice, Theon excuses Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter), and we are left to assume the worst when he returns to Winterfell to display two charred, child-sized corpses.
Things are looking bad for all of Eddard Stark's kids, with the possible exception of Arya (Maisie Willaims), whose conversations with Twyin Lannister (Charles Dance) continue to be a bright spot, as the head Lannister's adoration for the undercover Stark grows – despite having pretty much guessed her ruse. Up in the North, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) is still in search of his Night's Watch friends while dragging Ygritte (Rose Leslie) around by a bit of rope, all the while thinking of her as his prisoner. The two have a decent exchange wherein Ygritte both discusses how freedom is not willingly obeying a set of vows, and instills fear in Jon that if he doesn't use "it," he's gonna lose "it." Jon fails to jump on either of Ygritte's offers and ends up in the hands of the Wildlings.
Meanwhile, in King's Landing, Sansa (Sophie Turner) has apparently reached that horrible age where having a child with Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is now officially on the table. The fact is clearly disheartening to everyone, including the King's mother, Cersei (Lena Headey), who delivers a very special Mother's Day message to Sansa, illustrating just how insufferable Joffrey had been even before he was born (she suffered in labor for a day and a half just to get the bastard out), and while there is little chance anyone could love Joffrey, according to Cersei, Sansa will love her children, and that should be the extent of those who deserve her affection.
Apparently, all this talk of little Joffreys running around lowers Cersei's defenses a small degree, and she finds herself confiding in Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) instead of screaming at him and pushing him down onto some stairs. The two discuss how woefully unprepared Joffrey is for the coming war with Stannis (Stephen Dillane) – which works out to be about the same amount of unpreparedness Joffrey has for being a decent human being. Neither mother nor uncle mince words about the boy; and Cersei doesn't even blink when Tyrion says, "It's hard to put a leash on a dog, once you've already put a crown on its head." For her part, Cersei worries Joffrey's cruelty is punishment for the sins of the past, resulting in a tender moment that leaves Tyrion unsure what to say or do.
Since Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) hasn't been seen much this season, he pops up and manages to make the most of his time by finally escaping from his cell after killing a relative of his and a guard. The Kingslayer is picked up a short time later and put into the care of Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). Even though Jaime goes for the low blow, with a remark concerning Ned's infidelity and bastard son - a speech that is oddly juxtaposed to how faithful he's been to his own sister - Cat seems poised to undermine Robb's campaign by freeing the captive Lannister in return for Arya and Sansa.
Finally, 'A Man Without Honor' checks in with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and her increasing diva-like behavior, which has understandably gone up a few notches since someone ran off with her three dragons. With Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anonzie) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) at her side, Daenerys confronts 12 of the 13 of Qarth and bears witness to the murder of almost all of them – with the exception of Xaro and Pyat Pree (Ian Hanmore), who, it is revealed, orchestrated the whole thing in an effort to see Xaro become King of Qarth.
Xaro Xhoan Daxos, an honorable man? Apparently the answer is no.
Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with 'The Prince of Winterfell' @9pm on HBO. Check out a preview of next week's episode below: