Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 16: “The Old Gods and the New”

When it comes to getting my weekly taste of the epic Game of Thrones saga, I’ve been as hungry as a direwolf in winter. Luckily the show producers weren’t just tossing out the table scraps with this week’s eventful offering entitled, “The Old Gods and the New”

Written by Johnny Mansbach for

Remember Ned Stark’s loyal little servant and ward, Theon Greyjoy, only son of Balon Greyjoy, King of the Pyke? Well, you don’t have to know all that… Just remember he spent the entire first season (and 14 years of his life) defending the honor and mortality of the Stark family.

So when his best friend Robb Stark (King in the North), sends him home to the Pyke to gather ships for war; Theon uses the ships to attack Robb’s own castle in Winterfell.

After forcing young Bran (the 9-year-old left in charge) to yield the castle, Theon announces he is the new Lord of Winterfell.

Surrounded by the people who raised and cared for him, Prince Theon proceeds with the takeover with a hint of respect and dignity. But new habits are borne cold, and Theon’s crew reminds him he hasn’t yet earned his father’s so-called “iron price” of “taking” respect rather than it being given.

So, collapsing under peer pressure that would rival anything seen on Teen Mom, Theon is forced to show an act of cold blood to demonstrate his devout leadership. After several embarrassing amateur-hour swings of his broadsword, he removes the head of the noble Ser Rodrik (Greyjoy advances on Stark.)

“Gods help you, Theon Grevoy. Now, you are truly lost.”

Jon Snow and the other Men of the Black have ventured farther north of The Wall than most would ever dare… into an area of the “first men” known as the Frostfangs. It’s a scary, desolate, empty place. So when Jon loses sight of his team while tracking a Wildling, he’s literally out of his element. To stay warm through the night, Jon agrees to do some medieval snow spoonin’ with the new girl. And since she won’t stop grinding on his codpiece, this is going be one long and confusing night.

Arya Stark had been posing as a boy for months. But now she’s back to being a girl and in more danger than ever. Arya was assigned to be the wine pourer in Tywin Lannister’s war tent. What a terrible and lucky break! In fact, Arya’s luck took a major turn several weeks ago when she saved the lives of three prisoners in the back of a burning wagon. Now under the protection of her own magical genie, the indebted Jaqen H’ghar, has vowed to “take three lives” in place of the three she saved. Anytime. Anyplace. He’ll kill any three people she names… She used one last week when she ordered the death of a torturer known as the “The Tickler”.

Just as Arya was settling in under the unsuspecting nose of the warmonger, an all-too-familiar face enters to discuss politics—It’s Lord Petyr Baelish (also known as Littlefinger), the man who turned her father over as a traitor. She escapes the room, unnoticed, with a war parchment. It includes details of her brother Robb’s war plans and position. But Amory, one of Tywin’s most loyal guards, catches her in the streets. He makes haste to alert his general of the little traitor. It all seems lost for Arya… but wait, where’s her magic lamp?

Arya immediately finds her “genie” Jaqen H’ghar and, within minutes, Amory drops dead. Two death wishes down, one to go… (Seriously, am I the only one yelling, “pick Joffrey” for the deathwish list?)

Okay, some serious cow patties are flying around the royal family. While being escorted through the streets, King Joffrey is called a bastard and hit in the face with some fresh cow manure. Infuriated, he demands the head of the offender. But the angry crowd swells, demonstrating more disdain for the fraudulent king. A disorienting mob forms and Sansa is swept away through the fray. Detained by four degenerates in a back alley, the eldest Stark girl is being prepped to endure horrific violations. But in a rare, heroic moment, Sandor Clegane (The Hound) arrives and literally disembowels the four men within seconds.

Meanwhile, that little bitch Joffrey proclaims (in a dog whistle’s pitch) that he is king and will not be treated this way. Tyrion smacks some sense into Joffrey by reminding him the townspeople are literally tearing each other limb from limb.

Then Uncle Tyrion literally smacks the shit out of Joffrey. Very satisfying television…

Just as King Robb is reunited with his mother Catelyn somewhere in the middle of Westeros, he receives word that Theon Greyjoy has taken his castle in Winterfell. A group of ironmen is dispatched to take the castle back, with orders for Theon to be brought before Robb for sentencing and, possibly, some royal tea bagging.

Dany T is the Mother of Dragons. But her dragons are little, can’t fly, and will probably take years to grow into formidable weapons. So before she can fly across the Narrow Sea to reclaim the Iron Throne, she must find a way to sail across. Arriving at Qarth, the “greatest city that ever was or will be”, the richest man in all of Qarth, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, asks for the Khaleesi’s hand in marriage. The bind would give her over 300 ships and an instant army. But on the advice of Dany’s protector, Ser Jorah, she waits to humbly ask the Spice King for a single ship, claiming he would be compensated threefold. The insolent twerp-waddling Spice King denies her with a barrage of insults that sends her retreating back to Xaro’s palace. But when she returns, she is devastated to find all her Dothraki people have been murdered and her dragons stolen…

Back in Winterfell, Prince Theon is about to get some tail. Osha is a Wildling, captured by Theon himself while in service of the Starks. Now a citizen of Winterfell she approaches Theon to offer her services, which–by the looks of her sudden, full nudity–includes a 19-point finger inspection and greasy ball-joint rotation. Of course the ruse works since Theon can’t seem to turn down some dirty strange. The Wildling seduces Theon, then–after the young Prince is in the midst of his victory sleep–executes a plan to liberate her little Lords Bran and Rickon from the city. (Stark gains advantage over Greyjoy.)

No mention of Stannis Baratheon or his Red Sorceress Melisandre this week, but I’m sure they’re just resting from all that Dark Shadowy Magic business they killed Brother Renly with. However: surprising moves, great setups, and robust storytelling have brought us to this point in the Game… and by the looks of things to come all the rules just went out the portcullis.

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2 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 16: “The Old Gods and the New”

  • May 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    First, Theon gave me the oogies. Then I found him sexy. After this episode, he will never redeem himself. I suppose Johnny Mansbach knows what ultimately happens to his character. I hope it is nothing good. He ranks below “the lemonhead” for me now.

  • May 8, 2012 at 1:47 am

    I have been watching Game of Thrones since the beginning and trust me it reached a point it was a bit confusing. But I am now back on track. It is a great script by the way.

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