Johnny Mansbach’s Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 20: “Valar Morghulis”

After last week’s explosive battle for the throne, we’ve finally come to the sensational culmination of this season’s Thrones adaptation of A Clash of Kings. The second season of the acclaimed HBO series ends tonight; updating us on the progress of throne-hungry rivals Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Theon Greyjoy, and Daenerys Targaryen. So without further delay, let’s find out what the hell “Valar Morghulis” means…

Written by Johnny Mansbach for TV Food and Drink

TYRION LANNISTER
Fresh from his battlefield face slicing, the brave King’s uncle wakes in strange quarters with fresh bandages. The decrepit Grand Maester Pycelle looms over him, like a bird-shit stain on the driver’s side window. Pycelle gloats over the little lord’s defeat, announcing that Tyrion’s father Tywin was actually the hero in the Battle of Blackwater and the dwarf is no longer Hand of the King.

Tyrion learns that his sister Cersei tried to have him killed on the battlefield. Varys puts forth a gesture of trust by bringing Shae to the broken imp. Tyrion is ashamed to have her see him like this, tries to distance his loose love, pointedly reminding her she is a whore. But Shae loves him too much, wants to take care of him far across the Narrow Sea in Pentos. But the little Lord can’t leave. He likes “outtalking and outwitting” all the bad people he is surrounded with. Indeed Tyrion is our last hope for decency within House Lannister… Although he only has “half” a chance. Okay, that’s my last little person joke this season… I promise.

IRON THRONE CEREMONY
During the victory celebration, the Vanilla Pudding King Joffrey Baratheon/Lannister declares victory over his estranged uncle Stannis and promotes his granddaddy Tywin to Hand of the King. The Master of Coin Petyr Baelish is bequeathed the entire castle of Harrenhal as a reward for his services during the battle. Fitting, since it’s empty, just like his soul. Renly Baratheon’s clandestine lover Loras Tyrell begs Joffrey to unite their two families, offering the Boy Bitch his sister Margaery; Renly’s recent widow. It’s a good match. The two idiots flirt, and after Cersei and Pycelle release Joffrey from marrying Sansa, Joffrey puts on an all-new shit-eating grin for the dead-eyed Margaery.

Sansa slips out of the room hardly able to conceal the joy of her reprieve. But Lord “Littlefinger” Baelish catches up to her; says he can safely get Sansa home, being that the King will still consider her his property and torture her more than ever. Just as with The Hound, Sansa declines another enemy’s offer to help take her home to Winterfell.

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Johnny Mansbach’s Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 19: “Blackwater”

First, I’m sorry this is a day late, but I was out camping along the Colorado River in Arizona over the weekend, enjoying the 40 MPH winds and sand in my barbeque. But the real drama unfolded in this week’s powerhouse Thrones episode appropriately labeled, “Blackwater.”

NOTE: This episode dramatically differed from any other, as it was the first to tell a directly linear storyline from one single geographic location: King’s Landing. The character stories bounced around from place to place within the castle, but there were no outside mentions of Arya at Harrenhal, Jon in the Frostfangs, Robb out in Westeros, Daenerys in Qarth, or Theon back at the Pyke. This was just one darkly epic chapter, filmed so beautifully that I’d easily put it up against any major motion picture of its genre.

Written by Johnny Mansbach for Tv Food and Drink

STANNIS
As Tyrion predicted, Stannis Baratheon arrives at the Mud Gate with scores of ships and ten thousand men.

The wise and seasoned knight, Ser Davos Seaworth, talks with his son Matthos, just before landing at King’s Landing. His son is positive, claiming he has God – The Lord of Light – on their side. Davos is less optimistic… Probably because he’s seen this shadowy “Lord of Light” burst forth from Melisandre’s red crackerbox and stab kings in the back. Ewww, you don’t know where that newborn demon has been!

TYRION
The rational Hand of the King lies in bed with his committed prostitute Shae. When asked, Tyrion admits he’s afraid of the impending war, citing that every Lannister head will be on a crag if Stannis comes through the door. Shae vows to protect her little lover by wrapping her flesh cloak around his little warrior one last time before battle. Sorry if this just became Penthouse Forum…

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Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 18: “The Prince of Winterfell”

If you watched the episode, or are Tyrion Lannister himself, then you’ll more easily forgive me as I boldly thank “the gods of tits and wine” for tonight’s Game of Thrones offering, “The Prince of Winterfell.” If you didn’t watch, then I’m sure I’m just a filthy pig… Nonetheless, here’s your recap of the 3rd-to-final episode of the season:

Written by Johnny Mansbach for Tv Food and Drink

THEON GREYJOY
Fresh from the glorious triumph of his sadistic little Stark-B-Que… Theon has proclaimed himself our episode’s title.

If torching toddlers was just a cry for help to get daddy’s attention, it worked. Theon’s butch sis, Yara, has come to Winterfell with 30 soldiers. Yara has come to collect the child-murdering prince for Daddy Balon from the Pyke. Since word of the Stark boys’ demise has spread throughout Westeros, every man in the north wants to see the Prince’s freckled melon hanged. Bad Theon! Daddy is NOT happy.

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Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 17: “A Man Without Honor”

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure nothing screams “Mother’s Day” more than the brutal imagery of two young children hanging by the neck from the castle gates and still smoldering from being completely burned alive. Yes, it was a very special “After School” episode of Thrones entitled, “A Man Without Honor.”

Written by Johnny Mansbach for Tv Food and Drink

THEON GREYJOY
We pick up the morning after the seductively soiled wildling Osha has bedded Prince Theon. He wakes in the morning to find he is alone. And probably has crabs. Osha has fled Winterfell with the little Stark Lords Bran and Rickon on the back of the half-wit giant Hodor. HODOR!

After losing the scent of the boys, Theon throws a tantrum and beats up one of his insolent men. He’s clearly itching to unbridle his brute violence to show he is a leader. Or maybe he’s just itching from the crabs.

Maester Luwin has protected the young Starks his entire life. After Theon spots the Maester lurking nearby, he suspects the old man is hiding the boys… somewhere on a nearby farm…

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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 Tv Food and Drink

THEON GREYJOY
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.”

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Game of Thrones Got You Confused? You Are Not Alone!

Having trouble keeping up with Game of Thrones? Finding it tough to tell your Lannisters from your Baratheons? Keep your head on! Writer and Thrones-fanatic Johnny Mansbach is here with an easy to follow recap of all you need to understand before war and winter finally arrive, not to mention those pesky little dragons.

Written by Johnny Mansbach for Tv Food and Drink

Game of Thrones tells the unflinchingly violent and often tragic struggle for power to rule on The Iron Throne over the Seven Kingdoms. The setting is tens-of-thousands-of-years Before Christ. So that’s already refreshing. The epic story is heavy drama with an element of science fiction throughout.

Now since we’re already half way through season two, let me take a moment to catch everybody up to what’s been going on. And I warn you, since there are things currently happening that would spoil other things already revealed in the first season, this recap probably contains super-advanced plot spoilers. So here we go:

The good King, Robert Baratheon, has been suspiciously murdered in a hunting accident leaving his son, the horrifically abusive 15-year-old tantrum-laden Joffrey, ruling over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. But you think the Lords of all those lands are gonna take any crap from this little bastard?

Oh heeeeaayyll no…!

Now Joffrey supposedly rules over the various regions, organized by various kingdoms, and ruled much like mafia families run territories. In fact Game of Thrones plays out much like The Sopranos; except these tough guys use broadswords, not bullets. Each of these families has a leader, all of whom are now vying to destroy the bastard King Joffrey and sit on the Iron Throne of Westeros (hence the book title, A Clash of Kings, from whence the season is based.) So here’s the low-down on the six warring factions:

1) First are the honorable Starks and their Lord Ned Stark that rules over Winterfell. The Starks are strong allies to King Robert Baratheon, and pretty much our heroes of the saga. The story unfolds through the eyes of their children Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Rickon, and Ned’s bastard son, Jon Snow. And that’s the way they all become the Ned Stark Bunch.

Ned was Hand of the King (sort of like a violent personal assistant) and, upon learning the bastard Joffrey’s gross little secret, was sentenced and executed as a traitor. You killed off the main star in just 7 episodes? Shocking death number one!

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