'Game of Thrones' Season 2 Episode 7 Review, Recap: 'Into The Slaughterhouse'

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The latest Game of Thrones episode's title, A Man Without Honor, introduces the return of Jamie Lannister (AKA The King Slayer), who has been notably absent in recent episodes. Early on, Jamie makes a desperate attempt to escape. Throughout the episode other characters, spread throughout George R.R. Martin's grim yet fantastical world, make similar attempts to change the course of their lives and gain power in all its varied forms.

The episode opens on Jon Snow and his captive, beautiful wildling. The two spent the previous night sleeping out in the freezing cold, cuddled together for warmth. As he wakes, Snow subconsciously gropes the girl's breast. This prompts a back and forth dialogue in which the wildling suggests that although she is tied up, Snow is the one who is not free. Free to have sex. 

We learns a little more about the mysterious King Beyond the Wall, who as it turns out was a member of the Night's Watch, whom the wildlings pejoratively call crows. Jon the virgin is almost seduced by the girl, but resists, and moments later is ambushed by an army of wildlings brandishing rusty and misshapen weapons. 

In Harrenhal, Tywin is on a rampage to discover the identity of the mystery assassin who he believes intended to kill him. Within the castle dozens of soldiers are being executed, and the Lannister patriarch proceeds to give the order to burn down all nearby villages and farms. Alone with Arya Stark, he begins to pry. Perhaps he knows more than he's letting on about her true identity. What ensues is a quick history lesson about the Targaryen invasion of Westeros and the dragons -- who were controlled by an incestuous brother and his sisters, all great warriors.

In Kings Landing we follow Sansa, who goes through the greatest transformation of all against her own will. After narrowly escaping gang rape in the previous episode, she awakes from a dream of the attempted rape to find she has had her first period. Sansa and her maid attempt to hide the evidence but the Hound uncovers it and quickly informs her evil mother-in-law.

When the two women speak privately Cersei comes across as more compassionate then we've seen her before. Calling Sansa her little dove, before telling her, You may never love the king but you will love his children. Next comes a bit of womanly wisdom: The more people you love the weaker you are.

Later Cersei and Tyrion discuss strategy, as the Queen calls it, or tactics as the King's Hand corrects her. Stannis Baratheon's massive fleet will arrive in five days and King Joffrey is nowhere near ready to lead an army in his own defense. Once the subject of the inbred king comes up it can't be dismissed. It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you put a crown on his head, noted Tyrion. Sometimes i wonder if this is the price for what we've done for our sins, replies Cersei.

Last episode ended in Qarth, where Dany's people were slaughtered and her dragons stolen by an unknown enemy. Xaros promises to find the dragons and calls a meeting of the 13 city leaders. There he stages a coup with the help of a alien-looking magician, who apparently cannot be killed. If Xaros is king of Qarth he may very well be able to force Dany to marry him. We'll have to wait and see.

In Winterfell, Theon reacts to Bran's escape, denying any blame himself and setting off after the escapees with a team of hounds. As the episode ends, Theon displays the burnt dead bodies of two boys who he believes helped Bran escape. The bodies are shown to the entire castle to inspire fear and loyalty, but as the episode ends the look on Theon's face shows that he may already regret his action.

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