“It’s starting to fall apart.” You know what great man said that? Cal Hockley, when panic hit the decks of Titanic.
The moment where characters start to lose control is an exciting point in every story. And on tonight’s Game of Thrones, some of our favorites battled to hold onto power in the face of naked rebellion. Theon struggled to control his captured Northerners, Joffrey struggled to control bitter mobs, Arya struggled to protect her identity and Jon Snow struggled to capture a hot Wildling prisoner. Perhaps most surprising, Dany will now have to struggle to keep her dragons (that last line is still echoing in my ears).
So let’s stay calm as we make our way to the lifeboats, breaking down “The Old Gods and the New.”
Winterfell: Theon bursts into Bran’s bedroom. He’s all puffed up and proud of himself for taking the castle with his modest number of men.
Bran sleepily pulls himself up with his sad water-ski tow handle, then asks Theon the saddest word of all: “Why?”
In a smart bit of stage direction, Theon sits on Bran’s bed to explain the grown-up reality of the situation: The young prince must yield the castle or his people will die. It’s not dishonorable; it’s what you must do in this situation. “That’s what a good lord would do,” Theon says condescendingly.
“Did you hate us the whole time?” Bran asks, which is perfect for stirring up all of Theon’s ever-conflicted emotions.
In the courtyard, Bran officially turns his authority over to Theon. The scene is shot in a drizzling rain, adding a feeling of miserable pathetic-ness to Theon’s triumph. Just watching Bran sitting there, shivering and getting rained on, makes us really despise Theon here.
Theon declares himself prince “by right of conquest,” and adds, “betray me and you will wish you hadn’t!” — a nice bit of lame speechifying. No Braveheart this guy. Ros is more eloquent while she’s having sex than Theon when giving a public address.
The crowd glowers at him, reeking of contempt. Theon’s men present him with a captured prisoner — Ser Rodrik, Winterfell’s master-at-arms and three-time winner of the castle’s annual Best Facial Hair award.
Rodrik spits in Theon’s face. Theon wants to lock him up for this offense, but his first mate insists Rodrik must “pay the iron price.” The crowd begs Theon to spare Roderick’s life. Theon, as always, is torn: Which peer pressure should he listen to? (If Theon established a new House, his words might be: “Long May We Waffle.”)
Theon decides to execute Rodrik, who tells him “now you’re truly lost.”
Theon swings his sword down onto Rodrik’s neck. We know this isn’t going to be easy for Theon because nothing is easy for Theon. He hacks …hacks… hacks….hacks… then kicks.
Rodrik said he wished he never taught Theon how to use a sword. I’m betting he now wishes he taught Theon how to use a sword better.
NEXT: Jon Snow knows nothing about executing or humping prisoners