Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.
Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.
Season 2, Episode 7: “A Man Without Honor”
Original Air Date: May 13th, 2012
Director: David Nutter
Written by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
There are two items to take away from the seventh episode of season two, “A Man Without Honor.” The first is in regards to the title, which on the surface seems to be about Jaime Lannister, since Catelyn Stark says that exact phrase to him. At this point in the series it would be hard not to think of him in that way. Jaime up to this point has been downright despicable, and he has reveled both in his misdeeds and in being a jerk to anyone that calls him out on his actions. It’s really remarkable to think about how greatly he has been redeemed since these first two seasons of the show.
But there are plenty of other men in this episode who also lack honor. Like Theon, who kills two innocent boys to pass them off as Bran and Rickon Stark, or Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who conspires with the warlock Pyat Pree to betray Daenerys, steal her dragons, and kill the other members of the 13. Even Robb Stark, who has so much honor it makes him an impractical, over-idealized king, still lacks the honor needed to ignore his budding love for Talisa.
Only Jon, rolling around in the snow, lost beyond The Wall with his prisoner Ygritte, maintains his honor. As she teases him about never having been with a woman, and tries to sell him on the beauty of being one of the freefolk, he stays steadfast with his vows, even though he clearly doesn’t want to.
Which brings us to the other item that stands out—something Xaro says to the other members of the 13, right before they all get their throats slit.
“Those on the margins often come to control the center, and those in the center make room for them, willingly or otherwise.”
I remember this quote standing out when the show originally aired, and it still does. For a season dedicated to the War of the Five Kings, where Starks marched on the Lannisters, and Baratheon marched on Baratheon, and Greyjoys claimed an ancient crown, it has never felt like the ultimate winner, if there even will be one, would come from those groups in the center.
And sure enough, after six seasons, it’s the bastard of Winterfell who now reigns as King in the North, and a young, forgotten girl of Westeros who now sails back to take the Iron Throne.
But if they are now in the center, and Cersei might rule, but she is no longer in control, who might be left on the margins that will force their way in to their circle? As far as the world knows Arya and Bran are dead, but they are powerful. Or are they too obvious? Could it be that someone like Gendry, the son of King Robert, ends up being far more important than just a joke about rowing a boat?
Or is it that the White Walkers, who truly exist on the margin of the Seven Kingdoms, will be the ones to control the center. It will probably depend on whether or not the center is ruled by men, and women, of honor.
What did you think of “A Man without Honor”? Do the honorable thing and tell us in the comments below.
What will the Game of Thrones rewatch be? Hear our thoughts below!