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Cult Recap

'Game of Thrones' 'The Old Gods and the New' review

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Game of Thrones Season 2 Poster

© HBO

Season 2, episode 6 | Aired Friday, May 4 2012 at 2:08am EST on

We're past the midway point of Game of Thrones season two, and as episode six kicks off, a brash Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) has taken Winterfell. At first, a deeply unimpressed Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is having none of it - "I'll never yield," he insists. Poor Theon, even 10-year-olds don't respect him.

Yes, despite appointing himself the new lord of the North's capital, Theon is branded a "steaming sack of s**t" by the people of Winterfell. For all his attempts to prove himself a man, Theon is still just a scared boy - spouting words fed to him by his absent father and even resorting to brutal, bloody murder to impress him. Given far juicier material than he was last year, Alfie Allen continues to impress.

Somewhat less engaging is the plight of the Night's Watch, which has been one of the least compelling story strands this year. For the most part, Jon Snow, Samwell and crew have wandered aimlessly and, whenever they're on screen, the plot has done much the same.

Thankfully, Jon (Kit Harington) finally gets a little action this week and there's promise of more to come as he's separated from the Watch and meets the flame-haired Ygritte.

Rose Leslie makes a strong debut as the Wilding - a character a million miles from Downton Abbey's Gwen. And Snow's failure to kill her speaks volumes - we think there's love in those puppy dog eyes…

Game Of Thrones S02E05: Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen)

© HBO

Game Of Thrones S02E01: John Snow (Kit Harrington)

© HBO / Helen Sloan



Meanwhile, Jon's 'brother' Robb Stark (Richard Madden) is taking a respite from war to charm a lady of his own (Oona Chaplin) - only for Catelyn to interrupt. Poor Robb - when you're trying to lay down your best moves, your mother interrupting is the last thing you want.

The fun doesn't last long for Robb, as he learns of Theon's treachery but must push on with his war against the Lannisters regardless. And speaking of that clan, Twyin (Charles Dance) is busy negotiating with Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen), who proffers the hand of allegiance on behalf of House Tyrell....

The slippery Gillen and dour Dance make for a fun on-screen partnership, and there's real peril as Littlefinger's presence threatens to end Arya's stint as Tyin's favoured cup-bearer.

That would be a shame - the relationship between Arya (Maisie Williams) and Tywin is one of the most interesting on the show right now, since it is only with the young Stark girl that the tyrant dares show a softer side.

Game Of Thrones S02E03: Arya Stark (Maisie Williams)

© HBO / Helen Sloan

Game of Thrones S02E04: 'Garden of Bones'

© HBO



Their interaction leads to this week's best exchange as Tywin unknowingly enquires about the death of Ned Stark ("What killed him?" "Loyalty.") and this episode's biggest laugh-out-loud moment, as Arya claims her second victim from Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha).

Elsewhere, after his cruel antics last week, Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) finally gets something of a comeuppance as he greets his people - to say they're unsatisfied would be putting it mildly. Can we now expect a looped YouTube video of Joffrey getting hit in the face with cow dung?

Amidst the chaos that follows, there's little time for Tyrion to crack wise, though Peter Dinklage's Imp again wins the viewer over as he immediately thinks of Sansa once bloody battle ensues. And as for him smacking Joffrey - for the second time, no less - oh, the joy of it. The punch-the-air moments don't stop there either - the Hound (Rory McCann) eviscerating Sansa's would-be rapists is sensational.

After a slow start, the second season of Game of Thrones continues with another strong instalment. In 'The Old Gods and the New', there's plenty of action and relationships are starting to flourish. After so much set-up, pay-off is finally coming thick and fast.

Did you enjoy 'The Old Gods and the New'? Share your verdict on the latest Game of Thrones below.

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