Your Point of View
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Honor is an abstract concept often found floundering in the muddied waters of morality. Some consider honor to be a goal that must be achieved. A few will achieve honor by serving others. A few will achieve honor by pretending to serve others while selfishly serving themselves. A few will earn honor courtesy of who they are. And yet there are those few will garner honor based on who they become. In Game of Thrones, honor takes multiple forms as it does in the real world, with human beings consequently revealing themselves for who they truly are and what they’ve chosen to become. Change isn’t something that is often synonymous with honor in that world and ours. It’s a dubious concept at best despite its positive connotations and a perilous one to base a society off of.
For Theon, honor is upholding his legacy as a Greyjoy at the expense of being, well, a decent human being. For Osha, it’s taking care of her newly adoptive family, even if she began her journey at Winterfell as a prisoner. And when those two clash without facing each other, it’s terrifying. Theon’s desire to honor his father is quickly degrading into sheer madness. “It’s a hunt,” he mutters gleefully as they search for Bran and Rickon. They arrive at a farm outside the castle, but there’s no sign of the missing Stark siblings or any of the group, for that matter. What Theon does find are two orphans at the farm.
For Ygritte, honor is synonymous with freedom and loyalty to those few with whom you share a bond. Outside of constantly teasing Jon sexually, she does make several poignant points about Jon and his loyalties. He reveals that he has the blood of the First Men as a member of the Stark family and consequently he has wildling blood in his own veins. “So why are you fighting us?” she asks quietly, a question to which Jon has little credible answers left. The Night’s Watch says they have honor, but isn’t it really a ragtag group of criminals for the most part who could care less about the vital nature of what they do? Where’s the honor in fighting for a group like that? Isn’t it more honorable to fight for those you actually love, even if they don’t always give you something in return? “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” she quips for the very first time, and in more ways than one, she is right.
Daenerys could be evil and honorable, but she chooses not to go down that path. Her code of honor isn’t as rigid as the one of Ned Stark, but she is capable of understanding the fine line that she needs to tread. Pyat Pree reveals that he took her dragons into the House of the Undying before Xaro Xhaon Daxos begins his power play. He wishes to become the King of Qarth and for that he made a deal with Pyat. He threw his honor and his promises to Daenerys away for the sake of a crown on his head, no matter how he tries to justify it with the ideas of progress in Qarth. And suddenly the coup is undertaken and eleven of the Thirteen of Qarth have their throats slit. Daenerys is horrified and they attempt to escape, but Pyat remains everywhere, unable to be killed by conventional means. “Your dragons await you in the House of the Undying,” he whispers menacingly before disappearing into thin air.
David Nutter’s shots of Harrenhal from overhead are incredible, establishing the quick geography of the ruined castle with aplomb. and as usual, the scenes between Arya and Tywin are gold. “This will be my last war,” Tywin notes and it’s true. At his age, he probably won’t live to see another war and the entire legacy of his family rest upon the outcome of this crucial conflict. While he notes how Aegon the Conqueror changed the rules of warfare and thus left behind a legacy, Arya is quick to correct him that it wasn’t just Aegon who changed the rules. His sisters were just as vital in conquering Westeros. Tywin agrees, noting how Arya and Cersei both found most girls to be idiots. Tywin’s son meanwhile murders his cousin and the Karstark guard just to attempt an escape. He fails, but those two are dead regardless. “you have no honor,” Catelyn charges to a completely unapologetic Jamie, who notes how ridiculous the numerous oaths are and the honor they’re supposed to bring with them. At least one oath or vow was bound to be broken, he reasons. Catelyn furiously pulls her sword before the screen cuts to black.
Title: A Man Without Honor
Written by: David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Directed by: David Nutter
Image Courtesy: HBO