The Prince of Winterfell

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"The Prince of Winterfell"
Game of Thrones episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 8
Directed byAlan Taylor
Written byDavid Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byJonathan Freeman
Editing byFrances Parker
Original air dateMay 20, 2012 (2012-05-20)
Running time53 minutes
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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"The Prince of Winterfell" is the eighth episode of the second season of HBO's medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. The episode is written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss and directed, for the third time in this season, by Alan Taylor. It premiered on May 20, 2012.

The title of the episode refers to Theon Greyjoy as ruler of Winterfell after disposing of the Stark children.


In King's Landing

Tyrion and Bronn plan the defense of King's Landing with the aid of old texts.Varys arrives to compliment Bronn on his leadership of the gold cloaks

When Tyrion is accused of plotting to kill King Joffrey, Cersei mistakenly kidnaps Ros instead of Shae, and Tyrion swears to Cersei that she will pay for her actions.

Joffrey's inexperience and arrogance leave Tyrion fearful for the coming battle. Varys informs Tyrion that Daenerys is alive with three dragons but Tyrion suggests to focus on one problem at a time.

In The Narrow Sea

Planning the siege of King's Landing, Stannis and Davos reminisce about Robert's Rebellion. Stannis remains bitter that Renly was given Storm's End, and vows to make Davos his Hand once he takes the Iron Throne.

At Harrenhal

Tywin meeting with his council disuss the siege of King's Landing and what will be done about Stannis and the Starks attacking Casterly Rock. As Tywin departs to face Robb's army, Arya is unable to find Jaqen H'ghar in time for him to kill Tywin, and instead forces him to help her escape. That night, Jaqen kills the castle's guards, allowing Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie to escape.

In the Westerlands

Robb returns from the Crag with Talisa to learn Jaime has escaped. Catelyn admits that Brienne is escorting Jaime to King's Landing to trade for Sansa and Arya, and Robb has Catelyn placed under guard. Roose Bolton assures Robb that Bolton's bastard son is nearing Winterfell; Robb orders mercy be shown to any Ironborn except Theon to persuade Theon's men to betray him. Talisa enters Robb's tent and talks at length about her brother and leaving highborn society in Volantis. Immediately after that Robb confesses to Talisa that he does not want to marry Frey's daughter, and they have sex in his tent.

Beyond the Wall

Ygritte and her companions present Jon to the Lord of Bones, whom she convinces to spare Jon's life, saying Mance Rayder will want to meet Eddard Stark's bastard. Captured Qhorin Halfhand tells Jon to “defect” to Mance's army to learn his plans.

At the Fist of the First Men, Sam and Grenn discover an ancient Night's Watch cloak, containing a strange horn and a cache of dragonglass weapons.

In Qarth

Daenerys refuses to flee Qarth for Astapor without her dragons, and Jorah reluctantly takes her to the House of the Undying.

At Winterfell

Theon orders the messenger ravens killed to conceal Bran and Rickon's deaths. Yara Greyjoy arrives to bring Theon home, but he refuses to abandon Winterfell.

Following Osha to the crypts beneath Winterfell, Maester Luwin discovers Bran and Rickon are alive. Luwin deduces Theon's men murdered a farming family and burned their sons in the Stark boys' stead, which Bran overhears.



The episode was written by producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the original work of George R. R. Martin. "The Prince of Winterfell" adapts the content of chapters Arya IX, Tyrion XII, Theon V (48, 55 and 57) from A Clash of Kings, and also parts Jaime I and Catelyn I (2 and 3) from A Storm of Swords.[1]

Among the added material there are the relationship between Talisa and Robb (which in the books happen offscreen and in an entirely different context) and the Qarth plot (which is still only loosely based on the books). Other changes include Arya using her third "death" to flee Harrenhal instead of contributing to the fall of the castle to Bolton's Northmen, revealing the hidden cache of “dragonglass” found after Jon's departure, and having the wildlings capture Qhorin Halfhand alive.[1]


Edward Dogliani joins the guest cast of the show playing the wildling leader Rattleshirt, also known as "the Lord of Bones."



The first airing of "The Prince of Winterfell" matched the series high ratings with 3.86 million viewers and a 2.0 share among the 18–49 demographic. The second airing brought an additional 1.04 million viewers and a 0.5 share.[2] In the United Kingdom, the episode was seen by 0.892 million viewers on Sky Atlantic, being the channel's highest-rated broadcast that week.[3]

Critical reception

The episode received critical acclaim. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 12 reviews of the episode and judged 100% of them to be positive with an average score of 7.25 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though it's mostly concerned with moving its pieces into position before the finale, 'The Prince of Winterfell' is a pleasantly subdued episode that makes the most of its character moments."[4] The A.V. Club gave it a B+.[5] IGN gave it a rating of 8 out of 10.[6]


This episode won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Series.[7]


  1. ^ a b Garcia, Elio. "EP208: The Prince of Winterfell". Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  2. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda. "Sunday Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs, + 'Game of Thrones', 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'Ax Men', 'The Client List', 'Sister Wives', + More". TV by the numbers. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (21 - 27 May 2012)". BARB. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Prince of Winterfell". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  5. ^ ""The Prince Of Winterfell" (for experts) | Game Of Thrones (experts) | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. 2012-05-20. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  6. ^ "Game of Thrones: "The Prince of Winterfell" Review". IGN. 2012-05-20. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  7. ^ ""Games of Thrones" tops creative arts Emmys". CBS News. September 16, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2012.

External links