Month Of Thrones
We’re counting down to Game Of Thrones’ final season by distilling the fantasy epic to 30 essential moments. This is Month Of Thrones.
Ygritte tells it like it is: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
“A Man Without Honor” (season two, episode seven)
There are two types of Game Of Thrones episodes: the ones where the big, memorable events take place—be them dragon births or shocking deaths—and the quieter ones, where the plot moves forward, characters talk to each other, and in the show’s early seasons, world-building and backstory is a focus. So it is with “A Man Without Honor.” Aside from some magical action in Qarth, most of the episode hangs on two characters talking to each other. “Two-person scenes are the bread and butter of TV drama,” Todd VanDerWerff pointed out in his review of the episode. “[A]nd the better the two-person scenes are in a show, the better the show tends to be.”
Jon and Ygritte have the best two-person scenes throughout. Jon has captured Ygritte, a wilding member of the Free Folk population that lives beyond the Wall. Sardonic and biting, Ygritte is a good foil for stoic, duty-driven Jon, and her needling about Westeros’ monarchy prompts interesting insights into the Free Folks’ views on inherited power. “You could be free, too. You don’t need to live your whole life taking commands from old men,” she tells him, before pivoting into sex, saying that Jon’s vow of celibacy is as equally ridiculous as taking orders from the monarchy. She hits on his virginity, leading to the following exchange and one of the show’s most memorable lines:
“I could teach you how to do it.”
“I know how to do it.”
“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
“[T]he Jon and Ygritte scenes were vintage will-they/won’t-they flirtatious stuff,” VanDerWerff noted in his experts review, while David Sims’ newbies review noted how good Jon and Ygritte’s dynamic is: “I’m very much enjoying Ygritte’s presence just for the energy it brings to scenes with the usually dour Jon.” Neither made note of the “You know nothing” line, which—fair enough. Memorable lines only become memorable once time has passed and they’re, you know, remembered.
Theon—a pre-Ramsay Theon—has tried to take over Winterfell, but Bran and Rickon Stark have escaped. In this episode he shows the Winterfell inhabitants the burned bodies of two boys who are not the Stark children. In Harrenhal, Arya and Tywin Lannister make another good pairing, and Catelyn Stark holds Jaime Lannister captive while Brienne Of Tarth hangs out. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen is in Qarth amid a whole storyline that feels inconsequential now, just one of the many holding places for her to spend time in until she could reach Westeros and hold some real stakes.