Last night's episode of Game of Thrones, aptly titled "A Man Without Honor," was all about… well, men without honor. The title can be directly linked to Jaime Lannister, who made a reappearance after several episodes in the dark. Jaime murdered a young relative just to break free from Stark clutches. And he succeeded, albeit temporarily. See, for as calculating as the Lannisters are, even they can't master the art of escaping this inescapable, messy situation they've all found themselves in. Jaime's lack of honor may lend the episode its name, but it's a blanket term for almost every man on the show, as they learn to adjust to the new ways of the world.
Theon Greyjoy is a prime example. He's another distraught male trying to forge civility in a dead place. His chaotic turn as "leader" has been an almost comical tromp through his ineptitude. And now that Rickon and Bran Stark are missing, he's under even more duress than before. He and his men track the boys to a nearby village with a troupe of hounds, but their scent goes astray, and Theon's forced to improvise. The episode closes with what's made to look like the scourged corpses of the two boys (nice try, HBO, but an off-camera killing is never that easy), and we can assume that Theon will continue on as if they're actually dead. Which should prove hilarious when their living bodies eventually turn up.
Things get straight up unusual over in Qarth, as Dany deals with her missing dragons. Jorah returns from his mission to find ships when he hears about the slaughter of Dany's people. But his words of encouragement don't do much encouraging. Dany, devastated at the loss of her friends and the absence of her "babies," is having trust issues. Which gets even more complicated when we learn that Xaro has been duping her this whole time. He and his new Magical Multiplying Warlock friend kidnapped the dragons and look them to the House of the Undying in an attempt to lure Dany. They also slaughter Qarth's council and Xaro declares himself king. Good for Xaro. I'm sure this is all going to work out for him. Mmmhmmm.
Back in King's Landing, Sansa wakes up to find her bed bathed in blood. She tries to cut out the stained patch in her sheets when Shae happens upon her. Sansa explains that now that she's a woman, she'll have to marry Joffrey and bear his children. They try to hide it, but the Hound shows up and reports the news to Cersei. The chat that follows is an earnest one: Cersei explains that Sansa doesn't have to love Joffrey, so long as she loves her children. It's nice to see that even an ice cold monster like Cersei knows that her son is the devil in disguise. I'm waiting for the day when Cersei and Sansa band together and wreak bloody havoc on that little blonde bastard.
The real tension rests in Tywin's continued interaction with Arya. It's become blindingly obvious that he knows his servant isn't merely the lowly daughter of a stonemason. She knows the history of the Targaryens and their dragons, can even tick them off by name. He keeps her around because he likes her company, but I'm starting to wonder if there's something more to this relationship. Does Tywin suspect she's Ned Stark's daughter? Is he keeping her for bait? Either way, she's a good match for wit, and the two have a fun time trying to best each other.
The only men who seem to uphold a layer of dignity are the Stark boys – Robb, still manhandling his camp and making flirty eyes at the pretty nurse, and Jon, whose escapades with his Wildling captive, Ygritte, have finally made him interesting. Not that Jon's never had anything worthwhile to offer. It gets more clear as the show churns along that he's the closest thing to a hero the story has to offer. While Robb is surely a champion on the battlefield, Jon's getting the more traditional hero arc: separated from the battlefront to fight his own inner demons, left for long bouts of time to reflect on the past and dote on the future, before he's inevitably thrust into the meat of war. And now that he has something of a love interest in the whip-smart Ygritte, he'll get the full treatment. That is, if he can get himself out of the Wildling trap he finds himself in by episode's end.