"Game of Thrones," Season 2, Episode 7

Season 2, Episode 7


Apart from the occasional murder, massacre and all-around atrocity, “A Man Without Honor” offers a welcome amount of warmth and humor for a “Game of Thrones” episode, although I expect it’s less a change-of-pace than the calm before the storm. Despite the numerous one-on-one scenes of emotional connection, “A Man Without Honor” goes uncharacteristically light on the sex and nudity, if you don’t count Ygritte’s merciless teasing of Jon Snow.

The Jon/Ygritte subplot unfolds this week like a rom-com of seemingly mismatched partner’s who’ll inevitably hook up. They wake up spooning in the cold, and Ygritte isn’t shy about pointing out that she noticed Jon’s little… uh, direwolf pressing against her. She quickly ascertains that Jon’s never been with a woman and never will if he commits to his Night Watch vow of celibacy. She even offers to unburden him of his virginity in the icy slush: “I could tell you how to do it.” Every time the episode cut back to Jon and Ygritte, I was hoping for some lightly comic music on the soundtrack, maybe something like “Alley Cat.”

The scenes don’t just play as comedy. Ygritte clearly enjoys winding Jon up, but her taunting seduction could be a trick to give her a chance to escape. Also, the fact that Ygritte’s so in charge of her own sexuality supports her argument that the Wildlings, who call themselves the Free Folk, are more genuinely liberated than the people south of the Wall. When she finally makes a break, Kit Harrington almost has an expression of admiration on his face before Jon goes after her. When he catches up, Ygritte reveals himself, and so do the rest of the Wildlings in the area that have him surrounded. It’s kind of like The Others’ sudden appearances on “Lost.”