"A Man Without Honor" is the seventh 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 second time in this season, by David Nutter. It premiered on May 13, 2012.
The name of the episode comes from Catelyn Stark's assessment of Ser Jaime Lannister: "You are a man without honor," after he kills a member of his own family to attempt escape.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) thanks Sandor "the Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann) for saving her during the riots, but her thanks are met with a cold reception. Later, Sansa is awakened by a nightmare of the riots and discovers that she has bled, with the implication that she can now be wed to Joffrey Baratheon and bear his children. When Shae (Sibel Kekilli) discovers Sansa trying to cut the blood from her sheets, she begins to aid her, but they are discovered by one of the Queen's handmaidens, who rushes to tell Queen Cersei Lannister. Shae catches the maid in the hall and threatens her life should the maid tell anyone, but upon Shae's return, Shae discovers the Hound has seen the sheet as well. Cersei (Lena Headey) meets with Sansa to discuss her duty to Joffrey, but tells Sansa that it will be impossible to love Joffrey, so she should just focus on loving her children. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) tells Cersei that Stannis Baratheon's fleet will be arriving in days and the king's plan to repel them might not work. Cersei implies that Jaime Lannister is the father of her children, and shares with Tyrion her belief that she is being punished with an uncontrollable Joffrey for committing incest.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) continues to search for his companions with his prisoner, Ygritte (Rose Leslie), in tow. When Ygritte deduces that Jon has never been with a woman, and upon learning of his vow of celibacy, she is dumbfounded and tries to convince him that life would be better with the wildlings, under Mance Rayder. She also teases him about his lack of sexual experience, offering to show him how. Jon remains true to his vows and repeatedly rebuffs her advances. While crossing a muddy passage, Ygritte is able to slip away from Jon and make an escape. Jon pursues her but is unable to find her until she draws his attention by whistling to him, revealing herself and several wildlings that have been hiding nearby. More wildlings then emerge from nearby hiding places, revealing that Jon is surrounded.
Lord Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) orders Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane (Ian Whyte) to find Amory Lorch's killer, believing that the murder of Lorch was actually an attempt on his own life. When Clegane leaves, Tywin invites Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) to eat with him. They discuss Tywin's desire to leave a legacy and the conquest of Westeros by Aegon the Conqueror, which led to the destruction of Harrenhal. Tywin is surprised to learn that Arya knows much of Aegon and his sister-wives. Having deduced that she is highborn, he tells her that she says "my lord" instead of "m'lord" like a commoner would, and advises her that if she is trying to hide her highborn status, she should do it more carefully. She rebuffs this by stating her mother served a noblewoman for many years, and taught her to speak properly. He (not unkindly) tells her she is too smart for her own good.
King Robb Stark (Richard Madden) hears Alton Lannister's (Karl Davies) unfavorable reply to the peace terms he brought to Queen Cersei. Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) informs Robb that his prisons are full, so Robb orders the construction of a new pen to keep Alton in, and orders him placed with Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in the meantime. Robb also meets with Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin) to discuss getting her more medical supplies. Robb asks her to come with him to the Crag to see the Maester for her supplies, which she agrees to do.
After a prolonged friendly conversation, Jaime brutally kills Alton to kick off an escape plan. When the jailer, Torrhen Karstark, enters the pen to investigate the disturbance, Jaime strangles him with his chains, takes the key from his body to free himself, and flees. In the morning, he is recaptured and brought back to the Stark camp. Lord Rickard Karstark (John Stahl) demands the Kingslayer's head in retribution for murdering his son. Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), with the assistance of Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), is able to delay the execution until Robb returns from the Crag. Catelyn confronts Jaime about Alton's death and calls him a man without honor for breaking his vows. Jaime bitterly explains that his vows as a knight included requirements to defend the innocent, obey his father, and serve the king... but that his father despised his king, and his king was slaughtering the innocent, rendering his vows conflicting. Jaime considers concepts like "honor" and "loyalty" naive at best and hypocritical at worst. Jaime also asserts that he has only been intimate with Cersei and thus has more honor than Eddard Stark, Catelyn's late husband, who fathered the bastard Jon Snow. He baits and insults Catelyn by telling her that she must hate Jon as a living reminder of Ned's infidelity. This brings Catelyn to a breaking point and she asks for Brienne's sword.
Having lost her dragons, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has difficulty trusting Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie) when he tells her he did not take them. Later, Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) returns from his search for a ship and vows to Daenerys to find her dragons. He seeks out the shadowbinder Quaithe (Laura Pradelska), who knows much of the dragons and Jorah's feelings for Daenerys. Quaithe informs Jorah that although she does not have the dragons, Daenerys is currently with the one who does. At a meeting of the Thirteen, Pyat Pree (Ian Hanmore) tells Daenerys that he has her dragons in the "House of the Undying." Shortly after this revelation, Xaro, with the aid of Pree, proclaims himself King of Qarth. Pree, having multiplied himself around the room, assassinates the remaining eleven members of the Thirteen, and Daenerys flees with Mormont and Kovarro (Steven Cole).
Prince Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) wakes in the morning and finds the wildling Osha (Natalia Tena) gone from his bed. Outside, he discovers one of his men has been killed, and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson), Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and Osha have fled Winterfell in the night. While berating his men for the escape of the children, he is challenged by Black Lorren (Forbes KB) for sleeping with Osha. Theon brutally beats Lorren and then begins a hunt for the two boys and their companions, against the wishes of Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter). After arriving at a farm, Theon is displeased to learn the dogs have lost the trail, but Dagmer Cleftjaw (Ralph Ineson) discovers walnut shells in the farm yard, indicating Bran and Rickon may have passed through. Theon then orders Luwin back to Winterfell so he may interrogate the farm owner.
After returning from the hunt, Theon calls the people to the square, and after Luwin's arrival, reveals to them the charred remains of two children as a warning to those who do not respect his rule. Luwin cries out in horror for Bran and Rickon, while Theon looks upon the corpses and appears visibly uncomfortable, barely able to hide his guilt.
The episode was written by producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, their fourth of six scripts for the second season. This episode adapts content from the second novel, A Clash of Kings, chapters Theon IV, Sansa IV and parts of Catelyn V and Catelyn VII.
"A Man Without Honor" was watched by 3.69 million American households in its initial telecast on HBO. In the United Kingdom, the episode was seen by 0.935 million viewers on Sky Atlantic, being the channel's highest-rated broadcast that week.
The episode received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 12 reviews of the episode and judged 92% of them to be positive, with an average score of 8.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Quieter and more meditative than previous episodes, 'A Man Without Honor' is bolstered by incredible performances and a welcome return to an unlikely but surprisingly satisfying onscreen duo." IGN's Matt Fowler gave the episode a 9 out of 10, noting that "While A Man Without Honor didn't have as many big, striking scenes as some of the past few episodes, it made up for its lack of face-melting moments with some absolutely fantastic one-on-one scenes." The A.V. Club's Todd VanDerWerff gave it an A-.