Monday, 23 April 2012

Game of Thrones | Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones


In this week's Game of Thrones, Joffrey reveals himself to be more than just an evil inbred munchkin - he is also a slavering psychopath. Who knew? In other news, Dany finally crawls her way out of the Red Waste, Robb may be falling for Florence Nightingale, and Arya ends up in the service of, would you believe it, Tywin Lannister. Garden of Bones may be the most exciting episode of Season 2 yet.

We begin with a bloody battle between the armies of the North and South - in other words, between Stark and Lannister. After the carnage, Robb spies a battlefield nurse attempting to cut off a man's foot (for his own good, of course) and heads over to lend a hand. He then deems it necessary to spend a good few minutes explaining to this lowly nurse why it is imperative that he carries on fighting, killing, and maiming for the good of the realm, while she counters him with witty-but-not-overly-defiant comments. One gets the feeling that if the nurse had been a toothless old crone, he wouldn't have bothered his head quite so much about her opinion.

Rather than just letting the power go to his head a little, Joffrey now seems to be giving full reign to his psychopathic tendencies (take a lesson kids; this is what happens when brothers and sisters breed). He delights in torturing Sansa in front of the court, ordering Ser Meryn to rip her dress open and whack her with the flat of his sword. Tyrion steps in, but Sansa carries on claiming that she is loyal to her beloved Joffrey - and I'm sure she'll carry on being loyal, right up until the day she slips the Tears of Lys into his goblet. In an effort to relieve some of his nephew's stress, Tyrion sends a couple of prostitutes to Joffrey's room, but the plan backfires when Joffrey decides to have one of them beat the other to a pulp at the point of a crossbow, before delivering them right back to his uncle. Things are getting just a little too American Psycho for comfort in King's Landing right now.

Meanwhile, across the narrow sea, it looks like Dany's wandering in the desert phase is finally over. One of her bloodriders returns with news of a city called Qarth that is willing to receive her and her dragons. So, the Khalassar heads over to the gates of Qarth, only to be met by a delegation called the Thirteen; thirteen Lords/rich merchants who have the run of the city. After some heated conversation about bones, dragons, and laying waste to the countryside, the thirteen grudgingly agree to let her in, upon which the gates of Qarth swing open revealing what looks like a tropical paradise - which is good, because I was getting pretty bored of Desert Dany; she needs a good bath, someone to do her hair, some new clothes, and some bigger dragons. Then we can talk about laying waste and suchlike.

On the political side of things; Littlefinger heads to see Renly, but he's really there to see Cat. He makes a vague offer of rekindling their childhood romance, before dumping a box apparently full of her dead husband's bones at her feet. Renly pops over to see his brother Stannis, with whom he has a brief but direct chat - essentially, Stannis offers to make Renly his heir if he will acknowledge him as king. Renly, of course, does not agree.

Arya, who was captured by the Lannisters at the end of last week's episode, is imprisoned at Harrenhal, a half-melted old castle where the prisoners are taken out one by one and tortured to death in one of the most horrible ways imaginable (it involves rats). Luckily, just as Gendry is about to have his turn, Tywin Lannister turns up and puts a stop to the whole show, before recognising that Arya is a girl (although not that she is a Stark) and appointing her his new cupbearer. Conisdering that Arya has spent her nights in prison memorising a list of people she is planning to kill when she gets the chance, choosing her as cupbearer may turn out to be a mistake on Tywin's part (I hope she doesn't croak him too soon though - Charles Dance is deliciously badass as Tywin).

That weird fire priestess Melisandre finishes off the episode by giving birth to what we suppose is Stannis Baratheon's child - it looks like some sort of monster made out of black smoke, so it may be pretty hard to tell who the real father is. Still, hopefully we'll find out what the hell's going on there next week.

Episode 4 Best Moment: The opening of the gates of Qarth

Episode 4 Best Line: "There's no cure for being a cunt." - Bronn

Game of Thrones | Episode 5: The Ghost of Harrenhal

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