Previous Game of Thrones Season 2 episode reviews:
Ep. 11: "The North Remembers."
Ep. 12: "The Night Lands."
Ep. 13: "What Is Dead May Never Die."
Due to unforeseen circumstances and a hectic schedule, I won't be able to bring you this week's recap of Game of Thrones. But, have no fear, for my good buddy Rodney Lopez--aka, Dilking--will be picking up the slack in the meantime with his own take on the episode. Please show him the same courtesy you would myself, and look for me to add my own 2 cents in the comments section below. And for those of you wondering, no this won't be a permanent thing (I hope). If it all works out well on my end, I plan to be back with next week's recap.
'Till then, play nice!
Okay, the Bimillennial Man has determined that these GoT recaps are taking way too much time. So in an effort to keep them alive, I, Dilking, have submitted this recap in his absence to keep the series rolling.
Also, please pardon the drop in writing quality, I'm a gifted amateur at best when it comes to writing, (and I've NEVER read the books) but I'm willing to help out a friend in need. And now, onto the recap!!
Episode 14: "Garden of Bones"
Air Date: April 22, 2012.
Directed by: David Petrarca
Written by: Vanessa Taylor
First things first, the OverWorld map (Yes, I capitalize things of importance! Sue me!) has been updated with TWO new locales!! The first on the list is the "cursed" Harrenhal. From the looks of it here, I can see why people fear it so much. It looks like a place where bad things have happened, are happening, and will happen again soon. Second, we have Qarth, what looks to be one of the few cities in the Dothraki Sea, and home to the Thirteen. But we'll get to them later. As a newbie to this world, I find myself wondering just how detailed this OverWorld map will get by the end of this series. And now, the episode begins...
It was a dark and stormy night. (Now I pause while every professional writer groans in agony.) But no, I'm serious. In what looks like a break from the established "start immediately where the last ep ended" pattern, we are starting away from the happy travels of Arya, and instead, we're here at the outpost of a Lannister camp, on a dark, stormy night, listening to two guards fight the tedium of sentry duty by arguing who would win in a fight against The Mountain, the Kingslayer, or the Knight of Flowers, Ser Loras Tyrell. Rennick, the guard, scoffs at the mention of Ser Loras, making some comment about his relationship with Renly, and then engages in a bit of pranking on his sentry-mate, warning him of some kind of impending danger (Oh, how true!), then letting out a nice bit of flatulence which, given the right food, can be seriously deadly! After laughing off his partner's fears, Rennick goes to take a tinkle and gets up close and personal with the local representative of GLAAD, Grey Wind! Robb Stark's direwolf gets down to business and we get to see the King In The North hear the signal: Rennick's death scream. And then cut to black as King In The North goes to work.
Trust me, you really don't want to see that battle.
Cut to the aftermath of the battle. We get a really lovely view of some disemboweled Lannister, and hear the screams of the wounded. We find Robb walking through the camp, calmly ignoring the looting of the dead and listening to his advisor, Lord Roose Bolton, giving him the state of things after the battle. Five Lannisters dead for every one of Stark's. Which is awesome, but like the American prison system, they're running out of space for their prisoners. And low on food. This is not good. Yet, being a man of honor, Robb will not execute his prisoners.
Lord Bolton, a.k.a. Mr. Hardcore, continues with his talk, mentioning that useful information could be gained by torturing the officers. Again, Robb flatly vetoes that plan. Bolton talks about how pretty "The High Road" is, but Robb reminds him about the prisoners that the Lannisters have, namely his sisters, and he isn't willing to risk them by torturing anybody. Bolton acknowledges the point.
Their conversation is interrupted by a field doc, Talisa, trying to examine a patient with a gangrenous foot. Once she determines that foot must be amputated, her patient starts getting all uppity and proclaims that it'll get better on its own. Robb jumps in to help, holding the man down and shoving something in his mouth so he won't bite his tongue off. Mr Hardcore asks if the doc's time wouldn't be better suited by treating one of the Starks, but Talisa shuts that down, proclaiming that she doesn't see things the Hardcore way. Then she starts cutting, with Robb holding down the patient. (This so makes me glad we have sedatives!) Oh ho, what is this? Is that a twinkle in Lord Stark's eye as he gazes at Talisa?
Later, after the operation, Robb goes to talk to the lovely lady doctor. And she takes him to task for being the cause of all this bloodshed. Robb tries to win her over with some rhetoric about how awesome things would be if he just packed up and left, leaving the Seven Kingdoms to Joffrey and the Lannisters. (Hey that's a good name for a BAND!) But Talisa just turns that around on him as well. And as she rides away on cart, we can plainly see that she's gotten Robb--hook, line, and sinker!
Speak of the devil, and he shall appear. We cut to King's Landing where Joffrey is taking his future queen Sansa Stark to task for the offenses of her brother Robb... at the point of a crossbow. Fearing for her life, Sansa pleads her innocence and tries to separate herself from her brother's actions by calling him a traitor. In response to her claims, Joffrey commands Ser Lancel to list out the offenses of her brother. They are, of course, suitably embellished, making Robb Stark out to be some sort of Merlin level sorcerer with an army of direwolves at his command.
The Twerp King then makes a show of considering killing Sansa to send a message to the Starks. But the Queen Regent, Joffrey's momma, wants Sansa alive, so Joffrey goes with the next best thing and orders Ser Meryn to shame her by ripping her dress off, and to administer a public beating. Oh yeah, ladies, Joffrey is a real catch.
Ser Meryn gets started, enjoying this a bit too much I think, and just as Joffrey starts egging him on for more brutality, Uncle Tyrion comes in with Bronn at his back calling a stop to all this foolishness. Tyrion admonishes Meryn for beating a helpless woman. (I so want to see him try that with Brienne. I dare you, I DOUBLE dare you to put that fight in the show!) Meryn starts getting lippy, but Bronn shuts him down.
"Careful now, we don't want to get blood all over your pretty white cloak."
Tyrion calls for something to cover Sansa and starts in on the little punk on the throne, giving him a quick history lesson when Joffrey pouts that the king can do what he likes. Meryn takes offense when Tyrion mentions that "the Mad King did what he liked and look what happened to him," taking it as a threat to the King. At which point the Imp teaches Meryn the difference between education and a threat. He then offers a hand to Sansa and walks her out of the throne room. In whispers, he apologizes and asks if she wants out of the engagement. And in an awesome, if misguided, show of Stark strength, Sansa reaffirms her loyalty ...and love... for Joffrey. Which really leaves an impression on Tyrion, and you can see his respect for her go up SEVERAL notches.
After Sansa has left, Bronn mentions that it might be time to get the little punk Lannister laid, to clear out some of the poison in him. Personally, I don't get that particular logic. He gets his fiancee publicly humiliated and beaten and the response is to get him laid? Really? I call shenanigans. What he needs is a severe beating, preferably at the hands of several women with maces. But, Tyrion goes along with the plan and gets super tramp Ros and a friend, Daisy, to pleasure Joffrey. It looks like he's going along with the plan, until he commands Ros to beat Daisy as a message to Tyrion. This is a bad night for them, but Joffrey seems to really get into it. When Ros hesitates, Joffrey loads his trusty crossbow and threatens to do the same to Ros. And the Psychopath Of The Year award goes to...
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Narrow Sea, our beloved Khaleesi sees one of her three messengers return, but on a different horse. When questioned, Kovarro states that the city of Qarth is only three days ride away and are willing to receive the "Mother of Dragons". Daenerys, not knowing anything of Qarth asks Ser Jorah about the city. He tells her of the harsh desert around Qarth known as the "Garden Of Bones". And of those who have been turned away by the residents of Qarth, who eventually add their bones to the Garden. So, while the Khaleesi ponders that bit of news, we get to see what little Arya Stark has been doing since last we saw her.
We catch up to her just as the merry band of prisoners reach the ruins of Harrenhal. After checking out the remains of the castle for that obligatory (and completely understandable) "Whoa" moment, Hot Pie asks what fire is hot enough to melt stone. Dragonfire, says Arya. While the dragons are all dead (or so everyone believes), the state of Harrenhal speaks VOLUMES as to how badass they were. (It's at moments like these that I wish I had read the books cause I know that there's a major story with this place, but I'm sure the show won't have the time to cover it.)
Hot Pie then asks about the smell. And again Arya answers with aplomb: "Dead people". Hot Pie and Gendry consider that for a moment and then move along, or more to the point . . . they GET moved along. And we get that one beauty shot of the castle which just makes you wish you could have seen the final battle which left it in ruins.
Arya and crew, now with the other prisoners, get to listen to a guy crying in pain. A woman pronounces the screamer dead and emptily lists all the members of her family who have died. When asked if someone is taken every day, she remains silent. Later, we find Arya lying in a puddle of rain listing out the names of those who will receive her vengeance, a coping method taught to her by Yoren last episode. And yes, that is more than a little creepy. It was made even more so by having the last bit of her refrain as a voice over as we transition back to the Stormlands to see Lady Catelyn Stark just before she goes into a rage upon Lord Baelish entering her tent.
Littlefinger tries to gloss over things, but Mrs. Stark ain't hearing it! She calls him out for a traitor and orders him out of the tent. To which Lord Baelish responds with a declaration of his love for her and he tries to grab her arm. Boy, was THAT a wrong move! Momma Stark spins and pulls a dagger from the air, it seems, and re-iterates her demand: GET OUT! Baelish backs away, slowly.
Trying another tactic, Petyr then starts talking about her daughters, and the danger they're in. And you can see the anger literally drain from Catelyn, she lowers her dagger and asks what Baelish wants. He then puts forth the offer to trade the daughters for the Kingslayer. And as a token of Tyrion's good faith, he gives her Ned's remains. At the sight of her husband's body, Cat is overwhelmed with grief and begs Lord Baelish to get out of her tent. He does.
The next morning at Harrenhal, Arya is awakened by a loud ruckus going on. It looks like it's prisoner picking time. And it looks like it's The Mountain--Ser Gregor Clegane--who does the picking. Everyone turns away, except for a blue eyed man and Hot Pie. Arya asks Hot Pie why he's not looking away, and he responds that Blue Eyes stares at him every day and that's why he doesn't get picked. About 30 seconds later, The Mountain chooses Blue Eyes as the next... let's go with contestant, here. Arya gives Hot Pie a "So much for THAT plan" look, and Hot Pie vacates his bladder. Now we get to see what all the screaming is about.
Our lucky contestant, Blue Eyes, starts off the interrogation proclaiming that he knows nothing. Interrogator #2 goes to a cage, grabs a rat, and puts it in a bucket while Blue Eyes is speaking. Arya watches as #2 lifts up Blue Eye's tunic and straps the bucket, with the rat inside, to Blue Eyes' chest. Interrogator #1 starts asking questions again, but Blue Eyes still doesn't know anything. Number 1 gives #2 the go ahead. #2 goes and grabs a torch and starts applying heat to the bucket. The rat starts freaking out and, to escape the heat, starts munching through our "lucky" contestant. Blue Eyes gives up some info on the butcher and his son, but the interrogators keep the heat on, and the rat does what it does best. Blue Eyes didn't make it to round two.
That night, we see Arya lying in the rain again, reciting her list. A lady begs Polliver for some food, he just smacks her back into the prisoner's pen. Arya, momentarily distracted, goes back to her list and adds Polliver & The Mountain to her litany. I get the feeling this list is going to get MIGHTY long before things sort themselves out.
The next morning, back in the Stormlands, we see the meeting of Renly and Stannis Baratheon. They trade a few brotherly quips and Renly acknowledges the beauty of Melisandre, appreciating how she could convince Stannis to find religion.
Cat gets a bit tired of the brotherly banter and tells them to grow up. Stannis responds by challenging her presence with Renly, considering her husband supported Stannis' claim, but Cat sees the real enemy they all share: the Lannisters. Stannis then gives a "if you're not with me, you're against me" speech, and gives Renly the night to re-consider his position, offering his seat back on the council and even to make him his heir until such a time as Stannis gets a son. Otherwise, it's on like Donkey Kong!! But Renly reminds him how many men he has. Stannis re-iterates the deadline and rides away. Renly watches his brother and then also rides away.
"Would you believe... I loved him once."
Three days have passed and Dany and her people have reached the gates of Qarth. But rather than a warm welcome as promised, they get a crew of guys trying to look like Spartans coming out to meet them. Dany says as much to Ser Jorah, who says it's probably protection against the coming of a Dothraki horde. She looks back at all like 15 of her people: "Horde?"
Standing behind the army of "300" rejects is a group of people. One of which steps forward to speak with Dany. She tries to introduce herself, but the man finishes her introduction for her. She asks who he is, and he calls himself a simple spice merchant and a member of the Thirteen, and gestures to the other people behind the guards. The Thirteen are charged with the governing of Qarth. He then asks about her title as "Mother of Dragons". Dany, knowing enough about poker to not show her hand, starts trying to praise the city, but mispronounces the name. Spice Boy corrects her and then asks to see the dragons. Dany tries to parry their interest into getting some food and water for her people, starting to promise to show the dragons once her people are taken care of, but Spice Boy Interrupticus cuts her off again wanting to see a dragon and implying that our beloved Khaleesi is a liar. Dany shows impressive restraint of her Targaryen temper and gives a lesson in manners to Spice Boy.
Spice Boy dismisses her and tells her to go back where she came from. Dany protests, but Spice Boy scoffs and heads back. Seeing the warning signs, Ser Jorah begs Dany to be careful, but her blood is boiling now. She issues an ultimatum, swearing vengeance on Qarth if they are turned away. Spice Boy starts to be dismissive again, but is interrupted by another member of the Thirteen, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who goes against the group and swears a blood oath of "Sumai", vouching for Dany and her people. The Dothraki "horde" enters Qarth. While they eat and rest up, let's go see what's happening at Harrenhal.
The Lannisters are redecorating, adding Blue Eyes' head on a stick to the gate just as Gendry is picked as the next lucky contestant. The interrogators strap him in. And, just as today's contest gets started, the main man himself, Lord Tywin Lannister, arrives. When he hears what they're doing, he puts an immediate end to it and orders the prisoners be put to work. Tywin asks if Gendry has a trade. Gendry responds that he's a blacksmith.
But before Tywin can say anything else, Polliver catches Arya staring at Needle--which he stole from her last episode--and starts threatening her. Tywin steps in and immediately sees that she is, in fact, a girl. Being impressed by her intelligence in dressing up as a boy in order to travel safely, he takes her on as his cup bearer. Speaking of the Lannisters, let's see what's going on back at King's Landing. We haven't been there in awhile, I'm sure something's afoot.
We find young Ser Lancel Lannister coming to meet with his cousin, Tyrion, on a mission from the Queen Regent herself. She has commanded the release of Grand Maester Pycelle. Given Cersei's lack of appreciation for paper, I was surprised to see young Lancel with an actual warrant, all legal and proper. Tyrion asks his cousin in for a drink. He then questions the timing of the order. Lancel tries to dismiss the Imp's questions, but falls into the trap all too easily. And, inadvertently confirms Tyrion's suspictions of Cersei's incestuous relationship with him. In this battle of wits, Lancel is too young and inexperienced to have had a chance. Tyrion plays with him a little, disbelieving that Lancel was simply following orders and not enjoying sleeping with Cersei, and threatening to go to Joffrey with details of the relationship. Finally, Lancel breaks and begs for mercy. Tyrion offers to keep Lancel's secret in exchange for him spying on Cersei for him. Tyrion gives Lancel the message of wanting "no more conflict" and that he "won't do anything without her consent" to deliver to the Queen Regent. And he also agrees to release Pycelle, but can't speak as to the Grand Maester's health and condition. Lancel takes a second to compose himself before walking away. It was in that moment that I truly felt bad for the boy.
And now, back in the Stormlands, we catch up with Stannis and the Onion Knight on a ship. Stannis asks about the luck of carrying his knucklebones and then gives Davos a bit of a grammar lesson. The Onion Knight covers a bit of his history, and how he saw the cutting of his fingers as a just punishment and praises Stannis on the cleanness of the cut.
Stannis goes a bit philosophical about good acts and bad ones, but then gets to the point. Davos Seaworth was a smuggler, and will always be a smuggler. And he's hoping that the Onion Knight still remembers some tricks, because he needs something smuggled to shore: the Red Priestess. Stannis swears Davos to secrecy and Davos agrees. Davos rows Melisandre to shore, but doesn't look too happy about it. When she presses him about his fears and discomfort, he responds with her catchphrase.
"Someone once told me 'the night is dark and full of terrors'."
Mel smiles at this and then presses the Onion Knight on what kind of man he is. As they go ashore, the Red Woman calls the Onion Knight out on his desire for her. And promises that he will see what is beneath her robe. He walks her into a tunnel, but the way ahead is barred. Davos starts trying to look for a way around, but Melisandre simply takes off her robe to reveal that she is completely naked underneath . . . and about nine months pregnant. Wait, what?? She and Stannis just got it on a few days ago! Maybe a week, tops! What in the SEVEN HELLS??
And then she sits on the ground and, as Ser Davos watches, gives birth to.... something black and shadowy. (I later found out that this was the birth of the so-named "Shadow Baby" by fans.) It flows out of her, snarling and clawing, and then turns around to face both its mother and Ser Davos.
We see some of the black smoke solidify into legs and feet for a moment, before the black smoke disperses through the bars blocking passage and travels farther down the tunnel. Where's its going, and to what dastardly end, we'll probably have to wait and find out in next week's episode.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns.
Now, I've seen some crazy stuff in my day. (Just watch the only BANNED episode of The X-Files, season 4's "Home" to see what I mean.) But that ending is right in my top 5 of weird crap! What in the HELL WAS THAT THING??? I pressured David and he told me that I had just witnessed the birth of a Shadow Baby; a natural, everyday thing in Melisandre's hometown of Asshai, which apparently have good reason to be called the Shadow Lands! I've watched this episode TWICE and I'm STILL creeped out about it!! But however creepy that was, the real stars of this episode are the Stark women.
And then there's Momma Stark, Catelyn. Her scene with Littlefinger was compelling, but in a completely different way. Seeing that instant anger as Baelish entered the tent and then the slow fractioning of that anger with fear for her children, then finally watching it completely drain from her as she puts the dagger down was amazing. And then to come around into grief, and pain, when her husband's remains were given to her was just astounding. In a matter of minutes, she went through an incredible array of emotions and Michelle Fairley hits every single one with absolute perfection. I shudder to think how emotionally draining that scene must have been to film.
Unfortunately, I have to admit my favorite scene was between Tyrion and Lancel. It's a sad truth that young men always seem to believe they are invincible and Lancel could have been the poster boy for that erroneous belief, especially in that scene. But what I really marvelled at was the way that Tyrion turned every single thing Lancel said against him. Tyrion just made it seem all so easy. I had to pause the episode, I was laughing so much at how well that scene was done.
Oh, and about my rating, I would have have given this ep 5 of 5, but it jumped around a little too much for my taste. It got a bit confusing keeping track of the days passing and such, which was annoying enough to lose the ep a crown. Okay, so that was my hand at a Game Of Thrones Recap, Bimillennial Man style. How'd I do?
Oh, and please be sure to join The Bimillennial Man next week when he recaps Episode 15: "The Ghost of Harrenhal."
Best Line: "I am not threatening the king, ser, I am educating my nephew. Bronn, next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him! That was a threat. See the difference?"