This is probably the first episode in a while where I wasn’t quite sure what to think once it ended. While most of it I already knew about, thanks to the book, there was a little part at the end that left me bewildered, befuddled and in a state of shock. I’ll give some major props to the writers since they don’t seem intimidated by the material they’re adapting at all. Too many times we’ve seen source material ruined because the powers that be don’t have the balls to faithfully adapt it for the screen. The same definitely cannot be said here. They did go through with killing Ned after all. Although they didn’t have much of a choice in that, but still.
This week does without the shenanigans in Pyke and north of the Wall, which means, sadly for me, no Jon Snow. However, this week also marks the return of the King of the North himself, Robb Stark which is a huge bonus. Garden of Bones is one of those episodes that gives you loads of information, without saying very much at all. It may not have seemed like much on the surface, but once you put a little thought into it and peek behind the curtain, you’ll see that this episode contained quite a bit.
Random Lannister Camp
The episode starts at Stafford Lannister’s camp where two soldiers compare notes on who they think the best swordsman is. This conversation also reveals that Renly’s relationship with Ser Loras is not the secret he thinks it is. Before they know it, they’re faced with not only Greywind, but Robb and his army. I love how this scene was filmed especially how the camera panned up to reveal a stone-faced Robb sitting atop his horse. The ensuing battle wasn’t shown, but we did get to the see the aftermath.
Robb walks the battlefield with Roose Bolton, as they discuss what to do with the prisoners. Bolton is a hard man, which is proven when he tells Robb that “a naked man has few secrets, a flayed man none”. Robb reminds Bolton that his father outlawed flaying in the North and he doesn’t intend on bringing it back. To which Bolton tells him that they are no longer in the North. Robb then happens upon a, for lack of a better term, nurse, who is tending to a wounded Lannister soldier. She needs to cut off his foot in order to stop infection, and Robb being the compassionate man he is, lends a hand.
Robb is rather taken with the lady, whose name is Talisa, but she won’t give him her last name. She’s from Volantis but that’s about all the info he gets from her. This is no chance encounter. It’s my suspicion that we’ll see her again and so will Robb. He’s been through a lot, he deserves to get his freak on.
King’s Landing doesn’t play a very big part in this episode, but we get a little bit of Tyrion which is always welcome. Joffrey sits on his throne playing with his crossbow as Sansa is forced to kneel before him and his court and take blame for Robb’s actions. The news of Robb’s victory over Stafford Lannister’s camp has made its way to King’s Landing, along with inflated rumors that border on silly. Joffrey takes his anger out on Sansa by having having Ser Meryn beat on her a bit and cut off her dress. Tyrion arrives just in time to put an end to it and proceeds to chastise Joffrey in front of his court. Ser Meryn has things to say about that but is quickly silenced when Tyrion brings Bronn into the conversation. Tyrion puts an end to the spectacle by removing Sansa from the situation entirely. Note of interest: as they were leaving, he asked Sansa if she wanted to go through with the marriage to Joffrey. Her response is a programmed one, and leaves Tryion a little surprised at how convincing she delivers it.
Hoping to relieve Joffrey of his pent-up aggression, Tyrion sends Ros and another girl to Joffrey as a late name day gift. Instead of sowing his wild oats with the girls, he instructs Ros to beat the other senseless. We’ve always known that Joffrey has a taste for violence, but this scene goes to show the depth of his depravity and the scope of his sadistic tendencies. He’s a right bastard that’s for sure, but I have to hand it to Jack Gleeson, that kid plays Joffrey so freaking well.
The Storm Lands
Littlefinger arrives seeking an audience with Renly. His efforts don’t exactly produce desired results, but with him, things are never what they seem. The scene for me fell a bit flat, as did his exchange with Renly’s Queen. While he alludes to her about knowing the truth about Renly and Loras, he isn’t able to goad her, which clearly frustrates him. Margaery doesn’t bite and leaves Littlefinger to his thoughts.
Later on, Littlefinger seeks an audience with Catelyn, who is the last person he should be talking to. Cat is full of awesome as she throws his betrayal in his face and pulls a dagger on him in the process. Littlefinger suggests a trade; Jamie for her daughters. He lies and tells her that both Sansa and Arya are in King’s Landing alive and well and she has the power to get them back. He then offers her a token of good faith. Ned’s bones.
Moving on to the Baratheon brothers, Stannis and Renly meet at the request of Cat. I’ll be honest and say that this exchange was much better in the book, but that’s besides the point. Each try to lay their claim to the throne and neither will relent. The two brothers trade quips and threats, and Melisandre drop her own two cents in as well. Of course nothing is resolved and the brothers part on the same terms that they arrived. Cat’s efforts here are a complete waste and she knows it.
After taking a break from the Red Waste last week, we find Dany and Co. in the same position as we last saw them. Wasting away in the desert. That is until one of her scouts returns not only with his head attached, but on a new horse. With him, he brings news that the Thirteen from Qarth will receive the “Mother of Dragons”. She asks Jorah if he knows of Qarth and he tells her that he knows the desert outside the walls is called the Garden of Bones. He also tells her that when a traveler is denied entry, the garden grown. Well…..that sounds ominous.
Dany and her Khalasar make their way to Qarth and are greeted outside the gates by the Thirteen. There is soon a power play as well as a pissing contest, with Dany demanding entry, and the Thirteen wanting a look at the dragons before they grant it. For some reason Dany doesn’t budge. Jorah advises that she proceed with caution, but Dany throws the gauntlet telling them that when her dragons are grown she will lay waste to those who work against her. The threat isn’t quite taken so seriously and she is denied entrance, unless she shows them the dragons.
Things are about to go south when one of the members of the Thirteen, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, steps up and vouches for her. Finally she’s granted access and the gates open to reveal a city that looks more like an oasis. I think Dany needs to heed Jorah’s advice here because I have no doubt that Xaro Xhoan Daxos is working an angle that will benefit himself more than Dany.
Arya and the others who were taken after Yoren was killed are herded into Harrenhal, which serves as Tywin Lannister’s base of operations. They arrive to the smell of death and are corralled into a cell of sorts. The “interrogators” come by occasionally and select one of the prisoners and ask questions about gold, jewels and the brotherhood. No one really knows anything and when they do, they die anyway so there’s no real incentive to give up the goods. Arya goes to bed at night reciting her prayers, much like Yoren told her he did when he was a boy. As the days pass more names are added to her prayers and they become “Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, The Hound, Polliver, The Mountain.”
Gendry is the next one chosen and is strapped to the chair. Just before they’re able to inflict their chosen form of torture (which includes putting a rat in a bucket, strapping it to the victim’s chest and holding a flame to the bucket), Lord Tywin arrives. He puts an end to the torture and tells his men that the prisoners should be working in the castle instead. He asks Gendry if he has any skills and Gendry tells him that he’s a smith. Tywin then looks at the men with a “see, I told you” sort of look. He also notices that Arya is actually a girl, when the others thought she was still a boy. He asks her why she’s pretending to be a boy and she replies, telling him that it’s safer on the roads that way. He seems impressed and chooses her as his new cup-bearer. This is a separation from what happens in the book, but this puts a very interesting spin on things since it should put her nice and close to Tywin. I’m very curious to see where this leads.
The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors
We end this week with Stannis on his ship talking to his right hand man, Davos. He asks Davos if he still has his smuggler skills and tells him that he needs Davos to take the Red Woman ashore, but no one can know. Davos is deeply indebted to Stannis and agrees to do as his King bids. Even though you can tell he’s a bit apprehensive about Melisandre. Stannis however seems to be completely under her power. Makes you wonder who’s actually in charge here.
Davos rows his boat ashore, but there is no hallelujah to be had. As they enter a cave, they discuss light, dark and shadows. She tells Davos that “Shadows cannot live in the dark Ser Davos. They are servants of light. The children of fire. And the brighter the flame, the darker they are.” As if Davos could get any more uncomfortable with the situation, Melisandra disrobes and we’re give a view of her pregnant belly. Which is pretty odd considering she and Stannis just had sex. My thought here was that they don’t really discuss how much time has passed between episodes so I was willing to let it go. But then she delivers and instead of a baby, she delivers a shadow…..of evil I think. The night is dark and full of terrors indeed.
So that’s where this week left off….with the birth of the black smoke baby. Next week marks the halfway point of the season already and I’m sure shit is about to get real. A few final notes on this week’s episode:
Tyrion normally has the best dialogue but this week the medal goes to Bronn with his line about Joff: “There is no cure for being a cunt.” As much as I detest that word, that is the best. line. ever.
Robb is becoming stronger and stronger with each passing episode. He’s grown so much from the beginning of last season it’s hard to think he’s the same man. But that’s just it….he’s a man now and not a boy. Which is good because he’s pretty hot and looking at him as a man makes me feel less like a dirty old lady.
And speaking of hot…..just how yummy is Iain Glenn anyway? I mean yeah, Jorah could use a hot shower, but then again everyone needs one. That man is damn fine. I’m just sayin’….
Melisandre creeps me the F out, but Carice Van Houten is doing a stellar job bringing her to life. And she’s got fierce red hair.
I’m going to have double tap this episode just so I can digest it all. Until next week….Tags: Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones 2.04, Game of Thrones Garden of Bones, Game of Thrones recap, Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 4, GoT, HBO, Iain Glenn, Richard Madden, Song of Ice and Fire