Title: Game of Thrones
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Watched: Episode 14 – April 22, 2012
Title: Garden of Bones
Summary: Best episode yet, hands down
This week is pure tension and creep. Plus, lots of new developments. We see this first in the credits with the appearance of both Harrenhal and Qarth. Then cut to some Lannister guards at a camp, providing comic relief. Then in what is now classic Game of Thrones combat minimalism, about a one second “battle.” On the field of carnage (after skipping all the action) Robb shows he’s his father’s son. But we meet lord Bolton (the flayed man) and know he sure isn’t. This introduces a bit of a torture theme. Robb also meets a girl, a nurse. Could this be some kind of substitute for Jeyne Westerling? Or the girl herself? I’m thinking so, given that she got about three minutes of screen time, which is a lot for a bit player. Achem, Ros I’m looking at you.
Then we cut to Westeros’ biggest villain, blond baddie Joff the Toff. He’s so mad at Robb that he’s willing to threaten and strip Sansa. Or is this his MTV? Torture again? But Tyrion rushes in to the rescue. Bronn suggests Joff may just be suffering from a case of blue balls and Ty sends in the every present Ros and another girl (we saw her before, with the Maester I think). This does not go well. Joff gets his rocks off a different way. Torture definitely. Pretty nasty actually. In an implied way. This development is slightly new from the books. In character, but more in depth. Most of the people in GOT are full of shades of gray. Not so with Joff.
Littlefinger is. And he works every angle. When he makes an offer to Renly is it true? A new game? Or just cover to talk to Catlyn? We may never know. Things don’t go so well with the ladies, first Margaery Tyrell then later with Cat.
Dany is still stuck in the waste (although not for long). Her rider returns and tells of a city just three days away. Is it me or do the bloodriders not look the least bit intimidating?
Then Arya. She approaches Harrenhal and we see it for the first time. It looks awesomely creepy. “What kind of fire melts stone? — dragon fire.” The place is a chamber of horrors, too. We hear rather than see someone being executed medieval style. As a student of such things and a visitor to the Museo de Totoro Volturi (Torture Museum of Volturi) I was guessing the rack. The squalid, chained, barefoot, caged conditions of Arya, Gendry, and Hotpie, however, are not left as much to the imagination. After being setup last episode, Arya is chanting her “revenge list.”
Littlefinger makes his play with Cat only to be justifiably and solidly rebuked. After his little speech to Ros, I feel no sympathy, but I almost joined Cat in tears when Ned’s bones are returned. This is an emotional episode. If I push the theme we can backshadow from the bones to torture.
Back to Ary. It seems the Mountain is picking one person a day to torture and execute. We meet his crew and his methods. They swapped out the Mountain actor and this new one is tall but thin. I liked the truly massive guy they had last year. The guy is supposed to be just huge. He wasn’t nearly big enough here. His torture is serious enough, the writers must also have visited the Museo because they dragged out the “rat torture” (only follow the link if you have the stomach for it — haha). This is half left to the imagination in the show, but it’s really bad. Check out the link if you dare. This link even has a picture (be warned). These Harrenhal scenes are full of creep and torture.
Stannis meets with Renly and Cat. The older brother is a cold fish and the younger is pretty funny. Sigh. Some good lines there: “And to think, I used to love him.”
Dany arrives at Qarth. The gates don’t look like much, but I like the costumes of the thirteen. This scene felt a little weird until Xaro saved it. I instantly liked him, his blood oath, and most importantly, the CGI view of the city through the gates. That was worth the price of admission for the whole episode alone for a fantasist like me. It looked awesome, like a Hanging Gardens of Babylon capriccio (see what I mean to the right).
More Arya. Perhaps shes a major reason this is such a great episode. Uh oh, the Mountain has picked Gendry for a little rodent love, but have no fear, Lord Tywin to the rescue. Like son, like father. Shades of gray. We see the man’s pragmatic nature. Although it is worth noting that this is a change from the books, a bit of cast compression perhaps.
Speaking of the son, Tyrion is in perfect form when his cousin Lancel comes to visit. He dances circles around the lackwit and provides us with the usual slew of brilliant lines: “an anointed knight” or “I would say I hadn’t hurt a hair on his head, but strictly speaking, that would be a lie.”
Davos and Stannis talk on a ship (which looks cool with a bull’s head on the front). Boring, even if we get a hint of the Onion Knight’s backstory. Still, when Davos takes the Red Lady into the cave on shore we get pregnant hottie AND the birth of a demonic shadow creature! What could be a better ending? Actually, I’m glad to see some of the show’s more supernatural elements getting a bit more of an amplified CGI treatment. I love me a good dark ritual. And torture (when properly used in fiction— leave it out of real life).
p.s. Why don’t we see any reaction from Tyrion to Joff’s “message”? It stood out as odd.