Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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

We start in the Lannister war camp where 2 soldiers are deciding who is the best sword in the Seven Kingdoms and making gay jokes about Loras and Renly – until a surprise attack by Robb and his army taking out the camp. One of his advisors is pushing for him to torture the prisoners for more information –but Robb won’t give the Lannisters and excuse to abuse his sisters

And we get some rough field surgery of a Lannister soldier to remove his leg – with Robb willing to help even though it’s the enemy. The doctor who treated him has little time for lords and their wars and the cost they bring to common people. Especially since Robb has no plans for the Seven Kingdoms after Joffrey is deposed.

At Kings Landing Joffrey’s supporters are making up outlandish tales for how Robb is winning the war – and blaming Sansa for the loss and having her attacked and beaten in court – until Tyrion arrives and brings the awesome with him – reminding dear Joffrey that the “Mad” King Aerys thought he could do whatever he wanted with impunity as well before he was killed. He also has some masterful threats for the Kingsguard as well and kind tenderness for Sansa. Despite that, Sansa cannot trust even Tyrion.

Unfortunately then Tyrion and Bron discuss getting Joffrey laid to help temper his sadistic tendencies, oh no Tyrion, cling on to the awesome. Why do I think A prostitute will be involved soon?

And yes, the next scene there are 2 women in Joffrey’s rooms who proceed to make out with each other for Joffrey’s viewing pleasure. Joffrey is still a sadist however, and forces one woman to brutally beat the other.

Back with Tyrion, his cousin Lancell brings a writ from Cersei  to order the release of Pycelle. Oh, Cersei, Lancell is no match for Tyrion who threatens to tell Joffrey that Lancel is sleeping with Cersei. And Tyrion has another spy and agent.

At the travelling court of King Renly, Littlefinger has arrived to deal with him. Renly makes his contempt for the man utterly plain. Baelish tries to offer a secret compact with Renly, but Renly doesn’t have much truck with him.

That night, however, he meets Queen Margaery, and starts making several digs about Margaery having to sleep alone and Renly sleeping with Loras. Margaery has to subtly declare her loyalty to Renly for Baelish.

Then Baelish gets to meet Cat the Spunky, she who he has always loved who is Very Displeased with him and finally holds him at dagger point – wow, for the first time I’m driven to cheer Cat.  But Baelish says the Lannisters have both her daughters and Baelish is saying they will trade the daughters for Jaime Lannister and that they should take the opportunity before the war turns against Robb. As a sign of good faith Tyrion Lannister has sent Ned’s remains.

Later King Renly (and Cat) meet King Stannish, Renly’s older brother and another claimant to the throne – and he’s accompanied by Melisandre, priestess of the Lord of Light. They bicker for a while and Cat decides to scold them for their sniping. Stannis in turn is not impressed with Catelyn talking to Renly when Stannis is the heir that Ned Stark supported.

Stannis gives Renly an ultimatum – despite Renly having the much much larger army – he has 1 night to support Stannis or be destroyed.

Later we see Stannis and Ser Davros talking – and us learning the full extent of Stannis’ inflexible justice. He wants Ser Davros to smuggle Melisandre ashore. In the cave she stripes naked (of course) and reveals that she is heavily pregnant. The torch flares to life and Melisandre gives birth to a shadowy, skeletal creature.

Arya is still a prisoner of the Lannisters, though they don’t know her. She and the boys who were being taken to the Wall are taken to a brutal and merciless prison completer with despairing prisoners and lots of screaming. It’s a very disturbing and well shown scene, carrying a lot in very little time. While sleeping in the rain, she chants the names of her enemies.

The keep is ruled by Ser Gregor the Mountain the most brutal of the Lannisters vassals and every day he picks someone to torture and kill. His torturers are looking for something called the Brotherhood. And the next to be taken is Gendry – at least, until Tywin Lannister shows up. Tywin is irritated by the number of people being killed for no good purpose when the Lannisters need both the soldiers and the labour (especially since Gendry is a smith), he also spots that Arya is a girl and takes her a sa cupbearer.

Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys is still in the Red Waste and she learns that the city of Qarth will allow her to enter. She is greeted outside the city walls by the 13 rulers of Qarth (and a considerable force of guards) and there begins a fencing of words between Daenerys and 1 of the 13 – he wanting to see the dragons, she wanting food and water for her people. They don’t want to let her in – but one of the 13 vouches for her, her people and her dragons, allowing them access

We have another POC as one of the 13 of Qarth who is willing to be an ally of Daenerys – she collects POC it seems. He seems to be devoid of the usual stereotypes at least, but it’s unfortunate that POC are largely seen following and serving Daenerys, the whitest of white folk.

While Tyrion is awesome I dislike the implication that it’s absolutely inconceivable for Cersei to be forcing Lancel when she has so much power over him – ability to overpower Cersei means little when we’ve already seen what Cersei considers power

I could really do without the completely gratuitous and unnecessary gay jokes all the time – we have no explanation as to why Westeros is a homophobic society (though lots of fans justifying and ignoring it) and why all these people, consumed with war, care so much and Renly and Loras.

We still have prostitutes, as ever, but less than usual (Baelish has gone a whole episode without a prostitute. He must be in withdrawl) but they are still highly vulnerable and expendable people. And I don't see what they needed to be here. Joffrey is vile? We know this. We don't need more examples. That there's a power play between Joffrey and Tyrion? We knew this! It was gratuitous and abusive and served no good purpose

I’m glad to see more supernatural elements in the show – I like the politics as much as any, but I do want to see the fantastic