Well that was insane.
Although Game of Thrones embraced magic with its season one finale and the birth of Dany’s dragons, Garden of Bones‘ ending is the most outright magical thing this show’s ever done. Melisandre casually takes off her robe in front of Davos, and reveals a surprisingly pregnant belly (she only recently seduced Stannis). She then proceeds to give birth to a creepy shadow monster and it’s a truly mindboggling moment. But yet, somehow, it works. The show’s been grounded for so long, but the subtle introduction of various fantasy elements (even with the pilot’s teaser featuring the White Walkers) ensures we remain totally invested. Whacky stuff!
It’s amazing really how Joffrey keeps getting more and more sinister with every episode. His evil ascended to incredible heights this week as he brutally ordered Sansa to be stripped down and punched in his throne room, and then forced Ros to abuse another prostitute. Jack Gleeson is so good in the role, and the moment where he hands Ros the staff is just ridiculously bone-chilling. I can’t remember the last time I loathed a villain this much. Well played Gleeson.
After getting a total of two scenes in the first two hours of the season, and not even making an appearance in episode three, Dany finally gets some narrative momentum as she arrives at the magical city of Qarth. The leaders of the town, The Thirteen, deprive her entry because they want to see her dragons, and Dany’s response is the best Emilia Clarke moment in a while as she completely explodes and threatens to exact vengeance when her dragons are grown. It’s a blood-pumping moment that’s beautifully played by Clarke. Also, I can’t wait to learn more about this mystical city; Game of Thrones has excelled in creating lush new environments and settings at every turn.
Bits & Beheadings
– Richard Madden hasn’t gotten much to do besides bark orders since the show started, so watching Robb grow a little soft spot for Talisa the nurse is a great step forward. I’d like to see more!
– Yet another impeccable new location: Harrenhal, the cursed castle that Arya is dragged to. What a bleak and grimy place, exquisitely bought to life.
– Arya reciting the names of the people she wants to kill before going to sleep is a terrific moment. Thank you Yoren! Love how she adds the bully guard on the spot.
– Cat pulling a sword on Littlefinger was badass. And her seeing Ned’s ashes was heartbreaking.
– I love that Tyrion and Bronn assumed the prostitutes would help out with the Joffrey debacle. Oh how wrong they turned out to be.
– The most creative torture tactic I’ve ever seen: trapping a rat in a bucket at someone’s chest, and then lighting the thing on fire from behind, forcing the rat to eat through the victim’s skin. Yuck.
– Loved Renly insulting Melisandre. And can she please stop saying “The night is dark and full of terrors.” It’s already gotten old. Also, this reminds me of my favorite GOT meme.
– How unexpected that Tywin is the one who ends up saving Arya by ordering that all the slaves be put to work? Also, since he actually has a brain, he immediately figures out that Arya is a girl. Uh oh.
– Tyrion tells Lancel that the knows about him and Cersei, and makes him his spy. Also, he’ll be releasing Pycell. How amazing is Tyrion? Peter Dinklage is still impeccable.
– It’s a small touch but Stanis corrects Davos’ English on the boat. That says a lot about both. Also, he’s removed Davos’ fingernails in the past, and the advisor is still loyal to his king.
Kings & Quips
Renly: When I take the throne, you hope to retain your position. And your head.
Littlefinger: I would give priority to my head.
Melisandre: You should kneel he’s the Lord’s chosen, born amidst salt and smoke.
Renly: Born amidst salt and smoke? Is he a ham?
Daenerys: I am not a liar.
The Spice King: Oh, I don’t think you are. But as I’ve never met you before, my opinion on the matter is of limited value.
Daenerys: When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground. Turn us away and we will burn you first.
Another week, another solid hour packed with creativity and intrigue.