Gosh, this was a dark episode, as you’d expect from one called Garden Of Bones. After a brooding start to its second season, Game Of Thrones really kicked into life in this fourth episode, with some of its most slow-burning storylines starting to move into top gear, and no surprise that the return of its most loathsome character was at the heart of it.
Yes, Joffrey Baratheon, I’m talking about you. His first appearance saw him atop the Iron Throne pointing a crossbow in the direction of poor Sansa and making her confess the sins of her brothers (these sins being ‘winning battles’ and, presumably, ‘being less snivelly than Joffrey’) before having her stripped and beaten before Tyrion arrived to save the day and deliver a verbal smackdown to the boy King and his chief knight (‘That was a threat – see the difference?’).
I still can’t quite get my head around one half of Robson and Jerome being in Game Of Thrones, but he did get to deliver possibly the best line in television history in this episode, saying of Joffrey “There’s no cure for being a cunt.” Well, quite. Unfortunately, Tyrion’s attempted cure, sending a couple of whores to entertain him, backfired badly when the vicious little sadistic git forced one to torture the other. I really hate him.
Torture was quite popular in this episode, with Arya Stark ending up at Harrenhal, where her fellow prisoners are tortured using a technique I’ve never seen before. It involves a rat and a bucket and some fire. She gets herself through the bad times by repeating the names of her Lannister enemies over and over again, but ironically it’s one of them, Tywin himself, who arrives and saves not only Gendry from imminent death, but also recognises Arya as a girl (though not a Stark) and retrieves her to be a slave. Which still has to be better than the rat and the bucket.
Back at King’s Landing, the only loveable Lannister, Tyrion, continues to work his machinations towards overthrowing his sister and her despicable incestuous spawn. He throws her a bone by releasing the Maester, but in doing so gains a new, reluctant, ally in his cousin Lancel, forcing him to inform on Cersei’s activities for fear of being outed as her current familial bed-partner. He also sends Littlefinger (with Ned’s remains) to Catelyn to try and bargain for the return of Jaime. He’s a smart one, that Imp.
Cat Stark is currently a guest of Renly Baratheon, trying to get him to unite with Robb (who makes a fleeting appearance this week flirting with a nurse who tells him off for fighting a war), though the arrival of his brother Stannis throws the cat amongst the pigeons. Neither will back down in their claim for the throne, and Renly thinks he has the advantage because his army is bigger.
Unfortunately, as Davos discovers at the end, Stannis has a secret weapon. In the show’s biggest ‘OMG‘ moment of the second season so far, Melisandre‘s pregnancy has come on strongly since having sex a couple of episodes ago with the elder Baratheon, and while Davos watches on in horror, she gives birth to some kind of shadowy monster. Undoubtedly the most memorable GoT scene since the hatching the dragons, and we can only wait and see what effect this thing has on the balance of power.
Ah yes, those dragons. Four episodes in and Daenerys has finally found her way out of the middle of the desert after an invitation to Qarth, a city in the ‘garden of bones’ area of desert where so many fail to survive entering. The ‘Thirteen’ leaders of the city want to see her dragons when she arrives, so she threatens to burn them all, but somehow manages to gain entry into the city after one of the Thirteen takes a blood oath to swear for them. Why he does this, we will have to wait and see. But it looks nice in there…
So, we’ve finally got some food and lodging for those baby dragons, we’ve got a shadow baby monster thing, we’ve got Arya in the unknowing clutches of her enemy, we’ve got Joffrey getting ever more vicious and unhinged, and we’ve got Tyrion strengthening his position at King’s Landing every day that goes by. Things are shaping up very nicely indeed.