Watching the Throne: The Garden of Bones
This recap is going to give birth to a grotesque shadow monster in a cave…..so…..be aware of that. Last week, I mentioned that season 2 had gotten to the top of the roller coaster, story-wise, and with this week’s episode, Garden of Bones, it took off down the slope with all sorts of mini-payoffs and big picture stuff coming into play. Given how late I’ve been getting these in the past few weeks, I don’t think I can call these ‘recaps’ anymore, I think ‘refreshers’ might be the better word…regardless, I hope you enjoy this ‘refresher’ of last Sunday’s Game of Thrones, and just think….only 2 more day until the new episode!
A Robb Stark sighting!!
In a typical fantasy series Robb would be the character getting all of the screen time. He would be the sole protagonist. His quest to overthrow Joffery from the Iron Throne would be the driving force within the narrative. However, since Game of Thrones is about as far as you can get from typical fantasy, the heroic and noble young hero is regulated to 1 scene (or so) every other episode. This allows for Robb’s scene’s to have more impact, and allows the audience to experience the story from many different perspectives and viewpoints. Speaking of new perspectives, Robb gets one this week from a mysterious field nurse named** that he clearly hadn’t considered before. After performing an amputation on a Lannister solider, she reminds Robb that while his quest for vengeance is a just and noble cause in his head, he’s causing his own fair share of collateral damage. She also posits to him that his revenge war is also a little half baked…since he doesn’t know what he’s going to do after he kills Joffery. Robb, may be a fearsome warrior but he’s also a 19 year old dude. I remember when I was a 19 year old dude. I didn’t think too far ahead…I also didn’t have a dire wolf.
In the South
The Lannisters soldiers who captured Arya and her travel companions, Gendry and Hot Pie, take them to Harrenhal, a Lannister strong hold, and, based on how many characters have talked about it being haunted or cursed; it’s apparently the Amityville of Westeros. Some excellent CGI work here blending the vista of the ruined castle to the real landscape they filmed. The CGI work on this show is never anything less than decent, but the gloomy and bleak reveal of Harrenhall was some of the best CGI work I’ve seen to date. The bleak exterior of Harrenhall matches up with the bleak goings-on in the interior of the holdfast, where groups of prisoners are being brutally tortured by the mountain (the psychotic brother of The Hound) and his minions for information. Arya goes to sleep on the cold wet floor every night repeating the names of those who have wronged her: Joffery, Cersei, and The Hound; exactly like Yoren repeated Willem’s name all those years ago. While I enjoyed watching this, (it’s one of my favorite aspects of her character from the books, naturally) I believe the visual presentation could have used some work. They should have gone in for a gradual close up as she kept repeating the names to herself, and let the camera linger on Arya’s face for a while before cutting away to the next scene. Overall though, the scenes in Harrenhal were among the strongest in tonight’s episode.
While Tyrion continues to be awesome, saving Sansa from Joffery’s insanity and cruelty in court, and putting that punk-ass member of the King’s Guard in his place, Joffery attempts to counter this by doubling up on his sociopathic douchiness. Seriously, how disturbing was the scene with Jofferry, Rose, and the other prostitute? And not just from a visceral standpoint, but a societal one as well. In the end, it was Sansa’s higher position in her society, and Tyrion’s recognition of it, that saved her from Joffery’s malice; the prostitutes being common folk have no safety net to protect them from Joffery. Methinks a theme of class warfare is emerging here: in Robb’s scene we saw a poor fisherman lose his foot in a war he didn’t even want to be fighting in, because Joffery had Ned Stark’s head removed. We also witnessed too beautiful girls of common birth brutalized because Tyrion emasculated Joffery in front of the court, and since he can’t take it out on his uncle or bride to be…the low folk have to suffer. Tyrion and Robb may appear to be the heroes of this show…but unfortunately, the truth is far grimier than that. In many ways, they are no less destructive than Joffery. The low folks always suffer when the high born play the game of thrones.
THE STORM LANDS
LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, IN THIS CORNER STANDING AT ABOUT 6’1, AND 171 POUNDS IS THE FALSE KING RENLY BARATHEON!!! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)…TO HIS RIGHT, A FORMIDABLE FIGHTER AND CHAMPION JOUSTER FROM HOUSE TYRELL SER LORAS, THE KNIGHT OF FLOWERS!!! (MORE CHEERS) BUT THAT’S NOT ALL: RENLY IS ALSO HERE TODAY WITH THE ONE, THE ONLY, BRIENNE OF TARTH!!!! LAST, BUT NOT LEAST: A SPECIAL GUEST FROM THE NORTH, LADY CATELYNN STARK!!! AND IN THIS CORNER…STANDING AT ABOUT 6’0 AND WEIGHTING IN AT ABOUT 165 POUNDS WE HAVE STANNIS BARATHEON, THE TRUE HEIR TO THE IRON THRONE (LIGHT CLAPPING), AND THE LORD’S CHOSEN, TO HIS RIGHT IS MELISANDRE, THE RED PRIESTRESS (WHISPERS AND DREAD) FROM ASHAI. STANNIS IS ALSO HERE TODAY WITH THE SMUGGLER TURNED KNIGHT SER DAVOS SEAWORTH!!! (AGAIN, LIGHT CLAPPING) AND A FOUL SHADOW MONSTER ABOMINATION THAT MELISANDRE BIRTHED !!! (SILENCE, FOLLOWED BY PEOPLE SCREAMING, MIXED WITH THE SOUND OF THEM RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES.) LET”S GET READY TO RUMBBBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S. On a different note, much kudos and praise to Michelle Fairley for a very lovely and downplayed performance during the scene where she is “reunited” with Ned. It was the emotional high point of the episode.
P.P. S. Given the strong venereal horror featured in final scene of Garden of Bones, I thought maybe Canadian body- horror master David Cronenburg might be featured somewhere in the credits. It was clearly an homage to his work from a visual standpoint, even the musical cues in this horrific sequences reminded me of the scores from Videodrome and The Fly.
Across the Narrow Sea
After being absent for an entire episode, we finally touch back with Dany, and Jorah Mormant. They finally find a refuge from the endless red waste, the greatest city that ever was or will be, Qarth. They also meet the 13, the rulers of Qarth, whom are all very keen to see Dany’s Dragons for themselves. So much so that they will not allow her entrance into Qarth until they can see them for themselves. Dany doesn’t take to kindly to this, and begins to threaten the 13. However, one of the 13 Xaro Xhoan Daxos evokes sume, or maybe it was sumi…some crazy made up fantasy word I’m too lazy to look-up, and vouches for them on his blood. Overall, this was mostly a set-up for bigger stuff down the road, but Qarth looked cool, and it was nice to get Dany back into the action again; albeit very briefly.
That wraps it up for this week. Here is a preview for Sunday night’s episode.