S02e04 Review, Garden of Bones proves to be one of the darkest episodes yet
Garden of Bones
Even as the beginning credits roll out I’m starting to wonder just how big this intro is going to have to get to encompass the ever expanding landscape of Game of Thrones. We’ve got the last few weeks addition of Pyke and now this week they’ve added on Harrenhal and Qarth. I can only imagine as the story rolls forward how many more locations will need to be added on. Blah blah blah, that’s boring crap anyway.
We’ve got a nice bit of brutality in the opening moments as Rob Stark’s dire wolf rips through some Lannister lackeys. Leading to a Northern victory and a possibly romantic (?) moment with Rob Stark and an attractive battlefield lady doc. It’ll be interesting to see where they take those two characters. Maybe some amorous rendezvous lies down the road for the King in the North and this mysterious healer of men.
Enter everybody’s favorite the little prick King Joffrey. You just love to hate this kid. He obviously didn’t get smacked enough by Robert Baratheon as a child. Joffrey, played by Jack Gleeson, is such a volatile figure and fortunately for the realm he’s their king too. Imagine that little dose of reality, a leader not competent enough to lead yet holding the fate of millions in his hands. A sad but true metaphor I suppose. But, I’m glad he’s around so Tyrion can constantly put the royal smack down on his childish tirades. Which we see backfire on the two prostitutes that Tyrion sends as a gift for Joffrey. I can only assume from the ominous tone of the music being played, duuuuuuuuughhhhh duughhhh duuuuuuuuughhhhh, that Joffrey forced his sadistic tendencies upon the reoccuring prostitute Ros, by having Ros beat her associate to a pulp. Pretty jacked up kiddo, pretty jacked up. But, then again, these are going to be the reoccuring themes of the show; murder, torture, brutality and a general disregard for life.
We see this exemplified as the Mountain’s men torture people to death in the blackened walls of the gloomy Harrenhal. Enter rat torture. I can honestly say I’ve never seen that before, I haven’t even heard of that. For those of you unfamiliar, it consists of strapping a bucket to someone’s chest with a rat inside and then heating the bucket from the back end so the rat only has one, gruesome way out. Yeah, that’s pretty darned creative. Which would be enough to make you soil yourself, as we see in the case of Hot Pie. For all its dark overtones and brutal despair I felt there was a sense of dread coursing throughout this whole episode. It kind of reminded me of The Empire Strikes Back, just a little bit anyway.
Renly and Stannis meet for the first time in years. Instead of two kings meeting to discuss their terms in regal fashion, they engage like two grown men stuck in a state of adolescence. It made for a somewhat comical interlude, but I think Renly’s incendiary remarks may have sealed the fate between the two of them.
Finally, we get some sort of forward progress in the Daenarys plot. It seems like our beardless, female Moses hasn’t been getting much done in her desert sojourn. Alas she arrives at Qarth the greatest city there ever was according to its residents. While that title may have come from a little biased judgement, it does look as though Daenarys’ goose isn’t quite cooked and perhaps we’ll see her stock rise a little bit more in the show. I know there’s potential with this story arc, but it’s just been a slow-go at the beginning and I wouldn’t mind seeing what kind of chops Emilia Clarke (Daenarys) will display when she’s forced to face-off against a whole slew of new characters.
The end of the episode is becomes very Lannister heavy. First Tywin shows up to Harrenhal offering a brief respite for Arya and company, all the while berating he’s meaner than clever henchmen. Like father like son, and lucky for us Tyrion’s involved, offering up another royal smack down to his cousin Lancel Lannister. Tyrion’s able to pocket his cousin Lancel, once in Cersei’s influence, and now an informant to Tyrion’s cause.
But the show gets crazier. Yes, much crazier. Enter shadow baby or shadow baby man or whatever the hell that thing is that comes crawling out of Melisandre’s womb at the episode’s end. This is the first real bit of tangible magic we’ve glimpsed in this show aside from dragons and Bran’s ‘green dreams.’ With the reintroduction of dragons and magic into the world, I can only guess at what other kind of craziness we might be privy to. I can only hope they crank the crazy dial all the way up to ‘apeshit.’ Also, as a side note, I wonder at one point in someone’s life they realize they can give birth to a shadow-baby-man-fiend-thingamajig.
The winner of this episode could have gone one of a few ways. Tyrion is a juggernaut this season and continues to dominate episodes. While Joffrey, as much as I actually hate him, plays the part so well that everyone truly hates everything about the little prick. But, the show stealing moment before the buzzer goes to… SHADOW-BABY-MAN-THING! Bursting from Melisandre’s loins comes the shadow creature to steal the episode and make everybody watching cringe and say, “oh, that is wack!”