The Ghost of Harrenhal reviewed

The Ghost of Harrenhal

This episode, The Ghost of Harrenhal, really illustrates how HBO follows a similar formula in regards to all their most epic of properties.  The majority of this episode is very reminiscent of other HBO shows. It would seem that many seasons of different programs that sweep along such an epic scale begin to form all these building blocks throughout the season. They seem to crescendo at the finale, and I don’t see this series any differently. Rome, both seasons did the same thing, and so did all three seasons of Deadwood. The intrigue and subtlety was thick throughout, and the real business is always saved for the very last. It’s a formula that works, and I’m sure the remaining seasons of the shows will operate under the same compelling format.

This episode really started with a freakin bang. We get to see the fruit of Melisandre’s loins come to fruition, as ‘King’ Renly exits via a quick shadowy stabbing through the chest. Who knew shadows were so sharp? At this point some guards enter, the now deceased, Renly’s tent only to see two women; Lady Catelyn and Brienne of Tarth. Of course their natural assumption is the giant lady did Renly in so they attack her. Which gives us watchers a nice little bit of action to start the episode with. I feel as though I’m constantly commenting on the casting, but they really nailed it with Brienne’s character. The physicality and rigid demeanor, are so prevalent, that she often comes off as more manly than most the characters in the rest of the show. I feel like the only time we will see Brienne’s façade drop is at Renly’s death.But she’ll prove to be a fun story arc to watch as her and Catelyn trudge their way through Westeros.

Next up… the Tyrell siblings and the always cunning Littlefinger. We can see the game being played so deftly here, while Loras is truly mourning the loss of his lover Renly, Margaery Tyrell and Littlefinger are already plotting. We see how convicted to power the Tyrell’s are. Margaery embodies the saying that ‘Tyrells are just Lannisters with flowers.’

Upon our return to King’s Landing, Tyrion is back to petty spats with Cersei which I can only imagine will continue. And despite Tyrion’s best efforts to run the kingdom in his father’s stead, I’m sure Cersei and her prick son Joffrey, will go to great lengths to spite his attempts. Not only that, but he has the people’s perceptions to deal with as he’s considered a ‘Demon Monkey’ by the general populace. Ahhh, the frustrations of leadership become realized! Tyrion uncovers a move to stockpile a store of ‘Wildfire,’ much to the chagrin of Lancel, which we learn is a substance akin to nitro glycerin or napalm. Either way it sounds like volatile stuff, and if employed in the show, will make for some crazy epic battles with people “melting like tallow” according to the loony pyromancer.

Theon had a doozy of an episode during the third installment this season, showing himself to be a formidable heir to Balon Greyjoy. But, alas he lacks the respect of his people and needs to prove himself to them and his father. Unfortunately for him, his sister keeps showing up at the most inopportune times, lending snide remarks and dropping him down a peg or two.

The Ghost of Harrenhal! Spooky, it seems fitting that a gloomy, dour place like that would eventually have a ghost. Or at the very least begin to grow a reputation for one. Leading up to the introduction to the ghost, Arya has an awesome exchange between herself and Tywin Lannister. A stare down that you can tell Tywin was not expecting and well acted by both. Such simple expressions yet so much is conveyed, Arya’s obvious hatred and Tywin’s contemptous scrutiny. Obviously he consders himself formidable, but I doubt very much that he holds a little girl to such account. Arya, sent on an errand to fetch more drink as she now serves as Tywin’s cupbearer, encounters Jaqen H’ghar once more. He makes her a deal, that she can have three deaths of her choosing. All she has to do is give a name and let Jaqen H’ghar work his voodoo like a genie of death. We’ll see if she chooses wisely with her remaining two since she spends the first death right away on the Tickler. But really, who can blame her? The guy straps buckets with rats in them to people’s chests and forces them to claw their way out. With a hobby like that you’re bound to make it on someones’ shit list.

‘The Fist of the First Men.’ Samwell Tarly gives a bit of exposition about the newfound location which is both beautiful and desolate. The stark (no pun intended) landscape really does give you the idea of just how harsh life beyond the Wall can be. While the Crows await the coming night, we’re introduced to Qhorin Halfhand who spots distant fire. Putting together a rag-tag team of rangers they decide to send Jon Snow who is obviously desperate to prove himself in the field and he’s probably bored as shit. This got me pretty pumped, because I had been curious as to whether or not they would include Qhorin in the story line, so I’m glad he showed up.

I'll have my steak Pittsburgh Rare beyotch.

ANNNNND there’s that budget. We get to see Jon Snow’s giant dire wolf Ghost running around, but we finally get to see Daenarys’ dragon blackening chunks of steak. That’s a cute trick until it’s your face. But, I know for my part and I’m sure other watchers, that it’s altogether fascinating to see how the dragon’s will progress.  Keep your fingers crossed that the series is around for a few more seasons and those dragons start getting REAL big.

We get to see a little bit more of the splendors of Qarth as the hosts invite Daenarys and her Dothraki horde to partayyy.  Thankfully for the sake of her blood riders, she keeps them from committing any serious party fouls. Stealing your host’s golden peacock statue is bound to make someone peevish.

Troubles in the North continue. Someone has attacked a keep only leagues from Winterfell, Bran has decided to send Ser Roderick to drive off the attackers despite Winterfell’s weak guard. While governing the city, Bran is still vexed by the complexity and vivid reality of his ‘green dreams.’ Instinctually he knows them to be a real facsimile of someone or something else’s vision, but he is too unsure of himself to make that logical leap. That’s probably because it seems less than logical.

This episode was a toss up for me, I’m having a hard time with deliberating between victors for the episode. While I though Tyrion did a great job in tracking down the mystery of the Wildfire, I also thought Arya was great in pretty much every scene and she did have a major part in the titular scene of the show. While we did see a good deal of Jon Snow, I wasn’t terribly convinced that his role was so major in the episode, he seemed like fodder to keep the story rolling along. Catelyn and Brienne had some great scenes together. The conviction in their pact had a sort of visceral compulsion that seemed to foreshadow great things to come (I hope) for their story line. But, afer weighing the scales I think the winner of this episode is going to be Arya Stark of Winterfell for indirectly killing the Tickler and for her upcoming involvement in what are sure to be at the very least creative murders! So congratulations to the underaged Arya murderizing Harrenhal.

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