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‘Game of Thrones’ Review: “Garden of Bones”

Game of Thrones Garden of Bones
HBO

War still brewing, not quite arriving just yet! ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 gives birth to its fourth episode of the season, as Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) finds herself in a precarious position up at Castle Harrenhal, while Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)’s protection of Sansa Stark earns him the ire of Joffrey, and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally finds new hope at the city of Qarth.

Last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode “What is Dead May Never Die” saw  Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) making his commitment to serve his father against his adoptive family the Starks, while Tyrion Lannister  undertook a clever exercise to uncover the traitors within the small council, so what will the latest episode bring?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 episode “Garden of Bones!”

On a dark and stormy night, several Lannister henchman swap jokes of “King” Renly and the Tyrells, when one suddenly hears a noise.  Investigating, they’re spooked by harmless horse fart, when suddenly Robb Stark’s direwolf Grey Wind attacks, kicking off an epic battle!  That we…don’t see.  In any case, the next morning Robb surveys the damage, not wishing to torture survivors lest he give the Lannisters cause to harm his sisters, when a beautiful nurse catches his eye.  He assists her in the grim task of amputating a man’s leg, though she remains unimpressed by all the needless violence, noting that Robb Stark has no plan for what to do after the Lannisters have been unseated from power.

Meanwhile in Kings’ Landing, the ever-meaner King Joffrey trains a crossbow on Sansa for her brother’s attacks, even stripping her at court.  She’s only saved from a brutal beating by the intervention of Tyrion, who swiftly puts Joffrey in his place and ushers Sansa out, still professing loyalty to her beloved Joffrey.  Bronn theorizes to Tyrion that Joffrey getting a little action might lighten his behavior, so Tyrion sets him up with Ros and another girl as a gift.  However, Joffrey denies their affection, instead allowing them to service one another, but things quickly go dark when Joffrey commands Ros to hit the other girl, first playfully, then with a wine satchel, then with a freakin’ staff rod!  Oh, that crazy Joffrey and his crossbow.

Over at King Renly’s camp, Renly greats Littlefinger as the two exchange terse words, Renly believing that Littlefinger is sucking up for the inevitable siege of Kings’ Landing.  Whilst hanging around, Littlefinger also finds himself put in his place by Margaery Tyrell for sniffing around their marriage arrangement.  Sheesh, what is it with this guy and tugging at the threads of powerful people’s sex lives?

Hey look, its Daenerys, finally!  One of her blood-riders comes back with some good news, that the city of Qarth will happily receive the “Mother of Dragons,” though Jorah Mormont warns that the area around the city is known as the “Garden of Bones,” which grows each time travelers are refused from the city.  Daenerys isn’t the only girl out on her own however, as Arya continues toiling in her fate at Harrenhal, as prisoners are continually tortured, and she mutters to herself each night the names of those she wishes to kill.

Back at Renly’s camp, Littlefinger visits the tent of his “beloved’ Catelyn, who nearly stabs him for his role in what happened to Ned Stark.  Still, Littlefinger proposes that she trade Jaime Lannister for her two girls (lying about the Lannisters having Arya as well), and offers her a gesture of goodwill on the part of Tyrion Lannister; Ned Stark’s remains.  Miss u, bro.

The next day at Harrenhal, Arya awakes to find gigantic warrior The Mountain is the one to choose prisoners for interrogation, nearly settling on her friend “Hot Pie” before choosing another youth.  They tie the surly young lad to a chair, strap a bucket to a chest with a rat inside, and heat the bucket with the torch so that the rat digs into the boys chest, all the while fielding questions about “The Brotherhood” and some fabled gold, to which he has little idea.

While Renly Baratheon, Davos, and Melisandre meet up with Catelyn and Renly in a failed effort to get the other to stand down, Daenerys and her Khalasar arrive outside the gates of Qarth, to which they garner a much more hostile reception than expected.  The Thirteen and their speaker, with his unpronounceable name, are only willing to offer admittance if Daenerys will allow them to look on her dragons, though she refuses and threatens to return with them fully grown if they deny her admittance to the city.  The Thirteen pay her threat little mind, but Xaro Xhoan Daxos steps forward, offering to vouch for Daenerys and her people under a Qarthan custom known as Sumai.

Back at Harrenhal, Gendry is next chosen for the bucket rat torture, but before he does Tywin Lannister  arrives, chiding the men for killing off prisoners when they might be used as laborers instead.  Additionally, he sees through Arya’s attempt to pass herself off as a male immediately, and offers her a position as one of his cup bearers for her cleverness.  Score!

Speaking of those wily Lannisters, young Lancel arrives at Tyrion’s with a decree from Cersei that he must release Pycelle, though with Tyrion’s quick wit he gets the boy to admit that Cersei has taken him into her bed!  Scandal!  Still rather than confess their affair to King Joffrey and suffer his wrath, Tyrion agrees not to tell if Lancel will continue serving Cersei, and report on all of her actions and dealings to Tyrion.  In exchange, Pycelle will indeed go free, but won’t be allowed to return to the small council.

Elsewhere, Stannis Baratheon entreats Davos Seaworth for a covert smuggling mission, bring Lady Melisandre to Storm’s End, in spite of any of his misgivings about the woman.  He succeeds in bringing her into the caves, but when stumped by a metal gate, he turns around to find Melisandre all kinds of naked, and suddenly pregnant!  Incredulosly, he looks on as Melisandre explains the nature of how Light empowers shadow, before crouching down to give birth to a slimy, living shadow figure!  What the what?

Well, that was just horribly disturbing!  Some of us aren’t too clear on the role of magic in this universe, but episodes like “Garden of Bones” certainly capture the intrigue and mystery of Westeros, even if it means a slimy, pseudo-erotic shadow birth.  Plus, we say this every week, but there were also free boobs!  And in the end, isn’t that what ‘Game of Thrones’ is really all about?

If you think this was good, just wait until next week!  Did you get your fill of sword-swingin’ ‘Game of Thrones’ action?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Game of Thrones’s next effort “The Ghost of Harrenhal” on HBO!

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