Wow this is becoming a bit too much of a Game of Thrones blog, have to work on that.
If you’ve been reading this blog, especially if you’ve been reading for the Game of Thrones reviews, (really?) I apologize. Life, work and laziness have all intruded to getting back to the episodes in a timely fashion. Being a week behind isn’t so bad, two weeks, not good. As it stands with this blog I’m three episodes back just awful from a medium that demands immediacy. Well let’s start playing some catch up shall we?
It didn’t take long in the episode “Ghosts of Harrenhal” to pay off the biggest tease from the previous episode. Almost immediately we see why Melisandre birthed the shadow. While Renly is retiring for the evening, fully expecting to engage in battle the next day, the shadow flows in and stabs him through the heart. I thought this was well done all things considered, though I thought in the books the shadow slit his throat, either way Renly was properly surprised and dutifully dead. The only witnesses to the murder were Brienne and Cat Stark, both who don’t need any more bad press as it were. Cat because bad luck seems to follow her in some shape or form, crippled son, dead husband, two missing daughters, now implicated in a monarch’s death? Not good. Brienne is trying to prove herself as a warrior and for acceptance into a man’s world. Lead suspect in a monarch’s death? Bad career move. We do get to see Brienne kick some more ass, which was nice and I’m looking forward to her storyline as the series continues. The other interesting and informative bit from this plot line is the interchange between Margaery and Baelish. Margaery fully realizes that with Renly gone her family must choose between Stanis or the Lannisters. Seeing how there are no marriageable men in the Baratheon house now and how her ambition is not to be A queen but THE queen, the choice is clear.
The Theon storyline got a bit more interesting in the sense that those of us who have read the books got to snicker a bit, always infuritating to those who didn’t read. His sister yanks his chain a bit more but his first mate truly comes to the rescue and plants the idea for his big move. The move that will make daddy love him. Snicker, snicker.
We do get a good bit of my favorite character’s storyline, that of Arya Stark. She is now the cup bearer for Lord Tywin Lannister instead of being a prisoner or being dragged North by the Night’s Watch or of being forced to be a lady when she wants to be a knight for that matter. Yet it is still another type of prison. Even so this one is a little more interesting for Arya. She is in the inner circle of a war council and Lord Tywin recognizes that she is a smart girl, much like her father did. Even better than that though, little Arya has a bit of power. Because she saved a few, three to be exact, men from burning to death, she now has the power to take three lives, according to one of those she saved. Turns out, he is an assassin and can pretty much kill anyone, all Arya has to do is give him three names. At first she balks, but then she decides to try and do good and gives him the name of the Tickler. At the end of the episode wouldn’t you know? The Tickler took an unfortunate tumble from a very high tower.
Dany, John and Tyrion are all a bit busy this episode as well, but nothing particularly earthshattering at this point. The Dany storyline continues to disappoint. I’m almost convinced that GRRM wrote those bits just to give himself a break from writing about the Seven Kingdoms for a while. In the TV show it seems to be all that it is good for, truly. At some point, and I know it is out there, Dany starts to get very active instead of so insanely passive, but it feels like swimming through mud to get there. This time around we get to see her looking beautiful at a party and fawned over by various lords of Qarth, none more so than her benefactor, dude. He even goes so far as to propose to her, making the arrangement of half his fortune for her and by extension her dragons. It’s been a awhile since I read these bits, and granted I didn’t read them as closely as other parts, but I don’t recall Dany being as tempted as she was in the TV show. Even so, I thought Emilia Clarke played it well and gave it the appropriate level of anxiety. I mean, this is one rich dude, with enough money to buy an army and live like a queen in the bargain. All for the price of a few lizards? One could see why a person’s head might be turned.
Running an almost parallel course to Dany is the Jon Snow storyline. We get to see him trudge through the snow a bit, learn some of the geography of the Land Beyond the Wall and meet up with another Black Brother who is as accomplished as Jon’s uncle Benjyn Stark, Qhorin Halfhand. Even so this is all well and good, but not exactly what makes for appointment television. If I wanted to see an artic explorer I’d tune into the National Geographic Channel.
We do see Tyrion out and about in King’s Landing, but not on some whoring expedition as one might expect, especially considering that this episode was considerably lacking in the T & A department. Have the producers figured out that the story is what has drawn people in and not “True Blood with Swords?” It was almost jarring at the end of the episode to realize we did not see any gratuitous sex or nudity this time around. Here’s hoping it lasts. Anyway, back to Tyrion. Basically we get a glimpse at what the big strategy is going to be though even three episodes back I know I’d still be a spoiler. So all I’ll say is this: Boom. Snicker, snicker.