New locations are presented to us in this week’s always brilliant opening credits, we get a glimpse of Qarth and Harrenhal.
The episode begins in the Riverlands with a successful night time raid on a Lannister camp by Robb Stark, his dire wolf and his men.
In the blood-strewn aftermath of the assault, Robb tours the battlefield, and renders aid to A Lannister soldier with the help of a nurse who introduces herself as Talisa.
She knows who Robb is, but is neither frightened or put off by him, and in return he is rather intrigued by them.
Traveling south, we come to King’s Landing, where we, like Sansa are subjected to extreme wickedness at the hands of that little bastard known as Joffrey.
The boy king is angry over his defeat at Oxcross by Robb’s army, and has Sansa beaten in open court until Tyrion arrives, and saves her, openly defying the whiny king, and as he says, ‘educating’ him.
Bronn and Tyrion think that Joffrey is at an age where he may need some female entertainment, so Tyrion arranges for two whores to attend to Joffrey.
But that goes wrong for the ladies, as Joffrey reveals how horrific his sadistic streak is in a rather disturbing scene.
Tyrion (still my favorite character) is later visited by his cousin Lancel Lannister, with the demand from the Queen Mother Cersei, that Pycelle be released from his black cell. Tyrion quickly deduces that the knight is now bedding his sister Cersei.
Threatened with blackmail, Lancel agrees to be loyal to Tyrion, and serve as his spy, informing him on everything that Cersei gets up to.
Across the Narrow Sea, one of Dany’s Dothraki riders returns with news of a city three days away, and that they will be received should they travel there.
So Dany and her company arrive in the garden of bones, the outlying desert of the city of Qarth, where, at the city gates, they are met by The Thirteen. This governing body initially refuses her entry to the city until Dany reveals the dragons to them.
She refuses, and swears to raze the city to the ground when her dragons are grown, The Thirteen seem unimpressed until one of them, Xaro, vouches for her with his own blood.
Along the King’s Road, the captured Arya (my other favorite character), and her friends arrive at Harrenhal, which is being overseen by Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane, who chooses one of the surviving townspeople, now prisoners, each and every day. He tortures them while asking where the town’s gold and silver is hidden and the whereabouts of something known as “The Brotherhood.”
This torture is committed in full view of the prisoners, and is conducted with a bucket, a rat, and a torch. Let’s just say… OUCH.
This sequence also sees the introduction of Arya’s nightly list. The list of people she recites, night after night, of those she wants dead.
Just as Gendry is about to have the bucket strapped to his chest for his turn, Tywin Lannister arrives, and chastises his men, and deduces that Arya is a girl, though he has no idea who she is. He decides though that she will serve him well as a cup bearer.
Petyr Baelish (Little-Finger) has been dispatched to Renly’s camp in the Stormlands, where he confers with the potential King, and then with his wife, as they tour the camp. Through some verbal sparring, Baelish hints that he’s aware of Renly’s true sexual desires.
Margaery fences verbally with him, neither confirming or denying any of Baelish’s suppositions and reminds him that he is going to be Petyrs’s king as well.
Baelish then visits with Catelyn Stark, still in Renly’s camp, and delivers to her the offer of a prisoner exchange, Sansa and Arya for Jaime. Cat tells him that Robb would never agree to that deal, but he reminds her that he came to her, and that she’s a mother. As a measure of good faith, he returns Ned’s bones to her, so that they may be buried in Winterfell.
Later, Cat and Renly ride out to meet with Stannis, Melisandre and Davos. Cat tries to remind them that they are brothers and should work together, not fight over the throne, but both ignore them, Stannis rides off with an ultimatum to surrender before sunrise, and Melisandre warns Renly that “the night is dark, and full of terrors.”
We learn this first hand, as Stannis sends Davos on a mission with Melisandre, rowing her to shore in the middle of the night. Finding their way through caves, they come across a barred door, which the Scarlett Woman tells Davos will not stop them.
She strips naked, revealing a swollen, slightly moving belly, and settles on the ground, and in the last horrifying scene of the episode gives birth to some form of shadowy creature that crawls out of her, grows and stands before them.
(I do know what it is, and what happens, but I’m trying to take these things episode by episode, but that was a disturbing sight).
That and of course how evil Joffrey is.
The series continues to entertain and impress, it’s a wonderful adaptation of the novels, and I look forward, eagerly to each and every episode. I know it’s an expensive series, but I honestly think HBO is getting it’s moneys worth out of it.
I love the sweep of the story, and I love the cast of characters, and I know that both get bigger, and that there are unexpected deaths coming… And yet, I’m sure it’ll still affect me when they happen.
This show is awesome.