Recap: Game of Thrones, Episode 2.04, “Garden of Bones”

Hi! I am filling in for QoB on this week’s recap of Game of Thrones and instead of jumping back and forth, I thought I’d follow along with her format of describing the action for each location. Here we go!

I. King’s Landing

Sansa Stark
Poor Sansa. She is not having a good day.

Don’t let the lack of a vagina fool you: Joffrey is a cunt. A power hungry, sadistic, cruel little cunt. After Robb Stark’s army defeats his uncle in battle he has Sansa brought before him and orders her stripped, beaten and humiliated before the court and is only stopped when Tyrion arrives and calls a halt to his fun. On advice from Bronn that all Joffrey needs is to get laid, Tyrion sends Ros and another whore to await his pleasure. Instead of sex, the little prick gets his rocks off by forcing Ros to beat the other woman and plans to send her battered body to his Uncle Tyrion as a message. I hate Joffrey and I hope he dies a long, painful death. Is that wrong? Never mind. I don’t care.

Tyrion (who I love – call me!) leads Sansa from the room and offers her sympathy and a way out of her engagement to Joffrey. Sansa doesn’t trust him and toes the party line – Joffrey is her king and her one true love.

Tyrion also continues to spread his web over King’s Landing. When Cersei sends her boytoy Lannister cousin Lancel to order Tyrion to release Pycelle from the dungeons, he threatens to tell Joffrey that Lancel is having sex with Cersei. Lancel goes from swaggering to pissing his pants in two minutes and soon is promising to spy on Cersei for Tyrion.

II. The War in the North

Robb Stark and Talisia
Battlefield medicine

As mentioned, Robb Stark and his army of northmen have met a contingent of Lannisters in battle and emerged victorious. Walking among the dead and wounded, Robb is declining to have his prisoners skinned alive when he meets a blood-spattered but pretty battlefield nurse named Talisa. She draws from him an admission that he doesn’t want the Iron Throne himself and has no idea who will take over when the war is done. I’m no general but it seems to me that if you’re going to start a war you should at least have some sort of plan for when it’s over. This could be a problem.

Speaking of prisoners, Arya and Gendry are delivered to Harrenhal, a bleak pile of crumbling stone towers that were half-melted from dragon fire during a war generations ago. The castle has been taken over by the Lannisters but since none of them are there, the guards are entertaining themselves torturing their prisoners one at a time for information on local thieves. (Seriously, strapping a rat filled bucket to a man’s chest and then setting the bucket on fire so the rat will tunnel into his body? Brilliant. Cruel and disgusting, but brilliant.) The next day Gendry is chosen for questioning but lucky for him, Tywin Lannister arrives before the torture really gets started and points out that a live smith may be more useful than a dead prisoner. Papa Lannister also notices Arya, recognizes a girl beneath the mud and boys’ clothes and claims her for his new cup bearer.

(Question: Why does Tywin Lannister have Arya’s sword Needle? What did I miss?)

III. The Mother of Dragons

Dany, outside Qarth
The Mother of Dragons breaths fire

Daenerys sent out three riders looking for food and water for her khalasar and last week, one of their heads came back. This week, a whole rider returns bearing news of the city of Qarth, The Greatest City That Ever Was or Will Be. They have promised to receive the Mother of Dragons but the devil is in the details: they receive her outside the closed gates of the city and have no intention of allowing her to enter unless she proves her dragons are real. Dany threatens that if the city rulers, The Thirteen, don’t allow her and her people to enter she’ll make sure their city is the first one destroyed when her dragons are fully grown. They call her bluff and are about to leave the Dothraki horde to add to the Garden of Bones outside the city (hence this episode’s name) when one of the Thirteen, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, steps forward, slices his hand open with a knife and vouches for her.

IV. Battle of the Baratheons

Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon
Personally, I'm more scared of her than him.

Sent by Tyrion, Littlefinger arrives in Renly’s camp and during his meeting with the would-be King, hints that he might be able to help Renly march into King’s Landing unopposed. How Renly responded to this overture we don’t know, but a few minutes later we do see Littlefinger hinting broadly to Queen Margarey that he knows Renly shares his tent not with her but with her brother, Loras. Margaery looks him in the eye and gives him a succinct lesson on marriage, in effect telling him to fuck off.

Littlefinger’s luck with women doesn’t get any better. He delivers Ned’s bones to Cat as a gesture of goodwill from Tyrion, along with an offer to exchange Sansa and Arya for the safe return of Jamie Lannister. (Tyrion, of course, doesn’t actually have Arya but Cat doesn’t know that.) Unfortunately, Lord Petyr can’t resist offering himself to Catlyn, too, who rebuffs him immediately and kicks him out of her tent.

The next day, Stannis and Renly ride out to parlay between their massed armies. Renly is cocky and confident; he has more bannermen and everyone hates Stannis. Stannis is cold and resolute; the Iron Throne rightfully belongs to him and he has Melisandre and her Lord of Light on his side. He warns Renly that he has until morning to surrender and accept Stannis’ claim to the throne but it’s obvious that Renly has no intention of giving up. Melisandre has a warning for him, too. “Look to your sins,” she tells him. “For the night is dark and full of terrors.”

As it turns out, the night isn’t the only thing full of terrors. Stannis orders Davos to smuggle Melisandre into a deserted cove. When they arrive she throws off her robe and he sees that she is, as they say, great with child. She sits down on her robe and immediately goes into labor and while Davos watches, gives birth to Voldemort a monster made of shadows. That scene was incredibly creepy in the book and, I have to say, proved even more so on screen.

The night is full of terrors, indeed.

What do you think? What was that thing Melisandre birthed?

Spoilers note: as before, anything from the first book or TV series is not a spoiler. Please use spoiler tags for anything else using the [*spoiler*] and [/*spoiler*] tags. (Remove the asterisks to make the tags.)

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48/DWF. "I don't entirely approve of some of the things I have done or am or have been. But I'm me. God knows, I'm me." Elizabeth Taylor

44 thoughts on “Recap: Game of Thrones, Episode 2.04, “Garden of Bones””

  1. Another note, I’m rather impressed with how pitch-perfect the guy playing Lancel Lannister has turned out to be. He’s a better actor than some people in more important roles.

    It’s strange how they’re getting those amazing performances out of all the child actors, and yet some adult ones are consistently rather lacklustre. I wish they’d gone with someone less pretty and more charismatic for Jon.


      1. Cersei’s too smart. Maybe Lysa Arryn? Or, crap, is Lysa Arryn more like Barabara Bush? I’ll tentatively nominate Daenerys as Hillary Clinton: crap political marriage, then comes into her own and is a total BAMF.

        And what has been seen  cannot be unseen: Joffrey/Newt similarity in appearance, no?!

        [spoiler] The Robb Stark one has me wanting to yell at the POTUS “Keep Bo with you at all times! [/spoiler]

  2. I’m liking the Renly, Loras and Margaery stuff more than I should, urgh. (Even though I don’t like that the TV Margaery is so… obvious. In the books, her seeming innocence, the way she consistently presents herself as just a bland beautiful girl with impeccable manners, was a big asset for the Tyrells. No way would she have shown off she actually has a brain to someone like Littlefinger.) Also, wasn’t buying it in season 1, but it seems Renly and Loras have actually developed some screen chemistry.

        1. This is true! I know people who know him (Dublin being Dublin) and he apparently is quite sweet in real life. He’s still in college though, so not sure how much other work he’ll be doing along with GoT for a while…

              1. sorry, I edited your comment as despite the spoiler tags, things still show up as is in the activity feed on the homepage. [spoiler] As far as I’ve read, the TV series will go chronologically rather than in book order, so it’s possible that will be in this series. We know the Battle of the Blackwater is Episode 9 in this series though so they may wait a bit.[/spoiler]

    1. I think the person who had Needle was Tolliver, if I remember from the books? I don’t quite recall.

      And I was so fucking worried that Littlefinger was going to pull a “If you want to see your daughters again, you have to sleep with me” move. The way that scene flowed…I was expecting it. UGH.

    2. It wasn’t Tywin who had Needle?  The camera cut away so quickly I just knew it was Tywin and I couldn’t figure out how the hell he got it.

      I also thought the same thing about the use of Talisa.  I don’t know why they’d go that route – it’s confusing to me.

  3. Yay!:)

    My two favourite lines in this episode: “There’s no cure for being a cunt” and “Is he a ham?”

    Creepy shadowbaby is creepy.

    I think the way it was shot was a bit confusing, but I saw Arya’s sword is on the hip of the Lannister soldier who captured her, the one who killed Lommy.

    Also, god knows Joffrey is a total cunt (and our tagline proves it:) ) but I wonder if the writers are going too far in making him unlikeable. A caricature of a cunt, if you will. One of the major themes in the series is that everyone is mixed, everyone is a half-rotten onion (to paraphrase Melisandre); and so far this series Joffrey has been all rotten.

    1. I honestly dont think the writers are going too far with making Joffrey unlikeable. Trying to remember one single redeeming quality or act of his from the books and I genuinely cannot think of a single one! The scene with Ros and the other prostitute was very unsettling, but it did cement his character. You could almost see his mind working as the final part fell into place: I am the king, people are my playthings and I can do whatever I please. And send a loud message to his uncle, screw me over again in public and there will be consequences. Have to tip my hat to Jack Gleeson, I’m not sure I’ve ever so utterly detested a character quite as much!

        1. I suppose I just keep thinking of [spoiler] Joffrey’s adoration of his father (Robert) as his (one, admittedly) redeeming quality in the books – I mean, yes, he tries to have Bran killed because of it, but it gave him a humanity for me that I haven’t seen yet in the series.[/spoiler]

          1. I may need to re-read, but I really did take that as “yay, I’m gonna be King” related smugness.

            There is fuck-all redeeming about Joffrey. This was cemented at the moment of Lady’s murder. (Yes, there was the picking on Arya and her friend, and yes, Cercei helped orchestrate Lady’s death, but… So far as I’m concerned, that was the point of no return fro Joffrey. Man, fuck that guy.)

  4. This episode was really hard for  me to stomach. I’m not the kind of person who can watch most movies given an R rating in the US for violence. So, since I really wanted to watch this series, I do a lot of looking away when I know brutal things are about to happen.

    But this time, I looked away during the rat scene and it didn’t help. I knew it was going to be bad because I’ve read the books and all, and the minute I realized which bit it was, I said “Oh no” and started cringing. I tried to cover my ears and everything. It was incredibly hard to feel okay after that.

    On a more positive note, I never put together in my mind how dangerous of a person Tyrion is. You do not want to be on the wrong side of Tyrion. Sure, he’s not a bad person or anything…he’s just very good at conniving. And of course there’s other people who are more dangerous (Fuck you, Joffrey. FUCK. YOU. That scene was almost as hard to watch as the rat one!) but I think part of what makes him formidable is that people have a tendency to underestimate him.

    1. [spoiler] There is a line in the third book (? maybe fourth) when a Lannister aunt tells Jamie that Tyrion is the only true Lanninster son Tywin had. She meant it both as an insult to Jamie and as sort of a compliment to Tyrion.   [/spoiler]

    2. What makes Tyrion so dangerous is not just his intelligence, but his lack of loyalty. He’s loyal to his family, sort of. He’s loyal to the realm, in a way. Truly, I think he would have been the best king of Westeros, if not for the fact that the realm would never accept the Imp as their king. But he is brilliant, and quick, and conniving, in all the best ways. He and Lord Baelish are two sides of the same coin, but Tyrion thinks on a grander scale than Littlefinger does.

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