Categories
New Show Recap

Recap: Game of Thrones, Episode 2.2, “The Night Lands”

I’m going to try something new and a little different this week: after all if you’re reading the recap I’m going to assume you’ve already seen the episode. So instead of summarising, let’s get speculating… (and fangirling).

On the Kingsroad

Arya is back, bitches! (She has graciously agreed to fight on after losing to McGonagall.) I have missed her.

Gendry: You shouldn’t insult people who are bigger than you.
Arya: Then I wouldn’t get to insult anyone!

And we also get our first look at Jaqen H’ghar (yes I had to check the spelling) AKA the man in the caged cart who constantly refers to himself using the third person. For non-book viewers – are you intrigued by him at all yet?

I love Yoren’s general kick-assedness when he tells the Goldcloaks to eff off, and his unexpected knowledge of anatomy.

People worry so much about their throats they forget about what’s down below.

I also love Arya’s reaction when Gendry reveals he knows her secret (one of them, anyway), and his consternation when she tells him who she really is:

You’re highborn, then, you’re a lady… and I’ve been pissing in front of you and everything!

Arya and Gendry stand beside each other looking apprehensive
We never thought pissing would come between us

But Arya doesn’t seem to have guessed his secret ““ and why would she? Gendry doesn’t know it himself; Ned never told her anything about his suspicions, and she won’t have heard about the murders of Robert’s other bastard children in King’s Landing. If the Goldcloaks do come back for Gendry, will he be safe from the rest of the recruits?

King’s Landing

Speaking of multiple child murders, we’ve also found out that it was Joffrey, not Cersei, who ordered Janos Slynt and the city watch to do it – for which Tyrion has exiled Janos to the Night’s Watch, and replaced him with Bronn. This leaves Cersei in an awkward position. She knows killing the children was a bad idea, and as Tyrion pointed out, runs the real risk of turning the city against her – but she can’t defend herself against the accusation without endangering Joffrey’s position, which she can’t do either, as her position depends on his, their relationship is now strained, and she can’t control him. Lena Headey is consistently awesome for making me feel empathy for Cersei here – she defends Joffrey to Tyrion even though she doesn’t have to, and when she complains that Jaime and Tyrion never took power seriously, I felt for her. Tyrion has only just dipped his toe in to the business of power; she’s been living this life – uterus and all – for nearly two decades. She does go for a low parting blow with Tyrion, though, bringing up their mother’s death.

Mother gone for the sake of you… there’s no bigger joke in the world than that.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Tyrion, either. He found Varys in his bedroom, chatting Shae up, and a lot of fish pie/vagina euphemisms fly about, but underneath Tyrion knows Varys’s presence is a threat ““ Varys can tell Tywin that Tyrion disobeyed him any time he likes. Tyrion threatens Varys in return, but doesn’t have anything very substantial to back it up. I don’t think Varys will tell Tywin just for the sake of it, though: he’ll wait for some reason.

Shae smiles at Varys while Tyrion looks sceptical
Tyrion looks surpisingly dubious about Shae's fish pie

Robb’s peace terms have also arrived at the Small Council meeting, where Cersei, predictably, tears them up. The Small Council also ignore a letter from Commander Mormont in the Night’s Watch, telling them about the zombie attack and the wildling army, and requesting more men. Tyrion, the only one who’s actually been on the Wall, believes them, but gets no support from anyone else.

And elsewhere in the city, Ros is finding it difficult to do her job after the baby was murdered in the brothel last week. Littlefinger seems deeply sympathetic – soothing a disgruntled customer with another, freshly-wiped, woman, and bemoaning the methods used:

Sometimes those with the most power have the least grace.

But his sympathy is running short:

I hate bad investments, really I do, they haunt me.

Ros cries while Littlefinger tries to comfort her
I also hate it when my investments cry

and Ros has to get back to work or… well. Let’s just say her work is preferable. I like Ros, but I’m still wondering what part she’s going to play in the Game of Thrones. Will she be loyal to Littlefinger, or a free agent, and if the latter, what will her agenda be? (Given that she’s not a character in the books, this genuinely is an open question. Seriously).

Dragonstone

Davos manages to draft his old pirate friend Salladhor Saan and his thirty ships into Stannis’s fleet – not for honour or for the Iron Throne, but for gold and the chance to have sex with Cersei. Lovely. At least Salladhor manages to say what we’ve all been thinking; Davos’s loyalty to Stannis is a leetle bit difficult to fathom,

A man chops off your fingers and you fall in love with him!

and neither of them believe in Melisandre’s god:

The one true god is what’s between a woman’s legs.

Close up of Salladhor Saan
Salladhor Saan, the alternative atheist

Davos’s son Matthos, on the other hand, it is a serious devoté of Melisandre’s Lord of Light – Melisandre even singles him out for whispered advice about the best way to die, not that it’s currently useful. Is it a prediction? A warning? What did you think of this whole Melisandre/Stannis table sex thing? It’s dramatic, yes, but surely a little uncomfortable. Also, Stannis – ew. I think another review put it best:  “[it] made this viewer feel like they were inadvertently watching their straight-laced uncle get it on with the next door neighbour’s glamorous second wife after a sherry too far.” Also: how would a baby in nine months, even if it is a boy, help Stannis now?

Melisandre leans in as if to kiss Stannis
Also, anyone know where Melisandre gets her hair done?

The Red Waste

Nothing much happened here, except we lost Rakharo – killed by one or other of Drogo’s former bloodriders. I’ll miss that man and his eyeliner – I also think it’s odd that the writers killed him off when the other two of Dany’s bloodriders who were sent were utter non-characters. Anyway. Linguist nerds can also read an in-depth translation of Irri’s mourning here.

Beyond the Wall

Can I just add Dolorous Edd to the roll call of characters I love this week? Because I do, mainly for this line:

If the gods wanted us to have any dignity they wouldn’t make us fart when we die.

And I already loved Sam, but I love him more for his defence of Craster’s pregnant daughter-wife Gilly, probably the first person ever to call him brave:

Jon: Are you in such a hurry to lose a hand? You can’t steal her!
Sam: I can’t steal her; she’s a person, not a goat.

Wait, women are people? Radical, Sam, radical. He also is game to deliver Gilly’s baby, because he’s read books about it. Bless. Gilly wants to escape because she thinks her baby is a boy, and she clearly knows what Jon wondered last week: what happens to Craster’s sons? And when he follows Craster that night with a crying bundle, he finds out: the baby boys are given to the Others. He also gets a crack on the head from Craster for his trouble… So do the Others eat the babies, or make them into zombie babies?

the direwolf Ghost comes up to Gilly
Also, Ghost is huuuge now.

The Iron Islands

As the credits revealed, we got introduced to a new place in Westeros this week: the Iron Islands. Which Theon remembers as being bigger, as he hasn’t seen them since he was nine. Grown-up Theon is just getting more assholey, isn’t he? From telling the captain’s daughter to smile with her mouth closed, abandoning her to her father’s punishment for sleeping with him, and then patronising (and groping! As if we could forget the groping!) a woman who turns out to be…. his sister Yara, his father’s preferred heir to the Iron Islands. (I’ll be honest, I had to mute that scene. It was too vicariously embarrassing. I’m still cringing, and I knew it was coming.) And here was Theon thinking his father would welcome him back with open arms. Did anyone feel sorry for him? Even a little bit? And who is he more loyal to, Robb or his father: will he pay the iron price, or take the gold?

Balon Greyjoy: No-one gives me a crown, I will take my crown. I will pay the iron price.

Close-up of Balon and Yara
Ultimate sibling pwn

 

Talk to me, GoT fans. Ooo, and it was announced yesterday that Game of Thrones has been renewed for a third season – as if there was any doubt.

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

Screencaps courtesy of homeofthenutty.com

43 replies on “Recap: Game of Thrones, Episode 2.2, “The Night Lands””

I am loving this new season so far.  The only quibble I have is the casting for Asha Greyjoy.  She just doesn’t do it for me.

I loved Book!Davos and I think he’s been brought to the screen very well.  He’s a poor man’s Ned Stark, noble and honest (in his way) to the point of death.  I wonder if there’s a point that neither Robert nor Stannis listen to their wisest counselors?

 

Oooh, I really like the recapping each plotline in its entirety, then moving on, rather than doing all of the jumping around!

Also, I realized during my rewatch last night that Salladhor Saan is played by the same actor who plated the gondola operator whose daughter gets taken into the “school” in Doctor Who’s The Vampires of Venice! Which kind of makes sense, what with the whole boats + vaguely medieval thing. (Is anyone else excited by this? I was really excited by this!)

And, finally, I kind of want to do nasty things to Jaqen H’ghar, which was not something I thought I wanted, based on the books. It is the voice, I think?

I need more Lorcas/Renly action, please. Next episode, perhaps?

I am such an Arya/Gendry shipper. It’s terrible. And yes, I have read the books. But still!

They could have made Janos a bit more dislikable as a person prior to killing the children. He was just kind of a guy who obeyed orders and then BOOM baby-killer this season, whereas in the books he was utterly despicable every time he opened his mouth.

Here is Littlefinger with a kitten. You’re welcome.

Littlefinger…and kitten…WHAT. I am entranced.

I STILL can’t believe I didn’t pick up on the Loras/Renly relationship in the books. I want to see more of them, too (And Brienne!), but I’m not happy knowing what comes soon after we see them again. :(

(Spoilery tags for mention of what happens next)

[spoiler] Why couldn’t STANNIS have been the one who was killed and RENLY been the one that survived? Sigh…[/spoiler]

More spoilery tags for further discussion of what’s soon to come:

[spoiler]I’m really curious to see how they do the Renly/Loras/Margaery stuff. Like, are they going to show stuff between Renly and Margaery? (And, as relevant to books 3 and 4, do we find out if she was ACTUALLY a virgin?) What’s Loras going to think of the marriage? What does RENLY think about it? I’m so excited to see it!

…And sad because it’s all going to fall apart. WHY, GRRM, WHY?[/spoiler]

[spoiler] I’m hoping this spoiler tag works… They’re using the actress who was Ann Boleyn on Tudors for Margaery, right? So that should be an excellent dynamic to watch, since she (the actress, that is) is basically sex personified. Actually, she’s not even close to the Margaery I pictured. I saw her as much more…innocent, but deceptively so. Pretty, but cold steel underneath the flowery facade. Ah, well. [/spoiler]

I’m with you on the Arya/Gendry thing! That’s probably my favorite friendship in all the books, since Arya and Jon Snow don’t get to hang out anymore, and I decided at some point reading the books that Gendry is hot, so I couldn’t help it.

Love the recap!  I have questions about stuff, though.  Why is Asha now Yara?  (It makes me think of Yara Sophia from RuPaul’s Drag Race.).  Also, I was kind of bummed that they wrote out Stannis’s daughter, because I kind of wanted to see what they would make grayscale look like.  Also, I love Sam!

That is all. :)

Thank you:) I also love Sam:)

Yes, I was having a debate elsewhere about this: watching this episode it was pretty clear to me that they’d written Shireen out – but other people were saying they saw her beside him in the bonfire scenes last episode. I was pretty sure that was supposed to be Selyse, though.

I think both of those changes are symptoms of the “OMG so many characters to keep track of!” problem I’ve heard non-book-readers are having. They’ve written out minor characters all over the place, which I actually find pretty interesting: it leads to some mystery even having read the book twice, because I don’t know when they’re going to tweak something.

My only concern is that they WON’T make a real plot with her; so far, she’s been used to help illuminate some characters we wouldn’t have seen much of otherwise (or to help flesh them out for more later!). She is interesting in her own right, but I wonder if she’ll get her own plotline for real.

I almost don’t want to see her get a true plotline of her own, because even in this episode I resented the fact the time spent with her could have been used to go a little slower with some of the other scenes. I see her less as a character than as a stage and a thread to bind things together through the plot. I like that we got to see her transition from Winterfell to King’s Landing, which was so different from the Stark’s. And it’s neat how she ties together Theon, Tyrion, and Littlefinger and they don’t even know it, and she doesn’t care because she’s obviously successful and has no interest in their games.

(Ooo wouldn’t it be fun if Tyrion paid a visit to Littlefinger’s brothel and recognized her?)

The direwolves look so good now. SO GOOD. As in, as little as they showed them the last season, they looked so lame I was quite worried. Another thing that looks good is Arya’s hair. So much better than a wig!

As for Jaqen, wasn’t he supposed to sport some fierce-coloured hair? He looked sort of …very normal [in my context, normal-looking means Northern European, and yep, looked him up, East German] and handsome, even. I don’t remember associating either of those words with the character in the books. Curious to see where it goes.

Ghost looks awesome. It was amazing.

Jaqen’s hair is two-coloured (pic below – it’s white-blonde and dark red-brown rather than Melisandre-stylee) but it’s pretty subtle, much more so than I imagined from the books. He wasn’t how I pictured him but I like that he looks so unremarkable in the context of Westeros.

This is mostly for the book readers–what did you think of the Melisandre/Stannis sex scene? I liked that their sex was implied in the books rather than explicit; I think it’s more true to the character of Stannis that we don’t see it. Also, the scene made Melisandre seem less….powerful? than she seems in the books. If we are going to see them have sex, I want her to be more obviously in charge. The point of their relationship is that she’s calling the shots. Yeah, she seduced him, but she seemed surprised when he threw her down on the table. Also, you know Melisandre’s an on-top girl.

I liked the Arya/Gendry scene, but in the books I had pictured him being a little more earnest in his foot-in-mouth-ness after he found out her lineage! I liked the teasing, it just wasn’t what I had expected. Arya is the best, though.

The Stannis/Melisandre scene was a little…odd, for sure. The way it felt to me:

“Fuck me!”

“WHAT? I’ve got a wife.”

“It’s for the Red God!”

“No!”

“I’ll give you a son!”

“A son? MY DICK IS ROCK HARD.”

Seriously.

I’m glad I’m not the only one weirded out by this, and I thought it was an episode-dampener too. That and the interminable scene with Theon and the captain’s daughter. Usually GoT’s sex scenes don’t bother me, but I thought both of those were really unpleasant.

Leave a Reply