I often find myself transfixed on the minutiae of such a complex world such as Westeros in Game of Thrones. For instance, they have established that sending out ravens with messages is basically the only way one can communicate between other villages in Westeros, so one would assume that rumors are spread via ravens as well. I found myself wondering just exactly how an interesting piece of information made its way inside the Lannister camp when Episode 2.04: Garden of Bones opens, since I assumed that it was a secret.
The episode starts out innocuous enough, with two men standing watch outside the Lannister camp. I was kind of surprised when one man made a crack about Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) "stabbing Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) for years, and he ain't dead yet." Since Renly was surprised his wife knew this secret, one must wonder how he would react if that news became widespread. At any rate, when two dudes are outside on watch in the middle of the night, it's not a set-up for something good to happen, ever. When one of the men hears something, he ends up finding the vicious wolf of Robb Stark (Richard Madden), as we see the King of the North leading his army to an easy victory.
After the battle, we see Robb become rather smitten by Jeyne Westerling (Oona Chaplin), although it seems to be unrequited. This is a side we have never really seen from Robb Stark, but there was one amazing piece of information that came out of this exchange. Robb admitted to Jeyne that he only wants to overthrow King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson)... but he has no plans to sit on the Iron Throne himself. What the shit? I guess it makes sense, since one of his demands a few episodes back, was to make Winterfell its own sovereign nation... but why overthrow the king when you have no desire to actually replace him?
Oh yeah, speaking of Joffrey, the petulant young king is back and just as pissy as ever. We find him aiming a crossbow at his future wife Sansa (Sophie Turner), convinced that she had something to do with her brother Robb's victories. He has one of his goons start to beat on her, when in comes our favorite Imp Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), swooping in to save the day and deliver a few cunning and hilarious lines in that perfect way he does.
I know Peter Dinklage won an Emmy last year for his portrayal of Tyrion, but can we just give him ALL the Emmy's this year? The man continually finds new ways to impress me each week, injecting a perfect dose of wry wit into each episode. Every week, Tyrion seems to make even bolder decisions than the previous one, and Episode 2.04: Garden of Bones is no different. We see him use Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen) to help broker a deal that would likely make the king and queen very happy and unhappy at the same time, and he even turns on his own cousin, Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon), blackmailing him into being the Imp's own personal spy. This man is a mad genius, but we see that one of his ploys doesn't exactly go as planned (or maybe it does and we just don't know it yet).
There is an exchange between Tyrion and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) where they contemplate whether or not the King just needs to get laid, since that might cure him of being such an impetuous little prick. Joffrey finds The Hound (Rory McCann) outside his chambers, revealing that Uncle Tyrion has given him a belated name day present: two whores. What follows is a very intriguing exchange that proves Joffrey is only turned on by power, and making people do exactly what he says.
We finally revisit the lovely Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), who finally receives a bit of good news. One of her riders returns with word that the city of Qarth will receive her and the khalasar. It is there when we meet Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie) who ostensibly vouches for this "mother of dragons" and granting her party passage into Qarth. Now that they have finally made their way out of the Red Waste, I hope we see more of Daenerys, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) and the rest of this clan for the rest of the season. Honestly, though, I'm more interested in seeing how fast these dragons grow, and how long before the rest of Westeros learns for a fact that not all of the dragons are dead.
There are also some very intriguing developments with young Arya (Maisie Williams) in this episode. For one, there are a few scenes where she is seen reciting names of the royal court at King's Landing, for no apparent reason. It seems her boyish disguise isn't really fooling anyone, though, as Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) reveals her true gender, which could lead to some very interesting things... if he ever discovers what her true name is.
And what would a Game of Thrones episode be without another bombshell dropped at the end. This one is quite a doozy, though, as it involves Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and sorceress Melisandre (Carice van Houten). Stannis asks his trusted right-hand man Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) to return to his smuggling days, asking him to "smuggle" out Melisandre under the cover of darkness. Let's just say that the Stannis Baratheon and his army has its own new secret weapon now, and this War of the Five Kings is seriously heating up in enormously compelling ways.
If you agree, disagree, or just want to talk about this fantastic land of Westeros, you can find me on Twitter @GallagherMW.