Welcome to your weekly episode review of Game of Thrones Season 2. I’ll be reviewing episode 4, “Garden of Bones”, so if you haven’t seen it stop right here. There will be spoilers.
Get into the wickedness after the jump!
We hadn’t seen too much of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) last week, if any, but we definitely got an eyeful this week. Oh, that doesn’t mean that Joffrey got anymore screen time than anyone else. What he did get, however, was enough to cement your hatred for the blonde spawn of Satan forever.
In keeping with the books, Joffrey is playing with his shiny new crossbow and aiming it at Sansa while he chastises her for Robb Stark winning yet another battle. He’s pissed. He point it at her and has her stripped and damn near worse until Tyrion and crashes the party. Joff is no match for Tyrion but with his little knights he feels like a big guy. Well, Tyrion has Bronn. End of story. Joff eventually relents and lets Sansa go with what little pride she has left.
One of the frustrations with Sansa’s character is how stagnant it is, in the sense that she doesn’t really rebel in many ways…yet. Many say that Sansa has no choice but to be demure, but with so many strong characters who were terrorized–Daenerys Targaryen is a perfect example–by the men in their lives only to fight back and win, Sansa’s weakness is a bit of a letdown. I still have hope that one day something will snap in Sansa (I’m reading A Feast for Crows right now) and she will take down anyone and everyone who has ever hurt her. I won’t get into more than that because I would spoil the books for you as well. Let’s just say, she needs work.
In one of the most unnecessary nude scenes in the show–and this seems to be a recurring problem–Ros (Esmee Bianco) and another prostitute named Daisy are waiting in Joff’s room read to turn him out. Tyrion sent them to see if maybe Joff had sexual desires. Ros undresses Daisy and proceeds to pleasure her orally. And then to add more flagrant nudity, we get a full frontal on the girl (They had bikini waxes in Westeros???) Instead, Joff takes the opportunity to send Tyrion a message by having Ros gradually beat Daisy until she ends up clubbing her. We don’t know if she survived. We don’t think so. The whole time Joff has his crossbow pointed at Ros who is weak enough to beat another woman to death, or damn near close to it.
We keep getting these excuses and explanations that certain characters (Chataya and Alayaya for one) had to be cut out to condense the shows and to provide some sort of continuity/familiarity in the series. After the last few episodes, it is clear that Ros is just there for the nudity and the sexposition and that’s that. There is no character development that could redeem her being in the show unless they went completely away from the books. The scene where she’s going down on Daisy was just there to somehow tantalize and arouse the viewers. Only, it’s a fail because it doesn’t take into consideration people who aren’t attracted to women at all. We know that Joffrey is wicked and cruel and just down right evil. We gathered that when he had Sansa beaten, at the end of his crossbow and stripped forcefully. We don’t need another scene with Ros to prove that.
There were lots of deviations from the book, some that did not make sense at all and others that cheapened the story compared to the book. Condensing and eliminating are not the same thing and I wish the producers would keep that in mind.
We finally got a glimpse of Robb Stark patrolling the battlefield gallantly after another victory over the Lannister host. He looks large, in charge, and dashing. He looks noble and you want Robb to win so badly. He spots some field nurse trying to amputate some guy’s festering leg, and helps the struggling man as she cuts away. In a bizarre exchange, she admonishes Robb–who is normally quick to remind people that he will not tolerate insolence–for what he’s doing by fighting these battles. Robb indicates that he seems unsure about what he is doing any of this fighting for and he is uncertain about what would happen should he win. From ACoK, we know that Robb is under a lot of pressure. We know that he is in a difficult position and sometimes he just wants to go home, but this scene was pointless, especially when he could have had it with Catelyn, his mother. This scene was mainly to create some sort of attraction for the girl on Robb’s part. Not sure what point it served and her insolence in talking to the King in the North was annoying.
Lord Petyr Baelish, also known as Littlefinger, had a tense exchange with Renly and Margaery when he went to their camp for reasons I don’t quite understand, considering in the book he was off to the Vale to woo Lisa Arryn. Instead, in this episode he finds Catelyn to boldly suggest that now they can be together. Naturally, Catelyn almost kills him for suggesting it so he presents her Ned’s bones instead. I wish we had more Catelyn Stark and less unimportant characters (or unnecessary ones, or created ones….) because her journey in this book is a tough one and it leads to a very unforgettable place.
Tyrion has a master plan and he is now using Lancel to get that done. Tyrion keeps winning in these episodes but for how much longer? Keep that in mind as you watch each episode and see if you can spot the mistakes he made. That’s going to be important for future seasons, should they keep with the books in at least some semblance.
We finally get Dany spitting a bit of fire when she heads to Qarth looking for shelter for her people. I liked this scene because her frustration and her bloodline come out in full swing. One of the Thirteen tell her as much. They really are insulting to her and her people and condescending. Thank God for Xhoan Daxos who was noble as ever. Yet, I was displeased because he implied that they thought of him as a savage once upon time too, seeing as how he was from the Summer Isles. I wanted to know where in the books (minus one scene in AFfC thus far–and that guy’s mean to everyone) are the Summer Islanders implied to be savage? Yes, they are viewed as exotic, othered a bit, but they are a normal part of the landscape. Dark skinned characters are not strange. Hell, some of them come from Dorne the way I understood, not just the Summer Islands. I get a icky feeling from race being added to the show and I’m not sure why they are making race an issue when it’s not in the books.
Renly and Stannis finally meet each other to try and discuss terms and to basically threaten each other into giving up. Of course, that does not happen. Melisandre is there making her veiled threats as usual and Catelyn finds herself in a difficult position when Stannis calls her on being on the side opposite of him, even though she insists she is neutral and only there to talk about Lannisters. Renly pokes fun at Stannis and Stannis sulks off telling Renly he’s got a day to think about it before he attacks.
Arya has to endure the cruelty of Ser Gregor Clegane and his men, in addition to seeing them torture innocent smallfolk who have nothing to do with anything. This is where she makes her “hit list”. However, Tywin Lannister comes in just in time to save Gendry from being tortured to death and instantly recognizes her as a girl he can use as a servant. This is problematic! This was a very important part of the book, and they condensed it into something that doesn’t happen. She has to serve someone else because this is part of her relationship with Jaqen H’ghar. What the hell, HBO?
Now, they condensed and eliminated another scene and had Stannis implicitly know that he was going to attack Renly by using Melisandre and her magic. I was disappointed in this because the best part was the mystery in how… I won’t spoil it for you. It just kind of screws certain things up. In any case, Davos being loyal (to a fault sometimes) rows Melisandre out to Renly’s area only to watch her get undressed and show her big, pregnant belly. Davos is absolutely flabbergasted and creeped out by this. She gets down, opens her legs and gives birth (while climaxing?) to a dark, slimy shadow creature from hell. It is an awful sight and very awkward; every bit as awkward as in the books. Davos’ reaction is hilarious to me because he could not get away from her fast enough.
I feel like in trying to attract new people to the franchise, they are letting readers of the books down and that’s not okay. Somehow they need to integrate both demographics and come up with a goal that would work for both.