Lord Baelish arrives at Renly's camp just before he faces off against Stannis. Daenerys and her company are welcomed into the city of Qarth. Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie find themselves imprisoned at Harrenhal.
Robb attacks a Lannister encampment and afterward meets Lady Talisa Maegyr who treats the wounded in the battlefield. Tyrion puts a stop to King Joffre's mistreatment of Sansa and also blackmails his cousin Lancel, Cersei's lover, into being his spy. Petyr Baelish visits King Renly but Catelyn is not pleased with his presence. He offers to help protect her daughters but a trade for Jaime is the only solution. Catelyn however tries to get Stannis and Renly to bury the hatchet and unite their forces. Davos Seaworth delivers Stannis' witch, Melisandre, to a remote cave where she gives birth. In the desert, one of Daenarys' riders returns with news that the elders of Qarth will receive them. Arya arrives at Harrenhal where one person is killed every day. Lord Tywin arrives unexpectedly and she is soon his cup bearer.Written by
"The King can do as he likes" - The creators of this series shouldn't
When you find two new locations in the opening credits of a Game of Thrones episode, you know it's going to be an important one. And it is, indeed. Major events include the confrontation between the fraternal kings Renly and Stannis, Peter Baelish showing up at Renly's camps to persuade both him and Catelyn Stark, Daenerys and her Khalasar finding an accommodation at last, Arya doing so as well, however, in a less pleasant way, Robb Stark and his army again defeating the Lannister ones, and King Joffrey demonstrating malice that goes way beyond normality.
And let's start with talking about that scene in particular. It involves sexual humiliation and violence that left me awestruck while also questioning its necessity. A scene like that never occurred in the original novels and I believe the series would've also been better off without it. Not only because it's utterly unappealing to watch, but also because I just don't buy Joffrey being that evil. It's not normal and we've already had his cruelty depicted numerous times before, so why include it? If I'd like to see a pornographic actress (she is one, look it up) have her derrière beaten with a belt, there are other movies to watch. Aside from that, Jack Gleeson once again impressed me with his acting qualities.
Later on, there's another very sexually explicit moment in "Garden of Bones". It's a disturbing, puzzling, and jaw-dropping cliffhanger as unexpected as it gets. And while this one was in the source material as well, I still don't like it. At first I reckoned this sentiment to be utter confusion about what just happened and so I could prevent writing an overhastily critical review, I decided to watch episode five right afterwards. Yet, it turns out that I still don't like it and what happened in the next episode was actually the most disappointing moment of the whole series yet – specifics on that in my review for "The Ghost of Harrenhal". I'm aware that quite a lot of people seemed to love that scene, but I've watched it twice and my personal conclusion is that it's a form of fantasy Game of Thrones didn't need at all. I didn't have any problems with White Walkers or dragons, but what happened here took me out of the story completely and just didn't feel right.
Thankfully, the other story parts of this episode were really good and almost made me forget about the aforementioned two. Best of all, the introduction of Qarth: a walled oasis in the middle of the desert, entitled "the greatest city that ever was or will be". The opening of its gates was one of the Game of Thrones' most rememberable moments and revealed a masterpiece of its set designers. The curious folk we're making acquaintance with there is different from everything else in the series, and a sub-plot that hopefully receives its deserved attention in the next couple of episodes. The second new location, Harrenhal, is a far uglier place that serves the sole purpose of capturing, torturing and eventually killing Lannister prisoners. A process that could've been made more entertaining to watch, but I'll stop complaining for once and will say that I enjoyed it a lot. Maisie Williams gives a fantastic turn while a surprise guest voluntarily visits this location.
As always, there's also Peter Dinklage, the imp responsible for keeping up HBO's ratings, who amazes with his enormous acting qualities. Receiving far less praise as she should is Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell, making her character wonderfully exciting to watch while having a conversation with Aidan Gillen's Peter Baelish – a stand-out moment in the episode's screenplay.
That makes for an episode that disappointed me at times, but was also rememberable and enthralling on other occasions. Minor flaws just can't curb my amazement for this series.
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