GoT Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones




We get that Joffrey’s a sadistic monster. We just saw him ordering his Kingsguard to beat Sansa and strip her gown to humiliate her in front of the entire court and punish her for Robb’s recent victory. Hell, that scene was actually handled better than I was fearing – there was no gratuitous nudity at all. (The only reason is probably because Sophie Turner is not eighteen.) And I wasn’t all that bothered that Bronn’s suggestion is to give Joffrey someone (or someones) to fuck because hey, reasonable suggestion coming from him. BUT DID THEY HAVE TO FUCKING SHOW AN ENTIRE 5 MINUTE SCENE OF THIS, COMPLETE WITH FAUX LESBIAN EROTICISM TURNED SADISM? Joffrey says he’s going to send the woman who’s getting beaten to Tyrion to show him what Joffrey’s done to her. They could have so easily shown just that! This was fucking uncomfortable and honest to god terrifying to watch – watching the Tickler torture that guy was nowhere near the same level in terms of pure horror. Yes, it’s clear Joffrey’s the worst person ever and deserves to die. WE ALREADY KNEW THAT. HE CHOPPED OFF NED STARK’S HEAD. Did we really need to see how he’s the worst person ever because he’s now sexually abusing women? No, we did not.

This entire episode was one brutal scene after another, starting with the aftermath of Robb’s battle and ending in Melisandre giving birth to the shadow. (I dislike this happening in the book as well as the TV show, so I won’t gripe about it here.) I will say the opening of the episode felt extremely awkward and out of place compared to what follows. It felt too lighthearted and jovial. They made some interesting changes with regards to Jeyne, not just in regards to her early appearance in the story’s timeline, but in how she seems to be deliberately keeping her background and who she is a mystery. I’m not entirely clear if this Jeyne is the Jeyne Westerling of the book or a different character entirely. From the previews, we get shots of she and Robb beginning to get it on, so the romantic/sexual nature of their relationship seems to be intact.

Sansa, oh my god Sansa, she was absolutely brilliant tonight. And even after getting beaten like that in front of everyone, she’ll still say the words she’s supposed to say and pledge her loyalty (and love *shudder*) to Joffrey. “Lady Stark. You may survive us yet,” Tyrion says as she leaves. That is probably the truest thing he has said all season. Ironically enough, the fact that Joffrey’s torture-porn scene follows immediately after makes me wish this scene had been more fleshed out, just so it didn’t have to happen.

Arya wasn’t put in the spotlight as much as last episode, but she still had some memorable parts. (Granted, I am an devoted Arya lover, so…) But those two scenes where she’s sleeping in the rain, softly whispering to herself, “The Mountain, Ser Ilyn, the Hound, Joffrey, Cersei” and adding names as she goes. I am in love with her storyline and I have an unholy fascination with characters that become stripped to the core like that, which means I am so excited to see it beginning in her. There were some more intriguing changes going on there in terms of conflation. They moved the Tickler’s torturing operation to Harrenhal and instead of slaving away under Weese, Arya’s going to be Tywin’s cupbearer, a role she holds when Roose Bolton’s in charge of Harrenhal. Not sure what this will mean for the rest of the story. (Maybe she’ll get to listen in on Tywin’s plans?)

Catelyn… so I wrote in the last episode that I was planning on paying more attention to Catelyn and how she’s being presented in her role as a mother in the show, which confirmed a lot of things I’d been reading about. More than anything, she’s being presented as “mother’ rather than a powerful noble woman who is able to think strategically and hold political and military opinions. While trading Jaime for Sansa and Arya is a political move, Littlefinger cast in terms of her being a mother and appealing to her desire to have her daughters back. Similarly when Stannis and Melisandre confront Renly, Catelyn’s main purpose is to fill the mother role and remind them that they’re brothers and shouldn’t be fighting against each other. And you know, it’s not bad that she’s a mother and I wouldn’t want that erased. It’s just that she does come off as more one-dimensional now, which is frustrating. Oh, and Petyr Baelish fits the definition of “nice guy” to the letter. Seriously. Margaery continues to be politically savvy and awesome, which I appreciate.

And Dany comes to Qarth. Cool, she and her khalasar won’t starve and die! I found her attempts to cast herself as a ruler worthy of respect and place herself in a powerful bargaining position awkwardly endearing. The only things she’s going off right now are pure pride and stubbornness. She literally has nothing of value besides her dragons and no means of posing any threat whatsoever, but she’ll stand in front of the Thirteen and demand that she and her people are let into the city and swears to destroy them all if they don’t. Right now she’s getting a crash course in what it means to be in charge of a group of people and then negotiate for their well being with others who really couldn’t give a fuck. It did seem odd though that she wouldn’t even consider showing her dragons to the Thirteen.

Same comment I made about Tyrion last episode applies here as well.

Melisandre giving birth to the shadow baby was suitably eerie and creepy, but I have no vested interest in this scene or her ability to do so. I’m honestly curious as to which scene will have induced the majority of people’s WTF reactions – shadow baby scene or Joffrey scene – and if it’ll differ based on whether they’ve read the books or not.

As a general rule, I appreciated the aura of brutality that surrounded everything, simply because the violence around everyone is beginning to or continuing to escalate. Still. That scene. I hate that scene’s existence.

The only thing I want next episode is more Bran. And Arya. But mostly Bran because he wasn’t around this time.


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