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TV Diary | Game Of Thrones – “Garden Of Bones”

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TV Diary | Game Of Thrones – Episode 2.04 – “Garden Of Bones” – Original Airdate: 4/22/12

Episode Grade: A-

Alright… I have to start things off at the end and ask what in the actual fuck was that whatever that Melisandre birthed at the end of “Garden Of Bones?” I mean, shit… was it the Smoke Monster from Lost or something? Talk about your jarring (and disturbing) images to end an episode. Good God. OK… sorry. Just had to get that out of my system. To my mind, the theme of “Garden Of Bones” was ugliness. Ugliness in the quest for the throne. Ugliness in keeping the throne. Ugliness in the way people deal with one another. “Garden Of Bones” was just… ugly. And also very good. Let’s start with the most ugly [1] and work our way down from there. Not that there’s ever really been one, but there’s absolutely no question anymore – Joffrey NEEDS to die. His latest display of epic douchebaggery includes humiliating Sansa in front of the entire court by making her strip then, after Tyrion steps in to put a stop to it [2] and determines with Bronn that perhaps Joffrey just needs to get laid to vent some of his frustrations, Joffrey decides to make examples of the whores that Tyrion provides him with by making Ros (one of his “gifts”) beat the other whore nearly half to death while he watches. He also threatens Ros with the same beating if she doesn’t proceed and then deliver the “message” to his uncle. It’s clear that Joffrey, to this point, is the closest thing to the embodiment of pure evil on GoT and that whenever the day comes – and it will come – that he’s definitively dealt with, it’ll likely be my favorite point of the series. In other happenings at King’s Landing, Tyrion continues to teach a master class on political chess-playing and his adversary here is his own cousin, Lancel, who’s been sleeping with Cersei on the DL[3]. Tyrion is well aware of this stomach-turning fact [4] and uses it to his advantage in making Lancel his latest stooge, blackmailing him by threatening to reveal his indiscretions to not only Jaime but to Tywin as well [5]. Without question, one of my favorite developments of this new season is the increased importance placed on Tyrion’s character via his prominent position as an antagonist in Joffrey’s court. It’s been incredibly entertaining watching him work and, although he himself has pointed out that he’s not Ned Stark, he’s slid seamlessly into the lead position as the show’s (somewhat) moral center. How he reconciles those morals is sometimes within question – things sometimes get ugly – but they’re never not entertaining. Meanwhile, the ugliness of “Garden Of Bones” also permeates to the battlefield as brothers Stannis and Renly Baratheon have placed themselves into direct conflict with one another as each has plans to lay claim to their deceased brother Robert’s throne. After an unwelcome visit from Littlefinger [6] on behalf of Tyrion [7], Renly meets with his older brother feeling fairly confident in telling Stannis that he – not Stannis – will be the next Baratheon to ascend to the throne. Stannis attempts to strike an accord in which he offers the younger Baratheon a night to reconsider their conflict, saying that if Renly swears loyalty to him, he’ll grant Renly a place on his council and will name him his heir. Renly, unsurprisingly, is not enamored of Stannis’s proposal and roundly rejects it. Methinks we’re losing another Baratheon at some point this season. Renly’s rejection of Stannis’s terms later leads Stannis to confer with Davos and ultimately instruct him to spirit Melisandre away for an unknown purpose – unknown, that is, until she brings Smokey into the world. But we’ve already gone over that, haven’t we? Ugly all around, to be sure, but “Garden Of Bones” was ugly in all the right ways.

[1] Granted, we’ve already mentioned Smoke Monster Baby.
[2] While also attempting to provide Sansa with an out that she refuses to take.
[3] Gross.
[4] “Did Cersei have you knighted before or after she took you into her bed?”
[5] “Your father, when I was taken to be a squire, told me to obey her every command.” “Did he tell you to fuck her?”
[6] “I don’t like you, Lord Baelish. I don’t like your face. I don’t like the words that come oozing out of your mouth.”
[7] Who’s attempting to gather dirt on Renly, while also attempting to broker a deal with Catelyn – more on that in the Miscellany.

Miscellany:
*Seriously… what the FUCK was that smoke thing? I mean, really?
*The reasons for Littlefinger’s appearance at Renly’s camp are twofold: First, being Littlefinger, he’s working an angle for personal gain by trying to gather dirt on Renly’s predilections by hinting to Margaery that he’s well aware that their marriage is not entirely… traditional. He’s also there to act as an emissary for Tyrion, informing Catelyn that the Lannisters are willing to strike a deal – the return of Sansa and Arya in exchange for Jaime. He also morbidly brings a box containing Ned’s bones to her as a show of Tyrion’s good faith. She responds that she’s not going to be taking the deal to Robb, even as Littlefinger responds about the girls, “I fear for their longevity if they remain in the capital.” Tyrion is proving to be quite the political player this season as I’d mentioned earlier, but the fact remains that he’s still surrounded in King’s Landing by vipers like Cersei and Littlefinger. He has his work cut out for him.
*The set piece when Arya and Gendry arrive in King’s Landing after being captured is quite literally breathtaking.
*Also? The method of torture used among prisoners in King’s Landing (of which Arya and Gendry are now two, despite Tywin showing up and taking an interest in Arya) is terrifying – interrogators place rats in a bucket, tie the bucket to the chest of those being interrogated, and heat the bucket so that the rats tear into captives’ chests. Inventive, and quite scary.
*Robb and that nurse on the battlefield are totally gonna meet again, right? Rob also seems to posses much of his father’s principals, forbidding his men to torture Lannister troops for fear of reprisal against Arya and Sansa.
*On the downside, I’m still nowhere near invested in anything going on with Daenerys this season. The dragons are only cool for so long. Eventually, there needs to be some interesting forward movement in the storyline. Being forbidden from entry into Qarth, apparently “the greatest city that ever was or will be” by some annoying dandy, only to then have some other mysterious man vouch for her ain’t really it.
*After supposedly lowbrow fart humor was used on the season premiere of the critically adored Mad Men, it makes its, er… presence known early on in “Garden Of Bones.” And yes, as someone who LOVES a good fart joke, I laughed a hearty laugh. As the brilliant Louis CK said during an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show a few months back, “You don’t have to be smart to laugh at a fart joke, but you have to be stupid not to.”
*”He’s been stabbing Renly Baratheon for years and he ain’t dead.”
*”You’re fighting to overthrow a king and you have no plan for what comes after?”
*”That was a threat. See the difference?”
*”You think dipping his wick will cure what ails him?” “There’s no cure for being a cunt.”
*”Born amongst salt and smoke? Are you a ham?”
*”A man without friends is a man without power.”
*”Did Cersei have you knighted before or after she took you into her bed?”
*”Your father, when I was taken to be a squire, told me to obey her every command.” “Did he tell you to fuck her?”
*”I could swear that I didn’t harm a single hair on his head but, strictly speaking, that would not be true.”
*”A man without friends is a man without power.”
*”Born amongst salt and smoke? Are you a ham?”

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