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Apr 30 2012

Review: Game of Thrones Season 2 – The Ghost Of Harrenhal

TYG breaks down episode 5 of Game of Thrones Season 2, hit the jump to read the review

Mike

This episode starts off with a death, and ends with one; a foreshadow for things to come? I found myself more startled by Renly’s death in the books, but I strongly believe it is because of the way events panned out. In the book you never even hear about the spirit, and when it kills Renly, you are as confused as Brienne and Catylen. If you are wondering why Brienne freaked out and cried more then Ser Loras did, it is because she LOVED Renly. This was not covered as well in the show, but she kissed the floor he walked on. I know that due to time constraints certain sacrifices needed to be made, but the death of Renly had less of an impact. Other then that the biggest let down of this episode was the alteration of the Qarthian robes. Call me a pervert, but Qarth is the best city that ever was or will be for a damn good reason. For those of you not familiar with the Qarthian robes i suggest you look it up, or else read G’s review below this one, I am 100% sure he is going to be more bitter about it then i was.

Since we are talking about Qarth lets start there. Dany is proposed to by Xaxos, which if you ask me was a very unromantic proposal; poor Dany always gets the short end of the stick. First she is sold to barbarians and now the next guy who wants to marry her is really only interested in her dragons. I guess that what it takes to be the Queen of Westeros. Mormont all but confesses his love for Dany, and she stands there blushing like a little school girl. She wants love, and to be treated like a woman, but she has priorities, and Mormont better get that ship and a good captain quick, because the queen of dragons will not wait forever.

Arya has been granted three kills for the three lives she saved a while back. We all know that Arya hates a lot of people, and for some very good reasons too, but who is she going to pick from her lullaby she sings to herself every night? We know that one of the was the tickler, which I feel was kind of a waste, but this leaves two left. Decisions, decisions…. I do not know how the rest of you felt while watching Tywin and Arya talk to each other, but I had a few chills. Arya is one minor slip-up away from being transported back to King’s Landing, and into the hands of Queen Cersei. Even though most people hate the Lannister’s, you sort of feel bad for Tywin, he never wanted to have a war with Robb. This whole mess is all Joffrey’s fault. Just wait till Papa Lannister gets to King’s Landing, a good spanking is in order.

On the topic of the Lannister’s, Tyrion admits that Joffrey is a lost cause. I am sure he knew that before, but now he has come full circle to pretty much despising most of his family. The best part is he is the only sane Lannister in King’s Landing. However, because of his appearance, the low-class citizens blame him for their new found troubles. You really have to feel sorry for him, he is the only one trying to make things right in this corrupt place. Don’t let it bring you down Tyrion…. As much as i hate the Lannister’s, it’s hard not to root for Tyrion because he tries ever so hard.

Once again not much happens North of the Wall. We learn that one blow of the horn means friendlies, two blows of the horn means wildings and three blows of the horn means White Walker’s. I’m sure this information will come in handy soon, so make sure you listen carefully for the sounds of the horn. Other then that, we meet Qorhin Half-Hand, who is taking Jon on his first ranging. It must be pointed out here that his first ranging mission is to kill the King beyond the wall. (Mance Raydor) Things are about to get interesting I can promise you that.

Theon Greyjoy is scheming, I really do not have much to say here in fear of giving too much away. However, he is trying to prove himself worthy of his place as heir of the Iron Islands. Speaking of schemers, I really like what HBO is doing Margarey Tyrell. In the books she came across as a naive girl, but in the show she’s proving that she knows how to take life by the horns. (Baratheon joke) With the helps of the biggest schemer of all Littlefinger, you can expect some fun things in the future for both these characters.

Overall this episode was lightly entertaining, but still just a small stepping stone for what is to come. We are now half way done this season, and I am looking forward to writing the next few reviews. So many good things are going to happen, I am just itching to write about it.

8/10

G:

This episode started off with a bang, and ended with a rather large drop. Melisandre’s Dark Lord of the Sith baby-abomination killed Renly Baratheon while Catelyn Stark and Brienne stood there like a couple of lack-wits. Kingsguard my ass. This scene played out like I expected it in the books and I legitimately felt bad for Renly. The guy had everything, a sexy beard, gay lover a sexy beard(see what I did there) and a whole bunch of dudes willing to die for him. So of course because this is GoT he had to die.. immediately.  I just need to throw this out there because I think it has relevance to everyone watching that has not read all the books as we have.

IF YOU LIKE A CHARACTER AND HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST SHRED OF A GLIMMER OF HOPE THAT THEY WILL SURVIVE AND EVENTUALLY ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS. PUT DOWN THE STRAW AND WALK AWAY FROM THE COCAINE MOUND. If you think I’m kidding ask Ned Stark.

Moving on. Events in that part of Westeros concluded with Catelyn and Brienne running away, how more guilty could you ask yo look. Loras lamented his lost love while, Margarey Tyrell proves that she is ambitious and calculating; Littlefinger obviously continues to plot and scheme.

We then went to King’s Landing where Cersei continues to ignore Tyrion. Even though Tyrion is only trying to do what’s right for his family and the city. Even Tyrion realized that Joffrey is a lost cause. Tyrion continued to squeeze Lancel for information and found out Cersei was producing Wildfire (Napalm) to use against Stannis and his band of merry men. Tyrion requisitions the pyromancers and the Wildfire and begins to see to the defense of King’s Landing himself. Not bad for someone whose four feet tall and only seen combat twice.

No Robb this time around, but we did see that his badassitude is starting to really piss Tywin off. This also tied in nicely to Arya who met up with a now Lannister employed Jaqen who promised her three kills in return for the three lives she saved. Apparently the many-faced god likes balance and such. While the awesomeness of this is not lost on me and having read the books I understand why her choice wasn’t Tywin. The way HBO shot the scene right after her dialogue with Tywin made me a little mad. I mean Tywin was just going on about how to defeat your brother. Some guy comes around and says he will knock off three people of your choosing. How the hell is Tywin not on the short list? Again this didn’t bother me so much in the books, but the way it was shot in the show just really made Arya seem a bit like a moron in my eyes. Which is sad because Arya is hands down in my top five favorite characters. (Yes I expect her to die soon see abovel)

We stopped for a bit on the Iron Islands where Theon meets his crew and Dagmar Cleftjaw his first-mate plants the seed of dirty treachery in his head. I won’t ruin the surprise but that evil twinkle in Theon’s eye means he is up to no good! Someone call up Ramsey Bolton from the minors we have an upstart in need of a spanking. (If you don’t get this joke is ok!)

North of the wall the Night’s Watch reached the Fist of the First Men, and Jon Snow goes off with Qorhin Half-Hand on his first ranging. Not much else occurred here and this part of the episode was just set up for next week where were finally going to see *******.

As for Dany and Qarth she got proposed to by Xaxos who promised her ships for a taste of her sweet sweet dragons. Jorah Mormont also may have revealed a bit too much about his true feelings on Dany. HBO also robbed us of actually seeing Qarthian Garb which for the uninitiated leaves one breast exposed.

Other than that minor omission and the issue I had with Arya’s storyline I liked the episode. I’m really excited for the next few episodes because I know that shit is about to get real!

7.5/10

 

Lorenzo:

As usual I’m late to episode review party, but never mind that.

I want to start by saying that I love the depiction of Harrenhal in the opening credits, and in the series too. The description in the books makes it sound creepy as hell and they sure as hell make the place look creepy as fuck in the opening and the episode itself.

This episode begins with Renly acting like an adult and understanding that his interests are best served by allying with Robb Stark, giving up the North largely in name (as in practice the Starks already effectively ruled the North, which no sane-man from the South would want responsibility for heading into winter) in return for the opportunity to crush the Lannisters in a vice between Renly and Robb’s armies. Showing such good sense in the GoT series should generally be interpreted as a characters death knell, and this is no exception.

Melisandre’s shadow baby of death(TM) makes short work of Renly and I have to say I really felt sorry for him as well. He was someone who would have made a good King. Of course, if I’m right in my larger understanding of what the hell is going on in the GoT series, this meant he had to die ASAP.

Brienne and Catelyn do stank there a bit slack jawed, but I think they can sort of be forgiven in light of the thing that was attacking Renly was a shadow monster. I actually do think they were mostly successful at getting across that Brienne worshipped Renly, though in the books Brienne thinks she had no chance at his affections because she’s not a beautiful woman, seemingly oblivious to the woman part being the bigger issue.

Littlefinger continues to scheme, I have to complain a bit here because I think the show’s portrayal of Littlefinger makes him seem much more clumsy and desperate in his scheming than he comes across in the books, or in season 1 of the show for that matter. Littlefinger is one of the few real chess players in Westeros, up there with Varys and Tyrion as people who see the chessboard rather than simply being moved around by others, but the last couple of episodes have make Littlefinger look like a petty schemer on the order of a Cersei. Stop it.

On the other hand, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the show’s portrayal of Margery quite a bit. You never really get to know her in the books, as you’re always seeing her through others eyes and impressions, but here they’ve made her a an intelligent and decisive woman. She was fond of Renly, if not in love with him as her brother was, but she was well aware of what was going on and willing to accept it, and Renly, and was honest with Renly about her motivations. She easily could have been made to come across as another scheming woman looking to marry into royalty, but here instead she comes across as quite likeable.

Cersei once again makes me want to throw things at the television. I have a tendency to loathe characters in power (or who seek power) purely to play out their own short-sighted pathos and who are too busy acting like petty children to ever stop and look at the big picture. Cersei is a prime example, unwilling to put aside her resentment and vindictiveness towards her brother long enough to even try and comprehend that Tyrion is working his ass off to try and save them from being destroyed.

Tyrion manages to find out about the Pyromancers Guild making large quantities of wildfire from Lancel and proceeds to start taking over the organization of the city’s defence, while all the while the common people curse the Lannister they think looks like a monster (by Westerosi standards) oblivious to the real monsters in the family being Joffrey and to a lesser extent Cersei. It must suck to be working your ass off to save a city that hates you. Plus at this point Tyrion has also had, in turn, to write off the rest of his family in King’s Landing as useless or psychotic. I’m really hoping they show a bit more of how instrumental Tyrion is to the plan to defend King’s Landing next week…I want me some giant chain bitches!

I also enjoyed Ser Davos trying to give some sort of reality check to Stannis. Ser Davos has been as likeable in the show as he is in the books, and it’s really too bad he’s stuck in the service of the least charismatic man in Westeros. Seems a bit of a shame. He manages to convince Stannis to leave Melisandre behind when he attacks King’s Landing…though without spoiling anything, not to the effect he hopes for.

Next we get more of Theon being an idiot. Don’t care. Hate him. Can’t wait for him to meet the Boltons. Moving on.

Finally some Harenhal! Tywin. While on the one hand I sort of agree with G in feeling bad for him as his idiot daughter and psychotic grandson have caused this whole mess, on the other hand do keep in mind that Tywin is an absolute bastard and not in the charming way. This man is (in his own way) as cold and inflexible as Stannis, minus the morals.

More Arya is always good. Enjoyed seeing her delicately dance around the danger of her current position, but I do agree with G that without a scene of her reasoning out why not to ask for Tywin’s life, it does make her seem a bit dim.

Up in the North all we get is the Night’s Watch making it to the Fist of the First Men and Jon’s first Ranging with Qhorin Halfhand. Basically just set up for what is to come, and which I’m dying to see. Do note the thing about the horn blasts, it’s obviously going to matter sooner or later.

Over to Quarth and Dany teaching her dragons the High Valyrian word for dragonfire…you should probably note this for future reference…just saying. I’m kind of torn on Dany’s portrayal in this episode. She comes across as a bit of a lost little girl here, and doesn’t carry herself with the poise that I remember her having already at this point in the books. She’s also, as the others noted, subjected to another incredibly unromantic wedding proposal while Jorah virtually confesses his love for her while trying to convince her not to marry Xaro.

Brienne pledges her service to Catelyn, and I just want to take a second to say that Brienne is awesome and I’m loving her portrayal on the show so far. While Brienne’s character is equally awesome in the books (and only gets better) one thing I really like in the show is that they made her looks only fairly unfeminine given Westerosi standards rather than the less flattering description her looks are given in the books. I think this puts the focus on her not wanting to play a woman’s role in her era more than her choosing this path because she’s “ugly.”

Overall I quite liked this episode and I’m looking forward to things heating up next week.

8.0/10

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Mike