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Monday, April 30, 2012

Game of Thrones 2x5 - "The Ghost of Harrenhal"

Utterly stunned by this week's shocking turn of events: There was no nudity. There wasn't, was there? No whores cavorting about, no breasts wantonly on display. Daenerys and her handmaidens kept their knickers on. I didn't think Game of Thrones had it in them. Now, let's not make a habit of it.

When that dark thing full of terrors smoked out of Melisandre's nethers last week, poor Renly was a goner. It didn't waste time. But in typical Game of Thrones fashion, a terrible death happened right after something good was achieved that could have made the world of Westeros a whole lot brighter: Renly and Catelyn reached an accord that, like Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark before them, Renly and Robb would be allies against King's Landing. Renly would have been happy to let Robb remain King in the North as long as he got the Iron Throne. That would have been pretty terrific. Then the smoke monster put the old smoke knife (did it look kind of like Stannis as Brienne claimed?) in Renly's heart. And that was that. RIP Renly Baratheon, would be King, and there goes Baratheon/Stark Alliance II.

Littlefinger talked Margaery and Loras Tyrell into high tailing it back to Highgarden before Stannis arrived to take over Renly's army. Margaery made it perfectly clear she wants to be the Queen of Westeros. She's already a widow of a would-be king, but she can always try, try again.

Brienne is on the run with Catelyn and swore alligence to her, while Catelyn again expressed a proper desire to go home to Winterfell and mother her two youngest kids. If they ever actually make it to Winterfell, there's a strapping young lad named Hodor who might make a match for the Maid of Tarth. (But that's just wishful matchmaking.)

Davos has a tough job trying to be the voice of reason for Stannis, but he did talk him out of bringing Melisandre with them when they attack King's Landing. I was thinking actually whether Stannis would actually try to covert all of Renly's men into worship of the Lord of Light and whether that would go well. Probably not that well.

Tyrion learned of Joffrey and Cercei's crazy plan to catapult thousands of jars of incendiary wildfire into Stannis' fleet when they attack. Bronn probably had the best speech of the episode (as usual) when he tore apart the logistics of that plan, noting that the odds are they'd end up burning King's Landing to the ground in the process. But would that happen before or after Bronn gets to kill Lancel Lannister if anything happened to Tyrion?

Theon met the crew of his new ship, The Sea Bitch, and that went as well as everything else has gone for him since returning home to Pyke. Meanwhile, Bran Stark told Osha of his dreams that "the seas came to Winterfell", effectively foreshadowing the crazy idea Theon thought of.

In Qarth, we saw some dragons and a marriage proposal to Daenerys from Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Daenerys is the most eligible single young hot queen with dragons on any continent.

At the First of the First Men beyond the Wall, we met Quorin Halfhand, who is pretty awesome. A lot of talk about Mance Rayder, the King Beyond The Wall and what to do about him.

That's actually what kind of weighs down this episode. Except for Renly dying, it's a lot of set up for what's going to come, laying down the groundwork for the second half of the season. It's all necessary but not very exciting.

Finally, Arya seems to be doing a great job as Tywin's cupbearer, only occasionally alarming him. "Anyone can be killed." And this is absolutely true, especially after Jaqen H'ghar cuts the deal with Arya that he'll kill three people for her, no more no less. First one down, the Tickler. Maybe Arya should be more selective with the next two.