Game of Thrones Review: Joffrey Likes to Watch
On last night’s Game of Thrones, the Baratheon brothers came to a head, Lord Tyrion continued his power play against his Queen Regent sister, and little Ari’s true nature was somewhat discovered.
We open at a Lannister camp, where two soldiers who should be standing vigilant guard are instead joking about Renly Baratheon’s love affair with his wife’s brother Loras. While investigating a sound in the darkness and joking somewhere, the laughter stops when Robb Stark’s (Richard Madden) direwolf leaps into action, ripping into one of the guards. The Stark forces run through the camp and in the daylight, we see women helping to clear the battlefield.
One woman is preparing to remove the rotting foot of a Lannister soldier. Robb assists while trying to get to know the woman, who chastises him and explains how these men don’t even want to fight for Joffrey. Somewhat taken with her, he tries to explain he has no claim on the iron throne and wants to avenge his father. He’s also not torturing his prisoners in hopes it will keep the Lannisters from harming his sisters.
Elsewhere, in another Lannister camp, Gendry and Ari are not faring so well. The prospective recruits who survived their camp’s attack and Yoren’s death last week are far from the wall, being tortured by their captors. That is, until Tywin Lannister arrives, pointing out that they’re in need of able bodied servants and putting a stop to the executions. He also points out Ari happens to be a girl in disguise, which she quickly passes off as just a safer means of travel. Tywin appoints her as his new cup bearer.
At King’s Landing, Joffrey has a crossbow pointed at his fiancée Sansa, wanting to punish her for Robb’s attacks. So, he has one of his men beat her viciously and start to tear off her clothes while he watches in amusement because, in case it’s been lost on you to this point, Joffrey is the biggest ass in Westeros. Luckily for Sansa, Lord Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) interrupts, lecturing Joffrey in front of the court on his need to respect Sansa’s honor as his future queen. He covers up the girl and apologizes for his nephew’s behavior. While escorting her out, Tyrion questions Sansa on her feelings for Joffrey, which she unconvincingly says are true, leading Tyrion to note she may be able to survive this just yet.
In counsel with his man Bronn, Tyrion and he come to the conclusion Joffrey just needs to get laid and everything will be better. Not so, for the boy king returns to his chambers to find two whores hired by his uncle. Turns out, Joffrey likes to watch…some pretty sick stuff. He has one woman first beat the other with her hands, then his belt, and finally a wooden club while he threatens their lives with a crossbow. Afterwards, he orders them to go show Tyrion how he left them.
Later, Tyrion receives an order from Cersei (Lena Headey), delivered by a squire who happens to be her new lover. It demands the release of the imprisoned Master Pycelle. Tyrion plays with him at first, noting the late hour, immediacy of the request, and the smell of lavender oil on his person. Tyrion says he’ll refrain from informing Joffrey if the squire continues to keep Cersei’s company but reports back to him. He’ll also release Pycelle, but won’t allow him back on the council.
In the Red Waste, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and her Dothraki refugees find hope in a rider who returns with a new horse and promise of an audience at Qarth with the city’s elders. Jorah explains it’s not known as the most welcoming of places, and the desert outside its gate is called the Garden of Bones. When she arrives, the 13 Elders greet her outside the gates with a full complement of their guards. They ask to see Dany’s dragons, which she refuses, wanting her entourage fed and sheltered first. The Elders are prepared to close the gates on her, even though it means death for the entire party she travels with.
Dany, now called the Mother of Dragons, promises when her children mature, she will bring them back and start her war on Westeros to regain her throne with Qarth, leveling the city. One of the 13, a merchant from the south, invokes a right allowing him to vouch for the travelers, inviting them into the “greatest city ever known.”
Petyr Baelish arrives on his mission for Tyrion to visit Renly Baratheon, who’s not so much a fan of his. Baelish offers to make the assault on King’s Landing slightly more welcomed thanks to their potential alliance. Peter is later escorted back to his tent by Margaery (Natalie Dormer), to whom he notes his interest in her marriage to Renly and the sight of her brother going into his tent while she is on her way back to her own. Margaery, being no fool, explains in plain terms her husband is her king, and her king is her husband, and he need not know more.
Baelish makes his way to Catelyn Stark’s tent, hoping to profess his love. But, she knows he betrayed Ned (Sean Bean) in King’s Landing, and is a little reluctant to trade flirtations with him. She draws a dagger while he offers to trade her daughters for Jaime Lannister, but Catelyn knows Robb will never accept the bargain. So, he offers a token, a large box containing the body of her husband. Catelyn throws him out of her tent.
Catelyn also attends the Baratheon summit later, where Renly and Stannis, accompanied by Melisandre, meet to attempt an agreement. Neither wants to renounce their claim on the iron throne and Renly taunts Stannis about finding religion in his old age. They ride their separate ways, no deal struck, no alliance forged with the Starks. Later, Stannis cryptically asks Davos to smuggle Melisandre ashore, and he reluctantly agrees. Once there, they find a cave, and she disrobes, revealing herself to be fully pregnant. Melisandre squats down, moaning as a black smoke pours out from inside her and starts to take the shape of a fully formed figure standing in front of her. Now, that’s the kind of dirty that just don’t wash clean.
Season 2, Episode 4: “Garden of Bones” (originally aired April 22, 2012)
Game of Thrones airs Sunday night at 9 p.m. on HBO.
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Images courtesy of Paul Schiraldi and Helen Sloan for HBO and IMDbPro