This week’s episode of Game of Thrones was dark. I really need to stop watching new episodes while I eat my breakfast, because gruesome amputations, torture and weird demon births don’t go down well with cereal.
Watching Joffrey humiliate Sansa was awful but expected. The scene later with the prostitutes however was definitely not expected, and I found it incredibly difficult to watch. I had to turn the volume down. I felt physically sick. Game of Thrones is often prone to dramatic displays of violence, but this scene wasn’t just gratuitous gore; in fact, there wasn’t a drop of blood in sight. We were given a terrible glimpse into the inner workings of Joffrey’s mind, and I didn’t like what I saw one bit.
We found Arya and Gendry at Harrenhal, scenes that I was dreading after the torture descriptions provided in A Clash of Kings. Harrenhal itself was visually fantastic, ten times better than how I had imagined it, but I’m not going to lie to you, I partially skipped the torture scenes. I switched windows and reblogged happy gifs on Tumblr. I can’t stand torture scenes in films or television shows; I can’t even listen to the sounds. What I did see of the torture was very twisted and 1984-esque, and I did also manage to tune back in just as a boy’s decapitated head was being squished onto a spike, which was just lovely. Arya has transformed so quickly from the product of quite a luxurious and carefree life at Winterfell to a girl with the attitude of someone who’s experienced a lifetime of suffering, as demonstrated by her reply to Hot Pie’s question “What’s that smell?” “Dead people.” I’d urge her to hang in there but she doesn’t need any urging. That Stark is a survivor.
Harrenhal was so awful that it actually managed to make me happy to see Tywin Lannister, which really is an incredibly feat. Next to the men at Harrenhal, Tywin was like … Santa. I wanted to cheer when I saw him riding in. That’s not really an appropriate reaction to any Lannister, except maybe Tyrion. While we’re on the subject of Tyrion, in this episode he began to notice that Sansa’s apparent devotion to Joffrey isn’t as mindless as he thought, telling her “you may survive us all”. I hope she does. In other lady news, Daenerys actually did something this week! Daenerys is my absolute favourite character, so it made me happy to see her finally taking action in a way that might just save her and her dwindling band of followers. I wasn’t a fan of her negotiating tactics, though; “We’ll all die if you don’t help us! We’re completely at your mercy! I’m going to be feisty and aggressive anyway!” That may not be a direct quote.
“Garden of Bones” left me feeling physically ill a number of times, but it was so rewarding in terms of the amount of actual stuff going on that I can possibly forgive it, as long as I remember which parts to skip when I get this season on DVD. Plot aside, it won me over with this one simple line from Renly to Melisandre and Stannis: ”Born amidst salt and smoke? Is he a ham?”
You can watch the promo for next week’s episode, “The Ghost of Harrenhal”, below. Let us know what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments!