“Game of Thrones” hasn’t had much magic and mysticism so far, but we got a healthy dose of it in the final couple minutes of tonight’s episode, and it’s to be sure to confuse people as much as it is to shock them.
Stannis Baratheon’s priestess, Melisandre, births a shadowy figure for a reason we’ve yet to see. It’s an intriguing scene because we see she’s got secrets of her own that Stannis perhaps isn’t even privy to, and because this ushers in the world of magic to “Game of Thrones.” And after Stannis’ confrontation with his brother Renly, we can guess Melisandre is up to something sneaky and something no good.
Melisandre’s scene closing up the episode was great, just as catching up with Robb was a good way to kick off season two’s fourth episode, “Garden of Bones.” His surprise attack on some of the Lannister forces reminds us that, yes, there’s a vicious war going on behind all of the diplomacy and dialogue. We also see Robb showing compassion for the wounded Lannister men, which is in contrast to what we see from Joffrey.
Joffrey, wanting to send a message to Robb, attempts to have Sansa beaten before his royal court. He would’ve been successful if Tyrion hadn’t stopped him, rescuing Sansa and embarrassing his evil nephew all in one swoop. However, Joffrey takes out his frustration on two whores, as he forces one to beat the other while he watches. And that was kind of a hard scene to watch, thanks to the solid acting.
Jack Gleeson does extremely well as the vile king, and handles his own with the older actors in the scene. Sure, there wasn’t much speaking coming from anyone except Joffrey, but the emotional tension was quite apparent through the pauses in dialogue and facial expressions. The fright on the whores’ faces and the disgusting excitement on Joffrey’s are sure to leave lasting impressions.
Daenerys gets a break, and has led her people to the city of Qarth, where they find haven from the Dothraki Sea, if only for just a short while. But, she didn’t make the best first impression, so we’ll see how her stay plays out.
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion is awesome once again. He’s flexing his manipulation muscle quite well, first using it on Littlefinger and then on his cousin, Lancel. And Tyrion is no doubt gaining more brownie points with fans of the show: His compassion toward others mirrors Robb’s, and even though Tyrion is a Lannister by name, he’s not entirely one by action. Dinklage does a good job being just villainous enough to save face to his on-screen family.
Speaking of Littlefinger, he makes a trip to visit Catelyn at Renly’s camp, in order to talk her into releasing Jaime Lannister. Littlefinger’s being a lying sack again, telling Catlyn the Lannister’s will exchange Sansa and Arya for Jaime. But, as we know, no one knows where Arya is, let alone if she’s alive.
Meanwhile, Arya escapes torture by Lannister men after she and others destined for the Wall were captured last episode. Her unlikely savior is Tywin Lannister, who doesn’t recognize her but does know she’s posing as a boy. Now, Arya is to become Tywin’s cup bearer, which will prove interesting.
Another solid episode down, and six more episodes to go. Things are moving faster now, but at a reasonable pace, much how the first season was fleshed out. The show’s creative team is doing a good job keeping things interesting, and are doing a great job at whetting our appetites for what’s to come.