Treachery abounds and darkness creeps over the game of thrones, and, if tonight’s episode is any indication, things are ’bout to get real.
Renly Baratheon is dead, murdered by the creature Melisandre birthed in last week’s episode “Game of Thrones.” It didn’t take long for us to see what she and Stannis Baratheon were up to, and, really, it was a smart move. It avoided a large battle that would have ended in a large number of casualties, and thus would have reduced the number of Renly’s army that would go over to Stannis’ side once the battle was over. This just further shows the lengths at which Stannis is willing to go to become king: He sacrificed his brother.
Speaking of Stannis, his plans to set sail for Kings Landing are coming to fruition in tonight’s episode. “The Ghost of Harrenhal.” But King Joffrey and his army are ready — the court’s alchemists have been told to create wildfire, a concoction that is hot enough to melt steel, and dangerous enough to destroy Kings Landing if something goes awry. When Tyrion learns of this, he takes over command of the alchemists from his sister, Cersei, so he can make sure things don’t go sour for the city.
Tyrion, all season, has been making a name for himself amongst the king’s court. Tyrion is slowly, but surely, becoming a force to be reckoned with. He has a fantastic sense of duty, and is rational across the board. He’s what his family needs right now, and that’s why Tywin, his father, made Tyrion the temporary Hand of the King. Tywin may not love his son, but he sees Tyrion’s worth.
Another character making some great strides is Bran Stark. He’s looking over Winterfell while his brother and mother are participating in the war effort. Despite his age, Bran is a smart lad and is earning the respect of the men he’s commanding. This episode, he sends a sizable force to help the Stark’s bannermen fight off a group of Lannister’s men. Bran didn’t even have to think about the decision, he just made it. And he backed up his decision with sound reason. Bran is definitely a character to keep an eye on, and the young actor, Isaac Hempstead Wright, is doing a fantastic job.
While all of the politicking, backstabbing and plotting goes on south of the Wall, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch continue marching north of the Wall, in search of whatever troubles lie in that land. And, across the sea, Daenerys and her Dothraki followers are being hosted in Qarth, an oasis in the desert. But, on both counts, not all is as it seems. Jon and his group are about to stumble across Mance Rayder, the king of the Wildlings, and have no idea what he has planned. Daenerys has been proposed to by Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a merchant prince in Qarth. His reasoning: She will become instantly wealthy and, thus, have the means to fund a war against the Westeros that could give her the Iron Throne. Jorah Mormont urges her to think things though, and to pave her own way, hinting to her that Daxos likely has something up his sleeve.
Things are also looking up for Arya. Despite being in the belly of the beast, stuck as Tywin Lannister’s cup bearer, she makes a friend in Jaqen H’ghar, who was bound for the Wall before Lannister’s men broke up that travel party. We don’t know much about him yet, but he seems to have some magical abilities as he assassinates a man on Arya’s behalf.
Since I’ve read the books, I know where this is headed, and I’m excited we’ll be able to see this story arc of hers in the show. Without spoiling too much, I will say that Arya is on her way to paving her own road and on her way to learning her own tricks. All which will aide her in her goal to get revenge for her father, and family as a whole.
With so many characters to keep up with, it can be easy to become disconnected from some of them, since we’re not seeing them every week. But, the show’s writers are doing a decent job of keeping people fresh in our minds, even if I am surprised we haven’t seen Jaime in a while seeing as he was such a memorable and recognizable character from season one. At this point in the book series, we’re not seeing much of him. But this is a television show, so I just expected that to be treated a bit differently. Still, when looking at things as a whole, the show is going smoothly and mostly as expected.