Game of Thrones S02E05 Recap & Review: Spoiler and WTF Alert
Game of Thrones S02E05: Ghost of Harrenhal Recap
Welcome back, Dire Wolf fans! Here's the recap for Game of Thrones S02E05, "Ghost of Harrenhal". Harrenhal looks much nicer in the opening sequence than it does in real life. Anyway this recap/review is rife with spoilers, just so you know. Let's get into it.
Renly Baratheon vs Melisandre's Dementor Child
Catelyn Stark and Renly Baratheon are negotiating a treaty, wherein Robb Stark will run the show in the North, but swear loyalty to Renly, because that worked out so well with Ned and the late King Robert. Renly's like, "Yeah, I'll kick Stannis' ass in the morning."
Then Melisandre's dementor-baby creeps in and stabs the shit out of Renly, right in front of everyone like it's no big thing. Brienne of Tarth is like, "O_o". This is a perfectly reasonable reaction because, holy shit, Renly Baratheon is dead, just like that.
Renly's other guards (the second-string?) rush in, presume Brienne was the killer, and attack her. Poor decision. Brienne kills 'em all in badass fashion. Violence begets violence, all in the first five minutes of the episode. Isn't it wonderful?
Brienne and Catelyn flee the scene, and, sure enough, Brienne is gonna get the blame for this. The next morning, Stannis Baratheon's fleet is just offshore, as Loras and Margaery Tyrell mourns Renly's demise. in true ambulance-chaser fashion, Petyr Baelish is there, trying to steer Loras and Margaery to his will. Petyr and Margaery convince Loras to flee, no matter how badly he wants to stab up Stannis' face.
Margaery Tyrell doesn't want to be a queen, she wants to be the queen. Her words, not mine. This is something that Petyr can work with.
Renly's boots are fantastic.
Tyrion and Cersei
Word of Renly's death reaches Kings Landing (those ravens are fast). The reports suggest that Catelyn and/or Brienne of Tarth and/or Stannis killed Renly. So, Team Sexy Witch Religious Fundamentalism has a homicidal dementor, and the Lannisters don't suspect a thing. Even if she got a Tyra-Mail saying "Renly was killed by a phantom devil infant, holy shit, what'll that thing be like when it hits the terrible twos", Cersei wouldn't believe it, since she doesn't have much time for things like zombies and demons.
On a less supernatural note, now the combined Baratheon army can stomp the shit out of the Lannisters, who have already been getting bitch-slapped by Team Stark at every turn. Have the Lannisters even won one battle yet?
So, Tyrion is sending Cersei's daughter Myrcella away. I kinda wish he'd send Joffrey away. Speaking of Joffrey, Cersei says that her little shithead son is personally managing siege preparations. So, a sociopathic adolescent thinks he can defend Kings Landing with no help from the grownups? Well, isn't that special.
Turns out that the Lannisters aren't relying on magic to defend the Iron Throne... they're relying on alchemy. Lancel tells Tyrion that the alchemists (how many freakin' alchemists are there in the city?!) are preparing something called Wildfire, which sounds perfectly safe. I checked craigslist for pyromancers; no results, sadly.
Tyrion ends the meeting in true pimp fashion, by making Lancel repeat his death threat to Bronn, i.e. the guy who will carry out said death threat.
Hard Truths with Stannis and Davos
Stannis Baratheon is not in a sentimental mood, nor does he feel like talking to Davos Seaworth about Melisandre's spectral baby, because, seriously, what the fuck is that thing? Davos is worried that, should Stannis succeed in winning the throne, that the public will see it as a victory for Melisandre and her sexy, demonic foreign ways. He has a valid point: Melisandre is sexy, demonic and foreign.
Stannis tells Davos that Melisandre will stay behind when the fleet sails to Kings Landing. Does anyone really believe this? Just like Han Solo, Davos goes from smuggler to fleet leader.
Davos Seaworth is the Han Solo of Westeros. You heard it here first.
Tyrion: I Ain't No Monkey
Tyrion and Bronn make their way through Kings Landing and see a guy ranting about corruption and incest. He's clearly an HBO subscriber. Tyrion is into it, until the rabble-rouser starts in on the cracks about Tyrion's height. "Twisted demon monkey" is not a nice thing to call a guy. Tyrion seems genuinely hurt that the unwashed masses don't understand that he's trying to keep Joffrey in check.
The Sea Bitch: Off to Sea, Bitch
Theon Greyjoy looks upon his new ship, the Sea Bitch, the same way he looked upon his sister: with desire. The crew of the Sea Bitch treats Theon the same as did his sister: with a total lack of respect. Speaking of Theon's sister, Yara Greyjoy isn't helping. She's only swung by to troll her brother while his crew rows off without him.
Theon's first mate (didn't catch his name: when a character finally name-checks himself, he mumbles) schools him on how to win respect in the Iron Islands: do whatever the hell you want, as long as you win. Theon decides to skip the fishing village attacks and move straight to an attack on Torrhen's Square, a Winterfell stronghold.
Tywin Lannister is holding a council, which amounts to "well, shit, Robb Stark is kicking our asses". He takes out his frustration on his cousin. Arya Stark is serving as Tywin's PA, and is delighted to hear how worried Team Lannister is about her big brother Robb.
Tywin catches Arya out, and gets her to admit to her Northern roots. When pressed about the North's impression of Robb Stark, Arya does what I would do: she starts talking about Dire Wolves. When asked if she believes if Robb is really indestructable, Arya looks Tywin right in the eye and says, "Anyone can be killed". Tywin stares right back. Only one of these two has a history of winning fights, though, and it isn't Twyin.
Arya runs into one of the guys she saved from the burning cage-wagon in S02E03. He's cleaned up a bit, and in Lannister regalia, but still really creepy. The internet tells me his name is Jaqen H'ghar. How do you pronounce "H'ghar"?
Jaqen tells Arya that, in exchange for saving his and his friends' lives, he'll kill any three people she names.
Arya starts the Hit List pretty quickly: The Tickler (the guy who tortures people with the rat) is Client #1.
North of The Wall, Jon Snow and the rangers are trudging through the icy wastes, apparently looking for a guy called Qhorin Halfhand, who is legendary for being able to survive these hideous winters. Samwell is really loving the snow, and really missing Gily. Aawww.
The rangers reach a windy mountain peak, where Jon Snow surveys some awesome lines. If someone would hurry up and invent a helicopter, they could go skiing. Wait, what was that sound? The horn of Halfhand!
Piss on Wildfire and Your Cock Burns Off
Tyrion is examining the Wildfire, which is a green fluid in a jar. He recites a proverb: "Piss on wildfire and your cock burns off". That shit is extremely volatile, and, if you believe the pyromancer, burns through pretty much anything. If you just realized how problematic this is in a battle scenario, you're not alone: Bronn puts it eloquently: "the poor cunts trying to defend the city end up burning it down". Bronn likes the four-letter c-word almost as much as he likes standing there with his arms crossed and looking tough.
We then see just how much Wildfire the pyromancers have created: a metric fuck-ton of the stuff. Bronn says, "This is a shit idea". Personally, I want to see a demonstration: do you have to ignite it, or just expose it to air? It can be stored in glass jars and clay pots, so clearly you have to do something to it to make it burn.
If one of those jars broke, Kings Landing would be obliterated, and the opening sequence would get shorter. Tyrion takes control of the Wildfire-making scheme.
The Lay of the Land
Team Dragon Mama is now chilling in Qarth. Daenerys Targaryen is feeding a baby dragon, and dang, is that thing cute. Look, the little guy is breathing on a chunk of steak to sear it, and then he gobbles it up. So adorable. Don't you just want to squeeze him? Don't squeeze him.
Daenerys, noting that they know nothing of their hosts, sends one of her servants to organize some sexposition.
It's a garden party at Casa Xaro, and Daenerys is rocking a blue dress. This is a big change from bloodstained rags. Meanwhile, the Dothraki are openly trying to steal stuff from the garden. I kind of like their style, but it's not appropriate. Daenerys has to lay down the Khaleesi hand.
Daenerys and Jorah Mormont meet Skeleton David Blaine, who represents the warlocks of Qarth (great name for an emo band). This guy wants them to come hang out at the House of the Undying. Meanwhile, the Chick in the Iron Mask approaches Jorah. He's like, "Who are you?" She's like, "Oh, just a chick in an iron mask, but Daenerys is the Mother of Dragons, and everyone will want a piece of the dragon action."
Brienne of Tarth Joins Team Stark
Brienne of Tarth and Catelyn Stark are in the wild, arguing over what the fuck that dementor thing was. This was one of my favorite moments of the episode, as they're having the exact same conversation as we are: 'That thing looked like Stannis. " "Nuh-uh, it was a black Lost smoke monster."
Catelyn is going to warn Robb about the homicidal ghost baby, and then go home to Winterfell. Brienne just wants to take on Stannis Baratheon and his guards single-handedly, but will settle for serving Catelyn... as long as Catelyn agrees to let her off the leash when it comes to whacking Stannis.
Bran Stark is taking care of business as Winterfell suffers the absence of its men and the encroaching winter. Bran gets word that Torrhen's Square is under attack, and agrees to let Ser Rodrik lead a group of junior-varsity soldiers to the rescue. Wait until they find out that Theon Greyjoy and the Sea Bitches are the attackers. Heh.
Holy crap: Osha the Wilding is played by the same woman who played Ellie in About a Boy. (She also played Tonks in the Harry Potter movies, but I barely remember those, to be honest, except for the Snape scenes.)
SEAL Team Six: Beyond the Wall
Bran dreams of the sea reaching Winterfell, obviously an omen regarding the Iron Islands fleet. Osha is holding out on Bran about the three-eyed raven, and what it could mean. Surely nothing good.
North of the Wall, the rangers spot a fire, indicating scouts for the Wilding army, which is led by a former member of the Night's Watch named Mance. Qhorin Halfhand points out that they can't just rush the Wildings, or they'll be toast. Frozen toast, but toast nonetheless. Halfhand's plan: take a page from the Wilding playbook and send a few rangers to sneak up, kill the scouts, then assassinate Mance. Jon Snow volunteers to join the ranger strike team.
Love and Warships
Xaro Xhoan Daxos sees that Jorah Mormont is in love with Daenerys. While Daenerys tries to stay on-message about finding a home for her Dothraki crew, she eventually comes out and says it: "The Iron Throne is mine, and I will take it." Xaro says he'll bankroll Daenerys' invasion of the Seven Kingdoms, if she'll marry him. Jorah Mormont is circumspect: he knows that rich people don't stay rich by giving more than they get. Then again, he would say that if he were in love with Daenerys and didn't want her to marry Xaro.
Jorah gets as close as he can to admitting his feelings for Daenerys, and offers a Plan B: sail to Westeros in one ship, and then raise an army of locals, rather than rely on randoms from Qarth. Daenerys agrees.
The Hitman of Harrenhal
While Arya is giving snarky swordplay advice, the creepy guy with nineties Brad Pitt hair strikes: the Tickler, who really looks like Klaus Kinski, is dead. Bam. Jaqen may talk funny, but he doesn't fuck around.
One down, two to go. Who else will earn a spot on... the Arya Stark Hit List?
Game of Thrones S02E05 Review
An excellent episode, which stepped up the storytelling pace of the series from the opening scene. The war seems real now, and finally Team Dragon Mama is about to join the fight, after two seasons of wandering in the desert.
Dragons, Wildfire, a combined Baratheon army, the Starks, and the Iron Islands fleet are converging in what will surely be a spectacular Hungry Hungry Hippos-style battle royale. What do you think Tyrion is going to do with all that Wildfire?
I give this episode four phantom demon assassins out of a possible five. Sorry, but the only Dire Wolf of the episode appeared in the background, so a perfect score is impossible. Also, no HBO sex. Hey, I don't make the rules. Actually, yes, I do, but still.
Aside from bringing us some great moments of violence, this episode also serves as a springboard for the second half of the series: now that all the elements have been introduced, they have been sent in their various directions in a collision course.
The Starks will have an advantage in knowing about Melisandre's ghost-stabby-Stannis-love-child, but, so far, only people with "Lannister" on their driver's licenses know about the Wildfire.
Now the Baratheon army is more or less unified, though the newest wild card is Margaery Tyrell, who's now part of one of Petyr Baelish's innumerable schemes.
How long does it take a dragon to grow big enough to attack, and this is strictly hypothetical, a castle?