We return to the battlefield in this installment of Game of Thrones. Robb launches a night attack on the Lannister camp to bring slaughter down upon them. When next we see the soldiers on the field of battle we see death and destruction. Robb helps a field nurse tend to a wounded soldier who needs his leg amputated.
Please note: Spoilers ahead.
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While the budget for the show likely does not allow for the massive battle described in the novel, it is nonetheless nice to be reminded that, yes, there is a war. The crunching noise the woman’s saw makes at it cuts through the man’s leg is enough to make even the hardest wince.
Oddly, this action has somehow caught Robb Stark’s eye and he is drawn to the field nurse. The fisherman’s son who lost his foot becomes the topic of conversation as the nurse cites the pointlessness of soldiers fighting a war on behalf of detached lords who are neither aware of the common people or their plight. Many are playing at war both, literally and figuratively.
‘You’re fighting to overthrow a king and you have no plan for afterwards?’
In response to Robb’s surprise attack on the Lannister camp, Joffrey has Sansa humiliated in public at court. Tyrion interrupts this scene of horror and restores some dignity to Sansa with his open defiance of King Joffrey.
To assuage Joffrey’s homicidal tendencies, Tyrion buys his nephew some prostitutes. Of course, this is only further opportunity for Joffrey to be a psychopath. He makes one prostitute beat the other to death with the Baratheon royal scepter. Not to be tamed by sex, Joffrey’s pleasures are in madness and violence.
Petyr pays a visit to Renly to let him know that he still has many friends at court. Further, when Renly’s army finally assaults King’s Landing he could either engage in a siege or find the gates open to him. After Ned Stark’s betrayal, only the most desperate would trust Baelish and Renly knows this.
Back in the desert, Daenerys still wanders and her horde grows smaller. We learn the episode’s namesake comes from the area surrounding the city of Qarth which is filled with bones. Apparently those that are shut out of the city add to this garden.
Harrenhall is as terrifying as described in the books. Arya and Gendry were transported there following the slaughter by the Gold Cloaks in the previous episode. Scenes here range from torture porn to general human depravity.
The reunion between Petyr and Catelyn is fraught with tension because she’s aware of his treachery. He offers her Arya and Sansa’s return, playing her motherly feelings to manipulate her into trusting him in the smallest degree. We know that the Lannisters don’t have Arya but that detail will remain hidden.
In a morbid moment, Petyr presents Catelyn with Ned Stark’s head in a box presumably.
Fire hair whipping in the wind, Melisandre stands between Stannis and Renly on the coast. Catelyn reminds them they are brothers but it seems like battle between the two is inevitable. Stannis has taken a new sigil that is a modification of that of House Baratheon, a stag encircled in a flaming heart symbolizing Stannis’ new faith in the Lord of Light.
Daenerys meets with the 13 who govern Qarth and, before allowing Daenerys into the city, they want to see the dragons.
‘Because I’ve never met you before my opinion is of limited value.’
One of the thirteen offers his protection to Daenerys which allows her into Qarth without showing them her dragons. Likely a wise move since Daenerys promised to lay waste to the city if she were not allowed entry but also doubly nice since she doesn’t yet have to reveal her dragons and thus show how incapable they currently are of combat. What little is shown of Qarth is a vision of an oasis in the desert and recalls what one would imagine Babylon looked like at its height.
Just as Gendry is chosen for torture at Harrenhall, Tywin Lannister arrives and interrupts the process. Gendry is instead put to work as a blacksmith. In an instance of coincidence, Arya is chosen by Tywin to be his cupbearer.
Cersei, who can’t help but sleep with her family members, has been sleeping with Lancel, a Lannister cousin. Tyrion threatens to reveal this to Joffrey in order to control Lancel and keep him from trying to enforce Cersei’s wishes.
‘I’m a knight myself, you know. A champion of light and life.’
Ser Davos brings Melisandre to the beach upon Stannis’ command. Fully pregnant, Melisandre drops her cape and begins to give birth to a shadow on the grotto floor which takes the shape of a human.
All photos courtesy of HBO.com.