Game of Thrones Review: “The Ghost of Harrenhal”

We did it folks, an entire episode of Game of Thrones without ANY nudity. Who ever thought that was possible? Instead we had to compensate with some killing, and lo and behold we have our first major character death of the season. Oh George R. R. Martin, you never fail to disappoint.

Spoilery discussions of all that ensued in last night’s episode start below:

We ended last week with a shadow demon coming out of a sorceress’s vagina, and it was clear that Game of Thrones is going places it’s never gone before. The dragons are back, and therefore magic is back, and it’s kind of throwing a wrench into things. Why clash with an army when you can send a vagina shadow demon to kill their leader for you?

And that’s just what happened. The Smoke Monster v2.0 murdered Renly when only Catlyn Stark and Brienne were present. As smoke monsters have a tendency to disappear, the pair of them is now being blamed for his death. This is where magic is starting to seem like cheating. Do we really need complex war strategies and power plays and such when shadows can simply be summoned to kill a potential king in an instant? I think magic has started to lose some of its mystery when it starts crawling out of vaginas, and I think I liked the less fantastical version of the world a bit more.

My favorite giant lady.

I’m not sure why, but Brienne is the most instantly likable character that’s been introduced in a while, and I hope she is around for a while and is able to stick it to Stannis at some point. And yeah, it’s probably good for Lady Stark to have a beefy bodyguard now that she’s a murder suspect and 80% of the land wants the Starks dead.

Winterfell is in trouble, that much is clear. Clever bastard Ian Theon Greyjoy may not have the respect of anyone in his hometown, but he’s cooked up a damn good plan. If I understand correctly, he attacked a nearby village so Winterfell would send its last remaining troops to help. With the men gone, he’s planning to swoop in and take the main city for himself. I hope Bran’s archery skills have improved. Maybe Hodor can flash them and make the Greyjoy army go blind.

Further north, the expeditionary force has finally found some wildlings to hunt down and destroy. I rather liked the short history lesson from Sam about the “First Men” and all that. I got to thinking about how if this series ever ends, a prequel might not be the worst thing ever. Anyway, the Knight’s Watch (or is it Night’s Watch, I still have yet to figure that out), is going to try and assassinate the barbarian king that was once one of them. I bet we’ll have to wait two weeks to see how that goes. No, I don’t watch the previews for next week.

“I’m regretting my life decisions.”

Arya has made a few new friends, one being Tywin Lannister himself, as she serves as his new cupbearer, the other a man she saved from the fire, who has now turned out to be a magic genie assassin. She gets three death wishes, and with her first, she kills the torturer that was putting everyone to death. Now she gets two more right? I really feel like one of them is going to have to be Tywin, but that might be tough for this male version of Rogue. Hopefully someone gets that joke.

What the hell is Tyrion plotting with all that wildfire? He says it’s a stupid idea to use it in battle against Stannis, but why does he order the Pyromancer (best job title ever by the way), to start making it for him instead? I’ve no idea what he’s up to, but I’m just glad we didn’t have to see Shae again this week. But no Joffrey, again? He’s been in 2/5 episodes this year, and he’s the king!

Qarth is proving to be a fascinating city, but I have a feeling Daenerys won’t be there for too much longer. That’s a shame though, as there seem to be a great many mysteries to be found there. The Undying brigade pulling magic tricks from The Prestige, the masked woman who looks like an extra in 300 and knows Ser Jorah. Does he really have a crush on Daenerys? I still can’t tell. I did appreciate his heartfelt point about how he believes that she truly would be a great ruler. I never really stopped and thought about that, but of all the candidates, I think he’s right. I can’t think of another power player that would make for a better ruler (outside of Tyrion of course), provided she didn’t start going nuts with her dragons out of blind vengeance. But she’s not really the type for that. Let’s have the Lannisters kill Stannis, Rob kill the Lannisters, and Daenerys can swoop in to take the throne after he heads back north. There, all problems solved!

“Are you watching closely?”

One final question before we depart. This episode is titled “The Ghost of Harrenhal.” What exactly is that referring to? Harrenhal is the big, dragon burned city where Arya is right. Is the ghost her new genie friend? If so, that’s kind of the best nickname ever. Oh, and Arya totally has a crush on Gendry. Just saying!