Game of Thrones certainly embraced the shock and awe factor in this week’s episode as the many forces seeking to overtake the throne started butting heads. The episode began with Robb Stark’s army defeating one of Tywin Lannister’s many battalions. After the battle, he meets a nurse on the field who challenges his expectations and goals for Westeros and the North. There seemed to be some kind of sexual tension here that will probably manifest in future episodes…hopefully.
In King’s Landing, Joffrey’s reign of terror gets more horrifying by the day. He decides to have Sansa tortured and beaten because of Robb’s actions on the battlefield. Tyrion steps in to scold Joffrey for hurting his future queen. He leads her out of the great hall, and asks if she actually wants to be with Joffrey. With a blank look of despair, she responded, “I’m loyal to King Joffrey, my one true love.” I think we all share Tyrion’s sentiments when he realized that she is strong and cunning enough to survive this whole ordeal. To loosen him up, Tyrion decides to have two prostitutes sent to Joffrey’s room, thinking of it as a peace offering. However, Joffrey takes the opportunity to get his rocks off in a completely different way…by having one of them beat the other ruthlessly. Later in the episode, Lancel Lannister paid Tyrion a visit, with an order from Cersei to release Pycelle from prison. Tyrion, being tricksy as ever, called Lancel out on sleeping with Cersei. Lancel immediately went on the defensive saying that Cersei had convinced him to do it. Tyrion claimed to forget all about this indiscretion if Lancel would be loyal to him and report to him regularly on Cersei’s actions.
Meanwhile, Littlefinger decides to pay a visit to Renly Baratheon’s camp with some alterior motives in mind. He tells Renly that he will assist Renly’s capture of the capitol, if Renly can ensure that he will still have a seat of power after the siege. Afterwards, Littlefinger runs into Margaery and questions her about her marriage to Renly and his relationship with her brother. She totally proved herself as queen material, when she neatly deflected his accusations with grace and poise. He then maneuvered his way over to Catelyn’s tent (obviously) and attempted to convince her that the didn’t betray Ned Stark (which he totally did). He convinced her that they not only had Sansa but also Arya at King’s Landing, and that they would both be returned if Jaime was released. As a token of good faith, he returned the remains of Ned’s body to her so that they could be buried in Winterfell.
Finally! The return of the dragon lady! Or as is more appropriate “the mother of dragons.” One of her men rode back from the east saying that he had just been to Qarth, a coastal city and that they would receive her there. Jorah warned her that the outskirts of the city were called the Garden of Bones because of the many people who were abandoned just outside the gates. Despite this warning, they traveled to Qarth and are greeted by “The Thirteen,” the ruling body of the city. Their leader turned Dany away because she refuses to show them the dragons (a smart move on her part). However, one of “The Thirteen” assumed responsibility for her so that they could enter Qarth. I’m already thrilled to see what this city looks like in the next episode because judging from the small view we got, it looks pretty similar to The Grey Havens from Lord of the Rings (essentially, heaven).
During all this drama, Arya is busy being captured and in a perilous lineup of miscreants being interrogated and killed. When Gendry is chosen to be the next to die, the most unlikely person of all saves the day….Tywin! Pretty sure this is the one and only time we’ll be glad to see him. He stopped the interrogations and immediately recognized Arya as a girl. He took pity on her (I think) and made her a member of his service crew. Regardless of all this, the best part of Arya’s bits in this episode was her whispering names to herself of people she wanted to remember, like Cersei and Joffrey. She is going to be a force to be reckoned with when she gets free.
Last but not least, we get to the shocking conclusion of this episode. Stannis and Renly met each other with flags waving to discuss some kind of agreement. Stannis said that he would let Renly be a member of his council if he swore fealty to him. He gave Renly one day to decide if he would give up his hopes of kingship or not. That night, Renly pulled Davos aside, telling him to smuggle Melisandre to shore. She proceeded to get completely naked revealing a huge pregnant belly under her cloak, presumably the product of her and Stannis’ extracurricular activites on that giant Risk board early this season. However, when she sinks to the ground and starts pushing out her child (Davos’ look of horror matched our own), it was not a human but in fact a wafting, curling stream of black smoke. This proves that not only is her witchcraft real, but she just created something very dark and powerful…and that she is potentially the long-lost mother of the smoke monster from Lost. Tune in next week to find out what the hell that thing was and learn more about Dany’s plans for the takeover of King’s Landing.