Tag Archives: the ghost of harrenhal

game of thrones recapping: the old gods and the new

Previously on Game of Thrones: The Ghost of Harrenhal

Theon continues his season-long quest to distinguish himself from the other brooding, dark-haired  young men of Westeros. Along with his small band of loyal(ish) ironborn, he attacks and captures Winterfell. Ser Rodrik Cassel gets his head unprofessionally chopped off in the process, but Osha, the mysterious wildling slave, seems eager to switch allegiances as she literally jumps into bed with the enemy. It’s all just part of the plan though—she and Hodor (“Hodor, Hodor, Hodor!”) sneak Bran and Rickon away from Winterfell before any more of Theon’s arrogant stupidity can harm the Stark boys.

Up north, Quorin and Jon attempt to wipe out a wildling scouting party. Every wildling is killed except for the pretty red-headed girl Jon attacks. As a child, Jon presumably was taught that it’s not nice to hit or behead girls, but this is beyond the Wall, and Quorin insists that a female wildling is just as worthy of death as a male one—about as close to a feminist argument as you can expect in Westeros. Quorin leaves Jon to kill Ygritte (pronounced kind of like egret), which turns out to be an awful idea. Ygritte escapes and leads Jon on a merry chase before eventually getting caught. Now Jon is stuck with a headstrong (and surprisingly flirtatious) wildling captive, far away from Quorin and the rest of his Night’s Watch brothers.

The Stark girls each have close encounters with danger in this episode. During a brutal King’s Landing riot, Sansa gets pulled away and nearly raped before a heroic Sandor Clegane rescues her (by bashing heads and pulling out guts). Over at Harrenhal, Petyr Littlefinger makes a surprise visit, but if he recognizes Arya, he doesn’t say anything. Arya attempts to steal battle plans from Tywin Lannister, but she is discovered by Amory Lorch, a Lannister soldier. Desperate, Arya tells Jaqen she wants to use her second death on Lorch, and a poison dart finds the soldier mere seconds before Arya’s duplicity is revealed.

In Qarth, Dany prepares to return to Westeros. She demands that the richest men and women of the city give her ships and soldiers because it is her birthright – an argument that turns out to be rather unconvincing. Dany is upset and threatens to eventually take what is hers with fire and blood, but no one in Qarth really seems to take her seriously. Someone must really despise her though because Dany returns home to find her guards murdered and the three dragons taken. Uh oh! Someone just made Dany angry, and they’re about to realize that you really, really won’t like the mother of dragons when she’s angry.


  • Theon’s botched attempt to gracefully detach Ser Rodrik’s head from his body made me appreciate and miss our dearly departed Ned Stark even more. Now there was a guy who knew how to behead someone. (See Season 1, Episode 1.)
  • I’m excited we finally get to meet Ygritte! Jon’s storyline has been dragging a bit this season, and the girl kissed by fire (wildling slang for red-haired) should be just the catalyst to heat up the north. Rose Leslie, last seen carrying dishes as a maid over at Downton Abbey, makes quite an appealing Ygritte, and she almost makes me forget how much I miss listening to Sam ramble on about girls, books, and food.
  • Good for you, people of King’s Landing! Usually just an unhappy cast of extras to pepper the background, the peasants finally make their frustrations apparent. Sure, there’s lots of violence, but it’s about time Joffrey sees what his people really think of him.
  • Is it just me or is Dany getting a bit annoying? I know there’s a growing number of people who are not fans of the khaleesi, but I never thought I would include myself among them. Merchant, the fat man unwilling to reveal his name, brought up several good points—Dany has no experience, no money, no proven support in Westeros, and only a tentative claim to the Iron Throne at best. Maybe she should just settle down for awhile and wait for her dragons to actually become intimidating. Dany, mother of dragons the size of kitchen rats, is not really getting anything done. 
Missing in action: Stannis, Melisandre, Davos, Margaery, Loras, Yara

Body count: Too many to count (this will, in all likelihood, be the norm for the rest of the season) – large numbers of men killed at Winterfell, King’s Landing, and Qarth. Notable deaths include Ser Rodrick Cassel and Irri, Dany’s faithful Dothraki handmaiden.



Tyrion: “You blind, bloody fool! We’ve had vicious kings, and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know that we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king!”

Theon: “It grieves me that we meet as foes.
Rodrik: “It grieves me you’ve less honor than a back alley whore.”

Dany: “Do you understand? I am no ordinary woman. My dreams come true.”

Merchant: “She has a talent for drama, this one.”

Cersei: “One day I pray you love someone. I pray you love her so much when you close your eyes you can see her face. I want that for you. I want you to know what it’s like to love someone, to truly love someone, before I take her from you.”

Ygritte: “You’re brave—stupid, but brave.“


Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones recapping: the ghost of harrenhal

Previously on Game of Thrones: The Garden of Bones

Renly Baratheon is out of the running for the Westeros crown after a shadow creature appears in his tent and kills him. Bummer. In the Game of Thrones, this seems a bit like cheating, but no one has time to complain. Catelyn and Brienne, who were in Renly’s tent when the magical voodoo assassin showed up, are blamed for the king’s death, but they both escape. And while all of Renly’s former bannermen join Stannis, the Tyrell siblings throw their lot in with Petyr and, I assume, Joffrey the Demented Boy King (first of his name).

Across the Narrow Sea, Dany gets one gigantic step closer to finally returning to Westeros. Xaro Xhoan Daxos offers her all the ships, horses, and soldiers she needs to conquer the Seven Kingdoms as long as she marries him. Hooray! The girl queen gets to return and smash the Westeros “boys’ club” to smithereens with her dragons and foreign armies. Oh, just kidding. Dany’s advisor Jorah wants her to reject the offer so that they can just return to Westeros on one dinky ship. This idiotic plan has nothing to do with the fact that Jorah is in love with her. Nothing at all.

Elsewhere, lots of epic action continues to dangle just over the horizon, tempting viewers. Theon abandons his father’s lame order to storm the fishermen villages in favor of a bold move to attack Torren’s Square, a city dangerously close to Winterfell. At King’s Landing, Tyrion discovers that the alchemists have been making thousands of pots of wild fire, a deadly substance capable of burning through wood, steel, and iron. Beyond the Wall, Jon volunteers to join Quorin Halfhand on an expedition to kill off the wildling scouts that lurk beyond the Fist of the First Men.

Meanwhile at Harrenhal, Arya finds an unexpected ally in Jaqen, the man whose life she saved a few episodes back when all of them were first captured. Jaqen now works for the Lannisters, but he has not forgetton what Arya did for him. Citing the religious teachings of the Red God, he claims that only death can pay for life and that he now owes Arya three deaths. Arya is understandably skeptical, but she does propose that if anyone should be killed, it should be the Tickler (famous for his rat/bucket/fire torture techniques). A short time later, the Tickler is found dead in the Harrenhal courtyard, and Arya looks up to find Jaqen smiling at her as he places one finger upon his cheek. Two more to go.


  • I’m not sure if Dany’s former prostitute friend Doreah is, in fact, still a former prostitute. Dany pretty much suggests Doreah should go make the men of Quarth “happy” in exchange for local gossip. Shouldn’t one of the benefits of being part of Dany’s entourage include not having to be a prostitude anymore?
  • I wonder how much CGI money it cost to just make one of Dany’s dragons barbeque his own morsel of food. Hope no one was hoping that her dragons would, you know, actually do anything important this season.
  • In The TudorsNatalie Dormer played Anne Boleyn, a woman intent on marrying the King of England. In Game of Thrones, she plays Margaery Tyrell, a woman also willing to do anything to be queen. This seems like an oddly specific role to get type-casted into. Unfortunately for her, it probably is going to be a bit harder to pretend she’s in love with teenager Joffrey than Jonathan Rhys Meyers (though perhaps easier than pretending to be in love with Renly, who was obviously in love with her brother).
  • Not to question the supreme wisdom of the Red God, but how does death pay for life? The math behind this religious command (+1 for a live saved righted by the -1 of a death) suggests that it is inadvisable to go around saving lives because then you’ll just have to kill someone else to right the universe. Sorry, Red God, I’d rather worship Ned’s weird tree.

Missing in action: Joffrey, Robb, Sansa, Melisandre

Body count: 2 – Renly gets offed by a shadow creature, and the Tickler dies under equally mysterious circumstances at Harrenhal


Petyr: “Do you want to be a queen?”

Margaery: “No. I want to be the queen.”


Lancel: “I swear to you on my life.”

Tyrion: “I don’t care about your life.”

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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