Game of Thrones: Garden of Bones Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012
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Game of Thrones manages to make the stakes even higher every week with easy confidence. I genuinely enjoy the feeling of just not knowing what in detail is going to happen from Sunday to Sunday. This show just sticks with you even when an episode is not perfect.
In “Garden of Bones” we open with a very cool Direwolf scare, a seemingly appropriate metaphor for how damn well Robb Stark (Richard Madden) is doing on the battlefield. Although the Stark’s are the crowd favorite to pull out of this impending melee of mass destruction with a crown, I am beginning to wonder about Robb’s overall mettle and if he truly is in the game for the long haul. We meet up with the super-cruel King Joffrey on his throne and demanding Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) to pay penance for Robb’s battlefield win. Nothing major, just shooting crossbows and demanding his knights to beat her down. But in the unending win that is Peter Dinklage as Lord Tyrion, the Notorious I.M.P. shows Joffrey just what power is by humiliating the tween King in front of his entire court. So pissed is Joffrey that he makes two perfectly nice naked hookers that his uncle sent him as a token beat one another. Jack Gleeson as King Joffrey has come an awful long way since he was just the kid in BATMAN BEGINS. His acting is superb and he is the most vicious character on the show.
After riding with Renly (Gethin Anthony) after last week’s episode, Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) shines as the matriarch of the tough women of the GOT world. While at a meeting between Renly and Stannis (Stephen Dillane) she asserts her dominance after the two bark threats at each other over who is the rightful heir. It seems that Cat will not stand for any nonsense that gets in the way of avenging her husband. After a notable absence in Episode 3, Khaleesi Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) returns with very low morale and desperation. Upon meeting with “The Thirteen” at the gates of Qarth and being denied entry in the city (Qarth seems like the city Donald Trump would have created in the GOT world), Khaleesi is frazzled. This insult causes her to assert herself as a fierce contender and upon an agreement, is allowed into the gates of the city. Somehow I feel that when we “lose” a character for a week it can be a little difficult to see upon their return where exactly they are on the chess board.
When we meet up with the now incarcerated and awaiting death Arya (Maisie Williams), we are shown just how much she has gone through since last season. After a reprieve from torture and being revealed as a girl, Arya is now in the involuntary employ of Pop Lannister that is sure to be another wrinkle in the playbook. Finally in a scene that had the interwebs buzzing all week in anticipation, the audience is treated to Stannis’ presumably impregnated dark mistress who delivers what looks like Evil Incarnate. This scene really threw me for a loop because I just did not see it coming. The graphic nature and pure creepiness will have GOT fans talking at the water cooler this week. This WAS NOT the delivery video we all saw in Health class! No this was on par with births like DAWN OF THE DEAD and V. Major wow factor at the end.
I think that this episode was lacking in some ways with the real meat of this chapter being at its bookends. After the opening scene and once Joffrey & Tyrion’s kingdom hijinks ensued, I was left with the feeling that the balance of the scenes were all jostling and posturing for position in order of importance. If not for that ending, my grade would be two less than what it is because it just creeped me out that much. If winter is coming I would really like a blizzard in Episode 5 next week—the midway point for Season 2.
Mania Grade: B
TV Series: Game of Thrones
Episode: Garden of Bones
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey and Kit Harington, Richard Madden
Written By: David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator)
Directed By: David Petrarca