Game of Thrones: Garden of Bones   First Watch 
April 17, 2015 10:35 AM - Season 2, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Baelish arrives at Renly's camp just before he faces off against Stannis. Catelyn tries to convince the Baratheon brothers to abandon their quarrel and unite against the Lannisters. Sansa is abused by Joffrey in revenge for her brother's victories. Tyrion intervenes. Joffrey retaliates. Daenerys and her company arrive at the city of Qarth. Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie find themselves imprisoned at Harrenhal.

Melisandre: "You should kneel before your brother. He's the Lord's chosen. Born amidst salt and smoke."
Renly: "'Born amidst salt and smoke.' Is he a ham?"

Longer Summary (contains spoilers)
- In The Riverlands: Oxcross: the Northern army destroys an encamped Lannister army during the night. The next day Robb surveys the battlefield while his bannerman, Lord Roose Bolton of the Dreadfort, argues they should kill the Lannister prisoners. The honorable Robb disagrees. He sees a healer (Talisa of Volantis) treating a wounded soldier and lends a hand as she gruesomely saws off the man's leg. "What’s the opposite of “meet-cute”? This." Talisa lectures Robb about the war. Robb admits he doesn't want the Iron Throne, just revenge on Joffrey. Like father like son: a similar mistake by Ned Stark made Robert Baratheon King of Westeros.
- In The Riverlands: Harrenhall: Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie are taken by Ser Amory Lorch's group of soldiers to Harrenhal. Ser Gregor Clegane is the Lannister commander, and a Lannister soldier named 'The Tickler' is torturing prisoners. Lord Tywin arrives, having retreated to Harrenhal to regroup after their loss at the Battle of the Whispering Wood. Tywin orders an immediate halt to the tortures. Gendry is put to work as a blacksmith. Tywin instantly notices that "Arry" is really a girl dressed up in boy's clothing. He's impressed with her intelligence, and takes her on as a cupbearer while his army stays at the castle.
- In King's Landing: King Joffrey is furious over Robb's victories. In the throne room, he threatens to shoot Sansa with a crossbow in front of the assembled nobles of the court. Sansa continues to pledge her loyalty. Joffrey reluctantly concedes that they need her alive, but commands Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard to beat and strip her as punishment. The court watches in mute horror. No one intervenes until Tyrion enters the throne room and stops Trant. He orders someone to cover Sansa's nudity. Sandor wraps her in his cloak. In a fury, Tyrion publicly berates and embarrasses Joffrey for the way he has treated his future wife and queen. Tyrion then comforts Sansa and escorts her out of the hall. He asks whether she wants to end her engagement to Joffrey and she declines, reiterating her loyalty.
Bronn suggests to Tyrion that Joffrey needs to get laid. Tyrion arranges for two prostitutes, Ros and Daisy, to entertain Joffrey. Instead of trying to have sex, Joffrey forces Ros to beat Daisy unconscious and dumps her body in Tyrion's chambers as a warning.
Lancel visits Tyrion late at night with orders from Cersei to release Grand Maester Pycelle from the dungeon. Tyrion figures out that Lancel is sleeping with Cersei, and blackmails him into reporting on Cersei. Tyrion agrees to release Pycelle, but won't allow him back on the small council.
- In The Stormlands: Littlefinger arrives and declares his allegiance. He meets with a furious Catelyn and tries to kindle a romance with her. When that fails, he presents Tyrion's offer of a prisoner exchange: Jaime for Sansa and Arya. Catelyn refuses. Baelish gives her Ned's remains. Grief-stricken, Catelyn throws him out of the tent. King Stannis arrives with Melisandre and Ser Davos Seaworth. Stannis asks Renly to relinquish his claim and serve his older brother. Renly refuses. Catelyn criticizes them both for acting like sulking children reminding them that they have a common enemy in the Lannisters. They both assert their right to the Iron Throne. Stannis leaves, determined to face Renly on the battlefield tomorrow morning. As she leaves Melisandre warns, "Look to your sins Lord Renly, for the night is dark and full of terrors."
During the night, Ser Davos rows Melisandre to some caves located near Renly's camp. Melisandre takes off her cloak revealing that she both naked and pregnant. She "gives birth" to The Smoke Monster from Lost, as Ser Davos freaks out. EW called it a "bouncing baby WTF."
- Across the Narrow Sea: Qarth: Daenerys travels across the Red Waste (colloquially known as the Garden of Bones) to Qarth. Upon their arrival, The Thirteen (Qarth's leaders: wealthy nobles and merchant princes) emerge to greet her and request that the "Mother of Dragons" present her children. Daenerys insists that her people be fed and sheltered before she reveals her dragons. The Thirteen turn Danaerys away, abandoning them to the Garden of Bones. One of the Thirteen, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, takes a blood oath to vouch for Daenerys and her group, and she and her Khalasar enter the city.

Ser Meryn Trant: "No one threatens His Grace in the presence of the Kingsguard!"
Tyrion: "I am not threatening the King, ser, I am educating my nephew. Bronn, the next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him.
That was a threat. See the difference?"

Introduced in this episode
* Roose Bolton, the Lord of the Dreadfort and the head of House Bolton.
* Talisa Maegyr, a healer on the battlefields of the Westerlands.
* Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a powerful merchant in Qarth.
* Pyat Pree, a warlock and member of the Thirteen (the ruling council of the city-state of Qarth)
* The Spice King, member of the Thirteen
* The Tickler, soldier serving under Ser Gregor Clegane who specializes in interrogation and torture techniques.
* Qarth, a great trading city located on the southern coast of Essos, on the straits linking the Summer Sea to the Jade Sea. Ships from Westeros, the Free Cities, the Summer Islands, and Slaver's Bay all pass through the Straits of Qarth on their way to the great trading cities of the Jade Sea, such as Yi Ti and Asshai. Qarth is defended by immense stone walls and gates. The Red Waste separates Qarth from land-based travel with other parts of Essos, though it is a major port that conducts brisk maritime trade with major cities from Westeros to Asshai. (Added to credits)
* Harrenhall, the largest and most ill-omened castle in all of Westeros. Located on the northern shore of the Gods Eye lake at the heart of the Riverlands, south of the River Trident and northwest of King's Landing. Due to its central location in contested borderlands, Harrenhal has fallen to hostile siege more times than any other major castle in Westeros. Aegon the Conqueror infamously burned and half-ruined the castle not long after it was finished using his dragon Balerion. It has never been rebuilt. (Added to credits)

Arya [repeating the names on her "kill list" as she goes to sleep]:
"Joffrey. Cersei. Ilyn Payne. The Hound.
Joffrey. Cersei. Ilyn Payne. The Hound.
Joffrey. Cersei. Ilyn Payne. The Hound. Polliver. the Mountain."

Notes from here and here.
* Arya recites her death list in this episode. (Suggested to her by Yoren in the previous episode.)
* Many critics considered this the most violent and gruesome episode to date. Writing for The Guardian, Sarah Hughes summed it up: "This was an exceptionally violent episode. It featured: one death by Direwolf; one graphic foot amputation; two separate uses of a crossbow as a weapon of intimidation; the continued humiliation of Sansa, stripped and beaten on Joffrey's orders; the brutal whipping of a whore again at Joffrey's command; two torture scenes (one of which was interrupted); a couple of backhanders; several dead bodies and one (slightly camp) Qartheen blood oath."
* The episode won a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Art Direction in a Single-Camera Series.
* When asked about Qarth, Ser Jorah tells Daenerys that "The desert around their walls is called the garden of bones. Every time the Qartheen shut their gates on a traveler, the garden grows."
* Viewers didn't expect to see (or didn't quite understand) what the Shadow-monster that Melisandre gave birth to was. They made quite an uproar at the end of the episode on Twitter when this episode first aired, with various disparaging comments about its horrifying birthing process. Actress Carice van Houten sarcastically responded on Twitter: "Thanks for all your lovely comments on 'the baby'."
* When Joffrey orders Ros to beat Daisy with his cane, Bianco was actually hitting a pillow off-screen, so it would genuinely look like she was hitting with all of her force (as opposed to having both her and Daisy in the camera frame, and just pretending to hit her). Bianco hit the cane against the pillow so hard that the antlers on the stag's head at the top of the cane kept snapping off, so crew members had to keep gluing the antlers back together.
* Masie Dee, the porn star who played the abused prostitute Daisy, described her experience with Game of Thrones on her blog, writing that her character was unnamed during the shooting of her first scene (her trailer was labeled "Nubile Whore") but graduated to having a name later. The scene of her abuse at Joffrey's orders took a day to shoot, using alternately a real leather belt and a soft prop to depict Daisy being whipped by Ros.
posted by zarq (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I just now realized that the Bouncing Baby WTF scene depicts actual magic in the GoT universe, and it's the first example we see for sure (the poison Melisandre swallowed in S02E01 could have been counter-acted somehow, if she knew of it ahead of time).

Joff is really a little monster, and has no redeeming qualities. I realize he feels powerless in the face of Robb's victories on the field, but he comes off as a cruel child who tortures small creatures, for no reason beyond showing his ability to torture small things. At least the Boltons torture people in a misguided goal of obtaining information ("In my family we say: A naked man has few secrets; a flayed man, none").
posted by filthy light thief at 11:03 AM on April 17, 2015

Joffrey's just Cersei without the brakes that being a woman and being raised by Tywin installed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:03 PM on April 17, 2015

I just now realized that the Bouncing Baby WTF scene depicts actual magic in the GoT universe, and it's the first example we see for sure

Dany emerging unscathed from a night in the bonfire with three dragons didn't count as magic?
posted by nubs at 8:47 PM on April 17, 2015

I just now realized that the Bouncing Baby WTF scene depicts actual magic in the GoT universe,

White Walker zombies?
posted by zarq at 12:11 AM on April 18, 2015

Nobody in-universe more than a few miles south of the wall believes in those.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:38 PM on April 18, 2015

Oops. Apparently I forgot to say this when I posted last week:

This is a First Watch with Books thread.

Please do not reveal spoilers for subsequent episodes from any source.

Thank you.

(Sorry about that!
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on April 24, 2015

Nobody in-universe more than a few miles south of the wall believes in those.

The very small handful of magic events in the world have been witnessed by very few characters; the reader/viewer is more aware of the presence of magic in the world than the vast majority of the population of Westeros. The question is more about which dead giveaways about magic have we seen, as opposed to who believes.
posted by nubs at 10:36 AM on April 24, 2015

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