Sure, Tywin Lannister's conversation with Arya Stark, his new cupbearer whose identity he's unaware of, was phenomenal work by the screenwriters and the actors.
Agreed, Qarth is just as fabulous in this episode as it was when we got a quick glimpse at it in "Garden of Bones".
Just as important, the mindblowing landscape shots in Iceland, the setting used for the trek of the Night's Watch.
And as always, the debate between Tyrion and Cersei is such fun to watch.
But there is another major story part that ruined the whole episode for me: Renly's death. I disliked the ending of the previous episode already, however, the story worsens again and I ended up being more disappointed than at any other occasion in the whole series. It's not that I'm enraged about his character dying, but in my opinion, this was so cheaply done by George R. R. Martin and had me losing my faith in Game of Thrones for a moment. A mythical shadowy creature coming into Renly's tent, killing him, and then disappearing again? Are you kidding me? I couldn't help but laugh at the silliness of this scene and even more so the ones that followed. Brianne pledging fealty to Catelyn somewhere in the woods looked like the beginning of a bad lesbian porno movie, Finn Jones did a terrible job at portraying the emotions of his character after his lover died, and Aidan Gillen bugged me due to him reading his text like a vegetable. Natalie Dormer was very interesting, however, as we unexpectedly got to see a new side of her character.
Stannis and Davos conversing wasn't especially well-made either and the protracted scene got a bit boring. Same goes for little schoolboy Theon getting repeatedly bullied by his pals, his sis, and his daddy lame! But then, the pros of "The Ghost of Harrenhal" made it worth my while after all, even though it took some time to get them. During the episode's first 20 minutes, we were presented an assemblage of everything I disliked about it and the quality only slowly improved after that. Near the end, though, we got Jaqen H'ghar defeating Tyrion in terms of awesomeness, while the very token imp was busy discovering a huge secret Cersei tried to hide from him. Informant for that was, by the way, the prettiest girl in King's Landing: Lancel Lannister.
What made me fell in love with at least the second half of this episode were the scenes at Qarth. The rich independent city somewhere in the complete desert gives us some of the coolest character introductions of the whole season and one of television's most beautiful settings with its market place. Additionally, Khaleesi Daenerys finally gets to be pretty again and, as we've seen in parts of season one, her impersonator, Emilia Clarke, is extraordinarily talented at that as long as she isn't stranded in the dirt without anything to eat.
Now, how profound are the scenes I disliked in my rating? It adds up to the worst rating I've ever gave a Game of Thrones episode, yet the looming war makes me stay positive about the series' and this season's future.
Remember those awkward last days of childhood when you first started to check out the shirtless blacksmith boy? Of course not, but now thanks to HBO magic Arya can!
Seems weird but these first few signs of normalcy turn out to be the lighter side of the episode, for the shadow man sired by Stannis kills Renly before the poor thing knows what hit him, Brianne is so devastated that she takes upon herself the task to avenge her King as a renegade knight at the service of Lady Catlyn.
Back at Winterfell, only the calm before the storm sets among the little lords. Rickon oblivious to Bran's grimm visions of the future in a way his servants aren't. For only those who have lived beyond the wall can understrand the boy's hiden wisdom as he's starting to understand it himself.
The first season of game of thrones took a lot of time to get the plot moving but got simply awesome around the 5th episode. The second season is similar. With all the pieces finally in check, the plot is finally moving.
The strange thing is, this is the first episode this season where the show didn't seem rushed. I haven't read the books, but I got the impression that we were jumping around all the characters way to fast in the first four episodes. Here, the scenes are long and fantastic, and the show doesn't waste our time with pointless sex scenes either. Tyrion is awesome in KL and Arya's scenes are also great. Jaqen seems totally badass. As for the first scene, I was sort of dissapointed because I really liked the character, but I guess it moves Stannis's storyline forward.
In the aftermath of what everyone dubbed the "shadow baby" last week it was good to see it pick up right where it left off with Renly agreeing to make an alliance with Robb Stark and to pool their armies together to defeat the Lannisters and then let Robb be the King in the North. But no sooner has this too-good-to-be-true-pact been made than the shadow stabs Renly, killing him. Brienne holds Renly and has to dispatch two guards who attempt to kill her. Catelyn convinces her to flee with her to avenge Renly and so they depart, the best hope of defeating the Lannisters having died in that tent. Kingless, Renly's bannerman turn cloaks to Stannis' side, with the exception of Loras and Margaery and the rest of the Tyrell forces, while Davos tries to tell him what he saw in the cave with Melisandre to which Stannis wants to hear none of. Davos however does convince him to leave Melisandre to stay behind when they storm King's Landing with their army because if she went it would look like she was giving orders rather than him like his soldiers often think is the case. Dany is an honored guest of Xaro Xhoan Daxos the rich merchant who bled for her entry into the city. We got to see a dragon burn some meat and some Dothraki trying to steal a pure gold peacock. Dany is attended by the 13, the rulers of Qarth, among other nobles. She is invited by one of the them, a mage by the name of Pyat Pree, to join him at the house of Undying which is a temple of sorcery worship in Qarth but his double act of being in two places at once was rather sorcerer like. Jorah is told by Qaithe of the Undying of Qarth, the woman in the wodden paneled mask, that he needs to protect Dany now more than ever as the Mother of Dragons will be tempted by many enemies. Xaro offers her money to buy a fleet and sellswords if he marries her to which she is sorely tempted but which Jorah is heavily opposed to. In King's Landing Tyrion is being deceived by Cersei and discovers that she has been hiding the fact that the Guild of Pyromancers has been making Wildfire for her to burn Stannis' army and navy. Wildfire is a bit like Napalm in that it burns anything on water whether it be steel, flesh, wood, etc. Tyrion orders the Pyromancer leader that he is making Wildfire for him from now on, and the fact that they only lightly touched on King Aerys' need to stock up on an obsessive amount of Wildfire is sad for readers of the book, but the added debate over what wins wars between Bronn and the Pyromancer was a welcome addition. Also after convincing the Tyrells the leave Littlefinger asking Margaery what she really wants is nice foreshadowing to what happens next. Lancel as Tyrion's informant is funny because of how clearly uncomfortable he is with doing it and for someone like Tyrion. It was sad to see that the people blame Tyrion for the wrongdoings of Joffrey who would've had the outspoken peoples' tongues ripped out or something for even voicing discontent. But Tyrion really is doing the best he can with what he's got. Theon takes command of the Sea Bitch and hatches a plan so instead of raiding farming villages along the Stony Shore he is going to attack Torrhen's Square in the North since almost all of the soldiers and men able age are in the Riverlands fighting for Robb and will force Winterfell and the Starks to send the remaining strength which will thus leave Winterfell unprotected since that is the presumed target Theon has in mind. Seeing him have almost zero influence amongst his crew was entertaining and also sad since Theon works so very hard to prove his own worth, and Yara being there to add insult to injury doesn't help either with her command of 30 ships. Finally, at Harrenhal Arya is the new attendant to Tywin Lannister who proves ever more practical by the episode and even figures out she's from the North after seeing through a lie that she told that she was from the Riverlands. She says she is from somewhere far off from Winterfell though and when Tywin asks him what they say about Robb she says they call him "The Young Wolf" and that he can't turn into a direwolf like his enemies say he can and that he can be killed. The impending battles that will result before season's end will no doubt be fruitful as we are now at the landmark halfway point for Season 2 and all the chess pieces are being carefully positioned for many characters to die or fail (although in this show they tend to be the same thing) and others to surely succeed.
The Ghost of Harrenhal was a perfect episode of Game of Thrones and I really enjoyed watching as Bran ran Winterfell, Tyrion maneuvered things in his favor after discovering an enticing secret, and Cat Stark made a new ally. There was a lot of action, drama and intrigue along with character and plot development. A lot happened in this episode and many characters had their own scenes, though thankfully no Joffrey or Sansa, and I mean that in the best way as in to focus on the other characters a bit. It was great to seehow everything played out and I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!
Tonight, Game of Thrones delivered it's best episode yet in it's second season. Saying that is starting to annoy me, because it just keeps getting better and better.
This episode saw a ton of nice plot movements. Renly dies. One of the five kings has been eliminated. All that's left is Robb, currently carrying out his invasion of Lannister territory, Joffery, who's army led by Tywin Lannister is about to face off with Riverrun, currently in Harrenhal. We also have Stannis, who's army just tripled with Renly's joining in. Also is Balon Greyjoy, who doesn't really count yet because he hasn't declared war, but he is also making movements against the north.
Aside from Renly's death, we have Tyrion discovering Wildfire (which may not seem big now, but Wildfire is very important to the later episodes), we have Jon and his party reaching the Fist of the First Men, Dany in Qarth, and perhaps the biggest development here (right up there with Renly) is Arya. Arya begins her awesomeness with Jaquen that eventually leads to three people of Arya's choosing dead.
One of them, The Tickler (AKA the torturer that likes rats from last episode) is dead, thanks to Arya's request. I found this interesting because Arya doesn't actually pick him in the book, although he is on her 'list' in her prayer at night. Arya, without a doubt, was my favorite POV from the second book. (Tyrion closely follows)
One thing I did have a problem with was the way Renly's death was handled. I loved it and it gave me chills because in the book it was awesome, but I thought it would have been cooler if they did it differently. In the book, Renly's shadow kills him. Not some Venum Spider-Man shadow, but Renly's shadow. I feel like if they mimicked that in the show, it would have been even more of a "WTF HOLY CRAP" twist. Also, the death totally came out of nowhere in the book. In the show, Melisandre gave birth to the shadow to kind of hint at his death last episode. It was still a big twist though.
One other thing I would have hoped for was the scenes after Renly's death being included. Sure Brienne got to be badass, but I was really hoping for them to flee the camp and rush past knights anxiously as the entire warcamp went crazy and fire started to spread in the middle of the night. That would have been awesome, but alas, not in the show.
Oh yeah, and that reminds me, with Bran, WHERE THE *** ARE THE REEDS? They're not gonna be in the show? :(
Anyway, awesome awesome episode. See HBO? You don't need tons of nudity to make a good Game of Thrones episode. All you need is some action and plot movement. Perfect!
Please read the following before uploading
Do not upload anything which you do not own or are fully licensed to upload. The images should not contain any sexually explicit content, race hatred material or other offensive symbols or images. Remember: Abuse of the TV.com image system may result in you being banned from uploading images or from the entire site – so, play nice and respect the rules!