Game of Thrones Review/Reaction: “Garden of Bones” Season 2 Episode 4 (Episode 14)
The art of manipulation and persuasion is another aspect of power explored in ‘Garden of Bones’. Using your enemies or alliance’s desire to your advantage, exploiting their weaknesses, knowing when to hold your cards close to your chest, or to set in motion events that will lead to a favorable outcome is all part of playing the game. If power is elusive like trying to grab a fist full of steam, manipulation directs, shapes and makes power tangible. The Iron Throne will not be directly won by swords and arrows or having the largest army. As Littlefinger deftly put it, “If war was arithmetic, mathematicians would rule the world”. “Playing the player” involves a keen sense of perception, understanding your opponents psyche and knowing what you can hold as leverage.
After Joffrey taunts Sansa with an arrow and humiliates her by ripping her clothes, Tyrion attempts to “tame” his sadistic nephew by sending two whores as a belated name day gift. This was a miscalculation by Tyrion as Joffrey has no desire for sex, comfort or pleasuring people. He simply is a psychopath that is hardwired to control and hurt people. When Lancel comes delivering Cersei’s letter in the night smelling of lavender, Tyrion quickly realizes that his sister is bedding their cousin, a poor surrogate for Jamie. It was a stroke of brilliance, blackmailing Lancel into being his spy, especially since he will intimately know the plans and ploys of Tyrion’s biggest threat in King’s landing.
Always scheming, Tyrion sends Littlefinger to visit Catelyn in the Stormlands. How did they know she was there? After Catelyn threatens Littlefinger with a knife, he turns the conversion around by offering the one thing she wants the most – her family, specifically Sansa and Arya. Obviously, Littlefinger is lying through his teeth that Arya is in King’s Landing however it plants the seed in Catelyn’s mind to free Jamie. As a gesture of good faith, Ned’s bones are returned. It also reinforces how dangerous of a situation her daughters are in and that they could easily end up dead like their father if she doesn’t act quickly. Catelyn knows Robb would never exchange Jamie for two young girls, even his sisters, so the best hope for her to ever see Sansa and Arya alive is to take up Tyrion’s/Littlefinger’s offer. For Tyrion, this is his best chance of saving his brother since Robb and the Northerners are continuing to defeat the Lannisters on the battlefield.
Across the Narrow Sea in Qarth, we finally get some much needed development in Dany’s storyline. It was quite a shock to see how few people are in her khalasar. Many must have starved to death in the Red Waste and if she doesn’t get accepted into the city her people would undoubtedly die. Dany is so smart and can you see her thinking her options very carefully. She keeps trying different options to persuade the Thirteen to allow her into the city including appealing to their hospitality as hosts, as friends, as humanitarians, and by threatening to destroy them. Dany knows that the one power card she holds up her sleeve is the dragons. The people of Qarth greatly desire to see the dragons but she cannot reveal them until she gains entrance or she loses her only leverage. Luckily, Xaro vouches for Dany although he probably has his own hidden agenda because this is Game of Thrones.
Back in the Stormlands, Stannis gives an offer to Renly: a seat on the council and naming him his heir until he has a son. However, Renly doesn’t even consider it. He is so confident that because he has the largest army, victory is his for the taking. Seems like the reason Renly wants the Iron Throne is because he is in love with the idea of being a King: wearing a fancy crown, nice armor, living a lavish life and being adored by the people but no interest in actually ruling.
Last but not least is the mind-blowing ending of Melisandre giving birth to the shadow demon. It was incredibly creepy seeing the black smoke crawling and pulling itself out of her. When Melisandre seduced Stannis a couple of episodes ago, it appears it was to produce the shadow creature. Melisandre sees the world in absolutes: One true god, one reborn saviour, darkness and light. She even thinks of herself as good despite what she was growing inside her, which makes her compelling to see what she does next and what the shadow demon will do.
Such a great episode. Didn’t even talk about the Harrenhal torture scenes which showed that pain can be very, very persuasive.
Dialogue To Die For
• Bronn: There’s no cure for being a cunt.
• Littlefinger: If war was arithmetic, mathematicians would rule the world.
• Tyrion: Bronn, next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him. That was a threat. See the difference?