Episode four of this season’s Game of Thrones, titled ‘Garden of Bones’, was the harshest one so far this season. There was plenty of ‘look away for a second’ stuff going on during this episode that reminds us that it’s a hard life in Westeros.

We started by eavesdropping on two Lannister sentries arguing over which Westeros warrior would win a fight, much like two soldiers might do today. Their horses are spooked and they go to investigate only to be attacked by Robb Stark’s wolf Grey Wind. Then we see Robb and his men as they begin an attack on the Lannister camp.

The next morning there are bodies strewn all across the battlefield. Robb is told that there are five dead Lannister men for every one of his, he has won another battle. Lord Roose Bolton encourages Robb to torture the prisoners and Robb is adamant that he will not behave in such way. They come across a wounded young boy, a Lannister man, who is being attended to by nurses. Robb comforts him as a nurse saws his injured leg off.

This was the first scene where those weak of heart might have looked away.

Robb seems smitten with this nurse as he throws his best “I’m King and didn’t hate that poor boy” to the nurse who rebuffs him by denouncing the need for violence. He admits to her that he has no desire to sit on the Iron Throne and after he kills King Joffrey he has no after-plan. He gets her first name only as she rides away on a cart.

Robb promised to wed one of Lord Frey’s daughter’s so he should not be flirting with blood covered nurses on the battle field.

Back in King’s Landing, Joffrey has learned of Stark’s victory and decides to take it out on poor Sansa Stark, his fiancé. In his cruel fashion he points a cross bow at her telling her she will have to pay for her brother’s treason. He then has one of his knights, Ser Meryn Trant, begin to strike her and rip off her dress. He raises his sword above her just as Tyrion Lannister enters the throne room and puts a stop to it.

Once again showing us that he has some honor, despite his family name, he scolds Joffrey and warns him not to harm Sansa. Ser Meryn tells him that nobody threatens the king. In the best Tyrion moment of the episode he then says he wasn’t threatening the King, he was educating him. He then asks Bronn to kill Ser Meryn next time he speaks. Tyrion then turns to Meryn and says “now that was a threat, can you see the distinction”.

As he helps Sansa back to her chamber he and Bronn decide that Joffrey’s problem is the lack of a woman. When Joffrey returns to his chamber Tyrion has supplied him with two prostitutes, one of them is Ros who we have seen before. Joffrey gives us a real taste of his cruelty here as he commands Ros to strike the other girl. When she is not doing it hard enough for him, he hands her a ghastly looking scepter and demands she use it. When she scoffs he loads his cross bow again and makes her do it. Ros does what she is told and the other girl screams as Joffrey commands “harder”.

Someone needs to smack that boy around.

Ayra Stark and her companions have been brought to the haunted castle Harrenhall where they are put in an outdoor cell and forced to sleep in the rain. Lannister men run the place and begin to torture the prisoners one by one by strapping a bucket, with a rat inside, to their chest and then putting a torch to the bucket. You can imagine how mad that will make the rat. They ask questions about the ‘Brotherhood’ and if anyone had seen them.

As they pound a decapitated head to a stake they select Gendry as the next to be questioned. He gets the rat put on him just as Lord Tywin Lannister arrives at Harrenhal. He sees what is going on and puts a stop to it. He admonishes his men for killing prisoners who could be put to work. Tywin sees that Arya is a girl and commands her to follow him as he needs a new cup bearer.

This should be interesting as Arya will now be serving the top Lannister.

At King Renly’s camp, preparations for the war continue as Littlefinger pays them a visit. He is not welcomed warmly by King Renly or his wife, Margaery, who don’t seem to trust him. This is wise as whenever Littlefinger talks you feel like you need to take a shower later. Nothing he says seems like the truth.

Lady Stark is still at Renly’s camp and Littlefinger pays his childhood friend a visit. He confesses his love for her which she responds to by pulling a dagger on him. He backs away and tells her that he has come to offer her both of her daughters in exchange for the captive Jamie Lannister. This is a lie as the folks in King’s Landing have no idea where Arya is. Lady Stark tells him that her son will never agree to it and Renly says that is the reason he is bringing it to her. As a show of good faith he has two servants bring in a large trunk that contain the remains of Ned Stark.

Later Lady Stark joins King Renly as he has a meeting with his brother, King Stannis. It isn’t a happy family reunion and quickly devolves into a chest thumping match. Stannis demands that Renly swear his allegiance to him and join him in attacking King’s Landing. Renly laughs at this reminding Stannis that nobody likes him. Stannis gives him 24 hours to comply.

Daeny and her desert-bound lot return in this episode as one of her riders returns saying he has found a city that will take them in. The city is named Qarth and they head for it only to be welcomed by armed guards and The Thirteen. The leader of the Thirteen, who claims his name is too difficult for foreigners to say, says that they will let her in if she shows them her dragons. She refuses and he turns to leave without letting her in. Daeny doesn’t like this and threatens to return and burn the city if they don’t. One of The Thirteen steps forward and says that he will vouch for Daeny and her people. This is Xaro Xhoan Daxos and as the gates to Qarth open he smiles and welcomes them.

As they walk towards the gate we get a glimpse of Qarth which looks like paradise.

The show ends in creepy fashion as King Stannis tells Ser Davos to row the red priestess, Milasandre, ashore at night without telling anyone. Davos rows Milasandre to the shore and leads her through an old smugglers cave. She asks him why he’s afraid of her and claims that he really wants her, as all men do. When the come to a barred passage Milasandre drops her robes to reveal that she is pregnant.

This startles Davos, and he is further startled as she drops to the floor and begins going into labor. Davos looks on horrified as instead of a cute little red haired baby, she gives birth to a shadow creature who crawls his way out. The episode ends with the shadows moving through the gates.


In Memorium:

We did not lose anyone we have come to love in this episode. We did see a bunch of dead soldiers, mostly Lannisters, on the battlefield. Surely they will be missed by someone.

At Harrenhal, one of the prisoners was scratched and clawed to death by an angry rat in a bucket. For his trouble he had his head pounded onto a spike.

Home Culture Game of Thrones Recap: Episode 204, Garden of Bones