Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: The Night Lands (Spoilers)
Baby killing backlash
The second episode of Game of Thrones aired Sunday. The aftermath of the murders of Robert Baratheon's illegitimate children, including an infant, was prevalent. We saw characters struggle with who they are and how others perceive them and other characters who were unapologetic about who they know themselves to be. More characters were introduced, setting up a riveting season for this fantastical drama.
The hunt for Gendry, who is Robert Baratheon's son but doesn't know it, led to Arya, who is disguised as a boy and travelling with a group of boys and men heading to the Nights Watch. She is seen arguing with two boys that are most likely "Hot Pie" and "Lommy" from the second book from the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire . She also meets up with three hardened criminals in a cage. There is a good looking one, an animalistic one and then there is Jaqen H'ghar. He is barely introduced but we can expect more from his later.
When the King's men come upon their group Arya tells Gendry that she is sure the men are looking for her. They ask for a boy named Gendry, though, and the two stay out of sight. Later, Gendry and Arya discuss why they may be looking for him. He said the Hand of the King, Arya's late father, and Varys had both come to the iron shop asking about his mother. Gendry then confronts Arya, letting her know that he knows she is a girl. Arya reveals her true identity and begs him to keep her secret. "Your a lady," he teases. "I should be calling you m'lady."
Tyrion and the murdered children.
We find Tyrion directly dealing with the aftermath of the child killings. He knows the people are angry and it could be dangerous for his family. It also seems that he has sympathy for those that are weaker and sees the immorality of the actions that were taken to eliminate the possible heirs to the throne. He begins the process by getting rid of Janos Slynt, Commander of the City Watch. Lord Janos betrayed Ned Stark and killed the children without remorse. Tyrion sent him by ship to the worst place in the kingdom and made Bronn the new Commander. He was still disturbed that Bronn said he, too, would kill children if asked. Poor Tyrion still appears to be the only person with a moral center in the Lannister family and it's court.
Does Cersei actually have a soul?
Cersei is not happy that Tyrion sent Lord Janos away. She reminds him that she is Queen Regent and seems determined to hold on to her power. Tyrion lets her know that he, as the Hand of the King, is doing his best to keep the people from rebelling against them because their anger over the slain children. It seems that Cersei actually feels bad about the children and it also seems that the order was Joffrey's. Cersei appears to be losing her control over her son, the King. It's the first time she is seen to have feelings for somebody other than herself and she clearly can tell her tenuous hold on her power is slipping away. On a light note, one of the funniest lines in the episode comes when their cousin informs them of a message they received. It said that the Wildlings are now following the King Beyond the Wall and asked for help. "Another King? How many is that," asks Cersei, "like, five? I've lost count."
Speaking of too many Kings, poor Theon Greyjoy returned to his home on the Iron Islands and was not warmly received. For those who don't know the back story, Theon was a kind of hostage at Winterfell. But because the Stark's are not evil, they treated him as one of their family. He was with them for 9 years, involuntarily. He returned to the Iron Islands to deliver an offer to his father. The offer was, if Balon Greyjoy helped Robb Stark in his quest to take the Iron Throne, King Robb would declare Balon King of the Iron Islands.
It seemed that Theon expected parades and celebrations upon his return. Instead he got, well, nothing. He happened upon a woman who offered him a ride to the castle. He kept trying to make sexual advances toward her but was rebuffed. When he arrived to the castle he learned the girl was not only his sister, but had taken his place as the heir. His father let him know that Theon had been with the Stark's longer than the Greyjoys and he no longer considered him his.
Stannis and Daenerys
King Stannis and Daenerys didn't get a lot of screen time this week. Stannis' weird red witch, Melisandre, lured him into making love to her by stripping down and promising him a son. Also, his main man, Davos, convinced some pirates to take Stannis' side. A lot of discussion was had about different gods. In a foreshadowing moment, Melisandre whispered to Davos' son that a death by fire was a good thing. He wasn't as creeped out by her as he should have been.
Daenerys and her people are still sitting in the desert and suffering from thirst. A horse returns with the head of one of the sentries she had sent to find water or people. It seems the people he found were not fans of Daenerys. She vowed to make the killers pay and to give the sentry a proper send-off so he can join his gods. I guess we'll have to watch and see how, exactly, she will manage all of that in future Game of Thrones episodes.
Jon Snow and the Night's Watch
The troubles continued up north, and Jon Snow was still at Craster's place with the Night's Watch. If you recall from the last episode, Craster is a foul man who marries his daughters. Sam and Jon meet up with Gilly, one of Craster's daughters that is about to give birth. She begs them to take her with them when they leave because she is worried about what will happen to her child if it is a boy. She wouldn't tell them what would happen. The most disturbing scene was at the end. Jon saw Craster carrying a swaddled newborn into the woods. He followed him and saw some kind of creature eating the baby. We didn't actually see it happen but I think that's worse. We were left to fill in the details with our imaginations. Jon ran in fear but was cracked on the head by Craster. We will have to see next week what becomes of poor Jon.
The creatures beyond the wall have been the most facinating mystery and I'm happy to see the writers addressing them, once again. The end of the episode was very tense after their appearance and I hope more is exposed about them in the coming weeks. Game of Thrones can be watched on HBO Sunday's at 9pm or anytime on HBOgo.
©Denise Mai, April 9, 2012
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