The night is dark and full of terrors, and this installment of Game of Thrones has no shortage of terrors. The horror of war is shown firsthand from the start of the episode with a focus on the carnage left after a victory for Robb Stark’s forces. Robb meets a young nurse who is attending to the wounded of both sides. She questions his motivations for war and challenges his views on the nature of conflict, and naturally Robb seems to fall for her almost immediately. The irony of Robb’s romantic intrest coupled with a particularly gruesome amputation results in a very interesting scene. This storyline is a fun step away from the plot of the book, and it will be interesting to see how this is reconciled with developments in Robb’s storyline later in the series.
The full throttle demonization of Joffrey continues in this episode, and he reaches his darkest lows yet. We see him ordering the beating and humiliation of Sansa in front of a crowd of onlookers before he is checked by Tyrion’s intervention. Baffled by what to do with Joffrey, Tyrion tries to satisfy some of Joffrey’s urges by sending him prostitutes. Joffrey is shocked, and initially seems uninterested, until he realizes they will do whatever he tells him. True to his domineering and power hungry personality, Joffrey takes this too far very fast, getting one of the prostitutes to viciously beat the other to send a message to Tyrion. Another surprising deviation from the book, this scene serves to make Joffrey even more easy to hate, even if that seemed previously impossible.
Renly Baratheon and Caitlin Stark both had the displeasure of dealing with the sleazy Peter Baelish. Littlefinger puts the idea of going behind Robb’s back in Caitlin’s mind, and she seems to take it far to easily knowing Baelish’s traitorous ways. Shortly afterwards Renly and his brother Stannis meet and exchange barbs with little result. Daenerys’s journeys take her to Qarth where we are introduced to the aptly extravagant merchant princes who rule the wealthy city. Despite facing initial resistanace, the help of Xaro Xhoan Daxos assures her entrance into a safe haven at last. Arya has the displeasure of meeting some heartless Lannister interrogators, and Gendry is saved at the last minute by the surprisingly merciful Tywin Lannister.
Finally, we are brought to the climactic and haunting final scene. Davos brings Mellisandre to Renly’s shores in the cover of night, and after some uncomfortable conversation, she drops her cloak to reveal a pregnant belly. Davos is understandably shocked, but not nearly shocked enough considering what happens next. In the dark of the cave the red woman gives birth to shadowy horrors. This scene is adapted faithfully, and the apparitions she produces are appropriately disgusting and frightening. The episode cuts right before their purpose is revealed. The next episode will definitely show the resolution of this development. Game of Thrones airs Sunday on HBO with yet another exciting installment.