If you can’t show every single battle on the show due to time constraints and budget limitations, at least you can make the lack of screen battles interesting.* That’s how “Garden of Bones” starts out this week, showing us the lead-up to and the aftermath of Robb Stark’s attack on the Lannister camp.
*This doesn’t mean we don’t eventually need to show a battle or two on-screen. But I have a feeling those will come later this season.
At several points this week, the aftermath and impact the war is having are shown. It was a week with a lot of flinch inducing moment, most notably the scene where Robb helps hold down an injured enemy soldier and he has to have his foot removed to prevent further infection. Once again, this is one of those things you just wouldn’t necessarily get away with on broadcast television or basic cable.
And then there’s the scene of Melisandre giving birth to…well, if you’ve read the novels you may recall. It you haven’t, it looked a lot like she was giving birth to the smoke monster from Lost. What if we get to the end of the series (both book and television) and find out that Westeros is actually part of the Dharma Initiative.
And don’t even get me started on the interrogation device using a bucket, rats and heat. I’m not necessarily a squeamish viewer, but all three moments this week found me very uncomfortable.
But probably not as uncomfortable as Tyrion will when the two prostitutes sent to “release” Joffrey’s build up stress return to him. Once again, Joffrey shows what a little bastard he truly is, having the one woman physically abuse the other. I recall in the books that Joffrey spends a lot of time physically and mentally abusing Sansa (which he tries here only to have Tyrion put a stop to it) or having others do it for him once he becomes ruler. Joffrey, like a lot of the other rulers in play this year, isn’t thinking much about the long term implications of ruling the kingdom, but instead only about what power can bring to him.
Then we’ve got Robb who thinks that once he wins the war, he can just go home and rest in peace. I’m sure his father felt the same way, but who’s to say that whoever is put on the throne is any better or worse than Joffrey is or will even allow Robb, who has proved himself as a military leader, will be allowed to return to Winterfell in peace? And that we’ve got Stannis, who can’t see past the end of his own nose to ask for help, thinking his claim to the throne is the most legitimate within the rule of law (again, Ned Stark though the rule of law would prevail and ended up dying for it) and we’ve got Renly who thinks that his army makes him the player to beat in the race to become king.