Hard to believe we're halfway through the second season of Game of Thrones. In this week's episode, titled "The Ghost of Harrenhal," the war of thrones continues to wage from all sides. No Joffrey this week, but we see Arya's good deed get repaid, check in with the Night's Watch, who we didn't see at all last week, learn how Tyrion blackmails his way into taking over the city's defenses, and get a refresher on how Daenerys looks all princess-ed (or is it khaleesi-ed?) up.
Spoilers are definitely ahead, so don't click if you haven't watched! Also, even though I read A Clash of Kings, I won't be doing any show/book comparisons. There's enough to get through as it is!
Catelyn & Brienne: The episode opens with Catelyn Stark trying yet again to make amends with Renly Baratheon and his brother Stannis, and she keeps failing miserably. When Renly, Catelyn, and Brienne are hanging out in Renly's tent ... oh crap, there is the shadow assassin Melisandre gave birth to last week! It kills Renly and disappears, leaving Catelyn and Brienne having to team up since the death would be blamed on Brienne.
Brienne kicks some major ass, violently killing some guards, and the two women flee, with Catelyn pointing out, "You can't avenge him if you're dead." Later on, these two strong women bond about growing up without mothers. Brienne says Catelyn has "a woman's kind of courage" and vows to serve her. She even kneels at her feet, makes a speech, takes out her sword, and everything. Catelyn seems touched by the gesture, and they instantly become BFFs.
The Lannisters: Tyrion and Cersei discuss the fallout of Renly's killing, but Cersei refuses to tell Tyrion her strategy. But of course Tyrion finds out through their cousin and discovers that Cersei is making wild fire.
Tyrion, who his people lovingly refer to as "demon monkey," meets with an old guy who's making the wild fire (and tooooons of it). Bronn speaks the most I've ever heard him speak throughout the entire series, saying wars won't be won with magic tricks. Still, Tyrion takes ownership of the wild fire. Sorry, Cers.
Greyjoy & Winterfell: Some storylines are finally coming together. Theon Greyjoy, who's been mocked all season, continues to get mocked. Those supposedly under his command go ahead and row off in his ship, The Sea Bitch, without him. He realizes he has to gain respect and decides to attack Torrhen Square (leaving Winterfell unmanned) instead of doing what he's told.
Bran at Winterfell, still ruling since everyone left or died (and having creepy dreams of Winterfell flooding), gets news of Greyjoy's attack on Torrhen Square and orders the soldiers to head it off (d'oh).
Harrenhal: Arya, as Tywin Lannister's cupbearer, runs into one of the prisoners of the Night's Watch, Jaqen, who Arya saved from a fire. He tells her that since she saved three lives, he will grant her three deaths. She names the Tickler, the one who was seen abusing prisoners with rats in buckets. As (a shirtless) Gendry and Arya exchange a friendly tutorial in sword fighting, the Tickler falls to his death. Arya looks up and sees Jaqen quietly holding up one finger.
The Night's Watch: We get some pretty amazing mountainous shots checking in with hottie Jon Snow. Sam is far too cheerful for their freezing surroundings, and my love for Sam is confirmed and deepens with every episode. Though he provides some necessary comic relief, a gathering wildling army is forming, and Jon volunteers to go discover their plans.
Qarth: Yay, we get to see a dragon! He chars up some meat, and mother Daenerys is thrilled her little bugger can finally feed himself. The Dothraki seem to be having a hard time fitting in, and though Qarth initially looks like a nice enough place, out come two creepy-looking, identical warlocks with blue-stained lips and teeth, and a weird masked woman who warns Jorah about how Daenerys will need his protection. How random was that lady? Were we supposed to know who she is?
Daenerys even gets proposed to. Xaro Xhoan Daxos has a vault full of riches and promises her the money to buy armies and ships and everything she'd need to launch an attack. (She also really rocks that blue dress.) Jorah advises her against this, asking her to find her own ship, and basically professes his love for her. She politely dismisses him. But hey, at least we finally got to see a dragon.
What do you think about Catelyn and Brienne teaming up? Do you think Daenerys should marry Xaro Xhoan Daxos?
Image via HBO