Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 5 Recap: A Major Death, a Minor Death, and the Power of Fire
Bye-bye, Renly. It was nice knowing you and your large, baseless ambitions. Really, it's sad to see you go — though it was about time for someone big to die. We're already halfway through the season, and this isGame of Thrones.
Read on for Wetpaint Entertainment's recap of Season 2, Episode 5: “The Ghost of Harrenhal.”
The Stormlands: Death, Chaos, and Yet More Plotting
We begin with Renly and Cat chatting while Brienne hangs around, dressing Renly. Totally normal relationship right there. Renly agrees to team up with Robb if Robb pledges fealty to him, which turns out to be a moot point because Melisandre's evil shadow baby swoops in and stabs him to death. Right in the heart. Just BAM. You've been shadow babied.
Brienne freaks out as she holds Renly dying in her arms. Knights rush in, predictably think she did it, and start attacking her. She kills all of them like the boss she is, which was badass, but kind of a problem. Now it really looks like she did it. Plus, who's going to believe the truth? Brienne completely breaks down over Renly's body — in case you missed the memo, she was more than a bit in love with him — but Cat manages to convince her to run. The ladies slip out of the back of the tent, leaving a highly suspicious scene behind for the rest of Renly's men to find.
While the camp breaks into chaos, Littlefinger gets his plotting face on, and goes to visits the Tyrells, who are gathered in Renly's tent. They've already figured out that Stannis is probably behind Renly's death. Loras is all brokenhearted and ready to take revenge — “I will put a sword through his righteous face!” — but Littlefinger and Margaery have more subtle ideas. For now, the Tyrells are headed back to Highgarden, but Margaery still has Queenly ambitions, and it looks like Littlefinger thinks he has something to gain from her. More on that in the future, we assume.
Later, in his camp Stannis is not all that torn up about Renly, and refuses to talk to Davos about the black magic Melisandre worked. Stannis wants to focus on the good: All of Renly's bannermen are flocking to his side, and now he has the strength to take on King's Landing.
However, Davos just can't let go of his hangup over crazy foreign priestesses who give birth to murderous shadows, and finally tells Stannis a hard truth: If he brings Melisandre to attack King's Landing, the victory will be hers, not Stannis's. Ever one to listen to sense, Stannis reluctantly agrees to leave her behind and puts Davos in charge of the fleet for the attack. Score one for Team Smuggler, even if he does look less than pleased with his new position.
On the Road: A New Pledge
Brienne and Cat are now on the run. Cat's plan is to swing by Robb's camp and then back up to Winterfell to see her boys. Brienne's plan is to deliver Cat to safety, and then go stab Stannis in the face. Cat points out that this is an ill-advised idea, and Brienne ends up swearing herself to Cat's service instead, in return for the promise that Cat won't hold her back if the opportunity to stab Stannis in the face ever does ever conveniently present itself.
King's Landing: The Fire That Burns...Everything
We swing on over to King's Landing just in time for an exposition-filled scene between Tyrion and Cersei that is so witty, we don't even need random boobs to hide the info dump. Here is what we learn: There are all sorts of rumors about who killed Renly; Tyrion really is shipping Myrcella off to Dorne; The King (read: Cersei) is taking charge of war preparations and Tyrion is totally shut out.
Tyrion, not one to leave the fate of the Kingdom in the hands of his sister and her devil spawn, pumps his new friend Lancel for information. Lancel spills that Cersei is having something called wildfire made, which Tyrion finds so unbelievable he once again threatens to tell the world about Lancel and Cersei until the poor kid — who must be seriously regretting sleeping with his cousin at this point — swears that it really is the truth.
Bronn and Tyrion go on an expedition. As they wander through the streets they stumble on a rabble-rouser speechifying about their rotten King. Tyrion is sympathetic until Bronn points out the people hate Tyrion, too. It turns out the common man just doesn't grasp the subtleties of all his helpful behind-the-scenes maneuvering. It's hard out there for an Imp who's related to the most hated family in the Kingdom.
Bronn and Tyrion finally meet up with the pyromancer and it turns out he and his guild of pyromancer buddies really have been making wildfire, which is this green substance that burns everything. Steel, flesh, whatever: it all just melts away. We're talking some seriously dangerous stuff, and Cersei has commissioned enough to burn down the whole damn city if things go wrong. Bronn thinks the idea of using it in battle is insane for that very reason. Tyrion agrees, which is why he commands the pyromancer to stop making wildfire for Cersei — and to start making it for him. To be fair, if something that destructive is going to be floating around King's Landing, Tyrion is basically the only person even a little qualified to be in charge of it, so this seems like an okay plan. Kinda.
Remember how Balon agreed to give Theon one lousy little boat to raid fishing villages with? Well, it turns out he can't even do that right, since his men won't listen to him, and basically threaten mutiny to his face before they even get to the boat. Right in front of Yara, too. That's gotta sting.
Fortunately, Theon's first mate has his back, and points out this is the Iron Islands, so he's going to have to earn his men's respect. But how? Oh, here's an idea: How about instead of attacking those dumb little villages, they attack a place in the North called Torrhen's Square? That would be neat. Sure, Winterfell would then send all of its forces to win back the Square...
Bing! goes the light in Theon's head. Hmmm...What is he thinking?
Winterfell: ...And Carries It Out
Bran is carrying out his lordly duties when Ser Rodrik rushes in, all the Lannisters are attacking Torrhen's Square! Close, dude, but no cigar. Bran agrees to send what forces Winterfell can muster to help. Rickon, meanwhile, spends this scene in the background breaking random stuff on a table like the angry, feral little child he is. Someone needs to pay attention to this kid.
Later, Bran has a chat with his strange wildling friend Osha about his dreams. He's been seeing a three-eyed raven, which she cryptically refuses to explain. Then he adds that he dreamed the ocean came to Winterfell, filling it up and drowning all of its men, including Rodrik. Osha points out the ocean is hundreds of miles away, and Bran agrees. Perhaps they're thinking a little literally?
Harrenhal: Anyone Can Die
Over at Harrenhal, Tywin is still reigning supreme with his brutal efficiency and pragmatism. He's not a nice guy, but the man is the most practical person on the whole damn show. One gets a sense that he'd do well on Wall Street. He quizzes Arya about her birthplace, and they have an intense stare-off while casually chatting about Robb. If only they were on the same side, we're pretty sure these two would be the best of friends. They both mean business.
Speaking of Arya's odd affinity for dangerous older men, Jaqen H'ghar, now a reluctant Lannister solider, shows up and tells her the Red God is owed three deaths for the three lives she saved when she threw him and his creepy companions an axe. He says that if she names anyone, he will take care of the rest. Disbelieving, she choses the Tickler, the sicko who was gleefully torturing prisoners last week.
And ... Jaqen totally does it. The episode ends with the Tickler dead, apparently from falling off of a bridge. But when Arya looks up, she spots her new buddy, who raises a finger to his nose: One. He's like the most twisted genie ever. Arya better use those next two wishes well. (We vote Joffrey.)
Up north, the Night's Watch is marching through the most most beautiful landscape this side of Lord of the Rings. Too bad it's cold as balls and entirely inhospitable. Anyway, they've made it to the Fist of the First Men, where they are meeting up with legendary ranger Qhorin Halfhand.
Qhorin shows up full of ideas about how to deal with this Mance Rayder and his army of wildlings. See, Mance used to be a Night's Watchman, which means the wildlings will have learned a thing or two under him. A straight on attack won't work; instead, Qhorin wants to sneak into their camp and kill Mance, breaking up the army and eliminating the threat. The rest of the Night's Watch will go home, while Qhorin and a select few move forward to carry out this plan.
Guess who volunteers for duty? If your answer is not Jon Snow, you need to go re-watch this entire show from the beginning. Mormont is reluctant, but gives in when Sam volunteers to take over Jon's duties while his BFF is out on an insane, suicidal mission. You know, like any friend would.
Qarth: Everyone Wants to Sleep With Dany
Meanwhile, in sunny Qarth, Dany's dragon is learning to eat, while she is being wooed by all the powerful people in the city. Xaro is putting her up in some sweet digs, and throws her a swanky party, where a warlock (seriously) tries to win her attention with some neat magic tricks, a masked woman warns Jorah that everyone will lust after Dany's dragons, and her Dothraki make plans to steal everything until she teaches them about manners. So, basically what you'd expect.
Xaro is anti-warlock — he claims their “House of the Undying” is nothing but a library where warlocks do drugs — and pro-Dany marrying him so he can use his massive wealth to fund an army to help her take back the Iron Throne and make his children royalty. Also, he totally thinks Jorah is in love with Dany, and tells her so. As a final enticement, he gives her some belated news: Robert is dead. We knew that a season ago. Get with the times, Dany.
So ... that actually sounds like a decent deal, but Jorah is not for it. He thinks she should just sail on over to Westeros in a single boat and gather support there. Then he launches into a speech about how she has a kind heart, and he supports her because she could and should rule and he can't even believe she's real, and halfway through you can see her face go Oh shit, he totally is in love with me. She agrees to his plan. So now they just need a boat. And, you know, it might help if the dragons would grow up just a tad faster.
Tyrion scene of the week: His reflections on whether Jaime would be more or less inclined to kill Lancel if the Jaime/Cersei rumors are true.
There was one single throw-away line referencing the whore Joffrey had tortured last week. If they were going to include that scene, there should have been more payoff. I am still not pleased.
Why hello there, Gendry. You are welcome to keep your shirt off in every scene from now on.
In case you missed it, in the Night's Watch, one horn blast is for a ranger returning, two is for wildlings, and three is for white walkers. Dun dun dun.
There was zero sex in this episode. Is that a first? I approve.
Catch the next episode of Game of Thrones on Sunday, May 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.