It seems to me that episode four of “A Game of Thrones” has been met with either harsh criticism or praise across various forms of social media. In my opinion, I think HBO did an excellent job in choosing the direction in which to proceed with this episode. Most of the criticism comes from the last scene, which ill agree is a total WTF moment for most non-readers, however, I will go more into detail on this later on.
I’m sure that everyone can agree that King Joffrey may have crossed the line this episode. Not only did he have Sansa beaten in the throne room as punishment for her brother Robb’s victories in the field, he also brutally tortured two prostitutes sent to ‘calm him down’ by Tyrion. Many viewers thought this scene was unnecessary, and while I do agree this was very graphic, it was perhaps one of the most direct ways to show Joffrey’s sadistic tendencies and insane mindset. In the books, Joffrey is slowly transformed into an evil monster; however, the show does not have the time to accurately display this. This is why nobody can deny that in that one scene, everyone lost whatever empathy they may have had for the boy king, putting the show right on track with where it needs to be.
Keeping up with the dark theme of this episode, Arya finds herself at Harrenhal, a relatively abandoned mega-fortress that was severely damaged by dragons many years before the events currently taking place. Her and Gendry are both captives of the Lannisters, whom we soon find out are brutally interrogating and torturing prisoners. Gendry is almost killed until Tywin Lannister arrives, putting an end to the torture and personally taking Arya (unbeknownst to her identity) as a personal cupbearer. This should make for some interesting interactions in the future episodes.
Harrenhal in all of its beauty.
On a brighter note, Daenerys finally escapes the harsh elements of the desert when she arrives at Qarth, ‘the greatest city that is or ever will be,’ according to the people that govern it, named “The Thirteen.” While it took some arguing to make “The Thirteen” open the gates to the city, she finally succeeds and it seems that Dany is safe, for now.
The greatest city that is or ever will be.
Now we get to perhaps the most prominent and important interactions of this episode: Renly and Stannis. The two brothers meet, parlay, and bicker at each other until it is decided that nobody will kneel before the other one. Stannis gives Renly until the next morning to surrender and join him, or else Stannis vows to destroy him. We then find ourselves aboard one of Stannis’s ships at night, asking Davos to smuggle Melisandre ashore. Here is where things take a bizarre and disgusting turn. As Davos leads Melisandre through some underground tunnel, they find themselves blocked off by iron bars. Melisandre calmly says not to worry and proceeds to just flat out give birth to some demonic shadow figure, complete with freakish screams and a disfigured body. The episode then cuts to black. I guess most viewers thought that the episode could not get any more dark than it had been, and seeing this probably left a lot of viewers disgusted and violated. However, it is not like HBO made this up out of thin air. It is fully described in the books, and not only once. Speculatively, although the events play out differently in the book, I believe that Davos and Melisandre are under Renly’s camp; meaning things may not go so well for him in the next episode. We will just have to wait and see.
What a handsome child!