‘Game of Thrones’ Season 2, Episode 4: ‘Garden of Bones’ Recap

Published 3 years ago by , Updated April 23rd, 2012 at 7:00 am,

Jack Gleeson Game of Thrones Garden of Bones Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones Recap

When one stops to consider the scope of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, its easy to understand the amount of time it takes for specific information to travel from kingdom to kingdom – not to mention how long, and through how many more channels said information has to travel in order for it to be disseminated amongst what amounts to be common folk.

Certainly, one of the highlights of Game of Thrones has always been the use of information as power, and in ‘Garden of Bones,’ this continues to be the case.

However, much of the information dispersed amongst the main characters happens to be comprised of rumor and conjecture – which appears to be a unique currency in its own right. Naturally, there are those such as Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Varys (Conleth Hill) and Lord Baelish (Aiden Gillen) who, were it not for the combined power of information, disinformation and misconception would be largely powerless against their more sword wield-y adversaries. And as Tyrion demonstrated during ‘What is Dead May Never Die,’ lives and positions can be obliterated as easily with words as they are by the edge of a sword. On the other hand, some, like Robb Stark (Richard Madden) unwittingly see a benefit to the level of miscommunication that seems to mutate the truth as swiftly as his attacks on the Lannisters.

Word has spread to King’s Landing that Robb Stark is attacking with an army of wolves and that the bodies of the dead are being eaten. Surely, this kind of exaggeration can only benefit the King of the North as he marches his army ever closer to Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). The only trouble is, as Robb freely admits to a woman he’s only just met, once the king has been dethroned, there is no official plan to replace him. Making clear that though Robb may be skilled at war, he’s woefully lacking in any knowledge of what comes afterward.

Speaking of the poster boy against inbreeding, Joffrey has taken to punishing Sansa (Sophie Turner) for her brother’s victories in battle, having his betrothed beaten for little more than his own pleasure. Thankfully, Tyrion steps in, refers to his nephew as a half-wit and eloquently demonstrates the difference between educating someone and threatening to end their life. For her part, Sansa seems to be one of few in King’s Landing capable of learning any sort of lesson that may ensure a longer life. When Tyrion offers her an out she brushes it aside, professing loyalty to Joffrey.

Curious as to how Joffrey could have turned into such a – well, let’s just say, sadist – Tyrion and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) come to the conclusion that it must be teenage hormones and decide to send two prostitutes to his bedchamber, as a little belated nameday gift. Unfortunately, King Joffrey only likes seeing pain inflicted on others. This time, however, Joffrey knows that his actions will also serve as a message to his uncle.

Elsewhere, Petyr Baelish arrives at Renly’s encampment and is poorly received by everyone he encounters. First by Renly (Gethin Anthony), based on their history with one another, then with Renly’s wife Margaery (Natalie Dormer), after Baelish presses her for details concerning rumors that Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) is more acquainted with Renly’s tent than his new wife. Things continue to go south for Baelish during his encounter with Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). Naturally, Baelish calls the rumors he deceived Ned at King’s Landing pure rubbish, but plays his hand in winning Catelyn’s love too soon, earning nothing but rejection. Undaunted, Baelish negotiates with the lives of Sansa and Arya (Maisie Williams), in exchange for Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster–Waldau) – despite Arya’s whereabouts being unknown. As a token of good faith, Baelish even delivers Ned’s bones to Catelyn.

Gethin Anthony Game of Thrones Garden of Bones Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones Recap

Given all the trouble brewing in and around King’s Landing, it’s easy to forget that Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her small group of Dothraki have still not escaped the expanse of the Red Waste. As luck would have it, though, the Thirteen of Qarth have taken an interest in her dragons, and despite a brief misunderstanding, Daenerys and her followers are granted entry into the city.

Things don’t turn out as well for the other beleaguered travelers, Arya and Gendry (Joe Dempsie). Instead of a beautiful, lush city, the pair are instead greeted by ancient stone once melted by the fire of dragons in the allegedly haunted fortress of Harrenhal. Essentially waiting for a horrible death, Arya and Gendry are saved by an unlikely source: Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance). Tywin puts Gendry back to his trade as a blacksmith, while putting Arya to work as his cupbearer. For those counting, that makes two Starks who are saved by a Lannister in one episode.

The challenge to the iron throne gets positively supernatural, as Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) resorts to underhanded trickery to remove his brother from the equation. After a very brotherly squabble that resulted in an impasse, Stannis tasks Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) with smuggling Melisandre (Carice van Houten) ashore so that she may demonstrate her labor-intensive way of producing an assassin.

Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with ‘The Ghost of Harrenhal’ @9pm on HBO. You can watch a preview for the episode below.

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  1. Okay, that last scene. I read the books. I still said “wtf”. They somehow made it even WEIRDER. o_O

    • hahaha same here!!!
      But I think this was the best one yet. Can’t wait for the next episode

    • I haven’t read the books, and THAT too was weird.

      And yes, I want Joffrey’s head on a pike….

  2. Joffrey’s sadism made that last scene easier to take, surprisingly.

  3. That last scene was just insanely weird and disturbing. Not even the female nudity could make that scene somewhat okay.

    • There are moments on this show where I literally get up off the couch and stand up because I can’t believe what I’m seeing. The last scene of this episode almost ranks up there with Ned getting his head chopped off (I’m remember talking out loud to the TV … OMG OMG as the sword came down). The visual image of the black smokey hands grabbing Melisandre’s calf and pulling itself out of her womb is mind-blowing.

  4. That was my fave episode of the season so far WTF moment after WTF moment plus with a few laughs thrown in ” are you a ham ” this show carnt be touched at the minute !

    • I lost it for a minute with the bit about the ham. And I too liked quantum of solace.

  5. Does anyone remember if the scene with Joffrey torturing the whores was in the books? Or just eluded to? I don’t remember that at all! So disturbing…they really make it easy to hate him!

    The CG shadow creature – amazing!

    • alluded=hinted at. eluded=escaped capture.

    • The book isn’t from Joffrey’s perspective at all, so it definitely isn’t in the books. I don’t remember them talking about it at all either, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t…

  6. HERE WE GO PEOPLE!!!! G.O.T is getting brilliantly Badass even more so than it already is. Some HUGE moves were made in this episode, I’m excited that the season is still only on it’s fourth episode. The fact that the fantasy is brief and held out only amplifies the effect when it is presented. I want to curse it’s so good but I’ll say it is “astonishing”.

      • ROFL.

        Season 2 – 10 episodes. Season final : Jun. 3, 2012

  7. Absolutely loved this episode.

  8. I also noticed the set pieces and set design has gone up since last season. This latest episode is visually stunning. I must have taken 20-25 screen shots for laptop wallpaper.


  10. Amazing CGI, I have to see each episode again because I can’t believe my eyes. I read all the books and enjoy the characters from the series bringing them to life. The young actors are all so talented especially evil Joeffry.

  11. Did not like it, one of my least favorite episodes of the show so far actually. Plot holes are starting to become gaping and the show seems content to use gratuitous violence and essentially mysogomist torture porn as distraction.

    I have not read the books, and have not wanted to up till now because the show has been so good for stretches that I literally did not want to become distracted by the books. Now I am curious if the books suffered from the same shortcomings as the show. Among other things, when do we, or do we, get a look at anybody governed by the Throne in Westeros besides Soldiers and those looking on in horror at some form of mutilation or getting brutally stetched and killed in prison. Certainly there is a working class, correct. Need to see it, just a little or there is just no perspective. I for one see the show straying right now and I am slowly losing interest.

    • What plot holes? The only thing wrong with this show is sequencing, which is nothing if you’ve never read the books.

    • John

      What “plot holes”? I would LOVE to hear you describe them.

      And no, you don’t get the middle class. Medieval fantasy is always about lords and knights and peasants on the rise. You’re not going to see a Game of Thrones episode about a middle class merchant going to work in King’s Landing and then coming home to his wife and 2.3 kids. Sorry, that’s just not going happen man.

      So long if that’s a deal breaker for you. I will say you see an expanded view of Westeros as the story develops, but it’s still about a lot of messed up things happening.

      • I am not looking for a midievil fantasy show about a man coming home to his two kids and wife, that is not what I am asking for at all. However, at some point you ask, “what is being governed,” or “to what end are the governers seeking power.” Tyrion spoke to Cersei recently on the show about the art of leading, the art of governing, but in order for there to be any complexity to leadership there must be some kind of share culture between those governing and those being governed other than the threat of death. Put another way, what makes death a “threat” of any kind for a person under Lannister rule, what viable alternative is offered that would prevent from an immediate and universal revolt against their rule?

        And yes I understand that messed up things are going to continue to happen. But I hold this show to a high standard. The Joffrey scene bothered me, that was all but explicit and truly pointless mutilation that did not drive home one plot point that was not already well understood. That time would be better spent polishing rough edges and they will thank themselves down the line. I am not bailing on the show, but it is no longer above reproach. I though Garden was a step in the wrong direction.

        • mysogynist*
          thought* ahhhh whats the point?

          • Great point!

        • I think George R.R. Martin (and subsequently the producers / directors of the HBO series) use grit and gratuity partly to shock and/or attract the audience, and partly to flesh out each character, giving them a depth born out of their harsh living circumstances, or born out of the moral (or immoral) choices they make at each point of the tale.

          Honestly, the ‘Game of Thrones / Song of Ice and Fire’ books can be even more gratuitious and shocking to read than to watch (though not by very much), and the gritty nature of the story has been that way from the start. It really comes down to whether or not the things you read or see as you experience the story are too offensive for you to continue experiencing it.

          I read the books… stopped a number of times – the books were just too gritty/explicit for my tastes at certain points. But I eventually came back anyway, because the characters had become so fleshed out in my mind, and elicited such real emotional responses from me, that I really wanted to know what happened next.

          • I get it, and I no doubt will be making popcorn next Sunday at 8:55 PM, but from my understanding, that particular scene was a gratuity not even taken in the book. Look, I’m not trying to be all “old-fashion” or “take that stuff off my TV.” Season 1 had its fair share of brutality and I thought that was the best 10 hours of TV I have ever seen. That just pushed it too far in my opinion, not conceptually, but in the production. Television is a tricky world of its own, I just think they may want to know when to put their foot on the break a little bit to be, yes, a little tasteful.

            • All the scenes in this episode were in the books, including Joffrey.

              • No, all of the scenes were not in the book. All of the scenese with the prostitue were not from the book. The scene with Joffery in the bedroom with the two prostitues was definetly not in the book either.

                The books are wonderful and I love them, some of the best stories I have read. However, after a while I have to walk away from them because of the death and violence towards men and women (which only gets worse in the later books).

                I think the TV show was extremely faithful to the book in the first season. This season seems to be putting in extra scenes though.

            • John, I get what your saying and I think many people would agree. From my perspective it wasn’t really pointless. To me it portrayed two things. One, Joffrie getting back at Tyrion, the only way he knows how. Think of it as his way for what Tyrion did later in the episode to Cersie. The second thing I took from it was that before I thought he was more power hungry than anything and that’s why he does what he does. Now, I understand it more fully that he basically gets off to that stuff. So was it pointless? I wouldn’t say so. Also, it makes me wonder if he’s ever going to bed a gal?

              • Rob: *SPOILER* he won’t *END SPOILER* . . . or he might, if the writers decide to have him wanting to be like Robert, but I doubt it since this scene threw that theory out entirely.

        • i mean your allowed to have your own point of view and im sincerely not tryoing to be rude, but this is not a family show. That scene with joffery was dark for sure, but its not like they took a scene out of hostile or the human centipide and put in anything outragous…if it bothers you that much go watch once upon a time or grimm or something like that for your fantasy fix.

          • I feel that the whore/beating scene was added to flesh out Joeffery’s character as being pure slime. I seem to remember (forgive me if I’m wrong, it’s been a long time since reading book 2) that the scene where he is “punishing” Sansa as being longer and more brutal. But for practicality sake, there is only some much beating and stripping of a young girl that the film makers can show.

            As for showing the perspective of the average person, the show will definitely show what the everyday person starts to think of the King and Cersei in particular. It was a pretty large point in the book and I believe in one of the season previews it showed a glimpse of a specific event. So don’t give up! More is to come!

    • If you want a piece about peasants in Westeros, The Tales of Dunk and Egg (also by George R.R. Martin) might be the closest you’ll get. Otherwise, you’re going to need to read the series. The show probably won’t have much to say about peasants, beyond what is currently shown, until one or two seasons from now.

  12. love the show- wish it was a longer season to be honest.. never read the books.. but it seems like there is so much to each, main character, that 50 minute shows and only 10 episodes just doesnt do the story justice.. dont get me wrong, the producers are doing an amazing job, just want more is all :)

    dont know if it was in the books, but i love the “get the poison out” reference.. that has been a saying on the H. Stern show for a few years now.. to FUnny!!

    G.O.T – the only show on TV that i cant wait to watch each week.. just keeps getting better and better..

    • Yeah, Bronn is turning out to be quite the clever thinker and not just a man used only for his facility of murder (as Tyrion calls it).

  13. At long last – an eventful episode of Game of Thrones that gives the viewer something excited to get worked up over.

    Still lacking cohesion with too many multiple characters spread all over the place, but at least I’m looking a lot more forward to future episodes now

  14. All I’ll say is I frakking love this show and I miss Ned Stark’s honor in the show and Jon Snow is the man though not featured in the episode. I can’t remember the last time the Wall or beyond it was not in an episode.

    • Don’t worry, winter is coming…

  15. I find it rather humorous that there’s a grapevine of information that bypasses all official channels. Even common serfs and footsoldiers know that Renly Baratheon is gay and is sleeping with his main knight, Cersei bedded her brother and made incest offspring, etc…
    The main players like to think nobody is talking about them, but oh they are…

    Having never read any of the books, I can say from an outsider’s perspective its great entertainment. I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed HBO’s “Rome”.

  16. Of all these would-be Kings I have to say seeing Tywin Lannister ride up and change the fate of the two prisoners Arya and Gendry in split second really looked the part of a leader. I do like the idea that all the characters are flawed and only the departed Ned Stark had a clear vision of being a heroic honest man.

  17. Like those written before me, I’m enjoying this series & have chosen to read the books after these series end.

    I’m certainly hoping that Joeffery somehow learns of Arya & after capturing her he then wishes to publicly degrade her like all those before. I’m just hoping that Arya challenges him to a sword fight, Bronn pipes up, “To the Death” & she accepts that challenge & has the honor of extinguishing his life. I’m wishing to believe that Gendry will finally become King & Arya accepts his hand.

    Sansa unfortunately only wants the material side of her so called relationship with Joeffery so I’m not expecting to see her last right the way through.

    Tywin Lannister, yes he’s from the wrong side but he asks plenty of questions & doesn’t like blatant devious actions that will unjustly hurt others. I have grown to like him & hope that he remains throughout the series & happy for Bronn to be by his side.

    Let’s hope that Cersei & Catelyn are put together so we can see the fireworks from that matchup and that pirate who is wishing to have his way with Cersei, if that happens, then that would certainly take some wind out of her sails, acid from her mouth.

    Though Theon Greyjoy went home fruitlessly trying to persuade his father Balon Greyjoy to help with the cause, let’s hope that he does remain a friend to Robb Stark (burning the note from Robb so no one could read it) & somehow outsmarts both his father & sister Asha & shows them unashamedly why he should have been given more respect.

    Yes, the ghost of Ned Stark would not go astray & I’m wishing that he may appear.

    Daenerys Targaryen & is it ? Ser Jorah Mormont, well who-ever it is those two are meant for one another, just how long must we wait to see them connect. And when Daenerys returns home, let’s hope her dragons are ready to have a run-in with Melisandre & her demon offspring.

    • Well said. I too enjoy this show and cant wait to see what in store in the following weeks.

    • I don’t think Sansa wants any part of any so called relationship with Joffrey. She wanted her hair brushed by a nurse maid (or whatever you call it), but she was vain and a little bratty before Joffrey, so I would not take that as any indication that she is enjoying whatever material perks her enslavement is bringing her. As far as her continually professing her loyalty to Joffrey, she has one reference for how people end up who question Joffrey’s rule, and that is first in a dungeon, and then shortly after with no head. Sansa hopes that help is on the way, and is just trying to stay alive for as long as she can. Or so I think, without the books to help me.

  18. “Labour-intensive” i lolled..