Episode 2.2 “The Night Lands”
[photos: Helen Sloan/HBO]
Good news everyone! GoT has been renewed for a third season! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Things are confusing enough as it is without adding eight thousand more characters and a hundred fifty new plot lines that will never be resolved in any kind of satisfactory way.
By now, no doubt you’ve recognized that GRRM (George R.R. Martin, in case you haven’t been paying attention) doesn’t wrap things up in a nice and tidy bow just so we’ll be happy with the endings. No sirree. Sometimes I think he takes a Nihilistic approach to his characters. I’ve written about all the things that I think make this show good, including his willingness to take a character you love, and just lop his head off. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the sex, not wanting to seem pervy, or jeopardize the family friendly nature of this awesome site, but it would seem that this is the episode for that. It has to be addressed. I mean, GOOD GAWD. Steamy. Tawdry. Explicit. Awesome.
I know what you’re thinking. “Mr. Smith, I watched this episode and I found the sex to be kind of….degrading. And objectifying. Yeah. That’s how I felt about it. You think it’s awesome? Really? You must be some kind of chauvinistic jerk.”
I have a response to that, your fictional inquiry, but first, here’s what happened this week…
Arya (Ary now, as she must be a boy to survive, though “Dave” might have been a better choice there.) finds herself hiding from the cops, or the Gold Cloaks from King’s Landing. She and Gendry, bastard son of Robert Baratheon and Joffrey’s only surviving bastard rival (as he had the rest put to the sword), kind of “out” each other as being on the lam when they both use the same hiding spot. Yoren stands between the King’s Guard and his quarry for the wall. Because they belong to the wall now. Well, Gendry is headed there. Yoren will be dropping off Arya at Winterfell. Gendry figures out that Ary is a girl, AND that she’s Arya Stark, and Gendry tells Arya that he knows he’s the bastard son of King Robert, but they’re buds, so it’s cool.
Tyrion catches Varys talking with his lady. There goes any hope of her being undetected. They trade threats. Tyrion promises to kill Varys if word of Shae’s presence reaches his father. Varys is unimpressed. Tyrion and Lord Janos have some words, resulting in Jannus’s expulsion to the wall because of his previous betrayal to the previous Hand. Tyrion’s man Bron is named the new commander of the City Watch. Tyrion and Cersei butt heads at every opportunity, and later we find out why she hates him so much. She’s pretty much bitterness personified.
The men in black start getting a bit randy for the wives and daughter wives of Craster. Sam puts the moves on one that’s pregnant. Well, not really. She comes to him for help. But Jon Snow will have none of it. He has a good point though. They cannot help her. She’ll get killed or get them killed. What she couldn’t tell him was that Lord Craster, who’s hospitality they currently enjoy, is taking all the male children and giving them to the white walkers. Jon sees him do it and gets captured (presumably). He’s a nosy one, that one.
The Dothraki contingent has seen better days. but hope is stirred as a horse approaches. carrying the head of one of her scouts. Daenerys is outraged. She is constantly being challenged because she’s female, and she’s had about enough. Only one scene with Daenerys again this week though. Could be they’re gearing up for an episode centered around her. Which would be welcome.
Theon Greyjoy celebrates his arrival home to the Iron Islands by having another go at the ship Captain’s daughter. He has no concern that she’ll be punished and regarded as a whore by her father. He’s not the most honorable of Lords. As soon as he docks, he finds a lady to give him a ride to his father’s keep. This woman he also molests, but she sees him to the castle nonetheless. Theon is berated by his father, who rejects Theon’s proposal to join Robb Stark. With disgust. Theon then discovers that he not only is a Stark in his father’s eyes, but that he just spent the last hour or so bad-touching his own sister, who will be commanding his father’s fleet.
More sex, as Petyr Baelish “surveys his business interests.” To sooth an unsatisfied customer, Baelish wipes semen off the face of one of his girls and just hands her over, and it’s back to work for her. I mention that because, well, because. He finds he must comfort another as she cries for her friend’s baby’s death, another victim of the King’s bastard hunt. Petyr threatens her, and reminds her how much worse things could be for her if she remains unable to keep his clients happy. Say what you want about him, but he’s an effective manager, considering the world they live in.
Stannis’s man gets some ships. Pirates. Arrrrr. Stannis gets counsel from the Melisandre. She counsels him to bang her. Because she’ll let him knock her up with an heir. Apparently that’s what he needs to do to win the war. Who knew it would be that easy?
That, in painfully mundane generalities, is what happened this week. Now I will respond to the aforementioned question that you didn’t ask.
The sex in this series supports the ongoing theme of female subjugation that is so prevalent in this story. It’s necessary, and it needs to reflect another part of the brutality of GRRM’s world. We’ll see this theme pop up again and again as things unfold, and it’s an obvious theme to pick up on. The thing is, the stronger the imagery we have of the way women are treated, the more heroic the women who rise above it become. This is why you’re going to love Yara, and why you’ll continue to love Daenerys, Catelyn, Arya, Shae, Sansa, and even Cersei to some degree. Not to mention Brienne. But we haven’t met her yet, so nevermind.
Well Thronies, that about wraps it up for me. ‘Til next week!