‘Game of Thrones: The Ghost of Harrenhal’ Review

Tonight’s Game of Thrones built up the tension while cruelly dispatching a main character.

The episode stuns us all by starting out with a death – while Lady Stark and Renly discuss alliance strategies, the terrifying shadow-monster from the end of the previous episode appears behind Renly, stabbing him in the chest and killing him. This was a fairly startling entrance to the episode. We’re usually accustomed to seeing these breathtaking moments nearer to the episode’s close – that final scene before the credits roll. Brienne, Renly’s female guard, and Catelyn escape, with Brienne fighting off some guards who think they killed the late Baratheon. In what is a quite touching scene, Brienne pledges her services to Catelyn.

John Snow and the rest of the Knight’s watch are still trudging up north of the Wall. Not particularly much happens to them this episode – their presence in the episode serves more as a reminder that they’re still there. There’s a real feeling of tension in the air, though – the idea that this eventless trek is going to culminate in something. This is further reinforced when John Snow volunteers as a Ranger for an¬†expedition to a Wildling camp to kill a former Knights Watch ranger, who is claimed to be the leader of the Wildlings.

Its also great to finally see Daenerys finally having something positive happen to her – after being courted by wealthy members of Qarth’s Thirteen, she finally decides to gather her own resources rather than relying on the noblemen she barely knows. Her evolution from clueless bride to mighty warrior/leader has been a marvel to behold, and every episode builds upon this. There’s a very funny scene where she tries to prevent her Dothraki followers from stealing gold at a lavish party which really adds a great touch of humor and humanizes the Khaleesi.

The real focus of this episode is Aria Stark. Having rescued the Knight’s Watch prisoners from their cage when the Lannisters attacked, one criminal seems determined to pay his debt to Aria. We’ve seen this building up for some time now, but it’s exciting to see Aria finally able to have somewhat of an effect on the political situation in Westeros. After the deathIt’s pretty clear that there is a lot more to come from Aria Stark. Maisie Williams continues to astonish as Aria – her interactions with Tywin Lannister were brilliantly performed.

Another fantastic episode from the fantasy epic – I don’t even know why I bother giving point ratings anymore.
(8.5/10)

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