Recap: Game of Thrones Ep. 12: The Night Lands
I was a little unsure after starting this journey last week, but the first recap got some good feedback. It seems some people think that I am funny, and/or they found putting names to characters helpful in understanding the story. Glad to be of service, m’lords and ladies! Unlike last week’s much-delayed recap, I planned to have this up Monday afternoon. That would have required watching the program Sunday evening, but unfortunately I was passed out on the tile floor of my bathroom, praying for the angels to take me and release me from the grip of some pretty serious food poisoning. That did not happen, but I did live to tell the tale, so let us begin:
Episode 12 starts where Episode 11 ends: in the company of the newest Night’s Watch recruits. Arya chats it up with the three rapists/murderers in the jail cell on wheels. One of them is played by a sensitive James Franco type. He’s a little too good-looking, and therefore I am suspicious that he’ll have some more speaking lines later.
Two men from the king’s watch show up with a warrant for Gendry. Arya thinks they are there for her. Surprise! They are there for Gendry, and no one knows why, not even Gendry, who does not know he is probably the last living child of King Robert Baratheon (RIP). One of the two guards and Yoren cross swords and by swords I mean a dagger and an artery. (“I could shave a spider’s arse if I wanted to!” says Yoren. Haha. You are a poet.) The dagger wins (this round!). The men ride back to King’s Landing, minus one sword.
Tyrion goes to visit his secret girlfriend. She is having a chat with Varys, aka, The Spider, aka The Master of Whisperers. What a name. “You should taste her fish pie,” says Tyrion. Just to be clear, he is talking about her vagina, not her home cooking. If you weren’t clear on that, the writers then insert four more references to fish pie and fishing and fishermen. Ugh. Can’t we go back to using “twat” and “arse”? Much more dignified. The audience feels beaten over the head with a dead carp, and I mean an actual carp, this is not another reference to the human anatomy.
Varys makes vague threats towards Tyrion. Tyrion says, “I’m not Ned Stark, I know how this game is played.” The Eunuch responds, “The storms come and go. The big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.” The Eunuch is the Heath Ledger’s Joker of King’s Landing. “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” His only allegiance is CHAOS!
The Lannister cousin that Rob Stark has sent to King’s Landing with His Terms is before Tyrion and Cersei. She tears up the parchment. “You are getting really good at tearing up paper,” Tyrion says to his sister. So true.
One more thing before you go, cousin, says Cersei. “Have you seen Jaime? If you speak with him, tell him he has not been forgotten.” Or not! Whatever. I am super casual. Haha! So you know, if you happen to see my brother-lover I mean brother-uncle I mean Jaime, say hey, or not, whatever. If you have time. It’s cool. Everything’s cool
Also, a raven has arrived. (That white one? What was with that white raven, anyway?) Mormont has written to tell the King about the night walker making it into Castle Black. No one believes him, except Tyrion, who has Seen Things.
Back at the Knight’s Watch encampment at Craster’s Keep, the boys in black are telling locker room stories, like, you fart when you die. The night is dark and full of terrors and the world is full of cold hard truths, and one of them is that you fart when you die. Ghost the Direwolf is terrifying one of Kaster’s daughter-wives, Gilly, who is holding a dead rabbit. Pro tip: Do not hold animal carcasses in front of you when in the presence of giant hungry wolves. Sam shoos Ghost away. She is pregnant with her child-sibling (ugh). Sam and Gilly beg Jon to smuggle her out of the compound, because she knows if she has a brother-son, something bad will happen. Jon wants to know what is so bad that happens. At first I was like, Memo to Jon Snow: Craster kills his sons! But what I didn’t consider is how he kills his sons. At first I figured it was normal old infanticide, but that would be too normal for this show.
Meanwhile, back in the Red Waste where Daenerys and her people are hanging out, waiting to hear back from their scouts, there is a serious Oregon Trail situation going on. Everyone is hungry and dehydrated and the oxen have drowned in the sand river and the children are dying of TB and look, one of the scouts is back! Just kidding, it’s just his horse. With the scout’s head in a bag. And whoever cut off his head included his ponytail, which has also been cut off, probably so it can be donated to Locks of Love. At least his killer was a thoughtful soul. Can we just pause and consider how many beheadings this show has had in its short run? Ten? 100? 1,000? Leave it to George R. R. Martin to look to Mexican drug cartels for inspiration.
Theon Greyjoy The Romantic has taken leave of his friend and faux-brother Robb Stark to negotiate with his father, Balon, Lord of the Iron Islands. On his cruise to the islands he is taking the ship’s captain’s daughter below deck. In true Theon The Romantic fashion, he says, “Try smiling with your lips closed.” Swoon. This sex scene cuts to two more acts of copulation, within the walls of Baelish’s House o’ Whores. A customer is displeased! His lady du jour is weeping. Baelish gives him another prostitute, after he wipes semen from her mouth. Classiest brothel this side of Westeros, this place! Take a breath mint on your way out. They’re free.
Speaking of Theon, remember that time he threw a nickel at Ros so she would flash him her business as she rode a potato cart out of Winterfell? Well, Ros is now managing Baelish’s brothel. She is the red haired office manager of this show, strong and confident. However, Ros is the lady who is crying. Baelish goes in to talk to her. At first you think he’s being very sweet, but then he tells her a terrifying little story of a former weepy prostitute that he sold to a real sicko, “to use her in ways that never occur to most men.” Uhhhhhh. And here I thought they had Something Special, then he had to go and talk in a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit psychotic villain voice. Baelish, I don’t know how much longer you’re going to be my favorite.
Tyrion has invited Janos Slynt, head of City Watch, over for a glass of pinot, followed by a night cap of an exiling to The Wall! So long, Janos! It’s been real. Bronn is now in charge. Tyrion is really setting himself up as a super bad ass. “If I told you to murder an infant girl, still at her mother’s breast, would you do it, without question?” asks Tyrion. “Without question?” says Bronn. “No, I’d ask how much.”
Back at Craster’s place, Arya is figuring out that her father had an interest in Gendry, and Gendry is like, “Girl, I know you’re a girl.” And now he knows she’s Lady Arya Stark. Doesn’t that feel better to get everything out in the open?
Back in the Iron Islands, some old merchant is all, “Whatcha doin’?” And Theon is all, “Oh, you know, carrying some wine, some other stuff and by the way I’m the only living son of Balon Greyjoy! Boom!” He leaves to go get Theon a horse. Meanwhile, a lady has been listening. She offers to take him to Balon. They have a sexy verbal exchange. “Maybe you need someone to teach you,” etc. They ride on her horse to the castle. He is feeling up her breasts then sticks his hands down her lady pants as her breathing gets heavy. “This will be a night you tell your grandchildren of.” Okay, first of all, Theon, whose grandparents talk about sexcapades on horseback? No wonder you are so messed up.
Theon arrives. Hi dad! Remember me? I love you! Balon makes lots of jokes about Theon dressed like a girl, Ned Stark’s daughter, and a whore. Skirts are very on trend in Winterfell, okay, Balon?
Balon is like, daaaaaad, I’m not a girl, and I remember my brothers, and I want to make you king again! Here are Robb’s demands. Just sign it. It’s a good idea, I promise. “I am your only living heir. Who else?”
The lady horse rider comes it. “YARA?!” It’s his sister. Oh. My. God. Guh-ross. Sidebar: I had stopped vomiting by the time I watched this episode, but this scene almost set off another round.
Yara is not only captain of a championship-winning softball team, she commands her own ship, and her father is going to send her to lead men into battle. Sorry, Theon! Guess you have to go back to being generally disgusting.
Back at Dragonstone, Davos is recruiting his friend Salladhor Saan, a pirate, to sail for the army of Stannis Baratheon. He agrees, but only on the condition that he can rape queen Cersei upon taking King’s Landing. So, we introduce the first black guy this show has seen, and he’s immediately portrayed as an unapologetic rapist. Ugh. Show.
Speaking of Cersei, she and Tyrion are fighting again. He’s trying to convince her that they’re “losing the people” and that when winter comes (Winter is coming!) they will revolt against her and Joffrey. Tyrion realizes Joffrey was the one who ordered all of Robert’s suspected bastards killed, and didn’t have the courtesy to tell his mom first. Ruling is hard! “It’s all fallen on me,” she wails. “As has Jaime, repeatedly, according to Stannis Baratheon,” says Tyrion. Zing!
“You’re funny. You’ve always been funny. But none of your jokes will ever match the first one, will they? You remember, back when you ripped my mother open on your way out of her and she bled to death,” retorts Cersei.
“She was my mother too,” says Tyrion, sadly. “Now they’re gone.” (Presumably she means their mother and Jaime?) “For the sake of you,” says Cersei. “There’s no bigger joke in the world than that.”
Yowzah. Things just got real dark. I mean, this is how Irish families talk to each other on holidays after a few drinks!
Stannis and Melisandre walk into the play room, and Davos and his compatriot are playing with their new Playmobile Battle for the Iron Throne Extension Pack. If movies and television have taught me anything, it’s that when we are presented with a table littered with game pieces like checkers or tiny figurines or such, they will eventually be swept off in a dramatic fashion and sex will happen on that surface. Bingo!
Melisandre convinces a reluctant Stannis to bone her. His wife is sick, “shut away in a tower”? Jane Eyre-style? Stannis is like, “I don’t know, bewitching priestess in a Dianne Von Furstenburg wrap dress! I’m married and stuff! But wait - you want to give me a son? YAY!”
There is a thing no married guy has ever said.
And so, all the Playmobil pieces fall to the ground as Stannis thrusts into her, a metaphor for the men that will surely fall in this, the Gaaaaaame of Throoooones.
Back north o’ the Wall, Jon Snow is creepin’, watching Craster take one of his new infant sons into the woods. He follows him. He sees Craster returning from the depths of the woods sans baby. He hears the infant’s cries and rushes towards them, only to see A Creature take the baby away, further into the woods. The very Creature we saw in the very first episode, the tall growly humanoid one with glowing blue eyes. Uh-oh. This might explain why They are not bothering Craster – he offers them routine human sacrifies! Jon hears something. He looks up. Craster hits him over the head. Cut to black. Cliffhanger!