King Joffrey being a dick

“Garden of Bones”

It begins with a fart joke and when you’re just done laughing, Grey Wind (Robb Stark’s Dire Wolf) disembowels the poor boy. The King of the North has won another rout over the Lannisters and next seen surveying the carnage. When Robb insists that no prisoners are flayed or killed, Lord Bolton (Michael McEllhatton) points out that “the High Road’s very pretty. But you’ll have a hard time marching your army down it.”

Robb gets a lesson in politics from spunky field nurse, Talisa (Oona Chaplin), as she sharply calls him out for not having a plan for the kingdom after killing Joffrey. Robb is clearly smitten and one senses he’ll be pursuing nurse Talisa pretty quickly, pretty soon. Meanwhile, back in King’s Landing, Good King Joffrey is taking the news of his latest defeat out on Sansa. When you’re starting point is beheading Ned Stark, it’s hard to become a bigger dick but Joffrey is pulling it off. Little Lord Tyrion strides upon the scene like a colossus and figuratively smacks down the boy king.

With only Bronn at his side, Tyrion backs down the King’s Guard and rescues Sansa while offering her a way out of her arrangement with Joffrey. She spouts the company line of being loyal to Joffrey and Tyrion is sympathetic but wonders if she “may survive us yet.” I think by “us” he means the Lannisters. On Bronn’s suggestion, Tyrion sends him a couple of hookers to clean his pipes. Naturally, Joffrey orders one to beat the other to a bloody mess and send her back to the Imp with his compliments. Dick.

Littlefinger Baelish is in Renly Baratheon’s camp selling his allegiance (again) but Renly is openly hostile. Still, Lord Baelish argues that when Renly gets to King’s Landing he could face a protracted siege or open gates and this gets his attention. Baelish goes on to make one more pathetic play for Catelyn and she rejects him at knifepoint this time. He saves his skin by making the Lannister offer of the girls in exchange for Jamie. Cat at first rejects him again but when he produces Ned’s bones as a gift from Tyrion, she is given pause to reflect. Renly faces off with Stannis and his fiery priestess, Melisandre, and a Baratheon Battle Royal would seem to be in the offing.

A rider has returned to Daenerys with an invite from The Thirteen, elders of the city of Qarth. Jorah warns that the desert outside of Qarth is called the “Garden of Bones’ and it is said that whenever Qarth closes it’s gates, the garden grows. When the spokesman for The Thirteen asks to see the dragons before entrance, Daenerys refuses. She gets all up on her high horse again and starts making more empty threats before the other black guy in the “Game of Thrones” universe helps her out. Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie) invokes his veto right as a member of The Thirteen and vouches for the Mother of Dragons and her tribe.

At Harrenhal, Arya and Gendry witness the torture of fellow prisoners and await their turn. Arya recites the names of all the people she wants to kill every night when she sleeps. It’s Gendry’s turn on the rack when Tywin Lannister rides in and asks why the prisoners aren’t being put to work instead of death. One look at Arya and he tells everyone she’s a girl and smarter than most of her captors. He’s impressed enough with her enough to make her his new cup bearer. This could prove interesting.

We close with Stannis sending Davos on a smuggling mission to get his Red Woman ashore unseen. Davos is hesitant about fighting dirty like this but Stannis is adamant that “the clean way doesn’t win wars.” When Davos and Melisandre sail into a cave, Davos is alarmed to find a gate has been built since last he used it. Melisandre is nonplussed and calmly disrobes to show a fully distended belly. She then lays back and gives birth to a creepy, skeleton-y smoke baby that grows to full size. WTF?

This week, Clan Greyjoy and the Nights Watch took a seat on the bench but we are rolling right along in “Game of Thrones” second season. Personally, I want more dragon and I want it soon.

GRADE: A