“A little less conversation, a little more action please…”
Gosh. Given that it started with an abrupt and shocking death- even by GOT standards – and the promise of terrible consequences to come, “The Ghost of Harrenhal” ended up being a much more talky episode than I expected, full of lengthy conversation which didn’t always enthrall.
The show is always full of negotiation and intrigue but normally it’s a bit more balanced with action and that was lacking this week – most of the characters just seemed to want to chat about stuff, than actually doing anything.
So Lady Catelyn and Brienne fled poor Renly’s camp, to hang out in a forest, do a little solemn vowing and generally shoot the breeze. Littlefinger hung around like a bad smell – for no real reason other than that’s what Littlefinger does – to offer the Tyrells advice. (Remember how Littlefinger’s advice worked out for Ned Stark, Tyrells – don’t get too comfy.) Davos tried to give Stannis the Stubborn some wise but unwelcome counsel. And we spent about half the episode hanging out with Daenerys in Qarth – which looks exactly like one of those supposedly idyllic planets they regularly visit in Star Trek:The Next Generation, the planets with the evil secret business which needs someone to break the Prime Directive to sort, you know the ones – having a blether with her dragons, her handmaidens, the Dothraki Artful Dodgers, a warlock, Xano, Mormont… who’s left? The milkman? And what made it all the more bizarre is how interested they all were in everything she had to say. Daenerys! Whose principal topic of conversation always boils down to: “Iron throne: MINE.” Good grief.
Mormont looking at her like she hung the moon is bad enough, but pretty much telling her so was just embarrassing. Not as embarrassing as Turncoat Theon’s harbour scenes but embarrassing just the same. Bah. Arya Stark is more of a queen than the “Mother of Dragons” could ever be – her scenes with Tywin and with the creepy fellow who owes her three favours were amongst the highlights of the episode, with her continued hardening a sad but inevitable consequence of all that she’s seen and been through. Her vengeance (vengeance being a hot commodity this week) will be terrible but hopefully just – and at least it has actually started happening, unlike Dany’s which only ever seems to be in her head, or in her empty, lengthy speeches.
Sigh. At least the Night’s Watch’s unusually chatty scenes seemed to be setting us up for something big, as Smoulders-inthe-Snow and co shivered, pondered and plotted. That story, like Arya and Tyrion’s, felt like it was going somewhere important but a few too many of the other sub-plots felt like dithering. Having said that, there was plenty to keep me interested. Dithering on Game of Thrones is still dithering worth watching.