Game of Thrones: “The Ghost of Harrenhal” Review: Fire Rules All

Game of Thrones: “The Ghost of Harrenhal” Review: Fire Rules All

By MichaelMonday - April 30th, 2012Categories: ReviewsTags:, , , , , ,

The fifth episode of the season opens up with Cat Stark reassuring Renly that her son Robb doesn’t want the throne.  She wants Renly to join his brother Stannis and like it was a reminder to the viewers, Remly says Stannis cannot be negotiated with.









As if Melisandre was listening, her ghostly offspring that only a witch could love stabbed Renly in the back, while Renly’s warrior woman Brienne just stood helpless in shock.  The shadowy humanoid disappears, and in the confusion Brienne looks like a traitor especially after handily killing two guards. While the brutal take-downs were awesome to watch, we couldn’t help but wonder why the burly Brienne didn’t even raise her sword when she saw the black ghost appear.  Maybe she was paralyzed in fear by the black magic, in any case Cat later persuades Brienne to leave with her.  In the woods, Brienne offers her service for the widow Cat and in exchange receives the promised hospitality the noble Starks are renowned for.

A major theme of “The Ghost of Harrenhal” revolved around fire, and how it rules in the Game of Thrones.  Tyrion, after learning that the public calls him ‘demon monkey’ and blames him for pulling the strings of the brat king Joffrey, interrogates his incestuous spy.  He learns of Cersei’s plan to use the Westeros version of napalm called Wildfire against Stannis’ invading forces.  Tyrion investigates the alchemist’s payload which looked like something out of a medieval Cold War bunker, and uses his title as Hand of the King to seize the vast array of firebombs for himself, and away from the conniving Queen Regent.

Cutting to Jon Snow and the brotherhood in the North, we see them prepare for camp before strange intruders are spotted ahead.  A fire is spotted and signals the power challenges ahead for the stewart turned ranger bastard Stark.  Jon’s story arc is building up for bloodshed, and it will be interesting to see how he handles himself in the upcoming stealth mission.

The Khaleesi Dany is seen feeding her baby dragon as it toasts its own food, showing off a fiery display of the potential power the Mother of Dragon possesses.  She meets a creepy warlock that extends an open invitation to the House of the Undying.  The surprise advances don’t stop for the Khaleesi when Xaros offers immense wealth to raise an army and take the throne, but only if Dany accepts his hand in marriage.

Jorah, Dany’s guard, is warned by a mysterious woman that Dany is vulnerable and needs honest protectors more than ever, almost like she was the chosen one from The Fifth Element.  When Jorah learns of Dany leaning towards accepting Xaros’ hand in marriage, Jorah reveals his feelings and love for the Khaleesi who he believes can offer a caring and motherly reign on the throne.  Dany seems to come to her senses, and she realizes that Jorah’s patient perspective is preferable to being potentially exploited by a black market merchant like Xaros.  Throughout these Qarth-centric scenes, we also learn that ‘fire rules all’, and how Dany’s title as Mother of Dragons is respected but exploited in her throne-less state.

Overall “The Ghost of Harrenhal” was an entertaining hour that paced the viewers with enough action, comic relief, and most importantly enough of Tyrion Lannister to keep viewers tuning in for more.  The series is building up for an epic battle and plot twists that would impress even Jack Nicholson’s character from Chinatown.  In the meantime the viewers are teased with glimpses of the season’s epic climax through laying the seeds of shaky allegiances, sprinkled with samples of the destruction still to come in doses of small skirmishes.  With each passing episode we are left wondering whether honor, money, fire, or treachery will prevail, and we love it.

Arbitrary Review Rating Number: 92%