The Ghost Of Harrenhal

Last week on Game of Thrones, it seemed like we might be getting an epic battle now between Stannis and Renly, the Battling Baratheons. I imagined rolling fields, horseplay and stabbing, possibly some use of that shadow creature from last week’s icky cliffhanger.

Was I right? Kinda. Read on, and beware spoilers.

In fact, let’s get the spoiler up front. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Renly? He dead. I did predict last week that it might be time we eliminated a King to provide some clear forward movement in the conflict, but I envisaged them going down in a hail of glorious battle rather than a quick shadow-stabbing.

On the other hand, it does make a certain grim sense for Renly to be the one to go, because he was one of the few Kings to seem benevolent, charismatic and not despicable. His death leaves the throne waiting for the lesser of several evils, which is what they like on this show.

So just Robb flying the flag for being a nice chap now, although he isn’t getting many scenes. It’s almost as if the writers know his character isn’t that interesting, so he’s being outstripped in screentime by his mum and various random knights.

Elsewhere, the plots are juddering onwards. Our friends beyond the wall are about to hit weirdness, Theon is trying to please daddy, Arya and Tyrion continue to compete for Best Scenes, Stannis is warned again by grim Sir Davos not to get too close to religion, and for once may listen.

And Danerys, finally, gets interesting scenes. The over-the-top Quarth backdrop is jarring, but I can’t deny it isn’t fun, even if it still feels like they’ve wandered into the wrong show by accident. So will she abandon Jorah for a marriage of convenience? Past form on this show indicates that she will, then regret it badly when she ends up chained in a box or something.

So part of me is disappointed we didn’t get a huge battle this week, and it would be nice to feel the worlds joining up a bit more perhaps. But there were still some big twists this week, and hopefully there will be more as we hit the second half of the season.

Game Of Thrones airs on Mondays at 9PM on Sky Atlantic. More details on their official site.

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