Game Of Thrones "The Night Lands" REVIEW

Oh brother…

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The One Where: Tyrion deals with the fall out from the baby slayings in King’s Landing, Arya encounters trouble on the road and Theon finds some surprises in store when he returns to the Iron Islands.

Verdict: What with last week’s kiddie killings, you might have thought that there weren’t many places left to go for Game Of Thrones in the moral outrage stakes. You’d be mistaken, though. This week, we’re treated to the seedy reality behind the scenes at a King’s Landing brothel and a brother and sister horse ride that is several different shades of wrong. It’d be enough to make you sick in your mouth if it wasn’t so bloody entertaining, and true to form Game Of Thrones continues to intrigue and titillate in equal measure.

Building on last week’s brutal climax, where King Robert’s bastards were slaughtered by Janos Slynt and his bloodthirsty Gold Cloaks, Tyrion steps up to put things right only to discover all is not as it seems. Joffrey doesn’t make an appearance, but his presence looms large – Cersei’s beginning to feel the strain of trying to control her lunatic son, and it makes for electrifying stuff as she takes it out on Tyrion.

The Imp has troubles of his own of course, but nothing he can’t handle. His warning to Varys had weight to it, although the Spider’s impressive knowledge of, well, pretty much everything is equally awe inspiring. Not only does he know exactly what happened to Tyrion on the battlefield, but he’s got the inside skinny on Shae and he’s even got little birds north of the Wall telling him what the Wildlings are up to. Watching his machinations around the capital continue to fascinate, and whatever game he’s playing, it appears that he’s the only one who knows all the rules.

Outside of King’s Landing, there are rude awakenings for a number of key players as the denizens of Westeros make their lives difficult. Arya gives away her sex and her station to Gendry on the road to Winterfell, and it’s looking like Ned and King Robert’s kids are forging a valuable friendship among the scum that are being sent to the Wall. Joe Dempsie is really beginning to shine as the last remaining Baratheon bastard, no mean feat among such an excellent cast, and it’ll be interesting to see where his story goes from here.

Dany has her eyes opened across the narrow seas when nothing but a head returns with one of her Bloodrider’s horses, and things are looking bleak for the last Targaryen and her tiny Khalasar. It’s a toss up between Dany and Theon as to which has the toughest break though. Dany is having to come to terms with the fact that her position is rapidly becoming untenable, but Theon? His return to the Iron Islands and his family, House Greyjoy, is the stuff of nightmares.

Not only does nobody on Pyke give a flying fig about his rank or name, but he accidentally does some truly disgusting things to his sister before finding out that his father hates his guts. Tough break, but Alfie Allen is superb as the arrogant Stark ward bought low, all barely restrained outrage and filthy innuendo. You could almost feel sorry for Theon if he wasn’t such a disgusting little creep. Still, it could be worse – he could have taken a trip to Littlefinger’s brothel.

Theon’s inglorious visit to the Iron Islands tells us much about the war effort, not least that Balon Greyjoy will not be helping Robb as the various kings of the seven kingdoms each attempt to round up enough ships to take King’s Landing. Stannis appears to be winning thanks to some canny pirate recruitment by Davos, while Renly has the biggest army and the Greyjoys the most ships. All of which means Robb Stark better start making some friends, or he’ll be teaching his northern army to swim before long.

Don’t I know you? Resident comedian of the Night’s Watch Edd Tollet is played by Ben Crompton, who appeared in sketch show Man Stroke Woman alongside Nick Frost.

Best line Tyrion: “I hope you enjoy the wall. I found it surprisingly beautiful in a brutal, horribly uncomfortable sort of way.”

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