The Ghost of Harrenhal (TV)

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The Ghost of Harrenhal
Game of Thrones
Episode # Season 2, Episode 5
Airdate April 29, 2012
Director David Petrarca
Episode chronology
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"Garden of Bones" "The Old Gods and the New"
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"The Ghost of Harrenhal" is the name of the fifth episode of the second season of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. It was written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss and directed by David Petrarca. It will air on April 29, 2012

The episode's title comes from the epithet Arya Stark uses in the books to describe herself during her time in the ruined castle of Harrenhal, although the phrase is not used in the episode.

Plot

In the Stormlands

King Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) hold talks in his tent, with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) standing at vigil, when the shadow assassin borne by Melisandre suddenly storms the tent and violently murders Renly before disappearing. Two of Renly's guard enter the tent and accuse Brienne of the murder, whom she then slays in self-defense. Catelyn convinces Brienne to escape with her so that she may at least avenge Renly someday; during their journey, Brienne swears allegiance to Catelyn so long as she never interferes with her vengeance on Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane).

Meanwhile, Renly's death causes confusion amongst his men. Ser Loras (Finn Jones) holds Stannis responsible for Renly's death and wants revenge, but Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) and Renly's widow Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) convince him that his revenge will come another time and they must escape first before Stannis' fleet arrives. Once Stannis reaches the camp, his dead brother's bannermen swear fealty to him, but Davos (Liam Cunningham) warns him to stay away from Melisandre since the men are whispering that she is controlling him. Stannis takes Davos' advice to not bring Melisandre with him during his forthcoming assault to King's Landing, but gives a reluctant Davos the command of his fleet in the coming siege of King's Landing.

At King's Landing

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) blackmails more information out of his cousin Lancel (Eugene Simon), who reveals that Queen Regent Cersei has been stockpiling massive amounts of wildfire, a dangerous explosive chemical. Tyrion visits with the official pyromancer Hallyne (Roy Dotrice), who reveals a secret cache of close to eight thousand barrels of wildfire that Joffrey intends to catapult onto Stannis's forces when they attack the city. Bronn (Jerome Flynn) warns of the dangers of the plan, as wildfire is highy volatile and may inflict more damage onto themselves rather than the enemy, but Tyrion decides to use it and claims the cache for himself.

On the Iron Islands

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) has been made the captain of a single ship, the Sea Bitch, with orders to raid fishing villages on the northern coast. Before even setting sail, Theon's own crew openly disrespect him and abandon him on shore. Theon's first mate comes to his assistance and suggests that Theon will need to win the respect of the men with a more impressive mission. When he proposes an assault to the Northern fortress of Torrhen's Square, Theon disagrees at first, saying that the raid will attract all of Winterfell's forces. However, Theon decides to go through with the plan and attacks Torrhen's Square.

At Winterfell

Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) receives the news that Torrhen's Square is under assault, and urges Ser Rodrik to raise a force to defend it. Later Bran discusses with Osha over his recent dreams, and describes one where Winterfell is destroyed by a monstrous flood. He also asks Osha about the "three-eyed raven" that appears in his dreams, but Osha deflects his inquiries.

Beyond the Wall

The Night's Watch continue to trek further through the north and rendezvous with Qhorin Halfhand, an experienced Night's Watch Ranger, at the ancient ringfort - Fist of the First Men. Qhorin warns that the wildlings have become more organized and dangerous under the leadership of former ranger Mance Rayder, and prepares a party to infiltrate a wildling camp and eliminate him. Steward Jon Snow (Kit Harington) insists on joining the group, and his request is eventually granted.

At Harrenhal

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) serves as the cupbearer for Lord Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance). During a council meeting, Tywin discovers that she is a Northerner, but continues to be unaware of her true identity. Later, Arya encounters Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), whom she had rescued along with Rorge and Biter, and is now disguised as a Lannister guardsman at Harrenhal. Jaqen returns her past favor by offering "three lives" he will claim for her, as a compensation for of the three lives she saved. Arya decides her first victim to be "The Tickler", Harrenhal's cruel interrogator, and soon enough, he is later found dead with a broken neck.

Across the Narrow Sea

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is enjoying holding court at Qarth and watching her dragons grow. Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie) later approaches Daenerys in asking for her hand in marriage in exchange for riches and enough military resources with which to take King's Landing. Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) is vehemently opposed to the planned marriage and urges Daenerys to reconsider. After questioning Ser Jorah's motives, Daenerys eventually relents and hears out Ser Jorah's own plans to obtain her the Iron Throne.

Production

Writing

"The Ghost of Harrenhal" is the third episode of the season to be penned by the writing team formed by the two executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and the eleventh in the whole series. The script is based in the chapters of George R. R. Martin's original book Daenerys II, Arya VII, Catelyn IV, Jon IV, Bran V, Catelyn V, and Jon V (27, 30, 33, 34, 35, 39, and 43). Tyrion's scenes with the Pyromancers and Cersei are parts taken from the chapters Tyrion V and Tyrion VIII (6 and 20).

Some storylines diverge greatly from the source novels: in the books Lord Baelish is sent by the Council to negotiate with the Tyrells only after Renly is dead, Theon's departure from Pyke is not shown and Dagmer Cleftjaw is a scarred old master at arms that is fond of Theon because he trained him when he was a boy, Arya is a scullion instead of a cupbearer and is not able to interact with Lord Tywin, and the character of Xaro Xhoan Daxos has been drastically changed making him heterosexual, of humble origins, and giving him a vault that is never mentioned in the books.[1]

Casting

The episode introduces the character of pyromancer Hallyne, played by the British actor Roy Dotrice. Roy is a personal friend of the author George R. R. Martin, having first met when both worked in the 1980s hit TV series, Beauty and the Beast (Martin as a producer, and Dotrice playing "Father"). Years later Dotrice was Martin's choice to read the audiobooks of all the novels of A Song of Ice and Fire, a work that brought him a Guinness World Record for the largest number of characters voiced in an audiobook.[2]

Since the series were greenlighted Martin expressed his desire to have Dotrice involved, suggesting maester Aemon, Rodrik Cassel or Pycelle as possibilites[3], and in June 2010 it was announced that Roy Dotrice would be playing the role of Grand Maester Pycelle.[4] However, Dotrice later had to withdraw from the show for medical reasons, and Julian Glover was cast in his place.[5] But for the second season, having recovered from his health problems, he was given the role of Hallyne.[6]

Another character introduced in the episode is the mysterious Quaithe, played by the German actress Laura Pradelska.

The series regulars that do not appear in the episode are Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime), Richard Madden (Robb), Sophie Turner (Sansa), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon), Carice van Houten (Melisandre), Conleth Hill (Varys), and Sibel Kekilli (Shae).

Critical reception

IGN's Matt Fowler gave the episode a 8.5/10. [7]

External links

References and Notes

  1. Garcia, Elio. "EP205: The Ghost of Harrenhal". westeros.org. http://www.westeros.org/GoT/Episodes/Entry/The_Ghost_of_Harrenhal/Book_Spoilers/. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  2. "Most character voices for an audio book - individual". Guinness World Records Corporate. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-2000/most-character-voices-for-an-audio-book-individual/. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  3. Martin, George R. R.. "The Beans Are Spilled". Not a Blog. http://grrm.livejournal.com/86651.html?thread=6098299. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  4. Martin, George R. R.. "Fessing Up". Not a Blog. http://grrm.livejournal.com/158167.html. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  5. Martin, George R. R.. "A Change on the Small Council". Not a Blog. http://grrm.livejournal.com/168109.html. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  6. Martin, George R. R.. "Hot New Casting Hints". Not a Blog. http://grrm.livejournal.com/231396.html?thread=14435300. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  7. Fowler, Matt. "Game of Thrones: "The Ghost of Harrenhal" Review". IGN. http://tv.ign.com/articles/122/1223504p1.html. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 

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