Game Of Thrones Season 2 Episode 9 recap

First - I mess around on the violin, though I rarely have time for real lessons.  Every week, I think "why don't I play the Game Of Thrones theme song? That would entertain me and annoy the dog." And by the time I remember that I want to try it, it's 10 at night and no longer suitable to subject the neighbours to my screechings.  These are the trials of my life.

But I am spared other trials (i.e. Qarth) because WOW.  How'd you like that sleigh ride? Of course the attack on King's Landing was long forecasted and debated, but somehow I got more and more drawn in as the preparation started to feel real, and as the residents of King’s Landing let more and more fear appear in their eyes.

The biggest cheers tonight will go up for Tyrion who managed to surprise Stannis' army with the Wildfire (I fluctuated wildly in my reaction to this: didn't know if I was supposed to applaud or be skeptical when the explosions were like fireworks - is this an in-joke nod to the Memorial Day weekend? - so I rewound umpteen times and did several of each), led men through the secret tunnels to overtake Stannis' troops, and managed not to kill Joffrey yet again.  But to be fair, we all expect the imp to prevail. We love him, and not just because he calls Varys on his sh-t and has a fake name for Shae at the ready. We love him because we're supposed to. When all's said and done, it's easy to love the hero.  

The reason I loved tonight's episode so much, though, was the people we loved who we're absolutely not supposed to.  Introduce me to anyone you know who has ever sh-t-talked anything, ever, and I will guarantee you that person would pull up a chair beside Cersei, even if they were locked in a to-be-ravaged chamber together.  Was anything ever so entertaining as the woman drunk?  Not just because she was sloppy and silly and had just enough slur in her to berate Shae's curtsies and start digging for dirt, and not just because she had the balls to prepare for the worst, and take out her children before they could be raped at the hand of Stannis' army - Cersei is forever in my favourites because her irritation with Sansa had nothing to do with a master plan.  She's just tired by a girl who can't be bothered, even in the face of death, to be even the least bit real, and I was tickled to find out that her encouraging Sansa to drink wasn't because she was dosing her, but because she was desperate for some company.  

And then just when you thought she was sassy and detached and blasé enough that having Ser Payne there for her own execution didn't faze her, then you saw the humanity in her.  I love that the most consistent things about Cersei are her bitterness about her station in life, and her love for her ill-conceived children nonetheless.  She can't help how much she loves them, and thus she can help how they die, and if Joffrey dies and Myrcella is long gone, at least Tommen doesn't have to face a horrible fate.  At least he can die happily, in his mothers' arms.

Except that's not necessary!  All hail Tywin Lannister with a guest appearance by Loras Tyrell!  In a week where we didn't see many of our usuals, I was happy to see a familiar face.  Do you think Tyrion knew who was charging up the beach at him - that is, after he was incapacitated and saved by adorable Podrick?  I couldn't grasp the extent of his injuries, just as I couldn't tell what exactly Cersei did to Lancel beyond thumping his chest-plate, which wouldn't seem to have elicited such a groan of agony.   Either way, King's Landing is in the hands of...not the “good guys”, exactly, but the ones I'd most trust to handle this situation ...sorry, Robb Stark.

Another unexpected love affair tonight grew between me and The Hound.  I am deeply in Bronn's thrall, and nothing he says is ever wrong.  But this is the show's skill, again, making me feel sorry for The Hound.  He looks at Bronn, a man who lives the same life he does; serving and knowing death is merely an eventuality - but Bronn does it with a light heart and a nude woman on his arm.  That's not how The Hound lives, it's not what he's learned.  He's earned the scars that tell him his way is the right way.  So even though Bronn isn't directly offensive, and even though they are officially on the same side, it would be hard not to resent him.  It would be hard not to resent the person he's become.  

He makes up for it the only way he can: he protects the “little bird” and reassures her, once and for all, that he won't - can't - hurt her.  It's hard not to love someone like that.  Especially since he may bring out the bravery Sansa's been toying with for the last few weeks.

Just one episode left to find out whether Cersei's attempted assassination will be revealed, to find out where Arya got to and whether Sansa will get anywhere she needs to go.  And whether Joffrey will still be entitled to draw breath when Tywin gets hold of him.  If I had a nitpick about this episode, I'd say we were reaching the ends of Shae's acting abilities, but perhaps being in mortal danger - because you know Cersei didn't buy whatever story was about to come out of her mouth - will bring out the best in her.   

(Lainey - attached: super cheese photos of Kit Harington and Richard Madden in Esquire Mexico. Click here to see more photos.)