"The King can do as he likes," King Joffrey declared on Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones. The sovereign teen exercised that right both in public and behind closed doors in a sadistic way that made that message painfully clear to his subjects and his uncle Tyrion.
Who else showed their might? Who failed to advance? TVGuide.com breaks down the power shifts in "Garden of Bones":
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Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson): Miffed upon learning of Robb Stark's latest victories in battle, Joffrey takes his anger out on poor Sansa — not only getting Ser Meryn to beat her up but also partially disrobing her in front of all his courtiers. And although Tyrion puts a stop to that, Joffrey's sadistic side isn't sated. He then forces one of the prostitutes that Tyrion sends (in a failed attempt to distract his nephew from violent pastimes) to strike another prostitute repeatedly with a stag-headed scepter. This is direct message to his uncle, who, once he sees the abused woman, will know that Joffrey will find a way to retaliate by hurting others. Slapping is too good for the boy! We haven't had a nice beheading in a while...
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage): The Imp knows that dear cousin Lancel is bedding Cersei (she really loves her family) and uses it to blackmail the newly minted knight to be his informant. Tyrion previously removed two of the Queen Regent's allies, and now he has a man on the inside of Cersei's own bedchamber! Strike three for dear sister Cersei. We wonder what he's planning for the home run?
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke): Finally we have hope that the khaleesi won't perish out in the desert! Daenerys and her horde are accepted into the city of Qarth — but not without a little disagreement among the Thirteen, the Elders of Qarth — and find a new ally in a mysterious man from the Summerlands, Xaro Xhoan Daxos.
Melisandre (Carice van Houten): Congratulations! It's a... uh... shadowy thing! The priestess gives birth to a black CGI screaming thing with tendrils that we can only assume has some sort of power. Power to do what? Make shadow puppets? No clue, but we suspect it's awesomely scary.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams): We're relieved she escaped that farce of an interrogation involving rats eating out your belly, but now she'll be Tywin Lannister's cupbearer. He was sharp enough to know she was a girl upon first sight; will he be able to suss out her true identity? The Lannisters don't harbor much love for the Starks, and she could be a very important hostage.
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Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner): Poor Lannister punching bag. How will she survive marriage to Joffrey?
Robb Stark (Richard Madden): He might be winning every battle in the field, but the righteous healer lady Talisa certainly put him in his place, questioning why he's causing death and destruction if he doesn't even know what his final goal is. Whoa, saucy! She doesn't care for all these warring kings, much less this so-called King in the North!
Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon): He's being used (albeit pleasurably) by Cersei in the bedroom, and now Tyrion is using him as well (less pleasurably) to spy on her. He should have remained a page... and never have helped kill King Robert.
Power Outage, aka The Fallen
Episode 4: Unknown number of Tywin Lannister and Robb Stark's men, the villagers "questioned" and then tortured by rats
Episode 3: Yoren, Lommy
Episode 2: Rakharo
Episode 1: Daenerys' horse, Maester Cressen, King Robert's bastards
Bonus Episode Highlights
Spot the Whore! Whore count: 2. You couldn't miss them this episode. Ros the redheaded whore had the unfortunate duty to punish Daisy the not-so-new-anymore whore at crossbow-point.
To Lancel: "Did Cersei have you knighted before or after she took you to her bed?"
To Ser Meryn: "I am not threatening the king. I am educating my nephew. Bronn, the next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him. That was a threat. See the difference?"
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
What was your favorite highlight? What fate do you think Joffrey deserves?