Game of Thrones, Season 2, Ep 3 “What is Dead May Never Die”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Let’s pick up from last episode’s cliffhanger, North of The Wall: The recap highlights before the opening credits reveal enough that I can now see that it’s the wildling farmer guy carrying a baby into the woods. We don’t see exactly what happens to the baby, but when Jon comes around with a bloodied face he tells his commander that the wildling – whose name is Craster – appeared to be giving a newborn son to some creature/thing. One guess what it was… [cough]white walkers[cough]. Commander Mormont tells Jon to mind his own business, they need allies like Craster north of The Wall. Jon accuses Mormont of knowing all along and Mormont gives him a guilty silence.

Craster has had enough of Jon’s snooping and orders the Watch to leave at first light. Samwell tempts fate by talking to the pregnant daughter again, and then forces her to accept a small thing – I think it’s a thimble, because he tells a story about how his mother used to do sewing with it. She conceals it and goes about her farmwork. Prediction: No doubt this will come back to bite Samwell and the Watch in some way in the future. I imagine Craster will find it and banish his daughter to the forest or something. Or maybe he’ll use it as an excuse to betray the Watch.

Winterfell: Bran is still dreaming about wolves. Not much else is happening here lately. He tells his dreams to the old advisor guy, and he says they’re just dreams, there’s no magic or dragons (ha!) or giants left in the world. Foreshadowing much? Given we’ve seen dragons already, no doubt magic and giants will make a reappearance later on.

The Iron Islands: Theon has a conniption that his father wants Theon’s sister Yara to lead a fleet of 30 ships to attack a significant mainland town, while Theon is assigned one ship to attack a small fishing village. Lord Greyjoy accuses Theon of being in league with the Starks, now their enemies. Theon says he was never given a chance to prove himself, as his father sent him away to the Starks, so none of it was his fault. With his dad questioning his loyalties, Theon has to decide where they lie. He writes a letter to Robb, warning him of the Greyjoy attack, but then burns it and undergoes a ceremony to cement his allegiance as a Greyjoy. This puts him on a collision course with Robb – which will no doubt cause issues later when Robb finds out.

King’s Landing: More intrigue. Tyrion executes a clever plan to find out the loyalties of the three main council members, the old man (whose name I learn is Pycelle), the eunuch Varys, and the whorehouse master Petyr Baelish. He tells each of them that he is planning to marry off Princess Myrcella (Joffrey’s sister, I believe) to a different House to cement an alliance, and that the Queen must not know. Of course, Cersei finds out, and the House she rails against to Tyrion reveals that Pycelle told her. Tyrion has Pycelle rounded up and sent to the dungeons. And thus Tyrion begins flushing the court of people loyal to anyone but him. Clever move, given what happened to the last two Hands of the King.

Sansa meanwhile looks down in the dumps, understandably. She knows the motions to go through to keep Cersei happy, but obviously her heart isn’t in it. Tyrion wants to hide the woman he brought with him, and for some reason thinks it’s a good idea to have her serve as Sansa’s handmaiden. Sansa is confused, because this woman is foreign and obviously knows nothing about being a handmaiden, but in her dulled state of mind she accepts her without much question. I don’t know – this seems like a stupid move by Tyrion. You want to hide someone from the royal court… so you give her a job in the royal court? I think someone’s going to find out what’s going on and Tyrion will be in trouble.

Renly’s camp: Cat arrives at Renly’s war camp. He is watching a battle between two armoured knights, an antler-shaped crown on his head and a young queen by his side. The fight ends with one knight yielding, and the winner removes a helmet to reveal… she’s a woman! She’s named Brienne and wants to serve in Renly’s guard. Renly grants this, to the horror of the defeated knight, who looks like a young Heath Ledger. Cat then talks to Renly, to deliver the proposal of an alliance with Robb. Cat calls him “my Lord”, rather than the kingly “your Grace”, and Brienne wants to smack her in the face for this dishonour, but Renly is more relaxed about it and Cat is defiant.

I thought this was the first time we’d seen Renly, but a later scene in his tent proves me wrong. In an earlier episode we’d seen a strange scene between two young men in a gay relationship. I thought at the time it was a guardsman at King’s Landing and someone else I didn’t know. But it turns out that it’s Renly and young Heath Ledger! “Heath” is not impressed about Brienne. Renly is annoyed and sends Heath away. Then the young queen enters, her name is Margaery and she is originally from House Tyrell. (Tyrell sounds like a familiar surname, but I can’t for the life of me remember who else has that name. Maybe I’m getting it confused with something else.)

Margaery wants to consummate their marriage of a couple of weeks ago. It turns out she knows her husband only likes men, and is willing to have Heath do a threesome with them to get Renly in the mood. But she insists that it’s important for him to “plant a baby” in her to cement the alliance of Renly with House Tyrell and to show he is a worthy leader and king. Renly seems too disgusted by her female body to go through with this at this point.

We don’t know what Renly will do with Robb’s proposed alliance yet, but it seems very unlikely Renly will want to join Stannis, so Robb makes a more likely alliance. Aiee, this is so complicated!

The road north: Arya can’t sleep. The man who caught her, and leader of this rag-tag group heading to The Wall, talks to her while everyone else sleeps. He tells her a story of bad things that he’s seen and she asks him how he sleeps after having seen them. Then someone sounds an alarm and the guy rouses everyone to fight! Their camp is being raided by Joffrey’s guard, again looking for Gendry. In the battle, Arya loses her sword, and one of the guards uses it to kill a blond boy. The caravan leader is also killed (I guess I don’t need to learn his name any more). During the fight, Arya hands an axe to the three prisoners who were locked into a cage and who threatened her last episode, so they can get out and fight. We don’t see what happens to them, but I bet they reappear later to make a nuisance of themselves. Bad move, Arya.

With the rest of the camp captured, Joffrey’s guards say they’ll start removing eyeballs until the prisoners turn over the one named Gendry. With Gendry standing next to her, Arya says it was the blond boy they already killed, and points out the bull-shaped helmet lying near him as evidence.

Well, it looks like Arya will be going back to King’s Landing after all. Hopefully she’ll be clever enough to escape these goons and do something useful to help Sansa. Of course she has to get her sword Needle back somehow too. I think she will, but it could take a while.

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