Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8 “Second Sons”

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

It’s been a while since I watched an episode, with holidays and travel eating up time recently. But here we go…

Heading North: Arya wakes up in a camp and realises her captor, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, is still asleep. She grabs a rock and sneaks over to bash his head in. Showing the supernatural senses of all good villains, he somehow knows exactly what she’s about to do and says, without opening his eyes, “I’ll give you one chance. Kill me and you’re free. Fail, and I’ll break both your hands.”

Now, I reckon Arya most likely could kill him with a single blow from that rock in her hands, but she wimps out. Geez, a rock that size hitting you in the face – there’s no way you’re going anywhere after that. I’m not sure if it’s through fear of the bloody mess she’ll make of Sandor’s face and brains, or if she lacks confidence in her own ability. Honestly, neither of these reasons seems much like the Arya we know and love. So I’m completely baffled as to why she didn’t smash his brains in.

Later, Clegane is riding and carrying Arya seated on his horse’s neck. She asks where they’re going, and he says to The Twins, where her brother (Robb) and mother (Cat) are. She’s confused on two points: (1) why are Robb and Cat at the Twins, and (2) why is Clegane taking her to them? He explains that Robb and Arya’s uncle is marrying one of the Frey girls, and that Robb will pay a handsome ransom for Arya’s return. Clegane says he’s not all bad, leaving Arya something to ponder.

I hope this is finally the end of Arya’s wilderness wandering, and she is indeed reuinted with Robb and Cat. Her story seems stalled while she’s been wandering around like this. I want her to go and get more training from her swordmaster and then go and kick some serious butt.

North of the Wall: Samwell and Gilly seek shelter in an abandoned cottage. He tries to make a fire and fails, so Gilly invites him to share the furs to keep warm (wink, wink). They talk about naming Gilly’s son, but Sam uses a word that Gilly doesn’t know and she accuses him of making fun of her lack of education. In a huff she goes to light the fire, succeeding quickly. Ah, the awkwardness of the early days of a relationship! No doubt Sam and Gilly will become romantically entangled at some point, but first they have to get over their high school clumsiness.

When they entered the hut, a pair of ominous ravens were seen in a tree nearby. I thought it might have had something to do with Bran’s visions of a three-eyed raven. Now they are interrupted by the raucous cawing of hundreds of the birds. This is too reminiscent of Hitchcock’s The Birds, and they investigate, to find the shambling zombie form of a White Walker heading their way. Sam bravely protects Gilly and brandishes his sword, but the Walker grabs it and the sword shatters. As the Walker heads for Gilly, Sam draws a dagger and attacks it from behind. When he stabs the dagger into its back, the Walker freezes, then turns crystalline and shatters like the T-1000 Terminator after Arnie hits it with liquid nitrogen!

This was completely unexpected. I thought the only thing that could kill White Walkers was fire, and that Gilly would brandish a flaming stick or something to deal with it. So something odd is going on here, and I hope there’s an explanation coming. Unless it’s simply Sam’s righteous fury in defending Gilly that did the trick, but somehow I don’t think that’s enough.

Yunkai: Daenerys wants to conquer Yunkai, but the city has now hired a group of 2000 mercenaries called the Second Sons. She arranges a meeting with their leaders, a group of three men. One (with an Australian accent!) is incredibly rude and insulting to Daenerys, and they explain they’ve been paid by Yunkai, so no matter if she offers them more, they can’t break their contract, or else nobody will hire them again. She points out that if they work for her, they won’t need anyone to hire them again, but this doesn’t persuade them. Another one of the leaders is a smooth guy named Daario who seems to have his eye on Daenerys. (Don’t worry about the other guys’ names.)

The three leaders meet alone, and decide to assassinate Daenerys to improve their odds of winning the battle. Daario draws the short straw (or rather, tha Braavos coin). Later we see him sneak into Daenerys’s camp in disguise and enter her tent, where she is bathing. She is defenseless, but bravely says, “So, you’ve come to kill me?” or words to that effect. He dumps the heads of his co-leaders on the ground (told you their names weren’t important) and says no, they ordered him to, but he actually wants to join her forces! They exchange some significant glances, which may lead to romance in the near future…

So once again, there is no obstacle Daenerys encounters that she cannot overcome merely by being the Mother of Dragons. I’m beginning to think this will continue in a deliberate ploy to make us believe that she’s invincible – until she returns to Westeros and encounters some major setback there.

Dragonstone: Melisandre takes Gendry ashore on a beach at the foot of some castle. At first I thought this was King’s Landing, since the last time we saw them she was showing him that city from her ship. But no, it turns out they’re back in Dragonstone, and she takes Gendry to meet Stannis. Melisandre implies that she is going to sacrifice Gendry in some royal blood ritual to boost Stannis’s power or something.

Stannis then visits Davos in his cell in the dungeons, and offers to free him if he promises not to act against Melisandre again. Davos swears not to act, but says he will still offer counsel against her. He points out that Stannis came down here to see him now because he’s Stannis’s Jiminy Cricket, and Stannis knows sacrificing Gendry is wrong, but needs him to tell him so.

Melisandre goes to Gendry’s palatial gilded cage, drops her clothes, and jumps him on the bed, saying she needs the power of his kingly bloodline (ahem). Gendry doesn’t know what’s hit him, and Melisandre quickly ties his hands and feet, then goes to get some leeches to suck his blood. Stannis arrives to see this. Melisandre removes the leeches and burns them and Gendry’s blod in a fire, while naming those who would falsely claim Stannis’s throne: Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon.

King’s Landing: The wedding day of Tyrion and Sansa has arrived. Tyrion visits Sansa, and asks Shae to leave them – you can see the daggers in Shae’s eyes as she goes. Sansa is terrified, but Tyrion says he doesn’t want this wedding either, and he swears never to hurt her. He asks her age, she replies 14(!).

Margaery approaches Cersei and says soon they’ll be sisters (referring to Cersei’s own impending marriage to Margaery’s brother Loras). Cersei tells her the story of House Reyne, who used to be the second richest House in Westeros, until they betrayed the Lanisters, and Tywin had them wiped out. She says, “Aren’t the Tyrells now the second richest House in Westeros? Call me sister again and I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.” Nice one.

At the wedding, Sansa is ready to walk into the throne room, when Joffrey appears beside her. He taunts her: “With your father dead, as father of the realm it’s my duty to give you away.” (Remember: Joffrey was the one who ordered her father executed.) Sansa controls her instinctive lip curl enough to walk down the aisle with him. Not done yet, Joffrey pranks Tyrion by removing the stepladder he’d brought to stand on, so he could put the wedding cloak around Sansa’s shoulders. Tyrion has to ask Sansa to kneel, to much snickering from the audience.

At the wedding feast, Tyrion gets drunk, and Tywin comes over to castigate him and tell him to put a Lannister child in Sansa as soon as possible – i.e. tonight! Then Joffrey leers over to Sansa and says that if Tyrion is too drunk to perform, he’d be happy to pay her a visit later. He says he’ll have his guards hold her down while he puts his own Lannister offspring into her. Sansa is appropriately repulsed. Joffrey than loudly calls for the bedding ceremony to begin and for people to carry Sansa off to her wedding bed, but Tyrion stops everyone dead by stabbing his dagger into the table and threatening to cut Joffrey’s manhood off…

The shocked silence is thick enough to cut with a knife. Joffrey is about to explode, but Tywin intervenes and says Tyrion is drunk and having a little harmless joke. Tyrion plays up how drunk he is, and he and Sansa leave the feast. I fully expected that as soon as they were in their room, Tyrion would show that he was pretending to be drunk, and he’d simply tell Sansa, “You can have the bed, I’ll sleep over here.” But no, he remains drunk, but essentially does the same thing, passing out on a chair after telling Sansa that he won’t share her bed unless she wants him to.

In the morning, Shae enters in a huff to clean the room, finding Tyrion in a hangover stupor on the chair. She goes to remove the bedsheets, and her eyes widen to see them clean, with no evidence of bridal deflowering. She takes them without a word and leaves.

Obviously Shae is upset by the wedding, but maybe this will get her back on-side with Tyrion? My expected course of action here is for Shae to fake blood on the sheets and to report to Tywin that Tyrion has performed his husbandly duties as ordered. I feel like this is what should happen, but that just makes me wonder if Shae will really do this. At any rate, I believe I was right about Tyrion being the best person in King’s Landing that Sansa could end up attached to, as he seems determined to protect her. Sansa might begin to realise this soon.

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