Game of Thrones S3 Ep8: Second Sons
Well there were plenty of things moving forward in this episode, including The Hound’s plans for Arya, Tyrion’s plans for his wedding night and Danys plans for gaining the army of The Second Sons. Although we didn’t see Jon Snow at all this time, we did go north of The Wall to catch up on Samwell Tarly and his rescue that seems to be going very slowly. Even Melisandre’s plans for Gendry were clarified through a rather gross little scene that went in a very different direction than I had thought it would. Let’s take a closer look at it all.
The Hound and the Maid
I have begun to look forward to any scenes that put The Hound and Arya together. Her feistiness and his cool confidence have begun to create a grudging but growing respect between them. There is far more to The Hound then first appears. When he reveals he has taken her so he can get the reward from her mother and brother Robb, not the dreaded King Joffrey, he shows that mere crowns do not command his loyalty. As he says “F*#k Joffrey, f*#k the queen”, and that indeed seems to be his attitude these days.
Though it is obvious he is not above taking the reward. Even more telling is his obvious pride in having saved Arya’s sister Sansa from possible rape last season when the mob turned on her. He may be an ugly man who has lived through some terrible times, but he has his own sense of honor. That, in the end, may be what makes this character so meaningful.
The Second Sons
Danys has proven that she knows how to deal with the likes of the leaders of the sell-swords from her comment:
A man who fights for gold can’t afford to lose to a girl.
She knows very well what their priorities are. When Danys first spoke to the three captains of the swords for hire that protect the city of Yunkai, it was obvious to me that Daario Naharis was going to be the one to betray the others and bring her the army she needs. I suppose simply because the others are such brutes (didn’t you cheer to see those two heads roll out of that bag? I did) but also because Daario seemed to be the only one of the three that was quietly watching everything. I can see that this is going to be an important relationship for Danys, though it is going to cause some jealousy along the way. How the leaders in Yunkai react to losing their “powerful friends” that she was warned about, remains to be seen. But somehow, I think this city will be hers as well.
The One True God Demands Sacrifice
I was really glad to see that in the end the blood sacrifice that Melisandre insisted her god needed was not in as bloody a form as we had anticipated. This doesn’t mean that Gendry is off the hook yet, but for now his punishment seems to be sex with Melisandre followed by a round of leeches.
The bit we saw where Davos is learning to read in his cell was great, and gives us just one more look at one of my favorite characters in GoT. True, I think that Stannis turns to Davos when he wants some smart sound advice, because he knows that in the end Davos is true to what is right in his world.
But unfortunately though Stannis may have come to his senses enough to have finally freed Davos, he still is in the thrall of Melisandre. Even Davos knows better than to try and deny that. Melisandre has proven that she will always need her “slaughtered lambs” to appease her god.
A Royal Wedding at King’s Landing
Of course, this is just the first of several weddings that will be taking place. I particularly love the scene where Margaery tries to spin her charm on Cersei by calling her “sister” and has it fall flat. As Cersei points out, in the song “Rains of Castamere” (which we hear often in the show) when the House Reyne rebelled against the throne they were utterly destroyed. Fair warning indeed, along with admonition that if Margaery ever calls Cersei sister again she will have her killed in her sleep. You just can’t out-bitch Cersei.
But it is poor Sansa I truly felt sorry for in this episode. As she tells Tyrion on their wedding night, she is only 14 and yet here she is married off and on top of that threatened with rape on her wedding night by the King himself. It doesn’t help that Tyrion gets roaring drunk, but I think that was overplayed on purpose to get them both out of the wedding dinner and away from the twisted view of Joffrey.
Even with all of this, in the end Tyrion cannot make himself go through with the consummation, even though his father demands it of him. Shae looks quite pleased the next morning to find Tyrion passed out on a couch, and the sheets very obviously not spoiled by signs of blood or sexual acts in the least. The question is can they count on her to keep their secret?
The White Walkers are Coming
But the scariest part of the whole episode had to be the closing scene with Samwell and Gilly. It starts easily enough with them taking refuge in an old abandoned house that is sheltered by an enormous tree. When they first enter it for warmth and protection for the night, there are a few crows on the roof. Samwell even stops and looks at them, a forewarning of what is to come. The scene of them making a fire and talking about baby names is almost sweet. We are reminded that for both of them, fathers are simply brutes. It is also a reminder that like many in this episode, Samwell is a second son, though in his case he was demoted to one by his father.
But when the crows begin to gather, and the noise becomes overwhelming, you know it is not going to go well. Samwell proves he has grown from the scared runaway when he takes his sword and a torch to find out what is happening outside. That it is a white walker, come for the child, is soon apparent. When it destroys his sword by simply grabbing it and turning it to shattered ice, Samwell stabs it in desperation with only weapon he has left to him, the obsidian knife he had shown Gilly last episode.
She had asked what use it was and now we know; for as he stabs the white walker, it turns to ice and shatters. It makes me wonder if others beyond the wall knew that this is the one weapon that can stop a white walker. Why else would he have found it out there? And how can he use this information to help others when the white walkers cross the wall, as you know they inevitably will?
More Action Around the Bend
As you can see, there was lots of action this week. I think that the next few episodes will play still further into showing the hands of all the powers that control these land’s fates. Beyond the struggle for the throne, there is the battle between the old gods and the new. If the old gods were who defeated the white walkers the last time they came south, is it wise to leave them for this new god that Melisandre is calling on? She sees it as being the one that will save the land from the icy death in her visions. It remains to be seen how many battlefields we will watch beyond the one for the throne.
Do you think that the gods are moving the chess pieces here as much as the various players for the crown? Who in the end truly control these gods or are people like Stannis and Melisandre merely pawns? There are only a few more episodes left this season, it will be interesting to see how far it takes us.