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Game of Thrones – Recap: Kink and King’s Blood

At first glance, I wasn’t sure why episode eight of Season 3 of Game of Thrones was dubbed “Second Sons.” Sure, the Khaleesi (Emilia Clarke) brought an overload of her signature confidence to the table this week in her quest to expand her army and, possibly, to rejuvenate her nonexistent love life, but her storyline seemed secondary to the goings-on at King’s Landing and Dragonstone. Hell, we were even graced with the presence of a White Walker, who’s rare form was matched only by an increasingly irritated Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Then I began to realize the double meaning behind the episode title, “Second Sons.” Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), The Hound (Rory McCann), and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) are all second-born brothers to bigger badass individuals, aren’t they? The Mountain is among the greatest foes Westeros has ever been ravaged by, and Jaime Lannister, who was conspicuously absent this week, is the infamous kingslayer. Robert Baratheon was one of the most beloved kings the realm has ever seen, even if his bumbling burly self hadn’t a clue as to what ruling truly meant. We connect with Stannis, Tyrion, and The Hound because George R. R. Martin, and the staff of writers at Game of Thrones, weave each character so brilliantly that every scar has a story.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

One Shot: The episode opened with little Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) rising from sleep just before The Hound, considering crushing her captor’s fire-scarred face with a stone I was surprised she could even lift. The Hound would give Arya one shot; kill him in one blow or have both of her hands broken. The Hound would keep his brains in tact, of course. That was a no brainer, huh, Arya? I have to admit, the fact that the show knew cutting from Arya in a threatening pose, ready to smash the man’s skull in, to Arya riding sidesaddle with Sandor as though she were a child on a pony, was a great choice. As it turns out, The Hound has no intention of taking Arya back to Cersei and Joff (Jack Gleeson) at King’s Landing. Instead, he plans on taking her to Edmure Tully’s wedding at The Twins in order to collect a ransom from the Starks. I appreciate The Hound’s growing intrigue surrounding Arya, and Arya’s desperation to maintain a certain level of utter disgust for the captor who freed her from the ever-growing annoyance that was The Brotherhood Without Banners, and who’s returning her, finally, to her family.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

Kill That One First: Something else I appreciated this week; Game of Thrones’ consistency even in instances of awesome nuances. We remember Daenery’s promise to burn Qarth first if she was to be denied entrance. This week, she had her targets set on a certain loose-lipped sellsword.

Dany, in her quest to conquer Yunkai, found herself on the defense against a large group of several thousand sellswords, The Second Sons. Of course, gaining control of this group would be more beneficial than slaughtering them and wasting some of her precious Unsullied on folks who were merely paid to defend the city against her. Three captains Two captains and one lieutenant of The Second Sons visited Dany in her encampment and subsequently continued on with what we’ve become accustomed to; ignoring the Targaryen’s power and will in favor of crude humor and pompous remarks. The youngest, Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein), seemed different than the two men who accompanied him. I even felt for him slightly when he had the nerve to suggest Daenery’s forces were weak considering her lack of a cavalry. Immediately, a red flag shot up. Who needs a horse (or 8,000) when you can fly on a fire-breathing monster? Too bad the Titan’s Bastard didn’t have Seasons 1 and 2 on blu-ray, or he’d have known the worst thing one can do in the presence of The Mother of Dragons is make grotesque and vulgar sex jokes. Still, Daenerys kept her composure completely, offering the men a short period of time to consider joining her. If not, she’d happily geld the Titan’s Bastard for her pleasure, prompting Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney) to pay attention if a battle should ensue.

Kill that one first.

Aah, Daenerys’ favorite form of revenge. It makes perfect sense considering how noble she is. Most warriors would consider a slow painful death to bring the best sense of vengeance. She would think a quick and embarrassing showing would be satisfyingly sufficient.

Back within the safety of their own men, the three devised a different plan that would free them from the danger and devastation of a battle with The Unsullied, who far outnumbered them. The three drew coins, and the man who would pull the signature Braavosi “Valar Morghulis” one would sneak into The Khaleesi’s camp under the cover of darkness. An assassination was to take place, and Daario set out to do the deed.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

I’m enjoying watching Daenery’s blooming confidence following her acquisition of an army. For example, I loved the way she toyed with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) after the freed slave criticized her Dothraki proficiency and corrected her mispronunciation. Of course, the greatest showing of confidence would follow Daario’s reveal, in which he threatened the girl should Daenery’s make a sound. In the end, the man had decided to take Dany up on the offer to join her ranks, pledging his services and loyalty, as well as that of The Second Sons, with the heads of the two who’d dared to defy her. Daenerys rose from her bathtub without even requesting a towel for cover. Did this remind anyone else of the first time we’d ever laid eyes on Emilia Clarke? Daenery’s first scene ever, the “too hot” bath scene, showcased a naïve and sheltered girl in stark contrast to this confident Khaleesi we know today.

Kink and King’s Blood: Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) finally completed their voyage back to Dragonstone, where Stannis Baratheon awaited. With a single glance, he recognized Gendry as Robert’s bastard son, sending the boy to his chambers before questioning Melisandre’s plan. Why was she taking such care in making the boy feel safe and at home, when he could simply be banished to the dungeons until the time came to make her sacrifice to R’hllor? In truth, a lamb that sees the blade taints its meat with fear and panic. Later, the Red Priestess would meet with Gendry in his luxurious chambers, a room grander than anything he’d ever witnessed. There, she continued to muse on the similarities of their pasts, of living off of a mere bowl of “stew” a day. Gendry referred to his brand as “bowls of brown.” She offered the boy fine wine, noting that where something comes from matters not when the value is apparent in the taste. At this point, the knot began to form in the boy’s throat. It swelled as Melisandre undressed him, as well as herself, before leading him to the bed. At this moment, I took a second to pause and recognize how bizarre this pairing actually is. Who could have ever imagined this?

Meanwhile, Stannis had paid Davos (Liam Cunningham) a visit in his dungeon cell. Davos had been practicing his literary skills when the King arrived with the intention of freeing him. The reason was clear. Stannis was distraught over Melisandre’s intent on killing a member of his own family; a lowborn bastard, but blood all the same. Stannis’ best scenes are surely the scenes where he battles Davos on the matters of just ruling. Davos is, of course, a reflection of the humanity in Stannis that is in constant conflict with his rigid understanding of rules and rights. The deal was that Davos could be pardoned if he promised to never raise a hand to Melisandre again. He would agree to the terms, but reminded Stannis that he had no problem with opposing her.

Poor Gendry. From this:

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

Party?

To this:

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

The duo made their way to Gendry’s chamber, where Melisandre had gone from giving the boy what seemed like the best sex of his life, to binding his hands and legs to the bed. At first I thought Melisandre was exploring some secret kinky side. I mean, she does give birth to shadow beasts, so it wouldn’t be such a farfetched idea, right? The move was a ploy to convince Davos of the power the blood of kings possesses. Using leeches on Gendry’s bare chest and, *gulp* his manhood, she drew several samples before tossing three leeches into a brazier.

Robb Stark… Balon Greyjoy… Joffrey Baratheon.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

The Newest Lannister: The time had come for Tyrion and Sansa (Sophie Turner) to wed, and I don’t believe the lot of characters at King’s Landing has put up a better acted episode yet during Season 3. I’ve said it in previous recaps, and I’ll reiterate now; Season 3 needs more Cersei and more Tyrion. That is one of my only requests now that the season has hit its stride. Tyrion first met with Sansa for a moment alone in her bedroom, promising to never hurt the girl who’d been Joffrey Lannister’s Baratheon’s personal punching bag for a season and a half. I also thought Sansa conducted herself very well, all things considered. I expected her to be weepy and whiney, but she totally womaned up and adapted.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

Cersei, meanwhile, had been pushed beyond her limits with the slip of a single word… “sisters.” Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and her coy ways had won over everyone in the court, save for The Queen Regent. Tyrion’s future drunken antics were matched this episode only by Cersei’s immense and burning hatred for the Tyrells and her betrothal to Loras (Finn Jones). As Cersei and Margaery descended a staircase, arms linked, she recalled the story of “The Rains of Castamere,” a song chronicling the utter destruction of the second wealthiest family in the realm at the hand of Lord Tywin, who erased the Reynes from the land following a crushing defeat. Curious? Here are the lyrics:

And who are you, the proud lord said,

that I must bow so low?

Only a cat of a different coat,

that’s all the truth I know.

In a coat of gold or a coat of red,

a lion still has claws,

And mine are long and sharp, my lord,

as long and sharp as yours.

And so he spoke, and so he spoke,

that lord of Castamere,

But now the rains weep o’er his hall,

with no one there to hear.

Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall,

and not a soul to hear.

Describing the fallen house, Margaery politely chose the word “gone.” Cersei, needless to say, preferred the term “slaughtered,” warning Margaery that if she ever dared to use the word “sisters” to describe their relationship again, she’d have the girl strangled in her sleep. Thus, Margaery broke her first sweat of Season 3.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

One of my favorite moments during episode eight had to be Joffrey offering to walk Sansa down the aisle. As an audience, we held our breaths until the two managed to make their way to Tyrion at the altar. It turned out to be Tyrion who’d be the butt of Joffrey’s cruel joke during the ceremony. Sansa would be dealt with later. Joff stole the stool Tyrion was given to perform the traditional cloaking ceremony, leading to a few giggles from the audience as “the imp” struggled to drape the cloth over Sansa’s shoulders. I guess it was meant to be humiliating for Tyrion to have to ask Sansa to kneel, but the gag was so unfunny that a glare from Lord Tywin (Charles Dance) back at the crowd quieted the room in an instant. I always get the distinct feeling that Game of Thrones makes the general public of King’s Landing seem sufficiently dumber than any of the other civilians of Westeros. I mean, even the Dothraki, who are referred to as savages, have their own sense of nobility and intelligence.

One thing I want to make note of in this review; It is no easy task to act drunk. Peter Dinklage’s finest work of Season 3 came during the newlyweds’ reception, where Sansa sat uninterested and uncomfortable, and Tyrion kept the wine flowing for hours. Honestly, the person who looked like they were having the most fun at this wedding was Joffrey, who would never allow Sansa the opportunity to take a night off from his torture. He threatened to do the consummating for Tyrion after his uncle rendered himself too inebriated to function. Joffrey is, of course, the biggest prude Westeros has ever seen, so I’m not sure Sansa even needed to quiver at all over this one. She’s more bored with Joffrey than anything at this point. His routine is tired, although I personally will never get enough of Joffrey Baratheon’s slightly crooked crown. The fact that it never fails to sit askew says, “I’m playing king.”

Tywin quietly reminded Tyrion that the purpose of this marriage was not a wedding but a bedding, pressuring him to impregnate Sansa with a Lannister child as soon as possible. Tyrion had opted to forgo the traditional bedding ceremony in which guests playfully undress the bride and groom before the consummating of their marriage. Tyrion wouldn’t see himself, or more importantly Sansa, humiliated by the likes of Joffrey and his buffoonish band of followers. Aggressively stabbing his knife into the table, commanding the attention of the room, Tyrion Lannister threatened the King and his “manhood.” Tywin stepped in to intervene, quashing Joffrey’s rage by insisting that Tyrion was merely drunk and that the bride and groom should head off to bed (before someone lost a tongue). Cersei, meanwhile, found a quiet moment of alone time shattered by Loras, who found himself absolutely disregarded after winding up with a, “My father once told me…”

No one cares what your father once told you.

And the Queen was out. Nothing is more entertaining than watching Cersei Lannister roast the Tyrells.

The final scene between Tyrion and Sansa was a fantastic way to close out this chapter of “Second Sons.” Viewers will never fail to have gripes surrounding Sansa Stark, but as she displayed this week, she’s become numb to the lambasting of the Lannisters. Sophie Turner plays “disenchanted and disconnected” so well, and it was nice to see a “drunken” Peter Dinklage attempt to quell the girl’s fears because inebriation heightens emotions, allowing Dinklage to go the extra mile in revealing the inner workings of Tyrion Lannister. In the end, he promised not to force himself upon her, allowing her the time she needed to grow comfortable with the idea of sharing a bed. Another great moment came from Sansa’s first true showing of honesty towards Tyrion, and Tyrion’s reaction of saddened shame. What if she never grew to that point?

The next morning, Shae (Sibel Kekilli) arrived to serve breakfast and change the sheets; however, they were still clean. She exchanged a look with her lion, and he glanced back proudly.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

White Walker!: Is there ever more exciting of a moment than a White Walker sighting on Game of Thrones? Episode eight saw Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) coming face to face with the most fearsome foe there is. First, the two would build a fire inside an abandoned shack, chatting casually about baby names for Gilly’s son. I thought it was interesting that the first name to pop into Sam’s head was “Duncan.” Also, my love for Gilly grows as she continues to get sassy with Sam. The two bonded over a mutual hatred of their fathers before attention was drawn to a barrage of cackling crows outside. Seriously, the only thing more eerie than seeing that heart tree absolutely covered in screaming black birds, was seeing that first shadow of the White Walker in the depth of the dark forest. It had come to claim Gilly’s newborn baby.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

Sam attempted to muster as much bravery as he could, whipping out his sword only to see the steel shattered like ice in the grip of the White Walker. The demon was uninterested in Samwell, making a direct march for Gilly after shoving Tarly aside with a flick of his wrist. Sam’s last ditch effort was the dragonglass dagger shoved away in his pelts, and a stab in the back did the trick. The whitewalker froze before shattering entirely, and Sam and Gilly ran from the scene trailed by a storm of crows.

 

What did you think of Game of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 8, “Second Sons”? Do you like how Season 3 has developed and grown? Did you enjoy the presence of a White Walker this week? Do you admire Daenery’s confidence, or is she bordering on cocky? Were you glad to see Cersei’s return to her finest form tonight? Did Peter Dinklage and Sophie Turner’s performances impress you as well? Is Gendry done for?

Thanks for reading my Recap of Game of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 8, “Second Sons”!

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