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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Game of Thrones 3x08: Second Sons



On the Road
So the Hound professes to be taking Arya to her family after all (for the money), which probably means the Hound is about to meet a grisly end, since I continue to doubt Arya will ever be reunited with her family. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the dig at the Brotherhood Without Banners, as the murderous Clegane is actually trying to do what the Brotherhood promised but ultimately failed to do.

Yunkai
So Dany gains an additional two thousand troops, (all presumably mounted cavalry), bringing her total force up to roughly ten grand, pretty much just because she's hot. Which, fine, whatever, but the better things go for her, the bigger, I fear, her ultimate downfall will be.

Of course, the presumed-addition of this Naharis guy into Dany's makeshift Small Council will introduce a fair amount of in-fighting within her ranks, as neither Jorah nor Barristan strike me as the type to be all that welcoming to a mercenary who killed his leaders and joined up because he wants to screw Dany.

The discussion about how Dany's Dothraki is getting rusty was a nice acknowledgement of the characters' history and a reminder of just how far she's come since the beginning of the show.

Dragonstone
For the second week in a row, we get a scene featuring boobs undercut by the threat of bodily harm to a guy's junk.

I'm a little unclear on what the deal with burning the leeches was meant to indicate. Obviously, there was one leech for each of Stannis' rivals for the throne (not counting Dany), but it wasn't clear what he was saying as he cast each leech into the fire. At first, I thought they were going to trigger some kind of attack, and when that scene cut to Joffrey at Tyrion's wedding (which was regardless a nice transition), I was prepared for a scenario in which Joffrey threatened Sansa, then was struck down by whatever those leeches did, with Sansa getting blamed for attacking the king. But nothing actually happened, so...what did the leeches signify? And how were they supposed to prove anything to Davos?

Speaking of Davos, yay, he's out of jail (and coming along in his reading)! The scene between him and Stannis was well written and performed, and hopefully it means that Davos will once again be allowed to counsel Stannis in opposition to Melisandre.

Stannis also made a good point (one we've discussed here before) about how it's a lot easier to follow a religion when you've seen firsthand some of the magical things done in its name.

Stannis mentioned seeing a vision of himself fighting in the snow - either a sign that Stannis may head north at some point, or an indication that the Stark family motto will become more and more true and the north may be heading south.

Melisandre's "come fight death with me" is a pretty great euphemism for sex. 

King's Landing 
Wow, so Tyrion and Sansa got married. At the rate plots progress on this show, I didn't expect that to happen so soon, but I'm glad it need. 

His offscreen killing of Roz aside, it's been pretty quiet on the "Joffrey is a noxious, reprehensible twit" front this season, but he made up for that in this episode, first by taking away Tyrion's step ladder during the ceremony, then by threatening to rape Sansa. Whatever those leeches are supposed to do to him, I hope it happens soon.

However, I was surprised (and relieved) that in the end, Joffrey apparently didn't visit Sansa in the night, since Tyrion was actually much drunker than I thought and would have been unable to stop it (I suspected he may have been play acting just how drunk he was, especially after threatening Joffrey). Presumably Joffrey got distracted by something else?

Speaking of, Tywin may be a dick, and doing so entirely for selfish reasons, but I did appreciate both the way he silenced the laughter at Tyrion's expense during the wedding and the way he cooled Joffrey down (and prevented the "bedding ceremony" from occurring) after Tyrion's outburst.

I was hoping Sansa might have had presence of mind enough to kneel down for Tyrion during the ceremony without needing to be asked (as a sort of sign of "we're in this together"), but I suppose she was still pretty clueless and (understandably) self-centered at that point.  

Lady Olenna pointing out all the convoluted relationships in the wake of the various weddings was pretty freaking hilarious. As was Cersei's rebuff of Loras (who gained a lead in the "who's getting the worse deal out this?" race).

Tyrion referencing the Night's Watch oath when declaring his intent to not sleep with Sansa unless she wants him to was a nice touch. 

North of the Wall
Sam and Gilly continue to star in Westeros version of a delightful family sitcom ("He's got book smarts, she's got street smarts. The laughs will flow like ice in the wilds of the North, Sundays at eight!"), at least until a White Walker shows up for Gilly's as-yet-unnamed baby and Sam discovers that the First Men found a way to kill the Walkers.

While it was clever of Sam to use the dagger, it's a shame that, in their fear, they left it behind...

Other Thoughts
This was one of the most focused and thematically-connected episodes of the season, if not the series. While not as singularly-focused as last season's "Blackwater", here we dealt with really only three locations (with a brief header and footer set at different placesat the beginning and end). I get why the show can't be this focused all the time (even at 3-5 settings/groups of characters an episode, we'd likely go three episode or so without seeing certain characters and plot lines advance), but it's still nice to know that the show is willing to break convention and shelve a good chunk of if characters occasionally.

As a result, a ton of characters/settings were absent from this episode: Jamie and Brienne, the Brotherhood, Robb and his army, Harrenhal, Bran, Theon (thankfully), Jon and Ygritte. 

This episode was written by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

No new episode next week, due to the Memorial Day holiday and HBO airing Behind the Candelabra.

6 comments:

  1. Sansa didn't kneel for Tyrion because she was facing the opposite direction.

    After making progress on the nudity front, GoT takes a big step backward with the leech scene. Why write the scene to include a leech on the penis if you know the actor isn't going to show? Couple that with Melissandre's completely gratuitous nudity and you get another wave of "HBO has gender issues" complaints.

    If Joffrey weren't king his title would be Master of Dick Moves. His thrill comes not from raping Sansa or anyone else, but from knowing she's afraid it could happen at any time. I doubt Joffrey is capable of functioning sexually in the first place.

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  2. I do get frustrated about the jumps around Westeros, sometimes skipping them by a few episodes at a time. Glad we skipped Theon and his junk, sad we skipped Brienne. I guess the Hodor gang is still skinning rabbits in the woods somewhere.

    That being said, the wait was worth it for Cersei, who got a few memorable barbs in there including the excellent speech to Margaery.

    Hodor.

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  3. nothing actually happened, so...what did the leeches signify

    Since when does speaking an incantation over burning leeches plucked from the bastard son of a dead king have to mean anything?

    or an indication that the Stark family motto will become more and more true and the north may be heading south

    "Winter is coming" is the Stark family motto? Huh... I never got that; I just thought it was what folks said when, well, winter was coming, and if on occasion it had a dual meaning because things were about to get dark(er) or cold(er) sociopolitically then so much the better. There was talk when the series began that an especially long actual winter was expected.

    it's been pretty quiet on the "Joffrey is a noxious, reprehensible twit" front this season, but he made up for that in this episode

    He sure did. I also felt a callback (from the show, not Joffrey's intentions as he wasn't present) to Tyrion's interminable, awkward dragging of the chair at the Small Council meeting. As far as Sansa, I was sure that the scene was headed towards one of those bits where the king asserts his right to have his way with the bride before her husband does. I really don't know how to read Joffrey sex-wise at this point; we got that whole foreplay/euphemism scene with Margaery and the crossbow, but to the best of my recollection we've also seen Joffrey choose pure sadism over doing the deed with Roz more than once. His apparent infatuation with Margaery notwithstanding, I find myself wondering at times if he isn't a self-hating, repressed "Friend of Renly".

    I was hoping Sansa might have had presence of mind enough to kneel down for Tyrion during the ceremony without needing to be asked

    No f---in' kidding!

    Tyrion referencing the Night's Watch oath when declaring his intent to not sleep with Sansa unless she wants him to was a nice touch. 

    It was, and so was Shae's little smile when she examined Sansa's bedsheets, although unless she lies for her, Sansa's, and Tyrion's sakes I suspect that Tywin or (just to meddlesome) Cersei will be asking for proof.

    Sam discovers that the First Men found a way to kill the Walkers.

    I really can't believe that Sam left the dagger behind. You'd think that even in the heat of fright for their lives and disbelief over what just happened one of them would've thought to retrieve it.

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  4. @Anonymous: Sansa didn't kneel for Tyrion because she was facing the opposite direction.

    I know. I just would have liked for her to have presence of mind enough to realize what was happening and help Tyrion out, but I completely understand why she didn't.

    His thrill comes not from raping Sansa or anyone else, but from knowing she's afraid it could happen at any time.

    Good point.

    @Jason: That being said, the wait was worth it for Cersei, who got a few memorable barbs in there including the excellent speech to Margaery.

    I loved her speech right up until she overtly threatened Margaery and made it clear she doesn't like her. Up until that point, it was a vague threat disguised as a story, but then she made it obvious, which seems like a line you shouldn't cross when it comes to court intrigue.

    Then again, if it turns out that was just a mistake on Cersei's part due to her being short-tempered or whatever, so be it. That'd be an interesting direction to go with her.

    @Blam: Since when does speaking an incantation over burning leeches plucked from the bastard son of a dead king have to mean anything?

    I do have to accept that sometimes a spade is just a spade. :)

    "Winter is coming" is the Stark family motto?

    Yeah, I think they mentioned that early in the first season, when Ned was tutoring Arya on all the different house banners and whatnot. The idea is that, as the traditional wardens of the North, the Starks are more concerned about winter than most of the other houses, even when there's not a particularly long winter bearing down on Westeros (as there is, as you say, currently on the show).

    I really don't know how to read Joffrey sex-wise at this point; we got that whole foreplay/euphemism scene with Margaery and the crossbow, but to the best of my recollection we've also seen Joffrey choose pure sadism over doing the deed with Roz more than once.

    As with you and anonymous above, I too wonder how to read Joffrey's sexuality. He really does seem to be more interested in cruelty and sadism than sexual pleasure, which is why I was taken aback when he threatened Sansa with rape.

    But, of course, as anonymous points out, that's really just an extension of his cruelty and sadism anyway, as rape isn't about sexual lust so much as power, and the thrill Joffrey gets is less about the sexual act itself and more the fear he's created in Sansa.

    His apparent infatuation with Margaery notwithstanding, I find myself wondering at times if he isn't a self-hating, repressed "Friend of Renly".

    Indeed. There is the apparent infatuation with Margaery to consider, but I wonder that too sometimes, though that seems like a problematic road for the show to go down.

    although unless she lies for her, Sansa's, and Tyrion's sakes I suspect that Tywin or (just to meddlesome) Cersei will be asking for proof.

    I half-expected a scene or line of dialogue establishing that she did indeed doctor the sheets to throw off suspicion, but I suppose that would have taken away from the episode's focus.


    I really can't believe that Sam left the dagger behind.


    Right?!? As Dr. Bitz mentioned offline, there wasn't even anything else to be afraid of at the moment. Sure, leave that spot, what with the creepy face tree and all the ravens hanging around, but it isn't like a hoard of zombies were descending on the place or there was a body to worry about being revived if the dagger was removed, so why not take the half second to pick it up before beating feet?

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  5. I seem to dimly remember that in the books the dagger is destroyed; the White Walker and it take each other out. That would go a long way to explaining Sam's actions, but it's ridiculous that they didn't spend all of half a second showing the weapon's smoking remains, or something.

    "Winter is Coming" was referenced a few times in the first season, along with "We Do Not Sow", "Family, Duty, Honor" and "Ours Is The Fury" for the Greyjoys, Tullys and Baratheons, respectively. For those curious, the Lannisters have "Hear Me Roar!", the Arryns "As High as Honor", and the Targaryens "Fire and Blood". The Tyrells, as we've heard, plumped for "Growing Strong", because there's something wrong with them.

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  6. @SpaceSquid: "Winter is Coming" was referenced a few times in the first season

    Yeah, I remember hearing it often. I just don't recall taking it as a slogan of House Stark's; rather, like I said, I thought that it was both a commonly used literal portent and a metaphorical one being spoken in reference to the game of thrones and clash of kings and storm of swords that was/were afoot.

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