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”Death is coming for everyone and everything. The darkness the will swallow the dawn. And we can stop it…”
At the beginning of the ”The Bear and the Maiden Fair" recap (be wary of the comments, they are dark and full of spoilers), I may have confused the dates for Game of Thrones' first 'day-off' in three seasons. Oops. The good news? There was a brand new installment last night so audiences didn't have to wait any additional time after being left (cliff-)hanging at the end of "TBatMF" with Daenerys dropping an ultimatum on the Yunkai, Sansa and Tyrion's impending nuptials as well as Arya's capture by the Hound. And several other threads are still dangling since "Second Sons" didn't stop in with many important locations and characters. Which brings us to the bad news. This time there really is a full, and sure to be agonizing, two week wait before Game of Thrones returns with the penultimate episode of the third season. And if history has taught us anything, and by history, I mean the previous two years of the HBO series, it's that, in the ninth episode, the shit really hits the fantasy fan. But first, the calm before the storm.
”Quit trying to bash my skull in and we just might make it there in time for the wedding.”
As I said before, several of the storylines from the second half of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" were not continued this week (no Jon and Ygritte, no Robb and his crew, no Jaime and Brienne and no Theon) making the beginning of the show as good a place to start as any. Arya, disappointed with the Brotherhood Without Banners, made a run for it only to be swooped up by the Hound, who was still roaming the area after winning his trial by combat. "Second Sons" starts with Arya waking up just a few moments before her captor, giving her a chance to reach for a nearby rock and contemplate smashing it into his burned face. The Hound is up for it, as long as she accepts that he's going to break her hands if he survives the bashing. Arya thinks better of it and the pair continue to ride together, their destination the Twins. The Young Wolf is surprised and curious why they aren't heading back to King's Landing so the Dog decides to regale her with a few tales of his time in the capital, including a story or two about his fondness for Sansa. Arya still seems wary of her kidnapper, but at least she's getting a lift back (to be sold to) her family. Are her trials finally coming to an end?
”The usurper, Robb Stark. The usurper, Balon Greyjoy. The usurper, Joffrey Baratheon.”
While Arya rides with her new companion, Gendry is still busy travelling with his and, unfortunately for him, Melisandre's intentions are a lot more sinister than the Hound's. All he wants his a bit of money for the Stark girl, Melisandre wants blood. And not because of vengeance or anything rational that you may be able to talk her out of but simply in light of, well, the Lord of Light. Yep. You try and argue with a religious zealot, especially when, as Stannis so convincingly says to Davos, we have seen what we have seen. Stannis' hard shell is cracking a bit though, trying to convince Melisandre to be merciful and get on with it before taking a trip down to the cells to pay his conscience a visit. Of course, the Onion Knight is against sacrificing the young boy, especially since he and Stannis are related. Oh and Davos' reading is coming along nicely too. Good for him. Meanwhile, in her 'hide the knife' fashion, Melisandre has managed to seduce Gendry (something she's pretty good at, with or without her borderline hypnotic ability) and then strap him to the bed in order to give the doubters a demonstration. It seems she knew all about Stannis and Davos' discussion since she was already readying the demonstration. I wonder which 'false' King got the dick leech? Too bad Renly's dead. Sorry!
”Ah. But you know the song, ‘The Rains of Castamere.’”
Obviously, the main event of "Second Sons" was Tyrion and Sansa's wedding. The Houses of Lannister and Stark have finally been joined, even though the marriage still hasn't been consummated. Tyrion is just too good of a person, unlike the rest of his family (at least the ones present) who are busy trying hard to make others' lives as miserable as possible. I got quite a bit of enjoyment watching Cersei be so blunt with her hatred of, well, everyone but this week the targets seemed to be mostly the Tyrell siblings. As if they don't hear enough shit from their own Matriarch, with Diana Rigg's Queen of Thorns having perhaps the week's best line (it might have been her only one) about Loras becoming Margaery's father-in-law. Getting back to Cersei's wrath, Margaery better not call the Queen Regent sister if she wants to live to see another day. The ceremony itself was not without a few light-hearted moments, mostly at Tyrion's expense. You have to give the writer's credit though, just when you think Joffrey couldn't possibly get any worse, he has the nerve to walk Sansa down the aisle in Eddard's stead and then snatch the stool out from under Tyrion to ensure he'd be embrassed during the cloaking ritual. He's such a little shit. Oh, and his royal rape threat wasn't that nice either but that didn't come until the reception.
”And so my watch begins.”
Everybody seemed to be equally miserable during the party (except Joffrey, obviously) with Loras ditching out to sulk in a corner, only to come across Cersei - his future bride - having done the same. When the handsome Prince tries to extend an olive branch, well, you know what happens when you extend an olive branch to Cersei. I did laugh quite heartily though, at that and Tyrion's nod to Loras a few seconds before. Tyrion's drunken stupor wasn't as fun as it usually is because of the circumstances but he was at least able to blame the one brilliant outburst about Joffrey's wooden cock on the booze and get away with it. He also was able to get away without having to do the Westerosi tradition where the Bride and Groom are stripped of their clothes and carried to the bedroom by their guests. Smart man. That would be a little awkward. Almost as awkward as hearing Sansa say "14" when asked her age. It was actually a pretty intense scene and I think I muttered "don't" allowed about a half a second before Tyrion said "Stop." Sansa wasn't the only one pleased with the Lion's restraint, as Shae was happy to see clean sheets in the morning. Gross. Which Stark girl has had it worse over the last three seasons? I'd say Joffrey makes Sansa the winner. They need their direwolves. Lady!
”The Second Sons are yours and so is Daario Naharis. My sword is yours, my life is yours, my heart is yours.”
As usual, the title of a Game of Thrones episode often refers to many different things ("Seconds Sons" could be a reference to Tyrion, Stannis and The Hound) but the most obvious in this case is that it's the name of the sell-swords approached by Dany this week. Dany seems to be turning more and more to Barristan's council over Jorah's, however, she still ultimately makes up her own mind and is especially likely to proceed if there is a perceived challenge to her power. She holds a meeting with the three Captains of the Second Sons (sorry, two Captains and Lieutenant Daario Naharis) to try and persuade them to join her side. The Titan's Bastard, however, isn't too keen on serving a woman and instead acts as disgusting as possible. Daario is forceful but much more respectful. The other guy is just kind of there. Back at their camp, the sell-swords debate their options and why they fight (Daario for beauty... hm), deciding to assassinate Dany without having to deal with her Unsullied. Daario draws the Valar Morghulis straw and is forced to carry-out the deed but, it turns out, he was pretty infatuated with the Khalessi and lops off his commander's heads instead. A gift. In return, he gets to see her naked. Good deal. It looks like Dany might have another bloodrider. Maybe something more?
”Caw caw. Caw caw caw. Caw. CAW CAW CAW…”
Speaking of something more, Sam and Gilly have been growing closer ever since they were forced to flee from Craster's camp during the Night's Watch mutiny a few episode's back. Sam seems in better spirits than ever, enjoying the role of husband and father. I say father but Gilly is taking care of the more traditionally 'male' duties like tending to the fire, while Sam seems content naming the baby. Well, anything but Randall. Their bonding is interrupted by the cawing of crows and Sam goes outside to find an Other approaching. By far the bravest our chubby hero has ever been, he charges with his longsword but is quickly thrown aside. He's not finished though, pulling the dragon-glass he found at the Fist of the First Men out of his coat and sticking it in the creature's back. That'll do, Sam. That'll do. Except don't leave the weapon behind next time! Last week "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" was written by George R.R. Martin, the author of the books on which Game of Thrones is based, and now all the remaining episodes of the season, including "Seconds Sons," are written by show co-creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss. Basically, they are pulling out all the stops from here on out. Not that the series hasn't been fantastic all season long already.
Game of Thrones Season 3 returns with Episode 9, “The Rains of Castamere,” on Sunday, June 2 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. The series stars Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
I TOO HAVE READ THE BOOKS BUT THIS IS A RECAP OF THE SHOW. NO MORE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS!