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Game of Thrones 3×08 “Second Sons” Recap

“A man who fights for gold cannot afford to lose to a girl.”

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Arya Stark

When last we saw her, the youngest Stark daughter was running away from the Brotherhood With No Banners when she was unlucky enough to run smack dab into The Hound – Gregor Clegane – who promptly took her hostage. This week’s episode starts off with her waking up a few feet away from where she and The Hound have made camp.

Arya tries to sneak up on a sleeping Gregor with a heavy rock raised above her head, obviously intending to smash it onto the dude’s head and run away. He’s actually awake, though, and quietly offers her a choice: if she kills him in one blow, she’s free to go, but if he doesn’t die, then he’s going to break both of her hands.

Arya drops the rock. Good call, because this is the guy who survived having his head shoved onto molten coals when he was a little boy. I doubt a single blow to the head would have killed him.

They continue on their travels. Though Arya thinks Gregor is taking her back to King’s Landing, he quickly corrects her, telling Arya that he’s going to return her to Catelyn and Robb Stark in exchange for heaps of money, because as we know, money makes the world go round. Arya looks cautiously happy for once.

Daenerys Targaryen

Dany is still on her mighty quest for power. This week, she meets with the captains of the Second Sons, the mercenary group contracted out to defend Yunkai from Dany and her Unsullied army.

Said captains are named Mero of Braavos (Mark Killeen), Prendahl na Chezn, and Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein), and Dany is hopeful that she can sway them to come fight for her side because, as she states, mercenaries are all about winning. Even though she herself might not be as militarily experienced as Mero and his men, she’s got an experienced army, a knowledgeable inner circle of fighters, and by sheer numbers alone, the Unsullied would definitely be able to defeat the mercenaries.

Mero implies he’ll think about it. He then goes and sends one of his lieutenants, Daario, to assassinate Dany as she’s bathing, because there’s apparently no such thing as honor among killers-for-hire. The assassin doesn’t follow through on his orders, however. Instead, he goes and dumps Mero and Prendahl’s decapitated heads onto the ground by Dany’s bathtub and swears his allegiance to her because she’s oh so beautiful. Dany’s just picking up allies left and right these days; this shit’s not even hard for her anymore.

The camera pans away as the Unsullied army starts singing: Let’s get down to business, to defeat… the Yunkai! (Okay, no, this doesn’t really happen. But can you imagine how hilarious it’d be if it did?)

Melisandre and Gendry

Oh, Gendry honey. You totally should have jumped off the boat and made a break for shore while you had the chance. Melisandre has finally arrived back to Stannis Baratheon’s tower hovel and is happily carting Gendry around like some sort of carnival prize.

Remember a few episodes ago when Melisandre told Stannis a sacrifice of royal blood was necessary for her to work her evil witchy red god magic? And then remember how in the last episode, she made a huge deal about Gendry being Robert Baratheon’s son, and how his blood is going to make kings rise and fall? Yeaaah, you’re starting to put two and two together now, aren’t you.

As Melisandre prepares for her creepy ritual of demonic doom, Stannis goes to visit Davos Seaworth, who is quite adorably working on his reading skills, in his damp dark prison cell. Stannis updates Davos on recent happenings, especially on Melisandre’s plan to sacrifice Gendry, prompting Davos to plead with a stoic-looking Stannis not to let her do this. Stannis is uncaring, because in his mind a bastard nephew is a small sacrifice to make in order to get the Iron Throne.

And then it’s revealed why Stannis wants the throne so badly – not quite because he’s so power hungry that he’ll kill anyone that stands in his way, whether brother or nephew, but because Melisandre’s got him believing that all the people of Westeros will be devoured by darkness or some shit unless Stannis becomes king.

Eventually, Stannis releases Davos after making him promise never to try and harm Melisandre again.

A while later, Melisandre comes to visit Gendry and almost immediately begins to strip, but just when it looks like Gendry’s about to actually get some, Melisandre handcuffs his arms to the headboard and ropes his legs together so he can’t move.

And, okay, that’s a benign enough kink that this situation could still go in Gendry’s favor, right? Nope. Melisandre pulls out several squirmy leeches, and then attaches them to various points on Gendry’s body. Including his ball sacks. I can’t imagine that would be pleasurable for anyone, and based on Gendry’s screaming, he’s not enjoying it quite so much either.

The ritual winds down when Melisandre tugs the leeches, now fat with royal blood, off of Gendry’s body parts. She hands them to Stannis, who promptly tosses them into a fire while chanting the names of his enemies: Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon.

Everyone Hanging Out At King’s Landing

I suppose it would be Sansa Lannister now, since this episode deals with her wedding day to Tyrion. All throughout her scenes, the poor girl looks numb to everything that’s happening, and Tyrion has to continuously inebriate himself during the ceremony to even get through it.

Cersei Lannister watches the festivities of the wedding that she helped orchestrate with little joy, knowing that her own wedding to Loras Tyrell is soon coming. Loras’ sister Margaery twirls up to her and takes her arm, speaking her usual honeyed words in an attempt to bond with Cersei.

Cersei, of course, is having none of that. She tells Margaery a story about what happened to House Reyne, a family that had rebelled against the Lannisters long ago – warning Margaery not to try anything stupid lest history repeat itself. She also shuts down Loras’ awkward bonding attempts later on. Cersei’s “I give no fucks because I hate all of you” attitude is giving me so much life.

When Sansa finally walks into the building all dolled up, preparing for her walk down the aisle, Joffrey appears by her side and mockingly offers his arm up to her. Because her real father is dead, it’s now Joffrey’s duty as Father of the Realm to give Sansa away to her husband. I have no idea how that girl didn’t turn around and claw Joffrey’s eyes out the second he said the words “your father’s gone.”

The wedding ceremony is finished, so now comes the reception, where everyone is highly depressed except for Joffrey, who’s so pleased with himself over everyone else’s suffering: Tyrion, who is chugging wine glass after wine glass, and Olenna Tyrell, who’s bemusedly figuring out everyone’s familial relationships after all the marriages are finalized. (Loras is going to be both Margaery’s brother and her father-in-law. Yep.)

Sansa excuses herself from the table but barely gets a moment to breathe before Joffrey’s all up in her space and threatening to rape her after the reception is over. Joffrey then pulls Sansa back out to the main hall, and announces to the room that they’re going to start the bedding ceremony – which, based off of the few details we get, is where all the wedding guests get to carry the bride and groom to their marriage bed and strip them down before watching them have sex. Okay, so probably not actually the watching part, though I wouldn’t put it past Joffrey to order everyone to do that in order to maximize Sansa and Tyrion’s humiliation.

Tyrion snaps that there isn’t going to be a bedding ceremony, and that if Joffrey continues to insist on it, then Tyrion will cut Joffrey’s cock off with a steak knife.

Joffrey is furious, of course, and looks about a hair’s breadth away from ordering his guards to behead his drunken uncle, when Tywin helps diffuse the tension by saying that Tyrion is drunk and doesn’t know what he’s saying. Tyrion takes that opportunity to make his escape, bringing a mortified Sansa along with him to their quarters, where he proceeds to continue pouring alcohol down his throat.

Tyrion informs Sansa that despite Tywin Lannister’s orders for Tyrion to impregnate Sansa, Tyrion refuses to consummate their marriage unless she wants him to.

Samwell Tarly, Gilly, and Super Cute Baby

Samwell and Gilly continue on their trek back to the Wall. When they stumble across a cabin in the woods (hah, see what I did there?), Samwell suggests making camp there, and Gilly agrees. They strike up a conversation about Samwell’s upbringing and name suggestions for Gilly’s baby boy as Gilly makes a fire for them to warm themselves by.

Their bonding session is interrupted when a giant horde of crows swarms the cabin, and a White Walker comes menacingly out of the darkness and straight towards Sam, who, after a struggle, actually manages to kill the thing with the knife made of dragonglass he’d showed Gilly a few episodes ago. (Dragonglass is the only material capable of killing a White Walker.) The death scene is awesome – the White Walker turns to crystalline glass and then shatters – and as Gilly, Samwell (sans knife, really Sam?!), and the unnamed baby run away, the flock of crows chase after them.

Rating: B+

Memorable Quotes

Dany: A man who fights for gold cannot afford to lose to a girl.

Melisandre: Have you ever slaughtered a lamb, my king? If the lamb sees the knife, she panics. The panic seeps into the meat, darkens it, fouls the flavor.
Stannis: You’ve slaughtered many lambs?
Melisandre: And none have seen the blade.

Stannis: I never asked for this, no more than I asked to be king. We do not choose our destiny, but we must do our duty, no? Great or small, we must do our duty. What’s one bastard boy against a kingdom?

Davos: I think mothers and fathers made up the gods because they wanted their children to sleep through the night.

Cersei: If you ever call me sister again, I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.

Tyrion: There you go! Drinking and lust, no man can match me in these things. I am the god of tits and wine. I shall build a shrine to myself at the next brothel I visit.

Tyrion: There will be no bedding ceremony.
Joffrey: There will be if I say there will.
Tyrion: Well, then, you’re going to fucking your own wife with a wooden cock.

Tyrion: My tiny drunk cock and I have a job to do! Come, wife. I vomited on a girl once during the act. Not proud of it. But I think honesty is important between a man and a wife, wouldn’t you agree? Come, I’ll tell you all about it, put you in the mood.

Check out the preview for the next episode (airing in 2 weeks):

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.

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