Game of Thrones: “Second Sons”

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As Melisandre (Carice van Houten) told Gendry (Joe Dempsie) in the Lord of Light version, everything happens for a reason. In his case it is the choice King Robert made to grab his mother instead of the woman next to her and that act landed him in Dragonstone getting leeched by a red priestess as a blood sacrifice to the uncle who sees him as nothing more than that. I like the show replacing Edric Storm with Gendry. It ups the importance and anxious of what Melisandre and Stannis (Stephen Dillane) really mean by blood sacrifice.

The three political marriage couples in King’s Landing are faced with the everything happens for a reason theme or more just an it’s out of your hands version of it. Each of them it not overly thrilled with their situation. But they all play it differently. Cersei (Lena Heady) is a bitch about it by telling off future-husband Loras (Finn Jones) and future sister-in-law/daughter-in-law  Margaery (Natalie Dormer). I’m glad Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) took the time at Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) wedding to tease her grandchildren about just how messed up the Tyrell and Lannister family trees are going to be after all the weddings happen.

I’m still trying to decide if Peter Dinklage or Sophie Turner gave a better performance. He already has an Emmy so let’s shred some light on Sophie Turner. She goes from horrified by her situation to quickly accepting what she has to do as their marital duty to House Lannister to produce an heir, only pausing to pour herself a glass of wine. That was my favorite little action in this episode because of its great contrast from season one Sansa who told the boy of her dreams Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), “Father, only lets us have one cup at feasts.”

Sansa’s cup of wine is almost as great as Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) teaching slave-turned-handmaid Missendei (Nathalie Emmaunel) how to stay “pride” in Dorthaki much like Irri taught her so long ago. Dany pointed out to the leaders of the Second Sons that only a year ago she was nothing. But, now she has the ability to command Daario (Ed Skrein) to not kill a slave she freed and stand naked in front of him –something baby Daenerys from the first episode never would have dreamed of. She is then able to turn Daario and his group of sellswords, the Second Sons, to her side with only her beauty and a few words.

I liked the shows introduction to Daario and how it was able to handle the sacking of Yunkai swiftly. I thought it might be skipped completely.  I really did think that scene with Dany in the bath was going to turn into one of her bicurious scenes from the book, but I’ll just have to accept that those are going to be left out of the show.

With all the fate and growth themes of this episode, some characters were only able to show that they still have control over their own lives with acts of rebel. Though Tyrion watches in amazement as his bride starts to undress, he tells her to stop because he doesn’t want to even if his father said he has to. That gets him relief from Sansa and a glance of appreciation from Shae (Sibel Kekilli) as she takes away the non-blood strained sheets, symboling the one thing Sansa and Tyrion had control over in their own marriage.

But in contrast to everyone else’s growth, the only scene with Ayra (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCain) is an excellent example of just how young she still is. She mistakes a river hundreds of miles way from King’s Landing to be the Blackwater and gives an utterly horrified  yet child-like non-understanding look as the Hound explains how her big sister was almost raped. The Hound is the same as he has been since season two. He gives zero fucks about the Lannisters and but wants to protect Ayra — maybe because of Sansa — because he feels it is the right thing to do.

Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly’s (Hannah Murray) last scene, that was just terrifying. Even knowing Sam was going to stab the White with the dragon glass dagger and survive, I still got scared. After I got over the horror of it, the scene is an example of Sam has taken control of the fate his father — who he really does not want Gilly’s son named after — has given him. He has adopted a little family of his own and grown out of the piggy label he was given by his Night’s Watch brothers. And if he gets back to him they will know him as Sam the Slayer.

Overall, I loved this episode. It was a great example for every character of just how far they have come since the first season either for better — in Dany’s case — or worse — in…well everyone else’s. George R.R. Martin, I hope you found that hotel in the middle of nowhere where you can’t be located and don’t have an internet connection. Next week is “The Rains of Cashmere.” May the Gods have mercy on your souls.

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