I believe this was the first episode since the premier to not feature my proclaimed star of S3, Jamie Lannister, and I must admit I missed the incestuous bastard. In fact, Second Sons played out more like how I thought this whole season was going to go because they were splitting book 3 in twain. I had thought Benioff and Weiss’ goal was to heavily invest in half the characters at the expense of the others, which they would catch us up with in S4. This episode did a pretty good job of creating some depth into the major characters we did check in with this week, which was possible because of the absence of many others.
DO NOT DISCUSS THE BOOKS WE HAVE NOT READ THEM
There were many scenes in Dragonstone this week, and I finally thought it was time well spent. While Melisandre was busy fattening up her lamb (and hiding the knife so that the meat doesn’t spoil), Stannis ventures down to see his old comrade. The Onion Knight has been practicing his reading since we last saw him, and he’s getting pretty good! I think this is meant to show us how long it has been since he last had a visit from the Lord of Light’s chosen one, and it made for an important character building moment for Stannis. As Davos points out and the viewer at home can intuit pretty easily, Stannis seeks his counsel because he wants to be talked out of human sacrifice. He lays out the straw man: people need to be sacrificed in battle. Even family such as Renly. Davos quickly dispels the notion: Renly rose up against him, whereas this boy is innocent. But how, and this is a question I pondered openly a couple weeks ago after seeing the many revivals of Beric Dondarrion, can you not obey his commands when you have seen his true power? Davos saw the smoke monster; Stannis saw a vision in the flames. These things were as real as the iron bars that held Davos captive. How can anyone possibly doubt a god that has demonstrated his power tangibly? He also interestingly frames it as complete destiny. He doesn’t even have a choice in whether or not he wants the Iron Throne, but rather he asserts that “great or small, we all must do our duty.” At this point Stannis is almost too far gone, and thinks there is nothing he can do but obey the Lord of Light’s commands.
Davos will never be a zealot though. It’s not that he necessarily doubts the power of black magic, or whatever color magic you want to call it, but rather that he sees the evil pervading in its use. He is trying to get Stannis to see the darkness too, but as of now hasn’t had much luck. However, he does succeed in stopping this sacrifice, if only temporarily. I see a kind of parallel to Luke Skywalker-Darth Vader. Luke tried again and again to convince his father that there was still good in him, and by the end he succeeded. If the events of this episode are any indication, Davos is beginning to combat Melisandre’s influence with his own.
A couple questions: How exactly are they gonna see proof of this leech demonstration working? Furthermore, why was one of the 3 names Stannis cursed Balon Greyjoy? Who even cares about him?
While Gendry doesn’t get to go all the way with Melisandre, we have a new casanova from Braavos on the loose. His name is Daario,* and he believes there are only two things in life worth doing: fucking a girl who wants to fuck you and killing a man trying to kill you. Lucky for him he got to do both in pretty rapid succession. First he disposes of the two leaders of the Second Sons in a 2-on-1 duel. Then he declares he wants, nay NEEDS to bang Khaleesi. Dany, being in a fairly vulnerable nude state, reasserts her dominance by slowly, powerfully rising out of her bath. She shines radiantly, unashamed of bearing it all in front of this contract killer, and asks him to pledge his loyalty to her. He does more than that–she has stolen his heart. I have no doubt he enjoyed a fitting reward for his fealty, but I think Dany impressively regained the upper hand with her actions.
*As a side note, this was phenomenal casting. If you told me this actor was the brother of the actor who played Jaqen I would believe you.
We know Tyrion comes from a whoremongering past, but like Daario he won’t have Sansa until she wants him. There is no better adjective I can think to describe the wedding of Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister than simply, sad. The wedding scene was somberly scored while a modest amount of guests stood and watched. The wretched Joffrey gleefully walks Sansa down the aisle before mischievously removing Tyrion’s stool, forcing him to ask his bride to kneel down. It was a heartbreaking moment of embarrassment for Tyrion as Joffrey openly encouraged others to laugh by laughing himself.
So how does Tyrion stifle his grief? Like any good HBO character, he goes on drinking binge of James McNulty proportions. Talking shit to Joffrey like no one else does, he threatens to give him a wooden cock. Thankfully Tywin is there to restore order, but I imagine one of these days Joffrey is not gonna let a public comment like that slide. He does have another horrible moment where he suggests he might rape Sansa while she is tied down. God damn Jack Gleeson is doing a terrific job getting me to hate him.
Eventually, the bride and groom do retire to their chambers. Does Tyrion want to bang Sansa? Although he might feel guilty given she is only 14, the answer is a resounding yes. But only on her terms. And what if she never wants him to share her bed? “…and so my watch begins.”
One final note, on the conversation between Cersei and Margaery. Marg in typical Marg fashion is trying to ingratiate herself with her mother-in-law/sister-in-law to be, but she is having none of it. However, the whole time I was listening to Cersei’s story about the former 2nd richest family in Westeros I couldn’t help but think at this point she’s all bark and no bite. What power does Cersei actually have anymore? She is trying to assert some position of authority, but I think at this point she has none. I would’ve liked to hear a retort from Marg putting her in her place.
Missing Character Count: Baelish; Theon (thank god); Robb & Co.; Jon Snow & Co.; Jamie & Brienne; Bran & Co.; Varys had a brief snippet in the wedding party but no lines
Why does Olenna go over the confusing family relations between the Tyrells and Lannisters in front of Loras, visibly angering him? I just didn’t get the point of that.
Not worthy of being written about in detail (in my opinion), but we learn from the last scene with Sam that the tools of the first men apparently can kill white walkers. Now we just have to find out what material was used to make that dagger.
The Hound tries to convince Arya that there are people out there worse than him, but I don’t think she’s buying what he’s selling quite yet.
The word ‘cunt’ was dropped multiple times this week–by the leader of the Second Sons and Melisandre. Love the word. I was rooting for it in the curse word bracket.
Speaking of Melisandre, it’s kind of funny that with all the storylines involving people trying to get from Point A to Point B only to be derailed a million times, she got Gendry to Dragonstone pretty damn quick.