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'Game of Thrones' Recap: "Second Sons"

If you missed tonight’s all new episode of Game of Thrones, “Second Sons,” then go sleep on the couch like Tyrion, because there are spoilers ahead.

The episode opens with Arya and the Hound. Arya is sorely tempted to kill him as he sleeps. He’s savvy to her plan, however, and right as she plans to bash his head in with a rock, he speaks. “Kill me and you’re free,” he says. “But if I live, I’ll break both your hands.” Arya puts down the rock, and as it turns out, maybe that was for the best. She doesn’t know the Hound has left his post at King’s Landing. As they ride on, he tells her that he’s not returning her to the Lannisters, he’s taking her to the Twins, to the wedding of her uncle, to ransom her back to her mother and brother.

Across the sea, Daenerys has learned that Yunkai has recruited a powerful new ally–a band of sellswords who call themselves the Second Sons. They are led by a man named Mero, the Titan’s Bastard. It would normally be a daunting prospect, but Dany smells opportunity. Mercenaries may be more easily persuaded. “A man who fights for gold can’t afford to lose to a girl.” When the Titan’s Bastard and his two fellow officers are presented to Daenerys, the Bastard lives up to his title. He is a swaggering boor, openly disrespectful to Daenerys and scornful of her offer for the Second Sons to switch sides. One of the others though, a handsome young man named Daario, seems more clever, and asks Daenerys some pointed questions. Dany doesn’t let it unsettle her, though it’s clear after they leave that she’s angry.

Melisandre returns to Dragonstone with Gendry in tow. Stannis looks him up and down and sees his Baratheon blood. Melisandre orders him to be taken to a decent room to be bathed and dressed. Stannis knows what the plan is, however. He doesn’t want to waste time if Gendry is to be sacrificed. Melisandre, however, likens it to slaughtering a lamb. If they know what’s coming their panic fouls the flavor of the meat. “You’ve slaughtered many lambs?” asks Stannis. “And none have seen the blade, ” Melisandre responds coolly.

Down below, in the dungeons, Davos is laboring diligently over his letters when Stannis comes to call. He finally offers condolences to Davos on the loss of his son, and asks him how he’s being treated. What he really wants, however, is to tell Davos what is going on with Gendry. Davos, always plainspoken, ponders why Stannis would even consider such a thing. Stannis tries to explain the alternative…that ALL the innocents in Westeros will be lost if he cannot win. He also offers to free Davos is he will promise not to raise a hand against Melisandre again. Davos does promise, but he cannot promise not to speak out against her. He also questions Stannis’ timing…that he would seek to free Davos right before they kill Gendry. He believes that Stannis knew that he would counsel him not to do it. He believes that deep down, Stannis knows it’s wrong. Stannis knows the vision he saw in the flames, and reminds Davos that he saw the birth of a shadow. If her god is real, shouldn’t they obey?

Outside of Yunkai, the leaders of the Second Sons debate their options. They know they are outnumbered against Daenerys’ Unsullied army. Mero declares they have only to get rid of her, so tonight one of them will slip into the camp in the garb of an Unsullied soldier and kill her. It falls on Daario to do the job. “Valar morghulis,” he says with a smile.

In King’s Landing, Sansa is getting dressed for her wedding to Tyrion. He comes to the chamber to fetch her, but first he wants to have a private talk. (He and Shae exchanging glances as she leaves.) Tyrion is clearly very uncomfortable, but he tries his best to put Sansa at ease, and reassure her that she will not be mistreated and that he did not want to put her in this position. “I won’t ever hurt you.” Sansa listens and tries to be polite, but it is a thin veneer over her obvious misery. He finally manages to get a small smile out of her at the end of the conversation, and then takes her arm and leads her to their wedding.

While waiting or the wedding to start, Margaery approaches Cersei and pays her a compliment. “We’re going to be sisters soon,” she continues, linking arms with Cersei. What follows is a demonstration of why Cersei will always be the evil queen of Kings Landing. She looks annoyed with Margaery’s familiarity, and proceeds to tell Margaery a little story about the Reynes of Castamere (as sung about in the “Rains of Castamere”). The Reynes were the second most powerful family, after the Lannisters, and sought to rise above Casterly Rock. Cersei describes how the Reynes were destroyed, “slaughtered” actually, by her family. It is a cautionary tale for the silver medalists of Westeros (the position the Tyrells currently occupy). Cersei ends her conversation with Margaery by saying, “If you ever call me sister again I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.”

The wedding itself is, not surprisingly, a dismal affair. Joffrey, delighting in making Sansa as miserable as possible, insists on using his privilege as protector of the realm to give her away. He also removes the step stool that was in place for Tyrion to use when he’s called upon to place his family’s cloak on Sansa’s shoulders, so she is forced to crouch while Joffrey and a few others in the crowd laugh.

Back at Dragonstone, Gendry is marveling at the luxury of his new quarters when Melisandre pays him a visit. She offers him sweet wine and begins a strange but effective seduction, undressing him and leading him to the bed. He clearly doesn’t fully understand what’s happening, but she’s a beautiful woman and he’s a red-blooded young man. (And that blood is royal, which is important.) She gets him exposed on the bed and starts to make love to him, but then binds his hands and feet so he cannot move and retrieves a box of…leeches. While he squirms and cries out, she drops three of the creatures on him, two on his abdomen and one on his…well, NOT his abdomen. The leeches are doing their work when Stannis and Davos enter. Melisandre calmly greets them, still stark naked, and then draws on her robe and brings the leeches, now engorged on Gendry’s blood, to Stannis. He drops them in the fire, one by one, naming the Usurpers to the Iron Throne: Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy and Joffrey Baratheon.

In King’s Landing, the wedding feast for Sansa and Tyrion seems a lively affair…for all but the bride and groom. Tyrion is quite drunk, and getting drunker, and Sansa is sitting quietly, looking about as unhappy as one can be. The only people who look almost as unhappy are the Tyrells. Lady Olenna is rattling off the absurd ways that Loras and Margaery will be related once Loras marries Cersei and Margaery marries Joffrey. Finally Loras gets up and leaves the table. Sansa does the same, unable to sit any longer next to her husband while he sloshes wine into his mouth. Joffrey goes after Sansa while Tywin takes her momentary absence as an opportunity to lecture his son about his husbandly duties and his ill-advised choice to get falling-down drunk on his wedding night. Joffrey enjoys his chance to be cruel to Sansa, including offering to put a Lannister baby inside her himself. “How’d you like that?” He then tries to start the bedding ceremony, but Tyrion finally puts his foot down, or rather, his dagger. “…You’ll be fucking your bride with a wooden cock!” he shouts at Joffrey. For a moment there’s stunned silence, then Joffrey’s outrage registers and it’s all Tywin can do to convince him that Tyrion is merely in his cups, and trying to jest. Tyrion realizes his mistake and goes on, making jokes about his own manhood, while leading Sansa off to bed.

The following scene, in their bedchamber, is both heartbreaking and uncomfortable. Sansa stands there awkwardly while Tyrion pours himself yet another glass of wine. “Is that wise, Tyrion?” “Nothing was ever wiser.” When he tells her that Tywin commanded him to consummate their marriage, she says nothing, but she does down a glass of wine pretty quickly. She then walks over to the bed, and with her back to Tyrion, begins undressing. He watches her, and his look is telling. There is desire there, but also sadness, pity and a lot of other emotions. When she’s down to her slip, he orders her to stop. “I won’t share your bed…not until you want me to.” Sansa turns to face him, and offers back, “And what if I never want you to?”

In Daenerys’ camp, Missandei is helping her bathe when Daario takes them by surprise, putting a dagger to the servant girl’s throat and forcing Dany to hear him out. He has a surprise for her: the heads of his fellow captains…including the noxious Mero. He offers his service, and that of the Second Sons. He admired her beauty so much he did not want to kill her, and he killed his comrades when they told him he had no choice. Daenerys rises out of the tub and orders him to swear his allegiance to her. He offers it all…even his heart.

When Shae comes to Tyrion and Sansa’s bedchamber in the morning, she sees by the bedsheets that nothing happened the night before, and tries to cover up a smile.

Far North, Sam and Gilly are still slowly making their way to Castle Black. They find an old hut by a weirwood tree and decide to stay there for the night. Sam has difficulty making a fire, so he and  Gilly sit and talk under the furs. Gilly accuses Sam of “talking fancy on purpose” just to confuse her. Poor Sam says no, that’s just how he talks. Gilly is able to build a fire much more successfully, which she does while Sam suggests names for her baby boy. He explains about family names and birth names, and tells her his father was Randall. When she compliments the name, Sam says, “Please don’t name him Randall.” Gilly realizes that they both have had cruel fathers, in their own way. When they hear lots of crows outside, Sam takes a torch and goes to investigate. The weirwood tree is filled with the black birds, and when they all go silent in one moment, Sam and Gilly spot an approaching white walker. He moves toward them like a ghost, knocking Sam aside in one powerful motion. As the walker approaches Gilly and the baby Sam throws himself at him with the one weapon he has: the dragonglass dagger that he found at the Fist. The dagger causes the walker to cry out in agony and shatter into pieces as Sam and Gilly make a run for it.

Quote of the Night:

“And so my watch begins…” – Tyrion, on his wedding night



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