The Battle for the Throne – Second Sons (S03E08)

A Lannister always pays his debts

We are almost at the end of this year’s season in Westeros and the pieces are starting to fall in place. And as if to prepare us for Episode 9 we only had 3 big stories this week and two short moments at beginning and end.

A note on the spoiler policy
These articles will discuss the episodes in-depth so everything that has already been aired will be talked about. There won’t be spoilers for future events and book information will only be discussed if it has already happened or happened differently in the books. Things that are omitted from the books won’t be mentioned because those events might come to play in a different way.

S03E08 Banner

A hound and a cheerful wedding
Last episode I said that the Hound would be the perfect new teacher for Arya and her newfound religion of Death. And she showed how much she had already learned from previous seasons by trying to kill the Hound with a rock.

After that failed murder attempt they started to head towards the wedding of Robb Stark’s uncle Edmure Tully. And I am pretty sure that if Arya arrives in Episode 9 at the wedding that it won’t be a happy reunion.

Powerful friends?

Daenerys continued her theme of having more luck than wits as she gains a new servant in the form of Daario. Daario pretty much prevented her from dying a disgraceful death. Continuing a Game of Thrones tradition we were introduced to a group of new characters and it wasn’t the one who did the talking who would become important to the storyline – a similar thing happened with Missandei (the translator of Daenerys) and to an extend already Jorah Mormont who initially seemed less important than Khal Drogo.
I think George R.R. Martin likes to play with those things a lot and it is probably the reason his stories work so well. If we don’t understand who the main character is we can be more easily shocked if a presumed main character dies.

S03E08 Lucky Dany

Daenerys’s story involving the title giving Second Sons was not really that exciting and pretty much a setup for what I guess will be a big battle for either episode 9 or 10.

Side-speculation: is it too obvious to notice the similarity between Daario and Jaquen H’Ghar? Interestingly Daario was the only one whose hometown was not named. One of his – now dead colleagues – was from Braavos and Daario might as well be.

I wonder if the Second Sons are the powerful friends the slavers of Yunkai have warned Daenerys about or if she is in for an even bigger surprise.

Stannis’s conflict

Hm… so my speculations about the Gendry-bomb being placed beneath King’s Landing was wrong… so I assume that driving past the Red Keep was probably just to show off the special effects. The appearance of Gendry at King’s Landing made Stannis finally free the Onion Knight again.

S03E08 Stannis

I admire Davos. Learningto read is tough. But learning to read names like Visenya Targaryen (had to google that one) is pretty much the toughest way to get started.

We had a nice moment between Stannis and Davos where we got into Stannis’s head. The “one true king” told Davos about the vision he had at the end of Season 2 and mentioned that he saw a battle in the snow… foreshadowing?

And on top of that he asked a very important question: how can you not believe when the Lord of Light is sending so many signals. I find this theme very interesting and philosophical. Whatever the Lord of Light is he is actively changing the history of Westeros so this is not some philosophical view of the world.

But “real magic” or not the religion of the Lord of Light remains human and is just a way of how people like Melisandre see their world. We don’t know if the Lord of Light truly chose Gendry or if Melisandre just likes to see it that way.

After some sexposition we got some leeches who took Gendry’s blood – and I was just happy that Gendry was not dead yet. Hopefully he’ll make it through the season. Maybe Davos will have free him and they make an awesome buddy roadtrip.

Three names

  • The Usurper Robb Stark
  • The Usurper Balon Greyjoy
  • The Usurper Joffrey Baratheon

What do they mean?

I fully expected a smokemonster to appear during the wedding and kill Joffrey… but maybe it was just a promise Stannis made. Anyways after Gendry was saved I continued to fear who would die. On the edge of my seat it was the tensest final act of any Game of Thrones episode I watched this season. And because nothing happened I can only imagine that the eventual blow will be a tough one.

You call me sister again… nobody cares what your father once told you

In a fantastic character moment Cersei told Margaery that she had enough of her super nice image and threatened her both directly and indirectly. It served as both a chilling moment for Cersei but seeing as the title of the next episode is The Rains of Castamere it seems as if the authors also used this scene to establish some very important things we should know… namely that Tywin completely vanquished a house that tried to overpower him.

And feeling on a roll Cersei also insulted Loras, way to go!

The most uncomfortable wedding (yet?)

S03E08 Sansa

That was fast!
The scene with Cersei was so chilling that I was completely baffled when I realized that the wedding of Tyrion and Sansa was happening already. And because of the nature of Game of Thrones it was a very uncomfortable moment as if one were to mock cheery soap operas. So many characters we knew were there to witness Tyrion getting humiliated by Joffrey. And the way they were looking at Tyrion made me think of all those sitcoms which had a happy wedding featuring all the characters lined up as the protagonist moves past them.

Instead we kept wondering who was planning to betray whom…

S03E08 Feast

A tale of viewpoints

Even for people who have not read the book it was easy to see how the wedding might have played out in the book showing both Tyrion’s and Sansa’s side of the story. One where Tyrion is a drunken dwarf who disgusts Sansa and one where Tyrion wrestles with the responsibilities that Tywin puts upon him and how he tells lies to save the situation.

The climax of the wedding feast was Tyrion’s most awesome threat to Joffrey that the boy king will probably not forget. Tywin tried to save the situation and Tyrion went into overload mode providing joke after joke – even topping his “confession to Lysa Arryn” from Season 1.

And while he disgraced himself in front of the entire court he made some pluspoints when it comes to Shae. Tyrion will probably watch out for Sansa and maybe he will teach her how to play the game. As I noted in an earlier review I think Sansa will now start to bloom and learn many things about how to gain power in King’s Landing.

S03E08 Wooden Cock

I just fear that if Tywin finds out that Tyrion is not bedding Sansa he will deduce that Tyrion has someone else… and let’s remember Tywin’s threat about killing whores from the first episode of the season.

That’s what dragonglass does!

Coming from a super tense “Will Gendry die”, thinking “will the wedding be ruined by a smokemonster” the episode climaxed in a scene that was even more tense with Sam and Gilly. It was the first scene in Game of Thrones that I found truly frightening. The ravens gathering and the Walker appearing was just so well made and a fantastic ending.

Similarly to Dondarrion’s resurrection this small moment was a big gamechanger. Now we know that the Walkers can be killed (although many speculated that after the dragonglass was found) and we can only hope that Sam has more of that dragonglass because he dropped the one he used at the end of the episode.

S03E08 Icy Grandfather

Overall this was not only my favorite episode of the season but one of the finest episodes of this series. The smaller cast and the longer scenes were such a relief after the fragmented episodes that we had in this season.

And it was the first episode that gripped me for more than half of the episode and promises much more to come.

Wolfgang Verfasst von:

Der Host des Flipthetruck Podcasts. Mit einem Fokus auf Science Fiction und Roboter sucht er ständig jene Mainstream Filme, die sich nicht als reine Unterhaltungsfilme zufrieden geben.

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