Game of Thrones recap: Review of Season 3 Episode 8 ‘Second Sons’

The latest Game of Thrones episode just aired on HBO. You need to know what I think so you know what to think. So let’s talk about Game of Thrones S03E08 “Second Sons” starting…now.

LOSER: Arya’s lust for murder

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When last we left Arya Stark, she was being abducted from the Brotherhood Without Banners’ camp by the Hound. And we jump right into Arya seemingly having a clean shot at the Hound’s sleeping head with a big rock. But the Hound hears her and offers her one shot in about as badass of a way as you can challenge a 10-year-old girl to murder you.

Arya opts not to take her shot. It seems like we’ve got another buddy comedy brewing in the same vein as Jaime and Brienne as the Hound explains that he’s not that bad of a guy and saved her sister Sansa from a rapin’ multiple times. The Hound is bringing her to The Twins, an area in the Riverlands. I smell a redemption arc!

WINNER: The booming soldiers of fortune industry in Yunkai

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A group of sellswords, the Second Sons, comes to Daenerys for face time. The Second Sons seem like a formidable duo based entirely upon how brazen they are in disrespecting the would-be Queen including requests to see Daenerys’s ladybits.

But Daenerys offers them the same money Yunkai is given them to bow out of any war. The Sons deny her request, saying they have a contract and they’re men of their word. They then slap the ass of former slave girl Missandei just for good measure. This is how we know they’re bad guys.

The men go back to their camp and, as the main one who said the rudest things to Daenerys gropes a whore, they decide one of them has to sneak into Dany’s camp and kill her in the middle of the night.

WINNER: Literacy in the Dragonstone jail cell

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Former Sir Davos is still in the Baratheon jail attempting to read after his last conversation with Stannis’s scale-skinned daughter. Reading is FUNdamental in Westeros, too, kids.

Stannis pops in to talk with Davos and tells him that Melisandre has returned with the Baratheon bastard Gendry. Stannis seems stoked that Gendry is going to be sacrificed for Melisandre’s king’s blood witchcraft. Davos isn’t happy that Stannis sees the murder of an innocent as a necessary evil. And Stannis protests too much, saying “we must do our duty now…what’s one bastard boy against a kingdom” as if he were justifying the idea to himself.

Stannis offers Davos his freedom if he swears not to raise a hand to Melisandre again. But Davos says he can’t avoid speaking ill of Melisandre. Davos is basically Stannis’s conscience. Stannis buys the Melisandre fire god hype, though, and there’s no turning back at this point, Davos’s eloquence aside.

WINNER: Sansa and Tyrion’s mutual understanding

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Sansa and Tyrion both feel unease about their new allegiance. Sansa thinks Tyrion is all about the impeding nuptials and Tyrion pretty clearly is not. But Sansa’s still relatively uneasy about their speedy wedding. Tyrion asks if Sansa drinks wine because she’s “going to need it.” Being walked down the aisle by King Joffrey — filling in for Sansa’s father since Joffrey’s the “father of the realm” — might as well put the decanter directly into her hand.

LOSER: Cersei’s sense of sisterhood

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Margaery attempts her usual political maneuvering by being extra cautious and gracious towards Cersei at the wedding of Tyrion and Sansa. But Cersei shuts it down fast, threatening Margaery’s life if she ever calls Cersei “sister” again. Apparently they don’t have copies of How Stella Got Her Groove Back lying around the King’s Landing library.

WINNER: Melisandre’s fiery loins

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Melisandre has a moment alone with Gendry who immediately seems apprehensive when Melisandre offers him some wine that he fears may be poisoned. That initial reluctance goes away when Melisandre undresses him, then herself, and gets right to work mounting the royal steed. Watching the sex scene unfold is kind of awkward because the whole time you’re waiting for something creepy to happen. And then, after about two seconds of intercourse, Melisandre ties his hands together, ties his feet together, and grabs a series of leeches to suck the blood from his body.

He didn’t even get to bust a nut. This is just cruel.

Stannis and Davos come in, apparently to bear witness to the power of king’s blood. Stannis throws the leeches into a fiery cauldron, naming the three Kings of other regions: Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon. This Melisandre makes witchcraft look so easy.

LOSER: The Baratheon family tree

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Lady Olenna attempts to explain to Sir Loras how the family tree will look after Joffrey marries Margaery and Loras marries Cersei and then there are kids. Olenna can’t even keep track of who’s a nephew and a grandson, and that’s without accounting for the incest.

Tywin interrupts the wedding reception to chide Tyrion for being too drunk that he presumably can’t give a child to Sansa that evening. He angrily encourages Tyrion to “do [his] duty.” This is how all the best foreplay begins, I presume.

Even better, Sansa gets cornered by Joffrey and congratulated for her future Lannister baby. But Joffrey then says that it doesn’t matter which Lannister puts the baby in her and then says he might give her a raping later. How generous of his grace.

LOSER: The bedding ceremony

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Apparently there’s something called a “bedding ceremony” tethered to wedding traditions. And knowing how displeased Sansa and Tyrion are with the situation, classy ol’ Joffrey insists on the ceremony taking place. Up until Tyrion drunkenly says that if Joffrey pushes the issue, he’ll be “fucking his bride with a wooden cock.” Hell of a way with words around castration, that Tyrion.

Tywin calls the night to a close acknowledging Tyrion’s drunkenness. Tyrion brings Sansa back to the bedroom and asks if it’s wise that he continues to drink when they get back. Tyrion comments on her long neck, asks how old she is — aside, Sansa is still 14? Really? Let’s never be creepy about her on the Internet, please — then tells her that his father has demanded he consummate the marriage. Sansa goes for some wine then hits the bed to put in the work of which she’s expected.

But, while seemingly intrigued as she undresses, Tyrion isn’t going to break out the magic stick tonight. He won’t bed her until she wants him to. And if she never wants him to, then he’ll go abstinent with the power of wine. A regular Al Bundy, that Tyrion.

WINNER: Missandei’s job description

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Daenerys may have no interest in slaves but she’s got no problem with having Missandei bathe her, apparently. But just as things are getting clean, one of the Second Sons holds a knife to Missandei’s neck and threatens to slit her throat if they scream. But the Second Sons’ rep comes with the two decapitated heads of his fellow Second Sons who ordered him to murder her. What a lovely gift.

Daenerys then rises from the tub fully nude because, hey, you give a girl two severed heads, you earn a tit shot. First rule of courtship, fellas. The Second Sons rep, whom I think is named Daario Nahiris, swears his fealty to Dany’s cause. I bet that turned out much better than expected for everyone involved.

Just remember what Barristan Selmy said earlier: You can’t trust a man who fights for gold. I’m not sure if that rhetoric holds up when you get a naked Daenerys in front of you. That saying may not have planned for that contingency.

P.S. Since it’s a plot point — and arguably the most gangsta bit of nudity ever captured on TV — here’s a NSFW screencap of Daenerys being all empowered and whatnot.

WINNER: Samwell Tarly’s neverending desire to stop moving

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Samwell Tarly is still crossing the world beyond the wall with the former Craster daughterwife and her newborn son. He just wants to stop trekking, because Samwell Tarly is always trying to stop hiking through the snow, and the daughterwife agrees.

Samwell thinks that the little boy needs a name. The daughterwife thinks the baby should be named Craster, completely unaware that Craster is a family name and not a name name (oh, and also the name of her dad that had sex with her…that seems like relevant information too). Unfortunately, the sound of a murder of crows breaks up the discussion. The crows won’t shut up until all of a sudden a White Walker appears seemingly looking for a midnight snack of the baby boy. The White Walker quickly dispatches Samwell’s sword. But a second knife to the back from Samwell turns the snow zombie into a screaming block of ice. These snow zombies aren’t as hard bred as our good ol’ fashioned American zombies on The Walking Dead, that much is for sure.

For some reason, this episode completely flew by for me (probably the lack of Bran, if we’re being honest). The Tyrion-Sansa wedding seemed entirely out of nowhere given that we haven’t seen actual couples like Robb and Jeyne or Joffrey and Margaery married yet. Given what we know of Tyrion, I’m also not entirely sold that he’d be able to keep his ship at half mast after Sansa’s little half-creepy half-boner-inducing strip show, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

It looks like it’s two weeks until the next episode of Game of Thrones thanks to Memorial Day cockblocking our TV enjoyment. Hopefully an extra unexpected gander at Daenaery’s goodies are enough to balance out the inequity of the fates.

I’ll give this episode three and a half decapitated new character heads out of five. May the Lord of Light carry us all through the long wait for more Game of Thrones.