I was severely disappointed by last week’s Game of Thrones episode The Bear and the Maiden Fair (despite the utterly badass title). Even though I wasn’t starting to give up on the show, all my friends started talking about how it’s not what it used to be — they cited the ongoing soap opera developing in King’s Landing and lack of meaningful, plot-advancing events as reasons to stop following our beloved HBO show with the same devotion and dedication.
However, I vouched for the series, as I always do. I argued that The Bear and the Maiden Fair had only served as a prelude to the third season’s three-episode-long climax. Whether I was right or not remains to be seen, but I did thoroughly enjoy this week’s episode — Second Sons is easily one of the best this year, although several fan-favorite characters were absent, including Robb Stark and Jon Snow.
Daenerys Targaryen remains beside the walls of Yunkai and continues to threaten to invade their city — she even tries to intimidate an army of sellswords called the Second Sons, commanded by Mero (a.k.a. The Titan’s Bastard), but to no avail. These mercenaries were sworn to defend Yunkai against any sort of threat, before Dany arranges a meeting with their leaders. The interaction between both groups and the way the Titan’s Bastard kept on making misogynistic remarks towards the Mother of Dragons and her interpreter Missandei was handled quite nicely and comes to show Dany’s growth as a leader and a woman, as she pays little attention to Mero’s advances. However, I did consider the sexist sellsword to be a rather interesting character who’d turn up later on to join or battle Dany’s army of Unsullied. Alas, it was not meant to be. His lieutenant Daario Naharis betrays him and cuts his head off, thus taking over the Second Sons and joining the Targaryen girl, claiming it was her beauty that convinced him to turn on his captain. Needless to say — I absolutely hated that scene. I hated it with a burning passion. Daario just doesn’t appeal to me all that much, and for what it’s worth, I enjoyed Mero’s scenes a whole lot more.
Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to the story line developing in King’s Landing, at all. I didn’t even think Tyrion’s wit or Varys’ constant plotting could save the ongoing arc in the Westerosi capital at this point. Nevertheless, I was taken by surprise by Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding ceremony, an extremely awkward and tense affair. The Imp’s stubbornness shocks me — he could have run away to Essos with Shae, but instead he chose to stay and play the game of thrones with the big boys, claiming to “be good at outsmarting them.” It hasn’t really worked out for him, has it? He’s marrying the wrong woman on his father’s orders, he’s constantly ridiculed by Joffrey and Cersei has warned him his life’s in danger. Who exactly is he “outsmarting,” then?
We didn’t get to see much of Arya in this week’s episode but she does attempt to kill The Hound with a rock. Well, not really. She doesn’t even get to hit him. Come on, she’s smarter than that. The guy is three to four times her size, I bet she was only trying to figure out whether she’d be capable of doing it given the right circumstances.
Stannis’ story puzzled me the most. I was glad to see him patch things up with Davos Seaworth, the Dwight Schrute to his Michael Scott. He didn’t really deserve to be locked up to begin with, all he tried to do was stab Melisandre. Can you blame him? Stannis doesn’t anymore, apparently. He did make him promise to never attack his mistress again though. What’s the red priestess up to, anyway? She kidnapped Gendry a little while back, and almost everyone knew what she was going to do with him (except Robert Baratheon’s bastard, of course). I don’t necessarily deem her “downright evil.” As a matter of fact, I’m quite fond of Melisandre, as she’s probably the character who’s most involved with magic — she’s a valuable asset to Stannis’ campaign due to her supernatural powers and conviction.
Her god has also proven to be the only true deity thus far (something Stannis alludes to as he converses with Davos), so that’s helpful, too. She tricks Gendry into thinking he’s going to have a really, really great night, but ends up tying him to a bed and placing three leeches on him. When Stannis enters the room alongside Davos, she removes and gives them to the rightful king, who burns them as he whispers the name of those who conspire against his throne: Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy and Joffrey Baratheon. There are several elements of this scene that fascinate me. Firstly, why does Stannis consider Robb to be a usurper? Think about it — Stannis wouldn’t even be aware of his claim to the throne if it wasn’t for Ned Stark. Besides, all Robb wants to do is get his sisters back, kill the Lannisters and then return home to rule in peace. If Stannis were to name him Warden of the North, I’m sure he’d be just fine with that.
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