Game of Thrones Recap: Season 3 Episode 8
This episode takes its name not just from the title of the sellsword company that threatens Danaerys for less than the time it takes you to read this sentence, but from all the unwanted and unappreciated sons we see this week. The Hound has always been unfairly lumped with (and seen as inferior to) his older brother, Tyrion’s second-son problems are exacerbated by also being a dwarf, Stannis was the second son but the third favorite, Sam was seen as a second son even though he was a firstborn, and Gendry is more like a 10,000,000th son, but we’ll take it. What’s really notable is that this isn’t even a complete list of “second sons” in the Game of Thrones world: Theon and Jon Snow are obvious examples, but GoT loves its damaged and forgotten souls, male and female. Sucks to be everyone!
In the Sandor Clegane internet fandom, the Hound/Arya interaction we see in the opening of this episode is called “The Road Trip” and is usually accompanied by squealing and cooing and general carrying-on. I’m not saying I’m part of it or anything, I’m just mentioning it for your education. Don’t look at me like that. Anyway, Arya’s a smart, tough cookie, but her naïveté is showing when she tells the Hound, “There’s no one worse than you,” and he patiently explains some of the many reasons why she’s wrong about that. She will probably go on trying to kill him, even though he’s being perfectly nice to her and taking her to her mom and brother and sharing his apples.
Danaerys discovers that the Yunkai (Yunkish? Whatever, you don’t care) have hired a 2,000-man company of sellswords to help defend their city, but don’t think too hard about that or bother learning the captains’ names because, whoops, by the end of the episode, the prettiest one kills the other two and defects to Dany’s side. Now there’s only one name to learn (Daario, Master of Offbeat Seduction Tactics and Mouth Movements) and Dany has 10,000 warriors instead of a meager 8,000. The new addition to the Danaerys drinking game is to drink every time she makes her Bemused Ruler facial expression.
Over on Dragonstone, everything is even weirder than it usually is on that funky island, mostly due to the sex/sacrifice/bonding/bondage tension going on in Gendry’s new bedroom. Stannis is feeling uncomfortable with Melisandre’s plan to use his brother’s bastard for her blood magic – maybe because he walks in on an unquestionably sexual tableau, and he’d like any sex-demons to be produced by his own loins, thanks – and he frees Davos to convince both the smuggler and himself that Melisandre’s power is the real deal. Poor Davos has been learning to read using a history of the Valyrian dynasty, which, given the way these names are spelled, is the worst possible place to start, but he’s doing quite well and I’m proud of my little badger-man. After seeing Gendry’s peen-leeches sizzling like Korean BBQ, sounding out “Visenya” and “Balerion” probably starts looking pretty good. We’ll have to wait and see if Melisandre’s blood-filled leeches pack the same murderous punch as Stannis’s pure, uh, you know, contribution did with Renly.
Sansa and Tyrion get married, which is even more uncomfortable than you imagined due to Sansa’s absolute refusal to acknowledge Tyrion’s repeated attempts at kindness. Sansa, I like you a lot more than most people do, but you were a real dick tonight – “And what if I never want you to?”, come on, don’t be such a wang. Tyrion gets BLITZED and chooses to pass out on a chaise in full leather rather than pressure the undeserving Sansa into consummating their marriage, which makes Shae happy but will piss off everyone else in his family if they find out. Believe it or not, this sequence (especially the cloaking and the bedroom conversation) is even more painful and emotionally brutal in the books. Cersei continues to be my favorite part of every episode by eloquently threatening to have Margaery assassinated and then blowing off Loras, her future husband, in a move we’ve all wished we could do at some point but have never had the brass to pull off. She even tries to protect Sansa from her son’s cruelty! Love her. Side note, this was the shortest and quietest wedding in the history of civilization, officiated by the most gameshow-y hairstyle.
The episode concludes with Sam finally, finally, FINALLY finding some backbone and heroically killing a White Walker with the Dragonglass dagger he found, then immediately returning to form by LEAVING THE EXTREMELY RARE AND EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE WEAPON LYING IN THE SNOW as he runs away chased by birds. Gilly and her how-are-you-not-dead-from-exposure-yet baby are in great hands, I’m sure this will all end well, just like everything always does in Game of Thrones! Right?