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'Game Of Thrones': Second Sons

Lilian Min |
May 20, 2013 | 8:48 p.m. PDT

Music Editor

HAHA. HA. Why, one might ask, is this writer gleefully clapping her hands and grinning wickedly as she writes this recap? (Ed. note: Okay, so no one can see me, but I thought I'd paint the picture.)

Because it's wedding season in Westeros, and there's miles to go before we sleep.

The four main scenarios in "Second Sons" revolved around courtships, but not all of these courtships are in the traditional romantic, wooing sense.

Melisandre is trying to convince Davos Seaworth and Stannis Baratheon to believe in the power of Gendry's kingsblood; Tyrion Lannister is trying to reconcile with Shae (out of love) and Sansa Stark (out of politeness and a good deal of pity); Margaery Tyrell is trying to cozy up to her future mother-in-law, Cersei Lannister; Daenerys Targaryen is attempting to sway the allegiance of the sellsword company Second Sons—and then later, she's the one being persuaded.

So, let's break it down.

She's already undressing him in her mind. (via thevalarmorghulis/Tumblr)
She's already undressing him in her mind. (via thevalarmorghulis/Tumblr)
Gendry finally arrives at the family stronghold of his father's family, but his Baratheon blood does not mean that he's in for a warm welcome. Even from the beginning of the episode, it's clear that Stannis and Melisandre have brought the boy in for some reason other than the kindness of their hearts; Stannis even grabs the guy by the face and appraises him. (What's up with the Dragonstone folks appraising other people?)

Not that Stannis doesn't feel some doubts about what's in store for the boy. He pays a visit down to his ex-BFF Davos, who's adorably learning how to pronounce "enough" (we've all been there, Davos). The two understandably start their conversation off pretty awkwardly ("Hey, so about that time I threw you in a dungeon...") but it's obvious that Stannis doesn't want Davos there, and Davos sure as hell wants to be around and advise Stannis, especially once he hears about what Stannis and Melisandre are planning to do with Gendry.

But that freedom comes with strings attached, and so Davos swears not to harm Melisandre, though he's still skeptical of the Red Woman. As if it'd soothe Davos's mind, Stannis then launches into a list of all the weird magical things Melisandre's done, including that crazy shadow baby.

"How can you deny her God is real?" 

They certainly haven't helped him GET SOME. ^5 (via aegor-bittersteel/Tumblr)
They certainly haven't helped him GET SOME. ^5 (via aegor-bittersteel/Tumblr)
So what exactly did Melisandre have planned for Gendry? Well, at first it appeared that she was about to give the bull the ride of his life (in a scene that eerily parallels the time when she conceived that shadow baby with Stannis), as she coaxed along the very confused Gendry with talk about the Lord of Light. "Come fight death with me" is apparently an amazing pick-up line (take notes, folks).

But then okay, she's tying him up... and bringing over a box... and it's LEECHES. Gendry then realizes that he's in a very bad situation; that situation is punctuated by Melisandre attaching a leech to his dick. Davos and Stannis walk in, and oooh, this is awkward, except that they're kind of in on this? They wanted Melisandre to prove her power, and so she begrudgingly goes about that.

One leech into the fire for Robb Stark. One for Balon Greyjoy. One for Joffrey Baratheon.

(Ed. note: The show gets a lot of flack for shooting all of their sex scenes like soft core porn, but this one so far takes the cake. Even when things take on a sinister tone, it's all about Melisandre doing this, and Stannis and Davos reacting like "WTF," but even though the viewers know that Gendry's being coerced into something, the camera's still lovingly trained on ~*their bodies*~, making the transition into full-on "NOPE" even more jarring.)

In King's Landing, Sansa and Tyrion are getting married, and neither bride nor groom is happy about that situation. Even though Tyrion's trying to get across to the perpetually startled Sansa that he's not going to hurt her, of course she's not going to fully trust him because of 1) his lustful reputation and 2) his Lannister name. Yeah, that family has not been kind to Sansa's.

As the royal court preps for the wedding (known within the AsoIaF fandom as the "Gold Wedding"), Margaery Tyrell attempts to bond with Cersei Lannister, who has never looked crankier. Even as Margaery's waving and smiling to the guests assembled in the Great Sept of Baelor, Cersei's telling the story of the ever popular "The Rains of Castamere"—it's a cautionary tale about a family that strived for greatness, rebelled against the Lannisters, and were wiped out as a result of their rebellion. Gee Margaery, does that sound like another up-and-coming royal family? For the first time ever, the normally unbreakable Tyrell rose is visibly uneasy.

Then, it's time for the actual wedding ceremony! Because nothing in Sansa's life is fair, she's walked down the aisle by her ex-betrothed, Joffrey Baratheon, because, as he so snidely reminds her, "Your father's gone." Then, as she's to be cloaked by Tyrion as part of the Westerosi wedding ritual, Joffrey takes Tyrion's stepping stool, causing members of the court to laugh at the wedded couple and forcing Sansa to kneel before all those faces she despises.

#littleshit (via jaytwalker/Tumblr)
#littleshit (via jaytwalker/Tumblr)
During the post-wedding feast, Tyrion's getting crazy shit-faced so Sansa peaces out from her own celebration before some other wedding rituals go down (more on that later). Unfortunately, because her life is shit, when Sansa steps out, Joffrey goes after her, despite the urgings of his mother, who then peaces out herself.

As Tywin Lannister chides his son for being a fool at his own wedding, Joffrey essentially threatens to rape Sansa whenever he wants to, despite having just given her up to his uncle, and Loras Tyrell follows after Cersei to try to bond with his now-betrothed... but she's not having any of that. (Cersei Lannister's "f*ck you" face is a thing of beauty.)

/slow clap/ (via jaytwalker/Tumblr)
/slow clap/ (via jaytwalker/Tumblr)
So, why was Sansa trying to get away? Because the Westerosi engage in something called a bedding ceremony, in which the newly wed couple is stripped and carted up to their marriage bed by a rowdy, ribald crowd. Joffrey calls for the bedding ceremony to begin, and Sansa's naturally scared shitless by this prospect. Tyrion puts an end to this by physically threatening the king, and this almost lands him and Sansa in hot water, except that Tywin steps in and mediates between his furious grandson and his drunk but righteous son.

We see you smiling, girl. (via killerstorm/Tumblr)
We see you smiling, girl. (via killerstorm/Tumblr)
That said, there's still that pesky business of consummating a marriage... but when Sansa tells Tyrion that she's only 14, even as she's stripping down, his heart's with another woman, and he knows enough to know that touching the Stark girl in any way without her consent is wrong. Though it might be tempting to think "Aww, girl, just give him a chance," she has no reason to trust him or to believe that he won't end up abusing her the way Joffrey did. And when Shae walks into their room the next morning, she knows that this couple's only together in name.

Across the Narrow Sea, Dany's trying to convince the Second Sons, a company of sellswords contracted to Yunkai, to break their contract with the city and fight for her. Those 2,000 mercenaries are led by Mero of Braavos, Prendahl na Ghezn (yes, I looked it up), and Daario Naharis.

"I'm going to kill them all." (via a-feast-for-hos/Tumblr)
"I'm going to kill them all." (via a-feast-for-hos/Tumblr)
Out of the three of them, Mero and Prendahl don't give a shit about Dany's potential as a leader and a queen, and verbally abuse Dany and Missandei (Mero even slaps the poor girl's ass). However, Daario's taken a keen interest in the mother of dragons, and it's not just because of her bewitching looks.

"The gods gave men two gifts to entertain ourselves before we die—the thrill of fucking a woman who wants to be fucked; the thrill of killing a man who wants to kill you."

Later, the three men, whose rank from most powerful to least goes Mero, Prendahl, Daario, are deciding what to do about Dany. Mero and Prendahl opt to kill her, leaving her army without a leader, and Mero suggests that the men draw coins to see who is to do the deed. Daario draws the Braavosi coin, and in a great callback to another scene in which the promise of Braavos and another coin were in play, he says with a wry smile on his face, "Valar morghulis." All men must die.

He's no Gos, but he'll do. (via heykhaleesi/Tumblr)
He's no Gos, but he'll do. (via heykhaleesi/Tumblr)
But Dany is no man. While she's in the bath, Daario, dressed as an Unsullied, ambushes her and Missandei, but he's not there to kill them. Instead, he's brought her a gift—the heads of Mero and Prendahl. He doesn't want to kill Dany; instead, he's intoxicated with her beauty, both in presence and in spirit, and swears his allegiance and the allegiance of his men to her. And she accepts it.

Since there ain't no party like a gratuitously buck naked party (other members include Brienne of Tarth, Jaime Lannister, Robb Stark, Melisandre, etc.), Dany steps out of the tub and... into a robe, in order to properly receive her new ally. That said, the UST level between these two is high. Oh Dany, it's been a long time since someone's looked at you like that. (No, Jorah doesn't count.)

(Ed. note: In the books, Daario is a member of another mercenary company, the Stormcrows, while a man named Brown Ben Plumm leads the Second Sons. Also, the casting and costuming people for "Game of Thrones" toned down Daario's look considerably—he's supposed to have blue hair and a tri-forked blue beard. Suffice it to say, George R.R. Martin's idea of what's foxy is not conventional.)

Some closing thoughts:

- Arya Stark, gods bless her, wakes up and immediately tries to kill the Hound Sandor Clegane, but he's got his eye on her, even with his eyes closed. "I'll give you one try"—but even she's not mad enough to take it. Anyway, she's pleasantly surprised when he tells her that he's taking her not back to King's Landing, but to the Twins, where her mother and brother are. Aww, how thoughtful of him! And for Arya, that's when she finally realizes just how strange and shifty this world has become.

- How funny was that scene in which Olenna Tyrell was talking about the twisty lineage of the upcoming Tyrell and Lannister/Baratheon marriages? Poor Margaery and Loras.

- It seems almost like an afterthought at this point, but hey, remember those crazy White Walkers? Sam Tarly and Gilly camp out by a weirwood tree, and the two have a moment together bonding over potential names for Gilly's son (and touching upon Sam's own painful childhood), but there's a swarm of crows creating quite a racket outside... until they're dead silent, and there's nothing out there except the sound of an Other coming after the boy. But miraculously, Sam gets it together and stabs the Walker with Chekhov's gun—I mean, that dragonglass dagger, and it actually kills this supposedly unkillable otherworldly being. 

- That said, this being Sam, he drops the dagger before running away with Gilly and her son. Way to get it together, son.

The final two episodes are going to be doozies. Get ready. Recapper out. /disappears in a flurry of crows/

Read more of NT's "Game of Thrones" recaps here.

Reach Music Editor Lilian Min here; follow her on Twitter here and on Google+ here.



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