Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this drunken disappointment and this child prisoner in unholy — though financially and powerfully expedient — matrimony. After all, what would Game of Thrones be without a few unwilling pawns? Elsewhere, Gendry has a bloody bad time in bed and Khaleesi meets someone almost as pretty as she is – and she likey. Let’s look at the major developments that take place in “Second Sons.”
HOUSE STARK: IN-THE-HOUND’S-POUND EDITION | When Arya wakes before the Hound, she grabs a big rock and hefts it above her head, prepared to brain him with it. Without opening his eyes, he informs her she has one shot – and if she doesn’t kill him, he’ll break both of her hands. She thinks better of her impromptu plan, and they take off on horseback. She assumes he’s going to bring her back to King’s Landing, but after some salty language regarding Cersei and Joffrey, his plan becomes clear: He’s going to ransom Arya to her family at the Twins, where Catelyn and Robb will soon arrive for Edmure’s wedding. He makes a point of telling her that he also saved her sister a couple of times, though Arya is dubious.
HOUSE STARK: SOON-TO-BECOME-HOUSE-LANNISTER EDITION | Speaking of Lady Sansa, Tyrion asks for a moment alone while she’s getting dressed for their wedding. When everyone else – including Shae, who could power a small city with the fury she wordlessly directs his way in this episode — is out of the room, Tyrion assures his bride that after they say their vows, she’ll no longer be a prisoner; she’ll be his wife. Same diff, her face says. It’s a terrible, well-acted scene, with Peter Dinklage conveying earnest concern when Tyrion promises Sansa he won’t hurt her. He even manages to coax a smile out of her. Aw, that’s nice… but they are both still so ridiculously screwed.
At the ceremony, Margaery cozies up to Cersei, taking her arm and saying that because they’ll soon be sisters, “We should be friends.” The Queen stares at her future daughter-in-law with the kind of disgust she usually reserves for non-alcoholic beverages or sex with someone with whom she didn’t share amniotic fluid. Joffrey’s mama tells a cautionary tale that foretells doom for House Tyrell, then finishes with, “If you ever call me ‘sister’ again, I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.” Ha!
As Margaery recoils from her verbal beat-down, the bride enters. Sansa’s holding it together pretty well, considering she’s a political prisoner who’s being frog-marched down the aisle by the person responsible for turning her father into a ghastly lollipop. Yep, Joffrey can’t leave any tiny moment unsullied for his favorite torture subject, so he squires her to the altar and then removes a nearby stool, making it necessary for Sansa to stoop down so Tyrion can place the ceremonial cloak of his protection around her shoulders. The audience starts to snicker at the sight gag, but a sharp look from Tywin shuts that business down.
The wedding feast is a joyless affair punctuated by the groom’s rampant drunkenness and Joffrey’s promise to rape the bride after her new husband passes out. (Joff, in the future, a Crate & Barrel gift card is a much more appropriate gift. Also, I hate you.) Not long after Tyrion declares himself “the god of t-ts and wine,” his father orders him to take Sansa to their quarters and knock her up. Joffrey goes one step farther, calling for a start to the bedding ceremony, which involves stripping Sansa naked in front of everyone at the party and then carrying her off to the bedroom. Tyrion says no, then threatens to do serious bodily harm to his nephew if he doesn’t back off. Tywin steps in and shuts down Joffrey’s prurient plan, putting Tyrion in a spot where he basically has to pretend that he was joking when he threatened to replace Joff’s manhood with a golf pencil. It’s humiliating all the way around; Sansa’s “WT-Actual-F?” face pretty much sums it up.
When they’re alone in the bedroom, Tyrion keeps drinking, compliments Sansa’s long neck (heh) and asks her age – it’s 14. Time for another round! Though she’s made it clear she only drinks wine when she has to, Ned Stark’s daughter downs a goblet of the stuff to steel herself, then turns her back to her husband and undresses to her shift. Even though the fumes from his own breath must make it hard to see exactly what’s going on, Tyrion knows this isn’t right. He stops her, saying, “Can’t. I could, I won’t,” and declaring that he won’t share her bed until she wants him to. That could be never, she notes. He passes out on the chaise lounge.
The next morning, Shae angrily busts in to straighten the room and attend to her lady. She disregards Tyrion’s advice that she knock first but, with some satisfaction, pays great attention to the pristine nature of the sheets on the wedding bed.
HOUSE TARGARYEN: SHOULD-WE-TRUST-THE-NEW-HOTTIE? EDITION | The city of Yunkai has hired 2,000 mercenaries, known as “Second Sons,” to fight Daenerys and her Unsullied. The sellswords are headed by a Braavosi named Mero, who’s also known as “the Titan’s Bastard.” “Is he more titan or bastard?” the Mother of Dragons asks cheekily, but Ser Jorah warns her that the Second Sons are no joke. Still, she requests a meeting and is reasonably sure she’ll get one, because “a man who fights for gold can’t afford to lose to a girl.” (Side note: Pretty much everything Khaleesi has said this season is meme-worthy, no?)
At the meeting, Mero is rude enough to raise everyone’s hackles – except Daenerys’. She ignores his comments about her nether regions and his egregious, Gene Simmons-like tongue undulations; instead, she simply offers to pay the Second Sons more than the Yunkish are paying them. Mero spits out one last ridiculous comment about her anatomy, and I’m not sure what I love more: that Jorah and Grey Worm are ready to kill him for that alone, or that Dany is calmly like, “Simmer, boys. I got this.”
Mero later discusses the offer with his two comrades at their own post, saying they just need to sneak into Daenerys’ camp, kill her and be done with it. They draw coins to see who’ll do the deed; a long-haired Ken doll named Daario Naharis winds up with the gig.
That evening, Khaleesi soaks in a tub and gets (gently) schooled in Dothraki pronunciation by Missandei, whom we learn is fluent in 19 languages. Daario, who is dressed as one of the Unsullied, slips into her tent and dumps the heads of his two cohorts – including the guy with the tricky tongue – onto her floor. Daario explains that he and the Second Sons will fight for her, instead, then makes it official by dropping to one knee and vowing his loyalty. (I’m thinking it didn’t hurt that she stepped, bare as a babe, from the bath before he did it.)
HOUSE BARATHEON: BETTER-BLED-THAN-RED EDITION | Melisandre brings Gendry to Stannis, who takes one look at the bastard and declares him, “half Robert, half lowborn.” When they’re alone, Melisandre compares Gendry to a sacrificial lamb, causing Stannis to comment, “You’ve slaughtered many lambs.” She shoots back, nonplussed, “And none have seen the blade.” This chick is scary. Maybe that’s why Stannis chooses that moment to free Davos from the dungeons. “You knew I’d counsel restraint,” his old friend notes, adding that Gendry is a blood relative who has done Stannis no harm. The would-be king counters by revealing what he saw in the flames at the end of last season: “a great battle in the snow.” He likens it to what Davos witnessed when Melisandre gave birth to the Lost smoke monster and asks, “How you can deny her god is real?”
Upstairs, Gendry is in his room, which looks like the set of a Meatloaf music video. Melisandre enters, lights the brazier and gives him good wine; he’s suspicious until she starts undressing him and drops her own robes, then he just kind of goes with it. She works her way down his body, and – goodness, Mel, chill! For a minute there, we were dangerously close to seeing the young blacksmith’s tongs and anvil!
She climbs on top of him and it’s all thrusty funtimes until she lashes him to the bed and tells him to trust her. Just then, Stannis and Davos enter, and I’m pretty sure Gendry is thinking he would do anything for love but he won’t do that. It’s all good, Gen: Melisandre just wants to put three leeches on you to draw out some of that royal blood coursing through your veins. Two of the bugs go on his torso, the last one goes to third base with him, then she pulls them off and drops them into the flames as she chants Joffrey, Balon and Robb’s names. The Joffrey leech pops in a really disgusting way.
THE MEN OF THE WALL | Sam and Gilly find lodging at an abandoned house, where she gets a fire going as they discuss possible names for her infant son. May I suggest Alfred? Because from the sheer number of crows cawing outside, it’s about to turn into The Birds up in here. Sam goes outside and it gets eerily quiet… because there’s a White Walker approaching. “It’s come for the baby!” Gilly cries. Certainly looks that way – especially when the creature shatters Tarly’s sword with one hand. Just as the beast grabs for little No-Name, a desperate Sam pulls out his dragonglass dagger and plunges it into the White Walker’s back. The creature cries out, falls down and cracks into a million pieces, then blows away. Sam grabs Gilly and the child then takes off, all of the birds following the trio’s frenzied exit.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!