‘Game of Thrones’ Review: “What is Dead May Never Die”
War still continues arriving, sort of! Eventually! ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 unsheathes its third episode of the season, as Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) makes his commitment to serve his father against his adoptive family, while Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) undertakes an exercise to uncover the traitors within the small council.
Last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode “The Night Lands” saw young Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) adjusting to her new life in disguise on the robe, while Stanis Baratheon looked to consolidate his forces for the inevitable battle and Jon Snow uncovered a terrible secret, so what will the latest episode bring?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 episode “What is Dead May Never Die!”
Craster hurls Jon Snow to the ground after catching him spying, ordering all of the Night’s Watch off of his property. Snow insists to Commander Mormont that Craster’s been killing babies, but realizes that Mormont already knows, while Mormont insists that they need men like Craster beyond the wall, for support in exploring the wilderness full of creatures they’re bound to see again. The next morning, Sam bestows a thimble from his mother’s sewing as a gift to Gilly. Aww!
While Bran Stark continues dreaming that he’s seeing through the eyes of his direwolf, over at Renly Stark’s camp his mother Catelyn arrives to see Renly hosting a tournament with his new wife Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). She watches as the brutish (yet female) Brienne of Tarth (Gwendolyn Christie) wins a bout with Ser Loras (Renly’s secret lover) and then humbly request a place in the King’s Guard. Renly assures Catelyn that he’ll bring her Joffrey’s head when he takes King's Landing, though she chides him for playing at a war rather than actually fighting one as her son, Robb fights the Lannisters.
Over at the iron islands, Theon Greyjoy chastises his sister Yara for her earlier deception (he totes finger-banged her, man), when Balon enters to lay out the plan that they’ll attack the North while Robb Stark fights elsewhere. Balon offers thirty ships to Yara for the fight, but only the “Sea Bitch” to Theon for a small mission attacking villages. Disgusted with the insult, Theon reminds is father that Balon once knelt to Ned Stark and gave his only living son away, which Balon can’t deny. Instead, he slaps his son, coldly leaves, and Yara reminds him that he needs to pick which family to be loyal to.
In King's Landing, Shae expresses her boredom at being kept secret, though Tyrion reminds her that Cersei must not know of any of Tyrion’s weaknesses, attempting to placate her with the promise of work. After a particularly uncomfortable dinner mocking wedding plans for Cersei and the Lannister children, Sansa finds her new handmaiden, Shae, whom she cruelly insults for not being more familiar with the job. Well, it’s a start!
Meanwhile, Tyrion undertakes a little subterfuge of his own, planting three different stories between Master Pycelle, Varys and Littlefinger of marrying off young Myrcella Lannister to strengthen the Lannister alliances, demanding that none of the three men tell Cersei. So who’s the winner? Well, seeing as Cersei ends up outraged that her only daughter is to be married to the Martells, it looks like Master Pycelle is the traitor! Still, Tyrion presses on Cersei that it needs to be done to strengthen a war they're currently losing, while Cersei makes threats that a piece of paper making him hand to the king won’t protect him.
Back at Renly’s camp, Ser Loras denies him his daily dose of dude-on-dude action, noting that people in the camp are beginning to snicker. Instead, Ser Loras next sends his sister to consummate her marriage to the king, though Renly has a bit of trouble…downstairs. Fully aware of his preferences, Margaery offers to involve her brother in their romp, pointing out that as King, Renly may have whatever he likes, but the best way to get rid of his enemies is to put a baby in her, however he wants that to work.
While Theon re-baptizes himself to the Iron islands, having written, but ultimately burned a letter to Robb Stark warning him of the invasion, Tyrion offers an irate Littlefinger a chance to free Jaime Lannister from the Starks, and see his beloved Catelyn in the process. Tyrion and Bronn then confront Master Pycelle for his treachery, cutting off his beard and throwing him in a black cell for being untrustworthy. Pycell insists that he only serves the Lannisters, but admits that he was the one who allowed Jon Arryn to be poisoned in the first place. Tyrion shares a drink with Varys afterward, as Varys extolls a riddle claiming that power only resides where men believe it resides, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man, can cast a very large shadow. Hey, that was in the trailer!
Elsewhere, late at night, the still-disguised Arya converses with Yoren over how he manages to sleep at night having seen such horrors. Yoren relates the story of how he came to kill the man who years prior had stabbed his brother, when suddenly, Lannister men surround the complex! As Yoren refuses to yield to their continued search for Gendry, a battle erupts, and though a valiant fighter, Yoren finds himself killed by a sword through the back. As Arya earns the gratitude of a mysterious caged figure for saving him from the fire, A boy from the camp, Lommy, who intends give up Gendry also winds up killed (Needle’s first taste of blood!). Arya then claims to the men that Gendry was the very boy they just slew.
Seriously, why has no one made Tyrion king yet? ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 only gets better, even if we miss out on a few character stories like Stannis, Robb and Daenerys Targaryen this week, but Tyrion Lannister continues to hold the show together with his scene-stealing ploys. And as always, free boobs! Nature's greatest gift.
If you think this was good, just wait until next week! Did you get your fill of sword-swingin’ ‘Game of Thrones’ action? What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Game of Thrones’s next effort “Garden of Bones” on HBO!