All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As much as I can, I am going to try and keep things episode/season specific. It’s out of respect to the narrative as well as the later seasons. Onwards!
2.3 What is Dead May Never Die
A reference to the words of the Drowned God, aka faith of choice of Theon’s House Greyjoy. It preaches paying the iron price (taking things by force rather than commerce) and is definitely tailored for those with fragile masculinity. The phrase itself is followed by “but rises again harder and stronger.” Also, when you are taking the oath to the Drowned God, you’re drowned- but just a little bit.
No changes to the credits including Vaes Dothrak. WHATEVER.
North of the Wall, Craster drags Jon back to Jeor and demands that Jeor make it right (whatever that means). Jon realizes that Jeor’s known about Craster dealing out baby boys to whatever is in the woods and Jeor argues that making sacrifices is what keeps the Realm safe and there is a need for leaders who are willing to make those decisions. Yet another valuable lesson for Jon that will stick with him. A few feet over, Sam wants to leave a thimble with Gilly because he’s a bit of a romantic aaaaaaaaaaand it’s silly.
A little further south, we’re on Wolf Watch in Winterfell. From Summer’s POV, we’re following Hodor around the castle. When Bran wakes up, he says Rickon’s been having the same dreams- a hint that he’s not the only one who can warg into his direwolf and yet another aspect about the wolves that was dropped. For the record, most of the Stark children have warging abilities in the book, but in the show it just seems to be Bran. Luwin says magic in Westeros is nonexistent- giants, dragons, and the children of the forest have all died out a long time ago.
Somewhere in… The Reach? The Stormlands? Who knows. Renly is wearing a little stag crown and sitting next to Margaery Tyrell, his new wife, who stands up and calls out “HIGHGARDEN!” which is the seat of power in the Reach. This is the definition of a marriage done for politics- Renly gets the funding and army of the Reach and Margaery gets the chance to be queen. There’s also the bonus that Margaery is Loras’ sister and now he’ll have an excuse to be around Renly all the time. Like Joff in the first episode, Renly is watching two of his soldiers fight (just not to the death) and Loras is taken down by the taller guard- this turns out to be Brienne of Tarth, a woman who pledges her life and service to Renly’s cause.
Cat is brought to Renly’s camp and Renly’s soldiers start challenging her left and right, asking why Robb didn’t come to negotiate and she coolly replies, “My son is fighting a war, not playing at one.” Yo. Cat is just so noble and steady. Renly, who just accepted Brienne into his Kingsguard, which is unheard of for a woman- seems to genuinely appreciate and respect Cat; he seems to be one of the few characters who doesn’t restrict women to their roles and is amused by their strength- but not in a bad way. More of a like, “This is amazing and could be useful” kind of way. Anyway, Renly reveals he has over 100,000 soldiers which technically is more help that Robb could also use, but then Cat reminds him that their nicknames are the Knights of Summer- but WINTER IS COMING. (Take a shot.)
Escorting Cat to a guest tent, Brienne tells her that she’s not a lady- she’s just Brienne. It’s a hint of two different strengths and power coming together in a symbiotic relationship.
Meanwhile, Renly and Loras are getting it on. Kind of. Loras is a bit upset that he was bested by a woman and implies that if Renly needs to get off, he should see if Margaery is available- they’ve been married for two months and need to produce an heir. It would help solidify people’s support and also… maybe put rumors about Loras and Renly to rest. When Loras leaves, Renly promptly starts to get wasted and I think part of this is because he feels pressure and part of it is because he’s really just not attracted to Margaery, and perhaps part of him thought if he could loosen up about it, he can get the job done. Margaery, in another revealing, lowcut dress- she is definitely one of the overtly sexy noblewomen- offers to turn over so he can call her Loras and even considers inviting Loras in. She seems super cool and open to anything, but remember- her goal is to have a baby, so she can keep her position- she’s intelligent, manipulative, and will do anything to keep all of that power.
Over in Pyke and as if he hasn’t suffered enough embarrassment from groping his own sister, Yara is challenging Theon to a pissing contest. Theon’s failed in his attempt to bring Balon over to Robb’s side and Balon says since everyone is heading south, he’s gonna sail and take over the North. On the plus side, he’s willing to give Theon another chance and a ship called the Sea Bitch, with the mission of raiding some fishing villages, while Yara is given the prestige of leading the entire fleet. Theon is aghast- a woman leading the Iron Islands? In reality, Yara’s spent much more time on a ship, more time with the men, and fulfills the idea of being “Iron-born.” As much as Theon thinks he’s fought or experienced, he hasn’t done more than spar with the Starks back in Winterfell.
I still really enjoyed seeing Theon being torn apart, since he’s been such a shit, almost as entitled as Joff in some cases, and then there’s a pang of sympathy when Theon yells out, “You gave me away!” and suddenly, Theon doesn’t appear to be so bad without reasons. The full story of Theon’s upbringing goes like this- back in the day, but after Robert’s Rebellion, Balon led a rebellion against King Robert and was silenced by the dream team of Ned, Robert, Jaime Lannister (they all got along at some point), and THOROS OF MYR, drunk at the time and always thereafter. You might recall Jaime and Jory discussing this in 1.4 Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things. In the process, his two eldest sons and Theon’s older brothers were killed. After the surrender, Theon was handed over as a hostage and guarantee that the Greyjoys wouldn’t rebel again. Somewhere along the way, Balon decided to blame Theon for aligning with the family that raised him and not himself, the man who actually made the deal and negotiated his own son away. In his denial, Balon raised his only daughter, Yara, as he would have raised Theon and as his heir.
Everyone has valid points here- Yara, just standing there, is poised to be a great leader. Theon didn’t have a choice in any of this and his loyalty is torn and he feels proud of both being raised by the Starks and his place as a Greyjoy. Balon… well… he lost that rebellion, huh. Darn those Starks! The family just needs a serious counseling session. Yara tells Theon to start making amends by choosing a side and Theon does- he burns up a letter, which would have updated Robb and takes the oath to the Drowned God.
Over to King’s Landing for some comic relief. Shae is complaining to Tyrion that she’s bored and Tyrion’s solution to solving this is to send her down to the kitchens to be a kitchen wench, but now a lady of luxury, Shae doesn’t want to do anything that might make her glisten. Tyrion pleads with Shae that he doesn’t want his family to find out because they could use her against his emotions and this, I think, is one of the first mistakes Tyrion makes with Shae- he gives her this indicator of how much she means to him and this gives her a lot of leverage for the future.
Down the hall in Cersei’s chambers Sansa is having dinner with the Lannister- uh, I mean Baratheon- clan, as Cersei puts words in her mouth and says Sansa will be happy if her family is killed because it’s what Joff wants. Sophie Turner’s acting is phenomenal in this scene- she kind of goes into a daze and you know Sansa is just cancelling everything out. Unbeknownst to her, Tyrion has sent Shae to be her handmaiden and to give her something to do. Sansa lashes out at Shae for not knowing anything about being a handmaiden, hesitates, and then asks Shae to brush her hair- at this point, she’s just relieved to have someone else around that’s not associated with the Lannisters.
Up back in the Tower of the Hand, Tyrion plays a game to determine who is Cersei’s ally on the small council out of Varys, Littlefinger, and Pycelle, telling each of them separately that he has a secret Cersei absolutely can’t know about and it involves marrying Myrcella off to three separate suitors. Pycelle turns out to be the culprit as Cersei storms in and questions why Tyrion is shipping her only daughter off to Dorne and into the arms of Prince Trystane, and since Tyrion is method acting, he sticks with it. Pycelle is interrupted in the middle of an act with another prostitute, promptly arrested, and even gets his beard chopped off by Bronn. Like Janos Slynt, Tyrion sees Pycelle as untrustworthy and complicit when it comes to acts behind the Hands back.
Littlefinger isn’t happy that Tyrion tried to use him as a pawn against Cersei, having been promised Harrenhal, a castle of high esteem in the Riverlands, which would raise his status in Westeros; however, Tyrion wins him over by asking him to meet with newly widowed Cat in an effort to get Jaime back. On the other hand, Varys is quite impressed with Tyrion and his wit, as well as his determination to figure out who his allies can be. Tyrion says men with swords hold the power, as they determine life or death and Varys asks him why bother pretending that kings even matter?
We’re going to end our episode with Arya and Gendry, who are still on their way to the Wall, though I ‘m not entirely sure where. Arya can’t sleep and Yoren says it’s for good reason and he could never get a wink of sleep after his brother was killed unless he said the name of the murderer. It kept him active and motivated- and after he killed his brother’s murderer, he rode voluntarily to the Wall.
The Night’s Watch-to-be is interrupted, yet again, by members of the City Watch and Lannister Army, led by Amory Lorch and still searching for Gendry. Lorch is actually a pal of The Mountain and has helped terrorize the Riverlands, so this guy isn’t messing around. In the scuffle, Lommy (another runaway kid) steal Gendry’s helmet, Yoren is killed (not before taking out a few guards while being shot by crossbows, a la Boromir), and Arya frees Jaqen from his little wagon. Unlike Ned’s death, there is no one to shield Arya from Yoren’s slaughter and she loses her second father figure. Needle is stolen by Polliver and promptly used to kill Lommy- which Arya uses to tell her first identity-related lie by saying it was Gendry, and the episode ends on the House of Black and White theme.
Our next episode is 2.4 Garden of Bones!