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Game of Thrones – Second Sons

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Game of Thrones, Second Sons

Game of Thrones is a good show, there’s no questioning that. And when it’s firing on all cylinders, like this week, it’s a great show.

It’s difficult at times to discern the direction of this season of Game of Thrones. Season two was all about a war, and all the action drove toward the climactic Battle of the Blackwater. This season, that war (like so many real wars) has disintegrated into an aimless, pointless debacle. It’s hard to even remember there’s a war on, since we haven’t seen an on-screen battle in ages.

It may actually be Danaerys that points the way to the season three thematic cornerstone: slavery. Her story has become the most interesting in the show. Military strategy, political backstabbing, dragons, conquest, and general awesomeness.  She’s currently roving about the Free Cities, sacking strongholds and freeing slaves. Because there’s no system of kings and their bannermen from which to draw armies, military forces in the Free Cities are almost all mercenary companies. One such company is the Second Sons, who bear a broken sword on their banner.

The Second Sons are under contract with Yunkai to protect it. Dany wants to take the city, slay the masters, and free the slaves. She meets with the captains of the Second Sons, including the coarse Mero (absent his signature red beard) and the dashing Daario Naharis (absent his tri-forked blue beard). This condenses things from the novels, as they were actually captains of several different companies, not just the Second Sons. And indeed, Mero doesn’t die until much later, under very different circumstances.

The result, though, is that Daario, who professes to fight for beauty, is so taken with Danaerys that he slays the other captains and brings the Sons over to Dany’s side. Her army grows, and now she has cavalry. I love how her personal power is depicted. She doesn’t rave and scream. She doesn’t make grandiose pronouncements. She responds to Mero’s disgusting suggestions with an even stare and threatens him softly, with an amused smile. She faces Daario naked in the bathtub, never shirking his gaze. Indeed, she manages to seem totally in control of that situation despite her vulnerable circumstances.

Now let’s see if we can drive this slavery theme into the ground. I’ll bet there are slavery metaphors all over the place if we look hard enough. Tyrion puts a fine point on it when he tells Sansa before their wedding, “You won’t be a prisoner after tonight. I guess it will be a different kind of prison, though.” Freedom has its costs, after all. Dany will probably learn that soon enough. If a good proportion of the Free Cities’ economy is based on slavery, what do you suppose will happen when Danaerys dismantles it? Which doesn’t suggest that slavery shouldn’t be ended, but you’d better have a plan in place to fill the resulting vacuum. Hopefully something better than Reconstruction.

Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding is seriously the worst wedding ever (nod/wink/giggle). The groom gets hammered, his dad gets pissed, the best man is about as charming as a walking taint, and the bride mopes. Cersei’s bitchiness has grown tiresome now that she has absolutely no power of any kind. She can raise her hackles and hiss all she wants, but she’s been declawed. Margaery completely distracted me with that wry twist of a smile that hints at thoughts best left unspoken in polite company.

Post-wedding, Tyrion plans to consummate the relationship as per Tywin’s demands, but Sansa’s young age and reluctance stops him cold. “I won’t share your bed until you want me to,” and he collapses onto a couch. In the morning, Shae acts very bitchy, then beams when she notices the lack of blood on Sansa’s sheets.

Briefly, Arya travels with the Hound. She tries to kill him while he sleeps, but he talks her out of it. He tells her he’s taking her to her mother and brother at Edmure’s wedding, and reveals to her some of his good side, though she seems doubtful. Interestingly, though Arya’s story traveled a different path than in the novel, she is reaching the same destination at just the right time.

Back at Dragonstone, Gendry gets the royal treatment. Stannis releases Davos from the dungeon so he can counsel against Melisandre killing the bastard. Melisandre’s scene with Gendry was excellent. She seemed very charming at first, talking with him about her own impoverished youth. Her sensuality rises to the surface though. Worshipping the Lord of Light seems to take many forms. For the Brotherhood, it is about death and resurrection. For Melisandre, it is definitely Sex Magick. She could obviously get blood from Gendry with leeches without getting him super turned on and going down on him first. But that’s not how she rolls. Nothing under the robes, you know.

Samwell and Gilly trudge through the woods. Near a weirdwood tree they find an abandoned shack to shelter in for the night. Crows begin to gather nearby as Sam fails to light a fire. Gilly bristles under a perceived class divide, irritated by Sam’s inability to make a fire and inability to not use big words. Their conversation about baby names is interrupted by a cacophony of crows outside. Sam investigates and see the tree covered in hundreds of crows. Through the woods a lone figure walks toward them. A White Walker.

This scene was so awesome and scary. That figure stalking purposely through the trees, Jason Vorhees style…hell yes. Then it destroyed Sam’s sword with its icy grip and tossed him aside with superhuman strength. The dragon glass in Sam’s pocket turned out to do the trick, turning the Walker into a pile of ice shards. Shame Sam didn’t think to retrieve the weapon before they fled.

What do you get for the girl who has everything?

game of thrones s3ep8 daario bag heads

What do you get for the girl who has everything?

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Posted by on Sunday, May 19th, 2013. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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