As is usually the case with Game of Thrones episodes, titles have two meanings. "Second Sons," the third to last ep of season three, refers to both the mercenary (or "sellsword," if we're sticking to the GRRM vernacular) company hired by the "Wise Masters" of Yunkai and to numerous secondborn of significance.
There's Stannis, whose order of birth continues to cause him consternation; or the Hound, forever trying to escape the stain of the name Clegane; or even Joffrey, if we're being honest, an assumed son of Robert Baratheon, but even if that were true, he'd be next in age behind the bastard Gendry.
It was another relatively action-free episode (don't tell that to Gendry, though), setting up what look to be a couple significant installments to close us out.
Locations Highlighted in the Opening Titles (* = new): King's Landing, Harrenhal, Riverrun, Winterfell, The Wall, Yunkai, and a flyover of The Twins, seat of House Frey
Ser(s) Not Appearing in This Episode: Robb, Talisa, Catelyn, Edmure, The Blackfish, Jon Snow, Ygritte, Bran, Rickon, Osha, Jojen, Meera, Theon, Mysterious Asshole
We start out in the Riverlands, specifcally on the road with the Hound (Rory McCann) and Arya (Maisie Williams). Instead of returning her to Joffrey, he's actually taking her to the Twins to ransom her to Robb and Catelyn. If they hurry, they can make it for the happy occasion of Edmure's wedding. This brings a rare smile to Arya's face.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) meets with the captains of the Second Sons (the sellswords hired to protect Yunkai). There's, Mero a.k.a. "the Titan's Bastard," Prendahl na Ghezn, and Skid Row singer Sebastian Ba...er, Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein; you'll see why he's the only one who gets the actor's name listed in a minute). Mero is a charmer for sure, and his way with women makes me think he played football for the University of Miami in another life. The captains decide to avoid a messy battle with the Unsullied and draw lots to see who'll sneak into her camp and kill her. Daario gets the honor, but has different plans, slaying his co-captains and delivering the Second Sons to Daenerys while she's in the tub. Shit, that was easy. And I can't wait for Ser Barristan and Ser Jorah to explain how he marched in undetected.
Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) finally brings Gendry (Joe Dempsie) to Dragonstone, where Stannis (Stephen Dillane) pays a visit to Davos, who takes issue with Melisandre's plan to sacrifice Gendry. Frankly, I'm not sure sacrifice is her aim, considering how we know shadow babies to be formed. Apparently in deference to Davos, she merely leeches the young man (including one on his Special Purpose), and thus are three blood-engorged parasites consigned to the flames by Stannis, who names the "usurpers" Robb, Balon Greyjoy and Joffrey.
Speaking of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), the big day for Tyrion and Sansa is here, much to Shae's displeasure (and I'm about sick of this medieval Lockhorns shit). Margaery (Natalie Dormer) tries to cozy up to Cersei Lena Headey), who's having none of it, and reminds Margaery of her (and the Tyrells') place by regaling her with the story of the Reynes of Castamere, a family with pretensions of Lannister-ness who were burned out stem and branch by her old man Tywin.
But why all the gloom and doom? It's a wedding! And who's that giving away the bride? Ew, it's Joffrey. And could this be the most joyless ceremony of all time? We'll have to ask Princess Diana (I also like how Tywin and Lady Olenna glared daggers at each other over the processional). Everything about the affair is humiliating, from the audience's sniggers to Joffrey's removing Tyrion's footstool, forcing Sansa (Sophie Turner) to kneel so he can wrap the cloak of matrimony (or whatever) around her. The reception goes about as well: Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) getting bombed, Tywin (Charles Dance) getting pissed and Loras trying (and failing) to chitchat with Cersei. Tyrion ends up refusing to bed the 14(!)-year old Sansa against her will, however; his best stab at rebelling against his father's wishes.
Finally, Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) are still making their way to the Wall (that's one tough newborn that can handle wandering the frozen wastes for days with a guy who can't build a freaking fire). A white walker (not to be confused with Walter White) shows up for Gilly's baby, and Sam finally figures out what "dragonglass" is for, slaying the monster and then running for it with Gilly and Craster, Jr....
... and leaving the fucking dagger on the ground? By Robert Baratheon's beard, are you kidding me?
To sum up: By bringing Daario on board, Daenerys has obviously balanced out the libido deficit in her army; Tyrion and Sansa's marriage looks to be about as sexually active as your average WASP couple's; Sam is an idiot; and if there's anything to Melisandre's magic, there are three "false kings" who better watch their butts.
Number of Breasts: 6 (Daenerys, Melisandre, the Titan's lap girl)
Stuff That Will Piss Off Book Purists: Stannis and Davos's argument was about Edric Storm, whom Gendry is apparently taking the place of; there was never a semi-nude coin draw to determine who would attempt to assassinate Daenerys; needless to say, Melisandre never leeched Gendry, and when she did leech, I'm pretty sure it was above the waist; Daario was in a company called the Stormcrows, not associated with Mero (who died later in the series), but delivered them in similar fashion.
In Two Weeks (No Episode on Memorial Day): Assault on Castle Black? Arya's still feisty, and Robb and Catelyn have a scheme to topple the Lannisters once and for all.
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