3rd episode of the 2nd season on the daily rewatch of all 3 seasons until the season 4 premiere on April 6th (SO CLOSE!) The Idea started on the r/asoiaf subreddit.
This weeks thread is here:
A comment in the thread has links to the other episode rewatch discussions.
I may move away from the strict summary of the episodes and instead focus on what I think is important and its relation to the books for these posts as they take a long time to put together. It will still most likely be giant walls of text and verbose rambling with weird references and some tangential speculation but less structured as a episode recap.
Spoilers below the read more break.
I find it interesting that this one is named what it is because at the end of the episode, thanks to the quick thinking of Arya, Gendry is dead but not really. The Drowned God and the saying “What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger”; Perhaps a hint of Gendry’s own story arc? I hope so, Arya and Gendry could be similar in their development in upcoming seasons. Arya’s own arc is well known in broadstrokes at least, the adaptation to the show may change a few details here and there but the result should be the same. I wonder if Gendry will have a very similar arc.
Jon Snow finds out that Lord Commander Mormont knows about Craster’s offerings of his sons to the Others/White Walkers, and is quite pragmatic about it, they need a place and some one who is “friendly” to the watch north of the wall. Mormont explains to Jon how Craster has been the difference between life and death for Rangers north of the wall and how they need some one like Craster to operate north of the wall. Jon Snow takes this to heart, and begins to realize what it takes to operate successfully north of the wall, that the Watch itself takes anyone regardless of circumstance to guard the realms of men. That includes a man like Craster. It is here where I think he starts to realize the true nature of the watch, that the wildlings are not their enemies strictly speaking and influences Jon’s own attitude later on when his oaths are truly tested and some might say even broken.
Bran is shown to be able to “be” summer when he is sleeping. Later on in the show this is called Warging, in the books it’s referred to as “wolf dreams” something that Bran shares in common with Jon and Arya, who have their own “wolf dreams.” Bran’s ability to warg is also is something that he shares with Jon Snow, when Jon is told he is a warg himself by another warg he comes across. Arya is hinted at having this ability as well, something she uses to pass a difficult test but it is not explicitly stated.
I liked Bran’s talk with maester Luwin about his ability and dreams, Luwin logically states not all Bran’s dreams have come true, that while magic and dragons may have been a power in the past they are longer. They have been forgotten and lost like the “Children of the Forest.” Of course, none of them are aware that because of Dany, that the dragons are back. In the books, the appearance of dragons means many things to many different people, the pyromancers realize there concoctions are more potent and are able to create more “wyldfire” more easily. In Essos, the warlocks of Qarth realize their magic is much more potent and the priests of the Red God realize they have powers they might normally would never had before.
It is important to note as well, that the “children of the forest” play an important part of the history of the north and first men as well, for it was they who carved the wierdwood trees, gave gifts of dragon glass/obsidian weapons to the Night’s Watch to combat the Others/White Walkers, who taught the first men about some their abilities like “green seeing” and warging. Of which, Bran has both abilities interestingly enough.
In the stormlands, Renly is slowing advancing north to Kings Landing, stopping to feast with lords along the way and have his games. Renly at this point is rumored to have 100,000 men but has not fought a single battle yet or won any victories. Compared to Robb with his 18,000 northmen and the bannerman of the Riverlands, who have sent the Lannisters reeling from repeated defeats in the field and have isolated Tywin Lannister from Castlery Rock which cuts him off from fresh supplies and levies, who has quit the field and fled to hold up in Harrenhal. So it is interesting that the southrons from the reach and the stormlands see themselves as the superior force despite not having accomplished anything yet. Loras Tyrell, who gets Randyll Tarly’s line about why hasn’t Robb come to negotiate himself from the books, and Catelyn pointedly calls out the fact that her son is fighting a war while Renly is just playing at one. From a repeated rewatches, I think Renly realizes that he has accomplished nothing and has really done nothing in the war as of yet, agrees to hear Catelyn out. I was glad that the line of Renly’s forces were referred to as the “knights of summer and winter is coming.” Just like the books.
Brienne of Tarth is introduced, and her ability in combat is shown as she bests the Knight of Flowers, who has himself bested people like the Kingslayer. Indicating how skilled Brienne is in combat. She asks to be sworn into Renly’s service as one of his own Kingsguard and Renly grants the request.
A thing that I like about the books and the show, is the potrayal of the women who reject becoming “ladies.” Arya is the first, showing ability to become a spy or an assassin. Asha/Yara Greyjoy who leads her fathers fleets and has the respect of her men and is a capable leader. Brienne of Tarth, who is shown as a skilled combatant and a devoted knight, who takes her oaths seriously. And the women of Bear Island should not be forgotten either, they aren’t as well represented in the show but in the books are capable warriors and women at court as well, Maege Mormont and her daughters, Dacey and Alysane. The tragically cut out of the show Dacey Mormont, who was kingsguard for Robb Stark who died at the red wedding. I hope that in upcoming seasons they do not cut out Alysane Mormont out of the show. Or the very awesome letter written and signed by the current 10year old lady of Bear Island, Lyanna Mormont, who states explicitly to Stannis “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK.”
I must also note how the name change for Asha to Yara to eliminate any similarity to Osha but is an anagram for Arya. Very interesting.
All this is in contrast to the capable and dangerous women at court: Margaery Tyrell, Cersei Lannister, Olenna Redwyne (the queen of thorns), Catelyn Stark, The Sand Snakes, and Danaerys Targaryen. Showing that women are players in the “game of thrones” as well.
Theon back on the iron islands and Pyke is still coming to terms with how his family hold him in contempt and mistrust for something he never had any control off. Theon himself calls out this fact to his sister and father, who think Theon is a turncloak to his own true family because of his time with the Starks. Not realizing that Theon himself is a capable warrior who has learned much from Ned and Robb Stark and has taken part in many great victories while his sister Yara and his own father have none. It’s also tragic for Theon, who desperately wants to belong but is outcast to both the Starks and the Greyjoys. He has to betray one to be loyal to another. That betrayal to be loyal to something else is a theme that plays out a lot in the series. Jon, Jaime, and Tyrion all go through the same thing. But it is especially tragic for Theon.
Thanks to Varys, Tyrion is able to get Shae into the red keep as hand maiden to Sansa Stark. In the books, she is hand maiden to the unstable Lolly Stokeworth. A good change in my opinion, as Sansa needs some one to be friendly to her and starts off the incredible development of Shae herself, who’s portrayal in the books is little more than a whore pretending to be a hand maiden. Which is also the case in the show, but she becomes very protective of Sansa and develops much as a character because of it.
Sansa has dinner with the Queen, Myrcella, and Tommen. From this dinner we learn how they are nothing like Joffrey and are in fact pretty good children, showing that Cersei was at least a good parent to 2/3 of her children.
Tyrion hatches a plot to find out who is loyal and who isn’t by having Pycelle, Varys, and Littlefinger summoned to hear out various royal matches for Myrcella. Pycelle is told Myrcella will be shipped to Dorne, which is obviously true to marry one of the Martells in order to secure their loyalty to the iron throne. Varys is told that Myrcella will be married to Theon Greyjoy who will destroy the Stark host from within and deliver the iron fleet of Pyke to bolster the royal forces, Varys quickly sees through this improbable strategy but agrees nonetheless. Littlefinger is told that he should broker a deal to secure the Eyrie and Lysa Arryn by proposing a royal match with Myrcella with her sickly son Robin/Robert and has his reward, Littlefinger will be named Lord of Harrenhal and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands.
Renly and Loras have a bit of fight in between random kisses about Brienne being named to Renly’s Kingsguard and Renly’s own situation with his wife Margeary. Loras notes how the men are talking about how Renly has not consummated his marriage with Margaery yet. And that those rumors must be dealt with by Renly having a child with Margaery.
Theon is showing conflicted loyalty as he is writing a letter to Robb warning him of his fathers intentions to attack the north, urging Robb to march back and defend but Theon burns the letter instead, remaining loyal to his family and breaking it oath and vow to Robb. Making him into a turncloak, all for a ungrateful family who holds in contempt for his time spent with the Starks for something he never chose himself and mistrust. Later, Theon realizes he’s made the wrong choice but its too late to change anything, as his is reviled by all.
Tyrion is interrupted by Littlefinger is who uncharacteristically upset, disrupting his normally calm and smarmy demeanor, by being a part of scheme of Tyrions and his promises all taken away. Tyrion informs Littlefinger he has something else in mind for him, that he needs Littlefinger to talk to his beloved Catelyn Stark to try and secure the release of Jaime Lannister.
Varys shares a riddle with Tyrion while congratulating Tyrion on removing Pycelle and Slynt from the small counsel. The riddle being about the nature of power, and where men believe it resides
Arya and Yoren have talk about how they can sleep with all the things they’ve seen and the horrible dreams. Yoren tells her about his repeating of the name of the person that killed his brother. Arya will later use this, saying the names of the people she thinks must die. The Lannisters attack, and killed Yoren taking eveyone else prisoner to Harrenhal. Arya saves Gendry by telling the Lannisters they already killed Gendry, that being Lommy with Gendry’s helm.