A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Named after the words of House Greyjoy, What is Dead May Never Die culminates what we may call the death of Theon Greyjoy. In a ceremony where you drown yourself in service to the Drowned Gods of the Iron Islands, Theon drowns any semblance of his past self, betraying the Starks with whom he has lived most of his life. It’s a difficult position Theon is in and it is slightly difficult to at least not slightly sympathize him wanting something marginally close to kindness from his father, who is a nasty piece of work if there ever was one. Yet it’s also difficult not to be phenomenally disgusted by Theon’s choice, throwing the family who was mostly kind to him under the bus for the sake of one of the most despicable fathers on this show at a moment where Winterfell is at its absolute weakest.
Catelyn arrives at Renly Baratheon’s camp, which as she rightfully points out, is less prepared for war and more prepared for what appears to be tournament games. Renly, unfazed by this criticism, sits quaintly next to his wife Margaery, who appears to be far more conniving than a first glance would suggest. The knight brawls continue, with Loras losing to a new knight. That angers him, considering his reputation, and the humiliation grows when the helmet is removed and the knight reveals herself to be a women. She asks for a place in Renly’s Kingsguard and he acquiesces. It’s indicative of Renly’s character that he is so secure in his belief that the force with the greater numbers will win that he is sitting around with tournaments instead of attacking his brother at the earliest possible opportunity.
Tyrion continues his craftiness in the role of the Hand of the King, quickly devising a plan to find out who is spying for Cersei on the Small Council. To Grand Maester Pycelle, Tyrion reveals his plan to pursue an alliance with House Martell of Dorne by marrying Myrcella to Trystane Martell. To Lord Varys, Tyrion reveals that he wishes to marry Myrcella off to Theon Greyjoy and to Lord Baelish he reveals a plan to marry Myrcella off to Robin Arryn. The brilliance of Tyrion’s trick is how simple it yes, yet how believable. Each and every single one of those proposals is believable and would bring the Lannisters strategic advantages. As is perhaps surprising to no one, Pycelle is the spy for Cersei and Tyrion wastes no time in having him banished to the dungeons.
Bran’s dreams continue to expand in increasingly cryptic fashion, which is interesting but also just a little irritating because it doesn’t feel that we’re progressing very far with them. He questions Maester Luwin, who has understandably taking a pragmatic approach to these issues. He had studied magic as a young Maester in training (spinoff, anyone?), but as far as he’s concerned, there’s no magic left in the world. The dragons are dead and they will remain so. As far as dreams were in question, sometimes they’re just dreams and nothing else. It’s a continuation of the thread where many in Westeros no longer feel that magic exists, but far across in Essos that’s been proven false. Bran’s dreams have a cryptic truth to them, such as him foreseeing his father’s death with Rickon, but how true can they truly be?
In the centerpiece of the episode, the hunt for Gendry and by extension Arya takes a deadly turn. As promised, the soldiers who had questioned Yoren earlier return in greater force, slaughtering prisoners who were supposed to be taken to the Wall (which is overmanned, right?). Lommy gets a particularly gruesome death by a mocking Lannister solider. Yoren receives an even more painful death, being straight-up impaled by the soldiers. “Where is the one named Gendry?” they thunder. Luckily for Gendry, Arya notes quietly “You already killed him,” pointing towards the bull helmet that was lying next to a bloodied, dead Lommy. Gendry and Arya are safe, for now at least.
Title: What Is Dead May Never Die
Written By: Bryan Cogman
Director: Alik Sakharov
Image Courtesy: Winter is Coming