My Big Fat Awkward Wedding
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The laws of primogeniture are not kind to second borns or those born after them, unless of course the first one or the first ones are knocked off. No wonder that the amount of siblings who have killed each other for the sake of power is so vast even the greatest historical accounts cannot remember them all. Tyrion as the second son was always going to be second to Jamie but perhaps he would have had a chance with Jamie in the Kingsguard if he had not been a dwarf, a condition in which by all reality he had little choice. Stannis is a second son, cast aside by his older brother Robert in favor of the youngest Renly because Stannis could never muster loyalty and passion and arguably still cannot. Gendry, a second son whose also a bastard that lived in the slums of King’s Landing is being taken to his fate at Dragonstone, whatever that may be and which is certainly outside of his control. Daenerys comes across a mercenary company called the Second Sons she will not allow to stand in her way, try as they might. And at the end of the hour, our cast aside son Samwell Tarly finds his courage, becoming the first man in a thousand years to kill a White Walker.
Let’s begin with Dragonstone, where Melisandre plans to sacrifice Gendry for the sake of “the greater good”. She entices him with sex and he naturally obliges. Then she draws the leeches, bleeding him on his body, including his penis. Stannis names three names: Joffrey, Robb, and Balon Greyjoy as Melisandre drops the three leeches into the fire. But the more resonant scene on the desolate fortress occurred between Stannis and Davos in his cell. Davos is continuing to learn how to read (bless this man, honestly) as Stannis approaches, revealing Melisandre’s sacrificial plans. Davos is aghast, surely the man to whom he had pledged allegiance wouldn’t kill an innocent boy as a sacrificial lamb just for the sake of a crown. “What is one boy’s life against an entire kingdom?” he asks coldly, with just the hint of hesitation. “Everything” Davos replies earnestly. Director Michelle MacLaren smartly frames the camera so it looks as if Stannis is the one behind bars and Davos is the one on whose side light remains. Stannis does, however, release Davos on the promise that he won’t try to kill Melisandre.
The wedding is the centerpiece of the episode, the most awkward nuptials in history as Tyrion ties the knot with Sansa. It’s uncomfortable to watch, the reception after the nuptial ceremony even more so. Tyrion gets superbly drunk as was wont at the time as Tywin whispers furiously into his ear that they need an heir to lay legitimate claim to the North. Tyrion doesn’t give a damn, loudly proclaiming his drunken tirades. Joffrey, pathetic and despicable as ever, whispers to Sansa that he is going to rape her at night. Then he goes and proclaims that the bedding ceremony will take place. Tyrion threatens him in a drunken slur, causing disquiet before he quickly resorts back to his drunken self. He refuses in their bedchamber to sleep with Sansa, raising a toast to his new wife with “And now my watch begins.” Has there ever been a more depressed couple in fantasy?
Daenerys meets the three heads of the Second Sons, a mercenary company hired by Yunkai to fight Daenerys’s forces and prevent the takeover of their city by the female Abraham Lincoln (okay, not a strictly accurate analogy, but you get the point). Their head, who calls himself the Titan of Braavos (totally modest, this one), is a lecherous arse who seems to think flickering his tongue into the air is supposed to be appealing to anyone sexually. Daenerys doesn’t threaten him in person, although she instructs Ser Berristan to kill him first if it came to battle. But Daario, the smooth talker with long blonde hair (so he’s a villain, right?), a bit more intriguing than the others, brings their heads to Daenerys as she steps outside of her bath. It’s a great shot from MacLaren, a symbolism of Daenerys’s incredibly superior power even when she’s naked. He pledges himself to her along with the entire mercenary company. Yunkai’s doomed.
The final scene of the night is electrifying. Sam and Gilly are having their adorable moments together in a tent as they hear terrified whispers outside. Sam finds a lone White Walkers charging at the tent. Gilly’s terrified that it has come for her baby, a perfectly logical assumption under the circumstances. Brave Sam charges at it with a sword, but the Walker crushes it like no one’s business. As the Walker nears the baby, Sam takes a bold risk, stabbing it in the back with a piece of dragon glass they had found way back at the end of Season 2. The White Walker shatters into crystalline fragments of glass as the trio escape into the dark amidst a murder of crows. And then you remember to breathe, at least for now.
Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Damn, Michelle MacLaren is one of the best directors around
+Arya almost killing the Hound, a second son himself, is nice foreshadowing
+Joffrey removing Tyrion’s stool is such an appropriately dick move
+One kill for Sam Tarly! You go, Sam Tarly! The Mean Girls reference seemed more appropriate here instead of the actual body of the review
Title: Second Sons
Written By: David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Image Courtesy: Winter is Coming