This reminded me of the trading deadline in baseball. After weeks of speculation, rumor and well, a lot of nothing, things finally started happening in Westeros. The pieces finally started making moves that mean something.
There were quite a few key moments in various storylines in this episode, but the main event was the wedding between Tyrion and Sansa. I’m not sure if there has ever been a more uncomfortable wedding shown in film or television. In some comedies, the regrettable match, the mix up or nervous partner, but nothing quite like this, at least I can’t think of it. The best tweet I saw about the wedding was, “Sansa you could do worse.” We know that Tyrion is a decent fellow, loyal to his family, and compared to many in King’s Landing, has something of a conscience. Even so, Tyrion is not the man of Sansa’s dreams; he is not a brave knight, nor is he in line for much of anything and worst of all it keeps her tied to the Lannisters. Though Tyrion is honor bound, no one said he had to enjoy the wedding, and as the night comes to a close, he tells Sansa that he will not have sex with her until she is willing. Even if Sansa doesn’t know it, she can in fact do far worse.
The only person who enjoyed the wedding was Joffrey, mainly in how much he got to torture his uncle and Sansa. We pretty much know he is a sadistic bastard all of his actions at the wedding pretty much leave no question. What is kind of interesting is that Tywin steps in to save his son. I guess it could be to keep up appearances, but I think it is a little more than that. We see the elder Lannister defend the only other person willing to stand up to Joffrey and I think that counts for something. How long Joffrey remains in check is another matter, even to his grandfather.
Perhaps my favorite scene associated with the wedding is small discussion between Margaery and Cersei. Margaery tries to charm Cersei by flattering her and calling her sister. Instead Margaery is given a free lesson on the song “Rains of Castamere.” In not so subtle fashion Cersei tells the tale of the Castamere family which tried to rebel against the Lannisters. After they are defeated, all of the Castameres are killed and hung outside the gates of Casterly Rock. If Margery didn’t get the message, Cersei lets her know that if she ever tries to get chummy again, she will have Margaery killed. As a bit of foreshadowing, what is the title of the next episode?
Speaking of twitter, I saw quite a few comments that the Second Sons officer, Daario Naharis, was poor casting. I must admit, I really don’t know but it does lend some credence to the Stephen King practice of not offering too much in the way of description of characters. King feels it takes too much away from the reader’s imagination and in this case from the casting director’s discretion. Even so we are introduced to the Second Sons and how they come into the fold of Dany’s ever growing army. In the gratuitous nudity department, I didn’t think the scene with Dany being naked was over the top. It showed a confidence that is much more impressive than if she was flanked by her dragons. As Dany stands there naked, before Dario, it is apparent who has the real power, and it isn’t Daario.
The other scene containing nudity wasn’t unnecessary either. Melisandre is a crazy zealot and in order to make Gendry a much more willing victim, seducing him makes quite a bit of sense. It is difficult to tell if Gendry consummates the relationship, but it wouldn’t be outlandish if Melisandre needed royal seed as well as royal blood for whatever she’s got planned. It is good to see Davos out of the pokey, but I’m still trying to figure out how he will free Gendry.
We get another look at Sam and Gilly and it is one of my favorite parts in the books as well. It isn’t very long but it is important for two reasons. First, we learn the power of obsidian when it comes to the white walkers. Is it me or did this particular walker look a lot like Mormont? Anyway, not only is obsidian revealed to have power but so does Sam. I’m not sure if like the books he’ll be called Sam the Slayer, but Sam realizes that he is, in fact, brave, especially when it comes to Gilly and her son.
This was easily the best episode of the season thus far. Some major steps were made and if you know the books, you have a pretty good idea how this season is going to end and how they decided to split the third book into two seasons. If all goes the way I see it, episode nine is going to be something else. Episode ten, like the previous two seasons, will be a bit of a bridge episode but there might even be a cliffhanger or two.