Columns > Published on May 20th, 2013

Recap: Game of Thrones 3.08 - Second Sons

This is going to contain spoilers for this episode, and also for the books. Deal with it.

King's Landing

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Is there any family so uniquely twisted and dysfunctional as the Lannisters? Between the incest and the daddy issues and the entitlement and the raw, burning contempt in which they hold each other—if therapy existed in Westeros, they would all be in it. 

Cersei had some wonderful moments in this episode, between her explanation of the song Rains of Castamere to Margaery, and the cold-shoulder she gave to Loras. Tywin was as threatening and spectacular as always. But this was Tyrion's show. It was excruciating, watching the indignities put upon both him and Sansa, as they were forced into the most awkward wedding ever.

And it was nice to see that Tyrion was willing to defy his father just enough so as not to bed a 14-year-old. Because, geez. 

Oh, and just in case you forgot Joffrey was the biggest asshole in Westeros, here he is, threatening to rape Sansa, stealing Tyrion's stool so he'll be embarrassed during the wedding ceremony, and attempting to push Sansa and Tyrion into a bedding ceremony. 

(The bedding ceremony, for those who haven't read the books, involves carrying the bride and groom to their chambers, stripping their clothes off along the way, and then standing at the door and shouting ribald things at them as they consummate their marriage. Hence Tyrion's unease at putting a 14-year-old girl through this.)

This is the part of the season, by the way, where I wish I could talk about what I think the end game is going to be for the final two episodes, or at least hint at the comeuppance some of these characters will experience, but I won't, because that would spoil the fun. But still, there's some crazy stuff coming up, I think. While watching last night's episode my wife remarked on something that she thought was a positive development, and I had to hold my tongue, because man, it will be the complete opposite of positive. 


Daenerys continues to build alliances and prepare for the liberation of Yunkai, this time winning over a bunch of sellswords. Well, mostly she wins over Daario Naharis by being hot, and he kills the others. It's a little passive, considering how awesome she's been, though she's still pretty awesome as she just sits there and rolls her eyes at the advances of the Titan's Bastard, because of course this big threatening guy can not scare her.

And that was a great line, about how men who fight for gold can't afford to lose to a girl. 

In trying to find the proper spelling of Daario Naharis' name, I poked around on a A Wiki of Ice and Fire and it seems like all this stuff with the sellswords and Yunkai happens a bit differently than in the books? Which is fine—my recollection is that it's all a bit convoluted and bloated. 


Melisandre does not take Gendry in the books; she leeches Edric Storm, another one of Robert Baratheon's bastards (Robert Baratheon got around). So it seems that the showrunners gave Edric's story to Gendry, which makes a bit of sense. It saves us from meeting yet another character, and since we already know Gendry, the situation has a little more impact. It's a smart move on their part, to tame an almost-bloated cast. 

Also, it's nice to see that Ser Davos is making progress in his learning to read, and that he's been let out of the dungeons. Though, has there ever been a man more loyal and understanding than Davos? Stannis, his supposed BFF, throws him in jail for logic, and Davos still brushes it off, noting that he's been in worse places and he's not even mad. Davos deserves a medal or something. 

North of The Wall

Oh hey, remember that obsidian blade that showed up, what, halfway through season two? It finally came into play! Also, unlikely hero Samwell Tarly totally killed a White Walker, so good for him! This felt like it was a long time coming. And it was an incredibly creepy, effective scene, what with the murder of crows preceding the scary ice monster.

And while Sam does deserve a fair bit of credit, he probably should have stopped to pick up the blade, right? Because it seemed like he just left it there on the ground. Not smart, Sam... 

Other stuff:

  • Sorry for the short recap. I threw out my lower back and typing while lying on the couch is not easy. But also, not a whole lot happened this episode? It was surprising, how low-key this episode was, and with only two episodes left in the season. It wasn't bad though—lots of great character moments, and it was nice that they slowed down a bit on stuff like Tyrion's wedding, instead of glossing over it. 
  • BOOBWATCH: First, there was the prostitute at Yunkai. Then Melisandre proved my theory that if a female character on this show is wearing a single layer of clothing, it's coming off. Finally, Daenerys isn't shy, and be still my beating heart. 
  • WANGWATCH: I believe I caught a glimpse of Gendry's tubesteak. 
  • No Jaime and Brienne. Or Jon and Ygritte. Bummer. 
  • Two weeks in a row of sex going downhill. Last week Theon's threesome turns into a castration (probably), and this week Melisandre gives Gendry a little love before tying him down and leeching him. I mean, sure, Theon's situation sucks more, but it is not a good time to be getting laid in Westeros. 
  • There needs to be a show where Cersei and Lady Olenna try to out-bitch each other. 
  • Shameless plug: There's no Game of Thrones next Sunday because of Memorial Day. Since you'll be free, come to Shade at 6 p.m.—I'm joining a bunch of awesome writers for the Noir at the Bar reading series. Come for the noir, stay for the crêpes!

Discuss! What did you think? 

About the author

Rob Hart is the class director at LitReactor. His latest novel, The Paradox Hotel, will be released on Feb. 22 by Ballantine. He also wrote The Warehouse, which sold in more than 20 languages and was optioned for film by Ron Howard. Other titles include the Ash McKenna crime series, the short story collection Take-Out, and Scott Free with James Patterson. Find more at

Similar Columns

Explore other columns from across the blog.

Book Brawl: Geek Love vs. Water for Elephants

In Book Brawl, two books that are somehow related will get in the ring and fight it out for the coveted honor of being declared literary champion. Two books enter. One book leaves. This month,...

The 10 Best Sci-Fi Books That Should Be Box Office Blockbusters

It seems as if Hollywood is entirely bereft of fresh material. Next year, three different live-action Snow White films will be released in the States. Disney is still terrorizing audiences with t...

Books Without Borders: Life after Liquidation

Though many true book enthusiasts, particularly in the Northwest where locally owned retailers are more common than paperback novels with Fabio on the cover, would never have set foot in a mega-c...

From Silk Purses to Sows’ Ears

Photo via Moviegoers whose taste in cinema consists entirely of keeping up with the Joneses, or if they’re confident in their ignorance, being the Joneses - the middlebrow, the ...

Cliche, the Literary Default

Original Photo by Gerhard Lipold As writers, we’re constantly told to avoid the cliché. MFA programs in particular indoctrinate an almost Pavlovian shock response against it; workshops in...

A Recap Of... The Wicked Universe

Out of Oz marks Gregory Maguire’s fourth and final book in the series beginning with his brilliant, beloved Wicked. Maguire’s Wicked universe is richly complex, politically contentious, and fille...

Reedsy | Editors with Marker (Marketplace Editors)| 2024-05

Submitting your manuscript?

Professional editors help your manuscript stand out for the right reasons.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.

Enter your email or get started with a social account: