GAME OF THRONES 2.3: “What Is Dead May Never Die”

This week’s GAME OF THRONES did clear up one thing for me: I’d always wondered about: the origin of that strategy of telling three different people three different stories in order to uncover a mole. Apparently, it originated with Tyrion Lannister, way back in… well, whenever the show is set.

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is determined not to lose his head the way the previous Hand of the King did, so after dispatching the captain of the city guard last week, he set out to ferret out the mole in the Small Council by giving Pycelle, Varys and Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) a nugget of information about marrying off young Myrcell Baratheon (Aimee Richardson) to various lords. Pycelle (Julian Glover) went running to Cersei (Lena Heady) with the plan for her daughter, and so Tyrion had his mole, and tossed him into a black cell.

Varys (Conleth Hill) lands Shae (Sibel Kekilli) a job as Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) handmaiden, even though she knows nothing about the job. As a courtesan, I would think Shae knows how to handle a hairbrush — but she brandished it at poor Sansa like she was going to dash out the girl’s brains. Oh, well.  Looks like Tyrion has just about completed consolidating his power and protecting his flanks; perhaps now it’s time to do something about who’s sitting on the Iron Throne?

One man who would sit on that throne is Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony), who receives a visit from Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) and seems willing to listen to her. Renly’s new wife, Margaery (Natalie Dormer) is willing to entertain her king’s interest in bedding her brother Loras (Finn Jones) more than herself — as long as he impregnates her…somehow, at some point.

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), humiliated after feeling up his sister and being brow-beaten by his father, is further emasculated when Yara (Gemma Whelan) takes command of 30 ships and he is given just one, The Sea Bitch. The plan is to attack the north will Robb Stark is busy marching south. Though he was raised in the Stark household, Theon decides to try to win the love of his angry father rather than oppose the plan, so he gets baptized to the order of the Drowned God, declaring, “What is dead can never die.”

Hang about: Who else is getting a serious H.P. Lovecraft vibe from this…. An aquatic god who’s dead but can never die? Sounds an awful lot like Lovecraft’s dread Cthulhu, lying “dead but dreaming” in his undersea city of R’lyeh? Lovecraft wrote, “And with strange eons, even Death may die.” Hey, George R.R. Martin, what gives? Oh, it’s probably just homage…

Anyway, back in Westeros, the Goldcloaks finally track down the caravan of ragamuffins bound for the Wall. They are still looking for Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and this time Yoren (Francis Magee) can’t put them off; in fact, he gets skewered and all the surviving boys — plus Arya (Maisie Williams) — are captured. When Arya notices that one dead boy, Lommy, tried to steal Gendry’s bull’s-head helmet, she tries to convince the Goldcloaks that Lommy was Gendry. This girl has a future at court! (If she lives…)

Meanwhile, the Black Watch got booted out of Craster’s (Robert Pugh) House of Daughter Baby Mamas, thanks to Jon Snow (Kit Harington) snooping on the male-infant sacrifice. Mormont (James Cosmo) knew about the Wilding practice and basically told Jon: “Forget it — it’s Chinatown.” But Samwell (John Bradley) cannot forget about Gilly (Hannah Murray), and gives her a thimble to hold for him until he returns. (I guess that sort of gesture was hot back in those days…)

I guess the point we’re supposed to get from all this is that the show is big on color – the Red Keep, the Black Watch, Black Cells, etc. – and every man who can gather more than 10 followers has declared himself king and is preparing to march in every direction on the compass. Oh, and between Yara and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), warrior women are all the rage among stylish would-be royalty.

2 thoughts on “GAME OF THRONES 2.3: “What Is Dead May Never Die”

  1. Love reading your weekly recap, just in case I missed something, which I usually do. Can’t wait to see what happens to Renly and Loras! I sure hope they play that one all the way out. Will Margaery EVER get pregnant? Only time will tell. Also, really like Tyrion, his moves, his words, very wise. He’d be a good king, even though he is a Lanaster. Catch you next week!

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    • Glad you enjoy it, Rich. I am intrigued by Margaery/Renly/Loras, as well. She seems remarkably understanding — even for 2012! I hope they can work out the…er, mechanics with a little imagination.

      Tyrion is my favorite character. I haven’t read any of the books, so I hope he survives for a long time. He does seem wise in the ways of court, and, as he said a while back, he “understands people.” Not sure if that will translate into being a good king, but I think he might. Giving Pycelle’s whore a coin might smack of buying her silence, but I think the second coin was given out out of compassion. Clearly, Tyrion knows a bit about the thinking of courtesans, so he has sympathy for them.

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Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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