Game Of Thrones Recap: Letter Off Dead

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It’s Game Of Thrones Season 2, Episode 3 entitled “What Is Dead May Never Die,” the rallying cry of Theon’s nautical hometown of Pyke and the White Walkers who are suing them for the rights. Either way, I’m pretty sure they both stole it from a Cannibal Corpse song.

The episode opens where the last one left off, with the nosy Jon Snow being knocked out by Craster, who then tells the Wall Commander he wants all their men to leave immediately, and keeps derogatorily calling Snow “Bastard” with no regard for the fact that he’s f***ing his own daughters and feeding half the kids to zombies (“But your MOM and DAD weren’t MARRIED! EWWWWW!!!!!”) Jon pulls his commander aside to tell him the BadBabyNews.org, but his commander is already aware, and explains that fraternizing with “harsh men” like Craster is a tough but necessary compromise for beyond-the-wall survival:

I really like that the show has developed the Wall Commander guy – in his first few appearances, he really seemed like he was going to be that “Everything I do is wrong and unreasonable” character from action movies, but they’ve developed him into a rounded character with a justification for his mindset and who’s credible as the leader of such a tough situation. My absolute #1 least favorite character in movies is the “Everything I do is wrong” character, like the stock FBI a-hole who takes over the main-character-cop’s investigation and doesn’t listen to him and f*cks everything up constantly and you’re just like, “How did this megafailure become a Federal Agent?” (Think the Frances McDormand character from the last Transformers movie. Definitely the only problem with that other-wise flawless film. Anyway…)

Meanwhile, over at Pyke, Theon is still shaken up after cracking the Game Of Thrones “Top 50 Incest-ers” list (at #47), and confronts his sister for duping him:

She responds “I wanted to see the person you really are, and I have. A First-Minute Fingerblaster. I NEVER Fingerblast on the first date – can’t you read my Boardwalk novelty t-shirt?” Sidenote: Can we say “Fingerblast” on this blog? Cause if not, these Recaps are gonna become impossible to write. I guess I’ll see if I get a phone call from a lawyer or something, now since we’ve said it three times – the cat’s out of the fingerblast-bag.

Balon reveals the Pyke Military Plan, which, to Theon’s loyalty-testing horror, involves sweeping through the Northern lands while they’re defenseless. It’s not evident whether Balon truly believes this is a viable military strategy (given that he and the Starks have a common enemy in the Lannisters and could join forces), or if he’s simply blinded by his grudge against the Starks past the point of reason, or if he just can’t fit a better plan on his tiny war table:

Theon is torn, as was clearly Balon’s intentions; he ends up penning a letter to Robb to warn him of his father’s plans, then thinks it over, and after admiring his own cool medieval-fantasy handwriting, he burns the letter:

The Pyke segment ends with Theon swearing allegiance to his family’s empire and taking their oath, the titular “What is dead my never die…” mantra. It’s the Greyjoy’s slogan-equivalent of the Lannisters’ “A Lannister always pays his debts,” or the Starks’ “It is cold as sh*t up here but at least we got these cool wolves.” Has Theon truly reconsidered his allegiances and sided with his bloodline, sealing the deal with the symbolic letter-burning, or is he just remaining in his father’s employ figuring that it’s his best option for helping the Starks in the long-run? It sure seems like it’s the former, which is rough for us viewers if Robb and Theon are gonna have to clash down the line, but knowing this show, I’m sure it’ll work out fine (meaning they’ll kill each other simultaneously then fall onto a pile of babies and suffocate those babies.)

Back at King’s Landing, Tyrion calls an audience with that old dude with the beard who gave Ned Stark the king’s lineage book, and tells him of plans to marry off the Queen’s daughter while repeatedly insisting that he not tell the queen. Mid-scene, Tyrion is suddenly talking to the bald eunuch, and for one brief second before we realize that this is a directorial trick, and all of us at home briefly thought the eunuch snuck into the chair superfast while Tyrion was turned away, like one of those movie trailers where a person’s standing there and a train goes by and then they’re not (CRAZY! I want to see this movie I’ve just described!!)

It turns out, Tyrion is telling three separate false rumors to Maester Pycelle, Varys, and Littlefinger, knowing that one of them will leak the information to the Queen against his instructions. As shady as Varys and Littlefinger constantly appear, the mole turns out to be Oldie Hawn:

Tyrion instructs Bronn to cut off Pycelle’s beard, which is the least violent moment in Game Of Thrones history, and banishes him to one of the black cells, continuing his plan for ‘Hand Of The King’ self-preservation. To assume Pycelle’s duties, Tyrion appoints that weirdo cell guard from the sky castle who he threw the sack of money to. (Or at least, we hope it’s him. He’ll have to grow a sagely fantasy-old-man beard though.)

Lady Stark arrives to meet with Renly Baratheon to employ his armies for her cause, but finds him sitting as a king enjoying a melee tournament, his mind not exactly preoccupied with thoughts of Lannister-war:

The melee is won by a particularly large and fierce knight, who takes off his helmet to reveal…HE’S A SHE!!!!!!!! Guguguhuwhaaaa???? And gender equality in the Game Of Thrones world has been achieved. The end. Credits. (It was a three episode season).

Lady Stark briefly speaks with Renly and insults him by suggesting that he’s just sitting around pretending to be a king, and Renly tells the newly-appointed Lady-Knight to escort her away so he can “be alone” to “pray” on “his boyfriend’s erect penis in a sexual manner I mean prayers.” After some failed cheerup-sex with Sir Loras Tyrell, the losing combatant in the melee, Renly is then approached by his sister Margaery Tyrell, and the show cuts to a scene from the Cinemax original movie Illicit Passions Of Deception (seen above). Margaery tries to convince Renly that he needs to impregnate her and knows that he might need a little fluffing from another man (“NAH EFF THAT HOW BOUT ANOTHER CHICK CUZ I LUVVEM!!!!”), and the scene concludes with a blueballed Renly masturbating to thoughts of crowns that look even more like antlers and branches simultaneously.

In the episode’s final scene, Arya Stark is having trouble sleeping at the mercenary camp, and confides to the group leader Yoren that images of her father’s execution still haunt her – not the actual deed itself, since she was turned away, but the idea of all the people onstage including her powerless sister. Yoren’s like, “Let me tell you a f***ing horrible story…my brother was once murdered too, but then later I found that guy and killed him and now I recruit people for the Wall. So you see, sometimes if you teach a man to fish, you truly can spread your wings and fly.” Arya’s like, “Huh?” then the camp gets attacked by a group of soldiers from King’s Landing, demanding that the bastard Gendry be handed over. Yoren refuses, and incites a pretty awesome one-on-seventy fight sequence, which ultimately results in a sword being plunged vertically downwards through his head and spine – the stage direction in the Game Of Thrones script just says “[The Usual]“.

Arya notices that another boy has picked up the “Bull Helmet” and is lying dead near it, and usin’ her ol’ Stark family noggin, she tells the soldiers “You want Gendry? You got him” and points to the dead boy:

Overall, another super-watchable episode, though it did feel (and not in a bad way) a little “mid-seasony,” in that it’s one of those episodes later than the first two in a season but before the last 2-3 of the season, and it’s not written by the producers, so it’s not completely earth-shattering plot-wise, but revolves more around individual moments, individual character interactions, and a lot of lengthy stories and dialogue. Still a really exciting episode though – it’s funny to refer to an episode of a tv show where a dude gets a sword plunged through his spine as “a calmer episode” – but with every new inching development, the season’s ultimate climax keeps looking like it’ll be bloodier and more unpredictable.

Speaking of which, will the season’s ‘ultimate bloody climax’ include a literal ejaculation containing blood? I put the odds around 80-20.

Game Of Thrones Episode 3 thoughts? Favorite/least favorite parts? Stuff we missed? Predictions? Eulogies for Yoren or the erections of Theon and Renly? Leave them all in the comments.