Playing The Game of Thrones With Season 2: Ep. 3 – A Review

Episode 3: What is Dead May Never Die

Elena: Brienne?

Rachel: WOOOOOT! Brienne of Tarth! One of my favorite characters. She’s like Sam, lovably earnest. She’s a lot savvier than Sam is though because she’s had a rougher time at life than him. Sure, Sam’s dad threatened to kill him if he didn’t go to the wall but at least his mommy loved him! Brienne is just a lady too big for the role she was born to. She’s basically what Arya wants to be when she grows up but without having her own Brienne of Tarth to look up to or pave the way. She’s dealing with a super misogynistic culture in which she is attempting to adopt a traditionally masculine role and she’s not doing it with witty quips and daddy’s blessing like Asha.  However, Brienne IS taking charge of her own life. I think it’s really important that we see Brienne for the first time in an episode in which Cersei and Sansa are struggling with the hardships of being female in a patriarchal society.  Brienne is a noble lady like Arya and Cersei and Asha. But rather than be married off in trade for land and loyalty to a husband that would surely not love her due to her lack of beauty she is forcing her way into a world that doesn’t want her there. She wants to be a lady knight.  With Renly’s grant of the boon of Kingsguardship, she IS a lady knight! And that place on the king’s guard is for life and just like Jaime Lannister or a man of the Night’s Watch, means she can’t marry. It’s definitely a risky choice for her but Brienne is tough.

Brienne refuses to be a victim.

Rachel: What did you think of the Southerners we met this episode?

Elena:  I loved getting another example of a way in which a woman can forge her own path and take some control of her future back from her family. I hadn’t realized the Kingsguard enabled her to piss on marriage, but that is awesome for her. Because, yeah, marriage is not for Brienne of Tarth. Not any marriage a man on Westeros would recognize, since she would never be willing to stay at home, sew, or wear a dress.

I was less impressed with Loras’s reaction.  A, learn how to lose with grace you arrogant little shit.  B, why on earth would you not want someone who can best you in the lists protecting your true love Renly?  Brienne is basically having to out-knight the knights in order to be accepted as one of them, which means she is fucking awesome at what she does.  And the best part is she’s not a man, so she can’t threaten Loras in a sexual way! I guess Loras feels like he’s got Renly’s peen on lockdown so he is worried about other things.

Speaking of Renly and his unstiffened peen…what was that with Loras’s sister?  She is yet another example of a woman who wants power and is willing to get it through the men in her life.  And she, unlike the other ladies we’ve met who are gaining power through marriage, is doing it of her own accord.  I come to this conclusion based on the way she presents herself—she has sexualized herself, as if determined to be obvious that she fucked her way to the crown.

Now if only she looked more like Loras so she could fuck her way to an heir….

Elena: While we’re on about women as property, what’s going on with Tyrion’s agenda, and is Cersei cracking up?

Rachel: Unfortunately for Cersei, and as she has lamented before, being a woman in Westeros pretty much sucks. Even the Queen Regent of the western continent can’t even get what she wants when her brother takes it upon himself to marry her kid off to…well someone…in order to broker more power to their side. Power they should have already because well who else is ruling this joint? Except that’s not how it works. LIFE ISN’T FAIR, IS IT, CERSEI? Sometimes I feel bad for her. It’s funny that lots of fans are empathizing with Cersei’s frustration at her inability to keep Myrcella when they condemn Sansa for being mean to Shae. WHY DO YOU THINK CERSEI IS SO DAMN MEAN TO SANSA, YOU GUYS? Because sometimes you have to lash out at someone who can’t hurt you. (Even though Shae should be mocked openly and often for thinking her best lady of the night dress would be suitable for lady-maiding. Come ON, Tyrion…get her a real dress to work in, for the Seven’s sake!)

Elena: Or was that Shae’s rebellion? She seemed kind of pissed to be there, and she and Tyrion did have that argument about how she was not a weakness. Oh, honey, you don’t know his family, do you?  Perhaps he sent her to Sansa just so she can learn about Cersei? Anyway.

Rachel: This episode was just FULL of women all living the same problems and dealing with them in different ways. Let’s go back to Margaery Tyrell. She got married off to her brother’s lover because if she births the next successor she could secure some more power for her family. Even if her husband is gay and she has to share him with her brother, Margaery is totally willing to do that. She’s most probably willing to do that because being a Queen is better than not being a Queen … but maybe Cersei would beg to differ.  But then I would bet Shae would agree with Margaery. Or would she?

Tyrion by the by…is up to tricksy tricks ferreting out some of the more obvious roadblocks in court. He pissed off Littlefinger, sure, but he is a resource with too much potential value as an ally to totally throw away, so look for Tyrion to make it up to Littlefinger in the future.  Pycell getting his whiskers hacked off by Bronn was epic. More whisker hacking! Maybe we can just hack off whiskers instead of heads from now on?

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Elena: Bronn! We also need more Bronn.  That, too, would be nice.

Rachel: Were you sad for Theon and his father issues? His fake brother issues? His sister issues? What about his whiney baby issues?

Elena: My notes on the first look at Theon this episode: “Theon is not impressed with the Pike house.” Which is a joke because the Pikes are another frat, and Theon’s a Theta Chi. Yes? No? It was funny in my head.

Um, so Theon decides to be a Greyjoy.  No good can come of this.  “Everybody knows you never go full Greyjoy!”

I was conflicted about whether to judge him for his choice.  Family is a huge part of the ethos in this world—“What do we always say is the most important thing?  FAMILY!”—but on the other hand…he’s betraying Robb!  And the Starks who even if they are all incompetent players are the team I’m rooting for until I meet someone better or they’re all dead.  So, no bueno.  Bad Theon.

He was put in an untenable situation, and I find it interesting that I don’t have much interest or sympathy in him as a character.  He acted the over privileged lordling once too often in my company for me to care that he feels inadequate with his family.  Guess what?  If Robb Stark is able to lead a fucking army and argue down his bannermen at this age, Theon is old enough to not judge his own worth on the valuation of any other man…even his absentee dad.  (Yes, I know, that’s not how daddy issues work, but the point is we have other characters who don’t have his hang-up that made him so manipulable, so I no longer find his daddy issues a valid excuse for what he does.)

But the drowned god bit was fucking cool, and I hope we get to hear a little more about that!

Elena: Theon chose blood over water, which is funny because of reasons ^^.

Rachel: The part of Theon’s brain that makes decisions must be a terrible hell. One, because he’s kind of a swaggering idiot a lot of the time. And two, because there’s some serious cognitive dissonance happening in the guy’s life. He was raised by these seemingly honorable people… except that they murdered his brothers and took him as a hostage. Being reminded of that by your estranged father – well you can’t really blame him for siding with his family and plotting to screw Robb over. I mean you can, but it’s easily understood how he was utterly sandbagged into “going full Greyjoy”. His only choices were betrayal and… oh betrayal! Theon might be one of the more tragic characters in Game of Thrones. The Fool who learns too late? We shall see.

Everyone loves bad ass pirates who steal all the stuff and laugh at everyone who underestimated them!

Elena: Yoren died. I haz a sad.

Rachel: Yes, while Yoren suffered from an acute case of Boromir-it is I was never all that upset about his death. Mostly because in the books it is strongly and repeatedly emphasized how bad Yoren smelled and how he had fleas. He grossed me out you guys.

They also seem to be heavily contracting a few things into one thing (which I agree with for the sake of brevity and how it isn’t really necessary since the end result is the same) except that I’m worried about the Mountain’s men and the Lannister men getting all mixed together. Were these the Lannister soldiers? Were they the outlaws? Will that distinction matter in terms of the show? I’m hoping for a bit more explanation in the next episode because where Arya and Gendry end up is extremely related to the group of men that just captured them at the end of the episode and I’m not sure shoving all the motivations into one pot will make it easier to understand.

And I just want to emphasize that the three guys in the cage – IMPORTANT GUYS. Also, horrible criminals. Probably. I could be lying. I lie all the time.

Elena: I am going to be so pleased if we have just met the Hannibal Lector of Westeros.  Because that?  Would be awesome.  And hilarious.  What happens when he meets the white walkers?  Do they all just sit down and have a civilized meal of roasted Craster son?

Is Jon Snow there?  Is he hiding behind a tree still trying to figure out what happens?

Hey, Jon Snow, don’t feel too bad for not figuring out the subtext everyone else picked up on the second they saw one man surrounded by 50 women…you still know where to put it.

Want more? Then check out the latest episode of Team More Wine Sir as we pour more wine and talk more about “What is Dead May Never Die”!

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