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Game of Thrones



Episode 3 - What is Dead May Never Die

19 April 2012

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Craster bloodies Jon’s face and kicks the men of the Watch out. Tyrion sends Shae to be Sansa’s handmaiden to keep her presence a secret. He also lays a trap with the men of the Small Council to see which of them is loyal to his sister. Pycelle is soon revealed to be loyal to the Lannisters and is thrown in a cell. Balon is committed to attacking the North and Theon has to choose between his adopted and blood families. At the camp of Renly Baratheon we see Brienne of Tarth become a member of the royal guard after besting Loras Tyrell. Tyrell’s sister Margaery is Renly’s new wife and knows about his homosexuality. In Winterfell Bran continues to dream like a Direwolf. On the road Arya confides to Yoren that she is haunted by her father’s execution. The new recruits are then attacked by Lannister men who kill Yoren.

The Good: The King’s Landing story remains the most resonant as Tyrion does some spring cleaning. His plan to flush out the disloyal worked nicely as old Pycelle is forced to drop his doddery act and beg not to be killed. Those were fun scenes and an even better one followed as Tyrion and Varys chatted about what power really is. I also liked the glimpse we got into Sansa’s traumatic existence as she has to watch herself constantly around her new in-laws. I think she’s done a fine job so far conveying her struggle and her interaction with Shae had some pleasant nuance as a result. In season one we saw Sansa as something of a brat and that side of her temporarily resurfaced as she had to deal with Shae’s incompetence. However Shae won’t be cowed and Sansa was forced to admit that she needs someone right now to brush her hair. It was a pleasing development which will hopefully provide both women, isolated in their luxury, with someone to turn to.

I also enjoyed the portrayal of Renly Baratheon as King-elect. You get the impression he is a nice guy and one who may not be suited to the ruthless reality of power. His polite struggle with his homosexuality was a neat example of this problem. If he can’t bring himself to do something unpleasant (like have sex with her) and she knows all about his true desires then does he really have what it takes to win this game of thrones? Despite that potential weakness we do see why people would rather follow him than his glum brother Stannis.

The brief scenes beyond the Wall were fine. Jon begins to learn the dark truths about life while Sam bonds with Gilly in a way which suggests his vow of chastity is not one he fully understands.

The chat between Yoren and Arya served two purposes well. Despite his flippant tone Yoren’s origin tale was clearly a warning to her not to let vengeance consume her. It also meant we understood him a little better so that his death would mean more. The Lannister attack was suitably brutal but I liked the subtext more. Once more the Lannisters were ignoring the importance of those who die on the Wall to keep them safe. It’s pretty clear they will come to regret that.

The Bad: Nothing bad exactly but there is a clear pattern to the story which needs breaking up. There are a bunch of characters now all in a dilemma. Renly, Davos, Theon, Arya and Sansa are all trapped in situations where they lack control over something. To some extent Jamie, Tyrion, Cersei and others are in similar positions. In a book you have time to get inside those characters minds and explore the contrasts and different colours that each story brings. However on TV it has led to a slightly repetitive formula. The slow pace of the season makes it clear that no resolution is coming until the final couple of episodes and I think the show would benefit from a bit more action now.

The Unknown: The Greyjoy story was definitely a case of the television adaption struggling to match the narrative. The final shot of a conflicted Theon accepting his baptism was a solid one. However the earlier scene where he, Balon and Yara argued was much less convincing. It was one of those scenes that had to capture a lot of family history and left the actors either shouting or leaning too close to one another’s faces in awkward ways.

I may have mentioned Bran’s dreams before but it seems appropriate to mention them again as an ongoing mystery. It seems like the connection between him and his Direwolf might have gone pretty deep. It was interesting to hear Luwin talk of the “Children of the Forest” (and Giants) as, presumably, magical people who used to live. Is Bran one of these? Are all the Stark children?

I wonder if Cersei sympathises with Sansa at all? Here she seemed to be testing the limits of her obedience. However surely she can see the parallels with her own past as Robert’s wife?

Best Moment: I will avoid the temptation to give Tyrion and Varys the nod, though both come across as fully realised creations in a way which not everyone on the show does. Instead I will go for the final scene as the men and boys being sent to the Wall get attacked. The key intrigue comes from the three criminals who Arya frees from their cage. I assume we haven’t heard the last of them.

Conclusion: Three solid episodes of introduction and dilemma. I would love to see the writers break things up and give us a story that feels like it is happening now rather than always building for the end of the season.




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  • Some thoughts:

    Another thing I really liked was how well cut the Tyrion scenes with Littlefinger, Varys, and Pycelle were. They did a really nice job getting all of that out without having it drag on for too long.

    The Theon reborn scene was straight out of a movie. Great cinematography and score work.

    Brienne was perfectly cast. I know many of you haven't read the books, but they really knocked it out of the park with her character as far as casting goes. She's a very unique character and I'm already fascinated by her after only seeing her for a few minutes.

    Viewer score: 80 / 100

    Posted by Aaron, 17/04/2012 3:21am (6 years ago)

  • Hello Robin and Roberto,
    It’s nice to finally hear you via iTunes and see the new look on the website. Congratulations, Robin
    Now about the latest episode of the GOT; What is Dead May Never Die. I really liked this episode as I did last week.
    This episode further fleshed out various characters in my mind and made them more human to us. The dinner scene with the royal household didn’t really move the plot any further, but it sheds light into the key characters, Sansa and Cersei. This is something a lot of shows could benefit from, characters doing something ordinary that we can relate to, like dinner with a nightmare mother in law. Like Derek posted, not including every character can actually add to a show. Showing us Dani still stuck in the red waste would have served no purpose, instead the effective job done last week still stays in our mind. At this point of the season, we now have a clear picture of all the players on the board. The world building being done on this show is very fascinating to watch and makes me look forward to the next chapter.
    I do agree with you about the pacing. Perhaps this show would have benefitted from a two hour premier, but I have confidence in the direction this season is going.
    As always thanks for the forum

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Kayode from Baltimore, 17/04/2012 1:00am (6 years ago)

  • Now this was a far better episode then last week's episode. I think they are finally deepening the story rather then expanding. This may be a bit spoiler-y given the knowledge that I have read the books but I'm reasonable sure all of the major players have been introduced for this season and now we are just going to follow their stories. It is interesting that you feel the theme of characters being trapped felt repetitive because while I certain agree that seems to be the overarching situation for the characters, I found it an interesting way to build tension. All this feeling of being trapped can't help but feel like it's leading to a big meltdown. It's a similar situation to the Walking Dead where it felt very repetitive that all the survivors were staying on the farm, doing nothing and having the same conversation. However Game of Thrones has actual characters (and likable ones) and we are constantly moving around and the world and dialogue is so rich that it doesn't feel remotely monotonous. I do feel that they are telling stories in the know and this all isn't just one big lead-up. Tyrion in particular every episode seems to have a goal and he achieves it or last tries, it's probably the reason that Tyrion is most fascinating character. I do feel like this is the first episode that things are starting to happening because the first two really were two parts of a season premiere, so I am taking that partially into a account of "nothing happening". I feel like the next episode will begin to finally start to act on plots introduced.

    Best Moment:
    I was all ready to give Tyrion the award again because it's Tyrion but the scenes with Yoren and Margarey and Renly both blew me. While Margarey and Yoren both quickly became some of the most interesting characters on the show in their quick scenes, I'm giving the nod to Yoren. Just because they made me care about him and then mere minutes later snatch him away.

    Two other quick points:
    No Dany or Stannis at all this episode, which I welcomed. Nothing personal against Dany or Stannis but I feel like any show with a big cast serves itself by not forcing every member of the cast into the episode.

    Pyke was better this episode. Yara is growing me in her portrayal, I can want the light heartened version but this cold version serves her purpose. It was the source of the only thing that felt "bad" in this episode, Theon's yelling at his family. It was far too forced exposition, it was necessary but regrettable.

    Viewer score: 80 / 100

    Posted by Derek, 16/04/2012 8:24pm (6 years ago)

  • I agree with everything you've said, just wanted to add one thing which I'm sure you'll discuss or should discuss about the way the baptism takes place. In the books you would literally be drowned by someone and then they would unknowingly perform CPR to "resurrect" you, hence the saying "What is dead may never die". I suppose that'd be rather off putting to watch and clash with the tone of that scene but I liked the way Martin used a medical procedure from today and made it something mystical to that religion. Just something I was thinking about and was sad to see it changed to just a generic style baptism.

    Posted by Joe, 16/04/2012 7:39pm (6 years ago)

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