Game of Thrones season 2 episode 03: What Is Dead May Never Die

I don’t intend to make these posts a regular thing but given that I have some spare time, and just how good this episode was in comparison to the two that preceded it, I’ve been tempted to do some sort of post on it.

I know that this isn’t anime but it does have a similar sort of feel to it.

For those unfamiliar with the series Game of Thrones is based on George R.R. Martin‘s epic fantasy series which appears to take hints from the War of the Roses (which France would have pretty much sat back and chuckled at after the Hundred Years War), A Song of Ice and Fire, which while being a fantasy series at its roots tends to avoid the usual cliches in favour of a gritty story and realistic and compelling characters. And being adapted by HBO it maintains a rather high standard of quality along with doses of (mostly) tasteful nudity and violence. I could probably write an entire post about it but this one is more or less for this episode alone.

First off my favourite thing about this episode would have had to have been Theon’s struggle between his loyalty to his family and the Starks who had raised him as both a captive and a ward for the past nine or so years. In the first season he wasn’t exactly likeable, he was arrogant and overly proud of his Ironborn heritage as well as being something of a douche, but when he finally returned home he was pretty much slammed into the ground as his father had effectively forsaken him for his sister Asha (Yara in the show, kind of a stupid change, like it doesn’t sound like Arya) and still appeared rather bitter about his prior defeat.

So both eager to prove himself and gain his father’s favour, he’s placed between his family and the friend who was more of a brother to him than his real brothers and chooses the former. The way this conflict was presented and how Alfie Allen portrayed it was probably my favourite part, he heartwrenchingly confronts his father and then intensely burns a warning letter before being re-baptised. In a single episode Theon went from annoying to one of the most compelling characters in the show.

Secondly Tyrion was also pretty kickass in this episode as well, in a single swoop he finds those he can trust to an extent and those that would betray him in a heartbeat, as opposed to Ned pretty much walking through a minefield blind in the first season he appears to be nimbly moving through refusing to make the same mistakes, though making different ones. Like even keeping Shae around and doing little to gain the favour of those around him, he gets the job done but at the cost of his reputation. However exposing Pycelle’s duplicity and where his loyalties truly lie make up for that, the scene itself was also pretty fun as well, he kicks down his door and wittingly exposes his treachery, stopping him in his tracks when he tries to worm his way out. It was a simple yet effective way of showing how he does things and made the episode pretty fun as well.

Finally what we saw of Arya’s plot was also great, alongside Tyrion’s, Theon’s, and Sansa’s plotlines (yes, I’m serious about the latter) it was one of my favourite plotlines in a Clash of Kings as she’s thrust directly into the horrors of feudal war and goes from one bad situation from the next. However the interesting part about it in this episode was how it was nicely condensed down some parts of her arc and the addition to Yoren’s character, explaining his backstory and even providing the inspiration for what would become her prayer before he went out like a badass. As far as adding stuff that wasn’t in the books and slightly diverting from them it was great.

Pros:

  • No Dany, while she may have some pretty awesome moments I personally find her character boring and her story not so compelling.
  • Theon’s conflict.
  • Tyrion being awesome.
  • In general the show additions/alterations were nicely done and plausible this time around, particularly for Arya’s plotline but even the short exchange between Sam and Gilly was nice.

Cons:

  • While I liked her in the Tudors, Natalie Dormer seems a little too old for her character.
  • Shae is still annoying as fuck.
  • In some cases too much show don’t tell, somethings don’t have to be rubbed in your face to get them across.
  • Nothing in either Stannis or Robb’s camps, though from the preview this seems to be remedied in next episode.

In all after two somewhat meh episodes that seemed to meander in the wrong places this was a good episode, things appear to be moving forward and even after reading the books I’m still looking forward to what will happen next.

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One Response to Game of Thrones season 2 episode 03: What Is Dead May Never Die

  1. Nish says:

    I find Dany’s story line pretty boring too, next boring one is Jon Snow :), and Tyrion rocks

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