Heading into Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 8: “Second Sons,” we expected Tyrion and Sansa's painfully awkward wedding ceremony to be the hardest part of the episode to watch. Little did we know the writers were planning to combine sex and leeches. We should remember to never underestimate the depths of creepy, horrifying images this show can conjure up.
This episode might not feel quite forward-moving enough to be the third to last of the season, but we appreciate that it was focused, bringing us three fully fleshed-out arcs instead of being too scattered amongst the different stories.
Let's review what went down with Wetpaint Entertainment's in-depth recap.
On the Road: Things Could Be Much Worse
On the road, Arya comes up with a quick way to dispose of her new captor: Rock to the face. Unfortunately for her, The Hound is not so easy to kill; her attempt to creep up on him in his sleep is foiled by his not actually being asleep.
It turns out The Hound's not the worst companion in the world, which he tries to convince Arya of by explaining about that time he saved Sansa from brutal gang rape and murder. So comforting. However, Arya seems a bit mollified when she finds out The Hound plans to take her to the Twins to sell to Cat and Robb. Which is basically what she wants. As he puts it: "Quit trying to bash my skull in, and we might just make it to the wedding."
Yunkai: Beauty vs. Murder
Over in Yunkai, Dani meets with the captains of the Second Sons, a company of 2,000 sellswords led by a man called Mero, AKA the Titan's Bastard. We're treated to one of those entertaining, talky scenes that Game of Thrones excels at, as Dany and Mero verbally spar. He's a disgusting brute, but she's a match for him. Will he decide to work for her?
Nooope. Later, Mero and the two other Second Son bigwigs, a CW-style hottie named Daario Naharis, and an inconsequential third, debate what to do. We learn Daario is idealistic and romantic for a sellsword, but Mero is just plain a dick. He decides that they should kill Dany in her sleep, and Daario draws the short straw.
Unfortunately for Mero and his friend, Daario is enchanted by Dany's beauty. He does slip into her tent, but it's to bring her the other captains' heads as an offering, explaining that she's just too darned pretty to kill. Apparently this works way better than Jorah's Nice Guy routine, because Dany seems intrigued. Daario pledges himself, his heart, and his company to her.
Dragonstone: We Do. Not. Like. This.
Melisandre and Gendry have landed at Dragonstone, where Stannis immediately deduces that everyone's favorite blacksmith is one of Robert's bastards. What does Melisandre mean to do with him? Why, murder him, of course! But not before giving him a shower. Gotta treat your sacrifices nicely, after all.
Meanwhile, Davos's reading lessons are apparently going well, since he's reading entire sentences by himself already. It's not like he has much else to do, what with being locked in jail by his king. Speaking of, Stannis comes by to check in on his best bro, and it's about as awkward as you'd expect. Davos tries to convince Stannis that killing Gendry is a dick move, but Stannis declares it has to be done for the good of all. Never ending darkness will devour the world if he doesn't win, we all know Melisandre's god is real because shadow babies, blah blah blah. "What's one bastard boy against the kingdom?" That said, he's freeing Davos, which, as Davos himself points out, suggests he does want Davos's counsel, despite his protests.
Later, Mel wines, dines, and seduces Gendry, much to his confusion. She rambles about how the Lord of Light "demands" they bang. "I don't understand," he protests. "This doesn't seem very religious." Hasn't he figured out by now that the Lord of Light plays by different rules? His protests don't last long, leading to one of the most sensual sex scenes the show has had ... up until Melisandre ties him to the bed and covers him in leeches. Oh god. Maybe we just have an unusually strong reaction to leeches, but this might be even more horrifying than the Theon stuff. Nightmare inducing. Why.
Actually, we do learn why, when Stannis and Davos casually walk in. See, Mel wants to prove that king's blood has power. She gives Stannis three leeches, and he throws them into the fire, naming his three competitors: Balon Greyjoy (remember him?), Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon.
King's Landing: A "Happy" Day
In King's Landing, Sansa, dressed in a ridiculously shaped wedding dress, has a pre-wedding meeting with her husband-to-be. Tyrion attempts to comfort Sansa, reminding her that he's not jumping for joy over this match, either. "I'm just trying to say, very badly, I just want to say, I know how you feel," he offers, stumbling over his words for the first time maybe ever. "I doubt that very much, my lord," she responds, not willing to take the olive branch. Come on, Sansa. He's trying! Tyrion promises he "won't ever" hurt her, and does manage to coax a small smile out of her with a joke about wine.
Before the wedding, Margaery Tyrell and Cersei walk arm-in-arm, in their most gloriously passive aggressive meeting yet. They discuss "The Rains of Castamere"; Cersei subtly tells Margaery the Lannisters will end the Tyrells if they step out of line. "If you ever call me sister again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep," she concludes. Way to show your hand, Cersei. This is why your father doesn't respect you.
Then, the most awkward wedding of all the weddings. In. History. To start, Joffrey is the one walking Sansa down the aisle, because why not? Then, Joff is a dick and moves the step stool Tyrion needs to put a cloak on Sansa (whatever, it's part of the ceremony). Then Tyrion has to actively ask Sansa to kneel so he can reach her, because apparently some of the general King's Landing dickishness has rubbed off on her. (OK, we know that's not fair. This is her moment of defiance. But Tyrion isn't the one who really deserves her anger.)
At the after party, no one is happy, except for Lady Olenna, who delightfully rambles about the convoluted family tree that will result from Margaery and Loras's upcoming marriages. Joffrey is a rapey creeper toward Sansa. Loras is mopey (and amazingly shut down by Cersei). Tyrion is drunk, much to Tywin's dismay, because his son needs to put a baby in Sansa, ASAP. Things really get out of hand when Joffrey tries to push for the traditional bedding ceremony (which involves stripping down the wife). Tyrion says no and outright threatens him, which is a problem because despite being The Worst, Joff is, in fact, king, and you're really not supposed to threaten the king. Fortunately, Tywin is there to interfere. Tyrion walks off with Sansa, pretending to be more drunk than he is to cover for the mistake.
Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding night itself is not much better. Tyrion is reminded that Sansa is 14 (tooooo young); they both try to drown their misery in wine. In the end, after watching a terrified Sansa begin to strip, Tyrion decides he can't sleep with her, Tywin be damned. "I won't share your bed, not until you want me to," he promises her. "And what if I never want you to?" she asks. (Sansa. Look at him. He is worth banging.) Tyrion sadly raises a glass. "And so my watch begins," he jokes, referencing the celibate Night's Watch. As if he's not going to sleep with Shae.
Speaking of, Shae comes in the next day. She's still pissed at Tyrion, until she realizes he did not, in fact, sleep with the unwilling 14-year-old. So that's one silver lining.
Beyond the Wall: Sam the Slayer
Up North, Sam and his wildling friend Gilly continue to struggle on. Sam insists they finally give Gilly's child a name, which devolves into an unnecessarily long argument in which the only really important information is the reminder that Sam's dad is awful, just like every non-Stark parent in Westeros.
Before they can reach a decision, the wildlife starts going crazy outside. Sam decides the proper course of action is to wander into the dark to see what's up, because he, like his buddy Jon Snow, knows nothing. He's confronted by a White Walker, who strides up to him and casually breaks his sword. But wait! Remember how Sam has a obsidian (AKA dragonglass) blade that was found buried by the Fist of the First Men? Yeah, it turns out that can kill a White Walker, as Sam proves in an act of surprising badassery. And thus, another hero is born.
We loved this exchange between Arya and The Hound: "There's no one worse than you." / "You've never met my brother."
"Fuck Joffrey, fuck the queen." — The Hound, speaking for us all.
"Forgive me my grace, but is there a difference between killing and sacrifice?" Davos remains the moral center of the show. Thankfully he has a smuggling background, which means he has more street smarts than Ned Stark. That explains how he's lasted this long.
Shirtless Gendry is always welcome, even in the context of creepy sacrifice seduction.
Olenna line of the night: "Your brother will become your father-in-law, that much is beyond dispute."
Tyrion line of the night: "It's my wedding night. My tiny drunk cock and I have a job to do."
Tyrion line of the night runner up: "Drinking and lust, no man can match me in these things. I am the god of tits and wine."
Tywin remains a bastard, but damn, his wardrobe is cool
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Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.