Game of Thrones Review: “What is Dead May Never Die”

This week in Game of Thrones, 60% less nudity than usual! I know, it’s unheard of to only see four boobs per episode, but in this installment, they had to get in some healthy violence as well. We only got a taste of action at the end, but it was better than last week which didn’t have all that much going on in the killing department.

Finally the show has decided to start cutting storylines out in the interest of time. They couldn’t show absolutely everyone’s happenings at all times forever, and so this week we were left to wonder about the plight of Daenerys and her mini-horde, and Stannis Baratheon and his witch lover.

Also conspicuously absent were Rob and Joffrey, for the second week in a row to boot. I understand a show with so many major characters has to jump around, but the two of them are really the two main opposing forces of the series right now, so it’s a bit strange we haven’t seen them in two weeks.

Rather, much of the focus was on Tyrion this week, and really, who can complain about that? Plotlines may be cut from week to week, but he always seems to remain. I rather liked his plan about telling the three advisors three different husbands he had in mind for the princess, though when I thought about it in depth a bit more, I’m not sure it was quite as brilliant as it was supposed to be.

Why would Pycelle assume that everyone else had been told? Tyrion didn’t tell him he was trusting Varrys and Littlefinger with the information as well, did he? It seems a bit obvious to me that it would point back to him, even without the little game. Additionally, what if Pycelle just got the chance to tell her first? What if the other two would have done the same, but they just didn’t get to her before he did? They still might be just as untrustworthy.

Anyway, I suppose it’s not worth stressing about too much. What I am sad about is if we’re not going to learn the secret of Pycelle’s youth. Was it simply a plot to act older and weaker than he is to appear frail and harmless, and that’s all there is to it? Tyrion seemed to notice him struggling a bit harder than he should have near the end of that exchange. And why did he give the whore another coin after that?

For as much as I like Game of Thrones and generally all its characters, I have to say that Shae really bothers me. As a character, yes, she’s annoying, but when compared the quality of performances from the rest of the cast, she just seems really out of place. Perhaps it’s the goofy accent, but she doesn’t feel like she belongs in the show. I’m going to go ahead and guess that she won’t be around long, as eventually Cersei will discover her existence and kill her to get back at Tyrion.

You exist solely to be naked sometimes and probably die in a week or two.

Can someone explain to me why exactly it’s so important that Joffrey marry Sansa of all people? I understood the whole “unity” thing back when the North and the King’s Landing were allies, but what’s the point now with open war declared on the Starks? Humiliation? Either way, it doesn’t seem worth it as if Sansa grows a spine for half a second, she could kill Joffrey at almost any point in time with a hidden blade, poison or such. I know she’s doing a good job of acting like her spirit is broken in front of Cersei (and maybe it is), but I just don’t know why they think it’s a good idea to have him marry someone who should violently hate him to such a degree.

We didn’t see much action north of the wall this week, with Jon Snow getting his ass kicked and his commander telling him to just deal with it as he knows about the sacrificial babies. It was cute to see Sam give that girl his trinket, but I’m guessing that will also double as a death sentence once her “husband” finds it.

I rather liked the part where Cateyn goes to talk to Renly, now imagining himself to be some powerful king. Most of the reason I enjoyed the visit was because we got to meet Brienne, the giant lady-knight that’s now a member of Renly’s personal guard. She can’t be that huge in real life right? That has to be trick photography. The sex quota of the week was filled by Renly dealing with his gay-ness, wanting to bang his wife’s brother, while she wants his baby. But now that she’s proposed an incredibly weird three-way, it seems everyone can get what they want. Only on Game of Thrones folks…

I shall call you King Fancypants.

I was sad to see that Ian Theon Greyjoy appears to have turned his back on the Starks. I get the whole “family is family” thing, but as someone who’s been adopted myself, the loyalty you have is to those who raised you. And on top of that, my birth family didn’t sell me into servitude as part of a peace offering. Why would he turn his back on the Starks now for a family that despises and mocks him? It didn’t make much sense to me, but I suppose he has his own reasons about “redemption” and all that.


The episode closed with a Lannister assault on the convoy transporting Gendry and Arya. I thought I was going to get the awesome battle sequence starring the pair of them I wanted, but as it turns out, a flock of children and one adult can’t take on a fully armored guard troop. I was sad to see the Knight’s Watch Stark Man die, though I never did catch his name. (It’s Yorin, I’m told).

Perhaps the most interesting scene of the episode was the brief one at the beginning where Bram talks about magic, and its hinted that it did indeed used to be a powerful force. Now in addition to dragons, we have talk of giants and “children of the forest.” Whether those are White Walkers or the shapeshifters Bram Bran was talking about, I’m not sure. In any case, it appears the show is going to get more magical as time goes on. I’m not sure whether that’s a promising or disappointing element. I kind of like the lack of the supernatural (for the most part) that the show currently seems to enjoy.

What did you think of this week’s episode? And please, no book spoilers.


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  1. Best line of the night

    Tyrion: Cut of his manhood and feed it to the goats.

    Hill tribe henchman: There are no goats here half-man.

    Tyrion: Well then make do!

    (Bronn smiles)

    And Paul no Skyrim arrow to the knee mention on poor Lommy? “Carry him he says” What a great show.

  2. I really hate to be “that guy” but its Theon Greyjoy, Bran Stark and the knights watch Stark guy’s name is/was Yorin.
    As for the episode I thought it was ok, nothing really groundbreaking but it seems to be setting up some stuff for when shit gets real. What that is though, I have no idea. I just know I can’t wait for it to happen.

  3. I am just going to go ahead and say that you are about to be get slapped with a whole bunch of WTF moments. Just sit back and enjoy.

    Also, I feel like if most of your questions in this post are answered, it would ruin the show for you since you didn’t read the book. Just my opinion.

    Enjoy! Love the reviews 🙂

  4. It’s Theon Greyjoy, not Ian. Remember that went the series began, there was no magic, and no dragons. What’s changed that would be causing magic to come back? As for your theories.. Well, you’ll see.

  5. This week’s episode was the best so far, I cant wait for next week’s even though I know what happens! I cant imagine how excited I’d be if i didn’t read the books. Oh by the way, does anyone have any insight on why they changed Asha’s name to Yara?

  6. Good point about Shae, she is without a doubt the most useless character in the show right now…her storyline is also not that interesting, as of right now. Also, about Robb and Joffrey not getting any coverage, this is probably because they were never POV characters in the books. Also, while Robb is a player in the game of thrones, Joffrey really isn’t- he’s a king in name, but Cersei, Tyrion, and Tywin are the major players on that side, with the small council plotting around as well. Joffrey’s job right now is pretty much just being an unbelievable dick to everyone.

  7. The idea behind Joffrey marrying Sansa has to do with keepping the North in check assuming that the Lannisters win the war. If Sansa has a son by Joffrey then that son has a valid claim on Winterfell and the entire north. It’s really just added insurance, if Robb doesn’t surrender/bend the knee then he would be killed. That still leaves the two other Sons at Winterfell to contend with but I think that the idea is very much a ‘cross that bridge when we come to it’ kind of thing.

    In the end it’s good for the Lannisters to have a heir that can claim Winterfell.

  8. Well the only person with eyes on Robb at this point in the story was Catelyn, who Robb sent away. Not that they couldn’t improvise a scene or anything, but there would be little for them to go on book-wise. As for Joff, most of his time in the book comes from Sansa’s perspective, and I don’t think many people are clamoring for more Sansa.

    As for Theon, what choice does he have? Say “No thanks, Dad, I’ll just go rejoin Robb and tell him about your plans. That ok?” Sending the letter even would be a risky proposition.

    Anyway, this episode really showed one of the advantages the show has over the book. That scene with Tyrion exchanging different plans with the small council was done excellently. It was obviously not all done simultaneously in the book, and I think that scene flowed a bit better on screen.

    The children of the forest are not whitewalkers or skinchangers. There is a pretty cool set of videos explaining background story included with the Blu-ray set, though they may be online as well. The kid who plays Bran explains some of the older religions and peoples of Westeros. Watch them if you get a chance. They don’t spoil anything.

    Also has anybody else noticed how weird Littlefinger’s voice is getting? It’s like Aiden forgot how to do the voice.

  9. Oh, yea and I totally agree about Shae. She’s pretty awful acting-wise, and the character in the show is pretty dissimilar from Shae in the books. You can understand what Tyrion actually sees in her in the books, where with the show it seems like the move stemmed entirely from pissing his dad off and now he just feels responsible for protecting her.

  10. Theon most likely chose because he is the heir to the Iron Islands. He can either go back to the Starks and never be more than an outsider(remember back to when Robb told him he’s not part of the House in Season 1), or go along with his family and possibly become a King.

  11. I think Pycelle was just trying to cover his own ass. Although he didn’t say he didn’t tell anyone else, Pycelle knew/thought he must have told someone (because he did not ask Pycelle to make the arrangements). But yes, it’d be interesting to see if he hadn’t have done it first, who would’ve told her?

    I also think we haven’t seen the last of Pycelle.. his mysterious youth has been emphasized more than once. I think after Tyrion saw he wasn’t some feeble old man, he gave the whore another coin.. he has a soft spot for whores, you know.

    I don’t think we will see the end of Shae so easily. Sure, she seems annoying, but I think it may be because she isn’t all she appears. She revealed she knew other Ladies.. maybe at one time she herself was a Lady of a court. (Could be the reason she’s so demanding and doesn’t seem to care for her current position.)

    Sansa is a crucial pawn in the current war. She could be used as leverage for Jamie’s life, or she could be married to Joffery after the war to unite the kingdom. I don’t think they quite know what to do with her, so she’s just in a broken-spirited limbo for now. She has to act the part, who knows who she can trust.

    The Sansa+Shae combo will be interesting. I have a feeling Shae is either going to save her, or get her into deep trouble.. or vise versa.

    Renly’s new poser wife is so hot. She looks like some sort of mermaid or something… I also think that Brienne is just a big ole girl bad-ass!

    Little Greyjoy is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he has this grand image of his kingly father and his childhood, but in reality they are pirates and murderers who have no need for honor. (Quite the opposite of the Stark household) This would probably go a lot easier for him if he hadn’t have molested his sister.. now he basically has to prove himself Greyjoy-worthy or live with the humiliation for the rest of his life. He is not quite a man and doesn’t fully know where is intentions lie.

    Bram’s talk was one of my favorite scenes this week. I’m pretty sure there is some sort of giant in one of this season’s trailer. Also, for me, I heard astroprojection more than shapeshifting. He completely described being inside of a wolf.. I am just hoping he masters this power! (I also think Nights Watch Sam will have magical powers… he said he always wanted to be a wizard)

    Great review, more than ready for next season!

  12. As to the Sansa/Joffrey-thing, think about it like this:

    What has the Lannisters to GAIN at this moment to break off the engagement?

    Why bother breaking up a solemnly sworn engagement when nothing is gained by it?

    Only risks would be involved, for example a charge of “godlessness”. That wouldn’t be nice to be thought guilty of if you wish to maximize popular support in the middle of a civil war..

  13. Ok, just address one of your questions sans spoilers.

    Sansa is still engaged to Joffrey because that is a good cover for her being a hostage. Publicly the Lannisters say that she is Joffrey’s betrothed, and therefore must remain in King’s Landing indefinitely. It’s more an issue of appearance than actually being a good match. Also, Sansa is the second oldest child of the Stark family, so if they kill all the other children, Sansa will be the heir and the Lannisters will own Winterfell as well by birth.

    And Theon’s reason is purely Wanker-ism.

  14. Hey Paul, you should add some Tyrion Lannister T-shirts to the Unreality store. Just some of his awesome catchphrases with a picture of his face on them would be the shit!

  15. As for Pycelle:
    Suppose what Cersei would have done to him if he did NOT tell her about Tyrion’s plan if she found out from some other source (how could Pycelle know that Tyrion hadn’t told anyone else?)

    Who would you fear the most to annoy?
    Cersei or Tyrion?

  16. A note about Theon: his family didn’t so much give him to the Starks in exchange for peace as his father’s rebellion was crushed by Robert and Ned and they TOOK Theon to Winterfell as a hostage.

    He had a pretty good relationship with the Stark children, especially Rob, but outsiders constantly reminded him that he was basically just their prisoner. After years of that, being reunited with his father who accuses him of being a Stark lover and not worthy of the Iron Isles, he might begin to see the Starks a little differently.

    It doesn’t really excuse him, but it sheds a little light on it

  17. Others have brilliantly addressed the main questions already, so I’ll add one more thing: Brienne of Tarth is a beast!!
    Gwendoline Christie, the actress playing Brienne, is 6 ft 3 in. That’s not a camera trick, that’s her towering over puny humans!!!

  18. Just a quick point that Shae’s “goofy” accent is the actress’s own German-Turkish one. She’s been in some hugely acclaimed German films and some, er, less-mainstream ones.

  19. I loved the episode just because of Margaery Tyrell (Renly’s wife). She is so HOT!!
    @RBourne, in case of Rob being killed or something, Sansa wont inherit shit, in that case Bran will become the lord of Winterfell. But in case lets say Sansa having a son and Joffrey dying (after their weeding), the she will be queen regent and her son king. Only men can inhertit titles and shit in their world, women are there just for breeding and showing tits (as harsh as it sounds).
    Totaly agree with your view about Shae, in the books she is portrayed a lot better and you can imagine why Tyrion likes her.

  20. Shae is really annoying in the series, it is not well shown why Tyrion likes her. In the book, she gets what she wants by sexually manipulating Tyrion.

    Arya’s story was significantly abbreviated. She is not taken by the red cloaks (Lannister men) to Harrenhal, that does not even make sense. The red cloaks from King’s Landing parted with orders to kill Gendry. In the book, Arya and friends are captured by Gregor Clegane’s men, who are headed to Harrenhal. Another thing that doesn’t make sense is that the red cloak commander killed Lommy and the asks if who Gendry is. If your orders are to find one specific prisoner, it’s dumb to kill one before asking.

    Although I did not like some of the approaches to this part of Arya’s story, it made sense to do so like this, for the sake of saving screen time. It was ok, though I’m expecting to see much more of Arya’s fierceness, which is a great part of her personality. In this season, Arya’s fierceness has not been shown as much as it was in the first season. She’s such a GREAT character, one of the best, along with Jon Snow.

  21. I haven’t seen this mentioned yet, but I loved how Theon shot back at his Dad. For all their “we do not sow, we take what is ours” bravado, he reminded his dad that he capitulated to King Robert and the Starks, bent the knee and gave away his only son in defeat. He should have ended with “so you can suck it!”

  22. Burns – normally I’d agree with you, but since they were only looking for Gendry to kill him in the first place, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference.

  23. yes, Gwendoline Christie really is 6’3″. and she did an amazing job as Brienne (she’s a bit too good looking for the part, but i’m not gonna complain about that!!).

    also, yeah, not a big fan of Shae. i think she’s getting better, but she’s not depicted at all the way she is in the books. in the books, Shae is more like Ros, who, as people have pointed out before, is only briefly mentioned in the books. Shae at this point in the book seems more fun-loving and you can *almost* believe that she’s as innocent as she pretends to be and that she *might* actually care for Tyrion (translation: she acts the part really well). in the show, she just seems bitchy and out of place. too bad they already used up her character’s personality on a bit part that somehow turned into a recurring role.

  24. I highly recommend visiting this site if anyone has any questions about this series. It updates along with aired episodes, so it’s spoiler free if you watch the episodes as soon as they come out.

    There are so many characters and locations that I just can’t memorize them all. I have bookmarked that site and I will keep it open while watching the show.

  25. Tyrion mentioned to all three that he was sharing the plan with the small council, but the queen must not know. The small council includes Littlefinger, Varys, Pycelle…so they knew the others were being told.

    I guess he just played a hunch that only one of them was spying for the queen.

  26. In case it wasn’t clear within the show, “Bran” is short for Brandon, a given name common within the Stark dynasty. According to legend, the first King in the North, Bran the Builder, was responsible for the construction of the Wall in the north and mighty Storm’s End (now Renly Baratheon’s castle) in the south.

    Ned’s older brother was also named Brandon. He and their father, Lord Rickard Stark, were murdered by Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King and father to Daenerys and Viserys.

  27. The giant lady knight really is a giant…she is 6’3”.
    And yes…Shae will be killed soon I believe. The actress was once a hardcore porn star by the name of Dilara and so I am sure the producers did not hire her for her acting attributes.

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