Game of Thrones: What Is Dead May Never Die   First Watch 
April 10, 2015 7:19 AM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Catelyn journeys to the Stormlands to ask Renly Baratheon to ally with Robb to fight the Lannisters, Balon orders an attack on the North in Robb's absence while Theon must decide if his loyalties lie with his own family or with Robb. Tyrion enacts a cunning plan to root out Cersei's spy on the Small Council. Shae gets a new job. Bran continues to dream. Arya's situation gets worse. Jon is reprimanded.

Varys: Power is a curious thing, my lord. Are you fond of riddles?
Tyrion: Why? Am I about to hear one?
Varys: Three great men sit in a room: a king, a priest, and a rich man.
Between them stands a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other two.
Who lives, who dies?
Tyrion: Depends on the sellsword.
Varys: Does it? He has neither crown, nor gold, nor favor with the gods.
Tyrion: He has a sword, the power of life and death.
Varys: But if it's swordsmen who rule, why do we pretend kings hold all the power?
When Ned Stark lost his head, who was truly responsible?
Joffrey? The executioner? Or something else?
Tyrion: I've decided I don't like riddles.
Varys: Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick. A shadow on the wall.
And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.

Longer Summary (contains spoilers)
- In The Stormlands: Catelyn arrives at King Renly Baratheon's camp during a tournament. She watches Brienne of Tarth defeat Ser Loras Tyrell and claim a place in Renly's kingsguard. Renly introduces Catelyn to his new wife Margaery Tyrell and shows off his mighty army. Catelyn warns Renly to take the war seriously. The importance of Renly fathering an heir with Margaery is discussed. Margaery fails to seduce Renly, but suggests including her brother in their lovemaking if that will help.​
- At Pyke:Theon is included in his father's war council, where Balon declares his plan to attack the North in Robb's absence. Yara is put in command of 30 ships, including her own, The Sea Bitch. Theon is assigned a single ship to raid the fishing villages of the Stony Shore. Theon implores his father to reconsider: if they attack the North and lose, Robb will destroy them. If they ally with Robb and win, Balon will be crowned King of the Iron Islands and House Greyjoy will be awarded Casterly Rock, the source of the Lannisters' wealth. Disgusted, Balon accuses Theon of becoming weak, and more loyal to the Starks than his own family. Theon challenges his father's lack of faith and reminds him that he gave him up as a ward of the Starks. Balon hits Theon and storms out. Theon writes a note to Robb about his father's plans, but burns it, unsent, in the fireplace. He then reaffirms his loyalty to his family by being baptised by a Drowned Priest.
- On the King's Road: Arya can't sleep. Yoren gives her advice about coping with her painful memories: focus on revenge. Ser Amory Lorch returns with a force of gold cloaks. Yoren marshals the recruits for a battle, confronts Ser Amory, refuses to surrender Gendry and is killed. Gendry and Hot Pie are captured. During the fight Arya rescues Jaqen H'ghar from a fire near the prisoner wagon. She is then knocked down by Polliver, who takes Needle. Lommy picks up Gendry's helmet and is wounded by a crossbow bolt. Polliver mistakes Lommy for Gendry and kills him with Needle. Ser Amory orders the prisoners be taken to Harrenhal.
- In King's Landing: Shae complains to Tyrion about being confined to his chambers, so he works with Varys to find her a job that will give her some freedom: handmaiden to Sansa. Cersei hosts an awkward dinner for her children and Sansa, who maintains her facade of loyalty to her captors. Tyrion tests the loyalty of the small council by feeding them each a different plan for a marriage alliance involving Princess Myrcella Baratheon. He uncovers Pycelle as an informant to Cersei when Cersei confronts him about the plan he fed to Pycelle. Tyrion insists on marrying Myrcella into House Martell of Dorne to Cersei and has Bronn arrest Pycelle for his treachery. Baelish is furious that Tyrion involved him in the deception, but is placated by Tyrion, who asks him to act as an envoy to Renly and Catelyn.
- At Winterfell: Bran realizes his dreams are out of body visions. He confides in Maester Luwin, who scoffs at the idea.
- Beyond The Wall: Craster beats the crap out of Jon and drags him back to his keep. He then orders the Night's Watch out of his home. Lord Commander Mormont questions Jon and reveals that he knew Craster was sacrificing his sons, but took no action because Craster supplies the Watch with information and shelter beyond the Wall. Jon is forbidden from interfering. Sam gives Gilly a thimble that once belonged to his mother and promises to come back for her when the Watch journeys back to Castle Black.

Margaery, to Renly: “Do you want my brother to come in and help? He can get you started, I really don’t mind. Or I can turn over and you can pretend I’m him.”

Introduced in this episode
* Queen Margaery Tyrell, wife of King Renly Baratheon. Margaery is the only daughter of Lady Alerie Tyrell and Lord Mace Tyrell, the Lord Paramount of the Reach. The Reach is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Tyrell is one of the Great Houses of the realm. Margaery was raised in privilege in the family seat and regional capital of Highgarden. She is close to her brother, Ser Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers.
* Brienne of Tarth, warrior of House Tarth, vassals to House Baratheon. Member of King Renly Baratheon's new Kingsguard. Brienne is the sole surviving child and heir of Lord Selwyn Tarth of Evenfall Hall, on the island of Tarth, located in the Narrow Sea off the coast of the Stormlands.
* Ser Amory Lorch, a knight fighting for House Lannister
* Polliver, a Lannister man-at-arms under the command of Ser Amory Lorch.
* The Stormlands are one of the nine constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms. It is located on the south east coast of the continent of Westeros, on the shores of the Narrow Sea, south of the Crownlands and north of Dorne. Ruled from the castle of Storm's End by House Baratheon. They are so-named for the savage and frequent storms from the Narrow Sea that batter the coast. (Location not added to the credits)

Shae: “Every man who has tasted my cooking has told me what a good whore I am.”

Notes (From here and here.)
* This episode marks the first time that House Martell of Dorne is introduced into the narrative, as Tyrion is planning a marriage-alliance with them.
* The episode title, "What is dead may never die" is a common saying in the religion of the Drowned God on the Iron Islands. The answer to the phrase is "But rises again harder and stronger." In the episode the phrase is begun by Theon Greyjoy during his baptism and completed by the Drowned Priest conducting the ceremony.
* When Renly departs from Catelyn to share an intimate moment with Loras in his tent, he tells Catelyn that he is retiring for the evening to "pray". In the books, this is an excuse which Renly and Loras frequently use to explain away their romantic trysts.
* Right after Renly agrees to make Brienne one of his Kingsguard, when Loras looks upset, Renly actually winks at Loras (it is not easy to see because it is a wide shot).
* Tyrion finds out which member of the small council is spying for his sister by giving each suspect a unique piece of information, and then seeing which one his sister finds out about. This method, commonly known as a "Barium meal test", has been used in intelligence agencies for decades.
* In the books, Tyrion's three "interviews" to discover which of the Small Council members is secretly working for Cersei happen sequentially, and involve a large amount of "inner monologue" from Tyrion's point of view as he contrasts each interview with the previous one. The TV series instead intercuts each of the three interviews, showing each of the men's reactions to Tyrion's questions.
* Two strong men have to struggle with some difficulty to drag Pycelle out of his chambers when Tyrion orders him taken to the black cells - a nod to the fact that in secret, Pycelle isn't nearly as weak and frail as he pretends to be in public, as revealed in Season 1's "Fire and Blood". He makes some attempt to behave humbly during Tyrion's interrogation, but once he sees that he can't appeal to Tyrion's mercy and is being sent to the dungeons, he drops the act.
* Cersei becoming so angry with Tyrion about "selling" Myrcella into a marriage alliance that she shoves him, knocking him down backwards against some steps, was not in the script. It was ad-libbed by actress Lena Headey on the spur of the moment, and both she and Peter Dinklage just acted through it.
* As originally scripted, for the scene in which Tyrion and his guards burst into Pycelle's quarters to arrest him, Pycelle was being pleasured by the prostitute Daisy, and Pycelle was entirely naked (except for his chain of office). Actor Julian Glover objected to this, as did his wife (who said he would "be on Facebook in five minutes"), and ultimately the writers relented and modified the scene so he is still wearing his robes while sitting in bed with the prostitute.
* This episode marks the first time that Cersei's two younger children, Myrcella and Tommen, have significant dialogue. Tommen never had any speaking lines before this episode. Myrcella had only one brief line in all of Season 1 (asking "Is Bran going to die?" in "The Kingsroad"), and a brief line to Tyrion in the Season 2 premiere (saying "I'm glad you're not dead"). Thus this episode marks the first time that either of them has multiple lines of dialogue exchanged back-and-forth with other characters. Aimee Richardson, the actor playing Myrcella, sent a note to story editor Bryan Cogman afterward, thanking him for giving her lines.
* The scene in which Margaery Tyrell tries to seduce her husband Renly Baratheon was the first scene that Natalie Dormer shot for the TV series.
* Despite the fact that King Renly's camp is supposed to feature light-hearted "knights of summer" acting like war is a game and holding a tournament, it is very dark and overcast during this scene. Due to production delays, filming of this scene had to be pushed back a month to September 2011, while remnants of Hurricane Irene battered Ireland. Already behind schedule, the cast and crew were forced to film the "knights of summer" scene in cold and stormy weather. Unfortunately, the cast were still wearing the summer clothing that their characters should have been wearing in Renly's camp. Many wore armor, but Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) was wearing a light summer gown with a plunging neckline. Between takes, the costume department would rush to cover her in blankets and give her hot water bottles. Dormer: "that tournament scene was just unfortunate." It is so cold that the breath of many of the cast members is visible in the scene, particularly when Margaery says "you are very welcome here, Lady Stark". At one point the high winds got so severe that the entire extras tent, a massive tent containing a thousand people and all of their costumes, blew away into the air. Luckily, no one was significantly injured. Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell) said, "It was actually terrifying with things swinging down and people getting knocked out. It was absolute chaos. So that was a real disaster but luckily everyone was OK in the end."
* For the role of Brienne the producers chose English actress Gwendoline Christie. According to George R. R. Martin, when he saw the first batch of auditions he saw "a dozen actresses who were reading for Brienne and one actress who was Brienne," and it was one of the cases when there wasn't any debate. Due to her outstanding height (6' 3", 1.91 m) she was earmarked early on by fans of the books as a good fit for the character, and one of them even emailed her agent.

Yoren: "I always hated crossbows. Take too long to load!"
posted by zarq (4 comments total)
This is a First Watch with Books thread.

Please do not reveal spoilers for subsequent episodes from any source.

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 7:25 AM on April 10, 2015

Oh, Brienne... *sigh*
posted by jillithd at 1:20 PM on April 10, 2015

Oh, Theon...
posted by nubs at 2:15 PM on April 10, 2015

As originally scripted, for the scene in which Tyrion and his guards burst into Pycelle's quarters to arrest him, Pycelle was being pleasured by the prostitute Daisy, and Pycelle was entirely naked (except for his chain of office). Actor Julian Glover objected to this, as did his wife (who said he would "be on Facebook in five minutes"), and ultimately the writers relented and modified the scene so he is still wearing his robes while sitting in bed with the prostitute.

Oh, by all the gods old and new ...

Why was it that one old dude got to be non-nude, while so many nameless (and major!) female characters are seen completely naked and having sex? For those just watching the show for the first time and tracking along with these threads, there's still a significant unbalance in gender nudity up into Season 5, when it looks like (after only one episode) this might actually change.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:26 PM on April 16, 2015

« Older Hannibal: Futamono...   |  Daredevil: Into the Ring... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments