‘Game of Thrones’ – Season 2, Ep. 3 – ‘What Is Dead May Never Die’ Review


Things are finally progressing this season! After two episodes of plot set up, Episode Three, “What Is Dead May Never Die,” really moved things along.

We begin where we left off in Episode Two with Jon Snow. Snow’s observance of Casters’ actions lead to no direct consequence. Lord Commander Mormont explains to Jon that sometimes committing bad deeds and actions is necessary to survival – in this case the Wall and the Rangers, who venture in the Wild.

Meanwhile, Theon reestablishes his allegiance to his father and the Iron Islands. His intentions, however, appear murky at best. It’s never clear if he wants power or feels resentment towards his father for sending him to the Starks and, therefore, towards the loyalty to the family that raised him. I expect this resentment to weigh heavily on Theon in the next few weeks.

Moving the plot along, Lady Catelyn arrives in the Stormlands to speak with King Renly to establish the alliance with King Robb. It’s a short meeting between Catelyn and Renly, but this part of the story doesn’t end here. Renly’s Kingsguard gains a new member, Brienne. It’s also confirmed that Renly is gay and romantically involved with his queen’s brother, Loras Tyrell. The Queen, Lady Tyrell, speaks to Renly openly about his relationship and the requirements that come with being King. He needs to be strong and publicly in love with his queen, even though she knows the truth. Lady Tyrell tells Renly that she will give him a son to sustain his future line.

Yet, once again, Peter Dinklage’s performance as Tyrion dominates the episode. Tyrion displays his genius and cunning persona as he searches out the mole and traitor in the inner circle. By telling three different lies to Grand Maester Pycelle, Littlefinger, and Lord Varys, Tyrion discovers that Pycelle is the leak. Removing him from the circle, Tyrion proves his abilities as Hand to Varys, who especially seems impressed. This is an incredibly important (and phenomenally acted, directed, and edited plot line) aspect to the story.

Finally, we return to Arya, who travels on the road to the Wall under the eyes of Yoren. In a touching scene, Yoren tries to help Arya forget the horrors she almost witnessed with the execution of her father. After the story of how Yoren joined the Black, they hear the shuffle of horses and men outside. As Yoren tells Gendry and Arya to hide, he approaches the men of Lord Tywin and essentially talks some serious trash. Fighting valiantly, Yoren eventually falls, as do many of the boys and men in his keep. Arya and Gendry are captured, although their identities remain intact. The episode ends with Arya lying to the men of the King by saying that they just killed Gendry, the man they sought.

Although the episode title are the words of the Iron Islands, a more appropriate title may have been tied to the best quote of the episode – “Even a small man can cast a very large shadow.” Spoken by Varys to Tyrion, it’s a single line that foreshadows the coming drama.

Game of Thrones continues its excellent run. The directors and writers have a wonderful feel for translating Martin’s words to screen. The show is worthy of feature films, but HBO has given the audience the perfect translation. As the story advances, it’s even more clear that this season in particular could spell doom for anyone on screen.

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