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The most compelling storyline all throughout the third season for me has belonged to Daenerys Targaryen. In season one, it took her four or five episodes to blossom into a great character (by design). Season two relegated her to the city of Qarth, where she wasn’t given much to do. Season three however has seen her become perhaps the best character in the whole show. She has her council (Selmy and Mormont), she has her army (the Unsullied), and she has her dragons. She does not have boats and she does not have siege weaponry and cavalry. After Second Sons, however, it seems she has everything she will need to launch a full out assault on the seven kingdoms. It can really only get better from here.
Daenerys begins the episode by having a meeting with the three leaders of an opposition army, the Second Sons. Mero, Prendahl, and Daario are military strategists and commanders (with Daario as the immediate subordinate under the older Mero and Prendahl) with great experience. Mero cares little for Daenerys, claiming that after the battle he will do unspeakable things to her and her handmaiden. It is clear from the outset, however, that Daario is quite different from his friends. Daenerys gives them two days to consider not attacking her Unsullied, who outnumber the Sons nearly 3-to-1. Daario eventually turns on his elders, beheading them and joining Daenerys, which he says he is doing out of love – a bit like Jorah Mormont. I imagine both Mormont and Selmy will not be pleased with this.
In the Riverlands, we catch up with the Hound, who has taken Arya Stark captive. She contemplates bashing his skull in with a rock and killing him, but he is on to her. He tells her that she has one chance, but if she does not succeed, he will break her hands. This threat causes her to back off. Arya thinks he is taking her to King’s Landing, but he informs her they are heading to Walder Frey’s, as her uncle is marrying Frey’s daughter. This is a good way to keep forward momentum on that story without having to delve too much further into things. Arya realizes she will soon be reunited with her mother and brother. The Hound is expecting a great reward for the safe return of Arya Stark.
In Dragonstone, we finally get some good screen time with Stannis and Davos, who Stannis frees from his imprisonment. Stannis has come to seek council from his old friend. A few episodes ago, Melisandre paid the Brotherhood Without Banners a hefty sum for Gendry, the bastard son of dead King Robert (and Stannis’ nephew). Stannis knows that Melisandre will sacrifice Gendry, but it is weighing heavily on his conscience. Davos, the truth teller that he is, pleads with Stannis to keep his nephew alive. Stannis is obviously torn between his friend and his devotion to his religion. In the meantime, Melisandre works her magic with Gendry’s blood (Gendry having “king’s blood”), and casts a spell against Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and King Joffrey.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion is finally forced to marry Sansa Stark, and neither of them are happy about it. Sansa looks downright depressed, and Tyrion is sick over what he must do as her husband. Tyrion becomes blind drunk at the wedding, insults the king for good measure, and returns to his chambers with his new bride. Sansa is terrified of what will happen next, but Tyrion tells her that he will not “do his duty” and consummate the marriage – not at least until she is ready for it. Tyrion has been humiliated and crapped on all season, so to see this measure of kindness from him is great. I hope he is able to get his mojo back for season four.
The episode closes with a bit looking straight out of a horror film. North of the wall, Samwell Tarly and Gilly are still on the run to Castle Black. They come across a wooden shanty, where they camp for the night. Ravens surround the shanty, and the two quickly become scared. Sam investigates the commotion, and sees a White Walker approaching. Gilly believes he is after her newborn son. Sam attacks the Walker, eventually disposing of it with the dragonglass dagger he found beyond the wall. The two flee in terror after killing the Walker, leaving the dagger behind. With two episodes left in the season, I can’t wait to see what the end of season three will bring.