‘Game of Thrones’ Episode 3 Review – ‘What Is Dead May Never Die’

Written by Guest April 18, 2012

Character development’s a brewin’

‘What Is Dead May Never Die’ illustrates one of my favourite aspects of ‘Game of Thrones’: how powerless many of its characters are. This makes the unfolding of the battles for glory that much more interesting to follow as it is hard to really guess who will succeed and who will fail. This episode is a great example of a character study episode allowing the plot to move around the characters’ growth.

We finally get a glimpse of Renly Baratheon for the first time this season. Since fleeing near the end of the first season we see that he has crowned himself King and has the support of the powerful Tyrell family behind him. We also meet his new Kingsguard Brienne and his confident wife Margaery. Renly has not grasped of the reality of war and prefers to charm his people, the opposite of his brother Stannis.

I would not want to get into a fight with her.

 

In the Iron Islands, Theon struggles with his neglectful father and sister again. They do not see him as a Greyjoy, but a Stark. Theon has no place in this world being between the two families and ultimately decides to take the side of the Greyjoy’s. He rededicates himself to the Drowned God and burns the letter to Robb informing him that Balon Greyjoy does not wish to help the Northern forces.

The highlight of the episode has to be Tyrion’s attempt to see who he can trust amongst the Small Council. The show wonderfully and humorously juxtaposes the three conversations he has with Pycelle, Varys and Littlefinger where he plans to marry Cersei’s only daughter Myrcella to suitors. Pycelle is the one who tells Cersei about Tyrion’s intentions causing Tyrion to confront him about betraying not only his trust. Tyrion is the only character who seems to have an understanding of what is power and how to properly exert it.

The Stark children all deal with the realities of their inescapable situations. Sansa scorns her new servant Shae as that is the only power she has within Joffery’s grasp. Arya’s caravan is attacked by Amory Lorch, a Lannister supporter, in an attempt to find and kill the bastard Gendry. Arya and the survivors are taken to Harenhal, a place Littlefinger states his cursed. If rumours are true of the place, not only will Arya be in danger but the Lannister’s holding it will have problems holding their control.

Bran is still crippled but in his dreams he moves and acts as his Direwolf. He is ensured that dreams do not come true as they are only dreams. Bran struggles with this as both he and his younger brother Rickon had dreams foretelling the news of Ned’s death before it happened. Speaking of which, where is Rickon Stark? I almost forgot he existed.

The youngest and most forgettable Stark

Last week’s low point was Daenerys’ plot as it did not make any progress at all. She is not featured at all in ‘What Is Dead May Never Die’ and that’s fine. If the character has nothing to do then it is best to showcase the other characters. The plot beyond the wall has this problem this time. After three episodes of the rangers seemingly just sitting around and killing time before venturing forward, Craster tells them to leave. The conflict Jon has with Craster and the other rangers does not seem to matter as there was no reason for them to even stick around. At least they are venturing onwards now, hopefully into the territory of something interesting for them to do.

Maybe you'll have something to do next week Jon

‘What Is Dead May Never Die’ does an amazing job showing how much the power has shifted in Westeros. The groove the second season has got itself into is just as enjoyable as the first season. The broader scope is made interesting by the deep characters it focuses on. With good characters and dialog, we do not need excessive nudity and fight scenes to stay interested. It is episodes like this that is ‘Game of Thrones’ at its best.

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