'Game of Thrones' Recap: Beauty and the Beast

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The episode "Second Sons" in a nutshell

What happened:

  • Tyrion and Sansa get married

  • Daenerys offers a deal to the Second Sons mercenary company

  • Melisandre demonstrates the power of king's blood

Body count: 2

Nudity count: 3

Dragon sightings: 0

New people and places: Second Sons lieutenant Daario Naharis and captains Mero and Prendahl na Ghezn

Best line: "But your brother will become your father-in-law, that much is beyond dispute." — Olenna to Margaery

What's the deal with ... Daario Naharis's loyalties? Is he truly on Daenerys's side?


This "Game of Thrones" wedding day is not the happiest day in a girl's life. Sansa Stark is just 14, had to watch her father be beheaded, has been kept prisoner for months, and now is wed to a "half-man" more than twice her age. But her situation is pretty good compared to that of Gendry, who is lulled by luxurious surroundings and sex with Melisandre into thinking that she will use his king's blood in a painless way.

"Second Sons" is an episode filled with couples. Sansa and Tyrion, Gendry and Melisandre, Arya and the Hound, Sam and Gilly, Daenerys and Daario. One needs something from the other; the question is, what price will the other have to pay in the bargain?

Near the Twins: Arya and the Hound

When she wakes in the morning, Arya realizes she has a chance — grab a rock and smash the Hound's head in. Well, he's a little smarter than that, and warns her that if she fails, he'll break both her hands. Wisely, Arya decides not to even try.

As they ride together, he notes that she's a lot better off with him than alone. After all, he saved Sansa from getting raped. Then, Arya learns a pleasant bit of news: The Hound isn't taking her back to Joffrey. No, he's taking her to the Twins — where her mother and brother are going for Edmure's wedding! Wow, the Hound is kind of a hero?

Dragonstone: Gendry, Melisandre, Stannis, and Davos

Melisandre brings her hostage to meet Stannis, who is puzzled by why the priestess is sending Gendry off to bathe and get changed. "If the lamb sees the knife, she panics," Mel says, and the meat spoils. In the same way, they need to go gently with Gendry.

In the dungeons, Davos is practicing his reading when Stannis stops by to chat about his new visitor. Davos is horrified; Gendry is his nephew! Stannis shrugs it off and then offers to free Davos if he promises not to threaten Melisandre. Whatever her methods, the Red God is real. In the flames, he saw a great battle in the snow. "I never believed, but when you see the truth, when it's right there in front of you, as real as these iron bars, how can you deny her god is real?" he says.

In his chamber, an awed Gendry seems afraid to sit on the fancy furniture. Mel comes in and pours him wine, though he's suspicious of it. After convincing him it's not poison, she starts flirting with him and takes off her clothes! Apparently, they can "stop the darkness" with sex. Even though it seems too good to be true, Gendry gets, uh, pretty excited.

But things take a turn for the worse when Mel ties him up — and no, she's not into S&M. Instead, she puts three leeches on his body. After they suck his king's blood, she gives them to Stannis to prove to Davos just how powerful the stuff is. He puts the leeches into the fire, murmuring the names of Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon — the other claimants to the throne.

King's Landing: Tyrion, Sansa, the Lannisters, and Tyrells

Oh not joy — it's Sansa's wedding day! Before the ceremony, Tyrion tries to make her feel better by saying she won't be a prisoner anymore. Though their marriage is "a different kind of prison." At least, he says, he can promise not to ever hurt her.

Their ceremony is as awkward and strained as we could ever have imagined. That brat Joffrey first gives her away since he, you know, killed her own father, then takes away his uncle's step stool. The crowd snickers when Tyrion has to drape a cape over the much-taller Sansa's shoulders.

At the reception, Tyrion gets soused, while Sansa looks resigned. Olenna is trying to work out all their new family connections — after their own weddings, Loras will be Margaery's brother and father-in-law. So weird.

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Tywin gives his son a talking-to; Tyrion needs to impregnate Sansa stat, which isn't likely if he's too drunk. Not a problem! "Drinking and lust, no man can match me in these things," Tyrion slurs. "I shall build a shrine to myself at the next brothel I visit."

Meanwhile, his sister, Cersei, is being a witch to everybody. Earlier, she snarked that if Margaery called her "sister" again, "I’ll have you strangled in your sleep." When her fiancé, Loras, tries to make conversation, she snaps at him and then leaves. Can't wait to see their wedding night.

Bratty Joffrey gets even snottier when he orders Tyrion and Sansa to engage in a public bedding ceremony. Tyrion refuses and even threatens the king, which just infuriates Joffrey to a dangerous level. Tywin intervenes and smoothes things over, until Tyrion pretends it was all a big joke. Then he drags Sansa away for their wedding night.

In their room, Sansa starts to undress, but Tyrion soon stops her. He's not going to sleep with her. "Can't. Could. But won't," he says. He won't share her bed until she wants him to. What if that's never, Sansa asks. "And so my watch begins," he toasts, in a nod to the Night's Watch oath. Then he collapses.

In the morning, a cold and angry Shae brings them breakfast. But her heart melts when she looks at their sheets and realizes he didn't touch Sansa. A good guy is rare in Westeros! Tyrion is a keeper.

[Related: Sibel Kekilli Says Shae Is More Than Tyrion's Mistress

Yunkai: Daenerys and the Second Sons

Seems the "friends" that the Yunkai representative was talking about last week were a mercenary company called the Second Sons. Daenerys meets with their three captains — Mero, Prendahl, and Daario. She notes that her Unsullied army outnumbers them, and offers to have them join her. But Mero is crude and demeaning, and when the three men return to their camp, they hatch a plan to murder her.

Daario draws the short straw (or, the designated coin) and sneaks into her tent while she's taking a bath. But he's not there to kill her — he empties a sack containing Mero and Prendahl's heads! They had "philosophical differences over her beauty." Ooh, someone has a crush! Daario swears that he and the Second Sons will fight for Daenerys. "My sword is yours, my life is yours, my heart is yours," he promises. Swoon!

North of the Wall: Sam and Gilly

The intrepid couple bunk at an abandoned cabin overnight, where Sam still can't build a freaking fire. He wonders why Gilly hasn't named her baby boy yet; it's because she doesn't know a lot of boy names. Gilly ponders naming him Mormont, but Sam gently explains the difference between first names and last (family) names. He reveals that his father's name is Randyll, but he doesn't want Gilly to name the baby after him.

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Suddenly, they hear a tremendous squawking. When Sam goes outside, he sees a huge flock of ravens in the tree above them. They're cawing like crazy, until suddenly — they go silent. Something's coming ... oh no, it's a White Walker! Sam drops his torch (really?!) and holds out his sword with his eyes practically closed. Sigh, did he learn nothing from Jon Snow?

The White Walker crushes the sword like a piece of glass and flings Sam aside. He's going for the baby! But Sam gets up and stabs the Walker with his black blade (the one he found buried in the snow). The White Walker screams, turns into crystal-clear ice, and explodes into a thousand pieces! So, something else can kill these monsters! That's good news, very good news.

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"Game of Thrones" airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.

Jayme Perry, Kelly Woo, and Chrissy Le Nguyen contributed to the creation of this infographic.

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