Game Of Thrones 3.08 Second Sons REVIEW

TV REVIEW Here comes the bride

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Game Of Thrones 3.08 “Second Sons” TV REVIEW

Episode 3.08
Writers: David Benioff, DB Weiss
Director: Michelle MacLaren

THE ONE WHERE Daenerys encounters foul-mouthed sellswords, Melisandre returns to Stannis and Sam takes on a White Walker.

VERDICT Blimey, who'd have seen that one coming? Samwell Tarly, easily the wimpiest member of the Night's Watch, takes down a White Walker with a knife that looks like it was made several centuries ago, and suddenly those foul beasties north of the wall don't look so scary after all. Of course, it was a dragon glass blade that gave Sam his edge, and we don't know how many of those are knocking around the Seven Kingdoms, but for now at least the realms of men look a little bit safer than they did before.

Admittedly, they're still not particularly safe, but where would the fun be in that anyway? The fantasy elements of Game Of Thrones were right to the fore this week – what with all the blood magic, blades with incredible properties and ice zombies – and it made for some stunning TV. It was a timely reminder that this is a story that is as much about the dragons, White Walkers and magic as it is the shagging and stabbing.

Not that either of those elements were missing this week. Arguably the boobs and bums quotient was unnecessarily high – Dany didn't really need to be in the bath when Daario delivered his special package – but as ever, the twists in the story made all that flesh seem irrelevant.

Stannis managed to appear at least partially human this week, seeking out Davos's council with the shaken look of a man who doesn't want to believe that the Gods exist, but who can't doubt the evidence of his own eyes. The question is, was the battle in the snow that he saw in the fires Jon Snow descending on Castle Black with his Wildling buddies, or some other wintery showdown?

Perhaps more importantly, exactly what will happen to Stannis's opposition now that Melisandre has named names and burned king's blood into the bargain? Balon Greyjoy (remember him?), Robb Stark and the ever-loathsome Joffrey are in deep, deep trouble, as if there's one thing we know by now, it's that the Red God doesn't mess around.

Stannis aside, the biggest development this week was, of course, Sansa and Tyrion’s wedding. Peter Dinklage was on sparkling form as the drunken imp, delivering some fantastically funny lines and reminding us all why Tyrion is so much fun. It feels like it's been a long time since we've seen the littlest Lannister like this, managing to be both sweet and suggestive at the same time. His treatment of the 14 year old Sansa was exemplary, although surely it's only a matter of time before Tywin finds out his son has neglected his duty again. As weddings go, this was far from a happy one, but at least Ned's eldest girl is in safe hands – for now.

GRAND GESTURE OF THE WEEK Some say it with chocolates, some say it with flowers, and some say it with the severed heads of their commanders. Step forward Daario Naharis, sellsword extraordinaire and fine headsman to boot. Dany's acquisition of yet more soldiers made her position even stronger this week, and surely it's only a matter of time before we get to see the Mother Of Dragons heading into battle?

HOLY MOLY Melisandre proved once again that she's not adverse to getting her kit off as and when the Red God requires it, and her seduction of Gendry led to some of the steamiest shagging yet encountered on Game Of Thrones – right up until she stuck leeches on the poor Baratheon bastard's old chap. Wince-o-rama.

THREAT OF THE WEEK Margaery's attempt to ingratiate herself with Cersei was spectacularly ill-judged, and the Queen Regent did nothing to hide her contempt for the Tyrells and their ambition. The death threat was a bit harsh, though: “If you ever call me sister again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep.” That one sent chills down our spine...

POTTY MOUTH Dany's encounter with the leader of the Second Ponds, the Titan's Bastard, led to some of the most creative swearing we've yet seen on Game Of Thrones , so much so that we wouldn't dream of repeating any of it here. Tut tut.

WEDDING VOW OF THE WEEK “Then you‘ll be f**king your own bride with a wooden cock,” Tyrion promises Joffrey – very loudly – at the reception. Sudden pin drop scenario.

GENEALOGIST OF THE WEEK Lady Olenna only has one scene this episode but still manages to proved good value, delighting in a family tree that’s going to look like the genealogical equivalent of a Steven Moffat time travel plot: “But your brother will become your father-in-law, that much is beyond dispute.” Wonderful stuff.

SHOT OF THE WEEK We finally saw a White Walker defeated this week, and it was pretty spectacular. First it screamed, then it froze up completely, then it exploded – good work, Samwell Tarly.

Tyrion: “I am the god of tits and wine.”

NEXT TIME ON GAME OF THRONES A trailer for you, because you’re worth it.

Rob Power

• Read our other Game Of Thrones season three reviews
• New episodes of Game Of Thrones season three are currently airing in the UK on Sky Atlantic, Mondays at 9pm.
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