Game of Thrones: The Bastard Blues

After last week’s Game of Thrones cliffhanger, I expected the beginning of “What Is Dead May Never Die” to be a bloody bastard mess. Instead, much like Craster’s firm, yet anti-climactic punishment, the rest of the episode is full of the same: strange decisions intended to shock the viewer and have a lasting impact on the story. Thankfully, John Snow survives.
After the Bastard’s indiscretion, Craster kicks out the men of the Night’s Watch, but when John Snow reports to the Lord Commander that Craster killed a male child, it’s no surprise. While he may not agree with Caster’s ways, the Night’s Watch needs the Wildlings north of the wall. I’m thinking Caster is unknowingly helping the White Walkers build an undead army. Before they leave, Samwell gives Gilly a “promise thimble.” Corny, but it’s the only thing he has left of his mother.
As the quest for the Iron Throne continues, Renly makes an alliance with Lady Stark and promises her Joffrey’s head when he wins the crown. Building his army, he holds a competition of hand-to-hand combat and adds a fierce competitor in Warrior Woman Brienne to his King’s Guard. She beat Loras and her devotion and success are rewarded. 
Unfortunately, this drives a wedge between him and his lover, Loras, who refuses his advances. Turning to his new bride, Margaery, instead, Renly discovers performance anxiety. Hard to get it up for your lover’s sister, isn’t it? Isn’t there some kind of Westeros Viagra you can take? Stangely, Margaery knows all about the affair, and her only aim is to please. She knows Renly needs an heir to be a stronger King and offers herself to make that happen. It’s strange how open the people of Westeros are to sexual indiscretion.
On the Iron Islands, Lord Greyjoy reveals his plan to take the North, while Robb Stark is making his way south. Putting Yara in charge causes much emasculating sibling rivalry between her and Theon. He pleads with his father to work with Robb Stark, but Lord Greyjoy will not bend. After much mental torment, the kind many boys suffered at the hands of their fathers, Theon renounces his loyalty to the Starks and vows his loyalty to the Greyjoy name. He will take part in his father’s quest to take the North.
Tyrion, the devious, manipulative little imp, is crafting a plan to rid the kingdom of the Queen’s spies and carries it out masterfully. He crafts a story where he plans to marry off his niece, Princess Myrcella, telling all of the King’s Council a slightly different detail. Most importantly, the Queen must not know. Brilliant!
When his sister confronts him about his plan, she inadvertently reveals who her spy has been all along, and Tyrion arrests the mole, Grand Maester Pycelle, and throws him in a black cell. The Eunuch commends Tyrion on his plan and convinces the imp that power is in appearance; a very small man can cast a very large shadow. 
He’s also crafted a plan that seems somewhat sympathetic to the Stark house. Knowing Sensa is tormented by the Queen at every turn, he plants his mistress as her handmaid to watch over her. If she learns how to be a good handmaid to a spoiled brat, his ruse should keep them both safe. Tyrion is truly a force to be reckoned with. I’m kind of hoping to see him rule.
Finally, on the pilgrimage to Knight’s Watch, Arya has a heart-to-heart with her escort Yoren about how he reconciles all the bloodshed he’s witnessed, and they bond over shared experiences in family tragedy. When the soldiers return, looking for Gendry, he and Arya witness the killing of their loyal protector and get caught trying to flee. Luckily, a whiny boy taunts the soldiers enough to be killed, and when the soldiers ask for Gendry, Arya directs them to the dead kid. His body lay close to the helmet that could identify the true heir. Pretty slick thinking, girl.
All of these intricate stories will no doubt lead to a pretty violent, bloody and explosive finale where someone is destined to be crowned. Who do you think it will be? Where do you see the story going? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Jim C. is a sci-fi/supernatural/federation/superhero/Cylon teacher nerd, obsessed with TV, books and film. He spent his childhood reading comics, writing morbid horror stories and being the token tormented class homo, but he thinks he turned out pretty freakin’ awesome. image
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