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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “Second Sons” (S3, E8)

GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “Second Sons” (S3, E8)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.


Season 3, Episode 8: “Second Sons”

Original Air Date: May 19th, 2013
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Written by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Oh Gendry, you poor innocent bastard.

Just because a beautiful woman whisks you away from a ragtag band of rebels in the woods to a beautiful castle inhabited by a king, and then has sex with you, it doesn’t mean she won’t immediately tie you up and put leeches on your body, including right on your little Gendry, so that they may be used for dark blood magic.

Classic mistake.

But jokes aside, Gendry’s arrival at Dragonstone and Melisandre’s subsequent plan to sacrifice him is less important to this episode—titled “Second Sons”—than what that makes Stannis do next. That same day he goes down to the dungeons to see Ser Davos, who is working on his new reading skills (the word “though” is definitely tricky, let alone “Vhagar”). The two talk, like friends, and Stannis asks Davos if he frees him will Davos swear not to raise a hand to the Lady Melisandre again.

“I swear it. I can’t swear never to speak against her,” says Davos, to which Stannis points out he must not have any regard for his own life. “Quite little, your Grace. Verging on none.” Davos doesn’t, never has, and we know never will (he’ll soon send Gendry off on the longest boat ride ever, risking his own life in the process).


But Davos, Stannis’s most loyal servant, knows that this conversation is happening today for a reason, even if Stannis won’t admit it.

“You could have freed me yesterday or tomorrow, but you came to me now before this boy is put to the knife because you knew I’d counsel restraint. You came to hear me say it because you believe it yourself. You’re not a man who slaughters innocents for gain or glory.”

Like before the Battle of Blackwater, Davos is speaking a hard truth to Stannis. He might be an unflinching and difficult man, but Stannis is also fair and just, and he knows killing an innocent child is wrong, no matter how he tries to justify it to himself. Davos is the only one willing to say the truth to Stannis, and he knows it, which is why he seeks him out here.

Ser Davos is a good adviser because he has no personal agenda, nothing he hopes to gain or manipulate like so many other players in this game of thrones. His only agenda is to counsel his King with good advice, and fortunately for Stannis Davos is a good man who is guided by strong morals and a code of what is right and what is wrong.


Kinslayers are accursed in Westeros, and Davos saves Stannis from doing something Stannis knows in his heart is wrong. If we need any proof that the Onion Knight was right, we only need to look at what happened when Stannis sent him away so that he could sacrifice his own daughter Shireen. Stannis stopped listening to the only person who ever looked after his best interests, and in doing so lost his own moral compass, and as a result he lost everything, including his soul.

Stannis played a major role for many years on Game of Thrones, only to be swiftly killed outside of Winterfell in an anti-climactic end. But it turns out it wasn’t his story that mattered the whole time, it was Davos’. Because he still advises a king, and he still does it without a personal agenda—only a moral code that is far too rare in the Seven Kingdoms.

And he knows that you don’t fight the impending darkness by burning children alive.

But what did you make of this episode? Light up our comments section below with your thoughts.

Images: HBO

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