Second Sons

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"Second Sons"
Game of Thrones episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 8
Directed byMichelle MacLaren
Written byDavid Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byChris Seager
Editing byFrances Parker
Original air dateMay 19, 2013 (2013-05-19)
Running time56 minutes
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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"The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
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"The Rains of Castamere"
Game of Thrones (season 3)
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"Second Sons" is the eighth episode of the third season of HBO's medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. The 28th episode of the series overall, it was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Michelle MacLaren.[1] It first aired on HBO on May 19, 2013.

In the episode, Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark get married in King's Landing; Gendry arrives at Dragonstone with Melisandre; Stannis Baratheon frees Davos Seaworth from the dungeons and reinstates him as his Hand; Arya Stark and Sandor "The Hound" Clegane travel through the Riverlands on their way to the Twins; Samwell Tarly and Gilly camp north of the Wall, and Daenerys Targaryen meets with the mercenary company of the Second Sons before the walls of Yunkai. The episode was acclaimed by critics, and achieved a viewership of 5.1 million during its initial broadcast.[2]

At the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, the episode was nominated for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series, and was selected by Peter Dinklage to support his nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.[3]


In the Riverlands

Arya tries to kill the Hound when she thinks he is sleeping, but he is awake and offers her one attempt on his life, which she forfeits. Fearing a return to King's Landing, Arya is relieved as they head for the Twins, where the Hound intends to ransom her to Robb Stark.

In King's Landing

Tyrion visits Sansa to ease her apprehension at the prospect of being his wife. In the Sept of Baelor, Cersei threatens Margaery with the story of House Reyne, former Lannister vassals whom Tywin exterminated when they rebelled against him. After arriving at the Sept, Sansa is walked down the aisle by Joffrey. At their wedding feast, Joffrey, after threatening to rape Sansa, calls for the traditional bedding ceremony, but his plan is thwarted when Tyrion threatens to castrate him. Tywin defuses the situation. The newlyweds leave, and Tyrion tells Sansa he will not share her bed until she wants him to, leaving their marriage without consummation.

At Dragonstone

Melisandre returns with Gendry and takes him to see Stannis, who recognizes the familial similarity. In the dungeons, Davos continues to learn to read and Stannis visits him. Davos naturally objects to the planned sacrifice, but Stannis remains resolved. He then makes Davos swear to never raise his hand to Melisandre again, and frees him. Melisandre visits and seduces Gendry, tying him to a bed in the process. She then places leeches on him to draw his royal blood. Stannis ritually burns them, speaking the names of the usurpers to his throne: Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon.

At Yunkai

Jorah tells Daenerys that Yunkai has employed a mercenary group called the Second Sons. Daenerys meets with Mero, their crass leader, his co-captain Prendahl na Ghezn, and his lieutenant Daario Naharis, and attempts to bribe Mero to fight for her, but Mero makes sexually provocative statements and refuses. Back at camp, Mero decides to kill Daenerys; Daario is randomly selected to commit the assassination. After nightfall, he enters Daenerys' camp, disguised as an Unsullied. He enters her tent and reveals he killed Mero and Prendahl instead. She demands his loyalty and he accepts.

Beyond the Wall

Sam and Gilly camp at an abandoned hut for the night while travelling south. When they hear crows cawing outside in a weirwood tree, Sam exits to investigate. He is confronted by a White Walker intent on taking Gilly's son, but Sam stabs it with his dragonglass dagger, causing the Walker to disintegrate.



The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

"Second Sons" was written by the show creators and executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on material from George R. R. Martin's novel A Storm of Swords. The episode adapts parts of the book's chapters Samwell I, Sansa III, Davos IV, Daenerys IV, Samwell III and Arya IX.[4]


The episode introduced the mercenary captains in service of Yunkai: Mark Killeen was cast as Mero (known as the Titan's Bastard), Ed Skrein the recurring role of Daario Naharis, and Ramon Tikaram the part of Prendahl na Ghezn. Tikaram is mistakenly credited as "Ramon Tikrum" in the closing credits.

Filming locations

Most of the scenes of the episode were shot in the Belfast studios of The Paint Hall, including the wedding of Tyrion and Sansa that was filmed at the huge semicircular set of the Great Sept of Baelor in mid September 2012. For this scene, a few hundred extras were recruited.[5]



The episode received 5.1 million viewers, an increase from the previous week, with an 18-49 demographic of 2.6.[2] In the United Kingdom, the episode was seen by 0.907 million viewers on Sky Atlantic, being the channel's highest-rated broadcast that week.[6]

Critical reception

"Second Sons" received critical acclaim. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 20 reviews of the episode and judged 100% of them to be positive with an average score of 8 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "'Second Sons' shines through efficient storytelling -- and a comparatively low number of storylines to keep track of this week."[7] Metacritic scored the episode 9.1 out of 10 based on 11 reviews, calling the episode "universally acclaimed".[8]

Writing for IGN, Matt Fowler rated the episode a 9.0/10, and wrote "This week's well-crafted and wonderfully acted Game of Thrones gave us a cold wedding, a hot bath and a blood-letting." He especially praised the scenes between Sansa and Tyrion and between Ser Davos and Stannis.[9] David Sims and Emily VanDerWerff, both writing for The A.V. Club, gave the episode "B" ratings. Sims was frustrated by the episode's meandering pace, but praised the end of the episode, with Sam killing the white walker, as "the most crucial, fascinating, electric moment of the night".[10] VanDerWerff praised the use of nudity in the episode, writing "...I actually think Game Of Thrones has gotten quite a bit better at utilizing nudity and sex in the midst of everything else as a method of telling its story. It’s come a long way from the 'sexposition' days of season one, when it sometimes seemed like the series would toss some breasts into the background of a scene just in case we got bored of hearing somebody talk at length."[11]


Due to his nomination, Peter Dinklage submitted this episode for consideration for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.

At the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, the episode was nominated for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series.[3]


  1. ^ "Second Sons". HBO. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Glover, Daniel (May 19, 2013). "Game of Thrones: Second Sons Sunday Night TV Ratings". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "HBO, 'Behind the Candelabra' Lead Creative Arts Emmy Awards; Bob Newhart, Dan Bucatinsky, Melissa Leo, Carrie Preston, Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn, 'Undercover Boss', 'South Park' & Tony Awards Among Winners". 15 September 2013.
  4. ^ Garcia, Elio. "EP308:Second Sons". Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Day 73: A big event in Belfast". 19 September 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (20 - 26 May 2013)". BARB. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  7. ^ "Second Sons". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  8. ^ Game of Thrones, retrieved 2021-07-26
  9. ^ Fowler, Matt (May 19, 2013). "Game of Thrones: "Second Sons" Review". IGN. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  10. ^ Sims, David (May 19, 2013). ""Second Sons" (for newbies)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  11. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (May 19, 2013). ""Second Sons" (for experts)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 20, 2013.

External links