by Tabinda Murshed
via The AV Club
On “What Is Dead May Never Die,” the plot thickens as conspiracies are made, allegiances are formed and acts of betrayal are committed.
From the beginning to end, this episode felt like the writers were gossiping with the audience, giving us bits of information in quick succession, as the short scenes cut from one storyline to another. It is a tribute to the talent of cast and crew of the show that I can actually remember all the developments that have occurred in the time span of an hour. The short yet titillating scenes appealed to the feminine side of me, that I must admit, does like to hear gossip. And this is perfectly acceptable, as the centre of today’s episode were the female characters.
If the men in the series are willing to kill for power, it is their female counterparts who seem to egg on their vicious desire to accumulate and keep power. Keeping with this theme, one of the most memorable scenes of the episode is the bedroom scene between King Renly and his newly wedded wife Margaery.
Renly is in love with her brother Loras. In the beginning, she seems very understanding. However, we soon realise that behind her pretty face is a sharp and pragmatic mind that thirsts for power. She does not go into hysterics, as this kind of plot twist often demands; rather she is very composed and rationally offers to share a bed with her brother if that means conceiving a child. The scene ends with her deviously whispering in his ears that in order to secure his reign, Loras must impregnate her soon.
Natalie Dormer’s brilliant acting in this scene must be appreciated. Although she is topless throughout the scene, Dormer and fellow actor Gethin Anthony somehow manage to defuse the sexual nature of their actions, keeping the audience more focused on their dialogue. This I felt was extremely important, as any hint of sexual chemistry between them would have compromised the authenticity of the scene.
In this truly female-centric episode, my favorite character was Queen Cersai. Lena Headey does a spectacular job transitioning between a sadistic queen and a desperate mother in her short scenes. Cersai is perhaps one of the most despicable characters of the series but in this episode we see her somewhat redeeming qualities. Upon discovering her brother’s plan to offer her only daughter Marcella’s hand in marriage to the prince of Dorn, she is hysterical with grief and fear for her child’s safety. For all her flaws, Cersai does indeed love her children very much and would go to any length for their well-being. This is perhaps Cersai’s most active scene, as she loses her composure and throws objects around in a fit of rage.
Still very much centred around the powerful female characters of the series, the episode ends with Arya’s quick thinking saving Gendry’s life from King Joffrey’s ruthless soldiers. All in all, this episode of “Game of Thrones” albeit being slightly difficult to follow, saw some much needed focus on the show’s female characters.
Tabinda Murshed is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.