What Is Dead May Never Die (TV)

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What Is Dead May Never Die
Game of Thrones
Episode # Season 2, Episode 3
Airdate April 15, 2012
Director Alik Sakharov
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"What Is Dead May Never Die" is the third episode of the second season of HBO's medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. The episode is written by Bryan Cogman and directed by Alik Sakharov, who previously worked as the director of photography in four first season episodes. It premiered on April 15 2012.

The episode's title is taken from a prayer used on the Iron Islands, by worshipers of the Drowned God.


In King's Landing

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) tries to get Shae (Sibel Kekilli) into the kitchens to work as a scullery maid, but she refuses. Queen Regent Cersei (Lena Headey) eats dinner with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Princess Myrcella (Aimee Richardson), and Prince Tommen (Callum Wharry), where they discuss the war, and Sansa's betrothal to King Joffrey Baratheon. Afterwards, Sansa is greeted by Shae, posing as her new handmaiden. Later, Tyrion tells Grand Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover) of his plans to forge an alliance with House Martell by marrying Myrcella Baratheon to the Martells' youngest son. Soon after, he has the same discussion with Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), however in this version, he plans to marry Myrcella to Theon Greyjoy. Finally, he has the same discussion once more, with Lord Petyr Baelish (Aiden Gillen), this time having Myrcella marry Robin Arryn. In all three cases, Tyrion makes them swear to keep the discussion a secret, especially from the Queen. Unknown to all of them, Tyrion is using them to find out which one of them is Cersei's spy. When Cersei later confronts Tyrion about sending Myrcella to the Martells, confirming that Pycelle is the spy, he along with Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and one of the hill tribesmen, confronts Pycelle and sends him to the dungeons but not before Pycelle confess he told Cersei that Jon Arryn knew about her affair with Jaime. When Baelish hears of this, he angrily confronts Tyrion, whom the latter instead assigns him to a new task; get Catelyn Stark at the Stormlands. Later on, Varys (Conleth Hill) compliments Tyrion on the scheme and informs him that Shae is getting used to her new cover story as Sansa's handmaiden.

Beyond the Wall

Craster (Robert Pugh) returns with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and orders the Night's Watch off of his lands. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo) reveals to Jon that he already knew of Craster's offering of his sons to the White Walkers, arguing that he is an essential part in the Night's Watch's campaign beyond the Wall, providing help to others of their order, including Benjen Stark.

At Winterfell

Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) has another dream in which he is his direwolf, Summer. When he asks Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter) about the dreams, Luwin replies that, in spite of his own studies, magic is no longer real, the dragons are dead, and dreams do not always come true.

In the Stormlands

Self-crowned King Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) and his newly wedded wife, Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) watch a tournament in which her brother, Loras (Finn Jones) battles with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie). Catelyn Tully (Michelle Fairley) arrives in time to see Brienne win, and request a place in Renly's Kingsguard; Renly agrees, to Loras's annoyance. Renly is confident his hundred thousand strong army can beat the Lannisters but Catelyn reminds him his men are still inexperienced. Later, Loras refuses to have sex with Renly until he consummates his marriage with Margaery. When Renly has difficulty performing, Margaery reveals that she is fully aware of her husband's relationship with her brother, but insists that they keep trying in order to get her pregnant and secure their alliance.

On the Iron Islands

Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide) plans his war on the North with his children Yara (Gemma Whelan) and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). Theon protests in favor of an alliance with the Starks, but Balon refuses and reminds him that Greyjoys "do not sow". Theon has enough of his father looking down on him for being a ward of the Starks, reminding Balon it was he who sent him to Winterfell when his rebellion failed. Yara tells Theon he must now choose where his loyalty lies; his adopted family, the Starks or his real family, the Greyjoys. A conflicted Theon writes a letter to Robb warning him of Balon's plans to attack the North, though burns it, choosing to serve under his father. To make evident his new found loyalty, he undergoes a baptism ceremony for the Iron Island's primary deity - The Drowned God.

At the Caravan bound for the Wall

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) talks with Yoren (Francis Magee) about her father's execution, before they are startled by a nearby war horn. Ser Amory Lorch (Fintan McKeown) demands Yoren hand over Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and when Yoren refuses, a battle ensues, and Yoren and his men are killed. Arya gives Jaqen H'ghar(Tom Wlaschiha) an axe to free himself, before being captured. Lorch orders the survivors taken to Harrenhal, but when Lommy Greenhands (Eros Vlahos) says he cannot walk, he is killed. Lorch demands the survivors point out Gendry, but before he can give himself up, Arya tells Lorch that Lommy was Gendry.



"What Is Dead May Never Die" was written by the story editor Bryan Cogman, based on George R. R. Martin's original book A Clash of Kings. Cogman, who is responsible for keeping the show's bible and had already written the first season's fourth episode, was present in the set for the filming of all the scenes of his episode.[1]

The chapters of the book included in the episode are Tyrion II, Arya IV, Tyrion IV, Arya V, Tyrion V, Catelyn II, Jon III, Theon II, Tyrion VI, Bran IV, Tyrion X, (chapters 8, 14, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 28 and 44). [2]

"The “burning scene the letter” scene was interesting—it wasn’t in our outline. (...) But there was something missing—and ultimately, it had to come back to Robb. In our version of the story, Theon is very close to him—he’s the brother he never had. And I wanted to take him right up to the point of betraying his own blood—so that’s where the warning to Robb scene came from. And at first, it was more elaborate—he was going to write it, take it to a rookery, nearly give it to a maester—(...). It was going to be more of scene/scene. But it never worked, so we just went with the simple act…

Now it helped that Alfie is so bloody fantastic in the scene and that Alik Sakharov directed it as if he was directed a huge setpiece—meaning he gave it the same time and attention as a “big” scene. He did take after take after take with Alfie trying it all kinds of different ways—perfection."

— Bryan Cogman, interviewed by Westeros.org[1]

The chapters set in the Iron Islands were created specifically for the show, as the books jump directly from Balon's reveal that he intends to attack the North to Theon overseeing the preparations of the attack. To flesh out the transition and flesh out Theon's feelings on his change of loyalties Bryan Cogman included a scene of Theon writing a letter to Robb only to burn it afterwards, and the ritual baptism on the shores of Pyke. Cogman noted that, while those scenes have nearly no dialogue, are the ones he's most proud of in his episode.

Another scene created for the show was the dinner between Cersei and the children, that was written with the purpose of reminding the audience who Myrcella was, since her potential marriages were discussed in the episode. Aimee Richardson, the child actress playing Myrcella who has appeared in many past episodes as a background character, sent a note to Cogman thanking him for her "lines" in this scene.

The final scene also had to be redesigned in relation to the books, due to the constraints imposed by the location, the schedule, and the time restrictions for the child actors. Cogman's first draft was more similiar to the books, with Arya, Gendry, Lommy, and Hot Pie fleeing first and being captured afterwards, but finally it was decided to combine both scenes. He was also dismayed that he had to cut one of his favourite scenes in the books: Arya and Hot Pie charging while shouting the battle cries "Winterfell" and "Hot Pie".[1]


This episode marks the fist appearance of two new characters of great importance for the rest of the series: Lady Margaery Tyrell, the new queen of King Renly Baratheon and sister of his lover, Loras Tyrell; and Brienne of Tarth, a member of Renly's guard.

Natalie Dormer was cast as Queen Margaery, joining the regular cast of the series. Her character was aged up in relation to the book's counterpat (Dormer was 29 during the filming of season 2, while the Margaery from the books was 15), and the role has been expanded.[3]

For the role of Brienne the producers chose the the English actress Gwendoline Christie. According to the character's creator George R. R. Martin, we he saw the first batch of auctions he saw "a dozen actresses who were reading for Brienne and one actress who was Brienne", and it was one of the cases when there was any debate.[4] Due to her outstanding height (6 ft 3 in, 1.91 m) she was earmarked early on by fans of the books as a good fit for the character, and one of them even emailed her agent. Christie already knew about the role and felt that he could relate to the character after having been bullied for her height and androgynous looks. After deciding to "go all out for it", she read the books, started building up with cardio-vascular exercices and kickboxing practices, and even started to wear unisexual clothing in order to increase her own masculinity. After she had been cast she continued to train, and received extensive swordfighting and horse-riding lessons. Her last step in the process of transformation was cutting her long hair off, which she found deeply upsetting as she felt it was her last bond to her old self. The day after her hair was cut off she went to her hotel room and cried.[5]

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont), Richard Madden (Robb Stark), Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos Seaworth), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon), Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon) and Carice van Houten (Melisandre) do not appear in this episode and are not credited.

Critical response

IGN awarded the episode 8.5/10.[6] AV Club gave it A-.[7]

External Links

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at What Is Dead May Never Die. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of What Is Dead May Never Die. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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