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"Game Of Thrones" - "Mhysa": Sometimes Hate Is Not Enough To Turn This All To Ashes

By TK | TV Reviews | June 10, 2013 | Comments ()


Dany_Mhysa_finale_with_army.png

At last, this season of "Game Of Thrones" comes to a close. Keeping with the trend of past seasons, the show runners save the truly earthshaking developments for the ninth episode. Instead, "Myhsa," the tenth and final episode of this third season, was more of a farewell, a chance to revisit all of the characters, for better or worse, and to grant us a glimpse of what may come next. There were no stunning revelations (save one), no pitched battles, but merely a final chance to see each of them. As a consequence, there was a slight sense of disjointedness to the episode -- each scant few minutes felt like just that, not nearly enough time to fully appreciate them. Yet to the show's credit, the final moments of each segment were, for the most part, eminently satisfying.

We start, of course, where we ended the last episode. In the aftermath of the nightmare we now know as the Red Wedding, The Twins is a land of nightmares, a barren horror show that is perfectly reflective of its twisted master. Beatings, hangings, and dismemberment are all shown in gruesome detail, just in case you might have forgotten the events of last week, a terrible reminder that House Stark now lies bloodied and broken. And in the midst of it all, Roose Bolton and Walder Frey enjoy the fruits of their treachery. The brief exchange between them is one of the show's most chilling pairings -- two men utterly without conscience, one a vile and sneering beast who revels in suffering, the other a cold, calculating sociopath and newly minted Warden of the North.

It is there, in the halls of Walder Frey, that we finally learn the identity of Theon Greyjoy's torturer, the psychotic Ramsey Snow, bastard son of Roose Bolton. Ramsey appears to have a bottomless capacity for depravity, and credit must indeed be given to the unflinching performance of Iwan Rheon. If Roose Bolton is a man without conscience, Ramsey is what happens if any semblance of humanity or self-restraint is removed from that terrifying idea. His calm, jovial manner while eating sausage in front of the man he has just literally emasculated was almost too vulgar and stomach-turning to bear. Yet equally chilling is his capacity to flip the switch into rage, beating Theon relentlessly until, at last, Theon is gone and only the bloodied shell of a man now known as Reek remains.

Yet it's not all victory celebrations and scheming back at The Twins. In one of the more powerful moments (and one of the most impressive acting performances), we see the devastated Arya Stark, near-catatonic after witnessing not only the slaughter of her bannermen, but at also the grisly mockery of her brother created by the warped soldiers of the Frey army, yet one more atrocity that Arya is forced to endure. If you were wondering how much the poor girl could take, you now have your answer, as Arya played the part of the poor, hungry child to a T... before furiously stabbing a man to death (a fate well-deserved), as The Hound rips through his comrades without even blinking. It is there that we see that Arya is hardening and growing more and more feral, and once again we are reminded that one of the most dangerous people in the seven kingdoms may well be that young girl who is now miles away from innocent.

Speaking of miles from innocence, one of the more curious exchanges took place in King's Landing, between Shae and Varys. It was another masterful performance from Conleth Hill, a man who I could watch read the dictionary just for the breathy, poetically measured cadence of his speech. Yet it was also -- at least at the onset -- the rare solid scene from Sibel Kekilli, perhaps the most uneven actor in the cast. It's scenes like these, however, where one sees that it's in part the fault of the writers, who never quite seem to know what they want from her. As a result, a reasonably engaging performance is once again reduced to the petty spite of a petulant child at the end, creating a stark contrast to the always-riveting noblesse oblige of Varys, perhaps the most honorable man in all the kingdoms -- even if he doesn't always want people to know it.

There were also a series of unlikely and refreshingly sympathetic moments. Sure, there was the now-commonplace twisted, mad-dog viciousness of Joffrey as he promises to grant Sansa that most demented wedding gift (and is then gloriously put in his screeching, sullen place by both Tyrion and Tywin). Yet there was also Tyrion and Sansa and a surprisingly sweet new friendship born out of their shared misfortune, a moment that was both tender as well as a gentle bit of fun. But more surprising was the quiet little encounter between Cersei and Tyrion. Those vignettes with Dinklage and Lena Headey are notoriously underrated, and I feel that she consistently shows her best work when pitted against Dinklage. It's one of the rare moments where I found Cersei to be a sympathetic character, a mother who feels like the warped reflection of Catelyn Stark, someone so devoted to her children that one must think her blind. Yet she is in no way blind to the darkness that stains Joffrey's soul, yet she loves him in spite of it. And even though she knows that that son that she loves so much will bring nothing but suffering and strife to the family. The notion of family is a nebulous, murky thing when it comes to the Lannisters -- their loyalty is almost terrifying, even if it sometimes has little to do with love (in the case of Tywin)... and yet when they do love, they do it both fiercely and tenderly, however bent and unsavory it may be (as Jaime and Cersei are finally reunited).

The bonds of family are further explored in some of the smaller moments in the episode. They aren't quite as strong over in the Iron Islands, where Baelon and Yara Greyjoy receive the ghastly package that creates a whole new conflict. Baelon, always disdainful of his son, is ready to abandon him, just as Yara, ever the faithful daughter, will abandon her father to save poor Theon. And so, Yara is brought back into our world, a likely blood-soaked course set with an army born of vengeance at her back. I genuinely missed Gemma Whelan, and I confess I'm happy to see her back.

As for what's left of the Starks, I suppose we should talk about Bran and the Reeds, though I wish we didn't have to. Once again, their storyline fails to resonate, feeling more like an afterthought. Despite the mysticism of it all -- or perhaps because of it, there's simply no meat to the story. Each character is performing capably enough, and Bran's ghost story is certainly a chilling and ominous one -- you can't help but garner some grim, if hollow joy from the hope brought about by the idea of the gods unforgiving view on those who break the rules of hospitality. But the meeting with Sam and Gilly was as ridiculously rife with coincidence as it was ultimately banal and unfulfilling, even with Sam's gifts (though now we can thankfully put to rest the relentless blaming of Sam for leaving the Dragonglass dagger behind, something that the writers botched back
in episode 8).

In the end though, as is frequently the case, sometimes the most powerful bonds are those not born from blood. Davos is the perfect example of this, a man whose loyalty has repeatedly brought him into conflict with his king, yethe continues to do the right thing in spite of it. After a charming couple of scenes with Gendry -- one where he establishes his Flea Bottom bona fides, and the second where he frees him -- Davos is once again brought before the ire of his king. But it's all ultimately secondary, as Stannis and Melisandre are suddenly and abruptly confronted with the truth -- that the real war has nothing to do with who is king, and everything to do with what comes from beyond the Wall. Death marches towards them, and so Davos's life is once more spared, though this time that reprieve comes from the unlikeliest of sources.

As for the Wall itself, we must return to Jon and what were perhaps his final moments with Ygritte. For the first time, their love actually felt like the true and genuine, and their tearful, heartfelt exchange felt real, even if the romance itself came too fast to quite work for most viewers. Yet here, at this moment, it felt right, and Rose Leslie's face was a study in sadness and devotion... right up until she shot him full of arrows. And it's like that -- bloodied, dressed in the garb of their enemies, riddled with their arrows, that Jon Snow finally returns home to the only family that he's ever felt comfortable with. In that frozen wasteland, Jon finally returns to his Brothers.

But it's in Yunkai, thousands of miles away, that we see how a family can be created in yet another way. It's there that we see Daenerys Stormborn, in the face of the teeming masses of freed slaves, showing that she may well be the one who truly understands what freedom is. That final moment of the show, with her surrounded by a legion of hungry and desperate ex-slaves, with an army behind her and dragons swirling above her, was a perfect final note. The Mother of Dragons is so much more than that -- she is a queen and a mother and a savior, one of the few to truly have a worthy purpose in this dark and terrifying world.

And that is where we must leave them all. It was a show that crammed a great many stories into an all-too brief 65-odd minutes, yet for the most part, it was done skillfully. The parts that didn't work haven't worked historically (Shae, Bran), but the rest of it was a fond, if sad farewell to this world. Winter is still coming, and its march is getting louder and more terrifying. The night is indeed dark and full of terrors, and those that stand against it do so in the midst of a world of war and suffering and death. But as they say... Valar Morghulis.

See you next season.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Boothy K

    Thank you so much for these recaps. I have not read the books and really look forward to what you and every one else has to say about the episodes.

    The scene with Tywin and Tyrion was pretty amazeballs too. This is an exquisite cast and I look forward to Arya rippin it up and Daneyrys (sp?) conquering it all next year.

  • And I screamed--loudly--twice this episode. First at the sight of Robb's corpse, which was possibly the most horrifying thing I've ever seen on television (not even Hannibal can top that), and then when Arya stabbed that guy, though that was more of a "HOLY SHIIIIIT" scream. Just an unbelievably good episode.

  • I'm going to miss your recaps so much, TK. They've been consistently awesome throughout the season.

    Damn, it's gonna be so fucking long. *sigh*

  • The Heretic

    Good solid season finale.

    As a reader, I think there's enough great stuff in book 3, Storm of Swords to finish next season, but I also think that the show should just skip the majority of book 4, A Feast for Crows and book 5 A Dance with Dragons, instead help Martin finish books 6 and 7.

    For what it's worth, all that meandering has demonstrated how the story has gone beyond Martin's control.

  • JJ

    Jaime for Hand of the Ki... nevermind.

  • If a Hand only has one actual hand instead of two, would that make him Jamie Halfhand?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    No, he'd have to have half a hand for that moniker, like Quorin Halfhand. Or Davos, I guess.

  • JJ

    On the one hand, they could revise the title to the "Stump of the King." While on the other hand, there is no other hand.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I apologize in advance for this one:

    Isn't Tyrion the King's stump?

  • ourobouros

    The King eats, and the Hand takes the shit.

    The King eats, and the Stump wipes twice.

  • Fresh Chicken Eggs

    I listened to the books and always had to skip/skim the Bran parts. They are booooring and tedious. (no spoiler since we've passed those parts on the show) Hodor for King of the North. Do you go to hell for hating a kid that much? Even if he is fictitious? I don't care he's still a little twat.

    I second the motion for a Hound/Arya spin-off. I think one of those crazy reality shows. Arya and Hound the Bounty Hunter: Bringing them Back Dead or Dead.

    Showmakers: Continue to lessen the badassery of TV Dani and I will lead the riot.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Was that really Arya's first kill? I know in the books something different happened.

  • Cody McKee

    Well, she did make it a point to say "the first man," as I believe there was still the stable boy in King's Landing. But you are correct that something different happened in the book.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Me when Joffrey went off on Tywin:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • kbenton

    Hah! Yes. The looks between Tyrion and Cersei in that scene were so good too... like, "Oh shit, son you done fuuuuckked up."

  • where's_wallace

    Anyone else get a little choked up when Sam exclaimed to Bran that he'd spent enough time around Ghost to know what a direwolf was? I know it wasn't directly after the scene with Rob's new head, but still, kind of poignant.

  • I thought last week's episode would have made for a much better season finale. It felt more traditional in a finale should be. The actual finale just felt forced to show all the story lines in one episode. I know it is a fantasy series, but I am nervous (never read books) that between white walkers, dragons, the god of light, wargs and other more fanciful stuff. that it will take on a very corny feel. Fingers crossed that I am wrong.

  • Am I the only one who thought Cersei looked dissapointed/disaprovingly at Jamie when she realized he had lost his hand and thus would no longer be her grand savior? Perhaps I misread "the look" but (even though their relationship is totally gross) I felt fairly heartbroken for Jamie who had gone through hell and back to get back home only to have his lady love/sister basically look at his missing hand and make the "oh shit" face instead of running to embrace him.

    And despite the lack of development of their relationship, my heart cracked when Ygritte pumped Jon full of arrows with tears in her eyes. "I know some things. I know you'll never hurt me." Oooof. It still stings today.

  • Yep, I also thought that was a total "Oh, GROSS" moment. Cersei likes things Just So and Perfect, and Jaime...I guess he's not a whole man anymore, in her eyes. Because she's horrible.

  • Maguita NYC

    You did not misunderstand the moment. Cersei was torn between the elation of seeing her twin/lover safe and sound, and the horror of what he has become (in her eyes anyways): Another Tyrion.

  • foolsage

    Right. Cersei's perfect golden twin isn't a perfect golden twin anymore. Her reaction was a mixture of horror and disappointment.

  • Maddy

    It's not really an aspect of the show so much because the actors don't look that similar, but the whole thing with their relationship was that they were mirror images, so they were basically fucking each other, and Jaime with no hand isn't that anymore. This is definitely my Jaime-Brienne bias going on here but fuck Cersei! Down with Twincest!

  • Morgan_LaFai

    I got that Lady Stormborn is on a mission to destroy slavery, but how is this in anyway helping her reclaim her Westeros? It seems like a waist of time and a waist of soldiers to me. Plus, if she just up and leaves she will create a power vacuum that will make life so very much worse for everyone she just helped "free". Bah I say to this. Bah. Unless she plans on uniting the lands all the way from Slaver Bay to Westeros, and that is a lot of land, what is the point of all this?

    Also, hazah for more dire wolves. Still not enough, but at this point I will take any I can get. Especial since the first time we saw one in forever last episode, and though they kicked ass and were awesome in North, it was promptly followed by one of the worst deaths for a predator I can imagine. Predators deserve to die while hunting, not while caged. Also, I do wonder where Jon's wolf is these days. I think the writers really missed an opportunity to have him show up and help get Jon back to his home, because, you know, he has to go home know. Here is hoping for more wolves next season.

  • Jennifer Schmennifer

    I assume Jon's wolf is still north of the wall, since it can't climb the wall like Jon and the wildlings did.

  • Maddy

    Davos is my new favourite, and this is coming from someone who wasn't all that interested in him in the books. Can we get a Life of Pi-esque spin off with Gendry in the boat? Also required: a spin-off with Varys gossiping and courtly intrigue with Olenna/Margaery/Tyrion/anyone else, Hound/Arya aka sheriff and his deputy adventures, Davos and Shireen being adorable while she teaches him how to read ... GET ON IT HBO

  • Davos is one of the very few truly good and honorable people in this whole circus, and damn, do I love him.

  • Bea Pants

    I am also starting to love Davos, so I fully expect him to be killed in the most brutal way possible.

  • ferryman

    I don't care how they spell it, all those cries of "Meesa" just made me think of Jar Jar Binks...

  • gen

    YES!!!!!!!!!!! Or the Meesta meesta lady from Happy Gilmore http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • I think the reason for the disjointedness is because they're splitting the third book of the series into at least two seasons. So what were essentially mediocre details in the book (the liberation of the Yunkish comes to mind) were attempted to be sold as great places to end the season on.

    I'm disappointed they completely half-assed the Yunkai storyline, because that would've been a great time to continue showing Dany's growth as a queen. In fact, her storyline was the only one that wasn't truly wrapped up in a definitive way; no mention of moving on to Meereen (the last great slave city, as mentioned earlier in the season) or anything. She just crowd-surfed the Yunkish like it was a goddamn Def Leppard concert.

    Aside from that, I had an issue with how easy it seemed to be for Team Bran to get to the Wall / Castle Black when all three seasons had at least two to three episodes dedicated to characters travelling there. They were in some spooky hovel and then, boom, they're walking through the gate (which is unmanned, which means the wildlings could've walked through it instead of climbing 1,400 feet respectively) into the North.

  • kbenton

    Uh, Team Bran's been travelling from Winterfell to the Wall for the entirety of this season. The "hovel" in question isn't named in the show, but it's called Queenscrown, and Bran *does* mention that it's in The Gift, that band of territory ceded to the Nightswatch for their support and provisioning, and therefore one might posit relatively close to the Wall. And lastly they're not at Castle Black, but the Night Fort (which they say) and the gate is hidden, as Sam relates to Gilly in weeks prior.

    As for Yunkai, I'm glad they half assed it as you say... there's plenty of time to be spent in slavers bay next season and beyond.

  • Ligaya Lucero

    Thanks for great recaps - GOT Ep. 10 gathers up some loose threads & teases Season 4. But the Dany end? Corny, disappointing, distasteful at the least or racist at the most. Really, producers - this is how you bring more diversity to GOT? Blonde woman as savior to brown/black masses calling her "Mother" & lifting her to the sky like a Busby Berkeley production?

  • ferryman

    Why should GOT have to present more diversity?

  • alwaysanswerb

    That this is a question asked (presumably straight-faced) and upvoted in 2013 makes me itch.

  • ferryman

    You speak as if it's some sort of requirement to present the world's rich tapestry of diversity in every television program. So if I were to present a program completely centered on Norsemen during the 1400s, I should somehow include other races as well, just to, you know comply with the likes o' you?

  • alwaysanswerb

    God, I love this argument. Unlike a show centered on Norsemen in the 1400's, racial homogeneity in a world with 7+ kingdoms over several geographically separate landmasses (continents?) is damn unrealistic. Real world citation: planet Earth.

    Additionally, you should note that "Why should [x] have to present more diversity?" reads as code for "Why can't [x] just be about white people?" Now, you can accuse me of putting words in your mouth, but really, understand what you're actually asking. Like, make a list of pros and cons of racial diversity in a show like GoT. Are there actually any real world cons? I am mentally incapable of understanding why people out there are so devoted to the idea that increased racial diversity in our beloved media is some kind of Sisyphean task. So please, if you're going to respond to this, I just want to know, simply: What is your actual objection to including more actors of color? Please, no fun rhetorical exercises in Devil's Advocacy; I'd love to hear, plainly, why this could possibly be such a deleterious thing.

  • ferryman

    I don't understand why you believe it's a requirement. If I were writing a book or making a teleplay of a world set in the age before modern mass travel I would use racial attributes as a device for separating peoples and locations as well. Would you prefer that National Geographic edit pictures of native Africans to further some agenda of promoting equality and diversity?

    As it stands, regarding this episode of GOT, I note that this still has limbs of several colors:

    http://images2.wikia.nocookie....

    I have no objections to including representation of any group in any product, but you may want to check with the author.

    You assume knowledge that you can't possibly have of what I believe..You are one of those knee jerk reactionary racist screamers, but you can't answer the question. What's wrong with depicting diversity? Nothing, but is it required? No, it's not. Are we to malign every artist and author and playwright because they haven't made promoting diversity their over arching goal? Shall we have all the different races of mankind inserted into every great work of art? Shall we insist that history was incorrect to assume that certain races of people were indigenous to certain areas of the world before they intermingled?

    Do you believe that HBO has some obligation to portray the story differently from the author's vision? Would it just "be nice" if they had? Would that have lessened the burden of your guilt?

  • giga

    As an aside: Before you talk about 'native Africans' attributes try visiting Africa. For real. Because we don't all look alike. Find me a Habesha girl that looks like a Acholi or a Chagga that looks like a Marrakchi. It's a continent larger than most others combined with thousands of ethnic groups. Your comment on that might have been apropos of shit, but it shows your prejudice all the same.
    Yours Truly,
    Kampala, Uganda

  • alwaysanswerb

    I'd like to point something out to you.

    For all of your insistence that I'm a reactionary who deals with requirements and wants to crush the integrity of GRRM's vision, I've really done very little other than ask a simple question: Why not?

    I asked you to put aside hypotheticals and hand-waving and answer: why not? So, no, I haven't assumed anything at all about what you believe. I asked you what you believe. Unlike you, actually, since you've come at me with all kinds of accusations about 'requirements' and how I want to shoehorn a color quota into every show in television, something I've never said. Because let me be clear -- I understand context. I can understand that the show about Norsemen you pitched won't have black people in it. I also understand the way GRRM wrote ASOIAF, so please take a moment to look around and notice that I actually haven't criticized, specifically, HBO's portrayal of it here. Does that answer your irrelevant questions at the end?

    When I say that it "makes me itch" that someone would blithely ask why [x] needs more diversity, it's not because I have any 'requirements' about diversity and have assigned [x] an F and find it awful and racist. It's because I believe that the question itself impedes progress, and because I believe in the value of questioning, constantly, the status quo, that which currently allows for an under-representation of POC in the media.

  • RenegadeVA

    Westeros is akin to a really giant England. You have the Northmen which are very much like scots and everyone else (basically english).

    The exception is Dorne, which the show hasn't got to yet, but they're more of a Mediterranean vibe.

    Essos (the eastern continent where Dany is) is at least 3 times as large as Westeros, and contains a cornucopia of races, but I feel on the show they're going for a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/Hindu bazaar. The vast majority of the continent is a huge freaking desert roamed by essentially Mongol hordes.

    Southeros isn't really visited or talked about much, but it's a continent that is mostly uninhabited jungle. Slightly north of it are the summer islands, and the people there are black.

    They've actually changed the races of some of the characters (salvador saan and Xaan Xaro Daxos), but you can't really race swap when you're talking about entire noble families of Westeros.

    Lastly, it's a fantasy show. Ease up.

  • alwaysanswerb

    It's so weird how you and the other guy both seem to think I'm criticizing GoT, when actually I'm criticizing the knee-jerk reactions of fans presented with the suggestion that media could benefit from increased diversity. It's cool though, lecture away; the straw man you set up will listen to you for years, though I don't have to.

    And no, I will not "ease up" where fantasy is concerned, because fantasy isn't some weird genre exempt from our social/cultural milieu.

  • Dragonchild

    They already did. It's how they did that's a bit of a problem.

  • Lauren_Lauren

    It made me feel uncomfortable. I don't know if that's how it is in the book, but geez . . . that didn't look good.

  • Three_nineteen

    IIRC, it follows the book right up to the point where they lift her in the air. There's definitely "Dany walks among her people without fear, while they reach out to touch her and call her Mother".

  • ferryman

    Out of the whole series, THAT made you uncomfortable? Gentle viewer; perhaps this is not the show for you.

  • Ligaya Lucero

    I think JenntheYellowdart & others covered that for me. Check out the whole thread - there are many who agree with me. (Oh, condescension not allowed.)

  • ferryman

    I think not. The fact that others may agree with you does not establish that your particular opinion is "right" or "wrong", nor does it justify my opinion when the situation is reversed.

    Secondly; my above remark is not directed towards you at all and I'm not certain why you have chosen to respond to the same.

    Thirdly: This comment: "Really, producers - this is how you bring more diversity to GOT?" that you made is what prompted my question. Why do you feel the producers are obligated to promote diversity? Have I missed an interview where the show runners stated that they are going to strive to promote diversity? Am I unaware of some law that forces television producers to promote diversity? Is there some reason YOU feel that they have fallen short? I certainly may have missed something in that vein.

    Lastly; regarding condescension, that would require that I feel somehow superior to you intellectually, or have some knowledge that you lack. I assure you neither is the case, and indeed it seems that you may know something that I do not.

    Please enlighten me.

  • Ligaya Lucero

    @ferryman: as to your 2nd point that you didn't direct your comment to me - "ferryman’s comment is in reply to Ligaya Lucero." One, you're right popularity & numbers don't necessarily "prove" what's right or wrong. But I think the numbers are an indication that too many people had a problem with the Dany ending. I think you are hiding behind your patronizing & condescending manner. My husband thinks you're a troll & I should stop feeding you.

  • PDamian

    I'm really, really going to miss this series, simply because it's just about the only show on TV in which there are women who kick ass physically as well as metaphorically. I've loved watching Brienne fight, and now Yara's about to go to war for her little bro and Arya has been blooded with her first kill. And it's all been portrayed realistically, without a lot of CGI. Brienne uses superior height and length of limb when wielding a sword, as a large woman would. Arya tricks her kill into bending his head so she can get a jump on him, as a small woman would (instead of turning into baby Yoda, twirling and jumping seven feet in the air). We haven't seen Yara fight, but damn if she doesn't look good in armor on the deck of a ship.

    I'm also going to miss Varys and Tyrion, Varys and Baelish, and Varys and Oleanna. I want a TV show in which Varys has mighty verbal jousts with intelligent, scheming women and men of Westeros for an hour or two each week. Given that he's just about the only person around who genuinely cares about the realm, and given that he's always thinking a step or two ahead, that show would be a hundred times more erudite, smart and instructive than anything on Fox and Friends -- or Real Time with Bill Maher, for that matter.

  • meadowdancer

    Word. I love watching the women fight since it is freaking realistic. Why I never could stand the movies starring Angelia Jolie hitting a man dead on in his face and him somehow falling and being knocked out. Not happening in the real world.

  • foolsage

    Arya killed before. She stabbed a stableboy with Needle back in season 1, episode 8: "The Pointy End". This was just her first "man".

  • foolsage

    Seriously? A downvote for THAT? Tough crowd. ;)

  • PDamian

    Hmmmm ... Was that a kill? I thought she wounded him badly, but did not deliver a mortal blow.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    She did kill the boy but that was a boy and this is a man. A semantic difference that she exploits to great effect.

  • She mentioned at the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2 that she killed the boy.

  • mike

    "Baelon and Yara Greyjoy receive the ghastly package . . . " I see what you did there. You did that on purpose.

  • I can't believe TK didn't pull out the "Dick in a box" reference - isn't Theon the pimped out Justin Timberlake of Westeros?

  • foolsage

    ... not anymore.

  • mike

    Also, the segue from Roose/Walder to Ramsey/Theon was a freaking brilliant piece of editing.

  • PDamian

    "But Ramsay ... Well, Ramsey has his own way of doing things." Spoken with perfect and perfectly chilling indifference and understatement. Holy ...

  • Tinkerville

    All in all I thought it was a beautiful, if slow, end to the season. It felt oddly poetic, and I think that was necessary after the horror that we got last week. Everyone I was watching with (non-book readers) held their breath when Ygritte shot Jon full of arrows out of fear that we were about to lose another Stark.

    My own gripe was that I wish the scenes didn't feel quite so disjointed. I understand that they wanted to include all the characters before we had to say goodbye to them but some of the transitions felt a bit strange.

    Highlights for me included the look on Sam's face when Gilly decided to name her son after him (d'aw!), the way Arya told the hound that he was her first kill, and the sympathetic smile Brienne gave Jaime when they first got back to Kings Landing and looked so tortured.

    Honestly, I'm not convinced that the upcoming summer and fall dramas are going to be enough to keep me going until we get more Game of Thrones. I already miss it.

  • Maddy

    BUT WILDLINGS DON'T NAME THEIR BABIES UNTIL THEY REACH 2 YEARS OF AGE! #NOONEUNDERSTANDS

  • Tinkerville

    I do remember that and I actually think it was intentional that Gilly went ahead and named hers-- I saw it as her leaving her wildling life behind. I thought it was a beautiful moment.

  • She didn't say it was her first kill. She said it was her first man (the first kill was a boy in King's Landing).

  • Tinkerville

    Ah yes. Right you are, Ken.

  • foolsage

    I felt that after last week, this week's episode was really about hope. We have some survivors, and they're mostly, in their own ways, flourishing.

    Arya killed one of the guys who desecrated her brother's corpse. Bran's crippled, but he's the eldest legitimate male heir of Eddard Stark and he's on a mission to master his crazy powers and maybe save the world. Sam and Gilly are safe back at Castle Black, as is Jon Snow, albeit with three (deserved?) holes in him, courtesy of our favorite redhead wildling. Dany's quite popular among the people she's freeing from slavery. Davos struggles, mostly successfully, to be an ethical person who serves a king that believes the end justifies the means. Tyrion takes no shit from Joffrey, and Tywin sends the child king to his bed without supper.

  • Tinkerville

    Interesting perspective. I'm not sure that all of the situations mentioned are hopeful per se, but I do agree there was a sense of it in the episode. For example, Tyrion might not have taken shit from Joffrey, but moments later you can see the utter heartbreak in his eyes during the conversation with Tywin.

    I'd say the episode was more about duty and the character's sense of purpose, which they either felt they had to fulfill or, like in Jaime's case, they no longer knew what their purpose was. Bran knew it was his duty to go beyond the wall, Jon to return to his brothers despite loving Ygritte, Stannis to march north, Davos to do the right thing, Tywin to put family first, Yara to find Theon despite going against her father..

  • Three_nineteen

    I don't think Arya has any hope at all, and she's certainly not flourishing. She is heading down a dark path with revenge as her only purpose in life. That is incredibly sad.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Game of Thrones: where all fathers are dead or assholes.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Davos? Course his SON is the one that's dead in that case...

  • Tinkerville

    Don't forget about.. crap, he's dead. But wait, there's.. no, definitely an asshole. Maybe that guy who... Nope. Fuck it. Remind me never to marry a man from Westeros.

    Edited to add: Unless it's Podrick, in which case, I'll take him in a heartbeat.

  • foolsage

    I tried and tried to think of a witty refutation, but... damn. I cannot think of a single really good father in A Song of Ice and Fire; that is, one that doesn't die horribly as a result of the same things that would otherwise make him a good father.

    If he lived.

    G.R.R.M. has daddy issues.

  • $27019454

    Reminds me of Pat Conroy

  • L.O.V.E.

    And most of the sons are either dead or bastards (literally, figuratively, or in Joffrey's case, both).

  • foolsage

    Or disowned, like Jorah Mormont and Sam Tarly.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'd been ambivalent to Yara as a character in the past, but this episode she won me over. (though it bothered me that all discussion of Theon's castration made it sound as if they'd chopped off his dick instead of his balls.)

    I was also pretty psyched to see that Ygritte shot Jon. I figured he wouldn't die, but still - to see him with an arrow in a back just a week after seeing his mother and brother shot up was pretty affecting.

    I was fine on the Danaerys scene until they pulled back and there were five times as many CGI people than we had seen come out of the gate.

    And I am very much looking forward to seeing what the next steps for Cersei & Jaime are after such a long separation.

  • Marc Greene

    Yeah, they've been pretty clear that Ramsay Snow took Theon's dong.AND balls. The same happened with Varys. Remember the conversation with the Queen of Thorns. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Am I crazy to think that is a much more complicated surgery that would be difficult to survive with primitive methods?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Penectomies are a very old practice, for example in ancient China and Egypt, usually for slaves, or as punishment. It's not unlikely for the victim to survive.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    People: Being Terrible to Each Other for Millennia!

  • Bert_McGurt

    Suspension of disbelief, I suppose. And of my dinner, from exiting back out from whence it entered.

  • $27019454

    My sister (a doctor) could not let go of that detail. That he'd have bled to death or died of sepsis.

  • His dick was chopped off.

  • Angie Ramos

    Catelyn wasn't Jon's mother. He's Ned's bastard from another woman

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I know she's not his biological mother, but she did raise him.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    Once again, Arya is kept alive by people she holds in contempt.

    I'm not saying she's wrong. I'm just saying everyone's favorite tiny bad-ass is getting some serious assists from a few questionable characters along the way.

  • BiblioGlow

    Somehow it only makes her even more bad ass.

  • Dragonchild

    How so?

  • BiblioGlow

    She plans on killing them the first chance she gets, but they're useful to her now and she's conniving enough to take advantage of that. Very unlike a child, and unlike a typical sympathetic character in fantasy (for instance, her overly-honorable father). Her enemies underestimate her.

  • She derives loyalty from people that shouldn't give her any, considering her plainly stated desire to kill them or wish them dead for her own personal benefit?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    She is learning the art of political expediency.

  • Ty Gear

    I haven't read the books, so I'm not sure how Cersei is portrayed in them, but I think that in the show Cersei has a bruised quality that I Lena Headey nails. There's a deep melancholy to Cersei, and Headey, in my opinion, doesn't get the credit she deserves for the performance.
    Though, when she shares the screen with Charles Dance, it's not really a fair fight for her. That Tywin is a boss!

  • competitivenonfiction

    I'd say that it's much harder to be sympathetic to book Cersei than it is to show Cersei, at least in part due to Headey's performance.

  • foolsage

    Tyrion and Sansa and Shae are walking in the garden. Tyrion's servant Pod runs down a stairway, past two maidens, and towards his master. The maidens see him pass and exclaim, "Ohh, that's him!"

    Priceless.

    The Legend of Podrick Payne continues.

  • Tinkerville

    I completely missed that and now I need to go back and find that part. Brilliant.

  • foolsage

    It's about 5 minutes and 9-10 seconds in. ;)

  • Ty Gear

    I loved that, too. When they did that I laughed and said to myself, "That Podrick must really crush some ass."

  • Three_nineteen

    I hope Jaime doesn't find out that Cersei feels alone unless she's with her kids.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    Great recap; thanks for all the recaps for this season, I'll miss them until next year. I liked this episode a lot more than the previous finales, but I still don't like how the series portrays Stannis (his last scene in this episode was pretty rough on the character) and I expected a better ending scene, a cliffhanger or something else besides a hopeful moment (I doubt some random freed slaves are comfort enough to balance what happened in the Red Wedding)

  • I'll never call her Yara! (no spoiler)

    Thank you for another great recap, TK. Though there were a few scenes I could have done without (as you mentioned, Bran and Sam), I suppose it's impossible not to suffer a couple interludes between the many great moments. The table meetings always seem to be winners and this one was no exception. But Tyrion's delicious smackdown was quickly forgotten when Tywin and his son were left alone--the conversation that ended with Tywin speaking about having let Tyrion live and raising him as his son was heartbreaking--I think I saw tears in both actors' eyes and I know they were in mine.

    The Hound and Arya need their own show and yes, I did yell Queen of the North as she carried out her revenge, the Hound asking no questions--just doing what needed to be done.

    Varys was exceptional in both his scenes. I do wish they'd throw him in every episode, even if just to snipe a moment. And the compassion both he and Tyrion displayed for Sansa was heartening.

    I can't say I felt much at this particular ending scene with Dany, but so many great scenes had happened (Davos reading and helping Dendry escape--comedy included, that rotten Ramsay and poor Reek); it was quite a satisfying extended hour of television.

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