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"Game Of Thrones" — "Valar Morghulis": State Of Love And Trust

By TK | TV Reviews | June 5, 2012 | Comments ()


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A man wishes this season wasn't over.

These two seasons of "Game Of Thrones" have proven themselves to be truly brilliant television events. They've taken a genre that's usually anathema to modern, popular television and made it not only successful, but great, two things that aren't always mutually exclusive these days. In keeping with this trend, the season finale, "Valar Morghulis," was one of the better endings I've seen in my TV viewing days.

Interestingly, "Valar Morghulis" wasn't a huge, blow-you-away explosive finale. It ended with some unanswered questions, to be certain, but it also resolved a great many issues, and for the most part, those resolutions were mightily satisfying. It was in this final episode that we learned about trust. Who you could trust, who would betray you, and when you should trust yourself above all others. Perhaps most intriguing was the renewed emphasis on magic and the supernatural, an element that has been used sparingly up until now, but now we've got dragons and dreams and wights and everything in between.

Arya, despite being an absolute delight for most of this second season, had a surprisingly brief appearance, but it was an eminently enjoyable one. Her final meeting with Jaqen H'ghar was short but sweet, and left us wanting more of both characters. The shifting face of Jaqen was a moment that book readers have been waiting for, and while the setting and circumstances were somewhat different from the novels, the final reveal of his secret was a fascinating one. Yet more important was Arya's determination to find her family, and however tempting the idea of new adventures with H'ghar may have been, her sense of purpose has won out.

Speaking of Starks, Sansa was finally given a moment of happiness as Joffrey abandoned their betrothal in exchange for the cunning, sultry Margaery Tyrell, who along with her brother played Joffrey and his court beautifully. The appearance of Ser Loras was handled somewhat clumsily in the prior episode -- he hadn't been seen in so long that many forgot who he even was, and without actually showing him in battle, the sudden granting of his wish seemed a little jarring. However, a solid performance by Natalie Dormer as Margaery and Jack Gleason as the smarmy, arrogant fool Joffrey salvaged the moment. Yet few things were as heartbreaking as poor Sansa thinking she is finally free, only to have her hopes dashed by the weaselly (and increasingly creepy) Littlefinger. To her credit, Sansa has grown wise over this season (and Sophie Turner's performance has reflected that), and refuses his offer not because she doesn't want it, but because she has finally learned that no one -- no one -- is to be trusted.

Sansa wasn't the only one with a bittersweet salvation. North of the Wall, Jon Snow earned his freedom with the blood of his fellow Brother of the Night's Watch, a brutally conniving act of self-sacrifice on the part of Qhorin Halfhand. Allowing himself to be killed for the greater good, so that Jon could enlist with and spy on the wildlings is perhaps the single most terrible act of patriotism the show has seen. Unfortunately, Kit Harrington hasn't exactly been blowing me away this season, and this episode was no exception. It felt like Simon Armstrong's Halfhand and Rose Leslie's Ygritte did the bulk of the heavy lifting, acting-wise. Snow's role is expanding with each season, and now with him joining the wildlings and the discovery of a very real -- and massive -- wildling army, Harrington's going to need to up his game and be more consistent.

In Winterfell, tragedy has struck every single person there. Even Theon, the would-be conqueror, is betrayed by his own men. It was a sad little scene -- Theon finally getting to have his Braveheart moment with a genuinely affecting speech, strikingly delivered by Alfie Allen, only to have his most trusted advisor turn on him. It's an almost fitting end to Theon's entire sad saga. Maester Luwin was right -- he's not the man he's pretending to be. And unfortunately, his men realized that before he could become that man. And oh... poor, poor Maester Luwin. His abrupt demise, impaled and cast aside by the Cleftjaw's spear, was far too ignominious an end for one so kindhearted, but such is the world of "Game Of Thrones."

Yet the final two moments to discuss are the most fulfilling. It's no surprise that Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister is a part of one of them, and his was a moment filled with tragedy, sadness, despair, hope and love. It was an absolutely gut-wrenching few minutes and masterfully played by everyone. Varys' glum, almost bitter understanding of Tyrion's true role in the battle that saved King's Landing, his gentle attempt to console him, was a surprisingly sweet, tender moment that showed yet again what a wonderfully multifaceted character he is. And Shae -- I can't take back what I've said about Sibel Kekilli's earlier performances on the show because she truly has given some awkward, stumbling performances. But like many of the actors on the show, over time she has evolved and grown into a terrific piece of this puzzle, and as a result the character has become much stronger. Tyrion was amazing as usual, but that final moment, where he's at his most vulnerable, where he shows that he's determined to stay and fight even though it's a fight he likely cannot win and one no one wants him for, was simply beautiful. With his voice jagged and shaking with anxiety, Shae's simple "You have a shit memory. I am yours... and you are mine,"breaks the dam and Tyrion is emotionally undone. It was one of the few moments where I genuinely felt myself choke up a bit, all due to some wonderfully subtle writing and two absolutely perfect performances.

Yet most satisfying was the final resolution of the missing dragon storyline. It was a tired, frustrating plot device for the past few episodes, and it's been mentioned before that Emilia Clarke's performances have seemed rather rote and childish. Yet the resolution, filled with dragon fire, deranged sorcerers (is there anyone more frightening looking that Ian Hanmore's Pyat Pree?) and dream sequences of what could have been, remedied much of the earlier missteps. In actuality, it seems that they weren't missteps at all, but rather yet another emergence for Danaerys, another leap in her growth as a woman, as a leader, and as a queen. She turned away her dreams of Khal Drogo, was steely and unflinching in her punishment of Xaro Xhoan Daxos, and through all of the betrayals is taught a critical lesson about trust. In those final moments, her whole persona changed and became more purposeful and mature. Everything about her -- her tone of voice, the way she walked and carried herself, all became parts of a new person. It was a marvelously subtle performance by Clarke, whose shrill and petulant displays in earlier episodes were shed like snakeskin, and she emerged older, wiser and a far more intriguing character.

And thus, we are done with another season. There were some wild divergences from the novels, yet I found them all quite satisfying and well done enough that they're actually welcome. It keeps things unpredictable for the experienced reader, and that's part of what makes the show so successful. In "Valar Morghulis," many threads were tied up, yet many more remain loose and frayed. We have a newfound strength in the young Danaerys, a new wedding that causes trouble for old alliances with Robb Stark, a new betrothal that promises new alliances for the Baratheons, and wildling armies to be infiltrated. We have a disgraced and disfigured former Hand of the King trying once again to find his way, Stannis Baratheon and the witchery of Melisandre, and perhaps the most important lesson of all: you should not, under any circumstance, mess with Brienne of Tarth. Ever.

Finally, it finished with a closing shot that was absolutely chilling -- a massive, terrible, gruesome army of the dead moving purposefully towards the south.

It will be a few months, but Winter is coming.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Morgan_LaFai

    To me, the loss of Winterfell was as painful as some of the other deaths.  It was a character in its own right or at least it was in the books.  

    But the loss was nicely countered by the awesomeness of Brienne of Tarth.  She is so brilliantly kick ass.  I would love to see her in a grudge match with River Song.  Sansa isn't Brienne or Arya, but she has grown strong in her time at Kings Landing.  She has learned how to play at least one role she despises (loving Joffrey), she has shown herself to be a deft manipulator (taunting Joffrey) and a good leader (reassuring the women after Cercie fled), and I am beginning to see signs that she can read a situation.  I think Sansa has it in her to be a skilled player in the game of thrones, something for which her father would not approve.  

  • monkeysparkets

    Even reading the recap gives me chills.  Fantastic season, can't wait for the next one.

  • Bert

    What we learned this weekend is that there IS a way to make Peter Dinklage slightly more of a badass after all.  If I ever have to choose a gigantic facial scar for some heretofor unknown reason, I could make a worse choice. 

    I can't say I've ever been "frightened" by Pyat Pree though because I cannot NOT see Jim Rash in that outfit next season.  Creeped out though, oh yeah.

    And I literally gasped when Jaquen's face changed.  

  • PrintersDevil

    Does anyone other than me think that Brienne is wearing stilts or Elton John platform shoes and walking very badly in scenes where she is meant to be "tall" (eg, walking with Jaime) and only takes them off when she fights? She seems too awkward at plain walking to be that graceful in sword fighting.

    Excellent recap...but I have finished all 5 books and have nothing for 10 months.

  • KatSings

     She's 6'3", so they don't really need to add anything to her for her to be that tall.  For comparison, look at her scenes with Jaime.  He's about half an inch shorter than her (the actor) and they look about that to my recollection.

  • Nat

     imdb.com lists Gwendoline Christie's height as 6'3", so I suspect the awkward walking you describe may be due to the armour she's wearing...

  • MissAmynae

    Forgot to add: Thanks for the stellar recaps, guys. 

  • Kala

    Great finale. The Theon scene would have been one of the funniest scenes in the series if it wasn't for the spearing of Maester Llewyn (sp?). Brienne of Tarth was amazing in the books, but seeing her on screen is WOW. When she cut down those men ("Three quick deaths...") and skewered the other man in the most horrible way possible, I think I actually got a ladyboner.

    In regards to Sansa, I think that she has grown incredibly smart and wary. The offer from The Hound was tempting, but despite any vague kindness he has displayed doesn't make her think for a second that he wouldn't betray her in some fashion. He is a killer, first and foremost. Good quasi-ally to have in King's Landing, but not the most trustworthy travel companion by any stretch of the imagination.

    The only upside to the long wait in between seasons is that I can make good on my promise to reread the series.

  • Tinkerville

    I loved that the finale was much more of a quiet smolder instead of an in-your-face explosive event. It was haunting, emotional, and everything I was hoping for after the epicness of Blackwater.

    Highlights for me were J'aqen's face change, Dany's chilling visit to the Iron Throne, and of course our first look at a White Walker. The end scene was another instance of the show improving on the books for me. I never quite knew how to picture the Others when I was reading, but god damn, that was one nightmarish motherfucker. The third horn blast gave me goosebumps.

  • MissAmynae

     The Other was beautifully done.  I'd love to see the concept art for that one.

  • Seanx40

    I just thought the (brilliant) last scene, of the thousands of ice zombies was a shot at the Walking Dead. Like "ha, here are your zombies! And fuck you, here is a zombie horse! Top that!"

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Even though I knew what was coming, the third blast of the horn at the end sent shivers down my spine. And that Other looked quite frightening.

    I still have a few problems with some of the changes to the books, but all in all, this series is one of the greatest ever made.

  • PaddyDog

    I apologize for being so pedantic about this, but I have to re-open the TARDIS discussion.  Stannis is now back in his hood already, with whatever men and supplies he has left, but Brienne and Jaime who left Rob's camp before the battle started and at about the same time that Twyin and Littlefinger left Harrenhal are still en route to Kings Landing.   How did Tywin et al get there before two individual travelers and how did Stannis get back so quickly?

  • Fredo

     Brienne and Jaime are taking the river, not the kingsroad and they're moving stealthily to avoid both Lannister and Stark troops -- remember, Robb sent men after them to bring Jaime back.  Meanwhile the Lannisters wouldn't hold to any deal if they can have Jaime free.  The only way Catelyn's plan works is if Jaime is delivered by Brienne to King's Landing (to Tyrion.  Oops!)

    Oh and Bill, "dracarys" is the command that sets the dragons to breathe fire.  The moment Pyat Pree was dead, his magic was undone and the shackles fell from them and from Dany.

  • Echoing what KatSings said about watching Jaime watch Brienne. Her badassery was on full
    display, and it was awesome to see the Kingslayer wowed (and a little scared) by her prowess.

    Question for the book readers, assuming this is covered in them: When Dany turned to the dragons and said "Dracarus" or whatever it was, was that a name for one of the dragons? Or some sort of command word? And how did the dragons and Dany remove their shackles? Do they just generate non-fire heat?

  • Morgan LaFai

    Her dragons are Viserion, Rhaegal, and Drogon.  I think "dracarus" is the word for fire as exemplified earlier in the season when she was teaching the dragons to breath fire so they wouldn't be dependent of humans cooking for them.

    As for the chains, I think they were magical chains held in place by the magic of the house and the creepy dude who ran the house.  Once he was dead the magic used to make/maintain the chains would have dissipated.  

  • Wilz

    Bill: A few episodes back, Dany was teaching the "dracarys" command to the baby dragons on the windowsill. And I assumed the shackles disappeared because the sorcerer who conjured them had just died.

  • Bert

    I figured it was that the dragon fire destroyed the chains, but that the dragons and Dany were just immune to it as part of her magic.

  •  Hmm, I remember the dragon cooking the meat, but not the command. I mean, I get the feeling it doesn't really matter what she says; they're so connected she probably just has to look at them. Basic curiosity, I guess. And I didn't even think about the chains being acts of sorcery. I mean, I knew Pree put them on her using sorcery, but I assumed they were still real chains.

  • MissAmynae

     Dragons have enough of an intelligence factor to understand individual words. Hence "Dracarys" is an important command, since it allows her to control the dragon's most powerful weapon.  The connection is absolutely there, but still developing, just like a child and its mother.  :-)

    I've read these damn books way too many times- they're crack, meth and chocolate all wrapped up into one delicious high. 

  • space_oddity

     Dracarys means 'fire' in Old Valyrian.

  • Mclbolton

    This is my "water cooler" so thanks--  As one who loves both books and TV series I want to say that the scene that caused a tear from me was the scene of Winterfell blackened and smoking.  The death of a great house , a great people and the first defense of what is beyond the Wall.
     

  • Foolsage

    Welllllllllll, not really. Maester Luwin pointed out that the House survives in the Stark children still. It's far too early to call the Starks down for the count. Yes, their home was razed, but they still have rather a lot of potential between them, some of which looks like it'll come to fruition. Other than Rickon (who's too young) and Sansa (who lost her spirit when her dire wolf Lady died), all the Stark kids are forces of nature, and all of them have the talents to be major players, shaping the course of world history.

    I really want to include spoilers here, damnitall, but I sha'n't.

  • MissAmynae

     Yeah, we need a spoiler-okay recap thread...badly!!!  The Westeros forums are good, but not as fun with the Pajibans!

  • There'll Be Pancakes

    I think Sansa is learning. Right now she isn't making any moves in the game, but her repeated guarded pretense of professing her love for the King and King's Landing is her growing. She falters in the scene with Shae after the riots, but we needed to see her hurt and confusion now so we can see that she learnt her lesson when the time comes that she makes her first real move in the game. Sure, she doesn't seem to have a spine of steel right now but you need the polarity of characters like Sansa to show how remarkable characters like Arya and Brienne and Yara are. Margaery Tyrell meanwhile will do just fine in King's Landing, the cunning girl.

    Also, can we address the looks Cersei was giving Sansa after the Tyrells' offer? Lena Headley did so fantastic as to seemingly indicate that Cersei was amazingly helping her out by insisting Joffrey put Sansa aside. Add to the maternal talk of a few weeks back and her (admittedly bullying) attention during Blackwater, Headley has done a beautifully nuanced role of Cersei understanding Sansa's predicament and even having sympathies about it. Just wonderful. Cersei is a difficult bitch of character to appreciate, but goddamn that was some actressin'.

    Now let's talk Brienne with the smackdown. Jesus Christ, is this is first time someone shut up Jaime Lannister?

  • hapl0

    I got goosebumps before! a man turned his face and what a reveal it was. I'm still surprised that bit of info survived the spoiler filled comments from before. Arya turning into a woman? Yes, please!

    Little Finger! Can't get the mom so aim for the daughter?! Gross.

    I think it's a bit unfair to be hating on Harrington with what little he had to work with.

    Theon was the Hulk of this episode. I can't remember laughing that hard before..oh, wait.

    Tyrion's unraveling was too painful to watch. That monster and dwarf line after everything he has put up with was just too much. 

    Dany and Khal Drogo's scene was lovely if not for distracting baby wig. Why? Just why?

    If those teeny baby dragons can do that, I cannot wait! for them to grow up.

    As for Maester Luwin, I honestly thought he got poked with a staff not a bloody spear!

  • I'm hoping that Jaqen get's a spinoff because I could watch that dude ALL. DAY. LONG.

    Also the dream sequence with Dany and Drogo might well have been the most emotionally wrenching thing I've seen on TV all year. "If this is a dream, I will kill the man who tries to wake me."

    Indeed.

  • dammitjanet

    FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Still haven't watched it, but I just couldn't help reading this. YAY TYRION!!!!!!
     

  • pajiba

    Oh. OH! I see. So y'all are saying that the Stark army was NEVER surrounding Winterfell in the first place. That it was Theon's men all along, blowing that damn horn and leading Theon to believe they were being surrounded? 

    Well, now I understand how they escaped. Well, that nicely sets up a Theon redemption plotline. 

  • dustpink

    No, because Theon actually says that he went up on the battlements ans saw the men with his own eyes.

  • Forbiddendonut

    Not quite, DR.

    Theon and his men were surrounded by Roose Bolton's bastard's army.  They were the ones blowing the horn, with 500 men surrounding them. 

    So, what I think transpired is this.   The Iron Islanders thought that they by giving Theon over to the Northmen that they would be allowed to return to the Iron Islands, free of Theon.  They were, however, dealing with the bastard of Bolton.  So, he ended fighting and killing all of them, kept Theon alive, and then burned Winterfell.  That’s my take on it.  I am not 100% sure.

    So, by the time Bran, Rickon, Osha and Hodor come up out of the crypts, everything is burnt and everyone around there is dead.  Maester Luwin knows its dangerous out there and thinks the only safe place is north to the Wall where Jon Snow is.

    I really loved the entire exchange between Luwin and Theon.  Some excellent dialogue.

  • Seanx40

     Your take is correct. AS for Theon...well, shit...can't spoil things.

  • KV

    I got the impression that the leading "Other" somewhat resembled Benjen Stark from season 1.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    My issue is that now that both of Dany's handmaidens are dead, [SPOILERS...sorta] who is she going to be having the sex with when she's horny for Daario? Or do they feel that they've filled the lesbian sex quota? Or saving up all freakiness for the Sand Snakes?

  • Forbiddendonut

    A great episode and really a fantastic season. 

    One thing that has really impressed me is that there are quite a few characters who I like more on screen than I did on the page.  Not only did I like them more, but they just feel more real and better written.  I think this is a case of both some excellent choice in casting - which, overall, has been stunningly good - and writing.

    For example, they've done an excellent job creating much more depth and characterization to Tywin, a large par of it due to Charles Dance, in the show.Another is Cersei. She is much more nuanced and somewhat sympathetic on the show. I thought Lena Heady was probably the most improved actor on the show between years one and two.I like what they've done with Margery Tyrell. I like Brienne better. Yoren, a cool character in the book, was also better on screen. Bronn is another. While I was very iffy on Shae to begin, she really came on strong as well in the second of this season and is a more interesting character on the show.
    That shot with the wights and the Other was chilling. 

    I've really been fine with most of the changes they've made.  You knew they had to for various reasons and almost all have been fine.  I've been able to enjoy the books and the show as two separate things.
    I can't wait until next year.  I really can't. 

    The show and the books are never too far from my mind.  In fact, just his morning, while in the shower, a thought popped into my head:  "Who were Aerys seven kingsguard?"  I managed to get six and was right about the house of the seventh.

  • I think Sansa has come a long way.  She's still afraid and yes, Arya's the more courageous of the two sisters--but Sansa has been learning as she goes--Sansa is following her instincts and fighting off her fright. Sophie Turner has been excellent this season. 

    I've no doubt Davos is still out there somewhere, he's too good a character to quietly wipe out.

    Great recap, TK. 

  • KatSings

    I'm going to skip my complaints because all of them involve spoilers.  So two things.  1 - the Arya/Jaqen stuff has been so good that TheMaskedEmu picked up the books again last night, determined to read about Arya in Braavos, even knowing she's not currently headed there. 

    2- BRIENNE OF TARTH Y'ALL.  I've studied martial arts and stage combat for years, and I judge my female action heroes accordingly.  It is a very rare thing that woman is given combat that would be styled for a man (and in most cases, for good reason).  I got up and cheered because I was so happy to watch this fierce knight woman slaughter the ever living crap out of everyone.  And the complete lack of hesitance or remorse about how she killed off the last guy - fantastic.  She is a brutal warrior and it is amazing.  I also loved watching Jaime watch her.  Their dynamic is one of my favorites of the whole series.

  • monkeysparkets

     Why do I feel like Brienne was different in the books?  She was an amazing fighter, but more squeamish about killing at first.  Either way, Gwendoline Christie was mesmerizing.  "Two quick deaths."  He he he.

  • veesee

    Coming next season: Jaime and Brienne's Bogus Journey.

  • RilesSD

    Excellent

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Ok, I'm not reading comments here yet, because I haven't rewatched the episode yet. I have confusions.

    How did Stannis get back to his HQ? handled too lightly. He was on some rampart, his men pulled him away - but still, how do you get away from that? How do you not have a subset of the city watch trying to hunt down a would-be usurper? And do we get no mourning for the poor Onion knight? just an inconclusive watery death for him and his son?

    What was burning as Bron et all left Winterfell? The Greyjoy group was leaving, the Stark support moving in - who has cause to burn it? You can't burn it if you're outnumbered 25 to 1 and surrendering and you want them not to murder you. 

    other than that:
    I was sad to lose the actor playing Jaqen. I liked his performance. 

    I was afraid - and am afraid - that Littlefinger is going to finagle marrying Sansa. That would suck for her. 

    I was annoyed at the rehashing of Shae & Tyrion. We've heard it before, I get it. Yes, they play the scenes well, but in a show where storylines have to be so streamlined, it felt like a waste of time to me. 

    I do like that though Daenarys is, as some have commented, childish and not super dimensional - she is steely and displaying a blend of the Targareyn and Dothraki cruelty. Her justice is hard and merciless.

  • FDBluth

    @5aa0e451fc8b4700465ca12afaee925e:disqus I just thought Winterfell was destroyed, because Theon's crew wanted to distract the 500 men before escaping. Am I right here, or is Ramsay Snow a devious bastard that we can expect to show up in season 3?

  • Kate Mccroaryjay

    Oh, I hope so!!!

  • MonkeyHateClean

    Stannis' brief remorse of killing Renly  - and, really, the whole scene of him
    questioning his defeat - was terrific. And another moment of
    discovering whom to trust.

    As for John, I think Harrington has done a deccent job of what he's been
    given this season (which hasn't been very good). The Wall stories are
    among my favorites in the book but this season has been such a let down
    with the Wall stuff ... until that ending scene in the finale.

    So, Tywin is now under the same roof as Cersi and Joffrey. I can't wait to see how that plays out next season.

    What do you think Ros' role will be next year? I
    figured she'd be long gone by now but she keeps popping up.

    Brienne! Holy crap, she's awesome.

  •  I think what they're going to do with Ros is have her continue to live through the entire series.  She starts off in Winterfell with us, the audience, and then moves to King's Landing with us.  She became the sexposition fairy in the first season so that some of the back story could be delivered to her.  Now she's working with Varys, so maybe he can talk to her next season.  I think they'll move her into key positions throughout the seasons, and be there at the very end.  She's kind of like Forrest Gump in that way.

  • space_oddity

    re: Ros' role going forward. I have no idea, but I would totally watch a "The Whore and the Spider" spinoff.

  • I got the impression at the end of "Blackwater" that Sansa had agreed to run off with The Hound when she said "You will not hurt me". I was a little thrown off on why she was still in court and why they never followed up on that, to be honest, but it's a minor nitpick and I'm OK filling in that blank between now and when/if they address it again.

  • annoyingmouse

    I thought she said "He will not hurt me" implying that Stannis wouldn't hurt her. That made more sense to me. 

  • Bibliophile

    I think the creature leading the walkers was an Other.

  • John W

    you should not, under any circumstance, mess with Brienne of Tarth. Ever.

    true dat.

  • do book readers think that they're going to have Littlefinger performing the ser dantos role?

  • dustpink

     I'm actually curious about this because it would change the entire dynamic and spoil a moment which came as a complete surprise when I read the books. But then why have the Ser Dontos scene at all? I definitely like that the show keeps me guessing.

  • space_oddity

     Ser Dontos is there. He was in the background when they were camped out in Maegor's Holdfast during the Battle of Blackwater. There's a brief shot of him juggling. I think they're just putting off developing him til next season.

  •  no, I know.  Ser Dantos is there, but I have a feeling they're going to cut him out of his role or seriously shorten it next season.

  • MonkeyHateClean

    Yes.

  • Kizer

    You can see him in fool's garb several times this season already. I speculate they will use him otherwise they would have skipped the scene altogether where his life was saved.

  • Can we at least have a final wrap-up, SPOILERS ALLOWED post for the entire season, since we weren't allowed one for each episode????  C'mon??  Why not??

  • Fredo

    One of the things that I noted last year was that the concepts of magic are going to get stronger and I don't know if many of the current show fans will be down with that.  I'm hoping by the time it's too obvious, they're so invested in the characters that they'll stick around.

    And yes, great season.  It does no good to be a hero in this world.  Heroes get cast aside (Tyrion), impaled (Qhorin), betrayed (Dany) or left behind (Sam).  

  • Thijs

    AWESOME season finale. The House of the Undying was very well-handled, and that final scene was absolutely brilliant. Plus, it's official: the show achieved the impossible and actually made me like Shae. Damn.

    I do have one complaint though. It's about Jon Snow's scene, and it's the latest in a series of changes from the book this season that plain bug (like Jaime killing his cousin and Catelyn freeing Jaime before hearing about Bran and Rickon). They made it seem like Qhorin got Jon to kill him by angering him, and that doesn't make an iota of sense to me. Jon is a man of honor, like his father -- he swore a solemn oath, and Qhorin was one of his brothers. Where was the order for Jon to say and do whatever it takes for the Wildlings to believe him?

    Still, an excellent season, made even better by the posts and comments here. :)

  • monkeysparkets

     I agree.  Maybe they were trying to build dramatic tension? Most of the changes from the books have been fine with me, but that one could have been handled better.

  • Alan

     Qhorin purposely taunted Jon into killing him to increase his reputation with the Wildlings so he would have a better chance of gaining their trust. I think it was pretty clear that Jon knew of Qhorin's intentions based on some of their previous conversations, and killing him was just the first step in their plan of having Jon infiltrate the Wildlings from the inside.

  • efritze

    I like that they made Jon's scene ambiguous - he's been such a prissy airhead all season, for him to finally have some depth to his motivations is kind of nice.  Jon is beginning to deviate from Ned's strict moral code, and learning that actions have repercussions beyond the small scale. And the Night's Watch is all about the big picture.

  • I like that they made Jon's scene ambiguous - he's been such a prissy airhead all season, for him to finally have some depth to his motivations is kind of nice.  Jon is beginning to deviate from Ned's strict moral code, and learning that actions have repercussions beyond the small scale. And the Night's Watch is all about the big picture. 

  • Emily Fritze

    I like that they made Jon's scene ambiguous - he's been such a prissy airhead all season, for him to finally have some depth to his motivations is kind of nice.  Jon is beginning to deviate from Ned's strict moral code, and learning that actions have repercussions beyond the small scale. And the Night's Watch is all about the big picture.

  • efritze

    goddammit, Disqus

  • Two weeks ago Halfhand told Jon that if he did the right thing at the right time he could earn the trust of the Wildings. I took that as the order to kill him when they would eventually fight. 

  • Littlejon2001

    Can anyone please explain to me, who was blowing the horn outside of Winterfell??? If it was Rob Stark's splinter force, then why did the boys decide to go North to the Wall? Where were all the people in Winterfell? That made no sense to me at all. 

  • Most people left when Theon invaded. The horn-blower was Bolton's forces. The kids left because the place was burnt to the ground...

  • The lookouts were blowing the horn.  Mormont and his crows are still at the Fist of the First Men, in the middle of hostile territory, so they have posted lookouts all around them to watch for returning scouts (1 horn), invading wildings (2 horns), or wights (3 horns).

  • Fredo

     That was the force of 500 Northmen led by Roose Bolton's bastard son, Ramsay. 

    As for why Luwin tells the boys to go north, Winterfell has fallen and been destroyed.  Sending the boys south would mean putting them within reach of any number of forces -- the ironborn, the Lannisters, even their own Northmen (who, as we saw when they met Brienne aren't the nicest of peoples).  There's no fighting as such in the North so sending them there keeps them alive.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Oh and without get spoilery, what does everyone think is going on with Theon? I didn't expect it to go the direction it did.

  • RilesSD

    Sophie Turner's look when she went from crying to smiles of joy to terrified again is some of the best acting she's done all season. 

    Great finale.  Didn't expect zombies at the end, but they were done very well.  I imagine they'll be used sparingly next season though?  That's expensive CGI right there. 

  • lowercase_ryan

    I saw this on WG  I think, but it cracked me up enough to repeat it:

     "Is Stannis Baratheon gonna have to choke a bitch?"

  • PaddyDog

    is there anyone more frightening looking that Ian Hanmore’s Pyat Pree?

    Yup.  That white walker's zombie horse.  I;m still having nightmares.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    That's what I thought too... but those were HIS men that were pulling him from the wall... I did not catch that the first time either.

    Tyrion for Imp-eror!

  • lowercase_ryan

    Awesome write-up TK. 

    The only thing I disagree with was your assertion that Sansa has learned not to trust anybody.  She hasn't attempted to trust anyone long enough to be spurned.  I see her as being to scared to move, like a deer in headlights. She's stuck in her romantic notions of knights and maidens and that surely the universe will send someone to rescue her and that surely that someone will be dashing and beautiful. Does it remind anyone else of the parable with the guy in the flood who rejects help from people in boats cause he thinks god will save him. So he dies wondering why God didn't save him and God's like "I sent you THREE boats you moron!"

    That is Sansa to me. To further illustrate my point-----> Arya.

     She would have escaped 10 freaking times by now had she been in Sansa's place. 

    Also: Best line of the night was Arya adding saving Sansa as an afterthought.  AWESOME!!!

  • I think she suspects any offers of help as a test of her loyalty.

  • Wednesday

    I disagree. I think Sansa has long since been disabused of her romantic notions of knights and chivalry.  Arya had the advantage of being lower-profile while Ned was still The Hand; Sansa was front-and-center as Joffrey's future Queen, and so much more recognizable and scrutinized.  She's learned to play a subtle game that Arya -- bless her scrappy little soul -- still forgets from time to time.  Arya's a freedom fighter to Sansa's politician, and there's room in the GoT universe for both. 

    I also loved Dany's temptation with Khal Drogo and their son.  It was a tender little scene and well-played.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I see your point but I don't know if  I agree. The only thing Sansa knows absolutely is that she doesn't want to be anywhere near Joffrey, yet she resists all attempts to help her in that regard. And why? for what? What is she doing that can actually be considered politicking besides try to goad Joffrey to his death in battle? She keeps up with her "your grace" and "m'lord" and all that but I think she is just hoping people will forget about her half the time.

    Now Maergery be politicking. Like a Boss.And the scene with Dany in the throne room at King's Landing was wonderful. Sooooo much going on there. 

  • Wednesday

    Sansa also flattered Joffrey into saving Ser Dontos (and made an ally, albeit a weak one) and has been very circumspect around Cersei and The Hound.  She *is* trying to stay under the radar...you're right about that.   And it takes a lot of skill to do so, since Joffrey enjoys tormenting her.  But she has been abandoned or betrayed by every single soul she's met since she left Winterfell.  Should she have gone with The Hound?  She knows where his loyalty lies and that he'd sell her out in a minute if it suited him.  Petyr Baelish?  He's the ultimate spymaster and active participant in getting her father killed.  Now, if she had gone with Littlefinger or The Hound, I would have said she still had rescue fantasies, to the point of foolishness.  If you get burned often enough, it's only smart to become cautious around fire.

    Arya had trusted allies throughout.  Syrio, Gendry, Jaquen...people who have not betrayed her and have helped her even at great personal risk.  She's resourceful and a favorite for a good reason, but I think Sansa has also earned a lot of respect.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I disagree with your assertion that the hound would have sold her out in such a manner. Lest you forget he too risked personal health to save her from rape and murder.  Yes he was ordered to do so, but he has always had an odd attitude towards her that suggests affection. In fact he shielded her from Joffrey's sadistic ass numerous times.  I think in some ways (maybe I'm mixing up the books and tv here a little) the Hound was her champion. 

    Baelish  I do agree with you on. He's just a slimy pimp and not to be trusted. So I take that back.

    Also keep in mind that Arya's allies weren't given to her, she earned their trust and devotion (and yes, just like Sansa did with Dontos), only she's done it consistently in every phase of her journey.  Even Syrio, who was hired by Ned, grew to respect and care for her. Aside from Dontos, who's loyalty has Sansa earned? Mycha, the butchers boy? I'm sorry, I just think Sansa is a weak character in juxtaposition to most of the women in the story. I hope that I'm ultimately proven wrong, but up til now she hasn't won my loyalty either ;-)

  • space_oddity

    It is going to be a hard 10 months, waiting for season three. That last shot of the zombie army? Just awesome.

    And I'm sure I'm not the only one who teared up a bit during Dany's encounter with Drogo.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    King of the White Walkers

  • so, it was an Other?

  • What was that thing supposed to be at the end, the thing that looked directly at Sam?  

  • mswas

    Oh wasn't it Uncle Deadly - the Phantom of the Theater?

    http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/U... 

  • lowercase_ryan

    that's great lol

  • Kizer

    That was a white walker - not to be confused with the wights(which are the humans killed by the white walkers who then raise under their command). 

  • KV

    You forgot to mention one scene, where Tywin Lannister's horse poops before entering the court; and the flicker of the sneering smile on Tywin Lannister's face on being announced as the Hand. 

  • pajiba

    I hate to be first, but screw it. I must know: How the FUCK did Stannis Baratheon escape after the war? Did I miss something? How did he get out of that? 

  • Alan

     I too thought that the men forcing him down from the wall at the end of episode 9 were kings guard, or something, but I have to assume at this point that they were Stannis' own men pulling him away when it was clear the battle was lost.

  • kyleconrad

    His men WERE pulling him away near the end of the Battle of Blackwater.... maybe he managed to get to a ship? (Agreed though, even if it is "nitpicky")

  • Fredo

     His men pulled him back from where he was fighting and most likely loaded him onto a ship as the Lannister & Tyrell armies were winning the day.

  • luthien26

    His men hauled him screaming to safety near the end of "Blackwater". I'm assuming they managed to get him on board a boat to head back to Dragonstone (and once on the water, they were in the clear, since the King's Landing crew didn't have a fleet).

  • space_oddity

    I guess we're supposed to assume his men carted him back down off the wall and on to a ship? Not a spoiler, but in the books he stays on the ships, and according to an interview with Neil Marshall, it was that way in the script, but he changed it to put Stannis more immediately in the action.

  • MurderBot

     His men, who  pulled him away from the battle last episode, spirited him away into the night amidst all the chaos I'd presume. Personally I was more concerned with Davos not washing up on the shore. Is he really dead?

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