Big shocker: I was satisfied by the season finale. And by satisfied I mean lots of flailing and shouting OH MY GOD and pausing and rewatching specific moments. And I’m really wishing I learned how to bend time so it could go ahead and be season three already. I can’t even begin with how much there was in this episode. Wait, yes I can. Make with the clicking and let’s get to revisiting and analyzing!
Close up on an eye trying to focus, and I’m having Lost flashbacks. There’s even the sound of a girl screaming—wait, that’s just a horse whinnying. It’s Tyrion, and he wakes up to the grinning and hateful face of Grand Maester Flash (Pycelle), who looks well pleased by the turn of events.
Tyrion immediately calls for the faithful Podrick (he of the chest spearing life-saving loyalty) to round up Uncle Fester (Varys) and Bronn and tell them that he is very much alive and well. Oh, no need, Pycelle says, still grinning. He tells Tyrion that Stannis suffered a “stunning defeat” at the hands of his dad, Tywin. And they all felt it best that Tyrion recover in some shitty quarters, what with him being hated by his family and all. By the way, Tyrion, you’re no longer the Hand of the King.
In a pretty awesome, yet douchey move, Pycelle flicks a coin onto Tyrion’s prone body. “For your troubles.” Hey, just like Tyrion did for Pycelle’s whore when that little chess move happened. Sick burn.
Close up on a horse taking a dump just outside of the Throne Room (this show pulls no punches), and it’s Tywin astride a gorgeous beast, because Tywin knows how to make an entrance. He goes before the court (on his friggin’ horse) and accepts the honorific bestowed upon him by his grandson, King Weaselteat.
Tywin is declared the Savior of the City and the new Hand of the King. He turns his horse and strides from the Throne Room. The man has style, even if he is a bad, bad man. Next up is Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger (it’s not that little) who is praised for uniting the houses of Lannister and Tyrell for the good of the Kingdom; his reward is Harrenhall. Be sure to send a crew round to clean up all of the dead bodies. And all of the burned buildings. And woebegone people who do nothing but sit in cages. But hey, once you do that it should make a lovely vacation spot!
Varys is decidedly grossed out by all of this.
Next up is Loras, who is told that he can have anything he wants (“Hey, how about my murdered lover back? Can you get on that, please?”) and he tells Weaselteat that his sister never had sex with King Renly (“that was my job, hey-o!”) so…
Are they asking for the King to grace her M’Lady Bidness with his Royal Sceptre? Oh, they want them to marry. You know, to join the two houses. And Margaery is all with the cleavage and simpering and how she fell in love with Joffrey from afar (you’d have to) and it’s freaking hilarious how Joffrey tries to not look horny at the word “Innocent.” Cersei steals looks over at Sansa throughout all of this, and I can’t tell if she enjoys hurting Sansa or if she’s actually trying to be kind.
(Think of all of the comments she’s made about knowing her son is a complete wonk.)
Margaery lays it on thick with words like “root” and “deep” and “inside me” and it’s pretty clear that she’s been to one of Cersei’s Slumber Party “How To Be A Queen” Seminars. Joffrey would just love to scratch that itch for her, make no mistake, but he made a vow to that stupid girl over there and it’s just awful, isn’t it?
Oh, Cersei has an answer to this dilemma, never you fear. The Council decided that it wouldn’t be wise to marry a woman whose dad was beheaded for treason and whose brother is presently trying to kill him with an army and all of that, so it’s in the kingdom’s best interest for him to not marry Sansa. But…the vow! Heavy sigh…
Pycelle jumps in (and is Sansa a little hurt? A little upset at being tossed aside? It’s not easy to get a bead on her) and says that Robert made the pact with Ned Stark before the Starks revealed their “falseness,” so that frees Joffrey from having to marry Sansa. Oh, goodie! Because in the last three minutes he has just fallen deeply and irrevocably in love with Margaery, so wedding it shall be, huzzah!
So…are they going to kill Sansa? Because that would be the kingly move, even if I don’t want her to be dead. Cersei flashes her a look that I would swear was one of “You owe me.” Like she knows she just did a kindness to Sansa. Sansa walks off and once it’s safe, she laughs. Free at last, free at last, thank the Old Gods I am—
“Not so fast,” simpers Littlefinger. “You haven’t forgotten that Joffrey is a bit of a shit, have you? Because boys like that are the kind that pull wings from flies to pass the time. Oh, you’re the fly in this scenario, and your freedom is your wing. Wings. Work with me. What I’m saying is that Joffrey might rape you and beat you, but I see how much like your mother you are and I like that. Oh, she was like a sister to me, and remember how sisters are treated in Westeros! So you’re probably not safe from my It’s-Not-Actually-Little-That’s-Just-A-Nick-Name-Finger. By which I mean I can maybe help you escape.”
Sansa? And I mean this with all sincerity, you are an idiot for not running with The Hound when you had the chance. Hindsight, twenty-twenty, I know.
Ros puts a little pancake under her eye to hide the bruise (Joffrey –>flies –> wings –> Ros) when Varys skittles in. She’s not sure who he is at first until she slides her hand to his giblets and realizes she just made a full circle to the other leg. No giblets, sweetie. Oh, shit. It’s the Lord of Whispers. But he’s not here to be evil, we think, he’s here because he sees her real value and would very much like to partner with her.
Who better to partner with than a whore who can hear anything and everything valuable? Varys? I think you are one of the most fascinating people on the show. You just never know his motivations—well, aside from self-preservation. He’s self-serving, true, but there’s a weird sort of loyalty to King’s Landing in all of it, as well. (Which is probably tied to his self-preservation.)
On the river, Brienne hauls Jaime onto shore where he continually tries to rile her while also making sexual advances—that he knows she won’t take him up on. I think he loves having an actual sister to pester (and not the way he “pestered” Cersei. I’m just saying. There’s a lot of incest in Westeros.) They see three women hanging with an ominous note indicating they screwed the Lannisters. The Stark fighters did this.
Three men approach them, and immediately crack up at her being a woman dressed like a knight. And you know, fuck you guys. Brienne has been twittered about being a woman in a man’s world, and not accepted there. Then she’s mocked for being a virgin and not being a woman in that world. So she’s nothing in everyone’s eyes. It’s about to get awesome, though.
One of the men says something about how two of the women died quickly, with a big ol’ hint of rape and torture for the third. Another man seems to think that Jaime isn’t a thief like Brienne said, but that he’s actually Jaime Lannister. A bit of a tense back and forth when it’s push come to shove time.
And Brienne shoves Jaime out of harm’s way, slices the one guy’s throat, pulls his sword and cuts the throat of a second man with both weapons. The third man lies on the ground, terrified. Hey, remember that whole “Two died slow, ahem?” Yeah. She slooooowly stabs him with her sword and how you like that unwanted penetration, asshole? Oh, you can’t answer because you’re dead.
She turns to Jaime, who has blood splattered on his face as well as a whole new respect for Brienne. He marvels that she just killed Stark men. Once again, “I don’t serve the Starks. I serve Lady Catelyn.” That’s something Jaime can respect —he doesn’t serve anyone but himself and his sister, after all. She continues on taking him to King’s Landing, as promised.
Speaking of Lady Cat, Robb Stark and his mother are having an argument about Robb not wanting to marry one of the bedraggled incest children of Lord Filch (Frey) because he’s in love with Talisa. Aww. Except Catelyn doesn’t care, because honor, blah blah, love built stone by stone not bone by bone in the forest, and you know what? Robb doesn’t care, Cateyln. As far as he’s concerned, his one surviving parent doesn’t get to say anything about being reckless. Damn.
At Stannis’ camp (with the awesome ocean view and cool map table) he’s beyond livid with Fire Crotch Mage. Where is his victory? Where is his crown? She simpers and coos and tries to explain that these things happen, and this was just a battle in a great war and he shuts that up with a good old choke to her throat meat. He cries out, “Where’s your god, now?” as his hands tighten on her porcelain skin and she croaks out that He’s inside Stannis.
Well, that got his attention. But still…he murdered his brother, and for what? (I love that he acknowledged that with some pain. Okay, Stannis, I don’t completely hate you now.) For what? For this—she points him to the flames so he can see. (I can only hear Ralph Fiennes, “DO YOU SEE?” when I hear those words) and something in the flames fills him with awe. What?! What’s in the box? I mean, flame?! (Lies, says I. You can’t trust a witch! Especially not ones who give birth to shadow and smoke and kill brothers.)
In Winterfell, Theon sulks in his chambers as someone continually blares a horn, and let’s just take a moment to laugh at Theon’s reactions every single time he was interrupted by a blast. Oh, Theon, I have grown to absolutely adore you on my screen as we learn more and more about you. He has a moment where you can see just how hopeless his life is when he says, “Yes, yes, I should be so grateful to how kind my captors were to me. I should be happy that my jailer made me more confused about who to be loyal to, so that when I did get home on my own, my own father hated me. So I have no one. Yes, let me thank the Starks for that.”
While taking counsel from Maester Luwin, Luwin breaks it down for him plainly. His father isn’t coming. His sister isn’t coming. He has 20 men, there are 500 northerners outside the walls (remember this) and they’re surrounded. It’s over. His advice? RUN.
Ha, where? Home? How the hell can he get past the 500 men (remember that) outside? Say he did get past the lines—what then? Go home and be a coward in the eyes of his family? He can’t win here. Luwin says that he could help Theon escape, there are built-in hidden passageways for starters. And he shouldn’t go to Pyke, he should go to the Wall—he will be beyond the reach of the law and will have a chance to make amends for his bad decisions.
“I’ve known you many years, Theon Greyjoy. You’re not the man you’re pretending to be,” Luwin finishes.
“You may be right, but I’ve come too far to pretend to be anything else.” Oh, Theon. You’re such a broken bird looking up at your nest and no way to get there.
He goes outside and gives a pretty bad ass speech to his remaining men, about how they’ll be sung about for centuries, how women will scream their name when they climax, how he’ll make a bronze statue of any man who kills that god-forsaken whoremonger of a horn player. He’s finally a real leader and the men cheer everything he says. Until Dick Cheney (Dagmer Cleftjaw) conks him on the head and knocks him out.
“Good speech, let’s all acknowledge that, but fuck me, that went on a bit, aye? Let’s get him home.” They cover his head with a cloak and drag him off. As Luwin races over to see what’s going on, he gets a spear through the gut for his trouble. NO, NOT LUWIN! God, Cheney is a dick.
Back in King’s Landing, Varys meets with Tyrion and says that Ser Mandon was hired by Cersei to kill him on the battlefield. (Oh, Podrick, you good boy.) Tyrion wants Bronn to get four of the best Goldcloaks to stand guard and—
“Well, that’s going to be difficult since they’re all faithful to your sister and/or your father, depending. So you’re screwed. But I really enjoyed working with you?” Varys then sends in Shae and tells Tyrion that he’ll always know the real hero of that battle. It’s not much, but it means a lot to Tyrion. Varys leaves with Podrick.
Shae straight away is at Tyrion’s side calling him her love. Shae is good people, guys. Tyrion is sure that he’s a monster. A monster and a dwarf, so she should just hurry up with the leaving him, because he didn’t pay her enough for—
“Fuck your money.” She’s not there for his money, she loves him. She wants them to run away together, because let’s face it—Cersei is going to want to do a better job next time. Except Tyrion doesn’t want to leave. He loves outthinking and outsmarting everyone. He’s really good at it. She pulls the bandage off his face, and he expects her to run fleeing, but this is Shae. She loves him.
“You have a shit memory. I am yours and you are mine,” she says and she takes him in her arms. He shakes and cries, and let’s just give it up for Peter Dinklage being awesome. I love these two and how they found each other by virtue of similar personalities. They’re a perfect match.
Speaking of matching…Robb and Talisa have a private marriage ceremony with some pretty wonky vows (Crones? Strangers? Not very romantic, what about some one-in-a-million kind of talk?) and they’re bound for eternity. In your face, Argus Filch-Frey. You and your ugly daughter-wives.
Down in Qarth, Jorah, Daenerys, and her loyal Dothraki dude walk up to the House of the Undying and there’s no door. Well, no wonder he’s aching for visitors! So…what, they Rapunzel up there? Dany starts walking around it as Jorah walks behind enjoying the view. She gets ahead of him and out of his eyesight and then…she’s gone. He shouts up to the heavens, “KHALEESI!” and all of the birds in the sky instantly become pregnant. (The man sounds like sex, that’s what I’m getting at.)
She’s inside a dark room, and shouts out loud that they can’t frighten her. What, are they scared of a little girl? And then she hears her dragons crying out. She races off toward the sound.
Outside of Harrenhall, Arya, Gendry, and Cartman are discovered by Jaqen, high overhead on a precipice. The guy is good, he’s a Ranger of the highest magnitude, like d20 with a massive Charisma bonus. He offers for her to come with him to learn how to “take a name” (aka be the second greatest assassin who ever lived). She must come with him to Braavos (aww, where her Inigo Montoya was from!) but she can’t go to Braavos. She has to find her family.
Well..if she ever needs him, she just needs to find someone from Braavos and give them a special coin (no, it’s not for buying things, it’s more of a token for a gumball machine, but inside the plastic container isn’t a bouncy ball or stickers, it’s MAGIC.) She needs to give that coin to a Braavosian and say the magic words—
“A la peanut butter sandwiches!”
A girl mustn’t say that, a girl must say: “Valar Morghulis.” So say it. She does. He turns away, asks her to say it one more time to make sure, and when he turns back, HEY NEW FACE WHAT. Jaqen is dead. Long live Valar Morghulis, I suppose? Arya? Maybe sew that coin into your britches, or something. I think you don’t want to lose it.
NOW WAIT A MINUTE. If Jaqen can change his face, who’s to say who he’s BEEN? Oh, that’s a neat little plot twist… (I’m holding out for him being Inigo Montoya. What do we say to death? Not today!)
Tonks (Osha) leads Bran and Rickon into Winterfell, and it’s all burned with dead bodies everywhere. I guess Dick Cheney and his pals had one last bonfire before dragging Theon out? Their direwolves whimper and leave the square as they all head to one of the magic face trees. Luwin is there, and he’s so close to death that he doesn’t hurt anymore. Oh, Luwin.
The boys are sad (duh) but he says that they need to be smart and leave, because the bad men might come back. SO LET’S TALK FOR A MINUTE. Because Theon had 20 men, there were 500 men loyal to the Starks who had surrounded Winterfell, why are the boys in danger?! Luwin wants them to go to Jon at the Wall (well, that’s going to be pointless) instead of finding their brother Robb and their mother. Continuity errors trouble me, sorry.
The boys are led away by Hodor and Luwin tells Tonks in an impassioned voice that she has to protect them. She planned on it, thankfully. And then he asks for a mercy kill from her blade, because sitting here waiting for death is pretty awful. We get the impression that she’s good enough to do it, and understands that it is a kindness. Farewell, Luwin, you were a good character.
Daenerys walks further into the House of the Undying until she gets to a round room with several doors (and I can’t help it, but it’s very Order of the Phoenix. Or OotP is like this?) She hears her dragons, pushes through a door, and finds herself in a ruin of the Throne Room, covered with heavy snow. (Winter is coming, Dany. Are you ready?) Just before she touches the throne, she hears her dragons again, and walks out of the Throne Room and out through a huge gate into the ice land Hoth. (It looks like The Wall.)
But there’s a shack in the blizzard and inside is oh my god, Khal Drogo, the baddest mofo who ever died of tetanus. And he has their baby—who is wearing a toupee, and I didn’t know they made those for babies—and his smoldering love for her and it’s about all she can take. Moon of my heart! Love of my life! They had a real love, built stone by stone (horse heart by golden-headed brother, actually) and it’s painful to see them interact and not know if it’s real or not.
She seems to make a decision after hearing her dragons again. She kisses him, walks out, and finds herself in that original round room with her three babies. And they’re chained to a center stand. Blue Lips shows up and is all creepy and “Your babies missed you!” and this is why you don’t build houses without doors, Blue Lips. You don’t learn how to socialize properly.
He explains (while replicating himself) that when the dragons showed up, he found actual power himself. (I like how all of the magic in the world is tied to the dragons. Or they’re tied to the magic? I don’t know; it’s cool.) And the dragons are stronger with her around, so how about they just chain her up in this tower to live forever and make the dragons (and his magic) stronger?
How about she looks over her shoulder at her babies (who are all lined up, waiting for her to speak) and she says, “Drakaris.” One of the wee dragons coughs out smoke, much to Blue Lips’ chagrin. HEY THAT WAS JUST A THROAT CLEARING, BECAUSE WHOOSH goes the dragon fire, and then all three are blowing it around Dany’s body (she’s not hurt in the slightest) and Blue Lips is instantly consumed by dragon fire. Pretty sweet way to go out, you know, the first person to die from dragon fire in hundreds of years? (I bet he wouldn’t think so.)
The dragons look up at her waiting for praise. Did we do good, Mama? YES. The chains are completely gone and they’re all free.
Way north of the Wall, Jon and Qhorin are being led by the Wildlings as Ygritte continues to smack Jon on the head with her sword. Qhorin decides enough is enough and attacks Jon to keep up the pretense that Jon has gone over to the dark side. The wildlings let them at it and give Jon a sword. But Jon can’t bring himself to kill Halfhand, you know? It’s one of his buddies.
So Qhorin helps him out by calling Ned a traitor and Jon’s mother a whore. SWORD THROUGH THE GUTS, OUCH. Jon looks horrified, even more so when Qhorin leans forward and says with his dying breath, “We are the Watchers on the Wall.” Damn, that was some dedication to an oath, right there.
Ygritte, looking stunned (and maybe a little sad? Shocked? Impressed?) says, “You can tell Mance that’s the man that killed Qhorin Halfhand.” Looks like the ruse worked. Even though it also looks like it’s tearing Jon up inside. (Like he needed more to brood about.) They burn the body, because that’s not one they want coming back (foreshadow!) and Ygritte shows him the valley below where the King-beyond-the-Wall is. Time to meet him.
In a totally amazing scene, Dany and her men find Xaro in bed with Dorreah (Dorreah! Perfect that she’s in a hive of traitorous scum and villainy) and they take his key. Time for a trip to Gringotts to see what’s in the vault! Big ol’ goose egg. No, not a golden egg, zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada y pues nada. Well, that stings a bit. But Dany is a smart girl and thanks him for the lesson: no one is to be trusted, got it.
She has Xaro and Dorreah placed inside the empty tomb to die, and isn’t that harsh! She strolls away with her dragons on her arms to loot Xaro’s apartment. It may not be a lot, but it’s enough to buy a ship—a small ship, Jorah corrects with a smile. You can tell he’s never been more turned on than he is at the moment. She walks out of the chambers with her babies cooing in her arms. Dragons! Yay!
Back beyond the Wall, Red Leader Porkins (Samwell) is going on about how amazing Gilly is for still smiling while being sexed by her dad, still managing to skip to her lou after biting off corns from the soles of her gnarled and twisted feet, and—
Holy crap, that was a horn! Yay, Jon’s back! Now they can—
Holy crapola, that was a second horn. Wildlings! Draw your swords, mates, and—
Jesus. Fucking. Oh my god. A third horn. That means… RUN!
Porkins is petrified and stands there as a storm approaches. Then he sees bodies walking in the storm. Shit. He flounders to a rock, and he could totally pull a Samwise Gamgee here with that cloak and blend in with the rocks, except for how the bodies pass him—zombies! Wight Walkers! White Walkers? Predator crossed with the Fremen? THEY ARE SCARY, OKAY?—and one of them looks right at him.
Oh, buddy, you are doomed. That red shirt meant something, it was just a matter of when. And these zombies have zombie horses! And zombie otters! And zombie mosquitoes! There is nowhere to turn without the zombie horde surrounding poor little Porkins.
I told you to stay on target. Hats off, guys, and let’s play Taps for our red shirt. And just how am I expected to wait until next spring?!
…y’all are going to make me break my self-imposed “No books until the series is finished” rule, aren’t you? NO! I WILL STAY STRONG!
CLICK HERE to carry on to Season 3 Ep 1: Valar Dohaeris