Previously on Game of Thrones, ‘The Watchers on the Wall.’
Let’s a Make Deal
This episode picks up immediately where last week’s left off: Jon Snow trudging through the snow, beyond the wall to parlay with Mance. On our podcast last week, I wondered if Mance would even know that Jon had betrayed him. Jon was well south of the wall by the time Ygritte and Tormund figured him out. It seems he didn’t, when Mance first asks why Jon is wearing his Night’s Watch clothing, but it’s also clear that he pieced it together quite quickly. They sit down to negotiate, but first they drink to dead Ygritte, Grenn, and that giant who died in the tunnel, Mag the Mighty.
Mance reveals he’s sent 400 men to scale the wall five miles away. Some will die, but most will reach the top by nightfall. He wants Jon to open the gates for his people so they can seek shelter and safety from winter a.k.a. The White Walkers. If they do, no one else will die. Jon eyes a nearby knife one too many times and Mance realizes why he’s really there. Before things can come to ahead, horns sound outside. The wildling camp is being attacked, but not by the Night’s Watch.
Stannis! And about *838,295 of The Golden Company!
Mance has seen enough of his people die so he orders them to stand down. He refuses to kneel before Stannis, though. Free folk don’t bend the knee! Jon Snow introduces himself and convinces Stannis to take Mance prisoner and burn the dead before nightfall. All of the dead.
Great Things About This Scene:
- Delorous Edd watching Jon from atop the wall. Jon looked like a single ant crawling among one hundred dead ones.
- Who’s going to clean up that big-ass, dead-ass giant?
- The realness of the conversation between Mance and Jon. Also, Mance deciding that enough of his people have died
- The overhead shot of Stannis’ army flanking the wildling camp.
That’s Why They Called Him The Red Viper
So, Oberyn may be dead, but his name lives on in the poison coursing through The Mountain’s veins. Manticore venom has left his wounds infected and, apparently, very smelly. Maester Pycelle thinks he should be put out of his misery, but Qyburn insists he can use The Mountain. Cersei agrees as long as whatever he does makes The Mountain stronger. Then she leaves before the smell of rot sticks to her clothes.
Cersei Makes a Stand
Now that her brother will surely lose his head for murdering her son, Cersei is really feeling herself. So much so that she tells Tywin she will not marry Ser Loras as promised. She will stay at King’s Landing to watch over her only remaining son. And if Tywin tries to stop her, she will tell everyone that everything they think about her and Jaime (and her children) is true. Tywin is in some serious denial. Cersei tells him if he had ever bothered to truly look at his children, he’d have seen it.
Jaime is still obsessing over that damn Book of Brothers, probably imagining all the great things it will never say about him. Cersei arrives at the King’s Guard chambers and tells him that she told their father everything, refused to marry Loras, and wants everyone to know that they’re together. Then they have sex on the table. So, um, guess I made a good call in deciding to move on as if that rape didn’t happen.
Ruling Is So Inconvenient
Daenerys holds court and is surprised when an old former slave wants to go back to belonging to his master. The mess halls she has set up for the freed slaves are, well, a mess. The young ones hurt and steal from the elders. He lives on the street. He is no one. As a slave, he taught his master’s children. She reluctantly agrees to let him enter into a contract with his master, to last no more than a year.
She next receives a man whose child was murdered by Drogon, her biggest dragon. She’s devastated. Since Drogon is nowhere to be found, she tearfully chains up the other two in the catacombs.
Great Things About This Scene:
- The look on Daenerys’ face as she left her babies.
- The reveal that her dragon had killed a child was not nearly this sad in the book. It was downright heartbreaking here.
- Meanwhile, Drogon still out in dem streets. The other two are like, “Wait. Why are we in trouble?”
And Now Their Watch Has Ended
The brothers of the Night’s Watch who died in the attack on Castle Black are laid to rest. As their bodies are set aflame, Jon Snow makes eye contact with Melisandre through the flames. Aw, shit.
Later, he visits Tormund who is still being held. Jon asks about the burial rituals of wildlings and wants to know if Tormund would like to say any words over the bodies before they’re burned. The dead can’t hear, so Tormund’s like, “It’s good.” He tells Jon that Ygritte loved him. Not because she talked about it all the time, but because all she ever talked about was killing him. Sounds legit. Tormund insists that Ygritte be laid to rest in the true north where she belongs. Jon takes Ygritte north of the wall and burns her body.
Also north of the wall, way north of the wall, just as Bran and his group find the Weirwood tree in Bran’s visions, they are attacked by those skeleton things you find in the caves of Skyrim.
Bran wargs into Hodor to fight them off while Meera handles her business fighting and trying to keep Jojen safe. She only succeeds at one of those things as Jojen is fatally stabbed. The rest are saved by a little wood nymph of a girl who shoots fireballs. She coaxes them to join her in a cave under the tree where the skeletons can’t follow. Meera slits her brothers throat to spare him from falling into the hands of the skeletons. The little girl blasts Jojen with a fireball for good measure.
In the cave, Bran meets an old man fused to a tree. He’s the one who has been leading Bran. He tells Bran he won’t ever walk again, but he will fly.
The Lady and The Hound
Brienne and Podrick awaken to find their horses are gone. When they go looking for them, they find Arya practicing her water dancing. The Hound’s taking a shit so that gives Arya time to chat with Brienne. They briefly bond over being girls with swords who kick ass. Then The Hound appears and Pod recognizes him. Brienne figures out who Arya is, but Arya won’t go with her even after Brienne tells her she made a pledge to Catelyn Stark. All Arya hears is that Brienne failed to protect her mother. It doesn’t help matters that The Hound suspects Brienne’s fancy Valyrian steel sword was purchased with Lannister gold. Brienne admits that Jaime gave her the sword and then does a piss poor job of explaining herself.
Brienne and The Hound fight and it’s vicious and awesome. He beats the shit out of her, she beats the shit out of him and bites off his ear. She pushes him over the side of a cliff. In the middle of it all, Arya was able to get away and hide. As they search for her, Arya finds The Hound below. He’s a mess and dying. A dying mess, if you will. He wants her to kill him, show him mercy. When she doesn’t make a move to, he tries taunting her with all the horrible things he did to Micah and how he should have raped Sansa. Instead of stabbing him in the heart, Arya takes his silver and walks off, leaving him to die. He calls out repeatedly for her to kill him.
Great Things About This Scene
- The fight scene was every.damn.thing. It doesn’t happen in the books, but I think everyone was hoping this would happen when it seemed as if the two traveling duos were headed to the same place.
- The look on Arya’s face when the fight first begins. That girl has a bloodlust.
- The relationship between The Hound and Arya has been one of the show’s many highlights. She had made the decision, of her own free will, to stay with him and not go with Brienne. She may not have been in a place where she would have murdered him in cold blood, but she hadn’t forgotten the horrible things he’d done. She refused him the kindness of mercy, choosing instead to follow one of the other lessons he taught her: Dead men don’t need silver.
Happy Father’s Day!
Tyrion is not going to die at the hands of the executioner! Jaime comes to his rescue saying that he and Varys are going to break Tyrion out. After a heartfelt hug, goodbye, and thanks, Tyrion follows the tunnels to where he’s supposed to meet Varys… but wait. There’s more. Tyrion decides to stop by his father’s quarters. Remember Shae used these same tunnels to sneak into them when they belonged to Tyrion. It’s not clear what Tyrion was thinking or why he wanted to go, but he does. And speaking of Shae, he finds her in his father’s bed. She reaches for a knife and the two fight atop the bed. Tyrion chokes Shae to death and then eyes a crossbow mounted on the wall.
Tyrion finds Tywin dropping a royal deuce in the privy. As Tyrion points the crossbow at his father, Tywin has the nerve to pretend as if he thinks Tyrion is there to talk. He knows Jaime is the one who let him out and insists he would have never let Tyrion die for killing Joffrey. He wants to go to his chambers to talk, but Tyrion says Shae’s dead in there. He says he loved her, but he murdered her with his own hands. When Tywin insists on calling Shae a whore, Tyrion puts two bolts him, killing his father on the toilet.
Then he makes his way to Varys’ room. Varys puts him in a crate - hopefully not the same one he used to smuggle in the warlock - and has Tyrion loaded onto a ship. Varys is about to make his way back to the castle when he hears the bells ringing. Tywin has been found. Welp. Guess Varys is going wherever Tyrion is. He can buy clothes and a toothbrush when he gets there.
Meanwhile, Arya has also boarded a ship. She’s headed to Braavos after dropping that coin she’s had since season 2 and a little “Valar Morghulis.”
I loved this finale, but I am disappointed by one thing. If you’re not a book reader, you may want to avoid the clearly labeled spoiler below.
For a more in depth look at this episode, listen to our Game of Thrones podcast. It will be available on Tuesday morning. You can send feedback to be read on the air to projectfandom(at)gmail(dot)com. You should send feedback with book spoilers to nina(at)projectfandom(dot)com.