I took a little extra time this week to get my traditional second viewing of this week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ in (and to help My Mets Fan Brother move a bunch of shit up to Hoboken). There was A LOT going on in Westeros this week. But, as always, before we get into things…
WARNING: This post contains spoilers that include information regarding up to and including Season 4, Episode 8 of ‘Game of Thrones’. You’ve been adequately warned.
Let’s start at the end.If Twitter is any indication, there is a large center area in the Venn Diagram of GoT viewers and people who liked ‘The Princess Bride'; in the interest of keeping the time stamp to prove I wasn’t ripping off anybody else’s joke, I decided not to delete / correct my Tweet comparing Smooth Bisexual Prince Oberyn to “Indigo” Montoya. Stupid auto-correct.
Rock Beats Scissors
This week was also an aberration in that, while I usually watch the Thrones alone, the aforementioned My Mets Fan Brother was around, so I ended up watching it with him. While the sheer gruesomeness of it was enough to still make it shocking (not a small feat for a show where people regularly get decapitated or ‘flayed’), we agreed that we saw the demise of SBP Oberyn coming from a mile away.
I was initially disappointed with that predictability, until I realized: That’s the point. People talk about seeing car wrecks in slow, terrifying motion. Much in that vein, it was horrifying because we could see it coming, not in spite of it.
So, barring some chicanery (always possible), we saw the end of two of my three favorite characters in one soul / skull crushing swoop. Lovely.
Look, the show made its statement in Season 1 the moment Ned Stark’s head hit the basket: No one is safe. (More on this, and how I think one character in particular is going to get hosed, in a bit). RIP SBP Oberyn. I’ll pour out some mead for you.
Womp Womp Womp
MMFB and I also agreed on the episode’s best scene, care of the (probably) the last remaining of my three favorite characters.
#RealTalk: The Hound has been getting shit on with a frequency typically reserved for the show’s “good” characters. While trying to keep a small girl safe – no small task in Westeros – he showed up a few minutes late for the Red Wedding, fought an entire house of soldiers, had a ridiculous bounty put on his head, got bit by a dude, and this week found out that the person with a vested interest in forking over some coin for his hostage is dead.
When the guard at the Bloody Gate informed them that Lysa had died, Arya Stark burst out laughing. In doing so, she absolutely stole the episode.
I mean, #RealTalkRemix: What the hell else could she do? Fate stuck her and The Hound together, and fate kept taking steps to keep them together. At this point, they’ve overtaken Brienne and Jamie as my favorite buddy cop movie plot arc.
Speaking of Brienne – seemingly the only character with whom we didn’t check in this week – she’s heading towards the Bloody Gate, where The Hound and Arya will be presumably leaving. It would be an appropriate end to the Hound / Arya arc were they to run into Brienne, where The Hound says, “F- it. You can keep her.”
Lies, Lies, Lies
While the buzz this week appeared to mostly surround the episode’s closing fight scene, to me, the really story was about the balance of power in the North, and the use of lies in that battle.
Ramsay Bolton (née Snow) uses Reek / Theon to lie to the Ironborn soldiers at Moat Cailin, and tell them they wouldn’t get flayed. By a dude who’s banner is “The Flayed Man”. Who’s been going around flaying people. Right.
Meanwhile, up in the Vale, enough time around
Mayor Carcetti Littlefinger has apparently helped Sansa Stark absorb pants-on-fire level lying game by osmosis. She spins a very convincing tale to the Vale’s elders absolving Lord Baelish of any blame in her aunt’s death, freeing him up to get Robin outside the Vale’s gate so that he can meet with some unfortunate accident, leaving Baelish as Lord of the Vale (I think). This sets up a potential Baelish / Bolton showdown for control of the North, although I wouldn’t expect to see anything come of it this season.
Then, Sansa broke out the all black, low cut number. She finally manipulated somebody else. She’s in the game! This leads me to believe she’s also a dead woman walking.
Let’s recall some of the people who thought they were getting the hang of politics in Westeros:
Ned Stark – Dead
Robb Stark – Dead
Stannis Baratheon – Licking his wounds
Ser Jorah – Banished by Baberaham Lincoln
Theon Greyjoy – Now Reek
Tyrion Lannister – Soon to get mirked
Backtracking to Theon / Reek, did anybody else enjoy the parallel between the head guy at Moat Cailin saying “No surrender” before taking an ax to the back of the head and Theon’s inspirational speech at Winterfell before one of his own dudes conked him in the back of the head? Just me?
Anyway, Sansa wants to go from being a hapless victim / pawn to someone with a modicum of control of her life, and maybe even of some other people. The series has not been kind to characters attempting similar shifts. I wouldn’t get too attached.
- If the Sam and Gilly arc got any more boring, it’d be ‘Guiliana & Bill’.
- The Night’s Watch are screwed. It’d take such a deus ex machina to get them out of their predicament alive, I don’t see it happening without being borderline comical.
- Tyrion’s musings about his and Jamie’s beetle smashing cousin felt like a bit of a Rorschach Test; people hearing them are free to attach any number of meanings. I thought the more important aspect of the scene was two brothers sharing a last tender, laughing moment. But, perhaps that’s just the way my brain processes that particular ink blot.
- The Grey Worn / Missandei romantic subplot has the potential to get Sam / Gilly annoying. I’m not above balls / shaft jokes, but it felt out of place.
- Now that Ramsay is the legitimized heir to the North, does he put his father in his crosshairs? I suppose it’s possible that he’s crazy like a fox.
- If next week, as many people seem to believe, isn’t going to stray too far from Castle Black, that means we’ll probably get a lot of Stannis in the finale. I’m not down with this.
- I had resigned myself to Arya keeping the coin she received from the Faceless Man in her pocket for this entire season, until I saw the title of the season finale: “The Children”. Actually, now that I look at it, strike that. Prediction: The finale will see the deaths of at least two of the three Lannister children, including Tyrion.
It’s worth noting that the director of next week’s episode is the same guy who did the Blackwater episode. This is why we haven’t seen much of Daenarys’s dragons since the season premier; this is the one they’ve been saving this year’s SFX budget for! Building kick! Explosion!
Valar morghulis, kids.