Tales From Westeros – Mhysa
Unfortunately, we’re at the end of this excellent season of Game of Thrones. I have one question to ask all of you—are you done mourning yet, or will you take the (non-Crow) Black for the rest of the summer? While we collectively took the week to cry, yell, and trash talk G.R.R. Martin with enough venom to make the Internet explode, Westeros marched on. In fact, the aftermath of the infamous Red Wedding was still raging in the opening scene of the finale, with Freys and Northerners still at it and enough fires left burning to put that “look” in the Hound’s good eye. If you thought your heart wasn’t broken enough, some Frey soldiers sure knew how to blast it to smithereens once and for all by bellowing the impromptu little number “Here comes the King in the North” while parading Robb’s body around, the head replaced by that of his direwolf. All while Arya watched. I know we’ve said this before but it bears mentioning yet again: poor Arya. During last week’s infamous wedding, it seemed that after his wife and unborn child were killed, Robb almost wanted to die. Not Arya. Arya lets her hate fester and it’s making her hard and dangerous, as we’ll see later in the episode.
Back in King’s Landing, life seems almost pleasant as the awkward trifecta of Tyrion, a still-clueless Sansa, and Shae take a walk in the gardens. Tyrion and Sansa seem to be getting along; they’re planning revenge together at least. (Also, it’s cute/annoying that Sansa doesn’t know the right word for “shit.”) Tyrion is suddenly called away to the Small Council, and what he finds there is the usual Lannister and Lannister-sycophant clusterfuck. Tyrion learns the news, hot off the press: the Starks are no longer a problem. We also learn that the mastermind behind the whole thing was not Walder Frey or Roose Bolton, but the man with the brains and gold, Tywin Lannister. His uncanny ability to pinpoint what will make a man turn to betrayal (money, revenge) and letter writing skillz are not to be underestimated. Tyrion is basically horrified and rightly mentions, “the Northerners will never forget.” (If there are ANY LEFT, that is.) Lord Bolton will be named Warden of the North until Sansa bears Tyrion a son, at which point the Lannisters will also control the North. Boom. Checkmate.
This scene is notable for more than just letting the audience know these facts. There are two exchanges that worm their way into our hearts and invoke “feelings.” The first one is the actual best, and it’s when Tywin tells Joffrey to go to bed because he is being a little bitch. In fact, as we speak, I’m writing a pop-punk song in the style of Sum 41 called “Joffrey’s Not Tired.” #inspiration. The other exchange is not so gleeful. Father and son are clashing yet again. Tyrion calls into question Tywin’s moral code, and he defends it. This is interesting in and of itself, as he actually makes some good points. Yet when Tyrion accuses him of never concerning himself with the well-being of others, only the abstract notion of preserving the Lannister name, you know THAT’S the truth too. And THEN, when Tywin finally pinches out that his big mistake in life was not killing adorable little baby Tyrion the moment he was born…any logic Big T swayed you with is erased. It was a nice little foray into the Lannister behind-the-scenes, and any Tyrion empathy is further heightened as he finds Sansa miserably yet resignedly gazing out of the window, obviously newly aware of the fate of her family. Sigh.
When Robb died, Catelyn believed he was her last surviving son. However, Bran and Rickon are still kickin’ (sorry), and Bran’s crew finds shelter at the abandoned, and purportedly haunted, Nightfort Castle of the Night’s Watch. While I thought the Red Wedding episode was nearly perfect, the one thing I wish the writers would have done was emphasize that the Starks were guests of the Freys and how much of an anathema the violation of Westerosi guest right is. So I was happy when Bran took it upon himself to inform viewers using the tale of the Rat Cook that served the Andal King a pie made of the king’s own son. The slain prince was a guest, and the angry gods turned the cook into a rat in response to this violation of guest right. So Frey, Bolton, Lannister: y’all are anathemas.
The Lords Bolton and Frey don’t seem to feel like that however. Walder is still leaking spittle and cackling at his own lame jokes; Roose (part of me wishes he had hung Robb so I could call him “Roose the Noose”) is just being a sociopath, like you do. They’re lamenting the fact that the Blackfish, praise the Old Gods, got away. He probably slew a hundred Freys on his way out. Edmure is also still alive…and in captivity. As Warden of the North, Roose is dealing with the problem of the invading Ironborn his own way: by loosing the product of his tainted loins on their prince. The man that has been torturing Theon Greyjoy this whole time is Ramsay Snow, Roose’s bastard son. Who is also a sociopath, OBVIOUSLY. We know this because of scenes in past episodes, and also because he is eating—NAY, SAVORING—a juicy sausage link in front of Theon after apparently relieving him of his manhood. (Sidenote: how does one survive such an ordeal with the lack of modern medicine and all?!) Also obvious is Theon’s death wish. He liked that thing, probably more than any other character aside from Robert Baratheon. The Bastard of Bolton then strips away Theon’s princely name as well as his manhood: he’s no longer a Greyjoy, merely “Reek.”
Back at the Nightfort, Bran, Hodor, Meera, and Jojen are settling in for a night of haunting when they hear a noise. Well, if it isn’t Sam and Gilly, probably the least dangerous people in all of Westeros. So that’s good. In terms of safety. Also in terms of Sam knowing Bran’s alive, and Bran knowing Jon’s (probably) alive. What does sucks is Sam’s face when he hears Bran ask for help to go back North. Everyone and their mom is trying to get the helllll below the Wall, and Bran’s just trying to get up there. Sam agrees to help, and what’s more—equips them with the dragonglass that helped him kill that White Walker.
We now flash to beautiful (not) Pyke, the largest Iron Island and where the Greyjoys hail from. The Iron Islands are a harsh and unforgiving place, and the Westerosi saying about the Ironborn, “hard places breed hard men,” certainly rings true when confronted with Theon’s father Balon Greyjoy. Balon is in turn confronted with a certain parcel arriving from the mainland, from someone called Ramsay Bolt—OMG it’s Theon’s junk. (Sidenote: how did they preserve it? It didn’t exactly arrive via FedEx.) Balon’s a straight douche and refuses to help Theon, but his daughter Yara (an epic badass if ever there was one, maybe if she ruled the Islands they wouldn’t bite so hard) fully defies him. She jets off on a speedboat to have a nice holiday weekend at this guy Bernie’s house. Kidding, she’s just gonna try and save Theon. Let’s not get too crazy here.
At Dragonstone, we see that Gendry is still alive. Davos is visiting him in the dungeons and they chitchat about growing up in similar disgusting environments, with “rivers of shit” being referenced a few times. Though Davos is a Lord and serves as Hand of the King, he was once a lowly smuggler, elevated for good service. So his sympathies lie with Gendry.
I’d like to take a moment to bow down before Conleth Hill, the actor that plays Lord Varys. He consistently rules in the best, slimiest way. His current goal is to get Tyrion’s mistress Shae out of King’s Landing. He gives her a sack of diamonds so she can start a nice new life, and she throws it back at him, spitting out that if Tyrion wants her to leave he can tell her himself. This implies several things: that Tyrion sent Varys (which I doubt); that something bad is going to happen to Shae (always possible); and that no wonder Tyrion’s scared of her. Meanwhile, the siblings are having a heart-to-heart. It’s an oddly touching scene as Cersei describes how much she loves her children, “even Joffrey,” and how they are all she really has.
Well, all Arya Stark had was her family too, and now they’re DUNZO…so she kills a Frey soldier in such a fashion that she (I’m pretty sure) earns the Hound’s respect for all of eternity. Valar Morghulis, bitches. To cover the rest of the dwindling Starks, when last we saw (half-Stark) Jon Snow, he had escaped near death by wildling. Well, it seems that’s about to happen to happen again. Ygritte’s, shall we say, pissed. Pissed enough that no amount of earnest puppy-dog pleading from Jon will convince her that she doesn’t need to shoot three enormous arrows into various parts of his body. GAH: the Woman Scorned Edition. Hopefully he has enough wherewithal to make it back to Castle Black, where Sam and Gilly are in the process of convincing Maester Aemon to let Gilly stay and, in an eloquent mini-speech from Sam, to take the G-D White Walker situation seriously already. Aemon complies and sets about sending out 44 ravens to the various powerful highborn of Westeros. Oh, and Gilly names her son “Sam.” Awww.
One of those ravens finds its way to Dragonstone, its message to be sounded out by the newly literate Ser Davos. “Dark wings, dark words,” indeed. He is summoned to the gloating Stannis, who relates the Stark news and his belief that is was Melisandre’s sorcery that put the nail in his coffin. I mean, maybe? Who knows. They’re still going to burn Gendry. Ol’ Stan’s logic is “What is the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?” Davos replies “Everything.” The decision to do something heinously wrong is a slippery slope, and Davos originally backed Stannis because he believed him to be intrinsically good, if rather harsh. He’s basically fighting for his king’s soul at this point, so he goes and does something pretty drastic: he frees Gendry. Just puts him on a tiny boat and pushes him offshore…which of course causes Stannis to absolutely lose his shit. But Davos has a plan, and for once Melisandre backs him up. The Onion Knight tells Stannis he’ll need him more than ever—the war of the Five Kings is totally not what they should be wasting their Red Bull on. “Best be worrying about those White Walkers” is definitely a running theme during this finale.
JAIME’S HOME!!! Looking raggedy and missing a hand, but alive and in King’s Landing. They could have given us a longer Cersei and Jaime reunion scene (not like that, you pervs) though. It was just a tease, and we’ll have to wait months to see what happens! Something else we’ll have to wait a while to find out? Whether or not Jon survives his little lover’s quarrel. Did anyone else scream at the screen as he lay on the ground, three arrows sticking out of him, as the rest of the Watch bickered over what was happening? Seriously people, get a Maester.
We haven’t gotten a lot of our Mother of Dragons this season, but the few minutes Dany is on-screen are inevitably awesome. We have really seen this character come into her own—she’s transformed herself from scared little girl to liberator, from sexual object to “Mother” in the most powerful, spiritual sense. Her ironclad idealism and goodness of heart will undoubtedly cause issues in the seasons to come, but for now it’s doing nothing but winning battles and the love of new subjects. It was difficult not to shed a tear even as she crowd surfed through Yunkish freedmen like Courtney Love circa 1995. I will always root for Dany (especially now that Robb’s dead), but for now we’ll just have to wait out these long months with our other obsessions. What do you think? Will Dany ever get to Westeros? Is Jon dead? Did Theon deserve what happened to him? Until next season, Evil Geeks!
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