Tales From Westeros – Mockingbird
This episode begins with some good old fighting between siblings. Jaime is mad at Tyrion for undermining the deal he worked out with Tywin, in which Tyrion would be sent to the Wall rather than being killed for his “crime.” Tyrion, for his part, doesn’t want to go to the Wall for a crime he didn’t commit—death sucks for sure, but have you seen what goes on up there? Not only is it cold, miserable, dangerous, and a straight up sausage fest, but a man like Tyrion would surely be tortured until his dying day. There is one last grain of comfort for the brothers though. Everything played out exactly as Tywin would’ve wanted it to, making Jaime and Tyrion assume that the whole shebang was a ploy to get Jaime to leave the Kingsguard and get rid of his youngest without actually killing him. It’s kind of genius, actually. Tyrion’s claim that “It felt good taking that away from him” is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
It’s safe to say Tyrion assumed Jaime would be his champion at the trial. Yet in the heat of the moment, he forgot that Jaime is…missing a fucking hand. He’s a lefty now and would surely lose the battle. The bad news gets even worse when Jaime informs Tyrion that the other fighter would be Gregor Clegane…the Mountain. Cut to the next scene where the Mountain looms, sliding his sword through unlucky folks like a hot knife through butter. This is who Tyrion’s champion will have to fight, probably to the death. Can you blame everyone for being all like, NOPE?
Later in the episode, Bronn also visits Tyrion. He’s all gussied up and announces that he’ll soon be marrying way above his station. Things are on the up and up for the former sellsword, all thanks to Tyrion. Having Bronn as his champion is Tyrion’s second choice, but like when he asked Jaime, it just doesn’t work out as he planned. These two sure things give valid reasons for not doing it (missing hands, unwillingness to plunge forward into certain death) and Tyrion is SOL, jokingly stating “I suppose I’ll have to kill the Mountain myself. Won’t that make a great song?” Gregor Clegane is no joke, my friends.
Meanwhile, his brother Sandor still roams the countryside with Arya Stark. The writers include these two in almost every episode, even though it doesn’t do much to progress the plot. They’re on their way to the Eyrie (what else is new), but to what end? I’m pretty sure they’re just fan favorites and people like watching them bicker. Anyway, they meet a dude with a belly wound dying amidst a pile of burnt buildings. They put him out of his misery. They meet a dude Arya hates. They kill him too (but not until after he takes a big juicy bite out of the Hound’s neck). Okay, cool. It gets a bit more interesting when Arya suggests sealing the neck wound with fire, but as we all know, the Hound simply doesn’t do fire. Like, ever. That’s why he deserted during the Battle of the Blackwater— he was surrounded by wildfire, the stuff of his nightmares. So naturally, he bristles at her suggestion. But then, in a rare confessional moment, he lets it drop that the scars on his face were caused when his very own brother (that’s right, the Mountain again) held his head down into a fire for a completely frivolous reason. Ah, I see what the writers are doing now. They’re psychologically preparing us for how insane the fight will be between the two champions, because the Mountain is a near-inhuman monster. Got it.
Up at Castle Black, Jon Snow is experiencing problems of his own. He’s CLEARLY in the right about how dangerous a threat the advancing wildlings are, yet it seems his opponents don’t care simply because they want to bully him into oblivion. This is absolutely insane. Yeah, you don’t like the guy, but come on—do you not like him to the point of suicide? You can’t defend the Wall against a hundred thousand wildlings. You can’t defend it against GIANTS. Listen to Lord Snow. Stop acting like you’re in middle school.
In Meereen, Dany is okay with intruders, as long as they look like Daario Naharis. Apparently he’s good at two things (war, women) and is feeling a bit like a caged beast without the opportunity to exercise his talents. What else is a girl to do but keep her generals happy? Anyway, that happened, and how it unfolded is a stark contrast to the shy girl newly married to Khal Drogo from Season One. Now, the queen of Slaver’s Bay simply utters a stern, “Take off your clothes” when she sees a man she likes. That’s scandalous enough, but I felt more awkward watching Daario’s walk of shame as he left Dany’s chambers and encountered the lovelorn Ser Jorah. (Actually, Daario didn’t seem ashamed at all…walk of pride?) To Jorah’s credit, he kept it together and merely advised Dany on matters of state like he’s supposed to. She has sent the Second Sons to retake Yunkai and execute every Master while they’re at it. Jorah disagrees with this, arguing that there is good and evil on both sides of every war—he even brings up that he used to be a slaver himself, and Ned Stark let him live. Dany is idealistic to the point of tyranny, spitting out that “They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one.” It’s a quality that demands respect but she’s also basically just a kid with minimal experience.
On Dragonstone, Lady Melisandre takes a bath and makes jokes. At the same time. She’s spending some quality time with Stannis’ wife Queen Selyse. It gets a bit weird (even weirder since Melisandre refuses to put clothes on), as Selyse is aware that Stannis and his Red Woman have been (are still?) intimate. Selyse clears things up however, claiming it was all in service to the Lord of Light. Of more concern to her is her heretical daughter, Princess Shireen. She doesn’t want to bring Shireen with them, wherever they’re going, but Melisandre states she must go, as “the Lord needs her.” Given what we know about Melisandre’s fetish with royal blood, all I can do is say okaaaay…
Brienne of Tarth and her squire Podrick seem to be getting along much better during this leg of their journey. They’re splurging for grub and a night’s sleep in an actual bed, and Brienne takes the opportunity to ask around about Sansa Stark. They definitely stopped at the right inn because—look, it’s the return of Arya’s friend Hot Pie! (Best name.) He doesn’t know jack about Sansa, but he does tell them what he knows about Arya, dispelling the commonly held belief that she’s dead. To the Eyrie! #WolfPie #Winterhell
If you thought you couldn’t feel any worse for Tyrion, the show gives a nice glimpse of the Halfman’s depressed mug in the darkness of his cell. Brutal. It’s the middle of the night, and he has yet another visitor—Oberyn Martell. The Red Viper comes with stories. Stories of a hot blonde that wants Tyrion dead (his own sister), stories of visiting Casterly Rock when he was young and witnessing the cold-bloodedness of the Lannisters for the first time. We get an idea of why Cersei hates him so much—she believes he caused their mother’s death. The more open-minded Oberyn is sympathetic towards Tyrion and respects him, even though he hates the Lannisters as a rule. But that’s not why he volunteers as champion. He does that for a chance to exact revenge on the man that killed his sister’s children—Gregor Clegane. (It’s all coming up Mountain.)
On another (actual, literal) mountain sits the Eyrie. It’s snowing prettily, and in a sweet, childlike moment Sansa kneels to constructing a snow-Winterfell—until Lysa’s still-breastfed kid Robin destroys it via flailing tantrum. Sansa rarely gets violent, but she slaps him hard in the face. He’s a brat, and she’s had enough…and it’s WINTERFELL, representing everything she’s lost in the last few years. Immediately regretful, the prim and proper Sansa apologizes profusely as Littlefinger approaches with that knowing look in his eye. He shuts down her apologies, and steers her firmly into the Creep Zone, confessing to Sansa what everyone knows, that he’s always been in love with her mother and wants to avenge her death—then tells Sansa she’s more beautiful than Catelyn ever was. And kisses her. And before we can even process this, we realize Lysa saw the whole thing! Exiting Creep Zone, entering Crazy Town, you guys. (Accessible through a Moon Door.)
Summoned by Lysa, Sansa thinks she’s going to get yelled at for slapping Robin. Little does she know Lysa will soon have her by the neck, staring down hundreds of feet through a hole in the floor as the wind howls loudly. Sansa’s about to be toast—but Lord Baelish saves the day. He orders Lysa to let her go, and let her go she does, allowing him the chance to push HER through the Moon Door. It happens quickly, but there was more than enough time to psychically wound Lysa by telling her he has only ever loved Catelyn. Again…brutal. But deserved.
After reeling a bit from those events, I’m left wondering if Sansa was entirely innocent. I don’t think she planned the murder of her aunt, or tricked Littlefinger into kissing her— more like she’s now realizing that she does have some agency in this world, even if it’s the old tried-and-true using of her beauty to get what she wants. And haven’t we seen time and time again that the tools women have in Westeros are limited?
What did you think of this episode? I bet you thought the trial by combat would be happening by now (I did). Were you shocked at Lysa’s death? How does anyone sleep in the Eyrie with that Moon Door? I’d be terrified of sleepwalking.
-Izzy Vassilakis Eden
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