After last week’s stunner, this finale was certainly never going to live up to the hype. Nevertheless, the fact that is still manages to be a superb episode is a pleasant surprise.
It’s a shame that Daenerys’ journey stalled this season. The season one finale ended with such promise, but this season relegated the character to a very passive role in Qarth – constantly whining or searching for her dragons. The finale thankfully rectified the storyline by having Dany finally make use of the Dracarys lesson as her trusty creatures burned through her and barbecued Pyat Pree. Now can the Mother of Dragons please do something more substantial with her time?
Quite intriguingly, Theon’s story came to a shockingly hilarious climax. His “inspiring “speech” to his troops was surprisingly effective – that is until Dagmar knocked him out and ditched him along with the rest of the crew. It was a low-key end to the storyline, yet perfectly punctuated by Dagmar stabbing Maester Luwin – a character we’ve truly grown to love over the course of the past two seasons. I don’t know if Theon can ever truly be salvaged, but he definitely went to some unpredictable places this season.
Speaking of Maester Luwin, his death was the most gut-wrenching scene of the episode. Everything from Bran and company finding the poor old man by the heart tree, to Luwin ordering them to find Jon Snow was painful to watch. And of course, his asking Osha to give him a quick death was the perfect ending to his grim demise.
Now can we take a moment and acknowledge the fact that the most unexpectedly heartwarming dynamic of the show in recent episodes has been Varys and Tyrion’s newfound friendship? Seeing Varys thank Tyrion for saving the city was a particularly touching moment. Even better, he brought him Shae who promised to stay by the imp’s side no matter what. I continue to adore these two and their relentless passion for one another.
And then there’s the finale’s end sequence with Sam getting stuck in the snow and finding himself in the middle of a White Walker horde preparing to launch an attack. The scene is beautifully set up with the three horns kicking off the creatures’ arrival, and that terrifying sight of an undead horse. I know the whole White Walker arc has been a slow burn since the pilot, but the finale definitely ends with one hell of a memorable shot (and screech).
Bits & Beheadings
– Pycelle giving Tyrion a coin is a great callback to that hilarious arrest scene.
– Tywin is the new Hand of the King. This should be fascinating! Also, it’s quite hysterical how the scene begins with his horse taking a dump outside the throne room.
– As promised, Littlefinger gets Harrenhall as a reward for bringing houses Lannister and Tyrell together.
– Superb sequence: Ser Loras offering Marjaery to Joffrey. Under Cersei and Pycelle’s various rule-bending, Joffrey gets to throw Sansa aside and pick himself a new queen. But the funnest part of all? Sansa pretending to be disappointing and then giggling in private at her new-found freedom.
– I loved the scene between Varys and Ros. More of these two together please!
– Probably my favorite scene in the episode: Brienne killing the rapers after they figure out she has Jaime, and then exacting justice for the poor victims by giving one of the attackers a painful death.
– Melisandre sure works fast: one minute she’s getting choked by Stannis, and the next she has him hypnotized by his future inside some burning flames. What did he see? Is finally a true believer? Talk about delusions of grandeur.
– I kind of want Tyrion’s scar; it’s badass!
– So the guard that tried to kill Tyrion last week is Ser Mandon Moore, and he was ordered to by Cersei. Also, Bronn has been relieved of his duties. Not cool!
– Robb and Talisa eloped in the forest. This won’t end well!
– Jaqen tells Arya that he can teach her how to kill her enemies if she comes to Braavos. Although she declines because she needs to find her family, he gives her a coin with the words Valar Morghulis. If you haven’t watched further, I will not spoil what these badass words mean just yet. Also, he showed her his face-morphing capabilities. Please become a series regular!
– Although I appreciated the thematic resonance (and the stunning imagery) of Dany first walking away from The Iron Throne, and then Drogo after she hears her dragons crying for her, something about this whole storyline felt haphazard and rushed.
– Heartbreaking scene with Dany meeting her dead baby.
– To ensure Jon can properly infiltrate the Wildlings, Halfhand sacrifices himself and fights Jon to the death. It’s predictable, but entertaining.
– That’s one HUGE Wildling camp.
– Although I should have seen it coming, I was actually surprised to see Xaro’s vault empty. So much for “the richest man in Qarth”. Nevertheless, Dany gets her revenge by locking Xaro and Doreah inside, and robbing what little gold the city has left. That’s harsh D!
Kings & Quips
Sansa: King’s Landing is my home now.
Littlefinger: Look around you. We’re all liars here. And every one of us is better than you.
Varys: (to Ros) Littlefinger looks at you and sees a collection of profitable holes. I see a potential partner.
Luwin: I’ve known you many years, Theon Greyjoy. You’re not the man you’re pretending to be.
Theon: Not yet. You may be right. But I’ve gone too far to pretend to be anything else.
Shae: You are a mess.
Tyrion: I’m a monster as well as a dwarf. You should charge me double.
Tyrion: I do belong here. These bad people are what I’m good at. Outtalking them, outthinking them. It’s what I am. And I like it. I like it more than anything I’ve ever done.
It might not be as monumental as the penultimate episode, but this is still a terrific season finale.