So this is it. Ten weeks of murder, betrayal, battle and honor all come to a head as Game of Thrones concludes its second season run with an episode that moves the story forward in several ways and for all of those involved. One thing is definitely for sure: things will never be the same again.
- After being gravely wounded last week, Tyrion wakes to find himself in a devilish predicament. Not only is Pycelle practically gloating over his bedside, he’s informed that Cersei ordered the attack on him mid-battle and that he’s no longer Hand of the King due to his father’s arrival. He’s also informed that the wild folks he brought with him last season have been paid off handsomely and have promptly left, and Bronn has been relieved of his position as Commander of the Gold Cloaks. His allies have deserted him and only Shae remains, leading to an emotionally-charged moment between them with his true love promising to never leave him, no matter how wounded or broken he may be.
- After last week’s arrival to save the day, Tywin Lannister is pronounced the saviour of the city (although I’m inclined to think that the citizens would disagree) and he’s given the title of Hand of the King. Also, the Tyrells make a begrudging pact with the Lannisters, leading to Loras asking Joffrey to combine their two families by marrying Margeary “I want to be the Queen” Tyrell. After some deliberation regarding his current oath to wed Sansa, a new oath is undertaken and Margaery will become the next Queen. Gosh, she must really be desperate to be able to put up with Joffrey, although I think the young King may find himself a little shocked at how much she won’t be pushed around.
- How could Joffrey possibly have declined the offer of Margaery as his bride when she was wearing that ridiculously provocative dress? This woman would probably strip down to the bare skin and do a naked rain dance in the middle of the throne room if it meant she would be Queen by the end of it.
- After witnessing Joffrey renounce their oath of marriage, Sansa is understandably delighted but she also believes that it means the King will finally let her free to return home. Wrong, as Littlefinger rightly points out. In fact, things may be worse for her. The beatings and possible rapes may increase now that they aren’t bound by the promise of marriage. Gosh Sansa, I bet you really wish you have fled with The Hound last week don’t you? Luckily for her, Littlefinger promises to get her back home to her family out of kindness to her mother. As he says earlier, King’s Landing is full of liars and I can’t help but think that Baelish is the biggest of them all. After all, his fibs contributed significantly to landing Ned Stark in the position he found himself in last year.
- Lord Varys pays a visit to the whorehouse and by extension to Ros, who knows him but doesn’t immediately confess to such. He knows about her treatment at the hands of Cersei’s guards and tells her that she’s right to be afraid of Baelish, who owns the establishment, but that he knows his weaknesses and together they could be partners in crime. Ros also makes an attempt to grope Varys’ nether regions but there is nothing there but an empty space. One does not simply grope the Eunuch my fair lady.
- After last week’s huge assault on the city, the events were moderately quiet in the finale. Joffrey promising to wed his family to the Tyrells opens up a lot of possibilities, and it means we’ll see a lot more of Margaery and her wickedly unknown intentions. We’ll also see just as much of Tyrion and more of Tywin, which pleases me greatly. I also don’t know how much longer Sansa will remain a prisoner in the city as she surely doesn’t hold much leverage now, only as a tool in which to keep Robb Stark in line so that he never attacks the city. However, given the King in the North’s actions later in this episode, I’m not sure she’ll be needed in the long run.
- Brienne is still escorting Jaime Lannister to the safety of King’s Landing and what a task that is turning out to be for her. She’s having to endure quips and jibes all along the journey until they come across three tavern wenches strung up from the trees with a notice around their necks saying they ‘slept with Lions’. Brienne pauses to cut them down but they are interrupted by three men who firstly make fun of her gender and secondly quiz them both on who they are and the crimes the prisoner has supposedly perpetrated. Eventually, they come to a point where they cannot hold the lie up anymore and Brienne promptly lays waste to each of them in such a ferocious way that even the Kingslayer himself is astonished. The third man, the one who laughed at the fact one of the dead girls didn’t get a quick death, finds himself skewered in a very unnerving area, inducing feelings of nausea among anyone watching of the male variety.
- After she’s dispatched with the three guards, Jaime asks her if she knows that she’s just murdered Stark men but Brienne doesn’t serve the Starks; she serves Lady Catelyn and she promised to get him to King’s Landing and that she intends to do. She’s fiercely loyal and brilliant in battle; I think all of the Kings and Lords in Westeros need their own Brienne of Tarth to keep them safe, although come to think of it, it didn’t do Renly much good when he was murdered by a shadow did it?
- This week, Robb makes the single most idiotic decision he’s made to date when he announces to his mother that he doesn’t intend to marry Walder Frey’s daughter, as he promised to do under oath. He wants to be with Talisa instead and that’s very nice and all but one does not break an oath and expect butterflies and roses to come flowing from within. This is Westeros after all, where girls are decapitated for taking food from the stables during war. What Walder Frey will do when he discovers of his betrayal will likely make that pale in comparison, and not just for the King who’s letting his dangling weapon do his thinking for him.
- Later on, Robb and Talisa are married to each other in a private ceremony, away from prying eyes. However, the deed has been done and trouble will definitely arrive further down the line. Do any of these Starks, bar Arya, actually have any brains to keep themselves alive with? It seems that imbecility is a genetic trait than passes down from Stark to Stark.
- Things go from bad to worse for Theon Greyjoy this week. Winterfell is surrounded by Robb’s crew sent to retake it from him. He has twenty men and they are five-hundred strong, and there is no possible way for them to get out of the situation with their lives. As one man continues to irritate him by blowing a siege horn in the distance, he consults with Maester Luwin on how best to deal with the predicament. Luwin advises him to run and head North to the Wall and join the Night’s Watch, where he cannot be touched, but ultimately he refuses. Outside, he attempts to rally his troops into dying on that day in battle against the enemy, and it appears to be going well until he’s clonked on the back of the head mid-speech, hooded and dragged away by the same men he took Winterfell with. Luwin runs out to demand to know what they’re doing and receives a the end of a spear in his gut as a result.
- Later on, Bran, Rickon, Osha and Hodor all emerge from the crypt they’ve been hiding in to find Winterfell burned to the ground. Everybody has been killed, buildings have been leveled and the place is a ghost town. They come across a dying Luwin who advises them not to head South, as there are too many enemy forces there, but instead head North to The Wall where Jon will look after them and send word to their mother. Away from the children’s ears, he also asks Osha to keep care of them, even against her own kind, as she is their only hope. He also requests a quick finish via knife, which we don’t see carried out but is inevitably done nevertheless.
- Anybody else find the scene between Luwin and the children heartbreaking? He seems to have been the one true constant in their lives that remained after their parents had either left or been killed and even after the Greyjoy troops invaded and took control. Now that constant is gone and things are in flux for them, with danger surrounding them in every direction and a perilous journey at hand for the foreseeable future.
- It was a little disappointing to not see Winterfell being obliterated but I suppose, given last week’s budget demolition at the hands of Blackwater, it’s to be expected that certain sacrifices had to be made.
- Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie all fled the ruined remains of Harrenhal two weeks ago and now they’re continuing on with their journey. Jaqen H’Garr catches up with them and tells Arya that if she wishes to know how to kill like he does, to go with him to Braavos and learn the art. She declines, stating that she needs to find her family again, and he hands her a coin. This coin is of great value, he tells her, but not in the way you’d imagine. If the day should come when she should need him again, all she need do is hand the coin to any man in Braavos and say the words ‘Valar Morghulis’ and he will find her.
- Arya asks Jaqen to stay but he tells her that Jaqen is now dead. When he looks away and turns back, he’s sporting a completely different face. So he’s a shapeshifter? Likely so, which makes all of those impossibly-executed kills look simpler when he could simply change his face and kill them from the shadows whilst looking like another. Still, if we should meet Jaqen again (which I strongly expect), it won’t be the same delectable face we’ve been treated to this season and that saddens me immensely.
- Dany and Jorah finally come face-to-face with the House of the Undying in a quest to rescue Dany’s three baby dragons from the clutches of Pyat Pree the Warlock. Jorah loses sight of the Khaleesi when they try to locate an entrance and inside, Dany yells at them that they cannot frighten her with magic tricks, before hearing her dragons squeal in the distance and provide a location for her to trek towards.
- Further in, she finds herself heading through a door that leads to a ruined throne room in King’s Landing, which is firmly in the grips of Winter and as deserted as far as the eye can see. She’s about to touch the throne when her dragon’s again cry out in the distance, and she leaves to find them.
- Did anyone else find themselves in inexplicable excitement at Dany finally being in the throne room, albeit a dream-esque version? We’re unlikely to see it happen again in the near-future so we’ll need to fondly remember it for the time being.
- After finding herself in the throne room, Dany proceeds to arrive at the Wall and also at a familiar-looking tent. Inside waits Drogo and her newborn son, both of which she lost tragically last season. They share an intimate, and emotional, moment before Dany heads off once more for her dragons.
- Eventually, she locates the dragons and finds them chained to a pedestal before she’s greeted by Pyat Pree and several versions of himself. When the dragons were born, their magic was awoken and because their magic is most potent in the presence of the Khaleesi, she shall remain there forever with said dragons – against her will. She’s chained to the wall but Dany knows better than to scream at her captor. One whisper of ‘Drakaris’ and the dragons lay fiery waste to the Warlock and the chains drop the floor in ashes.
- Seeing Dany finally use ‘fire and blood’ to lay waste to her enemies was hugely satisfying. All of this season’s chatter about how she’s going to slaughter them became irritating but when she finally did, it felt so fantastic. A Warlock cannot chain a khaleesi to the wall and expect to get out with his life.
- Later on, Dany discovers one of her hand-maidens, Doreah, in bed with Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who helped the warlock to steal her dragons. The key to his supposedly massive vault containing riches beyond imagination is stolen from around his neck and used to open said vault. Inside, they find nothing but a concrete tomb, which is then occupied by the pair as Doreah pleads with the khaleesi for her life before the door is shut with chilling menace. Dany and her khalasar promptly raid Xaro’s quarters for anything of value in order to buy them a single ship, as their presence in Qarth was always meant to achieve in the first place.
Beyond the Wall
- This season concludes with the events beyond the Wall, which has stagnated for a considerable amount of time this year. Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand are being transported to Mance Rayder. That is until Qhorin and Jon come into confrontation with each other and the elderly crow is butchered as a means of initiating Jon into the organisation, as it were. The ropes are cut and it appears as though Jon has successfully infiltrated the Wildling army, before they emerge over a cliff and witness a massive army of Wildlings gathered below them. When I say massive, I mean flippin’ gigantic.
- Ending the season on that cliffhanger would’ve been enough but that doesn’t happen. Instead, we conclude things with a brilliant scene with Sam and the other Night’s Watch men. A horn suddenly blows in the distance. Returning rangers, they assume, until it blows for a second time, indicating wildlings approaching. However, their blood runs cold when it blows for a third time, meaning they’re about to get a nasty encounter with white walkers. They flee for their lives but Sam fails to keep up and is encompassed by a huge oncoming force of dead corpses and rotting horses that still walk. He’s spotted by one of the undead riders but is ignored as the attack squad continue their approach to the wall.
- There are wars raging South of the Wall and Kings butchering each other but the biggest threats emerge North of the Wall, with a huge Wildling force and an army of White Walkers ready and waiting to storm the wall and invade the seven kingdoms. I doubt we’ll see either of these happening for a while but the foundations have now been laid.
And so we come to the end of season two. I have a mixed bag of emotions ranging from the extremely emotional and wanting to sob into a cushion, to feelings of overwhelming joy at the cliffhangers presented to us and the possibilities for next season. There are few shows currently on TV that offer what Game of Thrones offers. Actually, scrap that, there are no shows on television that offer what this show does. Season two has impressed on as many levels as the first did and provided two final episodes of pure excellence to lead off into next year.
I have immensely enjoyed writing these posts and many, many hours have been spent watching the show and then writing about it. I will most likely do it again next season but it saddens me to say that this is the final time I’ll be writing about Game of Thrones for the near-future. The upside to season two finishing is that I am now free to read A Storm of Swords without conflicting stories confusing events.
Now, can we get the DVD please? Oh, we’ll probably have to wait till next March for that as well. Excuse me while I go over to that corner and sob quietly…