I feel like there's some real forward momentum here leading up to the final three episodes of Game of Thrones. (Can you believe we're already at the final three? This has gone quickly.) It looks like they're setting up Tyrion's trial by combat for the next episode (maybe; they could push it to Episode 9 and give us a lot of setup in the next hour. Looks like we're getting more Theon. Yay?). The crux of the ninth episode (historically the BIG EPISODE in each Game of Thrones season) will be the battle for Castle Black...plus maybe some other stuff. I have a feeling that they'll end the season with that one thing that happened toward the end of A Storm of Swords (you know what I'm talking about), but we'll see if that pans out. Should be an exciting final three hours.
Tonight's episode, in many ways, was about sibling relationships -- good and bad; but let's be honest, mostly bad. This is Game of Thrones, after all. Let's check in with our brothers and sisters, shall we?
The Lannisters: We knew from the first episode of the series that this is one messed up family. They're the folks on your block who look perfect on the outside, but when the shades are closed, they're eating each other's hair and painting the walls with feces. Earlier in the series, it seemed to be Cersei and Jaime against Tyrion. Or at least it was Cersei against Tyrion, with Jaime on his sister's side because boobs, seeing as she let him touch hers. Now that her hooters have been closed to Jaime, he's starting to remember what a cool guy his brother is. Plus he doesn't want to see his father "win," because his father's a dick. Still, he won't act as Tyrion's champion in the trial by combat because Jaime is still not sure of his left-handed sword skills.
Tyrion gets over it pretty quickly and tells Jaime to send for Bronn, who fought for Tyrion once up in the Eyrie. Bronn shows up and tells Tyrion that he's a great guy, but he won't fight for him again because now Bronn has a wife and could possibly inherit her family's castle. (This also brings up another sibling issue: Bronn is married to the younger sister, Lollys. She doesn't stand to inherit the castle while her older sister still lives. So Bronn has big plans to help Big Sis along in the death department.) Tyrion and Bronn exchange pleasantries. Tyrion feels hopeless that no one will fight for him, but he understands why Bronn doesn't want to go up against the Mountain (Have you SEEN him?), and Tyrion realizes that a Bronn who doesn't look out for #1 is not the Bronn he fell in love with in the first place.
Lucky for Tyrion (who has been all kinds of unlucky this season), there's another guy in King's Landing who's also dealing with some sibling issues.
The Martells: Oberyn's sibling issue is that he wants revenge against the Lannisters for his sister's assault and eventual death at the hands of the Mountain (Seriously. Have you SEEN him?). By volunteering as tribute...er, champion in the trial by combat, Oberyn gets to accomplish two things 1) he gets to fight the dude who killed his beloved sister, and 2) he gets to royally piss off Cersei, whom he knows to be quite the bitch. (His earliest memory of her is seeing her pinch the peen of her "monstrous" little brother.)
Oberyn probably has a better chance than Tyrion against the Mountain, but he'll still need some serious skills to best him. (You've SEEN him, right?)
The Cleganes: Speaking of the Mountain, his brother Sandor is still trying to figure out how to get Arya to the Eyrie so he can get himself some silver. The two merry travelers find a house and wonder if it contains food or soldiers. They press their luck and find a dying man who's not sure why he hasn't offed himself yet. He's scared of the nothingness. Arya says you can't fear nothing. Nothing is neither good nor bad. It's nothing. Profound? Either way, the Hound doesn't care. He just sticks a sword through the old man's heart and does the guy the favor of putting him out of his misery. He tells Arya to stick the blade right through the heart. That's how you kill a dude.
Then Sandor gets jumped all of as sudden. Where was this guy hiding throughout the whole "nothingness" exchange? I have no clue. But whatever, now he's here and he's stabbing the Hound in the neck. Arya recognizes him as one of the prisoners Yoren was wheeling up to Castle Black all the way in the beginning of Season 2. This guy had told Arya that he was going to do awful things to her lady business, so Arya did awful things to his heart, just like the Hound taught her to.
Arya and the Hound get away, but he's still hurt. She wants to burn the wound for him in order to kill the bacteria. He's having none of it. The Hound hates fire. And then he tells her the story of how his brother Gregor (the Mountain, you'll recall) burned his face for borrowing a toy. It broke Sandor's heart that his brother was able to do that to him. He is all alone. His brother burned him, and he has no one. But then Arya offers to clean the wound and stitch it, so now he has her. Aww.
The Tullys: Lets talk about the Tully sisters, since Arya and the Hound are headed to the Eyrie anyway. Catelyn Tully was always the older one, the pretty one, the one who wasn't insane. Lysa was the Basement Baby, the Solange Knowles of the family. But now Lysa has everything she's always wanted. She has a lovely son who ruins people's amazing snow castles and offers to kill people by throwing them out the moon door like he's offering you a slice of lemon cake. She's married to the man she's always loved, Petyr Baelish. And she's alive while her big sister went and got her throat slit. Everything's coming up Lysa.
Except she sees Petyr kissing Sansa in the garden, and now it's like Catelyn has come from beyond the grave to send her daughter to the Vale and fuck things up specifically for Lysa. Lysa calls Sansa in for a meeting and tries to shove her down the moon door. But Littlefinger shows up just in time to save Sansa and tell Lysa that he's only ever loved one woman (Catelyn) before shoving Lysa herself out her beloved trapdoor. Good night, sweet lady.
The Black Brothers: Jon Snow is pretty sure he's the only one left of his Stark family, but he's still part of the family at the Wall, and, man, are they a petty bunch. Big brother Alliser Thorne really wants to put "Lord Snow" in his place. Jon is young, he killed Qhorin Halfhand, he got all buddy-buddy with Mance Rayder and the other wildlings. Plus, dude's got a head of hair that brings all the girls to the Wall. And now he's showing up at the Crow meetings with all his "ideas" and "suggestions" and Alliser can't allow Jon to be heard, because it diminishes his own power. So he asks his Crow council cronies to vote against Jon, regardless of if what Jon's suggesting makes logical sense. Always a smart strategy when dealing with angry mobs, giants, and undead monsters of uncertain origin.
Queen Selyse and Melisandre: They're sister wives kind of, yes? They're both sharing Stannis because the Lord of Light thinks it's a good idea for Stannis to spread his seed as far and wide as it will go. Selyse is fine with this, because she's fine with whatever the Lord of Light asks her to do, even if it's to bring her disfigured, monstrous daughter on a cruise, despite the fact that Davos sold all of her cabana wear to the Dragonstone thrift shoppe.
Daenerys: Her siblings are all gone, but she's the Mother of Fucking Dragons and she's also queen of some horrible new empire where no one listens to what she's telling them to do. The people in her clan are a lot like siblings, and there's some infighting for Mama's love. Daario and Jorah both want the attention of Daenerys, so she has to divide herself between the two of them. Jorah gets the part above Dany's shoulders and Daario gets everything else. Daario requests that he be allowed to go back to Yunkai and kill all the backsliding slave masters. Jorah suggests that they show mercy (like Ned Stark showed him). Dany agrees with Jorah, reluctantly. If Ned Stark hadn't shown him mercy, Jorah wouldn't have lived to serve the Khaleesi. And wouldn't that have been a shame? You know how happy Jorah makes all of us.
- Even though Jaime didn't take him up on it, it would've been kind of awesome to see Tywin's face if Jaime had volunteered as champion for Tyrion. The whole Lannister line snuffed out by a Mountain.
- They played the whole "who's going to be the champion?" thing perfectly, with Tyrion looking all bored with it. "Who will it be? Meryn?" And then they cut to this giant hulk of a man just obliterating everyone in his path. I'm sure most of the newbies had no idea that was the Mountain (especially because the Mountain has been recast about 32 times in four season), but even if you didn't know, it's a great sight gag.
- Also, how fast did the Mountain get to King's Landing? It seems like all of a sudden people are moving at the speed of light. But still Daenerys moves like a turtle caught in tub of Elmer's glue.
- As if we needed more reason to root for Jon Snow over the current acting commander of the Night's Watch, it turns out Alliser Thorne hates direwolves. He's Satan and Hitler all rolled into one.
- Did it seem like Selyse was concerned (or maybe excited) that the Lord of Light might want her to...service Melisandre in the bathtub?
- I didn't forget Hot Pie. Hot Pie!
What did you think of the episode? Do you think the trial by combat will take place next week or the week after?
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