All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As much as I can, I am going to try and keep things episode/season specific. It’s out of respect to the narrative as well as the later seasons. Onwards!
2.10 Valar Morghulis
We’ve made it through Season 2! Whoo hoo! It’s not my favorite season. It has it’s moments and it’s better crafted than parts of 6 and definitely 7, but it’s not up there up there.
Valar Morghulis is an old Valyrian saying that roughly translates into, “All men must die,” kind of like an old proverb as well as a greeting, dismissal, etc. It’s used mostly in Braavos, but not unusual to hear in other parts of the Wester-universe.
The episode opens with Tyrion, recovering from his face slashing at the Battle of Blackwater. Pycelle delivers the news that Stannis was defeated by Tywin, who has pretty much taken all the glory of the battle from Tyrion, as well as the position of the Hand and so forth. It’s a small moment with Pycelle, when he tosses a coin to Tyrion with the same phrase that Tyrion previously had with one of his prostitutes- a reminder that Tyrion might have been popular among the people, but was heavily disliked by other political figures.
We are treated to what is Tywin’s greatest entrance on the run of the show, as his horse takes a giant dump before he enters the Throne Room on horseback. He doesn’t even bother getting off the horse as Joff announces his victory and hands over his pin. It is the most posturing of any moment any character has ever had on this show and Tywin basically wins all dick measuring contests from here. Thanks for playing!
Joff is in a giving mood as he grants Littlefinger Harrenhal for brokering the Tyrell-Lannister deal, which now gives Littlefinger a title and Varys just can’t handle the moment as Littlefinger is nothing more than a self-serving asshat who doesn’t care about the Realm. As his gift, Loras asks that Joff take Margaery as his wife to unite their houses. There’s some more rehearsed mumbo jumbo with heavy sexual innuendo, more pronounced by Margaery’s unusual amount of cleavage. I swear, this is the boobiest of dresses in non-sex Westeros scenes and it’s really out of place. I love Margaery, but I think Natalie Dormer and the character are strong enough to have made her sexuality work without it being overt.
Much to Sansa’s delight, Joff breaks off their marriage proposal to marry Margaery, but Littlefinger reminds her that Joff isn’t just going to let her leave- he’ll still find torturing her an enjoyable activity. Littlefinger promises to keep her safe and get her home and so begins his tutelage of Sansa Stark.
Over in Littlefinger’s brothel, Ros is still recovering from Joff’s beatings and in comes Varys with a good proposal. Interested in destroying Littlefinger and the Lannisters from the inside, Varys convinces Ros that her talents of charm and manipulation are being wasted and offers her the chance to be his partner.
Brienne and Jaime finally land their little boat and come across three dead women, who Brienne wishes to give a decent burial. Three Northmen, presumable the ones who killed the women, show up and immediately taunt Brienne and tell her they gave two of the women quick deaths and one slow one- and Brienne returns the favor after they recognize Jaime. Brienne quickly puts on a fantastically brutal display. She’s also making it pretty clear that she doesn’t serve the Starks and only serves Lady Cat- it’s pretty symbolic that Brienne doesn’t mind mowing down the North’s own men for Cat’s interests.
In Camp Stark, Cat is trying to convince Robb to not marry Talisa, which would betray his engagement with the Frey girl. Cat tells him that love didn’t just happen with her and Ned, but slowly over the years- it wasn’t exciting but it was a strong foundation for the family as well as the region it served. Cat suspects this is all because the Frey girls aren’t pretty but Robb isn’t happy that his mother gave him away. Cat warns that if he treats his own oaths recklessly, his men will do the same, but Robb doesn’t want to hear it.
Really, I think that whole Ygritte-Jon discussion about succession and preserving bloodlines would have done well to switch places with Robb and Talisa as this would have given Robb more motive against the monarchy to break the mold of traditional marriages within noble birth, but nooooooooo, we had to get stubborn Robb who is just a two-faced idiot sometimes.
Back at Dragonstone, Stannis is PISSED that Mel and her visions lied to him about winning Blackwater, but Mel insists that she only sees glimpses of the future so the bit about Tywin overrunning the bay was probably just a post-credits scene that she turned off too early. Mel claims she’s been fighting longer than all of his men combined and Stannis nearly chokes her to death, challenging her god to fight now and nearly exploding about Renly’s murder. As we’ve only seen Stannis supporting Mel and her wacky was, this is a rare moment we see Stannis questioning the path he has chosen- there’s a seed of doubt in the character.
In my favorite bit of the episode, there is a Northman blowing a horn outside Winterfell, calling for Theon to negotiate and simultaneously pissing him off. Theon finally breaks down why he was always so haughty in the North and why he had no second thoughts about doing what he did- to him, the North stripped him of a proper upbringing, a father, and a home, to be a prisoner who should be grateful to his captors. Luwin insists that he is there to counsel whoever holds Winterfell and that Theon should run and join the Night’s Watch where all his trespasses will be forgiven, but Theon refuses to be marked for a coward or be at Jon’s mercy.
Theon then delivers a rousing, epic ROHIRRIM speech to his twenty men and there’s even some Rocky music going on, which is pretty badass until you realize there’s only twenty men and this is a pretty meaningless battle that his own King in the War of the Five Kings doesn’t even support and his own men knock him out to hand him over to the North to take Robb up on his offer. If you were just starting to like Dagmar, he impales Maester Luwin, a HUGE no-no in Westeros, as Maesters are well-respected, neutral figures who provide wisdom and guidance. Like the Night’s Watch, they ignore most of the politics and serve their regions.
Back in King’s Landing, Varys lets Tyrion in on the secret that the Kingsguard who tried to kill Tyrion was ordered to do so by Cersei. As Tyrion is no longer the Hand, Varys has no reason to be there, but tells Tyrion there are many who will not forget and sends in Shae to provide some loving. Shae wants to take Tyrion to Pentos but he refuses as he’s still seeking validation and knows that he does have a place in King’s Landing.
Shae is either a great actress or she really does have feelings for Tyrion- and I think a part of her knows that Tyrion will never leave but by begging him to leave, she gives the impression that she would do anything for them to be alone and happy together with money no where to be mentioned. It’s hard to tell, but I can see this and the lack of any mentioning of pay or funding being a weapon for her. But it seems so genuine! Damnit Sibel Kekilli! Damn you for being so great!
Out in some Godswood, Robb and Talisa say the words and are married- where the fuck did they find the one guy who thought this marriage was a good idea? And why doesn’t Talisa remind Robb of his duties to his men and to his region? For someone so concerned with her brother and healing and neutrality, she’s doing a great job running the North into the ground. Fuck, she’s awful. And selfish. They’re both awful and selfish. Seeing the trail to the Stark downfall is so painful. [eats a bag of Cheetos, cries]
Over in Qarth (more crying- just make it stop), Dany finally arrives at the Tower of the Undying and finds herself somehow in the tower alone. She goes through a few different scenarios while following the sounds of her dragons. This happens later, but I hate Qarth, so let’s get it over with. First, she enters a room full of doors and selects one that leads to the Throne Room in King’s Landing. It looks to be covered in SNOW (get it?)- or possibly ash, as it shows the roof and ceiling have come down. Before Dany can reach the throne, she hears her dragons, which pull her into the next room- directly outside the wall, facing opposite Westeros- she sees a little hut, and it’s none other than Khal Drogo and their child, but before she can be fully sucked into this she hears her dragons again.
She finally finds her dragons chained up and Pyat Pree tells her that his magic regrew when the dragons were born and since they are strongest when they are with her, they’re going to keep all of them captive. Dany orders her dragons to burn Pyat with Dracarys. It’s fine. Dracarys gets more badass as it goes on and this moment is more ethereal than anything.
Dany later finds Doreah in bed with Xaro and they order him to open his big ass vault which has… nothing. XARO COMES FROM AND HAS NOTHING. Call him Xaro Nothing Zoan Whatever. On a bit of a power trip, Dany orders the both of them to get inside and locks them in, sacks his building, and struts away. You know, I honestly wouldn’t mind Qarth that much if Dany grew as a character, but she gets nothing and doesn’t develop at all, except saying she deserves this and deserves that but then does she ever really figure out what she wants and why by the end of this season? She gets one good line in about how she was sold to Drogo like a horse, but had she just given a whole soliloquy or conversation about how she or a woman shouldn’t need marriage to form alliances with men, my opinion of this would be different. Or even a reflection on what her marriage with Drogo really was, despite how much she loved him in the end. More mentoring or processing scenes with Jorah about diplomacy might have done wonders.
Somewhere… somewhere near Harrenhal, Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie have escaped and run into Jaqan H’ghar tells her if she’s interested, he can teach her how to assassinate people. Arya wants to be reunited with her family, so Jaqan gives her a raincheck in the form of a Braavosi coin- all she has to do is give it to a man from Braavos and say VALAR MORGHULIS. Jaqan then CHANGES HIS FACE before leaving her behind. I wouldn’t say the dynamic between Arya and Jaqan is anywhere near the one she has with the Hound, but it is funny and provides good levity throughout this season.
Back in Winterfell, the boys emerge from the crypts to find Winterfell in burnt ruins and a dying Maester Luwin in the Godswood. In a heartbreaking scene, Luwin bids the boys goodbye, tells Osha to keep the boys safe, and motions for her to give him a merciful death. One of the first drawn out deaths we’ve had. Bring me more Cheetos. I kind of prefer when they’re kept quick.
Up Beyond the Wall, Ygritte is badgering Jon and Qhorin starts in on Jon, asking if he was going to give Mance intel on Castle Black. Qhorin and Jon fight to make Jon’s desertion look real and Jon kills Qhorin. This somewhat solidifies Jon’s infiltration of the Wildlings so he can gather enough info on Mance Rayder for the Night’s Watch.
Back at the Fist of the First Men, Sam, Grenn, and Edd are searching for dung to set on fire when they hear three horn blasts go off- for WHITE WALKERS. Edd and Grenn sprint away and Sam falls behind and let’s commence one of the worst edited sequences. The way this is shot and cut makes it look like the White Walker and Sam are looking right at each other and that the White Walker deems Sam not worthy enough for his wight army, but according to showrunners- Sam sees them from afar and it’s a different rock he’s hiding at. DUMB EXCUSES. POOR CUTS.
Up next, we have our Season 3 premiere: 3.1 Valar Dohaeris!