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!
Good episode. Not a reference to The Hunger Games. Mockingbird is, however, a direct reference to the bird Littlefinger has taken as his sigil. Of course, mockingbirds are a fairly harmless bird that can mimic the sounds that other birds make- which is a pretty accurate metaphor for how Littlefinger behaves down in King’s Landing. What’s even more is how his lessons pass down to Sansa and how she internalizes them. In one of the most famous pieces of literature, To Kill A Mockingbird, it’s described as a great act of evil to kill a mockingbird, and to do so is to an act of harm against ultimate innocence. That being said, is the title actually a reference to Littlefinger- or to Sansa? BOOM.
“But Littlefinger is so snarky and obviously evil!” you cry. Well, yeah. Aiden Gillan is usually a sign that character is the baddie. Petyr Baelish, book version, is actually really, very harmless in the books and it’s thought that he is everyone’s friend. Until he turns on Ned obviously, but there are never those talks with Cersei or whoever where he openly taunts them. Like, he never risks his position by implying he knows about her and Jaime. And it doesn’t really make any sense as to why they would keep him on the small council when he so very openly wants the Iron Throne. But you know. Television. If anything, Varys is given the more ambiguous position in the book, but I’m not complaining about Conleth Hill. I would never complain about Conleth Hill.
Mockingbird opens with Tyrion lamenting how he fell in love with Shae, which is… another slight deviation from the books. Not so much in the plot points but it was pretty impossible to capture the internal torment Tyrion has in the pages. It’s from first perspective and he spends most of his time with Shae telling himself not to fall in love because he knows that she’ll eventually betray him when a bigger bounty comes along. Shae doesn’t return his feelings, at least not to the extent that is shown here, and it’s implied that she very willingly testified against him. It’s Tyrion’s self-awareness that makes his plight more heartbreaking than the show was able to portray. I’ll hand it to Sibel Kekilli though. She’s terrific as Shae and it’s not an easy role to play. I just wish there had been one or two conversations with Bronn about how Tyrion shouldn’t trust her, so that could plant the seed in our heads while watching their relationship grow. It would make sense coming from Bronn, because we like Bronn and for the most part, what we see is what we get. He honestly presents all of his agendas and intentions without shame.
Cersei picks The Mountain as her champion for Tyrion’s trial by combat, and I mean, who wouldn’t? The Mountain has been recast yet again, so let’s just pretend that he’s gained about 200 pounds of muscle.
To tease us about Clegane Bowl (HYPE TRAIN, CHOO CHOO!), we cut to Arya and the Hound who have just arrived at a burning building, where a man has been stabbed and left for dead. Arya reveals who she is, perhaps to give the guy some hope, but he has no clue who she is! It’s reminiscent of the later scenes where she spins a lie to people before feeding them some sort of potion in the House of Black and White. Wonder if that was purposeful. Anyway, the Hound mercy kills him by stabbing him in the heart and is promptly bitten by Biter and that other dude. The other guys that were in the cage with Jaqan H’ghar. Anyway, they want Tywin’s bounty on the Hound and he tells Arya to put him on her list but she can’t because like us, she doesn’t know his name. He proudly exclaims that he’s Rorge and she literally thanks him before stabbing him in the heart- just where the Hound just showed her.
Jon returns to the Wall and is greeted warmly by everyone except Alliser. Jon reports back what he’s seen of the Wildlings and advises them to seal the tunnel because the Wildlings have GIANTs that can LIFT things. Alliser scoffs because that would limit the RANGERS and Jon is nothing more than a STEWARD and Jon is put back in his place, even with the obvious support of the other men.
Down in King’s Landing, a well-dressed Bronn visits Tyrion. Tyrion obviously wants to hire Bronn against Cersei, just as he did against Lysa Arryn but Bronn refuses. Cersei offered him a rich wife who is second in line for a castle to not fight for Tyrion. Bronn wouldn’t have fought the Mountain because he probably would have died anyway and now he is reluctant to leave his new security. The Mountain is “freakish big and freakish strong” and on top of that- he’s agile. Like Brock Lesner’s early days! Bronn’s strategy would be to dance around The Mountain until he tired out but he wouldn’t want to risk taking one wrong step- cough. Cough.
COUGH. Sorry. Bronn shakes Tyrion’s hands before he leaves, and he’s a little reluctant to let go- these two are kindred spirits. Together. Forever.
In Meereen, Daario has snuck through Dany’s window to offer her flowers because he’s a fucking creep. He admits his talents are in war and women, but there’s only patrol in Meereen and not war so… that leaves women. Daario will do whatever Dany commands, as a devoted security guard, so she orders him to strip down and… man, this scene just lacks chemistry. Like it’s there but to a certain extent. It’s not oozing sexual tension and this really should have been a culmination of both of their affections.
Emilia Clarke’s up and down glance though, it totally on point.
In Dragonstone, Seyse walks in on a bathing Mel because we haven’t seen Mel naked in a while. Most of Mel’s magic are just parlor tricks and lies, lies that will eventually lead to the truth aka The Red God. Mel appeals to Selyse and flatters her, calling her strong, saying she underestimates herself and then turns it into a request to bring Shireen with her as they begin their journey North. Jeez, she has already started plotting the end of Season 5. Wow. Totally missed this before.
Back in Meereen, Daario is doing a walk of shame and promptly runs into Jorah. Ouch. He obviously doesn’t approve and Dany doesn’t really care- it’s not like she trusts him or holds him in high regards or asks for his council, she just uses him for sex. Anyway, Dany has sent Daario and his Second Sons back to Yunkai to uh… kill the masters. And then what else? Probably return to Meereen. Jorah makes a good point when he says that killing the masters and treating them with brutality is not that different from how the masters treated the slave and pleads with her to show them something different. Dany proclaims that she is going to end slavery (something that she neeeeeever gets around to), but then offers to send Hizdar zo Loraq with Daario as to offer the masters a choice of living by her rules or dying because of theirs. It’s a fair deal. Papa Jorah is proud. When I put it like that, it is doubly gross. Ew, Jorah.
Back in the Vale, Arya offers to burn away the rotting flesh from the Hound’s bite and he immediately leaps up and refuses. The Hound says that no reward is worth the amount of trouble Arya has brought him and that he should have never helped her- a typical Hound move, to insult the person he feels close to, if they have just hurt his feelings. The Hound never had a brother that gave him a sword- just a brother who didn’t care about him, beat him, and burned him. Oh my god- the Hound is Nebula. Arya’s tune changes and she quietly realizes how lucky she was to have a family for at least a few years. The Hound grudgingly agrees to allow her to wash and stitch up his wound and it’s one of those quiet scenes where they don’t have to talk to give us the idea that they are finally on the same wavelength. It’s one of the strongest scenes of their relationship and the closest they come to admitting that they have an affection for each other- and quite possibly would not have survived without the other.
At the inn, Brienne and Pod are treating themselves to a night in and Hot Pie is serving them! He feels fairly comfortable with them and takes an uninvited seat at their table while giving some really passionate advice about gravy. Hot Pie is a nice dude so he starts asking Brienne lots of questions and Brienne cuts right to the chase- they’re looking for Sansa Stark and Hot Pie gets very uncomfortable. Just as Pod is lecturing Brienne about her interrogation tactics, Hot Pie changes his tune and offers Brienne the bits of information of Arya that he’s aware of, including how she is traveling with the Hound. See? Brienne knows who to trust. She’s got good instinct.
Can I just say, Pod is still calling Sansa “Lady Sansa”? He’s so proper and devoted. I ship Pod and Sansa so hard. Pod immediately knows that Arya is most likely being taken to the Eyrie, as Tyrion made sure he knew of all the relationships between the other houses and Pod absorbed all the information because Pod is a G. Brienne reasons that if Arya is being taken there, it’s possible Sansa is there too. And they’re off!
Back in Tyrion’s dungeon, Oberyn Martell pays him a visit. Oberyn knew all along that Cersei was trying to win his vote when masking her conversation with Myrcella and he’s impressed with how badly she wants Tyrion dead. Oberyn reveals he had met Tyrion when he was a baby and that Cersei always hated the sight of Tyrion, pinching baby Tyrion until he cried and cried- while Cersei just laughed. Somewhat disjointedly, Oberyn offers to be Tyrion’s champion so he can finally get his revenge on the Mountain. I’d like to think this is also because Oberyn hates Lannisters (of course) but recognizes that Tyrion is a decent person, a slots of other people do but are too cowardly to do anything about it.
In the Vale, Tyrion’s wife Sansa wanders around and feels right at home as it has begun snowing. She builds a really impressive snow castle of Winterfell, which Robin knocks over because apparently it needs a moondoor, the little shit. Robin even drops a “When we get married” and Sansa is like, “Oh no, I’ll take Joffrey.” When she tries to discipline him, Robin throws tantrum and Sansa SLAPS him across the face and audiences everywhere CHEER. Littlefinger has been spying on them and supports Sansa’s slap, saying Lysa should have been doing that all along. Sansa asks Littlefinger why he really killed Joffrey and Littlefinger plays it off as it was an act of revenge for Cat’s death at the Red Wedding, making it seem like he and Sansa are allies in their love for Cat. I don’t think Sansa fully trusts him here since he’s already revealed to her how much he enjoys chaos and wants power. But. There is some sort of comfort that flashes across her face when he mentions Cat.
He then turns ultra creep and says he might have been her father in one world, then calls her beautiful, and then kisses her because now he wants to have sex with his almost-daughter. In a corner, we see a turn of fabric- Lysa has been spying on them. Littlefinger knew all along that this would set her off in a fit of rage and that he would have an excuse to act in the next scene.
Lysa calls in Sansa as she’s peering through the moondoor. Lysa knows what Sansa did and Sansa thinks it’s because of slapping Robin. Lysa calls Sansa a whore and tells her that she’s killed everyone who gets between her and Littlefinger, including Jon Arryn, Cat, and so on. The look on Littlefinger’s face is priceless- I don’t think he thought she would just spill everything. She pushes Sansa aside and Littlefinger comforts her, saying he only loved women his whole life- Cat. Then he coldly pushes her out the moondoor. Chaos is a Ladder plays over the credits! One of the most fun endings the show has had. It’s one of those deaths that feels really good but you don’t want it to because Littlefinger is a terrible person.
Up next: 4.8 The Mountain and the Viper!