A review and recap of Game of Thrones season two finale, Valar Morghulis
Sadly the season’s come to a head and I for one am not sure what to do with myself Sunday night’s anymore. I guess I’ll have to find a hobby until next season. With that being said, I won’t let our collective woes stop me from trying to give a quality review of the finale, Valar Morghulis.
I was afraid after last episode, Blackwater, that the show would have a hard time following up on such an action packed episode. But, they proved once again, just like last season, that they could deliver one heck of a finale, with one heck of a cliffhanger that leaves us wanting more. So kudos to HBO on the badassness of season two.
This season’s been all about the Lannisters lording over King’s Landing and their influence all across Westeros, and none has been more prevalent this season than Tyrion. While this season was good to him, the finale certainly was not. And in a big way, too. After nearly being killed by a plot his sister most likely concocted, Tyrion has not only been grievously injured in the cities defense, but also replaced as acting Hand of the King by his father, Lord Tywin Lannister. While he may gain credit for protecting the walls of the city around him, the world of influence he built with Bronn, his tribesmen, and the Goldcloaks has crumbled. While his father is indeed the savior of the city, he is the root cause of many of Tyrion’s troubles. Not all, but most. Cersei is a definite cause of strife and even more of a nemesis, but Tywin shows up steals any glory that may have been bestowed upon Tyrion and also casts him aside from the one thing he felt good at, being the Hand of the King. So once more, Tyrion will fall back into the shadow of the rest of his family, with no one and no power left to him. But, he being clever as he is, will certainly show us just what kind of tricks he has in store this next season.
In previous episodes I spoke of the cunning nature of the Tyrell’s, and that is proved once more by the supplanting of Sansa Stark as Joffrey’s wife-to-be by none other than Maergery Tyrell. They seek power as desperately as the Lannisters and will stop at nothing to gain it. This may mean that Sansa is off the hook, for now. At the very least she doesn’t have to marry King Joffrey, a fate she is bursting with joy at. But, now we see that Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger and the newly appointed Lord of Harrenhal, has some intentions for her. I’ll be interested to see where they follow this into the next season.
Lord Varys had a hilarious scene with Ros. I know it was necessarily intended that way. But her grabbing at Varys’ crotch followed by his ‘told ya so’ face was awesome. Obviously Varys and Baelish aren’t friends and this scene illustrates the machinations of their minds at work. Varys uses people, but gains their trust first while Baelish uses the influence of his wealth. Varys sees pawns, Baelish sees property. It makes for an intriguing dynamic between the two.
Brienne of Tarth and Jaime continue their merry traipse through the wilds of Westeros. After being discovered for Jaime Lannister by Stark men, Brienne goes into beast mode and kicks the crap out of three guys. While last episode was action packed, they’re using this little action scenes to ween us off the heavy dosage we received last week.
Robb chooses to break his pact with the Walder Frey. To cross the Frey’s bridge Robb had to agree to marry one of the Frey daughters which would have joined their two houses. But, by breaking this pact there will be untold consequences. But who can blame him, he’s a young guy out in the field of battle surrounded by a bunch of stinky guys and managed to snag a pretty good looking gal. So we’ll just have to wait and see how pissed off the Freys get.
Stannis, frustrated by his crushing defeat at King’s Landing, questions the merit of Melisandre, his red priestess. So much that he does his best Wayne Brady impression by choking her a bit. Lucky for him he doesn’t finish the deed, as she’s able to show him something in the fire. Some vision, some clarevoyant message from the god of light, we don’t really get any idea of what they’re seeing. I was kind of hoping for some cool fx to give the viewer some inkling into where the show was going to take us. But, that’s the nature of George R.R. Martin’s beast, we’re not to know his mind and being unpredictable is something he is very good at. So your guess is a good as mine.
Theon has an awesome scene with Maester Luwin. It really illustrates how truly screwed he’s been pretty much his entire life. He’s made one pretty bad decision in sacking Winterfell and there isn’t much he can do about changing his fate. He’s made it clear that he can either fight to the death defending Winterfell or take the black and join Jon Snow on the Wall. None of which seem very appealing to me or him or probably anybody for that matter. Theon’s whole life hasn’t been easy, but like he says, he’s gone too far to do anything else. Too bad for him though, Dagmer Cleftjaw and the rest of his Ironborne, have obviously made a deal with the Northerners outside the wall’s of Winterfell and give him up to them. Not a very cool thing to do, but it also answers questions of whether or not the Ironborne ever truly excepted him as one of their own. Which would have to be a resounding no.
Daenarys gets her dragons back. Woohoo. That was a good bit of fx when her dragons started lighting up Priyat Pree in the House of the Undying. She’s becoming ballsier everyday as the mother of dragons and the Khaleesi of her people. She’s going to have to get a lot ballsier too if she’s going to take the Iron Throne in Westeros.
Arya is given a proposition by Jaqen H’ghar, and the titular scene, Valar Morghulis. Jaqen offers her the opportunity to leave Westeros and to learn the trade of the Faceless men of Braavos. She declines the initial offer but is told that if ever she gives a man from Braavos the coin given her by Jaqen and says the words ‘Valar Morghulis’ that they would take her. Let’s see what she does with that.
Winterfell is burnt to the ground and Bran and Rickon, bereft of family other than themselves are sent to the Wall to find Jon. Maester Luwin, Winterfell’s Maester and voice of reason, meets his end beneath the Heart tree in Winterfell’s weirwood. The two youngest Stark boys will be without their caretaker and tutor and more importantly they’ll be forced to embrace a much harder life as they have no parent figure. Oosha acts as more of a protector or guardian than a mother and well Hodor… all I have to say about that is ‘Hodor’.
Qhorin Halfhand’s plan comes to fruition as he forces Jon Snow to kill him in combat. This may seem a strange way to go, but he does it for no other reason than to help Jon gain the trust of the wildlings. This act doesn’t even ensure Jon’s survival amongst the wildlings, but such is Qhorin’s devotion to the Night’s Watch. Plus, there was no chance Qhorin would have been able to gain any trust from Rattleshirt and his wildling raiders. Jon Snow, while kind of an idiot, was the only option they had. Not the best chances for the Night’s Watch, but they’ll have to take them.
We end with a Samwell Tarly scene. I was expecting another history lesson about the fist of the first men or something of the like, instead we got to see exactly how the show was going to top last season’s ender. Three horn blasts by the Night’s Watch means White Walkers, and that’s what we get. We hadn’t seen them since the cold open of the first episode in season one, but now they’re back. And there’s a lot of them along with their undead hordes. Just plain excellent and now we’re all going to want more!
I think overall this season’s been pretty fantastic, there’s definitely been some slow moments in the show and some scenes I’ve questioned, but all in all it’s been a darn, good season. I don’t know if there can really be a clear cut winner of this episode, with so many of our main characters getting crapped on. Namely Tyrion, Theon, and the whole Stark family, but this episode had too many great scenes that tied up a lot of loose ends to really give it a clear cut victor. So I’m just going to say the White Walkers, rolling in on their zombie horses win the big finale. I mean come on, they’ve got zombie horses.