Game of Thrones: “The Children”

Valar morghulis…eventually, right, Hound?

Valar morghulis…eventually, right, Hound?

What. A. Finale.

I have to say, too, that even as someone who’s read the books, the series has deviated so much—yet thrives as its own entity—that I’m still on the edge of my seat. (Metaphorically, of course. I like to sit back on my couch.)

So what’s the latest with our buddies in Westeros (and beyond)?

Lots are dead at Castle Black; Jon Snow grieves for Ygritte

After last week’s episode, “The Watchers on the Wall,” Jon goes to negotiate with Mance Raydar. Of course, he’s annoyed that Jon betrayed him but they do raise a glass to Ygritte (which is sort of sweet) before Stannis and Davos arrive. (And Jon introduces himself as “Ned Stark’s son”! Oh, Ned.)

Anyway, Jon goes to dungeon or something to visit Tormund Giantsbane (whose wounds were treated by Maester Aemon), who shares how he knew that Ygritte loved him: “All she ever talked about was killing you. That’s how I know.”

And now she’s dead. Boo. Jon lights the pyre and Ygritte is really gone.

Cersei “don’t care”

Remember that subdued Cersei, who not long ago told Margaery that Joff would’ve been her “nightmare,” agreed to marry Loras, and shared her fear for Myrcella with essential stranger Oberyn? Yeah, she’s gone.

This week’s Cersei refuses to wed the Knight of Flowers, admits that she was ready to poison Tommen during the Battle of the Blackwater, and confesses to Tywin that she and Jaime are…well, she and Jaime. No longer caring, she finds Jaime looking over the White Book and tells him, “I choose you.”

Interestingly, when she propositions Jaime, who worries that someone will walk in, Cersei insists, “I don’t care,” which is precisely what Jaime said as he was raping her in the sept.

Dany continues to struggle in Meereen

Down one Westerosi knight, Dany holds court and listens to her subjects, who have issues from preferring their lives of slavery to having their toddlers burned alive by “The Winged Shadow” (who is still flying around somewhere but hasn’t been seen for at least three days).

Visibly shaken by the death that Drogon has been bringing, Dany leads Rhaegal and Viserion into the catacombs to chain them up for the city’s safety. (She at least has the decency to do this herself, à la Ned Stark.) At first, Rhaegal and Viserion are like, “Oh cool, food!” before they realize what is happening and screech out to their crying “mother” as she guiltily exits.

Okay, fine, Dany’s upset—but was anybody else like, RUN AWAY! And have Rhaegal and Viserion been shown to breathe fire yet? Can’t remember…

Bran finally takes actual steps in his journey

Finally, Bran & Co. find the weirwood tree, but any triumph is short-lived since wights start attacking them. Bran obviously can’t do anything, but he manages to warg into Hodor and use some of his beastly strength to fight these skeleton things.

As Bran is about to get attacked, one of “the children” (who looks kind of like the blue-eyed dead girl from the opening of the Game of Thrones pilot, though I doubt it’s supposed to be) calls out to Bran and urges them to leave a dying Jojen. (The hell?) They all follow, even a reluctant Meera, and some old guy (who is apparently the three-eyed raven) is all, “You’ve come to me at least, Brandon Stark” (and sadly confirms Jojen’s death) before telling Bran that while he will never walk again, he will fly. (Good gods, will anybody ever give Bran a straight answer?)

Don’t feel too sad for Thomas Sangster. Just this afternoon, I saw a trailer for The Maze Runner:

Looks dumb but I will watch for him.

Brienne vs. the Hound! Arya finally heads to Braavos!

Uh…Brienne encounters Arya? What?

I was going to get all purist, but I think this was one of my favorite scenes of the entire season. First, we’ve got badass Arya, who at first sees a kindred spirit in the similarly awkward and decidedly unladylike Brienne, who has the misfortune of carrying around a Lannister-forged sword that the Hound recognizes.

Though I find it a little dubious that the Hound would grow at all attached to Arya, he does sound genuinely fond of her as he refuses to give her up to Brienne. (And yeah, he has a good point that there is no safety.) They engage in a badass fight, which results in the Hound dying and begging Arya (who hides from Brienne when she calls out to her) to end it quickly. Instead, she leaves and heads to a ship in the distance that is headed to Braavos.

The captain—who conveniently speaks the Common Tongue (well, I guess he is a merchant)—initially dismisses her until Arya presents the iron coin that Jaqen H’ghar gave her with the words valar morghulis. Ding ding ding! Something finally goes right for her.

Tyrion gets himself into even bigger trouble

Unfortunately, nothing is going right for Tyrion. (Except for maybe his relationship with Jaime, which is my most favorite thing ever.) His brother comes to his rescue, but Tyrion gets sidetracked when he notices the woman he loves in his father’s bed (referring to Tywin as “my lion”!). Awkward. Bet she’s regretting that necklace.

Tyrion then goes in search of his father, who’s on the privy but calm as ever even as he stares at his crossbow-wielding younger son. Eek. They go back and forth about their father-son relationship before Tyrion unleashes a quarrel not once but twice

The reloading of the crossbow was pretty bad. As I learned from The Shawshank Redemption, Tyrion’s initial action could be a hotblooded crime of passion, which could be understood if not condoned. But he reloaded! Yikes.

Sail away, Tywin. You were already sentenced to die before this. Things aren’t looking too good.

Discussion questions!

  • Why is Qyburn so interested in experimenting on the Mountain?
  • Does anybody really believe that Tywin Lannister would ever utter, “Known what?” Or allow a “whore” to address him so familiarly as “Tywin”?
  • I guess it was a big deal that Dany chained up two of her “children,” but was anyone else surprised that there wasn’t a bigger cliffhanger?
  • And where’s Ser Jorah going? Will he meet up with any other exiles…?
  • Does the Hound actually shit within earshot of Arya?
  • Will we ever see Rickon and Osha again? At least we know Shaggy will keep Rickon safe…

Fun links

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