Honestly, I don't know if it gets better than that. Better than the book's ending. Unbelievably good. So good, I feel like Game of Thrones had its way with me.
In the wake of the glorious victory by House Lannister against the murderer and traitor Stannis Baratheon, poor Tyrion was cast aside and marginalized. Cercei had Ser Mandon Moore try to kill Tyrion but he only succeeded in slashing up his face. (Still a less ghastly deformity than Tyrion suffers on in the book. Peter Dinklage is still the star of a hit television show, after all.) Tyrion is no longer Hand of the King, as Grand Maester Pycelle was delighted to inform him. Bronn (dearly absent from the episode) is no longer Commander of the City Watch. The Mountains of the Moon men are gone from King's Landing. Tyrion is all alone. Not all alone. Varys is his friend, as much as he can be. He has his loyal squire Podrick Payne. And he has Shae. Tyrion should really go to Pentos like Shae suggested, but what will he do in Pentos? He's the star of Game of Thrones, and the best shit happens in Westeros.
Meanwhile, the celebration in the Iron Throne room is tainted, literally, by a load of horseshit. The one true King, Joffrey, names Tywin Lannister Hand of the King, gives Harrenhal to Littlefinger, absolves House Tyrell of their earlier rebellion with Renly, and Joffrey agrees to cast aside Sansa Stark, the daughter of the traitor Ned Stark he was bethrothed to so he can marry a woman who has always loved him from afar, and he her, Margaery Tyrell. Getting publicly dumped by an evil King she hates should be the happiest day of Sansa's life, and she got like two seconds to celebrate, before Littlefinger burst her bubble and reminded her she'll always be Joffrey's prisoner and he'll still beat her and probably rape her even with his new bride-to-be. Littlefinger promises to get her home.
Home? Sansa doesn't even know she has no home. Theon Greyjoy is betrayed by his Ironborn men, who never liked him to begin with, in exchange for their lives. Theon simply reeks of pathetic, though he gave a hell of a rousing speech to the Ironborn before Cleftjaw bonked him in the noggin and bagged him special delivery for Ramsay Bolton. Whom we never did see in season 2. Cleftjaw speared Maester Luwin for good measure. When Bran, Rickon, Osha, Hodor, and the dire wolves emerged from the Stark crypts, they found Winterfell burned to the ground and Luwin dying by Ned's heart tree. Luwin gave the same advice to Theon he gave to the little lords: go to the Wall, to Jon Snow. Safer there for them than South to find Robb. Oh man, if Maester Luwin only knew what a bad idea that turns out to be.
Speaking of Robb, despite or perhaps in spite of Catelyn's reminders that he swore an oath to Walder Frey, the King in the North willingly chooses to become an oathbreaker and marries his favorite hot nurse Talisa. Just a reminder: being an oathbreaker is the absolute worst thing you can be in Westeros. Even worse than being a kinslayer or a kingslayer.
The kinslayer, Stannis, was able to escape to Dragonstone to lick his wounds after suffering the most humiliating defeat in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. I mean, he lost a war to Joffrey. And he killed his brother. For what? Again, the scorecard reads: Joffrey 1, Stannis 0. Melisandre reminds Stannis that he only lost a battle, not the war itself, and makes him see some vision in her fires where he gets to be King, probably. No news on the fate of Davos Seaworth, the Onion Knight.
The Kingslayer Jaime Lannister and Brienne run afoul of some scummy, rapey Stark men who recognized Jaime. Thus, Brienne had to kill them in quick, impressive fashion. Jaime stopped making fun of her once he got a load of her battle prowess. He was probably even a little turned on. Besides doing his sister, Jaime really likes killing. We don't know how far they are from King's Landing, but they'll get there in season three.
A subplot squeezed into the jam-packed finale is Varys visiting Ros and getting her on his side against Littlefinger. He probably needs a little bird spying for him in Harrenhal.
Escaped from Harrenhal, Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie meet Jaqen for the last time. Jaqen offers to take her to Braavos, where she can learn to be a Faceless One and some day kill all the people whose death she prays for every night, but Arya decides to stay in Westeros to find her brother and mother. And her sister. Right. Her. Still holding a grudge against Sansa. Jaqen gives her a coin which she can cash into anyone she meets from Braavos as long as she says the magic words: Valar Morghulis. "Jaqen is dead", but Jaquen was a lot handsomer than his new face.
Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and Quorin Halfhand are being taken to see Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, and Quorin picks a fight with Jon so Jon can kill him and get in good with the Wildlings. Jon is pretty well screwed now; he killed a fellow brother of the Night's Watch. But now he's an invited guest into Wildling City and not merely a prisoner.
In Qarth, the payoff to Daenerys' story that's slow burned all season finally pays off, and it was pretty spectacular and worth it. I honestly have no recollection of how this played out in the books, but the show blew me away. Daenerys enters the House of the Undying and is treated to things she's always wanted but never seen: She sees the throne room of King's Landing and the Iron Throne for the first time. (Note that Daenerys saw the vision of the Iron Throne but chose not to sit. She wouldn't do so unless it was the real thing. I think there's a life lesson there.) Then she is taken to the Wall and beyond, where there's a tent containing The Greatest Surprise: Khal Drogo and Rhaego! This was incredible. It's astounding that considering how it started, Drogo and Daenerys is the greatest love story in Game of Thrones. Daenerys gets to speak to her sun and stars one last time and have the closure she needed. That was awfully nice of the bald magicians to do that for her. But then, their plan was to chain her up for eternity, because their magic returned when her dragons hatched and the magic is strongest when the Mother of Dragons is with her "children". But they don't know who they were fucking with. This is Daenerys Stormborn and with a magic word, she can have dragons burn you to smithereens! How fucking awesome was that?
With her dragons back, Daenerys ties up loose ends and discovers her handmaiden Doreah betrayed her to Xaro Xhoan Daxos and helped him steal the dragons. This bummed me out. Doreah was the hot one. She taught her Khaleesi cowgirl and missionary. Daenerys opens Xaro's vault to find it empty; all his constant, endless stories we all had to listen to about how he came from nothing and is now the richest man in Qarth were all just lies. Daenerys seals Xaro and Doreah in the vault because Daenerys Targaryen is not to be fucked with. Then she gives her Dothraki Khalazar what they wanted since they arrived in Qarth and lets them loot all of Xaro's gold and jewels so they can buy a ship and get the fuck out of there. Fantastic.
Finally, beyond the Wall, three horns means the White Walkers are coming, and Sam gets to meet them first hand. By them, I mean, a lot of them. A whole, whole lot of them. Game of Thrones just threw down the gauntlet to the Walking Dead: You think you have zombies? So do we. WINTER HAS COME.
A fantastic finale. It's going to be a long year until season three.
Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
The final two items are especially stunning because the show essentially made two promises to the audience for next season. 1) Daenerys is buying a ship and is coming to Westeros, which is what she's stated she's wanted since the beginning and what all this was about for her. 2) Winter has come. The White Walkers are going to attack, and Westeros is nowhere near ready for this war. Except... if you read the books, you know, neither of these things can or will happen. This doesn't happen at all, not even by the end of book five. So what is the show up to? Will they actually diverge drastically from George RR Martin's text, or will they pull back from both promises in order to follow the storylines of A Storm of Swords?
(edited by John Orquiola on 4.6.12 0509) @CMPunk “@ZackRyder: @CMPunk She played me bro” I got your back.
I actually disagree with you. I thought this episode was kind of boring and a real let down compared to the rest of the season.
Dany in the House of the Undying was the part that bothered me the most. In the book, this part was spectacularly creepy. She was told to always take the door on the right (I think it was the right) and to ignore all temptations to go in other doors (one of which was where Khal Drogo was, trying to convince her to go in). At the top she meets the Undying and they show her a vision, which is very important, and then the dragons roast all of the Undying alive and burn the place to the ground.
In the show, it's just Pyat Pree and he puts magical chains around her and she says "Dracarys" and the dragons BBQ him.
In the book, the taking of Winterfell from Theon is so much more awesome. His speech in the show was great, but I really don't think any Ironborn would just give up like his troops did. That bothered me.
I did love some stuff, though. Bri and Jaime continue to be awesome, and the Valar Morghulis scene was fantastic. "Oh, and my sister". That made me laugh out loud.
I think overall, the final shot made me the most worried. I really, really hope they aren't rushing the White Walkers. Let them be a threat, a constant reminder of bad stuff that goes down. But don't make the last shot of the finale an implication that they are going to be a major force next season. Plus they ended the season on a Sam scene! Sam! Ugh.
Oh well, I know that I have a year to look forward to the awesomeness of Storm of Swords. If you think this season was crazy, you just wait til next year.
Am I in Horseville? Because I'm hearing nothing but naysayers!
I am half way through reading A Clash of Kings, so I was confused at some things from last night.
I assume that at the end of episode nine when Stannis being lead away by guards, that it's his own men rescuing him because the battle is lost. That wasn't clear at all to me. Ok, so I have to assume that everything is so chaotic that he can slip away and get back to Dragonstone but I just don't buy that Tywin allows him to skeedaddle.
Also, Theon gets punked and...the Ironmen burn Winterfell then leave? Or the Northermen surrounding Winterfell burned it? If there are Northmen, aren't they loyal to Stark and the boys can go to them or are these the Mountain Men from the same tribes that Tyrion enlisted?
Tyrion, man, he gets no points for doing anything. I love the Dragons BBQing anything. There was a rumor that they were going to make the House of the Undying stuff all of Danny's story in season 3, good thing they moved on. If they are going to deviate from the books, good for them. Well, there be Others, here.
There are some good scenes in book 4 and 5, but its also a disaster waiting to happen. G.R.R. Martin seems to be a smart enough guy to realize that what translate well or sorta translates in the books, does not translate well on screen. We also have to keep in mind this HBO. Where they tend to cut shows quick if the bottom line is not meet. It would shock me that Game of Throne doesn't meet that criteria. Yet, they are adding more cast, more sets and huge battles. It might be wise for them to do something where the combine elements of book 4 into season 3 or 4 if they are dividing it up then forget about the books minus a few moments here or there.
(edited by lotjx on 4.6.12 0837) The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Originally posted by The King of Keith In the book, the taking of Winterfell from Theon is so much more awesome. His speech in the show was great, but I really don't think any Ironborn would just give up like his troops did. That bothered me.
But it was clearly established the Ironborn Theon had with him at worst hated him and at best didn't have an ounce of respect for him. In an earlier episode Robb had Roose Bolton send word to Ramsay Bolton that his terms were any Ironborn who would surrender would be allowed safe passage back to Pyke. Except Theon. Theon was a dead man. Robb declared Theon was not to be allowed to escape and that Robb would take his head himself. Now, taking Winterfell was Theon's gambit and when Yara visited, it was established the Ironborn don't really care for the mainland and would prefer remaining close to the sea. So owning Winterfell meant nothing to any of them except Theon. Given the choice of safe passage home or facing odds of 20 vs. 500 men to hold a castle they don't care about with a Greyjoy fool they neither like nor respect, Cleftjaw and friends did what they did.
Originally posted by DawgAlso, Theon gets punked and...the Ironmen burn Winterfell then leave? Or the Northermen surrounding Winterfell burned it? If there are Northmen, aren't they loyal to Stark and the boys can go to them or are these the Mountain Men from the same tribes that Tyrion enlisted?
Who actually burned down Winterfell on the show is a good question. Was it Cleftjaw and his boys or was it Ramsay Bolton? The Mountain Men are from the Vale in the Riverlands so they aren't Northmen. There is much more to who Ramsay Bolton is and who these particular Northmen are than the show revealed. Technically, yes, the Stark children should have been able to go to them since they are sworn bannermen to the Starks, but again, it's more complicated than that. Short version: the best and most loyal Stark bannermen went with Robb to war. Whoever is left, well, are not quite as upstanding.
(edited by John Orquiola on 4.6.12 0851) @CMPunk “@ZackRyder: @CMPunk She played me bro” I got your back.
This was not the best episode of the season, but it was still pretty great.
I'm actually feeling sad for Sansa now. These last couple of episodes have turned me from hating her to pitying her. That was, easily, the best dumping of a fiance I have ever seen. Littlefinger digging into her even deeper, yet saying he'd help her get back home was very strange.
The dragons looked so much better in this episode then in the whole series so far. Daenerys looked very beautiful in this episode as well. Hot Mamma indeed!
When Stannis was looking into the fire, I was expecting something like that scene in Excalibur when Merlin sees into the future. My expectations were strongly overblown and we saw nothing.
That ending man, that ending. Especially the low murky music played during the credits. Way to end a season on a terrifying note GoT.
There are very few shows on TV that I watch without missing a beat, wrestling included. Game of Thrones is definitely one of them. Usually in a show there are maybe one or three characters that keep me tuned in, but every character is so in-depth and the actors seem born for the roles they play. Even personalities like Joffrey and Theon who are total assholes that I hate are portrayed so well that I want more screen time from them. I really wish GoT had the full 24 episodes a season like public network dramas have.
This is also one of the few shows where the dialogue and the tension between characters feels so engrossing. I never get tired of the citizens of Westeros and the surrounding areas telling crude jokes, and planning strategy, and threatening each other, etc. I've turned two friends onto the show and I'm seriously gonna miss it until next year.
A man really does love that Jaqen-speak. A man may continue to talk that way to confuse those who may not grasp the reference. Hopefully the actor that portrayed him will come back next season as I've come to like him and Arya's relationship.
True Blood better bring it starting next week. Not sure if there are any fans on the board.
Good finale, wrapping up the season well, with everyone actually being in a different place. Well, all except Joffrey. Dany got her resolve back, Jon is an oath-breaker (sorta) and Tyrion is seemingly discarded.
I liked them showing the Others. It's not like they don't appear at some point in book 3 (I think? so I assume upcoming season) anyways. This at least gives as a glimpse of what to fear. But they are nowhere near the wall yet, and for all we know they are not walking in a straight line.
The house of the undying scene. Yes, it was less maniacal than the book. But they changed it nicely. Every time Danaerys seemed to be close to her hearts desire, she heard the wail of her true children. Oh and I liked how Drogo was morose when she stood up and walked away.
Arya's grudgingly mentioning Sansa was hilarious. But the entire scene itself was pretty powerful with Jaqen basically telling her he could train her to kill all those people. Cold.
Joffrey and Margaery. Damn, that was some terrible acting there (by the characters, I don't mean the RL actors) about their respect and love. And it was good to hear the church would allow it.
Oh and as for John's spoiler section
Spoiler Below: Highlight text to read
I think they will follow the book's plot and not have Daeny on a ship to Westeros. She might be able to buy a ship, but she'd need an army first. So she'll still buy her sullen ones, and end up walking through the continent to liberate it. I can see them change some of that around. Basically make it a bit more fast paced and ignore some of the personal stories. But I don't believe she's coming over any time soon. The Others..like I said above, I think they'll randomly walk around a bit, maybe run over a farm or two, but not get near the wall yet.
THE WEEK IN TV Monday: The Bachelorette and Here Come The Newlyweds on ABC; I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! and Dateline NBC on NBC. Tuesday: The Superstars (premiere), Better Off Ted, and Primetime: Family Secrets (premiere)