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Season 4 Review – Game of Thrones

Epic, shocking, exhilarating and momentous are just a few words to describe Season 4.  It lived up its motto of “Valur Morghulis” (All Men must Die) with awesome fights, deaths and character driven moments. There was even a huge reveal for both non -readers and readers alike with a White Walker conclusion.  Neil Marshall came back to direct episode 9.  Bryan Coogman wrote 2 episodes while George RR Martin penned Episode 2.  All other episodes were written by David Benioff and Dan Weiss.

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The newest character to grace Kings Landing was Oberyn Martel and his paramour Ellaria Sand from Dorne; we also were reintroduced to Dontos Hollard and a new Mountain. Even, Tommen grew up quickly.  In the North, we met the Thenns, a couple of mammoths, a few giants and lots of wildings.  Meanwhile beyond the Wall, Bran finally found the Three Eyed Raven.  Back at Castle Black, Jon had to deal with Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne.  And finally, he was reunited with Ghost.

Over in the East, Danny met with the citizens of Meereen especially one nobleman name Hizhdar and a new recast Daario. And yes, those dragons grew bigger and stronger. Stannis and Davos introduced us to Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank of Braavos. Even Sallador Sann made an appearance.

The unlikely duo of Brienne and Pod bumped into Hotpie in their quest to find Sansa Stark.  While in the Vale, Sansa was welcomed by her Aunt Lysa and Cousin Robin.  Arya was reunited with Needle after she showed no mercy to Polliver. Rorge and Biter wounded the Hound.  As well, we met Wanda Frey, Roose’s new wife.  Yara Greyjoy reappeared to save her brother but her efforts were fruitless.

The standout favorite character this season had to be Oberyn Martell who was hell-bent on vengeance for his sister’s death. Pedro Pascal was welcomed addition to the cast  but unfortunately, it was short-lived as he met his unfortunate fate at the hands of the Mountain.  The recurring cast had moments as well. Lena Headley’s performance as Cersei came to the forefront  as the grieving yet, manipulative Queen Regent.  Peter Dinklage was amazing as usual; especially in Episode 6, “The Laws of Gods and Men”.  Both actors are nominated for Emmys this year.

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Honorable mentions also go to Rory McCann as the Hound who came into his own especially in the finale as well as Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow in episode 9. Also, Stephane Dillane’s Stannis, Liam Cunningham’s Davos and Iwan Rheon’s Ramsay (Snow) Bolton were solid performances. Sophie Turner’s eventual twist as Sansa Stark or Maisie William’s Arya did not go unnoticed either, both had unbelievable moments too.

Death or battles seemed to be the core of this season.  We lost many characters, some beloved; others, deserved and some, unexpected. Joffrey’s death was sasifying for everyone. Ygritte’s death was sudden loss while Jojen, Tywin and Shae’s were shocking in the finale. One of the best deaths had to be Lysa being pushed out the Moon Door. The most gruesome deaths were those at Moat Cailin, curtsey of the Boltons.  The Red Viper’s death took us all by surprise.

Episode 9, “The Watchers on the Wall” was simply epic. It is always a treat to have one episode every so often that focusses on one major battle.  Marshall outdid himself again with major fight scenes, character driven moments, special effects; especially the 360 camera that encapsulated the entire courtyard of Castle Black. After 51 minutes of fighting, the ending with Jon into the white frozen north left us wanting more.

Two other outstanding fight sequences had to the Viper and the Mountain as well as Brienne versus the Hound.  The Viper/Mountain scene was fierce and fast while overlooking the beautiful landscape of King Landing via Croatia.  It was a piercing moment for viewers. On the other hand, the Hound/Brienne fight was brutal as the Hound met his match in Brienne.  It was an unexpected dual that showcased both actor’s fight prowess. Kudos to GOT’s fight coordinators for well-choreographed scenes that kept everyone on edge.

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It would not go without saying how important the production of Games of Thrones adds to value of the series. The incredible directors, most of whom direct two episodes per season, to the wardrobe/costuming, the CGI effects and music.  The locations were incredible as always. Croatia, Iceland and Ireland have some breathtaking scenery. Additionally, the opening credits and “previously seen” gave subtle foreshadowing hints. Also, we were introduced to some new places in Westeros such as Moat Cailin while across the sea, Braavos and Meereen came into focus. The Braavos piece was added touch via CGI making it another significant locale.  Sigur Rois gave us “The Rains of Castamere” during the Purple Wedding.  Ramin Djawadi continued his brilliant work for this year’s soundtrack.

The adaption of books to screen is the biggest hurdle GOT’s writers faced with cutting back certain characters, plot or dialogue. The series followed the general plotlines for most characters however; some storylines worked better than others. Jon, Bran and Stannis meandered throughout the season until the last few episodes of their threads.  Also, using the same technique of last year of the Bran/Jon near miss didn’t work; whereas, the Brienne/Pod/Arya/Hound scene flowed for both character and plot.  Sansa’s storyline worked for all intensive purposes adding a new dimension. The Arya and the Hound scenes gave us some of the best lines ever.  Dany’s chapters worked satisfactorily but were quickly amped up by adding romance and of course, dragons.  Theon’s thread continued its slow paced direction.

The most controversial and heavily adapted scenes were those of Kings Landing.  The Jamie/Cersei scene sparked sudden outrage. It gave rise to Cersei but left Jamie’s character in the dust (considerably different in the books as Jamie is a POV; not Cersei).  At the same time, there were many outstanding character moments, such as the Oberyn/Tyrion scenes, Jaime/Tyrion (in the cell), Tyrion/Bronn and Tyrion’s trial. Secondary scenes such as the Margery/Tommen or Bronn/Jamie were pleasant departures from the chaos of Kings Landing. And it didn’t matter which scene Tywin appeared in, it just worked until his death.  The loss of Charles Dance will be missed.  

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Season 4 had the highest ratings of the series to date. As viewers become invested, both readers and non-readers are eagerly anticipating the next installment of Game of Thrones. It will be long wait until next spring!

What were some of your favorite moments of Season 4?

 

 

 

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GOT SDCC Panel

Here is the entire panel discussion from Flicks and the City:

 

Enjoy!!

 

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GOT at Comic Con 2014

Here are some bloopers from last season:

Here is the Season 5 casting announcement:

 

 

 

 

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Season 4, Episode 10, “The Children”

Season 4 went out with bang.  There were so many plot twists/ turns that even death, had its moments throughout the finale. “The Children” wasn’t just about the children of Meereen or the Forest; it was about the remaining Stark children, the Lannisters; even Dany and her dragons. Each story had a purpose and changed the course for many characters. The 66 minutes finale was directed by Alex Graves.   This episode has been submitted by GOT for Emmy submissions.

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The Wall

The aftermath of the Wall begins tonight’s chapter, as Jon walks into Mance’s camp to negotiate terms. Jon confesses he was under orders from Halfhand to infiltrate the Wildings to gather information about their attack. Mance questions him about Ygritte asking if she survived however, Jon tells him that she died but not by him. They drink to her death.  Mance asks about the Mag the Mighty. Jon reports he was killed by a farmer’s son, Grenn.  Both men drink to their deaths as well. The King beyond the Wall knows that the Wall is low on arrows and men. His real purpose is to get his people behind the Wall because  “winter is coming”.  Mance  discovers Jon’s real purpose, to kill him. All of a sudden, a horn blows.

Out of nowhere, a huge army enters the forest. They raid the Wilding camp and kill many in their way.  Mance instructs his men to stand down as Davos and Stannis come forward towards him. Davos announces King Stannis as the one true King of Westeros. He tries to get Mance to kneel before them but he refuses. Jon observes the interaction. Jon introduces himself to Stannis as Ned Stark’s son. Baratheon acknowledges Ned. He asks Jon what to do with Mance. Snow answers him by saying he was taken prisoner by him but not harmed; and that the King ought to listen to what he has to say. Stannis agrees with Jon. He tells Stannis to have his men burn the dead bodies.

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Later on at Castle Black, the Night’s Watch burn their dead. They end with infamous “and now their watch has ended”.  As Aemon passes the torch to Sam, Jon, Edd and Olly, Selyse and Shireen witness the funeral as does Stannis. Through the flames, Melisandre spots Jon.

Jon visits Tormund in the prisoner quarters. He asks if there is something to say for free folk dead. Tormund reveals that he knew Ygritte loved Jon because all she talked about was killing him. Giantsbane asks that she be burned beyond the Wall in north where she  belongs.  Alone, Jon takes Ygritte’s body outside the Wall near the Weirwood tree and sets fire to it. He says his emotional goodbye.

So finally, the big payoff of this storyline was Stannis’ army coming to the rescue. It was a great aerial shot. There was a mutual respect from Stannis when he finds out that Jon is Ned’s son. Mance was doubly surprised as Jon pleaded for his life.  A great move on Jon’s part. It will be interesting to see what Stannis plans are at Castle Black.  One particular scene stands out as Mel sees Jon through the flames leaving us wondering what she has in store for him.

It was a bittersweet send off for Pyp and Grenn as their time at the wall comes to an end as well as Ygritte. Kit Harrington brought it home tonight as did a very strong Stephane Dillane as Stannis.

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Beyond the Wall

Bran and company arrive at the Weirwood tree.  As they move closer to the tree, all of them are attacked by a “wight” army appearing out of the snow.  Jojen is grabbed by a “wight”.  More attack them. Summer fends one off. Bran waargs into Hodor. Jojen warns Bran to save himself.  Jojen is attacked by another wight. Meera comes to his aide.  Out of nowhere, a child welcomes “Brandon Stark”. A dying Jojen urges his sister to go on. The child throws  fireball at Jojen’s body as more dead try to attack.

The group run into the cave. The wights follow them but don’t survive. Bran asks the child who she is. She tells them she is known as a “child of the forest”  before the First men. The child announces that “he” is waiting for them.  As they travel through the cave, the troupe comes upon a man bound by tree roots.  He says he has been waiting for Brandon Stark. Bran crawls towards him and asks him if he is the “three eyed raven”. The man answers him with I’ve been called many names.  Meera comes forth telling him that Jojen died delivering them here. The  man acknowledges that Jojen knew his journey.  He  reveals that he has been watching  them with 1001 eyes . Bran asks him if he’ll walk again, but the man says  he will learn to fly.

After 4 years,  Bran’s storyline has a greater meaning now. The CGI effects of red Weirwood tree among the snow and the “wight” army attack was spectular. The art direction of the cave gave us a chilling and eerie feeling surrounding Bran .  Jojen’s death was completely unexpected.  Another mystical element is revealed yet again.  Season 5 looks promising for this story arc.

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Meereen

In the Throne room, Dany meets Fennesz, a former slave, who was a teacher to a master’s children. He tells her of the dangers since she freed the slaves. The young prey on the old with no remorse. She states the freedom allows choice. She decides to let the man work for his former master for 1 year under contract.  Selmy warns her that the masters will take advantage of this. Next a crying man has carries in a blanket to show the Khalessi. He recalls that a dark dragon came from the sky and burned his little girl. Dany is mortified.

In her private chambers, Missandei informs her the little girl’s name was Nyla and she was three. Grey Worm says that Drogon is missing and he is gone across the sea.  Day tells him to meet her at the catacombs.  She leads the other two dragons into the dark, wet cave.  As they chomp on some meat. Daenrys chains both of them up. She begins to walk away leaving the dragons as they call out to her, screeching. Dany takes one last look with tears in her eyes as the door closes.

This was a devasting moment for Dany. Her dragons have always been her children but she realizes that she can’t control them. Her decision to lock them up for the safety of the city was crucial to her rule.  It may have consequences down the road.

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Kings Landing

The Mountain is in horrible shape according to Pycelle, whom exclaims that he was poisoned by “Death of Manticore”.  Qyburn says he can save him as Cersei looks on..  Cersei excuses Pycelle while instructing Qyburn to “do everything you can” to save Gregor.  Qyburn begins to pump out the Mountain’s blood.

Next, Cersei visits Tywin in his chambers.  She refuses to marry Loras Tyrell. Tywin is not having it by telling she’ll marry him the day after Tommen’s wedding to Margery.  Cersei insists on staying with Tommen in the capital as he is her last child she has claim on.  She argues with her father, that between the Tyrells and him, Tommen will be pulled apart. Cersei  admits to the truth of the rumors of her and Jaime while Tywin looks on in disbelief.

Later on, Cersei visits Jaime in his chambers and  readily admits she can’t wait for Tyrion to die. She admits that she has told their father, the truth of their relationship.  She seduces Jaime by telling that she loves him.  And they get it on.

As Tyrion awaits his execution, a door opens, Jaime  comes to free Tyrion with the help of Varys. He urges his brother to take the stairs to the right. Tyrion thanks him for his life as they share a heartfelt goodbye. As Tyrion reaches the stairs, he hesitates for a minute, goes towards the Tower of the Hand.  

As he enters Tywin’s bedroom, he hears Shae exclaim , “Twyin Lannister, my lion”.  A shocked Shae sees Tyrion coming towards her. She grabs a knife to thwart him off. They struggle as the knife is pried loose. Tyrion strangles Shae with her gold necklace. The only words he can say is “I’m sorry” as he sits there for a moment.  He eyes the crossbow and takes it towards the privy. He finds his father, Tywin sitting there. Tyrion confronts his father about wanting him dead for his whole life. Tywin agrees that he wanted him dead but he would never die  and respects him for that because he is a Lannister. The Imp doesn’t buy it since his own father sentenced him to death. Tywin pleads with Tyrion to come to his chambers to talk it out.  Tyrion admits he loved Shae, but he killed in her in the other room. Tywin calls her a ‘whore”. Tyrion warns him not to call her “whore” but Tywin doesn’t care. Tyrion shoots him with the crossbow twice ending with “I’m your son”. Varys finds him in the tower and helps him escape by the way of crate boarding a ship to Essos.  As the Spider looks on, he hears the bells tow signaling death.

Kings Landing has been at the forefront all year however, this sequence really stands out for me.  We see the power play in Cersei as she confronts her father in order to stay in KL with Tommen. Her command of Qyburn’s experiments despite the protests of Pycelle.  She shunned Jaime all season long but seduces him by announcing her love for him to their father.  It is Cersei’s devotion to her children and their well being that keeps her motivated. She obviously wants everything but that may come at a price somewhere down the road.  Tyrion had another great moment when he confronted both his father and Shae when he found them. It is the look in his eyes that really stood out for me as he turned from the man trying to impress his father to suppressed rage. This episode showcased it in that scene. I felt  Jaime was lost this season because he caught in the middle of everything. Perhaps that will unfold next season.

The deaths of Tywin and Shae had its moments as well.  For Shae, it was full circle as she ended up back as a prositute. For Tyrion, it was his turning point to see the woman, he thought he loved become someone else’s property, namely his father. Tywin’s death was satisfying  as he tried to beg for his life, only to be killed by his own son. Sibel Kikelli was a great TV Shae although she is different in the books. Most of all, I will miss Charles Dance as he commanded so many scenes throughout the 4 seasons on GOT.

An honorable mention to Varys, the spider who hasn’t had much of a role this season, certainly pulled It off with carting Tyrion off in a box.  There is certain mystery to him and one that will keep us guessing each season.

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Outside the Vale

Brienne wakes up to find the horses are gone.  As she makes her way through the rough terrain, she comes upon Arya practicing with Needle.  Arya tells the Hound that people are coming.

Unbeknownst to Brienne, they chat about the swords and their fathers. As the Hound appears, Podrick announces his identity. Brienne determines the girl is Arya Stark. She tries to convince Arya to come with her.  She informs the young Stark that she swore an oath to her mother Catelyn to find her daughters.  The Hound interrupts her by stating that her family is dead and looks at the Valyrian steel with Lannister sigil. He thinks she is sent by the Lannisters for him.

The Hound challenges Brienne to a fight. They draw swords and begin to duel. The Hound begins to get the upper hand.  Brienne comes back with force and bites off the Hound’s ear. Finally, she pushes him off a cliff.  Pod and Brienne call out for Arya, hiding behind some rocks.

Arya comes upon a wounded Hound.  He tries to convince her to go with Brienne but Arya isn’t interested. Next, he tries to make her mad by insulting her sister and Mycah.  Arya just stares at him and says nothing. Finally he begs her to kill him. Arya grabs his bag of silver and walks away leaving the Hound to die.

The final scene has Arya riding by a beautiful waterfall as she spots a ship near a port. She quickly gallops towards the Saltpans.  Arya finds captain of the ship  and asks where they are going. He informs her that they aren’t going North but back to the free city of Braavos.  She shows him the iron coin saying. “Valur Morghulis”. The captain replies, “Valur Doheris” allowing her passage on his ship.  As the ship sails from the bay, Arya focuses forward to the open seas in front of her.

The intertwining of these two storylines worked. It gave Brienne a more ambitious mission to find Sansa. Brienne and the Hound’s  fight was second to none; almost as good as the Mountain and Viper fight scene.  One of the best of the season as both had strength  and size so it could have gone either way.  The Hound’s last scene with Arya was heart wrenching. Her stone faced look at him as he begged her to kill him was her turning point this season.  Kudos to Rory McCann for his outstanding performance as the Hound. 

Keep posted in the next few weeks for a complete Season 4 review.

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Random Thoughts and Quotes

Several scenes were heavily adapted and  a few were not in the books but some of it made sense to the characters and their plot lines.

The Jaime/Tyrion scene left some important information out but it was probably that it garnered more sympathy for Shae/Tyrion sequence.

Jojen’s death was unforeseen but it provided Bran’s motivation  to meet the Three eyed Raven.

One particular scene (books readers will know) was not included but let’s hope it bridges a gap into season 5.

 

 

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Season 4, Episode 9, “The Watchers on the Wall”

Last season, David Nutter gave us the shocking yet, gruesome, “Red Wedding “. Tonight’s episode marks the return of Neil Marshall, who directed “Blackwater “. He delivered an action packed, over the top battle between the Night’s Watch and the Wilding Army. The cinematography and CGI effects added to the excitement of Episode 9. Many small  but memorable  character moments enhanced the mood.

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The Wall and Beyond

As Sam and Jon patrol the top of the Wall, Sam questions Jon about what it’s like to be with a woman. He says their vows forbid them from getting married or fathering children but nothing about having intimate relations. Jon gives him a small rundown but realizes he can’t get out the words right. He sends Sam to bed.  An owl appears on top of the Wall.

Outside below, Tormund, Thenn and Ygritte prepare for their impending attack. Tormund recalls another battle. Ygritte prepares more arrows.  Thenn provokes Ygritte about how she didn’t kill her crow lover. Ygritte stands up to him and demands,  “Jon Snow is mine”.

Maester Aemon finds Sam in the library reading about the Wildings. He counsels Sam about being in love with Gilly as well as warns him that, “love is the death of duty”.  Aemon recalls his youth citing that he was once in love. As Sam, comes into the yard, he hears Gilly knocking at the gate. He is relieved  she’s alive and takes her to a kitchen room for protection. Sam promises Gilly, “he’ll come back” and they share a kiss.

As  the horn begins to blow, a Thenn, waarged into an owl, announces, “It’s time”. Jon looks from upon the top of the Wall to see a huge fire in  the distance. As the Night’s Watch prepares for the imminent battle, Thorne confesses that he should have listened to Jon’s recommendation of sealing the tunnels. He also educates Jon about  leadership.

Men begin to baracade the South Wall and prepare for attack. Ygritte scouts the southern gate and reports that It’s undermanned.  Sam finds Pyp shaking and unready for battle. He asks Sam how he killed a White Walker.  Sam answers th at the time he had to do something even, if he had no reason to be afraid because he was nothing at all. Outside, the Wildings charge the Southern gate with no mercy.

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Meanwhile, Thorne rallies the archers as the Wildings appear north of the Wall with giants and mammoths. A horn blasts indicating the southern wall is attacked. Allister leaves Janos Slynt in charge. Slynt becomes unglued at this prospect as Green sneakily sends him down to fight with Thorne.  Jon assumes command as fire arrows light the sky.

Down in the yard, Thorne rallies his troops for attack to defend the Wall. Tormund, Ygritte and Thenns come bursting into the yard as fighting begins. On the north side, Wildings begins to climb the wall. Giants pull out arrows and start their assault. Massive fighting begins on both fronts.

Thorne and Tormund begin to fight leaving Thorne wounded. Janos Slynt comes into the courtyard and locks himself into kitchen room where Gilly and her son are hiding in. She is surprised to see him.

As Sam and Pip ready themselves for action, Ygritte shoots Pyp in throat. He dies in Sam’s arms.

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The Wildings bring a mammoth forth with giants to bring down the outside gate. Jon orders the barrels to drop on them wounding the mammoth and giant. Jon then orders Grenn to hold the inside gate.

Sam lets go of Pyp’s body and rushes towards the elevator. He shoots a Thenn in the head, killing him. He tells Olly to push the traction lifter and arm himself.  Sam and Grenn meet for a split second as Grenn informs him that they are going to defend the inside gate. Sam informs his brothers that more men are needed down in the yard.

A mad giant tries to lift the gate, Sam finds Jon and tells him Thorne is wounded and they need more men in the yard. Snow leaves Edd in charge. He (Edd) orders  continual firing at the Wildings.  As Grenn and company defend the inside gate, a giant storms in.  Grenn recites the Night Watch Oath to his scared brothers  as it charges at them.

Jon and Sam come down to the yard. Jon instructs Sam to let Ghost out as he needs him more than Sam. Tartly does what he is told as Ghost is let out. Ghost comes in for a kill. Thenn finds Jon as they fight each other with Thenn having the upper hand. Ygritte sees Jon in the distance.  Jon kills the Thenn with an axe to his head.

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Jon sees Ygritte with her arrow pointed at him. He smiles at her for the moment as she is shot in the back. She tells them they shouldn’t have left the cave and he replies that he’ll take her back there.  Her last words  “you know nothing Jon Snow”.  As she dies in his arms, it’s Olly that has shot her in the back. Jon holds her as the fighting rages on.

On top the Wall, Ed commands that  the scythe is let go driving the climbers off the wall. Down in the courtyard, Tormund is caught in the yard with several arrows inside him. Jon finds him and tells him it’s over while shooting an arrow in his leg. He is taken to prisoners cells.

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Sam reunites with Gilly in the kitchen  He tells her he kept his promise. To his surprise, he also finds Janos Slynt.

During the morning, the remaining brothers are cleaning up the dead bodies.  Jon informs Sam he is going to find Mince and kill him. Sam tries to dissuade him by saying there is no commander now.  He asks Sam if he has a better plan.  As they make way through the tunnel, both discover Grenn and the giant’s body. Jon says Grenn did his duty by defending the inside gate. He instructs Sam to burn the bodies.

Jon gives his sword to Sam and instructs him to open the gate. Sam’s last words to Jon are to “come back”. It fades to white as the episode ends.

The action was faced paced and exciting as this entire episode featured the battle at the Wall. There were so many great highlights such as the 360 of the yard, the giant shooting an arrow landing in the  courtyard to the fire blazing in front of the Wall. There were many strong character moments throughout the 51 minutes of action.  From Thorne’s speech to the deaths of Pyp and Grenn; even Olly found revenge by killing Ygritte with an arrow for her killing his father earlier.  Even the soundtrack was inspiring. I didn’t think that Marshall could top Backwater but he did tonight!

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Ygritte’s death was bittersweet, in the fact; she was held by Jon while fighting was around them.  The hesitation of her arrow at Jon made their love real again, if only for a second.  Her famous last words remind of us of how we met her in Season 2. Rose Leslie will definitely be missed.

Jon really shone through this episode as he assumed command; finally proving his worth . In front of our eyes, he grew up in an instant, thus, becoming a man as well as a leader.  Darn, he is good with a sword. Ghost  got some action too.  It was sad to see him lose Ygritte however: that was the turning point for this character. And next week, we’ll see even more.  Kit Harrington’s finest hour of the season.  

Sam really came into his own in tonight’s chapter as well.  He became fearless and summoned the courage to fight.  He realized how much was at stake and what it would be to lose it all. His budding romance with Gilly was a sweet character moment for the two; one that fans have been probably waiting for.

Alliser Thorne’s speech was impeccable to rally his troops  and a fine moment for him. Even if he was a despised character, he certainly gave his all in this battle. The losses of Pyp and Green were devastating even though they were secondary players to Jon’s story.

The episode did end early with no real conclusion however, it did leave me wanting more.

Here is the preview of the  season finale, “The Children”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tonight’s episode isn’t just about death or battles; it’s about proving your worth as a player. For some, it cost them their lives while others gained power through careful manipulation. And what really lies beneath the surface is the human spirit. It can be easily destroyed or resurrected through choices one makes. Alex Graves directed this phenomenal episode with even more intensity and excitement  building towards the final 2 episodes.

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The Wall

Moles Town falls under attack from the Wildings and the only one to sense danger is Gilly.  Thenns and Giantsbane kill the inhabitants at the Tavern; while Ygritte kills the loudmouth, drunken madam. She hears a baby cry and finds Gilly with her son hiding. She tells her to keep quiet and lets them live.

The next morning, Jon tells Pyp and Grenn, the Wall is next. There are only 102 NW men defending it against the Wilding army of 100,000. Sam sits in tears as he realizes leaving Gilly alone was a mistake.  His friends remind him that she survived Craster and a WW; so she might have escaped. They drink to the upcoming battle and pledge not to come back as “wights”.

It’s evident that the next big battle is at the Wall. It’s going to be epic! Let’s hope Gilly is safe.

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The North

Ramsay reminds Reek to play Theon Greyjoy in order to treat with the Ironborn. He enters the castle with a white flag. Reek meets Ralf Canning who isn’t buying him as Theon Greyjoy.  He becomes terrified as Canning refuses Snow’s terms. Just then, the captain is axed by his fellow mate who wants safe passage home.  The Ironborn surrender as Snow and crew flayed the remaining men.

Later on, Ramsay meets up Roose, informing him that Moat Cailin is taken. Bolton rewards his son by legitimizing him as a Bolton. The caravan makes way to Winterfell as Ramsay looks forward to a bath.

A significant turning point for the Boltons as they capture the Moat and begin to yield their power in the North. Ramsay’s sociopathic nature has kept his pet in line without much hesitation. The horror in Reek/Theon’s eyes said it all when he turned on his own, the Ironborn.

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Meereen

During a moment of peace at the river, Missandei and Grey Worm exchange glances as she stood naked bathing. Daenerys questions her about how the Unsullied are cut. Her handmaid isn’t sure but has often wondered about it, herself.  Later on,  Grey Worm and Missandei meet up in the Throne room where she asks him in the Common Tongue if he remembers being cut but he can’t. He only knows being Unsullied, led him to meet Daenerys and Missandei.  In High Valyrian, he does apologize for making her feel uncomfortable earlier but, she replies, it was ok.

As Selmy patrols the city, he receives a letter that has come from Hand of the King. He discovers Jorah’s secret. Next, Barristan confronts Mormont with the pardon before seeing Dany.  As Jorah is summoned to her Throne Room, Daenerys questions him about being an informant. Jorah tries to defend himself by saying that Tywin Lannister along with Varys; were masterminds behind his betrayal. Dany orders him to leave the city before dawn or he’ll be beheaded.  Jorah rides out into the desert alone.

It’s about time that Jorah’s lies caught with him. We were reminded of this at the beginning of the episode.  The atmosphere was pungent as Jorah begged for forgiveness to an unrelenting Dany.  Perhaps  Selmy’s words to balance injustice with mercy  resonated with the Khalessi since she  banishes him from Meereen .   What will be in store for Jorah, is anyone’s guess. Selmy seems to be the only person Dany can trust now. The budding romance between Grey Worm and Missandei ?

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The Vale

Baelish is questioned by the Lords of the Vale, suspicious of Lysa’s apparent suicide. They question his niece, Alayne. LF becomes uncomfortable as Sansa is brought into the room.  She apologizes to Lord Baelish first, but reveals her true identity as Sansa Stark, taken hostage by the Lannisters after her father was beheaded. She  convinces them that Lord Baelish rescued her from KL and the only person she could trust. She recounts that her aunt tried to threaten her with the Moon  Door after seeing LF kiss her on the cheek as well as corroborates his claim of Lysa falling to her death. She convinces the Lords , as she breaks down in tears while giving her mentor a victorious glance.

Later Baelish visits Sansa in her chambers.  He questions his young prodigy as to why she lied for him. Without looking up, Sansa states that if he were gone, she wouldn’t know what would happen to her.  More importantly, she lets it be known;  she knows what Petyr really wants.

Meanwhile, the Hound and Arya make their way towards the Bloody Gate.  He educates her that men fight with steel but poison is a lady’s weapon. Arya insists she would have killed Joffrey with a chicken bone. They come upon the Gate and announce their arrival. The Hound is stunned as Arya laughs hysterically as both find out, Aunt Lysa is dead.

As Littlefingerand Robin prepare to leave the castle and tour the Vale, Sansa comes down the stairs in revealing, black feathered dress and raven hair.  Baelish is stunned by her new look but pleasantly surprised.

Finally, Sansa is going from pawn to player in GOT. Her convincing testimony to the Lords of the Vale and the priceless look at Littlefinger sealed her deal. Obviously, she has been paying attention to the lessons. Unlike her brothers or Arya, Sansa will have to use her wits/charm to get what she wants including Littlefinger. Kudos to Sophie Turner as Sansa, for giving us a new power player in Westeros.

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Kings Landing

Jaime and Tyrion share a last drink before his trial by combat.  Tyrion recalls their cousin, Orson, a simple minded man that killed beetles. He asks his brother if the Red Viper stands a chance. The bells tow and Jaime’s wishes him luck.

As Tyrion enters the arena,  he sees that Oberyn isn’t armored up and concerned that he is drinking before the fight.  The Mountain comes forth with his squire. Ellaria is stunned by Clegane’s sizeand tells her man, not to leave her alone in the world. Obyern assures her that he will not die today.  Pycelle recites a prayer as Tywin cuts him off.

The Red Viper shows off his skills with a spear to the crowd. He entices the Mountain by making him confess his part in killing his sister and her children.  The Viper constantly jabs at Clegane beginning to unnerve him. Jaime, Ellaria and Tyrion look rather impressed at the moment.  Martel continually taunts Gregor about the murders using it to his advantage and stabs him in the leg and chest. It’s not good enough for the Viper as he removes the spear questioning his rival about who gave the orders implicating Tywin

Martel makes the mistake of getting too close to his opponent; who grabs him and smashes his face and teeth.  The Mountain, out of control, begins to gauge the Viper’s eyes and head as he confesses he killed Elia the same way. Ellaria screams in horror as Oberyn’s brains are splattered on the ground. Tyrion is speechless while Jaime is shocked. Tywin  Lannister proclaims Tyrion’s  guilt and sentences him to death while a smiling Cersei looking on.

Another  well-crafted fight scene between the Viper and the Mountain, one of the best of this season. The landscape outside with an ocean view was the perfect setting. The scene was not only riveting but emotionally intense through the eyes of Jaime, Tywin and Cersei. Oberyn’s death was shocking to all. Tyrion’s fate is sealed with no possible way out. Now we’ll have to wait until the season finale to see what happens. Pedro Pascal  embodied the Red Viper, Oberyn Martel, making him a fan favorite and introducing us to Dorne making the wait for Season 5, even greater.

Random Thought/Quotes:

“ When a slave is castrated, the masters take “all of it”-both the “pillar” and the “stones.” Danerys to Missandei

“You’re going to fight that?” Ellaria Sand to Oberyn Martel, “ I’m going to kill that”

“Poison is a women’s weapon, men kill with steel” Sandor to Arya

“Remember what you are and what you are not, “ Ramsay to Theon

“Better to gamble on the man you know, then the strangers you don’t”  Littlefinger to Sansa

Here is a preview of Episode 9, “Watchers on the Wall”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Season 4, Episode 7 – “Mockingbird”

With only 3 episodes left, GOT has begun to rev up its engines into overdrive towards the season finale. Tonight’s fast paced; yet revealing chapter brought new twists/turns for many players. And it seems most lives are hanging in the balance. Again, another episode directed by Alik Sakharov.

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Kings Landing

In continuation of last week’s episode, we start off tonight with Jaime telling Tyrion, he messed things up because it was a good deal. Tyrion rebuts by saying that Father got what he want by getting Jaime to leave the Kingsguard to become the heir of Casterly Rock while Tyrion would be sent to the Wall, never to be seen again. The Imp admits that it was Shae’s testimony that sent him over the edge. He thought she loved him and vice a versa. Jaime scolds him about falling in love with a “whore”. The Kingslayer informs his brother that he cannot save him this time. Tyrion requests to see Bronn, a possible champion for him. He asks about Cersei’s champion. Jaime cannot hide the look of what is to come.

Finally, we get a glimpse of the Mountain, Gregor Clegane, practicing his killing skills. Cersei welcomes him to Kings Landing.

At last, Bronn visits Tyrion in his cell. Dressed in very fine garb, he informs his former Lord that he is engaged to Lolly Stokeheart. Tyrion realizes that Cersei has bought him. He reminds his friend of the laws of inheritance. In Bronn fashion, he says the older sister can have a little accident falling off a horse. Tyrion asks Bronn to champion for him but Bronn won’t risk it this time, the stakes are too big. They leave on mutual terms with a handshake.

The final visitor of night is Oberyn Martell. He lets Tyrion know that Cersei came to him inquiring about Mrycella but her true intentions were regarding her brother. Martell recounts the first time he met Tyrion as a baby at the Rock with his sister Elia. They had heard awful stories of how monstrous looking he was. It turns out he was just a baby. Both men agree that Cersei wants to see Tyrion dead. Oberyn says he has come to right Lannister to avenge his sister’s death. He agrees to be Tyrion’s champion. There is a look of relief in Tyrion’s eyes.

Tyrion had no way of out this fiasco until Oberyn arrived. Both Jaime and Bronn cannot help him. He knows Cersei loathes him since his time of birth. His father has no compassion for him. Even Shae was a disappointment. A definite twist for Tyrion as old friendships cease and new alliances are formed. The Mountain looks fierce so battle will be intense. Again, Peter Dinklage just nails it! Kudos to Pedro Pascal as well who convinces us of Oberyn’s hatred and revenge. Another memorable scene for Season 4.

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The Riverlands

Arya and the Hound come upon a dying man and his burnt cottage. They realize nothing or no one is safe, Clegane kills the dying man so he won’t suffer. They are ambushed by two unknown men, one who bits the Hound on the neck. He kills him quickly. The other one informs the Hound there is price on his head by the Lannisters. Suddenly, Arya remembers Rorge from Yoren’s prisoner cart. She kills him as per the Hound’s previous lesson.

Later on, as the Hound and Arya stop for rest, he angrily states that “no reward was worth this much trouble”. She tries to convince him to let her burn the festering wound but Clegane doesn’t go for it. He confesses how his brother, Gregor burned him for stealing his toy; he was only playing with. And the worst part is that his own father covered up for his brother. He reminds his young captive that she isn’t the only one on her own. Arya helps him with the wound by washing and sewing it up.

Brienne and Pod travel to the Inn at the Crossroads. Hotpie serves them a kidney pie. He asks her if she is a knight. She informs him that she is looking for Sansa Stark. Outside, as Brienne gets ready to leave; Pod warns her that she shouldn’t tell anyone her mission as “people kill for money”. Just then, Hotpie comes to see them. He confesses that he was travelling with Arya until they were captured by the Lannisters, the BWB and she was taken by the Hound. He gives them wolf bread. Brienne gives Pod a look. As they come upon two paths, Pod tells her that Tyrion made sure he knew who married who and which houses hated each other. They decide that Arya could be on her way to the Eeryie to her Aunt Lysa with a good possibility that Sansa is there too. It’s worth a shot!

The bounty on the Hound’s head has made him even grumpier than before.  The pivotal moment for the Hound is his confession of how his brother burned him and the shame it has caused. Arya actually feels sorry for him for the first time. A great moment for Rory McCann’s The Hound. The new paring of Brienne and Pod is enjoyable. She certainly needs him because of his knowledge but more so as a loyal companion. His honesty will soften her rough exterior. Hotpie’s appearance made their mission more important than ever.

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The Wall

Jon returns to Castle Black to Thorne’s dismay. Ghost accompanies him. He informs his Brothers that Mance is on his way by the next full moon since he saw their fires at Ozywick Hill. Snow suggests sealing the tunnels with ice. The acting Lord Commander won’t hear of it. His new orders are for him and Tarly to start night patrol until the full moon.

This short segment is building towards the Wilding invasion. It seems that no matter what Jon says or does, it falls on deaf ears. Once the wildings invade, it will be an “I told ya so” moment. Let’s hope its soon. I’m looking forward to this battle scene.

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Dragonstone

Selyse barges in on Melisandre, taking a bath. Mel educates her about using the potions to trick men into converting to the Lord of Light. But the Queen doesn’t need it because she sees the truth. Selyse asks about Stannis as Mel replies it was only flesh needing flesh. Selyse feels her daughter shouldn’t go to the Wall, but Stannis insists she comes. Melisandre makes her look into the fire and says that Lord of Light commands that Shireen accompany them.

If anything, we certainly learn more about Melisandre. She definitely knows how to weave her web around the most vulnerable like Selyse. It will be interesting to see what happens at the Wall.

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Meereen

Dany finds Daario in her private quarters with flowers. He tells her there are only two things that matter to him, “killing men and women”. He asks her to let him kill any man for her. She seduces him with wine and commands him to take off his clothes. Jorah finds Daario leaving the Khalessi’s quarters the next morning.

Jorah informs his Queen not to trust Daario. Dany informs Jorah that Daario and the Second Sons will retake Yunkai thus, killing the slave masters. Jorah states that all these slaves know is brutality. He says, “there is good and evil on every side of the war”. The Khalessi commands that Hizdhar will act as an ambassador from Meereen. She declares that the slaves can live her new world or die in the old one. Lastly, she tells Jorah to find Daario the new plans and tell him, “you changed my mind.

Dany is beginning to feel confident in her ability to rule. Jorah’s counsel seems to appeal to her. It’s quite evident that Jorah doesn’t like the competition of Daario. He can’t stand anyone else getting close to the Khalessi . Could it to be to protect himself as well? It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the last few episodes. Emilia Clarke embodies Dany.

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The Vale

Sansa wanders into the courtyard amidst the snow. She builds a Winterfell snow castle. Robin appears and they chat about “the moon door”. He destroys her castle. Sansa loses her temper with him and accidently hits him. The Little Lord storms off in a huff. Just then, Littlefinger appears. He tells her that she reminds him of her mother; only Sansa is more beautiful than Cat. He strokes her hair and plants a kiss on her. Sansa is taken back by Baelish’s forth rightfulness. Lysa watches from the top of the tower.

Sansa is summoned by Lysa in the Great Hall near the moon door. Sansa apologizes to her aunt for hitting Robin. Lysa accuses her of seducing Petyr. In a jealous fit, she grabs Sansa towards the door. Just in time, LF shows up as Lysa is freaking out. He promises he’ll send Sansa away. Lysa lets her go. She (Lysa) confesses how she killed for him in the name of love. Petyr tells her that he has only loved one woman, her sister. He pushes her through the moon door.

A great ending for this episode and one I have looked forward to for some time. We see crazy Lysa meet her end. LF’s creepiness towards Sansa could be his undoing.  We see how much of a master manipulator he is. With Lysa out of the way, what are his next moves? What will happen to Robin now? Sophie Turner as Sansa is coming out of her shell.

Random Quotes/Thoughts:

The” previously on” introductions are great foreshadowing from previous seasons.
The Brienne/Pod Scenes are bridging into Book #4.
“Given the opportunity, what do we do the ones we love?” Littlefinger to Sansa
“Do what you do best…take off your clothes” Dany to Daario
“Humor isn’t my strength” Selyse to Melidandre
“If I wanted wits, I would marry you” Bronn to Tyrion
“Sooner or later, Cersei always get what she wants” Tyrion to Oberyn
“Don’t give up on me just yet” Tyrion to Jaime
“I’m the last friend you’ve got” Jaime to Tyrion
“Thanks to you…I’m a walking bag of silver” The Hound to Arya

Just a reminder that GOT is back in two weeks due to the Memorial Day weekend.

Here is a preview of Episode 8, “The Viper and the Mountain”:

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Episode 6 was a well-paced yet, an intensely character driven episode. It was written by Bryan Cogman whose clever dialogue showcased the many talents of GOT. As well, Alik Sakharov’s direction was outstanding. Braavos was featured in the opening credits. And we got dragons!

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Braavos

Tonight’s opening where Stannis sails into Braavos under the Titan was a triumphant return of this storyarc. As they wait at the Iron Bank, Stannis grows impatient. Both he and Davos receive a less than hospitable welcoming from Tycho Nestoris. Unable the convince the bankers that Stannis has the numbers to guarantee a loan, the Iron Bank denies their request. In a final attempt to convince the Bank, Davos shows proof of his missing fingers to justify Stannis’s claim. He also reminds them that Tywin is guaranteeing KL’s loan for now but; what will happen when he dies?

Davos finds Sallador Saan convening in a steam bath with two female companions. He recalls a story of being a pirate. Seaworth instructs his friend that they will sail at sunrise. Saan is not convinced until Davos shows him the Braavosi coins, “a bag of the good stuff, I left for your wife”.

Finally, Stannis has a purpose instead of gloating at Dragonstone. He might be a feirce leader but the man needs to learn some lessons in humility. And this is why he needs Davos, to remind him of those very things he often forgets. The return of Sallandor Saan, the pirate is a bonus. Both Cunningham and Dillane compliment each other.

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The Dreadfort

Yara Greyjoy returns for her brother, Theon. She reads Ramsay’s letter to rally her troops for attack. As Ramsay and Miranda are in bed, the Ironborn attack the Dreadfort. Yara grabs one of the guards and demands her brother, who is not in the dungeon but in the dog kennels. She is taken aback by Reek’s appearance. She tries to convince him to come with her but he insists as Reek to stay in his cage. Ramsay confronts Yara and words are exchanged before he lets the dogs out. As the Ironborn depart, Yara concedes, “my brother is dead”; leaving for parts unknown.

The next morning, Ramsay’s reward for Reek’s loyalty is a bath. He (Reek) wavers taking his clothes off and getting into the bath. All over his body are the scars of his torture. Bolton asks his servant, “if he loves him”. He convinces Reek to help him capture some dangerous men by becoming Theon Greyjoy again.

Ramsay is fast becoming the new dude to hate. He picks up where Joffrey left off. The psychological manipulation of the submissive Reek is nearly complete. His eyes say it all. Alfie Allen’s portrayal of Theon/Reek is so tragic, it will garner sympathy. Yara’s scene was closure from last season, however; it will definitely have an impact on the Ironborn in a future episode.

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Meereen

The scene opens with a goat herder and his son. As his son throws stones down the cliff, a very large dragon appears. It captures the goats for its midday meal. Dany sits in her new throne room at the Great Pyramid of Meereen. The goat herder appears before her with dead goat bones. She compensates him with 3x the worth of his goats. Hizdahr zo Loraq comes forth to claim to his father’s body. He was crucified as one of the slave masters. Loraq’s father spoke out against slaves but he was outvoted. He asks that this father be buried by the Meereen tradition of funeral rights. Dany agrees and allows him to take his father. Missandei informs her there are over two hundred people waiting.

The dragons are causing havo. Her justice may have some repercussions. Perhaps, she should have heeded Selmy’s warning of balancing injustice with mercy. There is a lot to learn about her new people. With the introduction of Hizdahr; it will be interesting to see how Dany will deal with the nobility. Things are going to intensify in Meereen.

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Kings Landing

A meeting of the small counsel began this portion. Oberyn and Mace are now inducted into it. Varys informs everyone that Sandor Clegane is the Riverlands killing Lannister men. Tywin declares 100 silver stags for killing him. Next, the Spider informs the table that Daenerys has taken Meereen with her army of Unsullied and her dragons. She has two new advisors, Jorah Mormont (who previously spied on her) and Barristen Selmy. Cersei tries to defends Joff’s dismissal of the former Kingsguard. Tywin believes that letting Barristen Selmy go was an insult because no King ever died on his watch. He knows that Dany will pose a great threat to the 7 Kingdoms.

Later, Oberyn find Varys in the Throne Room. They have discussion about the Unsulled as well as Oberyn’s knowledge of Essos. The Red Viper realizes that Varys is from Lys. Varys is not interested in anything but pursuing certain interests (as he glances at the Iron Throne).

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Jaime comes to get Tyrion for the start of his trial. Tommen excuses himself as judge while announcing Tywin tak his place as judge along with Mace and Oberyn. As he is accused of regicide, Tyrion says he didn’t poison Joffrey; nor did his wife, Lady Sansa. Several witnesses come forward such as Meryn Trant, Grand Maester Pycelle and the Queen Regent,herself. They recount how Tyrion disliked Joffrey and made threats against each of them. Tyrion counters Trant with his beating of Sansa. Pycelle brings forth the necklace that Sansa wore at the wedding delcaring there was poison in it. Varys also takes the stand against Tyrion implicating him for his hate of Joffrey. Tyrion rebutts by asking if he remembered their conversation. Varys says he doesn’t forget anything.

Court is adjourned for an hour, as Jaime visits Tywin bargaining for Tyrion. He tells his father that the trial is a ‘farce; moreover, Tyrion is the last “heir” for his line. They settle on sending Tyrion to the Wall while Jaime must quit the Kingsguard, in order to rule at Casterly Rock. Jaime informs Tyrion to ask for mercy and he’ll be sent to the Wall. Tyrion recalls Ned Stark’s fate.

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The next witness comes forth while Tyrion stares in shock as Shae enters the room. She was Sansa’s handmaid as well as Tyrion’s mistress. Tyrion lost interest in her after his marriage to Sansa. Shae testifies that Sansa and Tyrion planned Joffrey’s murder after her brother and mother were killed. He pleads with Shae not to say anymore. In a rage, Tyrion says he innocent of Joffrey’s murder; even though he wishes he had done it. The only thing he is guilty of “is being a dwarf”. Tyrion demands a “trial by combat”.

Kings Landing was the pinnacle of this episode. Varys and Oberyn’s conversation was intriguing. The looks between Cersei, Tyrion and Jaime were emotional and raw. The shock of Shae returning was a priceless moment for all. Peter Dinklage ‘s performance as Tyrion was exceptional. He definitely deserves an Emmy. The “trial by combat” is going to be sensational.

Random Thoughts/Quotes:

“Thieves are not given titles” Tycho Nestoris to Davos Seaworth
“Our books are filled with numbers” Tycho Nestoris to Stannis and Davos
“As long as Stannis lives, the war is not over” Davos to the Iron Bank
“This is turning into a lovely evening” Ramsay to the Ironborn
“You have bigger balls than he ever did” Ramsay to Yara
“Joffrey didn’t die on his watch…..dismissing him was insulting…” Tywin to Cersei on Selmy’s dismissal as Kingsguard
“The absence of desire leaves one to pursue other things” Varys to Obyern
“Does this mean, I’m pardoned” Tyrion to Jaime when he comes to get him in his cell
“You’ll never turn your back on your family again” Tywin to Jaime
And everything thing that Tyrion had to say at his trial!!!

Here is a preview of Episode 7, “Mockingbird”:

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Season 4 Episode 5, “First of His Name”

Episode 5 marks the half way of point of Season 4. It was full of character driven moments with fantastic dialogue and narrative.  Many loose ends were finally concluded (going back to season 1) while new stories began.  Even the opening credits with flashbacks of previous seasons gave viewers something to think about. Without a doubt, a faced paced episode with a gratifying ending.  We were reintroduced to Robin and Lysa Arryn of the Vale.

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Kings Landing

Tommen is crowned as House Baratheon, the first of his name, King of Andals and First men , Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.  Tywin , Cersei  et all proudly recite, “long may he reign”.  Tommen smiles at Margery and she returns the favor. Cersei looks upon her.  And somehow, both women have a heart to heart conversation about the future. The Queen Regent confesses that she knew Joffrey was horrible; even he shocked her. All she wants now is to see Tommen become a good ruler because he is a good kid and could become a great ruler.  

Next,  Tywin and Cersei plan the upcoming nuptials between Margery and Tommen as well as hers. Tywin informs his daughter that Kings Landing is in terrible debt to the Iron Bank and the Lannisters  are  broke. The war has depleted their stash of cash too. He explains that the Tyrells are an important alliance due to their wealth; even if they can’t be trusted. The Iron Bank is not forgiving about debt.  Cersei agrees it is for the “good of the family”; whether her brothers understand or not.  She tries to ask about Tyrion’s trial, however, Twyin won’t discuss it.

Later, the Queen Regent visits Oberyn Martell,  writing poetry to one of his girls. We learn that he has eight daughters back home. Both chat about their respective families. He believes in avenging death. He asks her if she believes that Tyrion killed her to which she is certain he did. Prince Oberyn says it to be decided at the trial. Cersei’s real quest is to find out how Myrcella is doing in Dorne.  The Red Viper replies she is enjoying her time at the Water Gardens with his girls.  She asks him to send a ship made for Mrycella  for missing her name day. He agrees.

With a new King at the helm, the politics have changed in Kings Landing. The Lannisters know they need the Tyrells more than ever since KL is heavily indebted to the Iron Bank. The war has cost everyone in the pocketbook.   Margery is assured to be Queen again. This week’s portion of KL was really about Cersei, her her children but her loss of control and power.   And she is definitely hellbent on Tyrion’s trial. Lena Headly is definitely showing us a different side of Cersei.  And the last 5 episodes are going to be worth watching to see events unravel.

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 The Vale

A new story begins in the Vale as Sansa now Alyane, is escorted through the Bloody Gate to the Vale. Littlefinger educates her that the Vale is impassable and no man can get through it.  She is brought before  Lysa and Robin as Alyane.  Lysa  embraces Sansa/Alyane and remarks she is family.  She meets her cousin Robin who sarcastically blurts out how her mother and brother were killed by Lannisters as well as his own father, poisoned.   Lysa instructs him that he can’t call her Sansa out in public; only in private.

Once alone, Lysa plants an excited kiss on Petyr.  She points out, “What wife would do the things I’ve done for you”. And we find out that Baelish had her kill Jon Arryn with poison and wrote the letter to Cat saying the Lannisters did it.  He agrees to marry her that night.  And Lysa ecstatically declares she’ll scream so loud that they’ll hear her across the Narrow Sea. It kept Sansa up that night.

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Lysa sits down with Sansa over lemon cakes. She talks about how Cat used to like them too. Lysa also says that Cat was the favourite daughter of the Tullys. She was promised to Brandon Stark who Petyr tried to stand up to. Suddenly, a jealous Lysa questions  Petyr’s affection towards Sansa by asking her if she is pregnant. Sansa swears she is still a maiden and that he has never touched her. Lysa informs Sansa, she’ll marry Robin and be Lady of the Vale.

This story ties up many loose ends  from Season 1 as we discover that it was Littlefinger who was responsible for Jon Arryn’s death albeit; the wa between the Lannisters and Starks. His love for Cat is unbound even if he married Lysa. It must be part of a bigger plan. Littlefinger is definitely a dangerous man. Lysa is off her rocker in more ways than one, rivaling that of Selyse Baratheon. Robin, the sickly child, is no better. This is a new chapter for Sansa who wonders whether KL wasn’t so bad after all.  What is in store at the Vale, is anyone’s guess .

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Meereen

Deanery’s is informed of Joffrey’s death.  As her small council meets, the Second Sons have captured the Meereese Navy increasing the amount of ships that she has acquired.  With armies totaling over 10,000 men, she is advised to take Westeros, as it very vulnerable at the moment. Jonah also reports that the cities she freed, Yankai and Astapor are now ruled again by slave masters.  She dismissed her advisers and asks to speak to Jorah alone.

She asks Jorah for advice regarding going back to Westeros.  Dany realizes that the cities she liberated didn’t make it . She knows that she isn’t ready to go back to Westeros yet. Without hesitation, the Khalessi makes the decision to say in Meereen to do what Queens do, rule. 

In this storyline, as one door closes, another opens. Dany started out wanting to get back to Westeros to claim her right to the Iron Throne. She seems to be maturing by choosing to stay in Meereen, as a Queen learning to rule,  especially with enemies at her back.  Meereen will be an intriguing with lots of action forthcoming.

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The Riverlands

Once again, Arya recites her death prayer. Walder Frey is added to her list. The Hound question her about the name. Her only answer is they are the ones she’ll kill herself. He jokes how he would love to seek revenge on his  brother. Arya questions what he will do to which he says, “Shut up and go to sleep”. Arya says he has one more name to recite, “The Hound” and closes her eyes. He looks at her.

As the Hound wakes up, he sees Arya is gone. He finds her practicing with Needle. A heated  ensues about her training and her Bravossi teacher, Syrio Forel. The Hound ridicules her by stating that Syrio is dead and Trant is still alive because he wore chainmail. He challenges her by asking to see what she can do. Arya stabs Clegane in his armor, he pulls out the sword, and pushes Arya to ground with Needle at her face.

We also get a glimpse of the new duo of Brienne and Pod. Her mission is to find Sansa at the Wall. She is still unimpressed by Pod’s riding skills and tries dissuades him to be her squire.  She releases him from his duties but he tells her that he has nowhere to go.

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At camp, Pod has no idea how to cook rabbit. Brienne’s face is petrified. She questions him as what he did for Tyrion as his squire.  He tries to help her with her armor but she refuses. Finally, Payne recalls that he killed a man at Blackwater for Tyrion by pushing a spear in the back of the head. Brienne lets him assist with her armor.

It looks like Arya and the Hound’s relationship is on the rocks. Arya seems discontent with him. She grows angrier by the moment.  Her only solitude is to practice with Needle. It seems that the Hound has a few more lessons to teach the young Stark. Their relationship  is good when it’s good or bad; when it’s bad.

The unlikely duo of Brienne and Pod is definitely likeable.  Brienne has taken a leadership role but she also shows her human side when she knows how Pod killed a man. Hopefully more character development in the latter half of the season for these two.

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The Wall

Continuing from last week, we find Locke watching Rast and Craster’s wives. He also discovers Bran and friends held up in a hut. He reports back to Jon that there are 11 men at Crasters, all drunk.  He warns them to stay away from the hut to east where Hounds are chained up. Snow decides to strike at sundown.

Meanwhile Bran hears footstep outside their quarters but nothing is there. Jojen describes his vision of the Wierwood Tree to Bran who has had the vision as well. Meera, Hodor and himself are there to guide him to his purpose. They are not supposed at Crasters;  this is the not end for Bran. Meera asks him what he means and Jojen’s hand turns to fire, signaling what is yet to come

Karl comes to rape Meera and chains her up. Jojen tries to haggle with him by telling him he has the “sight” to gain some time for Meera. Rast doesn’t believe him but Jojen tells him that he sees him dying and his body is burned. Just then, Rast quickly runs to report that NW has found them.

Locke comes back into hostage hut. Bran asks Locke about Jon. He questions him if he is Bran Stark when Bran doesn’t answer; he cuts his leg to make sure. As Locke takes Bran away, he waargs into Hodor.  As Hodor, he kills Locke.  Hodor is stunned that he has killed a man.  The young Stark begins to call for his brother when Jojen reminds him that their quest to find the three eyed raven is urgent.

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Meanwhile, Jon finds Karl.  He stabs Jon in the leg. Unawares Karl is stabbed in the back by one of Craster’s wives. Jon finishes the job. Perhaps, Jon now knows how to fight with “honor”. As the NW counts bodies, they discover Locke dead but one.  As Rast runs through the dark woods, he comes upon an empty cage.  Within an instant, he is attacked by white fur.  

Jon and Ghost are finally reunited. Jon offers sanctuary to Craster’s wives . They decline his offer but ask that the village and the dead  burned to the ground.

The action at the beyond the Wall was not only bittersweet but a gratifying ending to tonight’s episode. Jon becomes the hero of the day by avenging Mormont. With Locke’s death, the Bolton’s plot is somewhat doomed as Bran got away. Again, another exciting moment when we saw Bran and Jon almost reconnected again. Alas, it gave us more depth as to the importance of Bran’s quest. The stunning visual of the Weirwood tree and Jojen’s hand on fire demonstrates the gravity of magic.  Jon and Ghost’s reunion signifies how things have come full circle.

Random Thoughts /Quotes:

“ I wanted to make the baby Lannister man fly….mother wouldn’t let me” Robin Arryn to Sansa

“Where”…..”The Moon Door”.

I’m going to scream so loud, they’ll hear me across the Narrow Sea” Lysa to Littlefinger on their wedding night

“Know your strengths…use them wisely” Littlefinger to Sansa

“You’ll never love anything in the world more than  your first child” Cersei to Margery

“The Lannister legacy is all that matters” Cersei to Tywin

“What good is power is you can’t protect the ones you love” Cersei to Oberyn ,”..You avenge them”

“…One stone crumbles…another takes its place….” Tywin to Cersei on the Iron Bank

“Why did you do it?” Dany to Daario..” I heard you like ships”

 Here is Episode 6 promo, “The Laws of God and Men”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhU9MqPr7iA

 

 

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Season 4, Episode 4 – “Oathkeeper”

Once again, we were treated to another character driven exposition episode with a surprise ending that none of us expected.   Bryan Coogman wrote tonight’s chapter which was heavily adapted for screen.  The focus was on Meereen, Kings Landing, Sansa, and the Wall and beyond.

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Meereen

Our story continues from last week with Missendi teaching grey Worm to read in Common Tongue. They recall how they became slaves. We find out that Grey Worm came from the Summer Isles while Missendi came from Nall. Deanery’s interrupts them and tells Grey Worm, “It’s time”.

In Meereen, a group of slaves contemplate a revolt but they are concerned that they are not soldiers. The Unsullied infiltrate their meeting disguised as slaves and arm their friends with weapons. Grey Worm ignites a fire within them to fight their masters. Valur Morghulis.

As master walks the streets, he sees writing on the wall that states, “Masters must die “. He looks up at Flag of Meereen which has been changed to Dany’s sigil. Suddenly, he is attacked and killed by a mob of angry slaves.

Shortly, thereafter, Dany strolls through her new city as slaves chant,” Mysha” while breaking off their chokers. The Khalessi is advised by Selmy to “answer justice with mercy”; however, she decides to answer “justice with justice”. The masters are put upon crosses by nailing one of their hands as answer for their crimes.

Now that Dany has conquered Meereen, the storyline will take some intriguing twists and turns. There are definite hints of subplots coming to play between her advisors and commanders for the Khalessi’s attention. We  might see more Missendi/Grey Worm tutoring sessions being explored.  Don’t forget about those dragons.

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Kings Landing

Jaime continues his left hand training with Bronn.  The sellsword unsheathes him  and the Kingslayer tumbles to the ground. Next, he tells Jaimie how he met Tyrion by championing for him in the Vale. Bronn plays on KIngsguard’s emotions by stating that Tyrion wanted his brother as a champion, thus, quilting him for not seeing Tyrion yet.  It seems that Bronn believes that Tyrion is innocent.

Jaime reunites with his brother in his holding cell. The Kingslayer brothers have a heart to heart chat regarding Cersei and her quest to see Tyrion dead. Jaime seems impartial to the fact that Tyrion refers to Joffrey as his son, but there is a definite silent acknowledgment between them. Jaime asks his brother point blank; if he or Sansa killed the King. Tyrion answers with a resounding “no” and even though, Sansa had good reason to, she isn’t a killer, yet. Tyrion asks his brother to help him escape but Jaime can’t as he is the head of the Kingsguard which would mean treason for him.

Meanwhile, aboard Littlefinger’s Ship, Sansa discovers that LF is planning to marry her aunt Lysa in the Vale. During their conversation, Littlefinger discloses more of how he played a part in Joffrey’s death. He also plays some mind games with Sansa by implicating her guilt by wearing the necklace.  Sansa questions him to what he wants since he has a title and money.  Baelish expresses his discontent with Kings Landing, while forging an alliance with new friends who wanted to “grow strong”. And yes, LF wants “everything”.  Is Sansa the price?

Back at Kings Landing in the Tyrell gardens, Olenna informs Margery, she is going back to Highgarden. It seems that the garden at Kings Landing isn’t to her liking anymore. They converse about her and Tommen’s match. Olenna gives her grandaugher some womanly advice on how to gain Tommen’s  trust before Cersei can turn him against her. The Queen of Thorns subtly lets it slip that she was responsible for Joffrey’s death; moreover, she was only protecting Margery from that beast.

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Jaime visits a cold hearted Cersei who seems to like to drink more each day. She asks him why there is only guard at Tommen’s door. In a harsh tone, she questions her brother about his vow to Catelyn Stark. Jaime replies that he agreed to return Cat’s daughters, in order to get back to her faster. Cersei tells him that his secret vow to the enemy means nothing now and asks him to kill Sansa. As well, the Queen Regent  knows that he went to visit their brother, “the beast”. Jaime tries to convince her that Tyrion is innocent. He is taken back by her cold, ruthless demeanor. Cersei dismisses the Lord Commander by commanding that four men be posted at Tommen’s door .

The new King to be, Tommen, wakes up startled by a noise. Lo and behold, Margery appears (heeding her grandmother’s advice) with the announcement that they will be married soon.  Ser Pounce, his cat, jumps on the bed and Margery is taken by the cat to Tommen’s delight.  She educates her new King by informing him that she will become his forever and that they shall share ‘secrets’ together. As Margery departs, she kisses him on the forehead which leaves Tommen wide eyed and blushing.

Finally, we find Brienne reading the Book of Brothers about Jaime’s history as a Kingsguard.  Jaime bestows a new sword of valyarian steel  to Brienne and explains that it was forged from Ned’s sword  and  new armor. Jaime explains that he is honoring his promise to Catelyn Stark by finding Sansa and keeping her safe. He gives this duty to Brienne, who swears an oath to Catelyn and to him. His last gift to her, is Tyrion’s squire, Pod, . Brienne protests at first but Jaime convinces her by saying he needs safety. Bronn gives Pod Tyrion’s axe for protection. Brienne names the sword, “Oathkeeper”; hence the title of this episode. Jaime bids Brienne a heartfelt goodbye as she rides away with Pod.

There were many great scenes at Kings Landing with so much character substance between players. Bronn really comes through as an ally for Tyrion with Jaime.  It definitely put Bronn in a good light so far.  Tyrion and Jaime’s dungeon scene was pure brilliance in dialogue as well as acting. The Commander definitely knows that his brother is innocent.  We are witnessing emotional wreckage of Cersei . Her and Jaime’s relationship is on the downslide.  Margery is taking her grandmother’s advice about Tommen to solidify her status as Queen. Sansa is finally standing up for herself.  Her journey to the Vale ought to be engrossing to watch especially with Aunt Lysa. Don’t underestimate LF’s devious maneuvers for her and his new position. The best scene by far was Brienne and Jaime’s goodbye and the underlying feelings of respect and loyalty for each other.

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The Wall and Beyond

Jon is now training new recruits to fight against Wildings. Out of Nowhere we see Locke appear (on orders from Bolton). Thorne’s dislike of Snow is quite apparent as he remarks about Jon’s position. Jon meets Locke,who gives him a story about being in the Stormlands and choosing to come to the Wall so he didn’t lose a hand (great play on words).  Slynt advises Thorne that it might be best if Jon goes to deal with mutineers at Crasters since Lord Snow is well liked at Castle Black, a potential threat to Thorne’s leadership vote.

Later, we find Sam and Jon in the scroll/book room. Sam is worried about sending Gilly to Molestown and wonders if she is safe there.  Jon reminds his friend that he brought him back to Wall when he wanted to escape to join Robb. Sam tells Jon that he tried to convince Bran to come to the Wall. Jon is worried that something might happen to his brother. As they look at maps, Jon realizes that Bran maybe have found shelter at Crasters which is not safe at the moment. Locke finds them and tells Snow that Thorne has requested to see him.  Thorne permits Jon to go to Crasters but he can’t take any brothers with him; only volunteers. Jon speaks to his fellow brothers about his mission to Crasters as a way to repay Mormont’s horrible death.  He asks for volunteers and several men agree to come with him, including Grenn, Pyp and Locke.

We are taken to Craster’s Keep where Karl is drinking from the skull of Mormont. Craster’s wives are being beaten and raped by the exrangers. Karl orders Rast to kill the “beast” .  One of the wives  brings in Craster’s last son as the wives begin to chant  “gift to the Gods”.  Karl is informed that boys are not killed but sacrificed to the White Walkers. The wives begin to chant again. Karl sends Rast to do the deed.  As Rast carries out his duties, we find Ghost, Jon’s dire wolf locked up. He taunts the wolf with water as Ghost growls ferociously.

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Off in the distance, we find Hodor, Jojen, Meera and Bran trying to keep warm. They hear a baby crying and Bran waargs into Summer who gets caught in a net.  As Bran wakes up, he lets his cohorts know he saw Ghost, Jon’s dire wolf but Summer was caught. Jojen warns “it is coming”. Meera  tries to convince Bran that is time to go.  They come upon Crasters to see if they can find Jon but they find exrangers men there.  Again, Meera warns Bran that  they need to leave. Bran won’t leave without Summer. As they prepare to find the wolf, all are caught by Karl’s men.  Hodor is chained and tortured while Bran , Meera and Jojen are taken inside. As they are questioned and beaten. Karl realizes they are hiborn, a valuable commodity. Jojen has a seizure. Meera is unable to help him, Bran announces he is,” Brandon Stark of Winterfell”, aka Jon’s brother.

We find our White Walker and baby travelling through the icy cold north to Lands beyond Winter. It arrives at an ice like stone hedge altar. We see a line of White Walkers waiting his arrival. The King of White Walkers comes forth to see the baby . He places his finger on the baby’s cheek and turns it into another “Wight” soldier.

This storyline was heavily adapted for both Bran and Jon. Jon’s speech was exquisitely written showcasing Jon’s strength and maturity. And with Locke there, it intertwines the Bolton’s plans to erase the last of the Starks and Jon Snow. Jon and ghost will finally reunite.  Whether Jon and Bran will reunite is questionable as they were so close last season. I had to watch the episode a few times as first I wasn’t so impressed that Sam told Jon about Bran (which doesn’t happen in the books) but perhaps it helps Bran’s story arc so that he isn’t aimlessly travelling North.  Tonight’s ending was spine tickling since we don’t know much about the Others/White Walkers. It gave both readers and nonreaders a definite spoiler to what really lies beyond the Wall.

Random Thoughts/Quotes:

“A man with no motive, no one suspects….” Littlefinger to Sansa……”always keep your foes confused”

“One of my three judges wishes me dead many times and that judge is my father” Tyrion to Jaime

“That was me knocking your ass to the ground with your own hand” Bronn to Jaime

Here is a preview of Episode 5 “First of his Name”:

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