Monday, June 10, 2013

Episode 30 Discussion: "Mhysa"

It is with heavy heart that we come to yet another close on an exciting season of Game of Thrones. *sigh* They go by so quickly! I can't believe I'll have to wait another 10 months to see this saga continue. What will I possibly watch in the meantime? I've soured almost completely on True Blood, which was always more Lisa's show. I'll still tune in, I'm sure, but I don't expect it to be much fun.

Anyway, so how did the season 3 finale fair? After last week's "Red Wedding," can any episode following it possibly compare?

The answer is, of course: no.

But you know what? While "Mhysa" may not have been the big bang season finale many have come to expect from this show, I thought it was one of the most fulfilling and well-constructed episodes ever. It's probably this book reader's most satisfying showing, in fact, because it felt like a lot of murky plotlines were aired out and clarified to those non initiates out there who might be having a difficult time understanding what the point of all this is. See, what everyone needs to keep in mind is that Season 3 only encompassed the first half of Book 3, A Storm of Swords. Next season will cover the rest of the novel and escalate quite a few of the different plots wavering around as of this latest airing.

So in other words, if you thought this episode ended on a rather anticlimactic note, it's no mistake. Some of the best surprises are still in store for next season!

For me, however, I found plenty to like about this episode. And since this is a discussion thread, you can head on over to the comments section and discuss your own pros and cons. Okie dokie?


What I really, REALLY loved.

The baddies are more clearly defined now. The episode opens up to Lord Roose Bolton overlooking the aftermath of his fiendish plot as Lord Walder's men clean up the remaining Stark forces bivouacked just beyond his walls. The two villains discuss their motivations for aligning with House Lannister and it all makes perfect sense now. One was tired of being mocked all the time by all his Northern highborn neighbors, and the other wanted to advance his family's name. We also finally learn what the hell was up with Theon's men turning on him last season, and who this crazy no-named "boy" holding him prisoner all this time really is. Turns out it is none other than Roose Bolton's bastard son, Ramsay Snow. Remember, all illegitimate children are given surnames taken from a defining feature of the lands they were born into. In the North, bastards are named "Snow." In the Riverlands, they are named---what else? "Rivers." And so forth, and so on. I'm glad this was all cleared up, even though Roose is definitely not best father in the world material, what with constantly referring to his son as "my bastard" to all who will hear. And it's clear Bolton Junior has some daddy issues of his own. Speaking of which ...

I have to give tremendous kudos to the actor playing Ramsay Snow, Iwan Rheon. He brings just the right balance between pure menace and batshit insanity that the role requires. Get ready to see a lot more of this fellow next season. Poor Theon ... er, I mean, Reek!

Grandaddy Lannister laying the smackdown on his little snit of a grandson, King Joffrey. I'm sure many were waiting for this moment to come. And it had to, really. The matter was a little unclear as to who truly held real power over the Seven Kingdoms. Joffrey only pretends to be a king, but Tywin Lannister has always been the real force that guides the kingdoms. His deft maneuvering of the Northern lords to turn against their precious King in the North while barely lifting a finger himself is the true hallmark of a genius mastermind. Again, the villains are having their cake this season. Which only makes sense given, again, that Season 3 is only the first half of a much larger work. The villains always have their way in the beginning of a great epic. But, wow! Tell me that was not sweet how Joffrey got sent to bed like the little snot-nosed brat that he is? I loved the subtlety of his mom, Queen Cersei, quietly trying to get her son out of sight before things got much worse. Only she and Tyrion truly understand the foolhardiness of going up against House Lannister's patriarch.

The Rat Cook. When Bran tells this story, it wonderfully addresses something I wanted to bring up last episode. Which is: that the "guest right" of bread and salt is taken for reals seriously in Westeros! If you break this tradition of hospitality under your own roof, well then . . . you've brought down the wrath of the gods themselves upon your head. No host who offers this symbolic meal to his guests can cause them any harm while they stay under his roof. To break this sacred law is seen as the worst offense possible in these lands. And Lord Walder Frey did exactly that. He sat there in his hall and offered Robb Stark and his retinue bread and salt, and partook of the same himself. Bran's tale is so foreboding and grim as to make you wonder what the consequences might be for the Freys and Boltons next year. Time will tell. Oh, and the segue to the Twins after this scene was a master stroke! And, yes, the tale of the Rat Cook was taken from the books.

What I liked.

Yay! We got to see Maester Aemon again. We last saw him back in season 1, before Jon Snow, Lord Commander Mormont, and most of the Night's Watch left on their foolhardy quest beyond the Wall. I just could not stop smiling in this scene as Sam introduces the blind, old scholar to Gilly and her baby. It felt like a real homecoming. Add to that: seeing Jon back among his friends--albeit through a rather tear- and painful set of circumstances--and it made me feel good about what's to come for us viewers next season. The pieces are all starting to fall into place for something truly EPIC!!!

Valar Morghulis. Arya Stark still carries the coin J'aqen H'ghar gave her back in Season 2's finale, and shows she knows what it means. While in the books Arya's first real kill of an adult comes much earlier and back in Harrenhal, I liked that it was placed here instead. It makes more sense, and we the audience were in a bit of a revenge sulk, anyway, after all that happened at the Red Wedding. You go, girl! It's hilarious how the Hound was more upset that she didn't tell him she was about to kill someone, rather than at the actual killing itself. But, see, Sandor knows that some people need stabbing like a man on fire needs pissing upon. He understands the way the world works. And now, so does little Arya. Her arc is going in interesting places, indeed.

Yara Greyjoy. Just as with Maester Aemon above, it was a big surprise to see a Pyke scene pop up where I least expected it. We last saw Papa and Sis Greyjoy last season, and it shows some great commitment from the actors involved to come in for just this single scene of the season. I mean, I'm sure this was filmed last season and held over, but whatever. What's most important about this scene is that Yara stands up to her pops and decides she's had enough of everyone dumping on her poor little bro-bro, Theon. You go, girl -- part deux!!

Echoing Hodors. The scene at the Nightfort was SPOOKY! I can't give anything away, but for a second there I thought the labored sounds coming out of that well was another yet-to-be-revealed character arriving early. But, nope. It was just Sam and Gilly. Finally you can all stop your whining--yes, Sam had more Dragonglass shards on his big ole person. So the one he left behind a couple of episodes back is no big deal. We hope. Also, did anyone else get a Fellowship vibe watching Bran and Co. march off down that long tunnel under the Wall? That was soooo cool! I think people forget that Bran is actually undergoing a huge quest here, one that may potentially save the whole entire friggin planet. Frodo lives!

What I strongly disliked.

Pork sausage ding-a-ling. Bleh! I could have done without seeing the demented Ramsay Snow chowing down on a deliberately shaped penis sausage. I know Ramsay, so I know how he likes to play and that it wasn't what it looked like. But still, I was very uneasy for the duration of that scene. Wonderfully acted, however. Whoa!

Mother. That Daenerys "Mhysa" scene at the end was not the way I had expected the season finale to conclude. I was expecting a more chilling and supernatural "twist," akin to the ending of previous seasons' finales. In Season 1 we got the Mother of Dragons stepping out of the flames. In Season 2, a White Walker army descending upon the Fist. And this time? A crowd surfing scene straight out of some lame refugee camp rock concert. Da fuq? Still, I really loved the music in this scene. Liked it so much that I went and downloaded the Season 3 soundtrack off iTunes, and have been listening to the track over and over all day long now! This scene really works, though, if you're willing to be patient and realize that this is just the lull for Dany before some major kickass shit happens next season. Or not. It's tough trying to figure out where the showrunners are going with her story line at times. But I think we will see some great things as Dany and Co. move on to another important Essosian city in 2014 and lay down her terms.

Siblings reunited. Not the brother and sister reunion most were hoping for before last week's shenanigans for sure, but Cersei finally gets her twin brother back. I really enjoyed the crap out of this scene ... until it ended so abruptly. Da hells? Just a meaningful look and a raised stump is all we're going to get? I was at least hoping for just a slight glimpse of Cersei's armor cracking as she runs and hugs her brother and paramour (ick! did I just write that?). But I guess as with everything else this episode, we have to consign this scene to being a setup for next season. Damn, how long do we have to wait again? It seems all the best shit is going to happen next year. Arrrrgh!

False hope. This is really for the book readers out there, who were hoping for a really exciting, though bewildering, appearance by a certain somebody who shall remain nameless for now. And yes, I was one of them. Even though I know this does not occur until the very end of Book 3, and would have therefore been out of place in a chronology that is, as of this latest episode, only halfway through that tome. Still, how awesome would it have been? Especially since many viewers feel let down that there were no immediate repercussions or payback for what happened at the Red Wedding? I know, I know . . . next season, right? Yeah, yeah. But still.

And there you have it, folks. Another successful season comes to a close. I think this was the most smoothly produced one of them all, and buzz is already huge about how awesome and epic Season 4 will be. Knowing what I know from the books, I don't doubt this one bit. Things are going to get really good from here on out, which of course is saying a lot. It's not like this show's been resting on its heels all this time, right?

So, sound off on my thoughts above in the comments section, if you will. Any questions or clarifications will be received with all the grace, aplomb, and silent glowering that my best Grandaddy Lannister impersonation can convey. Grrrrrrr!


  1. I actually loved the final scene with Dany and her crowd of freed slaves. Agree on the music choice, perfect. Dwagons!

    Yes I to thought it was funny Sander was angry Arya didn't let him know what she had planned...

    For some reason I am not liking any scenes with the crazy Ramsay and Theon. Very icky.

    Love how Big boss Lannister puts that little punk in his place. I think that final scene with Tyrion and his father was yet another wedge driven between them.. making Tyrions mind up.

    I thought they may have introduced us to a new character, the one beyond the wall, that would have been a great season ender right there. Is that who you are referring to?

  2. Hard to follow the deaths of just about everyone good :(

    I was kinda depressed after that.

    And I love the sister going to rescue her brother :D I'm such a family gal

    And the only thing that's going to help me make it to next season....

    True Blood ;D

  3. Sprite--I was thinking of someone else for the last scene. Someone, let's just say, who will be part of the Brotherhood Without Banners storyline. ;)

    Kim--Eh. I wish True Blood was enough to sustain me. I truly hope they do better this year than last season. I'll still be checking it out, in either case.

  4. Ah ok.. I was wondering when that person would show up, but it was a little too soon after "That" event.

  5. It was good right up until that final scene. I really do understand what Martin is writing here. Not unlike Tolkien. A fantastical revision of european history. But I have a serious issue with that final scene. The story works in the books becuase it is not so explicitly written out along those lines but what they've done and are doing with the show visually really unnerves me quite a bit. I'm actually a bit pissed.

    I did enjoy the hell out of Yara basically telling her father to kiss her ass, she's going to get her little brother and bring him home.

    I find it funny that you also mentioned LOTR as Bran and his bunch set off because that's exactly what I thought of when Jon made it to Castle Black. He damn near said 'Sam' the exact same way as Elijah did as Frodo. And having a 'Pip' as well! They were leaning heavy on JRRT for this one!

    That first kill was done pretty well. Lucky Arya had the Hound there though. That was funny.

    Lord Tywin sending Joffrey's little punk ass off was funny. The boy is a royal prick and sicko but even he isn't that stupid. He DID leave!

    Overall I'm still enjoying the show.

  6. It took me awhile to watch this episode, one because of my health issues (check my latest blog post for that) and two because I had to get around the trauma of the Red Wedding. But, I have finally finished season 3 and I have to say, the final ep was just what this viewer needed, events brought down to a simmer after the raging broil of the previous ep.

    This will probably make me sound like a neophyte (especially since I haven't read the books), but I liked the ending seen with Danerys. It was an ending of quiet hope. It was like the producers of the show were washing away the badness of the past couple episodes and telling the audience that some good stuff is coming next season. The first shoot that breaks the ground at the beginning of spring, if you like. And at the same time creepy, like a massive crowd of people worshipping one person should be. And the music helped that so much! It was really an amazing complement to the scene.

    Thanks to David, I've been waiting for Arya to take some kind of direct action on the show, so I *CHEERED* when she finally killed someone by her own hand. It was simply awesome! And took me completely by surprise. I figured she was going to announce herself as a Stark and slap the dude and then Sandor would have to kill them all. Pure awesomeness!

    And speaking of awesome, I absolutely LOVED Tywin taking Joffrey down a few pegs. And like he did to the Starks, he did without making a single bit of physical effort himself. It was truly outstanding! And interesting to see Tyrion and Tywin joined together in one objective: controlling Joffrey. Even if it was only for just a few moments.

    I found Yara Greyjoy's confrontation with her father a bit out of character to be honest. She was all in for treating him like nothing when he first returned to the Iron Islands, lording her experience over him. Now suddenly he's precious family? By the end of her speech, I was with her, but the way it started was a bit weird.

    Oh, and speaking of weird: How freaking lucky is the Onion Knight?? I swore that dude was DEAD after he stood up (again) against Mel! And then he's freed and then he lets the boy go (which was so funny. "Can you swim? No. Don't fall out of the boat.") and is sentenced to death. So now he's sure to be killed. Nope, word of the White Walkers saves his butt. Even Mel HERSELF backed him up! My jaw hit the floor when she said "He's right. He has a role to play in the coming war." Wow... Yes, yes, I know. This is another non-reader moment, but still... Wow.

    And yes, I also got the LOTR vibe and Sam (in the role of the elves) handed each one of the "fellowship" a Dragon Glass blade (a boon) and sent them on their mission. It was pretty cool. I hope it turns out a bit better for them than it did for Tolkien's crew.

    Overall, I liked this episode, and I agree that this season is the best so far in terms of production quality. Not that seasons 1 & 2 were slacking, but with Season 3, it felt like the producers and the writers of the show finally got a solid handle on this world and the stories within it and as such were able to adapt the books with greater expertise, and story-telling efficiency.

    I, for one, can not WAIT for Season 4.


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