Monday, June 10, 2013
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!