Game of Thrones: Season 4 Episode 8 Review

*spoiler alert*

As is customary with Game of Thrones, much transpired in this, the third from last episode of season four, as some of the largest thrusts in the plot-line took place- the most important, of course, was Tyrion’s much-awaited trial-by-combat but other chess pieces too, made a move-along, setting stage for what has so far been GoT’s trademark decisive second-last episode.

“Little wilding bitch, you should have stayed with your own kind”

Gilly isn’t finding Mole’s Town a piece of cake but she’s standing up for her own, especially since she has a child in toe. But those are going to be the least of her problems as Mole’s Town falls to the wildings who have ganged up with the Thenns in a brutal, nocturnal attack that ends with most of the townsfolk dead. Sun-kissed Ygritte, of You-know-nothing-John-Snow fame, who hasn’t been seen for a while, is back for the kill and she does away with most of the women but although she sees Gilly hiding with her child in a corner, she merely holds up her finger in a gesture meant to silence her and then moves on, leaving Gilly and the baby quite unharmed.

Meanwhile at Castle Black, the brothers confer, quite correctly reaching the conclusion that with the town fallen, they are most definitely next. Sam believes Gilly is lost to him but brightens up a little at the thought that a woman who survived Caster and the White Walkers as well as a long and hard winter walk from beyond the wall might just manage to survive this assault as well. At any rate, Castle Black must prepare for war despite having the numbers stacked up against them.

“I am glad you saw me”
“So am I”

I find the scenes between Grey Worm and Missandei quite pointless; perhaps because they are not in the book at all or perhaps because I do not expect this story to really go anywhere (probably since they’re not in the book). Thus their naked exchange seemed like nothing more than another attempt to add the essential Game of Thrones nudity, because God forbid the world would collapse if there wasn’t at least one nude woman in each episode.

“The north is mine. Now tell me what is your name?”
“Ramsay Snow”
“No, not Ramsay Snow. From this day, until your last day, you are Ramsay Bolton, son of Roose Bolton, Warden of the North.”

While Theon who is Reek pretending to be Theon although he really is Theon but not quite anymore, puts up a brave show and manages to capture Moat Cailin and have his fellow Iron born men fleeing back home at the same time, Roose finally removes the ‘Snow’ from his bastard child’s name, christening him Bolton and officially handing over the inheritance to the sadistic bastard. How touching. Actually I had assumed this exchange had already taken place or been declared. It’s hard to be certain of how far in the show is sometimes.

Those philandering eyes. Eww.

“But did you gamble on the man you know than the strangers you don’t? Do you think you know me?”
“I know you won’t.”
“Do you?”

I quite enjoyed the Sansa-Littlefinger part of the show too. Unlike the books, here Sansa confesses to the lords and ladies of Vale that she is, in fact, Sansa Stark. She puts up quite a convincing story of her pain and suffering at the hands of the Lannisters and her aunt (which wasn’t surprising, since it was all true) but paints Lord Baelish in quite a positive light, painting him as her protector and savior and a somewhat father-figure, which is as far from the truth as you can imagine from looking into Petyr Baelish’s lusty eyes every time he looks at Sansa (I am immediately reminded of Catlyn Stark every time her does, which is quite a compliment to his acting). Littlefinger is excused and sets about the task of entrusting Robyn with more responsibility by letting him out into the world. Of course he probably means to have the little prince killed off somewhere (I’m speculating, this isn’t a spoiler). He quite rightly says that the little act Sansa put on for the benefit of those strangers was quite a gamble from her point of view because she has no idea what to expect from Baelish. Nobody does. I don’t think he himself fully knows either. But given his life-long (unrequited) love for her mother, if there is someone he might show some amount of loyalty to, it could be her. That being said, there wasn’t much else Sansa could have done either. I always believed in Sansa, even when she was the weakest Stark. Now she is finally coming in her element and picking up her broken pieces, learning to play the dreadful game a little because she has to. There’s only so far luck can hold. I think she looked quite pretty when she descended the stairs in a stunning black ensemble in a plunging neckline, complete with a large neckpiece and said ‘Shall we go?’
At this point Lord Baelish drooled some more in quite a disgusting fashion.

Arya’s unbridled laughter makes for good tragicomedy.

“Then I offer my condolences. Lady Arryn died three days ago.”

Arya continues playing quite the adorably cheeky little murderer that she is, with panache. Once again she has been brought almost to the doors of a reunion with a family member. With Sansa just within the doors of the Eyrie and the Hound and Arya at the gates, she is as close to her elder sister right now as she was to her mother and brother just nine episodes ago. As the news of the death of the aunt-she-has-never-met is broken to her and the Hound who meant to barter her off in exchange for gold, she bursts out into a long fit of laughter which is quite delightful and ominous at the same time. All this travelling for nothing! Rudderless once more.

And now the fandom begs for a hundred new Ser Jorah memes.

“Don’t ever presume to touch me again or speak my name. If you are found in Meeren past break of day, I’ll have your head throne into Slaver’s Bay.”

Daenerys is finally confronted with Ser Jorah’s earlier betrayals, for which of, course, the good warrior has more than made up by his long and loyal standing at her side (not to mention his love, which he does appeal to). Sorry figure as he does cut as an unrequited lover, Ser Jorah friend-zone memes have made him seem quite funny. Daenerys abolishes him from her sight and her kingdom, refusing to listen to his pleas and he finally gives in to her orders.

Mixed Signals: His savior The Viper gave Tyrion quite a roller-coaster journey.

“Deciding a man’s guilt or innocence in the eyes of the Gods by having two other men hack each other to pieces”

As his judgment hours draw closer, Tyrion is in quite the mood for jest while he awaits the trial-by-combat that is to decide his fate, in his cellar with Jamie. He talks about the various words used for deaths of kin (patricide, matricide, regicide, suicide and so forth) until Jamie points out that there isn’t one for cousins. This point Tryion cedes, before launching into quite a tirade about a ‘simple’ cousin from his childhood who used to crush beetles to death for no apparent reasons and although he tried really hard to get to the bottom of the matter, he just couldn’t. It was another well-acted piece by Peter Dinklage but I failed to see the point. Was GoT indulging in a bit of philosophizing or was it mere killing of time in a jam-packed episode? I wouldn’t know. As Jamie said, so many men, women and children die pointlessly in the GoT world (and in reality but oh well, we want to save all the species), that there really isn’t much time to brood over beetles.

Say it! You raped her, you murdered her, you-SQUELCH.

“You raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children”

The last seven minutes of the show were, of course, the most awaited ones this episode and they did not disappoint, not even if you knew what was coming all along. I’ll tell you why.
To me, the Oberyn on the show seemed a lot more relatable than the one in the book, probably because the elongated his role and added all those additional scenes as a means to fill in the episode but also because I hadn’t counted on Pedro Pascal to be such a quick-witted, twinkly-eyed, devilishly gleeful charmer. As a result I was quite blown away by Oberyn’s tall claims (“Today is not the day I die”, “I won’t {leave you alone in this world}”) and started to believe in them myself, hoping the show had decided to give him a longer run. But the show wouldn’t go on unless Oberyn perished this episode and perish he does. Gregor Clegone, though quite large, does not appear as formidable as everyone keeps exclaiming he is.

The combat proceeding was pleasant to watch, Oberyn was quite the nimble-footed dancing warrior who jibbed and teased his sister’s murderer and rapist, all the while chanting the same lines. He wants a confession out of the murderer, his personal vengeance is so absorbing and triumph so close that he becomes cockier than he is supposed to. He beats the beast quite easily and could quite easily have done away with him had it not been for the fact that whenever he must have pictured this moment in his head, it must have been supplanted by a full confession from the mouth of Clegone, the only way he would have considered his sister and her children safely avenged. This was not to be however, because although Oberyn does get the confession he wanted, it comes at the price of his life.
I’ve seen plenty of gruesome and gory scenes on Game of Thrones and survived, but the last moments of Oberyn’s life were the most dreadful to watch as Clegone begins by popping the Viper’s eyes and then crushing the rest of his skull and we are shown a close-up of his eyes bursting bloody in their sockets and his brains literally spilling out onto the seaside tarmac!!!! I couldn’t even- I didn’t even want to watch-

When do I get to declare my son’s hanging?

Clegone collapses soon after. His fate we shall talk about later.
Tywin rises in truimph while Cersie smiles in her seat, and announces to all those who are present that the trial decisively sentences Tyrion to death. We’ll talk about Tyrion’s fate later too. My equivocal statements could mean anything really.

All in all, a good episode where things happened and other things set the tone for what is to come in the future.

Next week’s trailer is all about the wall:

Until later 🙂

PS: I missed an episode, I know. I’m sorry. Laziness.


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