Game of Thrones Finale Recap: The War Ends, the Battle Begins [Updated]
After last week’s harrowing episode, Game of Thrones had to work pretty hard to finish its third season on a memorable note.
A dismembered phallus? Yeah, that’ll do.
Though the episode had nowhere near the flash or gravity of last week’s Red Wedding, it held a few small reveals and some absolutely stellar scenes between a few of our favorites, and it moved all the pieces into place for next season. Bottom line, I liked (not loved) it – though judging from the poll results so far, many of you don’t agree. So let’s get down to it and review what happened in “Mhysa.”
HOUSE GREYJOY | Theon’s torturer, whom I’d been calling Georgelgänger, turns out to be Roose Bolton’s bastard son, Ramsey Snow. And yes, he most decidedly emasculated Theon a few episodes back but no, that thing he’s eating when we first see him is not Greyjoy’s missing appendage. (Side note: Gross.) My new name for a dejected Theon: Lord Greyjoyless. But Ramsey’s got a better one: Reek, because all of this torture and penis-losing has given Theon that not-so-fresh aroma. As Ramsey beats Reek into accepting his new moniker, little Theon is making its way to Papa Greyjoy in the Iron Isles. If the Ironborn don’t skedaddle from the north, Ramsey promises, Theon will die in a very painful way. Balon pretty much says, “Meh,” but Yara gathers a boat and a crew and sets off to save her brother.
HOUSE STARK: MINI-MURDERER EDITION | Arya wakes up from the Hound’s blow just in time to see Frey’s men parade Robb’s body, which has Grey Wind’s head sewn on where her brother’s head should be. (A few side notes: First, totally disgusting and horrifying. Second, that is Martha Stewart levels of efficient crafting. Robb’s been dead, what, five minutes?) On the road a few days later, Arya overhears one man in a camp boasting that he was the one to do the grisly stitchery. Ned’s daughter plays innocent until she can get close, then plunges the Hound’s knife into the man. Her captor/rescuer jumps into the melee and they kill all of the gang, then Arya pulls out her coin and utters the phrase valar morghulis, which we’ve come to know means “All men must die.”
HOUSE STARK: HEADED-NORTH EDITION | Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor spend the night at Nightfort, where they run into Sam, Gilly and the baby. One look at Summer, and Sam realizes that Bran is Jon’s kin. “If you’re his brother, you’re my brother, too,” the portly Night’s Watchman tells him. Though he’s dubious that Bran is at all equipped to fight the beasties up north, Sam gives the Stark group the rest of the dragonglass weapons and shows them the way past the wall. Then, Tarly and his companions make their way to the wall, where Maester Aemon (still alive!) welcomes them back and has Sam draw up some ravens’ notes about the undead apocalypse bearing down on the south. (Side note: Gilly naming the baby after her savior was a sweet touch.)
HOUSE LANNISTER: KNOW-YOUR-PLACE-BOY EDITION | Tyrion and Sansa seem to be getting along well, if the companionable air between them on an afternoon walk is any indication. I’d even say they’re cute together, if I didn’t think Shae – who’s along for the stroll – would cut me for it. They’re interrupted by Podrick (the ladies murmuring about him as he passed gets a “heh” from me), who summons Tyrion to a meeting of Joffrey’s small council.
The boy king is vibrating with excitement at a coded message conveying the deaths of Robb and Catelyn Stark. He wants Robb’s head sent to King’s Landing, because “I’m going to serve it to Sansa at my wedding feast.” I don’t know which makes me love Tyrion more: when he says that will not happen because “She is no longer yours to torment” or when he replies to Joff’s calling him a monster with, “Monsters are dangerous, and just now, kings are dying like flies.” Tywin has even less patience for his psychopathic grandson, telling him that “Any man who must say ‘I am king’ is no true king.” Because he has no hooker handy to riddle with arrows, Joffrey channels his frustrations by calling the Hand of the King a coward – which gets the boy sent to bed like the impudent toddler he is. He even yells out, “I’m not tired!” just like every 5-year-old I ever babysat.