Monday, May 19, 2014

HBO Game of Thrones Recap: Mockingbird

This was another transitional episode, moving things into place. However keeping with the book it's modeled after it had its share of important and/or stunning moments. If last week saw some ugly Lannister family business publicly revealed in court this week showed some painful Tully family dynamics. As usual the show has created its own narrative, departing from the books in ways great and small although it still mostly ends up in the same place. I am getting increasingly nervous about this not only because I don't always know what will happen next, which is a good thing, but also because I'm not convinced that the changes made are always quality ones. Anyway we're reintroduced to the recast Mountain, seen practicing his butchery on prisoners. That is one HUGE man. He has muscles on his muscles. Cersei greets him fondly as he is to be the Court's Champion in the trial by combat which Tyrion has demanded.  Cersei is rarely in a better mood than when she is planning something nasty for Tyrion. She's happy.
Jaime is huddled with Tyrion in his jail cell. Jaime is upbraiding his little brother for messing up the plan but Tyrion says he couldn't stand to listen to Shae lie and reveal all that private sex talk. Love hurts. Tyrion also says no matter what it felt good to mess up Tywin's plans. Jaime is not good enough to fight anyone yet, let alone The Mountain. Tyrion asks his brother to find Bronn. There's a blink and you missed it scene at the Wall where Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne are saddened by Jon Snow's return and even more upset to see how popular he's becoming with the brotherhood. They're like, dang, we keep trying to get this muyerfuyer killed and he keeps surviving. What's up with that? Feeling petulant Thorne pulls rank on Snow and ignores or shoots down all of his advice about the impending wildling attack. He also gives him night's watch...outside of course. Thorne is the quintessential simple minded bureaucrat found in many large organizations who insists on sticking to the rulebook no matter what new events take place. Such people can't think outside of a very narrow set of strictures and get upset when other people try to help them to do so. They lash out. Also keep in mind that Janos Slynt helped to kill Ned Stark.


Arya and The Hound are continuing their road trip. They have a brief philosophical conversation with a dying peasant before The Hound finishes him with a stab to the heart, clinically explaining to Arya how it's done. They are attacked by criminals trying to collect Tywin's bounty. One of these men bites The Hound before being dispatched. Arya recognizes the other as one of the people being taken north by The Night's Watch. She remembers him as a man who threatened to rape her. When he identifies himself as Rorge, she stabs him dead, right in the heart just as instructed. A day or so afterwards The Hound is miserable from the bite and curses the day he decided to help Arya. He admires the fact that Arya's brother Jon gave her her sword and tells of his mutilation at the hands of his brother, The Mountain. The Hound refuses to let Arya use fire to burn the infected flesh. So Arya cleans his wound with water and sews it up. In the other mismatched road trip Podrick and Brienne are at an inn being served by the expansively garrulous Hot Pie. When Brienne drops the name Sansa Stark Hot Pie claims all the Starks are traitors and he doesn't know any. But when the duo leaves he tells Brienne of his travels with Arya Stark, whom everyone thought was dead. He's once again baked a wolf shaped loaf of bread. He would like Brienne to give this to Arya. Brienne decides to look at the Eyrie for both Stark girls. Despite the good luck with Hot Pie, Podrick cautions Brienne that dropping the Stark name after Joffrey's assassination and the war might not be the smartest or safest thing to do.

Bronn, wearing fancy new clothes, goes to see Tyrion. He's made a deal with Cersei and has been too busy to see Tyrion. He's going to marry Lollys Stokeworth, a large dimwitted woman. Although Lollys is not the heir to her father's lands as Bronn explains to Tyrion, accidents can happen to older sisters. Bronn is a mercenary but for old time's sake he's willing to see if Tyrion can beat his sister's offer. Tyrion is obviously cut off from Lannister wealth but is still married to Sansa Stark. If Bronn would fight for him, Tyrion could offer some Northern lands. Bronn declines as the reward of cold northern lands isn't worth the risk of fighting The Mountain. I liked how these two men, not quite friends, but a bit more than employee/employer were constantly divided by the sunlight streaming into Tyrion's cell. Tyrion doesn't take Bronn's refusal personally.
In Meereen there is some female gaze instead of the male gaze for which so many feminists have criticized the show. Daario, who has climbed into Daenerys' suite is ordered by Daenerys to strip before they finally play the game of give a queen what she needs. The next morning a happy Daario is leaving Daenerys' chambers. He runs into Ser "I'm just a friend" Jorah and of course can't resist telling him the good news. I win, you lose. Jorah isn't happy. Jorah tells Daenerys not to trust Daario. Looking like the cat that just swallowed the canary Daenerys responds that Daario is just like Jorah. Well except for the tiny little fact that Daario does things with Daenerys that Jorah doesn't. Daenerys has sent her lover to retake Yunkai and kill every slave owner. After Jorah points out that by her logic Ned Stark would have killed Jorah, Danerys relents and changes her order. The slaveowners can change or die. Hizdahr is also going to go to Yunkai to help convince people to change their evil ways.


In Dragonstone, Selyse visits Melisandre while the latter is bathing. This makes no sense but whatever. Perhaps Selyse has some unacknowledged attraction to Melisandre? Whatever else Melisandre is she's attractive and young while Selyse is neither. Selyse is a fanatic who is unamused when Melisandre reveals that some of her magic is mere trickery for the rubes. Selyse really doesn't like her daughter Shireen and does not want to take her along on their next campaign. She wants Melisandre to convince Stannis. Melisandre disagrees. She wants to keep Shireen close. Melisandre shows Selyse something in the flames, saying she needs her to be strong. Hmm. Oberyn approaches Tyrion and lets him know that Cersei approached him. Tyrion says that his sister is excellent at "making honest feelings do dishonest work" and would be happy to see him dead. Oberyn agrees and reveals he was not taken in by Cersei. Oberyn talks of seeing Tyrion as a baby and being both somewhat disappointed that Tyrion wasn't a monster and taken aback that Cersei hated her brother so. But that's the past. The important thing here is that Oberyn learned at a very early age not to believe what Lannisters say. Oberyn says he wants justice. He will be Tyrion's champion. There are only a handful of men who would choose to fight The Mountain. Oberyn is one of them. I liked how this was shot. Oberyn was very serious. We see him from Tyrion's point of view. He fills the screen.
It's snowing at the Eyrie. In the courtyard Sansa has built a replica of Winterfell. Her idiot cousin Robin comes to see what she's doing. As he is only interested in killing people he is upset to find out that Winterfell has no Moon Door to throw people from and that Sansa didn't attend executions. He has a temper tantrum and destroys her work. Sansa slaps him. It's actually a pretty good belt right across the kisser. Pow! Right to the moon! Robin runs off. Lord Creep, Littlefinger, reveals he was watching the whole thing. He says that Robin needed that and more. When Sansa asks him why did he kill Joffrey, Littlefinger talks of how much he loved Catelyn and asks Sansa what do we do to those who hurt us. He also plays with Sansa's hair and kisses her. He tells Sansa that she's more beautiful than her mother and should have been his daughter. Lysa sees/hears this from the balcony. Lysa summons Sansa to the throne room. No one else is there. The Moon Door is open. Now if you already know that a relative is a little bit off and you see them cleaning a gun, sharpening a knife or I don't know, standing next to a door that opens to an 800 foot drop, would you get closer to them? Well bless her heart Sansa does. 
The crazy we saw in old aunt Lizzy last episode comes back twice as strong. After she talks about how bodies explode on impact from the fall she grabs her niece and calls her a whore. She boasts that everyone who tried to come between her and Littlefinger is dead. She has every intention of throwing Sansa through the Moon Door when Littlefinger appears. He commands her to let Sansa go. He says he will send Sansa away. Lysa says that she's lied and killed for Littlefinger. Lysa lets Sansa go. She and Littlefinger embrace. Littlefinger calls Lysa a silly woman and tells her he's only ever loved one woman.

Her sister.

He pushes Lysa thru the Moon Door.

What I liked
  • Nice to see Melisandre again if you know what I mean. Heh heh. Seriously though she is just as crazy as Selyse. I think she does mean harm to Shireen based on the whole "king's blood" deal.
  • Lysa's pains and resentments were key to Littlefinger's plans and essential to the story. Nobody except Littlefinger knew just how f****** up she really was and how much she hated her family. You can argue that she needed to put on her big girl drawers and woman up but people really do hold on to irrational family resentments for years. Not everyone helps to start a war and murders family members but that aside Lysa was a realistic character. Selfish, crazy and even evil but quite realistic. Both Lysa and Littlefinger fell in love with someone who didn't love them. They each wanted revenge. The situation reminds me of the Harold Lauder character in Stephen King's The Stand.
  • The goodbye between Bronn and Tyrion. They had some fun but business is business. In his relationship with Bronn, unlike his interactions with Shae, Tyrion was never under the illusion that love was involved.
  • If Littlefinger was watching the courtyard, surely he must have known Lysa would be as well. There are some interesting implications there.
  • Robin has every sign of being another Joffrey. I think Sansa saw this or feels it. I think the slap was not just for the destruction of her snow castle but also in response to everything she's been through. It could herald a more active Sansa Stark. 
  • Daenerys learning that life may not be as black and white as she thinks. Some of her responses to challenges are coming from her life of being the underdog and the subject of numerous plots and assassination attempts. Now that she's in charge she has a lot of psychological damage to process. And let's not forget her parents were siblings. The crazy could be in her.

What I didn't like
  • Jorah still laying in the cut. If there was ever a time to open your heart and put it all out there Jorah, you may have just missed it. Daenerys looked a little too happy.
  • I thought we'd get a quick info dump on how Shae came back. Was her ship boarded or had Bronn already been bought off by Tywin and Cersei.
  • No Stannis this week. 
*This post is written for discussion of this episode and previous episodes.  If you have book based knowledge of future events please be kind enough not to discuss that here NO SPOILERS. NO BOOK DERIVED HINTS ABOUT FUTURE EVENTS. Most of my blog partners have not read the books and would take spoilers most unkindly. Heads, spikes, well you get the idea....
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