Friday, 23 May 2014

Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 7 - Mockingbird (TV SPOILERS) FULL VERSION

Counting the cost


"If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.”

Another strong episode in which Littlefinger's masterplan becomes clearer, Tyrion loses and then gains a champion, Sansa reflects on what she's lost and Daenerys gets laid. Dive in for detailed analysis interspersed with lots of pics and some lulz. Oh, and a chart following Littlefinger's impact on the Game...

Once upon a time, there was a wise Lord (Ned Stark) who ruled over his town (Winterfell) with a firm but fair hand. Ned was loving to his family, even to his wards and bastard children and he cared deeply for his subjects. Events caused him to travel to Kings Landing and become embroiled in the affairs of the Lannisters, who were almost the opposite of the Starks. The Lannisters were a people so consumed with a lust for power, money and various desires that it traumatised and hardened them beyond repair.

The Starks’ brief encounter with the Lannisters killed Ned and nearly destroyed the whole family, scattering their children all over Westeros, which is when we catch up with Sansa and her reverie of snowy Winterfell in this episode. This enjoyable image almost made me want to cry out “WINTER IS COMING!”, but it also led me to wonder about what other paradise has been lost because of the Lannisters. This theme was hinted at a couple of times, like the village that was indiscriminately burned down. Given Tywin Lannister’s preoccupation with winning and consolidating power in Kings Landing, the rest of the country has gone to rot. As the dying man points out, “there’s no balance”. Not since Ned Stark, anyway.

In fact, Tywin doesn’t even seem to be in control of his bannermen, like the Mountain, who tortured and killed almost all the prisoners at Harrenhal in season 3 and earlier, unbeknownst to Tywin, raped and murdered Elia Martell. This injustice drove Oberyn Martell to fight for Tyrion in the present day, so he too can destroy the Lannister family in the way they’ve destroyed other families.

On another note, Tyrion’s trial by combat is symbolic of a continuing theme this season, of cosseted, venal and angry firstborns v honest and decent secondborns: Cersei and Clegane v Tyrion and Oberyn. We also have the Hound’s story about being tortured at the hands of his older brother. I could riff on these themes all day, but on with the episode!

Oberyn: “He killed my sister…he shouldn’t have lived this long.”
Tyrion: “Every kind of filth down here except the filth I like”
Without the shadow of a doubt, the Oberyn/Tyrion scene is the heart of this episode. It’s immensely gratifying getting some background and quite funny imagining all these jaded, bitter middle-aged men and women as innocent children. Oberyn’s story was very powerful because it alluded to two themes: society’s prejudice against dwarves and Cersei blaming Tyrion for their mother’s death. Both themes are relevant more than 30 years later in Westeros. Oberyn’s story (which he remembers a little too well) shows us how even at Tyrion’s birth, he was being persecuted by Cersei, defended by Jaime and watched over by Oberyn. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose…

As predicted by many people, Oberyn will match up with Ser Gregor Clegane (the Mountain), a man who makes his brother seem like a Buddhist monk. He and Cersei deserve each other. For my money, I reckon Oberyn should find a way to poison Clegane but slowly, so Oberyn has a chance to beat him fair and square, but if he doesn’t, Clegane dies anyway. It may not be honourable, but Kings Landing doesn’t really have any rules. In this game of thrones, you win or you die. Plus I’d love to see the look on Tywin’s face.
This episode also contained a lot of spectres from the past, including a reunion.

“No balance any more…” | “They burned [my hut] down.” “Who were they?” “I stopped asking a while ago”
Dying man: “Dying is thirsty work”
Hound to Rorge: “Not having a good day, are you?”
The Hound & Arya - While Tywin is busy orchestrating machinations in Kings Landing, the provinces are burning. Literally. But did I see that right, the Hound wasting his water on a dying man? What has the world come to?! Anyway, the Hound won’t contend with fire even to fix his wound. “The Hound”? “The Bitch”, more like…afraid of a little fire?!

We had a reunion between Rorge and Arya (“Didn’t you say you’d fuck me bloody with a stick?!”), which precipitated in a union of his heart and Arya’s Needle. Rorge, of course, was one of the Lannister soldiers responsible for shipping Arya, Hot Pie and Gendry to Harrenhal. Which leads us nicely to a somewhat important meeting: Hot Pie with Brienne & Podrick (BriPod).

Brienne to Pod: “You’re not interesting enough to be offensive”.
Brienne & Podrick - Tantalisingly, we finally see BriPod on the trail of the Stark girls, which could, just could, result in something I’ve been having fantasies about (yes, really): Arya, Sansa, Brienne & Podrick in one place! However, this being Game of Thrones, that is probably too many good guys in one place and so either (a) they won’t meet or (b) atleast 2 of them will be dead before or shortly after they meet. And of course, BriPod have to get through Lord Baelish. Let’s see how that works out.

Vale of Arryn - Speaking of Baelish…one of the ehrmagerds of the episode. I’d always thought of him as a cool, calculating man, but his outrageous heaving-ho of Lysa seemed completely extemporaneous and barmy. And of course Sansa was the one who nearly paid for Littlefinger’s (deliberate?) indiscretion.

In some ways, Baelish’s plans are beginning to look like genius – broker an alliance between Lannisters and Tyrells (which frees up Sansa and saves Kings Landing from Stannis Baratheon), become Lord of Harrenhal, woo Lysa to become Lord of the Vale, kill Joffrey, frame Tyrion for it, free Sansa from marriage, kill Lysa and marry Sansa, thus somehow having control of both Winterfell (with keys to the North) and the Vale of Arryn. Tremendous. Anyway, I’ve drawn up a flow diagram of most of Littlefinger’s actions in Game of Thrones…

It’s amazing to think that Littlefinger has been behind so much of what we’ve seen. He seems to be sitting pretty, but I just remember Cersei’s words when Littlefinger told her “information is power”: “no, power is power”. Now Littlefinger has real power.

Robyn: “I’ll be able to fly anybody we don’t like”
Sansa & Robyn - We also got to see what Sansa’s future would look like if she was married to Robyn, a loon reared by megaloon Lysa. Unless she can bring Robyn under control, she’ll be marrying mean ol’ Littlefinger. Now that’s a rock and a hard place.

Bronn on his new clothes:  “…softer than a virgin’s thighs.”
Tyrion’s almost admiring reaction to Bronn’s conversion: “Because you’re an evil bastard with no conscience and no heart?”
Tyrion on fighting the Mountain: “Won’t that make for a good song?”
Tyrion & Bronn - my reaction on this?

One of the things that GoT does to us all the time is that it brings people up only to knock them down. Bronn’s bromance with Tyrion came to an abrupt but amicable end this week. Although Bronn’s argument for not fighting for Tyrion is perfectly sound, it feels a little too cold and calculated. Other shows might have spent time showing us Bronn’s conversion to pragmatist, but it’s clear enough that Bronn has thought this through and, ultimately, this is what a “sellsword” is: a man in search of a higher price. It very much looks like Bronn had made up his mind before arriving, but he does make a bloody good point in that Tyrion never risked his life for him.

The shadow of an unseen person hangs over this particular scene: Cersei, one of those Lannisters driven mad by disappointment and lust for power. Cersei is a woman so profoundly broken, so venal, angry and ruthless, that just weeks after we’ve seen her raped by her own brother, we feel almost no sympathy towards her. Even if the makers of the show have barely acknowledged the rape, we know it happened and it hasn’t dampened our hatred for her. Cersei’s cynical and brutal attempts to isolate Tyrion are a bit troubling in that she doesn’t seem interested in who actually did it. Anyway, she is, in a way, the most interesting character in Kings Landing: nobody else is as well drawn as she is: she pined for Robert Baratheon’s love but didn’t get it, she genuinely loves her children and yet her relationship with her brothers is a dysfunctional version of “kiss or kill”.

Note to Ser Clegane: “WHOM am I fighting?”, not “Who am I fighting?”! Grammar is what separates us from the monkeys. Oh. Carry on, Clegane.

Night’s Watch: this is probably the most exigent of all the storylines, although we spend very little time here. Although the NW is the closest thing to a proper brotherhood in GoT, their leader, Ser Thorne, acts like a boob, as usual. He’s letting his pride dictate his actions, which is surely a suicide mission. It looked to me like Yarwyck wanted to disagree with Thorne but was scared. Anyway, I await with bated breath. Will somebody or something come to Castle Black’s rescue?

Daenerys: “They can live in my new world or die in their old one.”
The Targaryen girl - Of course, we can’t have a GoT episode without Daenerys. My reaction when I saw what she did:


In a move that shocked and saddened me, she decided to “bump uglies” with the nearest sexy young guy, Daario Naharis. Sometimes you just have to be around to get some. Anyway, don’t worry Jorah, he was just a booty call. You go retake Yunkai.

On a political front, she’s using her gruesome feats to serve as a warning – I imagine just the appearance of her envoys will cause opponents to run for the hills. I hope this doesn’t disrupt her army, before she even gets anywhere near Westeros. We get to hear about how Ser Jorah is still only alive because Ned Stark wasn’t as brutal and ruthless as Daenerys is, thus illustrating once again why Ned was such a thoroughly decent sort of bloke.

Melisandre storyline: a lot of boobiness and great interior decoration. Oh, and also, her religion is fake. Why tell her this? Is this going to come back to bite her in the behind? Does Selyse want to bite her in the behind? She looked like she sort of wanted to. It’s tough seeing Melisandre brainwash everyone into accepting her, even getting Selyse to accept her as the other woman. Anyway, I’m worried for Shireen…time for Ser Davos to step up!

And finally, a meme.

Boobs of thrones: Melisandre puts on a show and Daario shows us his buttocks.

Violence of thrones: A Needle to the heart, a bite to the neck, a slap to a Robyn, Lysa being thrown through the Moondoor, the Mountain impaling and disembowelling several men. Phew.

Anyway, that’s all for this episode, come back next week when I take advantage of a break in the TV schedule for a Game of Thrones special: character arcs! I’ll be following the season’s trajectory for a few of the major characters. Stay tuned, folks!

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