Jun 02 2014

Game of Thrones Review: “The Mountain and the Viper”

Published by at 12:00 pm under Reviews,Television

game of thrones15

It almost felt like a PPV match, tuning in to Game of Thrones this weekend. Yes, there was other stuff going on, but it was all leading up to the grand title fight of the evening. The prize? More valuable than money. The life or death of the most beloved character on TV, Tyrion Lannister.

The Red Viper of Dorne has proven himself a pro in the bedroom all throughout this season, but has yet to actually fight anyone other than a pair of seated Lannister lackeys. The Mountain has been butchering his way through the show for almost four years now (with three different actors playing him). Who will prevail?

Well, this is Game of Thrones. Pick who you want to win, and then proceed to watch them get horribly, brutally slaughtered.

It’s a shame, because in a show known for an established cast of great characters, Oberyn Martell was a great addition. Sadly, he had seven or so episodes in the spotlight before his head was exploded into a bloody pulp by the Mountain.

Oberyn had the fight won, but got carried away trying to extract a deathbed confession from a man so monstrous it takes fare more than a few spear skewering to actually disable him. He made the man admit to the atrocities committed against his sister, but only got to celebrate for about two seconds before his skull was crushed like a papaya in one of the show’s most brutal deaths ever. Hell, that’s probably one of the most gruesome things I’ve ever seen on film. The scream especially will haunt me for quite a while.

viper

And her too, I imagine.

The fight was fantastic, and I’m sure non-book readers actually thought he had it in the bag when the spear was planted in The Mountain’s chest. But alas, this is George RR Martin, master of wrenching tears from your eye sockets. The Mountain may indeed succumb to those injuries, but even in a universe that resurrects people on occasion, there’s going to be no coming back for Martell absent a head.

Now, what happens to poor Tyrion? I think Ned Stark has taught us all that when the show tells you it’s going to execute a main character, sometimes, they’ll actually f***ing do it. For as beloved as Tyrion is, anyone watching this show should understand that no one is truly safe, and his head could come off just as easily as Ned’s. But will it? We’ll have to wait for the answer to that.

It’s easy to get lost in the title fight, but there was actually quite a lot going on elsewhere this week as well. The Wildlings raided Moletown, which everyone should have seen coming, and the Crows have to figure out how the flying hell they’re going to defend against a Wilding raiding party on one side of the wall and 100,000 more troops on the other.

Arya and the Hound arrive at the Eyrie to discover that Lysa has just died, which Arya finds darkly hilarious. The Hound is still itching at his bite wound, and that seems like it’s going to prove to be a pressing problem. What do they do now? Just turn around? Or will we see a long-awaited Sansa/Arya reunion?

sansa

“Just sewing my badass new dress, Uncle Petyr.”

Inside the Veil, I was surprised to see the fact that Sansa’s tearful “confession” wasn’t actually planted by Petyr himself, and was actually her own idea. He’s usually more careful to leave something like that to chance, and I didn’t expect him to be out of the loop, nor did I think Sansa could be that forward thinking or resourceful. Perhaps they make a pretty good pair after all, especially now that she’s dressing like a sexy Disney villain. Also, who wants to take bets on how long it takes Robin Aryn to fall of a horse and die on his countrywide tour of his kingdom?

I’m pretty surprised to see a Grey Worm/Missandi love plot spring up overseas, but it’s adorable so I don’t mind it. I’d say nothing is going on over there as usual, but Jorah’s expulsion is probably the most major thing that’s happened to the Khaleesi party since Drogo died. I love how snail mail literally made it take years for his pardon to show up. Orrrr was that deliberately sent by the Lannisters as he said in order to stir up trouble? I feel like I may have missed the set-up for that in a previous scene.

It was really sad to see Jorah go, though I can’t say I blame Dany for not trusting him, despite all his good work since he saved her from being poisoned. Hard to keep someone like that in your trusted circle of advisors, I suppose. Where will he go now? It’s a long way to well…anywhere from Mereen.

jorah

“Wellllllll shit.”

We got a taste of the old Theon Greyjoy for a brief moment this week as he’s sent in as an emissary of Ramsay to take an Ironborn-held fort. He negotiates a surrender and obviously Ramsay immediately breaks his word and kills everyone, receiving an official “Bolton” last name as a reward from his father. The Boltons have big plans for the North, but so do the Wildlings, the White Walkers and Petyr Baelish, so somehow despite their pure evil-ness, they actually feel like one of the lesser threats, even if they are about to hole up in Winterfell.

Only two weeks left. Will Tyrion escape the season with his head? Will he ever understand the mystery of beetles?

Book Stuff (Spoilers Ahead)

– I think it’s good they shed all the complicated “the singer killed Lysa” bullshit from the book as there wasn’t time to set that up, and this story flowed better anyway. Another instance where Martin is edited for the better by the showrunners.

– I need to re-read the last two books, but it seems like the Sansa-Baelish-Eyrie plotline is moving at lightspeed compared to everything else. Or am I wrong?

– Is it just me or is Dany a bit less…likable in the show than she is in the books? In the books she’s one of the primary characters to root for, but on the show she’s becoming increasingly distant and cruel. I understand her reaction to Jorah’s betrayal this week, but it’s a feeling I’ve had all season, and I’d like to see her start to swing back the other way.

– Grey Worm/Missandi is non-book filler, but it’s cute enough where I won’t complain about it. And if you’re saying it’s a stupid love story because he’s a eunuch, you may want to reconsider the kinds of things that factor into “love” besides genitalia.

– It really seems like Arya should meet up with Sansa now given that they’re practically within rock-throwing distance, but I can’t seem to remember what happens next to ensure that won’t happen. The Hound (supposedly) dies from his wounds, and Arya heads to Braavos. Small time window for that to happen now.

– Notice the foreshadowing in “people can even die squatting over their chamberpots”? Going to be a hell of a finale.

– Beetles? The meaninglessness of war and violence as the strong forever oppress the weak?

 





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7 responses so far

  • Alex W

    The pardon showing up was 100% Tywin’s doing. In the first season, right before the poisoning attempt on Dany, Jorah receives his pardon then (it was what tipped him off to the assassination attempt). I assume he had a copy delivered to Ser Barristan to help splinter her group.

  • Mike

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who caught the chamberpot mention.

  • Margo Williams

    Were the beetles in the book? Because I am totally lost on that one. I mean, obviously wanton killing is a theme but…that was a long story for such a simple message.

  • Mike Hewitt

    ****** BOOK SPOILERS ******

    As to remembering what happens next to prevent Arya from meeting Sansa, there isn’t anything to remember. In the books, the Hound “dies” after the fight with Polliver and all of those guys at the inn that occurred in episode one.

    I don’t really get what they are trying to do with Danny in the show. In the books she was depicted as naive and unsure, but ultimately trying to do what she thought was best–which makes sense that things don’t turn out right because she is only like 14 years old. Maybe it’s just the lack of an inner monologue that is making her seem cold and cruel, but it doesn’t quite feel like the same character from past seasons. She used to express her doubts to Jorah and her advisers, as well as her handmaidens, but they’ve chosen to not do those kinds of scenes this season.

  • MegaSolipsist

    I loved the bit when Arya just started laughing hysterically at Lysa’s death, especially as a counterpoint to the Hound’s face.

  • robinvik1 .

    As a non-book reader I was just waiting for Oberyn to lose, because GOT have become predictable in that way. Every good guy must lose that’s the rules, even if a demon have to manifest out of nowhere to make it happen. The only ones who will ever succeed is psychic by and dragon lady, but they to spend a thousand years to do it for some reason.

    /hate

    • robinvik1 .

      It’s still a good show though.

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