Jun 10 2013 11:05am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Ep. 10: “Mhysa”

Game of Thrones Daenerys

From the title, we can tell it’s Mother’s Day in Westeros and every proud mama receives flowers and heart-shaped necklaces and no decapitations and if you believe that after last week’s episode, I have a bridge between The Twins to sell you.

Actually, the title was maybe not so much indicative of exactly what I was expecting from a season finale of Game of Thrones. There were some notable absences, the foremost of which would have been a killer cliffhanger to keep tongues wagging till next year.

All I’m sayin’ is last year we got an army of White Walkers, this year we get... Enya.

But which is more terrifying, really?

Again: episode and book spoilers ahoy. There’s no way to discuss my mixed feelings about this episode without talking about what I know from the books.

Last week’s Red Wedding massacre was a shocking moment that people talked about all week. The bloody and tragic turn of events at the Twins made for what, now, would’ve been perhaps better left as a finale. I know it’s not the show’s usual pattern thus far, episode nine being the one where all the big shit goes down, but we have also gotten some great finale scenes that ramped up the anticipation for what’s to come. The first dragons in 160 years! An army of White Walkers marching against the Night’s Watch!

Dany being greeted by the freed slaves of Yunkai to some generic world music feels flat in comparison. Big time. I didn’t know the episode would run over an hour and kind of would’ve forgotten about her entirely if she wasn’t in the episode previews. And maybe it was just me (I doubt it), but there was something a bit uncomfortable about Dany being adored in such a way, by a sea of brown people. “Oh, thank you for saving us, Pretty White Lady.” Just one of those jarring meta-moments when you take a step back from a piece of pop culture and can see how it would look to another group of fans. We’ve seen this scene staged before, in other movies about other messiahs.

But that’s another post for another day and a blogger better able to articulate it all.

So let’s backtrack to the very beginning of the episode which was uncomfortable in a completely different way. Arya seeing the desecrated body of her brother (and his direwolf) was awful. How many beheaded family members does this poor child need to bear witness too? To her credit, at least she saved her small act of impulsive vengeance until she was far away from the heart of the Frey fray. Were you surprised she said that that Frey bannerman was the first man she killed? I mean, it was the first person she killed directly. But her hands have been dirty before. And so we leave Arya wandering with The Hound to parts unknown until next year.

Of course the biggest immediate aftermath of the Red Wedding was some serious gloating by the victors—Lannister, Frey, and Bolton. I’m tempted to say Joffrey’s crowing deserved the biggest slap because he was acting as if he was the mastermind behind this epic betrayal, but Walder Frey’s “Fuck you, uppity Tullys and Starks” speechifying dripped with decades of bitterness.

Game of Thrones Tywin Lannister

Better than Joffrey’s relish of all those Stark deaths was his utter balls-out insanity at telling Tywin that his “father” won all the battles while Tywin was “hiding under Casterly Rock.” Oh no he didn’t! Even Cersei looked at Joffrey like he was a freaking Hodor. Tywin’s scenes with Tyrion and the Small Council were probably my favorite of the evening. From sending the King to bed without his supper to telling Tyrion the depths of his loyalty to the Lannister name, the head lion’s been pulling the strings behind the Iron Throne all season. Oh, but he’s a kind man. See, he only killed a few dozen men at dinner to save thousands. And he didn’t drown his infant son because he’s a Lannister. And he only wants Tyrion to rape his young wife so that their son can be heir to the North and have a great title. What a guy!

I feel bad for Tyrion in this whole mess. He wasn’t behind the Red Wedding, but he’ll get to share in the blame. And just when Sansa was maybe starting to warm up to him a bit.

That scene with Shae and Varys was interesting for a host of reasons. If there was any doubt of her allegiance to Tyrion, and her feelings for Sansa, it’s cleared up now. Which will make the eventual trajectory of their relationship very interesting next year. Foolish, prideful girl. I would’ve taken the diamonds and gotten the hell out of King’s Landing. But I’ve read the books.

Speaking of eunuchs... there’s a Lonely Iron Islands joke to make about Balon receiving Theon’s package in a box, courtesy of Ramsay Bolton. And yes, we get absolute confirmation that Theon’s torturer is Roose Bolton’s bastard, for those who haven’t been paying attention all season. Oh but at least Ramsay didn’t eat Theon. You take what crumbs of good news you can in this show.

Game of Thrones Yara Greyjoy

In a turn from the books, Yara Greyjoy is definitely different from her book counterpoint, Asha. That she would directly defy her father to save the loser brother she barely knows was kind of a big shift. But at least someone cares about Theon. I feel bad for Alfie Allen, too. All the other actors got to see some beautiful landscapes while he was strung up in a torture chamber for months. Theon’s final destination at season’s end is that he is so beaten down and physically and mentally unmanned, he gets christened with a humiliating name and is Greyjoy no more. His name is Reek. It rhymes with weak.

Jaime got to reunite with his sister, but it was so brief, we really don’t get to know what he thinks about being back in the fold. How will he define himself in King’s Landing now?

The other big reunion of the night was Sam meeting Bran at the Nightfort. And a nice shout-out to the Rat Cook. Boy, when Sam relates his tales of danger beyond the Wall and the strength of the undefeatable ice zombies, Bran’s plan to follow his destiny beyond the wall sounds really flimsy.

I was happy to see Maester Aemon again. I missed him! His words, his mannerisms, and his wisdom makes me smile.

But to balance out the good at the Wall, there was also some bad. Like, didn’t Jon dump Ygritte last week? Her shooting him with arrows—again—was pretty damn pointless. Did we need to hear Jon say that he loved her again? Wasn’t that clear? And instead of seeing him warn the other crows about the impending attack from the south, he just kinda gasps Sam’s name. The end.

Game of Thrones Stannis Baratheon Melisandre

At least Stannis is a man of action and his beautifully lit scenes propelled the story forward in an interesting way. Well, Davos’ actions were the catalyst, but still. Stannis going north to help the Night’s Watch is pretty big news. Finally someone is taking the crows seriously! It’s as much a political move as it is a Big Mysterious Destiny move. Who do you think the smallfolk will get behind: Roose Bolton the Warden of the North, Boy-King Lannister Psycho, or the man who protects them from armies of the undead? A vote for Stannis is a vote for no ice zombies.

I enjoyed the scenes with Davos and Gendry, though I wish we could have seen more. Loved Davos saying Gendry lived “in the fancy part” of Flea Bottom. I’m so glad Gendry got away. But will we ever see him again?

In the end, I think Stannis going north would’ve been a better note to end on than Dany. But neither scene was what I was expecting we’d go out on, not when there were a few moments from the books that could have been used to great effect. Where was Coldhands? Will we ever meet him? Will Bran meet him along the road as he met the Reeds? Is it because no one’s been cast as Coldhands yet?

I was so certain a season finale called “Mother” would end with the mother of all ASoIaF cliffhangers: Lady Stoneheart. Why build up Beric Dondarrion and his special talent all season to not use it in the end? Major Chekov’s Gun fail. Maybe it would have cheapened the Red Wedding, but it also would have made for another “WTF?!” fan outcry to carry us into season four. Yes, Lady Stoneheart first appeared at the end of A Storm of Swords, but the timeline in the show is wonky and it could have fit. How fast did that raven fly to reach Stannis so quickly?

I really enjoyed this season of Game of Thrones, but I’m sad to see it end with a whimper instead of a bang.

But on the plus side, there’s a lot to look forward to next year.

“The King is tired. See him to his chambers.”



Next week: No new episodes until next year! But with Breaking Bad and Dexter wrapping up forever and True Blood lingering long after its prime, I can still have a steady fix of human despair and bloodshed this summer. And maybe I’ll catch up on Orphan Black since it’s getting some great buzz lately. Cheers! And thanks again for another season of intelligent, heated discussion, loyal commenters. You folks are the best.

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to, covering True Blood, Game of Thrones, and gaming news. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci

jon meltzer
1. jmeltzer
Well, crap. I was sure this season was going to end with a tight closeup on Jack Gleeson's face turning blue. :-(
Chris Nelly
2. Aeryl
And maybe it was just me (I doubt it), but there was something a bit
uncomfortable about Dany being adored in such a way, by a sea of brown people. “Oh, thank you for saving us, Pretty White Lady.

I'm pretty sure, with that final juxtaposition, it seems we're in for some "White Savior" deconstruction for next year. Of course, that's the opposite of what that final scene implies, but the first question my BF asked was, "How she gonna feed all these people?"

courtesy of Ramsay Bolton

Still referring to himself as Ramsay Snow, I noticed.

Yeah, they missed out on Lady Stoneheart, that just blows. PLUS, NO NYMERIA!!!!

Arya was badass as always. I love how she's learning to work her disadvantages.

Sansa :^( And she was just starting TO LIKE TYRION!!!!

And Shae:^( When Varys showed up I started screaming at him, because I was convinced he was there to convince her to spy like Ros. But NO! Who thinks Tyrion actually put him up to it?

Speaking of Ros! I found some pics of some of the costume embroidery. On her new robes, songbirds were prominently figured into the designs. *sob* Nothing like making her walking around ADVERTISING what she was doing!!!

I'm liking this change in Yarasha, but we know if won't amount to anything. She'll have to turn around and head home soon enough.

I was also real surprised that there were no hints at the Purple Wedding, though Tyrion blatantly threatening Joff isn't HELPING ANYTHING!!!
3. tribblesandbits
"Were you surprised she said that that Frey bannerman was the first man she killed? I mean, it was the first person she killed directly."
When escaping the Tower of the Hand, Arya killed that stableboy with Needle...fairly directly :).
4. Littlefinger87
Mance Rayder- I'm going to light the biggest fire the North has ever seen. It will be so big it will take an entire year to build:)

If there were any doubt before, this episode brings into such stark clarity the differences between Littlefinger and Tywin Lannister. The difference between amoral and immoral characters. Look at how he tries to justify killing someone at their wedding. Well it's better than killing all their men in the field. No, it's not better Tywin. You deserve every ounce of what's coming at your bowels.
When Walder Frey asked who the Blackfish had as his support I wanted to scream Littlefinger. I hope that's how George decides to take the story. Littlefinger is no battle commander, but the Vale could be quite dangerous with Brynden at the helm.

The Arya line about my first man has more to do with her on-screen killing of the little boy in King's Landing that she killed. She hasn't personally killed a man on screen yet if you don't count her Jaquen Hgar kills. That Frey man was the first man, but not her first person killed.

Considering that Bran can control humans with his mind, a bit of dragon glass seems insignificant. We still don't know what the full range of Bran's powers will be when he gets beyond the Wall. He may very well have a significant role to play in stopping the White Walkers and their army of the dead.

We have to save some Weddings for Season 4. I hope they don't wait too long to spring that surprise.

Any predictions on what Season 4 episode 9 will be: Epic showdown at the wall, while Dany takes Meereen, and Tyrion finds a crossbow.
Elizabeth Doolin
5. mochabean
Many thanks for a great season of recaps and comments -- it has been a blast.

I found the episode a welcome regrouping after last week, which got to me far more than I expected it to as a book reader. I was pretty sure they would be saving Lady Stoneheart for next season (maybe even the end of next season), so I wasn't as disappointed.

I think I could watch a show that is just Arya and Sandor ("next time you are planning do something like that, tell me first") or Davos and anyone ("Can you swim?" (no) "Don't fall out!") for a good long time.

As for Arya, I liked how she emphasized that he was the first man she'd killed. Because she holds herself responsible for Micah's death and because in the book, she killed another boy while escaping from the Red Keep -- stuck him with the pointy end and everything.

@Aeryl - the costuming on this show has been amazing, particularly this season. Like Sansa and Tyrion, who were dressed to match during their walk, but not later, after she heard the news.

(Parts of ) Theon in a box just can't be a coincidence

What was up with Stannis and all of those scrolls?

Love your point about the spikey but beautiful shell Cersei was holding. I can't recall -- was that a gift from Jaime?

Re: Dany, Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons, Queen of the Andals, Crowd Surfing White Savior, I think we are looking at some heavy duty deconstruction next season.

Poor Theon. You have to remember your name
Bridget McGovern
6. BMcGovern
"Were you surprised she said that that Frey bannerman was the first man she killed? I mean, it was the first person she killed directly."

I thought that Arya was being purposely evasive with her response; by repeating "The first man..." in answering The Hound, she's purposely not saying he was the first person she's killed; her last victim was a boy, and the circumstances were a bit different. This time she was completely in control of her actions, and there were no regrets; Arya is no longer the child she was in King's Landing.

Edit: Wait--what mochabean @5 said. Apparently I totally imagined that the boy-stabbing in the books also happened in the show. Sigh. But still, I liked the ambiguity of "The first man" line (and the implication that it certainly won't be the last man...)
Chris Nelly
7. Aeryl
I'm figuring the WW warg the wights, and that once Bran gets powerful enough, he'll be able to wrest control of them.

Season 4 opens with the introduction of Oberyn, the Purple Wedding in Ep 2 or 3(maybe 3 because there has to be time to lay ground for Sansa's escape), the trial of Tyrion to be the remainder.

The fact that Jaime has already arrived threw me. I always felt that part of the reason he and Cersei fall apart was his rather callous reaction to Joffrey's death(let's fuck over the corpse of our dead son just doesn't do it for commiserating to me). Wonder how they are going to play it now.
8. Thomas Cardew
Does anyone else find that show Stannis comes off as more of a dick? I can't say I like Stannis is the book, but I can see how he would have gained Davos' loyalty and devotion. Show Stannis doesn't do that for me. He seem much more petty than this counterpart.
Andrew Gray
9. madogvelkor
I think the justaposition of Dany's paleness with the darker skin of the freed slaves was intentional. It really made her stand out as a foreigner, which I think will be important in the next couple seasons.

Though she's not really that foreign -- Valyria is closer to the cities of Slaver's Bay than it is to Westros. :)
George Jong
10. IndependentGeorge
I think it would have been awful to have ended the season with UnCat. This is the episode right after the Red Wedding - showing Cat's resurrection would have cheapened the emotional impact of the RW, especially since she doesn't appear again for a long, long time.

I think they should hold off on her appearance until the end of S5, with Brienne's capture and trial. That gives them two full seasons to build up the tension and mystery behind "Mother Merciless" befor the final reveal.
Does anyone else find that show Stannis comes off as more of a dick? I can't say I like Stannis is the book, but I can see how he would have gained Davos' loyalty and devotion. Show Stannis doesn't do that for me. He seem much more petty than this counterpart.
Yup. They've effectively removed all of his redeeming features, making it confusing why Davos, or really anyone, would ever follow Stannis or see him as a viable King.
Chris Nelly
11. Aeryl
I think that's to show the difference between who Stannis was, the man Davos pledged his loyalty to, and the man Stannis has become, since he fell under the influence of Melisandre.

There's a LOT to go over this episode, and all of it good.

I love Arya and the Hound together, looking forward to next season!

I love Yarasha, even if she's a little warmer in the show. I was like "YOU GO GET HIM!!!" Even though I know she won't.

I liked that they finally included the part where Ygritte shot him. And that they did it in a moment where she COULD have let him go, with no one the wiser. But no, they continued with her established character, and had her out for blood.
12. sofrina
they should open season four with catelyn's resurrection. that way it makes sense that the brotherhood without banners was trying to catch up with arya and the hound but were too late. they pull her out of the water (or nymeria does, if you like) and thoros and lord beric grant arya's wish.

yara greyjoy to the rescue was a surprise. of course, she won't win. she'll be lucky to get out alive. we know how they roll up at the dreadfort. i still think this season's theon scenes were meant to tell us just how sadistic the boltons are and also to lay the groundwork for theon's debasement. next time we see him, we'll understand how he got that way. heck we haven't even seen him sleeping a kennel with those maneating dogs yet. ALSO - was that man on yara's ship supposed to "the crow's eye?" he was all clawed up on the left.

i enjoyed how disgusted varys acted when joffrey was carrying on at the council meeting. he was visibly sick and tired. i think varys tried to buy shae off for the sake of his machinations, not on tyrion's behalf. he really meant what he said about tyrion having the right stuff to be good ruler and shae being a liability. now is no time to be a hooker with a heart of gold.

daenerys' scene was striking in terms of skin tones. i definitely raised an eyebrow, but then that's a point in the book too. it's one of the things that draws drogo to her as well as a sticking point with everyone she meets in esos. i was thinking how funny it is that dany has the distintive coloring of old valyria which is the most southern/most eastern of the lands in esos. that was sort of the irony of revealing her language before burning the astapori slavers. they think of her as westerosi, but she's really one of them.
13. deze
How far can one read into Storm of Swords before getting ahead of where the show is? I realize it may not be a specific chapter number -- but rather like, read up to chapter x, then all the Dany chapters...
Theresa DeLucci
14. theresa_delucci
I don't agree. Stannis seems like a real pill in the books, joyless, constantly correcting people's words, never seeing any passion in him at all. When Stannis led his troops at Blackwater last season, his charisma was off the charts. (Especially when compared to Joffrey.)

But the way Davos keeps undermining Stannis and getting him to change his mind does kind of devalue him as a strong leader. We mostly only ever see Stannis in a room with Melisandre and Davos, not his larger subjects, like we did/do with Robb, Joffrey, Robert, etc.

It's like Balon calling himself a king when we only ever see him in front of his mighty kraken fireplace.
Chris Nelly
15. Aeryl
Chapter 52 just covers the Lannister family meeting we had at the beginning of this episode, if that helps.

Everything else comes from the next few chapters, but be warned, you'll be pulled into going further than the show has.
16. Black Dread
I liked the episode but kept looking for Cold Hands and Lady Stoneheart.

Some cool scenes - Arya becoming a killer, Jamie and Brienne eying each other walking into King's Landing, Tyrion wooing Sansa - then feeling her crushing loss.
17. Ryamano

I know you’re a LF fanboy (one just has to see your nickname and posting history), but do you really think there’s a contrast between Tywyn Lannister and Littlefinger in the moral compass? They’re both ruthless, never shrinking from using any forms of means to get to their ends. Remember, there’d be no War of the Five Kings in the first place if LF hadn’t made Lysa Arryn kill her husband and made her write a letter to her sister, making Catelyn suspicious of the Lannisters. Thousands would be alive and the story would boil down to Seven Kingdoms x Others and Baratheon supportsers x Targaryen restoration (Dorne, Golden Company, Dany, etc).

Litllefinger set the pieces into motion that resulted in Joffrey being killed. It’s a murder. Of a very terrible person, of course, but it’s a murder. And he set it into motion (making the poison available to the killer), even though, like Sansa said, Joffrey gave him Harrenhal and the means to getting the Vale as well. What’s LF justification for this? “Sometimes attack randomly, just to make your opponents not understand you”. Isn’t that immoral, at all? And also, he profits most from a very chaotic situation. He can’t be kingmaker (what he truly desires) unless the seven kingdoms are in a complete mess. And so he and Varys make the life of the common people and most noble people living hell, prolonging this war. At least for Varys there might be a semblance of good behind all this plotting (putting in the throne a person who has experienced life as a commoner), but not for Littlefinger, who just wants power and nothing more. Remember, to LF there’s only one game, the game of thrones.

Oh yes, I forgot to add: at least Tywyn Lannister put a terrible murder scheme into motion to stop a war (a murder scheme that killed much more than a dozen people, thousands of soldiers died in the Red Wedding also, but it was to stop a war). Littlefinger makes these murderous schemes to rekindle or start wars. Jon Arryn was his first victim, igniting the war of the 5 kings. Joffrey Baratheon his second, prolonging the war. And Robert Arryn will be his third. He’s poisoning a little boy (a terribly raised little boy, but still a little boy) in AFFC and ADWD just so Harry the Heir inherits the Vale and the war can go on, with him gaining more power. He also makes a deal with Lyn Corbray to make him come (secretly) to his side, by giving him wine and little boys to have fun with. He’s not only a pimp, but a pimp that dabbles in pedophilia (both to sell and to do, as can be seen with his relationship with Samsa).

Really, how could anyone get from all this that Littlefinger is a hero or moral is beyond me. I love his character and I love ASOS because it’s the book that reveals who’s the true villain of this series (along with the Others). But I’d never think of him as a hero.
Adam S.
18. MDNY
Littlefinger has always been the chief antagonist (aside from the Others/White Walkers/wights). Ryamano got it exactly right. I can understand someone enjoying Littlefinger as a character, with his clever witticisms and snarky insults, but to actually root for him? The man is responsible for the vast majority of the deaths in the series. He is guided only by his own ambition, and often acts in ways that lead to innocent deaths without even gaining anything from it, just because he thrives on chaos.
As we see the 7 kingdoms decend further and further into anarchy, Littlefinger seems to be the embodiment of the chaos at the heart of the war against the dark, that Melisandre is trying to lead (with her misguided prophecies).
Chris Nelly
19. Aeryl
I made this point elsewhere during the read, but to me, by encouraging this fundamental breakdown in decency, Tywin's made it impossible for people to negotiate with him, thus ensuring the war will continue.
Sara H
20. LadyBelaine
@5, mochabean -

"Dany, Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons, Queen of the Andals, Crowd Surfing White Savior(...)"

I love you. Marry me.

Anyhoo, nothing much to add except that I find Melissandre a breath of fresh air as she is the only character who looks like she was ripped from my head in her flowing scarlet, vermillion fanatical fabulousness.

Everyone else is so.. drab. The costuming of this show doesn't really pop in my head they way I pictured the riot of dazzling, competing heraldry would. Cersei's wealthy gowns are somber maroon, Tywin (he of the amazingly blinged out armor) is wearing black leather. Brienne's blue plate is missing, even Margaery and her Fredericks of Highgarden rainment looks tacky and tawdry while also being washed out and pastel. The Tyrells should be in strong, deep green, green like the cloak of a Rohirrim, with glittering golden accents.

Sansa is described wearing very pretty gowns - not those oddly heavy glinting brocaded housecoats (conscious choice? her metaphorical armor?) she slides into. For contrast, google the lovely, feminine outfits that Mia Sara was wearing in Legend with Tom Cruise (it was on this weekend on cable!) . That's what I pictured these damsels wearing (well, not the Evil Leather Bondage Gown that Mia wears when slaughtering the unicorn).

Even Crowd Surfing White Savior only had that one regally colored blue skant-suit ensemble for most of the season, except that one time she was in a white negligee when she received the homage of the Yunkish emissary. I also find the heraldry and overall design of the show to be rather... blah. I want Stannis in a yellow ochre tabard with his fiery heart blazon. I want Joffrey in a particoloured doublet, conflicting lion and stag. Tywin in deep red velvet with rich golden embroidery.
21. Littlefinger87
I never said that Littlefinger was moral. I said he was amoral or lacking the capacity for evil or good. He straddles the middle, the necessary. He's not the most evil character in the series by a long shot. Aerys Targaryen, Ramsay Bolton, and Tywin Lannister are all more evil than Littlefinger.

Forgive me but you are both wrong. The death of Jon Arryn does not lead to the War of Five kings. The death of Robert Baratheon does. End of story. Who killed Robert Baratheon? Cercei and Lancel Lannister. The War of the Five Kings is on their hands, not Littlefinger's. Cercei was going to kill Robert regardless of what Littlfinger or Ned Stark did.

How does Littlefinger prolong the war by killing Joffrey? Most of the fighting is over after the Red Wedding. There is still some riverland nobles that have to surrender, but Joffrey death isn't really a blip on the war at all since he's not the real source of power. Tywin is. The motivation is really based on the actual murderer trying toprotect someone she loves from Joffrey. Lf just arranges the poison for her. Although, it must have been a little gratifying to take some sort of revenge against the family that took his beloved Cat.

I root for Littlefinger because he is the best chance for a Stark resurgence. Is he a disgusting human being?Sure. But we glorify Tyrion for sleeping with whores and curse the man who remains chaste but provides them? Double standard much.

Show me where he's poisoning Sweet Robin by providing him the medicine needed to stop his epilepsy.

Look at how Littlefinger makes a point and how Tywin does it. Littlefinger's victims are one person at a time. do they have an extraordinary effect? Certainly. do they end up killing lots of innocent smallfolk. No, they do not. When Jon Arryn dies, when Joffrey dies, when Lady Arryn dies, the fallout on the small folk is negligible compared to Tywin Lannister.
Chris Nelly
22. Aeryl
LadyBelaine, you might like this website. It discusses the show's outfits, and points out how they work with what they are trying to convey with the characters, like Cersei's gown's becoming heavier as she becomes more beleagured, how her colors change based on how much she associates with Jaime. About how Sansa begins to develop more Southern tastes, how Arya's clothes remain ever practical, and why braids-badass.
Chris Nelly
23. Aeryl
We don't glorify Tyrion for sleeping with prostitutes, We glorify Tyrion for treating prosititues as PEOPLE!!
Deana Whitney
24. Braid_Tug
@21, LF87, you almost make me want to change my mind about Littlefinger.
The books and the movies do force you to see the charters through many different lenses.

And since there are no real and pure “good guys”, we start rooting for the ones we like, even when some of their choices made in a different series would cause us to question them.

How many people are cheering Arya on? But if Harry Potter had stabbed random Dark Lord supporter for the murder of his parents or friends, there would be an epic “needle across the record” sound, across the world.
Tricia Irish
25. Tektonica
Lots of yada yada yada.
-I would've loved a wee peek at Stoneheart.
-Varys and Shae was good....she should've taken the diamonds! Geesh.
-Loved the Tyrion sends the "king" to bed scene.
- I had real hope for Sansa/Tyrion there for a moment.
-The Dany scene made my skin crawl. Toooooo weird on so many levels. And no drama. Why not show a bit of rivalry between her bannerman and her lover? Some conflict set up for next season?
-Arya was awesome..and she has killed before! When she was sneaking out of Kings Landing..the stable boy. Boy, that kid's been damaged.
-Stavos and Gendry in the brig was nice, and I loved him letting Gendry go. But it seemed Mel turned on a dime when she heard about the W Walkers. Maybe a bit too fast? Or is she that cunning...ok, she is.
-The Jon/Ygritte scene was touching I thought. Never turn your back on a woman scorned, Jon. But he needed to sound the warning upon turning up at Castle Black. Another foreshadowing opportunity lost.
-Loved Sam meeting Bran too. Oh well, just love Sam.

I think they missed a lot of opportunities to tweak interest for next year. Even with the same material, it could've been more interesting. Too much yada yada yada.
Sara H
26. LadyBelaine
@22, Aeryl

"LadyBelaine, you might like this website. It discusses the show's outfits, and points out how they work with what they are trying to convey with the characters,"

Aeryl, you bastard. I have work to do this afternoon!!!! You have just ruined my productivity!

(seriously, though thanks :) )
Chris Nelly
27. Aeryl
@24, Well if the Dark Lord supporter had been gleefully and eagerly talking about how they helped desecrate the bodies of James and Lily Potter? I think they might've let it slide.

@25, That's why she clarified it was her first man, as of now she's only killed children(she holds herself responsible for Mycah too, don't forget)
28. Littlefinger87
Aeryl: I'm very glad that Tyrion treats Shae with respect and love, but my point still stands- in any business arragement there is both supply and demand. Do not hate solely the supplier of the service without also looking at why such a service exists in the first place. There wouldn't be whoremongers in the world if there weren't a demand for whores.
29. Ragnarredbeard
Loved the Arya scene. She just went totally berserkoid on the guy. No plan and no concern at all for the other three guys. Focused and vengeful. Very dangerous. I like that. The Starks need her to do what has to be done. Of course, she can't possibly live to the end. (no, I have not read the books. nor do I have any special knowledge. I just don't think she can make the end with her current vengeance mode.)

And yes, I know the Hound was there to save her bacon. But he didn't have to help, and I think Arya was OK with that.
Chris Nelly
30. Aeryl
@28, I am referring to women other than Shae.

@29, She TOTALLY had a plan, what do you think the thing with the coin was?
31. Crusader75
I'm thinking Varys is seeing Shae ending up like Ros. That's why he makes the offer to her, Varys could not save Ros so he tries to save Shae. On Shae, I really do not understand her motivations, if they are to be taken at face value. She is pragmatic and cynical as can be when giving advice to Sansa, but has gooey romantic notions about her own situation? It does not track.
32. Crusader75
@29 : Arya had a plan, kill the talky boasting creep and let the Hound do the rest. Though the most disconcerting part was seeing her go all little girl cutesy on the guy before plunging the knife in. She was never that way naturally even when she was still sane.
33. Curt Shannon

Great review, Theresa. Like you, I thought Lady Stoneheart (or "ZombieCat" as my friends call her) would make an appearance, or at least be brought to shore by Ayra warging as Nymeria so that the Brotherhood could find her.

If they are going to keep that plot point from the books, they'll have to do it early in the 4th season. I'm not a big fan of LS anyway, so no great shakes either way, but Arya's warging abilities are important to her development, and I wonder when D&D are going to introduce that.
Maiane Bakroeva
34. Isilel
Aeryl @19
by encouraging this fundamental breakdown in decency, Tywin's made it impossible for people to negotiate with him, thus ensuring the war will continue.
Not true in the books. In fact, in this very scene where Joff crows over their victory, book Tywin explains to him the need to pardon the Riverlords. and welcome them back into king's peace. And it was working.

But show Tywin seems dumber and less versatile than book Tywin. He is constantly bludgeoning and berating people, while book Tywin was actually quite good at manipulation and pretty convincing. It was believable that book Tywin would be able to pacify and rebuild the 7 Kingdoms, while they seem to suggest in the show that it would not be feasible.
I hope that they show a bit of a statesman Tywin, who gave the realm 20 years of peace and prosperity, and not merely a ruthless hardass that we have seen until now.

In fact, I'd say that Lannister reputation was harmed far more by the Sack of KL.

LadyBelaine @20:

Couldn't agree more! I really dislike the costuming for GoT. I wish they'd taken more inspiration from actual medieval and Renaissance clothing. Silks, velvets, chains and jewels instead of ridiculous leather dusters and painfully mish-mashed fantasy fashions. Oh, and the cardinal sin of having commoners wear more colorful and new-looking clothes than the nobles.

I mean, they could have made many characters instantly recognizable, the differences between nobles and commoners obvious at a glance. With such a huge cast it would have been a boon. Instead... Confusion and drabbness.
I have read some of the costume designer's rationalizations, but IMHO she is dead wrong.

Another problem for me is lack of bowing and saluting. It, too sticks out like a sore thumb, forsakes instant characterization opportunities and makes the proceedings feel fake.
Elizabeth Doolin
35. mochabean
@LadyBelaine #20: "I find Melissandre a breath of fresh air as she is the only character who looks like she was ripped from my head in her flowing scarlet, vermillion fanatical fabulousness." Back at you, baby.

@Aeryl #22 : how on earth did I not know about this website? Thank you. And also what LadyBelaine said.

@20 and 34: The costuming really works for me, most of the time. We need more dagged sleeves, clearly. But I don't think I could handle The Tyrells looking like Eowyn and Eomer
Chris Nelly
36. Aeryl
@31, I agree, NOW. When I first saw him in that scene, I started yelling that he wasn't gonna get my Shae!!!
Emmet O'Brien
37. EmmetAOBrien
Littlefinger87@21; That only looks like a moral double standard if for some reason you construe interacting with prostitutes on the same scale as killing people.
Chris Nelly
38. Aeryl
@LF87, Also, that sentence is wrong.

It's not "There wouldn't be whoremongers in the world if there weren't a demand for whores."

It's "There wouldn't be whoremongers in the world if it weren't for men seeking to profit from prostitution".

Prostitution can exist without exploitation, if it's controlled by the men and women who engage in it. The exploitation comes in from people who don't engage in it, yet seek to profit from it. In the books, LF doesn't own Tyrion's brothel, it's owned by a woman named Alayaya, who is a prosititute from Lys, who's raised her daughter to be a prostitute, who runs her house to protect her girls, who are there willingly. Which is an entirely different thing than what LF does, which is buy girls who may or may not be willing, and has them tortured and killed if he can't recoup his investment.
Anthony Pero
39. anthonypero
@3: Exactly, stableboy. Not stable man. That was the first man that Arya had killed. The other was a boy.
40. slybrarian
The most hilarious thing about the Small Council meeting in retrospect is that Joffrey is once again completely correct in what he says to Tywin. He's the only one a bit worried about Dany roaming about with flying WMDs, and now he correctly points out that Tywin just around Casterly Rock until the war was decided and only then did he join the war. Not only that, but he did so by a sneak attack in which he sacked the capital and sent the Mountain to murder all the Targaryan children.
42. Petar Belic
Rather disappointed with the final episode. Some odd choices made. For example, Cersei's meeting with her brother - as written - was a lot more, ahem, interesting and vivid. So was his arrival to King's Landing.
44. Littlefinger87
EmmetatObrien- Ros is just one of many named prostitiutes in the books. She has a much much smaller role. D&D liked the actress so much that they kept adding scenes for her. LF killed her because Ros betrayed LF's trust in regards to Sansa. It was more of an act of self-preservation (one of his main motivations) than a callous murder. Tos had already told Varys who set up the Tyrell Sansa match. If Ros had talked to anyone else the risk that the Lannisters would find out is very high. Tywin would not be amused that LF was plotting to have Sansa out of King's Landing. Cercei would blow a gasket. It would be LF's head on a spike. So there that. I don't like that they added both scenes (the Ros tortute scene and the death scene). It doesn't add that much to the story that we didn't already know about Joff and it completely messes up any redeeming qualities about LF.

My point about prostitution still stands... If there weren't men with money looking for whores. There wouldn't be an incentive to set up a whorehouse, whether the women were willing or otherwise. There's no book evidence that LF paid for unwilling whores though.
45. Crusader75
@44 Ros did betray Littlefinger and she was putting her life at risk by that. On the other hand, giving Ros to Joffrey for his sadistic target practice is a pretty callous way to off her. Sorry, that's more than just ridding oneself of a liability, that's premeditated cruelty for cruelty's sake.
Alan Brown
46. AlanBrown
I fail to see Littlefinger as anything but selfish and immoral. Sorry about that, Littlefinger87. And you yourself might find other people more accepting of what you argue if you said you didn't agree with them, rather than call them "wrong," especially on a topic where there is a lot of subjectivity involved.
I thought this was a good episode--they needed to slow down and let the story breathe a bit after the intensity of the Red Wedding.
And VTV, the reviewers weren't being racist, instead they were pointing out that the scene with Dany played out like an overused fictional trope from the days of Social Darwinism, when too many writers portrayed whites as superior to people of color, and wrote too many stories where they traveled to foreign lands and 'civilized' the inhabitants, 'rescuing' them from their own 'baser' natures.
48. Jack Barton
I don't know if anyone else thought the same, but I thought that Arya's comment regarding the first man she killed had a couple of meanings. I heard the emphasis placed on the word first, indicating that the Frey solider would not be the last man she killed.
Bridget McGovern
49. BMcGovern
@VTF: It is clear that you disagree with this review, but I think the reviewer has every right to bring up the issue of how the show handles race without being attacked in these comments. If you would like to share a different point of view, please do so calmly, be civil and respectful of other people's opinions, and do not attack the blogger or the other commenters on this site. Here is a link to our Moderation Policy--please read it before commenting further. Thank you.
50. Littlefinger87
Alan Brown: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts. Littlefinger didn't start the War of the Five Kings. In that and only that did I say the other two posters were wrong.
Eugenie Delaney
51. EmpressMaude
@50, LF If he d1in't actually start the Wot5K, which I'd quibble with (deadpan) he most certainly made sure that the pillars of Baratheon regime got placed in contention with each other by making Lysa Arryn murder the Hand of the King and then blame the family ofthe Queen. That was not designed to increase intrafamilial harmony and good governance.
Rajan Khanna
52. rajanyk
I agree about the White Saviour thing. I'd love to see them deconstruct this idea next season but it did leave a sour taste in my mouth.

I LOVED the scene with Tyrion and Tywin this episode. I generally like Tyrion but I thought both actors brought their A game, especially when it was just the two of them. And I was surprised that he and Sansa seemed to be getting on so well (in the books I recall it being more awkward) but then, of course, she finds out that her mother and brother were killed (by the Lannisters).

The wait for the next season is going to seem agonizing.
53. Littlefinger87
EmpressMaude- This is what I'm talking about when I say there are facts and then there are opinions. Littlefinger doesn't make Lysa Arryn kill her husband. They kill him together. She kills him because Jon Arryn is going to send Sweet Robin away to either Dragonstone or Casterly Rock. Why Littlefinger helps Lysa kill Jon Arryn is less clear. He may have wanted to help Lysa as sort of a champion of small causes (to help out a mother keep her only son and child) or more selfish reasosn of wanting to control the entire Vale.
Eugenie Delaney
54. EmpressMaude
@53, LF - you are really quibbling. To say the least, he knew that this woman was dangerously unstable and also had an unhealthy fixation on him. He induced/suggested/coaxed her into murdering the Hand - or at the very least DIDN'T STOP HER, or for that matter, correct the record ("Lady Arryn did it, Lord Hand Ned Stark!") when Stark was pointing at Lannister over this incident, and he definitely has some amorphous masterplan that will all work to his benefit. But no, he didn't actually point one army at another and say "attack." he just made the atmosphere more condusive to the factions that uphold the Baratheon regime wanting to attack one another. He also lied to Catelyn to MAKE SURE that the House Stark/Tully/Arryn Coalition would think that House Lannister was out to wreck them all. But by your quibbling, maybe he was just playing an elaborate practical joke on Catelyn just got wildly ot of hand. Jeeze.
55. Littlefinger87
EmpressMaude- Where you see a grand conspiracy to start a massive war, I see instead Littlefinger killing the one man who stands in his way of what he truly wants:power. When he killed Jon Arryn, he removed the one man who was preventing him from rising further still up the rungs of power; his old benefactor Jon Arryn.

What followed was an elaborate scheme to hide the culpability of both Lysa and Littlefinger. Ned Stark was predisposed to distrust the Lannisters. this was an old feud between Ned and Tywin most likely because Tywin didn't help out in Robert's Rebellion until after the Trident. This makes the Lannisters a very convenient patsy for who might have killed Jon Arryn. And frankly, given how close Jon Arryn was to discovering Cercei and Jaime's secret, she would have probably have had him killed anyway just as she planned to kill all the Baratheon brothers. You see a grand conspiracy, I see the denoument of a murder of a high official. He had to construct a fake story to keep themselves out of the aura of suspicion especially since Lysa leaves the capital right after the murder (highly suspicious).

All true statements about Lysa Arryn that I agree with. What other way do you see around the Jon Arryn murder? Would LF kidnap Sweet Robin and hide him away so his mother could visit him? It was in LF's best interest to have Jon Arryn killed. And he is completely and utterly guilty. However, let's give blame and credit where they are due and don't blow LF's actual actions out of proportion.
Chris G
56. HardTruths
LF is the living definition of "architect", lol.
Chris G
57. HardTruths
Let me restate: LF 60% responsible for the war beginning...Joff 40% by lopping off poor dead ned's head.
Alan Brown
58. AlanBrown
@55 So Littlefinger didn't start the war, he just created a little chaos, and a power vacuum at the top, which just happened to occur before things fell apart? And this is the man you say is not immoral? Kills his own benefactor to get ahead? And lies about it? As EmpressMaude said, "Jeeze."
59. Littlefinger87
And Cercei and Lancel Lannister are utterly blameless for actually killing the king.?The one man that could have kept the kingdoms together even after Jon Arryn died, and Tywin invaded the riverlands to get back Tyrion. The death of Robert Baratheon is what transforms the conflict from a skirmish to an outright war. Littlefinger didn't have anything to do with Robert's death.

In a perfect universe Littlefinger would be in jail for killing Jon Arryn, but this isn't a perfect universe, it's George's. My entire point in this discussion is let's place the blame on the people who actually do the crimes that we are accusing them of. Otherwise we are no better than Catelyn Stark and Lysa Arryn for imprisoning Tyrion.

My War of Five Kings blame proportion: 30%- Cercei Lannister
10%- Jaime Lannister (throws Bran from a roof) 20% Joffrey Lannister (tries to kill Bran and actually kills Ned) 20% Tywin Lannister (invades the riverlands) 5 % Ned Stark (prompts Cercei to kill Robert before she planned to) 20% Catelyn Stark (takes Tyrion hostage forcing Tywin's hand) Littlefinger 5% for killing Jon Arryn and lying multiple times to the Starks to cover up the murder and his connection with the dagger)
60. Littlefinger87
Whoops that adds up to 110%. Let's make Jaime 5% and Catelyn 15% guilty.
61. VTV
This quote basically ended my interest in the article:
"And maybe it was just me (I doubt it), but there was something a bit uncomfortable about Dany being adored in such a way, by a sea of brown people. “Oh, thank you for saving us, Pretty White Lady.” Just one of those jarring meta-moments when you take a step back from a piece of pop culture and can see how it would look to another group of fans. We’ve seen this scene staged before, in other movies about other messiahs. But that’s another post for another day and a blogger better able to articulate it all."
I am Native American. I get that some people of color feel marginalized in modern media. But GoT has already shown characters who were wealthy and prosperous who happened to also be people of color. Good warriors, influential characters, etc. Most of the story is focused in a fantasy-european setting. Despite that I feel people of many cultures have been in some way honored in the storytelling.

I feel the author is in trying to identify something as "possibly offensive" is being offensive. They felt the need to drag the skin pigment of the characters involved into the scene. If we really want to do that, we could point out that the people of color in this scene who were enslaved were enslaved in the first place by other people of color. That the soldiers who fought to liberate them were people of color.
Rather then trying to compare the Queen who happens to be white to some "white messiah" or whatever why not draw comparisons to the many abolutionists who risked their lives and in some cases everything they had to free slaves? (Many of which, also happened to of had white skin pigment.)

I feel this point basically detracts from the accomplishments of all of the actors who happen to be people of color in this series. And casts an undeserved shadow on the actors who happen to have white skin pigment in this series. The skin color of the characters in this scene was not relevant. I was able to enjoy the scene for what it was. We are never going to get past racism if we have to endlessly drag it into every situation where there just happens to be people of varied skin pigment interacting with each other.

I feel it is unfair, and to be honest completely unproductive. Uproductive for the review of a TV show episode, and unproductive for the pursuit of racial equality.

The author suggests that we should be sensitive as to what "certain fans" might think while basically asking all of the fans who happen to be white by no fault of their own to be ashamed for things they had nothing to do with.
62. VTV
"And VTV, the reviewers weren't being racist, instead they were pointing out that the scene with Dany played out like an overused fictional trope from the days of Social Darwinism, when too many writers portrayed whites as superior to people of color, and wrote too many stories where they traveled to foreign lands and 'civilized' the inhabitants, 'rescuing' them from their own 'baser' natures."
As an author myself, I find this statement completely unfounded. She wasn't rescuing anyone from their "baser natures" she was rescuing slaves from slavers. It's pretty clear she will do this wherever she goes and no matter what color skin pigment the slavers, or the slaves, have.

There was no attempt to make whites look superior to anyone. No comparisons were made in any way as far as skin tone. There are rich people and poor people, nobles and peaseants/slaves of all colors in this setting. There are civilized people and barbarians of all skin tones in this setting. The authors have already demonstrated that. And as someone who is a person of color myself I have just grown tired of the accusations of such things thrown at ever writer who just happens to involve people of multiple colors in their stories. She was not "white" in this setting. And they are not "brown" in this setting. And to draw such comparisons is unfair, and unfounded.
Chris G
63. HardTruths
I noticed that several comments which calmly agreed with VTV's reasonable points were mass deleted, but I will risk saying (also calmly) that VTV is speaking a great deal of sense that is sorely needed here.
Bridget McGovern
64. BMcGovern
HardTruths @63: Exactly one comment (yours, @43) was deleted because it had no other content than to repeat and agree with the extremely problematic VTF comment that was unpublished for going against the terms of our moderation policy (as noted @49). To imply otherwise, and claim that multiple comments were deleted, is something you've done before on this site, and I do not appreciate it. Your comment and the two comments by VTF that were flagged and subsequently unpublished are the only comments that have been removed from this discussion, and to state otherwise is both untrue and in bad faith. I can only assume at this point that you're actively trolling the site, for some inexplicable reason.
65. Thomas Cardew
@14 RE: Stannis

Yes, Stannis in the book is an unlikeable and far more emotionless. Completely driven by duty and still struggling with his decision to choose family over duty. I can sympathize with book Stannis' : I am king whether I want it or not. I want Robb, Joffery, and Balon dead because I AM king and they HAVE to die. I find this to be a most interesting/compelling characater than show Stannis.

Show Stannis seems more petty in everything he does. Particularly, when dealing with Davos. His off the cuff death sentence in this is a stark contrast to Book Stannis' much slower and delibrate actions.

Also, show Stannis seems to have drunk the Kool-Aid while book Stannis hasn't entirely. That's probably the root of my dislike.
66. KingSnob
I def vote for Lady S reveal at end shot of S3 finale. It's poor television to have dropped the Red Wedding on the audience and then follow it up with a rather dull ep. We have 9 months to recover from the Red Wedding and say Lady S reveal. The S2 finale w/WW army was great last season.

i was hoping Arya would've cashed in her coin and been on her way to Braavos. In the books, her training is a bit ZzzZz. She pushes a cart of dead fish around a dock. ZzzzZz. Might as well get that over with in TV show asap so she can be back in Westeros.

I thought Walder Frey's scene post-RW was important. My god that man can hold a grudge. Damn, Roose Bolton went from charismatic colonel to creepy weazel in 1 ep. He's the real rat king.

Thank the 7 that Jon/Ygritte are done. I loved her in book, liked their romance, hated it in TV show. She was basically a Wildling Stage 5 cling on, but Jon's act of cowardice last ep had me cringe laughing.

Will we ever see Mance again! Haha

It's too bad we never saw the White Walkers/Wights attack the KW. We actually needed a little action this season.
Maiane Bakroeva
67. Isilel
Slybrarian @40:
now he correctly points out that Tywin just around Casterly Rock until the war was decided and only then did he join the war.
Well, yes, but it was not because Tywin was afraid, so Joff was still wrong.
Jaime was de-facto Aerys's hostage and would have died horribly if Tywin had rebelled.
And Tywin also wanted/expected the Targaryens to come crawling to him and beg him to save them. Which Aerys suicidally refused to do, so...
Chris Nelly
69. Aeryl
@LF87, Ros is not a character from the books. She was created solely for the show. Why? To demonstrate more fully than the books ever do, the depth of Littlefinger's depravity. They created this character with the complete support of the author of the books, who even used her for that puposes during episodes he's pinned.

He wrote LF's speech from The Pointy End, the one that demonstrates he is doing all the things, for the exact reasons, you claim he's not.

Like many have said, feel free to like him, I like Tywin fucking Lannister for many of the same reasons. I just don't act like that makes him defensible.
Alan Brown
70. AlanBrown
By the way, did anyone notice that when Varys tried to convince Shae to leave, he explicitly told her that he was looking out for Tyrion because he saw him as one of the best hopes for uniting the lands and bringing peace? I have always thought that GRRM has big plans for Tyrion, but can't think of anyplace in the books where this is stated so clearly. Sometimes on the screen, you need to distill your messages, and present them more clearly and explicitly. Have the writers tipped their hand here?
And I don't recall any such scene in the book, and as I watched it, I wondered why the frequently ruthless Varys expending so much to protect her, instead of having someone murder her, and making her disappear.
Chris Nelly
71. Aeryl
I think in the show it's portrayed as guilt over Ros. But Shae believes Tyrion put him up to it, which I could see. It is the same desire she asked of him at the end of season 2.
72. Littlefinger87
I defend Littlefinger because it seems like I am the only one that actually sees the good things that he does do. He is a grey charater. Which means he does both good and bad things. I have acknowledged that he does do bad things. But if his ultimate end goal reestablishes the Starks then he is doing a lot of bad things to support (what I think) is a good cause. Given his position rigth now vis a vis the Lannisters it is necessary to act in secret and to placate them because if he doesn't, he'll end up with his head on a spike.

Chaos is a ladder. That doesn't mean he started the chaos. It means he's profiting from it. LF doesn't need chaos to climb. He'll do that anyway. But chaos allows for an opportunity to climb faster.

Or anothre reason why she was created for the show was to connect the characters of Tyrion, Theon, Varys, and Littlefinger and to bring the action from Winterfell to King's landing without jarring the audience. You've said this already yourself. Ros isn't a cautionary tale about rising too high. She's a cautionary tale about snitches in King's Landing and trying to betray your boss when you don't have the means and protection to do it. Littlefinger betrayed his boss, but he already had a network of spuies and the boss's wife on his side before he did it. Ros did not have the forsight to see the consequences of her actions. In this series, characters that lack fresight end up dead.
Maiane Bakroeva
73. Isilel
In the books, Shae did seem suspiciously close to Varys - he even showed her the entrance to the secret tunnels in his bedroom and explained it's operation. I always thought that she became one of his agents fairly soon after arriving to KL. But yea, I imagine that he was encouraging her to stay close to Tyrion rather than go, in the books.

In the show... Hm... Maybe it was sincere, in remorse over Roz, though I find it difficult to believe. Or maybe it is some clever manipulation.
74. olethros
Disagree, @71. Varys is trying to drive a wedge between Shae and Tyrion, because he doesn't want Tyrion to actually be able to do those things.
Chris Nelly
75. Aeryl
@74, I don't what Varys' game is, but Tyrion seems to be a part of it, something the show is only making more explicit.
76. olethros
I don't disagree that Varys has plans for Tyrion (or at least has adjusted his existing plans to make use of Tyrion), but those plans don't involve Tyrion bringing peace to the realm. It looked to me like Varys is setting up Shae's betrayal of Tyrion post-wedding. It's possible that Varys is setting all of that stuff up in order to spring Tyrion from the dungeon and point him in Dany's direction, but more likely he just wants to decrease stability in Westeros so Dany/Aegon can swoop in and take over. Tyrion, as a force for stability, has to be removed.
Chris Nelly
77. Aeryl
My thoughts are that Shae's going to "bargain" with Tywin for Tyrion's release and exile, and that's what Tyrion walks in on.
Theresa DeLucci
78. theresa_delucci
@77 Oh, I like that idea. I really like TV-Shae. I don't want her to betray Tyrion so blatantly like book-Shae.

But I think @76 seems truer to what they're hinting at, knowing what we do from A Dance with Dragons. Grr. Forget Aegon. Of all the things book five didn't need was another freaking secret heir. I think the Lannisters have dug their own grave in all of this and while Tyrion may be smart, he's too much of a liability to Varys' ultimate goals... until he comes back to Westeros on the back of one of Dany's dragons, dammit! (I wish.)

One thing I haven't heard book-virgins complain about is when will Dany come to Westeros. No one's asked me yet. Can they really not be antsy? I suspect maybe the impatience will kick in at the end of season 4, when Dany's still not in Westeros and her dragon and army is bigger.
Alan Brown
79. AlanBrown
"Book-virgins." Can't say I have heard that term before, but it is a useful way to express the concept. Fortunately for me, my wife has read the books also, which makes life easier. My son, however, is in a mixed marriage, and has to watch what he says very carefully.
80. Littlefinger87
Theresa- The dragon has three heads. Dany is most definitely one. Who are the other two in your opinion if Aegon isn't one of them?
Theresa DeLucci
82. theresa_delucci
I'm not sure. I think several people are deserving of a cool ride on a dragon, like Arya and Tyrion. Tyrion especially loves dragons. Tactically, if there is a big ol' battle, Jon would be a good candidate, but maybe if he comes back, he'd be better leading ground troops?

And isn't Bran fated to fly? Not sure what role he could play in his current state.

Edit: I also can't really see Arya leading a dragon into battle. She'd be doing the Queen's service as an assassin or something. She's no knight.
83. Littlefinger87
So you believe in R + L - J. As do I. I don't understand how Tyrion could be a dragon. Aerys took liberties during bedding ceremony of Tywin and his wife, but how and when would he impregnate Tywin's wife to make Tyrion half-Targaryen?
Bridget McGovern
85. BMcGovern
Re: R+L=J ...Wow, it's like the Read of Ice and Fire Spoiler Threads have finally bubbled over, completely, into HBO territory :) Which makes sense, but for folks who want to avoid heavy-duty fan theories and speculation based on the books (through ADwD), you may want to avert your eyes.
86. Littlefinger87
Alan Brown: Rhaegar Targaryen + Lyanna Stark = Jon Snow (Roll over to read text; fan speculation ahoy, read at your own risk)
Chris Nelly
87. Aeryl
Rumor has it Tyrion's a chimera(there's a dream in ADWD where he has two heads, and one of them crying over the deaths of Jaime and Cersei), son of both Tywin and Aerys. But there are definitely enough hints that he's not Tywin's true son, especially his refrain of "All dwarves are bastards".

As for when it happened, 9 months before Tyrion was born, duh. This is the about the same time Tywin left the service of the Hand, IIRC.

@84. It's fan speculation on one of the more pernicuous mysteries of the series, having to do with parentage. If you haven't already heard of it, I'd hate to ruin it for you.
Theresa DeLucci
88. theresa_delucci
I'm definitely re-reading the series in the offseason, at least starting with A Storm of Swords. I read some key chapters before some of my reviews, but I'm definitely rusty on AFFC and ADWD. The latter especially I sped through to stay ahead of spoilers. (Which was pointless because a good friend accidentally spoiled the last chapter for me, thinking I'd already finished. It's quite a story that ends in arm-punching and maybe a few tears. )

Fun fact: I also had the very last sentence of ASoS spoiled for me when I posted on Facebook that I was reading it for the first time. I forgave my other friend because it was an accident. That incident was just way wrong.
Chris Nelly
89. Aeryl
I just started ADWD YESTERDAY!!!(YAY IT ARRIVED). But I'm already spoiled, so no worries. I have to decide if I'm gonna break down and buy WoW when it comes out.
90. Littlefinger87
Aeryl: Of corse it was nine months before. I was asking about a specific event. From all accounts, Tywin and his wife had a loving relationship so I don't see her straying into Aerys arms.

That's pretty flimsy evidence. How would Tyrion know who his parents were? Will his blood magically tell him that he's the son of both Tywin and Aerys? At least in Jon's case there were characters who were alive to see the birth who retold parts of that story from their own perspective (Ned, Howland Reed telling Jojen and Meera)
Bridget McGovern
91. BMcGovern
You know, I think now might be a good time to just throw in another reminder of our Moderation Policy: arguing fan theories is always a tricky business, so let's keep disagreeements civil, be respectful of one another, keep calm and carry on, and remember that we're all fans, here. Thanks.
Chris Nelly
92. Aeryl
Who in the hell said what Aerys might have done to Joanna was consensual?

And I would like to see evidence they had a loving relationship. Everyone says Tywin loved his wife. I'm sure Oscar Pistorious would say he loved Reeva Steenkamp. Who says that what appears loving, can't also be terrible for the people involved? And who's to say Tyrion will find out why? I don't think R+L=J will ever be revealed, that character will just be ABLE to handle dragons, and no one will know why. Same thing with Tyrion.
Theresa DeLucci
93. theresa_delucci
Yeah, I'd be pretty amazed if Tyrion found out some secret parentage. I think when he said "All dwarfs are bastards" he didn't mean it literally. But perhap's it the author sprinkling in these little clues for the reader to add up. I never bought the Secret!Targ! thing. Tywin should be his father. Tyrion reflects all of his father's shortcomings and failures. It's poetic to have this "great" man have his shame personified in his own children, throwing it in his face.

I mostly just want him to ride a dragon because he loves them and it'd just be... success is the best revenge. And riding a dragon like a badass would be pretty awesome for an unwanted Imp.

I *do* think R+L=J will be revealed, though. Such a big deal is made of Jon's bastard status. I think getting some closure on that once and for all would be hugely satisfying.

So as not to totally go off into spoiler-crazy territory, here's an alternate question from me:

What TV will you folks be watching now that GoT is over? As I stated above, True Blood, Breaking Bad and Dexter are on tap for me. After that, I may just try to tackle The Wire. But that's a LOT of hours of TV.

I will also try to get some fresh air outside this summer. =p
94. Littlefinger87
Aeryl: That was my point. If Aerys and Joanna did it, it was most likely Aerys' idea and Joanna struggled to get away. There is a ready made device for how Jon would find out about his parentage: Jojen and Meera could return to Castle Black and tell him. Jaime killed Aerys so even if Tyrion is partly his son who is still alive that would be able to tell him.

Breaking Bad tops my list then Dexter and True Blood. I have to see how Walter White falls, and oh man ASAC Shraeder knows!!!!Your reviews of GOT actually got me interested in True Blood so consider me a convert. The Wire is exquisite television. So much humanity in the drug dealers and so much corruption within the cops. They also adapt really well over time to show how technology changes the game for both sides.
Alan Brown
95. AlanBrown
All right, now that I know what R+L=J means, I have to say, it is not too spoilery a statement. It is pretty obvious that GRRM has either foreshadowed that revelation, or possibly dangled a red herring in front of us.
96. Littlefinger87
AlanBrown: Multiple times Ned remembers something that Lyanna said to him. "Promise me, Ned" Promise me what? Most believers think this means, promise me you'll raise Jon as your own son and don't tell Robert he exists.

Also, during Dany's House of the Undying adventure (in the books obviously) there is a scene where a blue rose that sprouts from the Wall. Lyanna's favorite flower is a blue rose.

We know for sure that Lyanna died in the Tower of the Morning surrounded by three of the best Kingsguards all of whom were Rhaegar Targaryen's life long friends.

There's more, but that was enough to convince me.
Theresa DeLucci
97. theresa_delucci
@94 I will reject taking credit for you watching True Blood! I think the show is in decline these last few years, especially since I loved the first season so much. But I always begin each season with such high hopes. They trap me every time! This year's carrot is a guest spot by Rutger Hauer. So, in other words, if you hate the show, you've been fairly warned.

98. Gold for Petyr

Well said ser.

I've always said if anyone caused the War of the Five Fings its Cersei amd Jamie. They're the one's who brought the royal line of succession into question. Regardless of whether Robert lived or died. Tywin wasn't going to let Cersei be tried of treason or give up the thrown.
Chris Nelly
99. Aeryl
@94, I don't think it will ever be known for sure in the story, but if anyone alive knows the truth of Tyrion's parentage, it's Varys.

On R+L=J, I've gotten to the point where I think characters other than Jon will find out, but Jon won't. It's the ultimate troll.
Rob Munnelly
100. RobMRobM
I'm still thinking Tyrion knows whether or not he has Targ blood. He's surprisingly (shockingly) knowledgeable about importance of Targ blood for dragon control purposes (see Ben Plumm) and somehow gives the appearance of qualifying himself. So either there is a Targ in the Lannister line (or his mother's line) not yet mentioned in the books or he knows something else about his parentage also not stated in text as of yet.

Interesting in the TV show that Jojen made clear his father told him nothing about what happened during the war. This suggests Howland would have to be the source of the confirmation of the theory rather than his kids.
Deana Whitney
101. Braid_Tug
@99, I've gotten to the point of not caring until someone in book learns more or is even aware of the issue. If Varys knows anything, he sure hasn't let it slip.

But if R+L=J, wonder how HBO will let everyone know?
Chris Nelly
102. Aeryl
@100, That's a very good point. Much like Reek never flat out admits all of what was done to him, unable to confront it, Tyrion may have not confronted the truth of his parentage in his thoughts for us to pick up. But yeah, reading ADWD with this thought in mind is interesting.

@101, My speculation is that somehow Brienne meets up with Howland Reed as she heads North(she has a part of Ice, it WILL be at the Wall to face WW) and learns the truth from him.
103. Littlefinger87
GoldforPetyr: Thanks for the support. If Robert still lived, I think he could put Tywin back in his box. Tywin had only 60,000 men. Robert had 100,000 even without Ned Stark.

Theresa: I agree with you. Season 1 rocked. They leave a lot of storylines (were-panthers wtf) out to dry. And can Tara and Lafayette have a relationship that doesn't end with murder? I'm looking forward to human versus vamp and Big Bad Bill.
104. Gold for Petyr
And the last time a king put Tywin in a box, what did he do? Remember Elia? Tywin has spent a long time making his daughter queen.
Vincent Lane
105. Aegnor
I'm late to the party on this episode discussion, but oh well.

Well, crap. I was sure this season was going to end with a tight closeup on Jack Gleeson's face turning blue. :-(
I felt the exact opposite. I was still worried they would try and cram in Joffrey's Wedding, or even worse kill him before his wedding. With the casting that hadn't been done, and the fact that the RW was episode 9, there was literally no way to do that even any justice whatsoever this season. I really don't understand the drive to rush that scene to get it done in season 3. It will happen episode 3 or 4 next season.

Regarding the racial issues with the last scene. I'm thinking it has much more to do with the filming location than anything else. In the book the crowd is made up of slaves of all different colors and races. But with the number of people they needed for that final scene (even with the digital effect) was quite large. There is no way to do it, except by using locals. The locals are Arab, Berber, Niger/Congo, and mixes between those. If it would have been filmed in Australia, then most of the crowd would have been white.

My overall thoughts on the episode? It was great. I don't understand why there is disappointment with it. It didn't have a HUGE moment like some other ep 10s, but it was consistently very good. Pretty much every single scene in the show was at least good.

OP comments on the Ygritte scene. YES, we needed to see Jon confess his love for her again. He has been undercover, and so it isn't 100% clear to non-book readers what was true and what wasn't. This was needed to clearly deliniate that. Yes he loves her, but he is a crow, was always a crow, and always will be a crow. And he has to go home. And Ygritte needed to shoot him with an arrow...again? No idea what you mean, as she didn't shoot him with an arrow before. So yes, that needed to happen. Rose Leslie did an incredible job and it was an awesome scene.
Chris Nelly
106. Aeryl
I agree with you completely in re Jon & Ygritte. That scene was necessary.

Would it have been harder to diversify the cast? Yes. Would it have been worth it? YMMV
107. SueQ
I find it odd that certain people think that G.R.R. Martin should warn followers of the series when something traumatic is about to happen (re: the red wedding and various other characters meeting their end.) Jeez, read the books already. I lost those characters too, but they had lived inside my mind for thousands of words and hundreds of pages.
Vincent Lane
108. Aegnor
Would it have been harder to diversify the cast? Yes. Would it have been worth it? YMMV
The word 'harder' doesn't really cover it. It would be nearly impossible financially. It likely would have increased the budget for the episode by a million dollars or more. For a $200 million feature film a million is chump change. But when you are talking about a 20% increase in the cost of the episode?

Another note about the Ygritte scene. I was very disappointed in the scene the week before when Jon left the wildlings. The reasoning was twofold. When he left there were a total of two wildlings around him. Ygritte and Tormond. Why the heck would he jump on a horse and take off like that? It made him seem cowardly and weak (common problem in the changes they've made with Jon's story line). The other issue was Ygritte not shooting him with an arrow. I thought it was critical to their story arc.

So this episode cleared up that second problem. And it makes sense for them to wait to have it until later, so that it could be the end result of their chat. It fit together well over their arc. I still have my concerns about Jon running away from two wildlings like that in the initial scene.
109. Black Dread
70. AlanBrown - I found the Varys / Shea scene intersting because we see for the first time (earlier than the books) that Varys is playing a bigger game. He has taken it upon himself to ally with people who will unite the lands and bring peace.

It is a reveal that he is more than just a professional spy.
Chris Nelly
110. Aeryl
I know they are a minority, but there are white people in Morrocco.
Vincent Lane
111. Aegnor

A very very tiny minority. 99.1% of the population is Arab/Berber and likely most of the remaining 0.9% are not white either. There are liklely some foreigners living in Morocco that are white, but trying to get enough white extras in that type of environment would likely be nearly impossible.

Regarding the Shae/Varys concerns me. I can't figure out where they are going with Shae's character. I know where the Tyrion/Shae story arc ends in the book and I am getting more and more nervous that the characterization changes in Shae have made that ending impossible.
Chris Nelly
112. Aeryl
Shae? Oh, she's gonna go to Tywin, and "bargain" for Tyrion's release and exile, unaware that Jaime and Varys are freeing him. So when he goes to visit Tywin, Shae will be genuinely happy to see him, but Tyrion won't know THAT, and will strangle her.

I myself don't have too much a problem with the way Dany's scene was framed, provide they stick with the disturbing implications next season. And they actually filmed a few Dothraki sea scenes in Ireland. They didn't have to film that particular shot in Morocco, it could've been filmed elsewhere, where the diversity in casting wasn't going to be as big a problem.
Alan Brown
113. AlanBrown
It wouldn't stray too far from the book to portray Dany's troubles with ruling the city as an object lesson in the perils of foreigners who come in, overturn the traditional ruling order, and take charge, thinking they know better than the locals.
Maiane Bakroeva
114. Isilel
Aeryl @112:

I hope that they do it like that too. IMHO, it would be a very satisfying conclusion to noble Shae and white-washed Tyrion issue that gets criticized so much by the fans. Also, nod to the classics.
115. Maac
They had plenty of light-skinned people in that scene -- if they didn't want to import full-on Norwegian extras *g* , I think they could have gotten some red of blonde wigs for them, and coated them with slightly less dust, just left the dust on their clothing, or ragged up their outfits a little more to compensate, or something. Emlia Clarke's gorgeous natural hair is darker than that of about a third of the people in that scene, and yet they manage. (Or the could have apportioned their close ups to better reflect the diversity, if they only had a few pale-phenotype Moroccans.) There are supposed to be very pale races in that area of the world -- Quarth, for example (another opportunity the show missed a bit, IMO). Slave does not have to equal brown.
116. Maac
@112 -- I agree with you. For me a lot will depend on how everything is handled next season, just as there are a LOT of things about the books, even, that I'm not sure I'll approve of until the final analysis. I'm still on the edge of my seat waiting to find out.
Theresa DeLucci
117. theresa_delucci
@113 I think they'll do that, too. Every great ruler needs to get knocked down a peg or two and see things from a different perspective in order to grow.
Anthony Pero
118. anthonypero
RE: Shae and Tywin, and Tyrion

My friend and I were discussing this at length. The show has made Tyrion much less grey than he is in the books, he's pretty much genuinely a good guy... We think the showrunners are going to have to change the way that plays out. There is no way they are going to have Tyrion kill Shae. Tywin is going to kill Shae, and Tyrion is going to kill Tywin because of it. At least that's my thought.

It softens the patricide as well. Plus, its not like they're going to have Peter Dinklage voicing over where do whores go during Season 5-6, on a continuous loop. This elimiates the need for that bit of, erm, reflection, on Tyrion's part.
Anneke van Staden
119. QueenofDreams
OK, well I have a theory how R+L=J will be confirmed. Bran. There's a scene where he sees a scene from the past with Ned praying at the grove in Winterfell. I firmly believe that Bran will glean this knowledge from there. I'm also in the camp that believes this. I know that there are some who believe that Ashara Dayne had an affair with Ned, but this doesn't wash with me because of Selmy's musings in DwD.
Chris Nelly
120. Aeryl
She did have the affair with Ned. Because Selmy was a coward, in his mind, he didn't ask Ashara to dance, but Ned did. And several months later she gave birth to Ned's stillborn bastard daughter.

At least, that's how I read it.
Adam S.
121. MDNY
Selmy said Ashara likely killed herself over grief at her stillborn daughter, but that's still up for debate. However, Ned was not yet married through the Harrenhall tournament, which would have been the last time he could have been with Ashara, and thus he did not have an affair with her. They may have had sex out of wedlock (though given Ned's character, I'm not sure he would even do that), but not an "affair". Her child may have been Ned's bastard, but it couldn't have been the product of an affair, as neither she nor Ned was married at the time. I don't believe Ned ever had an affair, only pretended to have one to protect his nephew, as a promise to his dying sister.
Rob Munnelly
122. RobMRobM
I believe Ashara's baby was not stillborn, and made an appearance in ADWD. Elio and Linda from Westeros opine that the Stark who had the fling with Ashara at Harrenhall is not Ned.
Anneke van Staden
123. QueenofDreams
I guess when I reference the 'affair' with Ashara, I mean in reference to those who don't believe R+L=J but instead insist that Ashara=J. That certainly doesn't convince me at all based on the fact that Ashara had a daughter. @RobMRobM can you spill the beans on who that might be? White it out or something but I'm burning with curiousity here! (the non stillborn baby who made an appearance that is)
Chris Nelly
124. Aeryl
Oh, yay, someone ELSE Lady Dustin can be pissed off at.

@123, I'm guessing Aegon, if you doubt that he's really Rhaegar's son, which I do. Then Young Griff could be the son of Ashara Dayne and Brandon (?) Stark. Though that doesn't match the recollections of the tourney at Harrenhal from Jojen's story. Jojen's story said the quiet wolf danced with Ashara.
Adam S.
125. MDNY
How did the GOT thread become the spoilers ASOIAF thread?
Rob Munnelly
126. RobMRobM
@125 - agreed. Let's move additional discussion over to Leigh's spoiler thread before someone gets hurt.
Theresa DeLucci
127. theresa_delucci
Because there's a "book spoilers are fair game" warning in the post and it's a loooooong time until the new season of GoT?

Not following the spoiler thread, I think I'm going to when I'm done re-reading the books. So many interesting things to discuss.
Bridget McGovern
128. BMcGovern
@125 and 126: As Theresa says, there have always been a book spoilers warning attached to these posts. Spoilers are fair game, although it's always nice when people label them as such and white things out--but that's not something we're going to enforce, just a general suggestion.
Rob Munnelly
129. RobMRobM
Re the above discussion (spoilers beware):

Yes, I believe that Aegon is not a real Targ (that is ruled out in the House of Undying Prophecy - Dany slaying the Mummer's dragon and "slayer of lies"). I do believe Aegon has ties to the royal family in KL, and it would work to have Ashara be pregnant and have a baby and then have baby either given up to Varys or taken from her and claimed to be Aegon - leading to Ashara's suicide. I personally like the theory that Ned is the father (qua Harrenhall) but Westeros folk believe that Ned was too shy and honor bound to do the deed beyond some harmless flirting - but that Brandon was precisely the type of red blooded, physically minded guy who would step in and turn the relationship physical (as he did with Lady Dustin). Westeros folk believe this interpretation is supported by Selmy's POV in ADWD.

Yes, I belive in R + L = J and not Aegon.
130. Littlefinger87
Two things about this season struck my mind as off key.

Jaime says that he saved 500,000 lives when he killed Aegon Targaryen which is true. He saved them from a wildfire death so that his own father could butcher them during the sack of King's Landing. I do suppose it's a mercy that he saved them from a terrible fate of being burned alive. And he certainly didn't know that his father would sack the city, but it's not like he saved all of the citizen's of King's Landing that day.

Littlefinger giving Ros to Joffrey doesn't fit with the story knowing what's coming. Why would Littlfinger want to curry favor with somene he knows will be dead soon? I agree with Aeryl, it's the show writers adding more cruelty to his character without thinking about all the consequences. I understand that she has to die, just not in that way.

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