Kyle J. Steenblik

Game of Thrones: Mockingbird

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Arya Stark

Arya Stark

Mockingbird, episode 7, was not the sigh of relief I was expecting after the amazing close last week. It was, instead, a stunning gasp of realization as significant plot points were revealed to the audience, and to the characters.  In the seven presented scenes, enough was revealed to see where events are leading.  Traditionally this would mean we could breathe easy because we would be able to predict reliably where the chips may fall.  However, George R. R. Martin has a habit of letting the chips land and then flipping the table, so the false sense of relief is unnerving at best. Nevertheless, we now have a much clearer picture of where things are going.
In this episode, there were stunning performances all around, but particularly from Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish).  Baelish has had the most steady character arc in all four seasons, thus far.  In many ways Aidan Gillen has played Petyr so methodically what most characters would experience as growth, Baelish displayed as minor revelations of existing character.  It’s a subtle difference in performance, but makes a dramatic difference in a long story.  In a very significant way, these characters turn the wheels of the story and keep the entire contraption moving.  Also notable for their performances in this episode are Maisie Williams and Rory McCann (Arya and The Hound).  Arya continue to evolve, and the way Maisie Williams is playing her leads me to believe that she cares a great deal about Arya, and is invested in her development.  While I believe Rory McCann is actually The Hound, and is not actually acting.  
Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 7 “Mockingbird” directed by Alik Sakharov, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss 8 out of 10

 
Spoiler warning, i am about to discuss plot in a big way, and do some speculating.
The biggest revelation comes from Petyr Baelish.  We now know he was behind the murder of Jon Arryn, King Joffrey, and the attempted murder of Bran Stark.  He betrayed Eddard Stark after the death of King Robert.  I think his plots are more intricate than we are initially let to believe.  He has proven himself a masterful manipulator, and I believe he has anticipated many actions and reactions of those around him to the events he orchestrated.  Ultimately, we do know he is attempting to win the Iron Throne for himself, and apparently, he will kill just about everyone to get there.  He has so acquired Sansa Stark, who seems to be acting as a replacement for Catlyn to Petyr.  This genuinely makes me feel like Sansa is among the most ill-treated characters in this story.  When character in this world are treated so badly, they ether become very powerful and go to great lengths to exact revenge, or they meet an even more tragic end.

Jon Snow has slowly been gaining a loyal following on the Night’s Watch, and his conflict with Alliser Thorne is deepening.  We found out in a previous episode that there will soon be a vote to establish a new Lord Commander of the watch, the position Thorne is temporarily holding.  The growing resentment on the watch for Thorne is apparent.  I believe this will lead to a violent conflict between Alliser and Jon, or the watch will side with Jon and oust Alliser Thorne.  That confrontation seems inevitable; the real question is if that will happen before the wildling army attacks. 

Tyrion, having been falsely accused, and suffering the farce of a trial is awaiting his trail by combat in his cell.  His brother cannot fight for him, and his friend Bronn has declined to fight Gregor Clegane, seeming to leave Tyrion to stand against The Mountain on his own.  That is until Oberyn Martell volunteers to stand as Tyrion’s champion in order to exact revenge on Clegane.  Tryion’s motivations and plots have always been clear to the audience.  His motivations have been self-preservation, and revenge on those who have wronged him. 

Danerys is effectively sitting out the next few rounds in the game of thrones, until she feels she is ready to be queen of the seven kingdoms.  I wouldn’t expect much to progress from this point for the rest of this season. 

Stannis is heading for The Wall, finally.  I cannot even remember when that decision was made; he has just been trying to gather resources to make the trip.  His unfortunate late departure will likely put him at Castle Black after the Wildling Army attacks, but we can’t forget the Wildling Army is not the threat we should worry about. 

The unfortunate turn of events in the Vale will leave The Hound with no one to pay his ransom for Arya.  It looks to me like this puts Arya on the path to Bravos, a path I suspected for some time now.  She is ruthless, and very quickly becoming dangerous.  Right now, I believe she is keeping Clegane alive simply because traveling cross country on her own would prove more difficult, and since they are going where she wants to go anyway she is playing it smart by traveling with him.  I also suspect she has grown to like the man, as she gets to know him.  I don’t believe for a second that her fondness for him will save his life when it is time for Arya to cross his name off her list.  

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