Kyle J. Steenblik

Game of Thrones: The Mountain and the Viper

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Oberyn Martell

Oberyn Martell

Game of Thrones episode 8 of season 4; The Mountain and The Viper, begins, and ends with a grisly fight. Between those two fights is a whole bunch of plot. To warn those of you who may have missed last week’s article, from this point on, this is not a spoiler free page. Simply because with only two episodes left this season, if you are not caught up, anything I say would be a spoiler. So go on, you don’t need me to tell you this episode is worth watching. Look at the title of the episode, honestly, that is all you need know.

First, Wildlings attack Mole’s Town, Gilly and her baby’s lives are spared.  When word reaches Castle Black Sam blames himself for leaving Gilly there, while Grenn wants to ride out to attack the Wildlings, and Jon reminds them they are outnumbered and their best chance is to defend the castle.  Either way, they now know the impending attack is much closer than they like.  Just when they were feeling really depressed about the odds of survival, Edd reminds everyone that a much more ominous threat lies beyond the wall.  Things are definitely not looking good for the Night’s Watch, fortunately, if you will remember; Stannis is heading north to reinforce them, and however he is taking his time.  It’s a good thing we have two more episodes.

Meanwhile in Meereen Grey Worm struggled with being a eunuch, he appears to be romantically interested in Daenerys’ handmaiden Missandei.  I don’t really see where this is going, except to fill out the Grey Worm character.  The only reason I can think of to fill him out, is if he becomes a more significant player later on in the story, but it is far too early to speculate.  In other happenings in Meereen, Daenerys found out about Jorah’s little spy gig for Varys, for which she banishes him from Meereen.  His determination to win her forgiveness is sure to lead to some good decisions, since he has already shown he has excellent judgment when it comes to impressing women.  Lest we forget, it was because of his wife that he was caught selling prisoners as slaves.  I really don’t see this ending well for him.

Sansa Stark

Sansa Stark

Elsewhere, in the north actually, Ramsay Snow allows Reek to become Theon Greyjoy to convince a garrison of Ironborn holding Moat Cailin.  Theon/Reek, who is being marvelously portrayed by Alfie Allen, eventually convinces the ironborn men to surrender, where they are promptly killed and flayed by Ramsay.  This allowed House Bolton to reclaim the north, and for his father, Roose Bolton to claim his place as Warden of The North, he names Ramsay his son as well.  The time Reek was allowed to be Theon was brief, but I believe there was something of a spark of recognition for Theon.  With house Bolton taking control of The North, and moving into Winterfell, I suspect more of Theon will begin to return, but I think they are done this season.

Also done this season, I believe, are Sansa and Littlefinger.  Baelish, having been called before the lords of the Vale regarding the suspicious death of Lysa, has his story of Lysa’s suicide corroborated by Sansa.  While she did technically lye about how Lysa came to fall through the moon door, the events leading up to it were all truthful.  Lysa was unstable, and prone to fits of jealousy, and rage.  This is where I get sad.  This is really the first time Sansa has actually done anything herself.  She clearly realized the situation she now finds herself, and she seems to have made a decision to stop just allowing events to happen to her without her attempting to steer them.  She now seems to believe she can sway Baelish to keep herself safe, or perhaps to gain some measure of control of her life.  This is the first time I have felt anything other than pity for this character and it is a very welcome change.  I look forward to seeing where things go; I wonder what manipulative tricks she has picked up.

Finally, the fight we have all been waiting for, but first, Jaime and Tyrion share a moment in Tyrion’s cell.  This discussion and this scene is quite remarkable.  It’s a simple discussion, starts as reminiscing about their childhood, and simple-minded cousin.  Tyrion explains his fascination with the moron smashing beetles, and his near obsession with understanding why he did the things he did.  It is really a fascinating and telling glimpse into Tyrion’s character.  How he sees everything and everyone as something he can understand if he set his mind to it.  It may be the first time Jaime truly believes his brother is innocent, rather than suspecting or hoping.  That moment I think is going to be critical very soon.  Immediately after the conversation, it is time for the trial by combat.  Oberyn is preparing with a nice wine, and The Mountain is preparing by doing something horrible I’m sure.  I’m sure no one needs me to run through what happened in the fight.  Suffice it to say Oberyn soundly defeated Greggor Clegane, but was too intent on revenge, and dragging a confession out of Clegane that he wandered a little too close and The Mountain grabbed Oberyn, and things got a little explosive.  Needless to say, Tywin declared Tyrion guilty, and sentenced him to execution.  Given recent events, I am fairly sure Jaime is going to sneak Tyrion out of King’s Landing.  The only question I really have is if Tyrion is going to lose it and take revenge on Cersei or Tywin on his way out.  It is possible he just leaves and plots his revenge from afar, but somehow I don’t think things will go that smoothly.


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