“You really think a crown gives you power?”
After last week’s brutal massacre, “Game of Thrones” goes the usual route of using its finale as a sort of epilogue, or denouement to the season. “Mhysa” lets us see the immediate repercussions of the Red Wedding last week, and all the chaos that is to ensue in its aftermath. It’s a nice, gradual “come down” from the insanity of the previous episode, and gives a nice closing to the year.
Shortly after the events of the Red Wedding, Arya and the Hound are making their way out of the Twins. Before they leave, Arya sees a devastating sight: her brother’s body, mutilated with his direwolf’s head sewn to his neck. After such an undignified death, it’s just tragic to see this, and was pretty uncomfortable to watch. Later, the pair meet a trio of Frey men, laughing about the slaughter. Arya distracts one with a coin and stabs him to death with the Hound’s knife while he dispatches the others. She then utters the phrase she was tld to remember by her assassin friend: “Valar Morghulis.”
The next morning, Frey is giddy as a pig in shit over how clever he is. Roose Bolton is slightly more reserved, as the new Warden of the North. It is also revealed by Roose that after Theon Greyjoy’s men betrayed him, it was Roose’s own (bastard) son, Ramsay, who captured him.
“My mother taught me not to thrown stones at cripples. But my father taught me to aim for their head.”
At the Dreadfort, Ramsay toys with the now de-dicked Theon. The Ironborn ‘prince’ begs to be killed. Instead, Ramsay renames him Reek and beats him into calling himself by his new name.
Meanwhile, on the Iron Islands, Balon Greyjoy receives word of his son’s situation and a letter demanding his evacuation of the North. He refuses to obey, but his daughter Yara resolves to rescue her little brother.
In Kings Landing, the Small Council meets to discuss the demise of the Starks and the future of the North. After sending Joffery off to bed (serious), Tywin talks to Tyrion in private. He commands Tyrion impregnate Sansa by any means necessary, but Tyrion refuses. Afterward, He goes to deliver the tragic news of Robb and Catelyn to his young wife, but she has already heard and is weeping.
“Monsters are dangerous, and just now kings are dying like flies.”
Elsewhere, Lord Varys meets with Shae to discuss her leaving Westeros. He offers her a bag of diamonds to go back across the Narrow Sea and live in luxury. He claims that Tyrion is an asset to the Realm, and mustn’t have his situation complicated by her. She refuses, and gives back the jewels.
Later, Jaime returns to the capital with Brienne and immediately goes to his sister’s chambers.
At the Nightfort, Bran and his companions make camp for the night. Bran tells an old tale of a cook who killed a king’s son and fed it to him. They’re soon met by Sam and Gilly who’ve made it back from North of the Wall. Sam recognizes Bran and Hodor from Jon’s stories and gives them food and supplies before sending them on their way beyond the Wall.
Later, Sam reaches Castle Black and rejoins his brothers, under temporary command of Maester Aemon. The old man hears Sam’s story of the White Walkers, and sends word throughout the country.
Jon Snow recovers from his fight with the Wildlings. Ygritte finds him and eventually shoots three arrows into him while he escapes on horseback. He barely makes it back to Castle Black, where he’s cared for by his Nights Watch brothers. He’s carried away on their shoulders to be healed (read on for this to come back).
“People learn to love their chains.”
At Dragonstone, Stannis intends to sacrifice Gendry to the Red God. Davos intervenes, freeing the boy who he has bonded with over their shared hometown. learning this, Stannis sentences Davos to die, but then learns of the Nights Watch’s request for aid. Melisandre comes to Davos’ defense (strangely), claiming he has a place in the coming war, and that Stannis must go north. It;s really sad seeing Stannis as nothing more than the red witch’s bitch-boy. He could be such a badass left to his own devices.
Outside Yunkai, Dany waits for the slaves of the city to come out. They do, and she announces that they are free. They cry out “Mhysa”, meaning “mother” and carry her on their shoulders out of affection. It’s in no way subtle in its parallels with Jon’s story. The two beacons of hope in this blood-stained world. I do, however, find it a weak ending to the season. Season 1 ended with Dany rising from the fires with her dragons, and now we basically get the same thing again. It’s tired and boring. I’d have preferred a different note to end on (Jon, Tyrion, Arya, anyone).
“Any man who must say ‘I am the King’, is no true King.”
Plot-wise, the episode is a tad thin. But there’s a ton of character development and plenty of setup for next year. More questions are asked than answered, and everyone is miles from where they were when the season began… except Stannis… who hasn’t moved from his room. Arya is still one of the most intriguing characters on the show, and always a joy to see. And it’s ridiculously satisfying to see her coldly kill a man just for for dishonouring her brother. Her adventure is still in its early stages, and it’s definitely going to be an awesome ride.
The episode’s strength is (as usual) in its dialogue, and character-driven scenes. The conversations between Davos, Stannis and Melisandre make for damn good television. Bringing up questions of ethics, sacrifice, and the greater good. Any scene with more than one Lannister is pure gold, and the young Starks have learned to carry entire scenes and plots on their own. It’s great.
Overall, it’s been a bit of a bumpy season. But aside from a couple slow weeks in the middle, it’s been tense, exciting, and brutally hard-hitting in its violence and tragedy. “Game of Thrones” continues to impress and the world of Westeros becomes more intriguing and mysterious every year. So, season 3 is a wrap, and we’re all left waiting another 43 weeks for it to return.