Here we are friends. I’ve enjoyed this wild ride. Even though you ate all the cranberries out of the trail mix and insisted on taking a pit stop at South of the Border, even though the GPS failed and we never did find that World’s Largest Ball of String, I’m glad we made this journey together.
Tyrion is alive! We all knew that, even though it looked like curtains for him at the end of last week’s episode, as his father defeated Stannis and one of Cersei’s sell swords in the King’s Guard slashed his face open. Maester Pycell informs him that the city was saved by his father, and he’s been relocated to dingier chambers, and oh right, he’s no longer the Hand. He throws a coin in his face “for [his] troubles,” which would be a pretty witty comeback if Tyrion hadn’t presumably had his dick chopped off.
In a very bizarre direction choice, we cut to horse shit falling on the floor. Pan up to the horse’s butt. Tywin is sitting on it. Joffrey declares him “savior of the city and the Hand of the King” as he sits on a white horse. Baelish is given Harrenhal for bring the Tyrell soldiers to the Lannister’s aide. Joffrey asks Loris Tyrell (he’s baaack) what he wants most in this world. Is it a pony? For his dead boyfriend to be resurrected? Tickets to Madonna’s MDNA tour this summer? No, he wants his sister to be married to Joffrey, and made queen.
Maergery’s sycophantic “those tales have taken root. Deep inside of me” speech made my skin crawl. Joffrey is flattered but puts on a bit of a show regarding his “holy vow” to mary Sansa Stark. Cersei and his counsel assure him that the gods are cool with him not marrying the daughter of a traitor. “I am free to heed my heart!” he proclaims. All true, except he doesn’t have one.
Sansa takes leave from the balcony where she’s observing these proceedings and can’t help but break into a smile. I thought for a second she would break into a song. Don’t have to marry the maaaan / who killed my dad, and half of my claaaan / Now I can go home to Winterfellll / Gee! Sometimes life sure is swelllll!
Ros is dabbing Dermablend on her eye bruises. Varys pays her a visit and asks her to work for him instead of Baelish. Is he setting her up to be one of his “little birds” or is this something more sinister?
Jamie and Brienne reach a shore, somewhere. Jamie is like, hey are you into rape fantasies? Normal road trip small talk. Brienne is disturbed by the sight of three women hung from a tree, bearing a sign that reads “They lay with lions.” She stops to bury these tavern women that the Stark men have presumably killed for cavorting with the enemy. Three Stark soldiers, their killers, happen upon Brienne and Jamie. When they can’t conceal the fact that Jamie is Jamie Lannister, Kingslayer, Brienne makes quick work of them. Well, two of them, and a slow, taint-piercing death for the last of the lot.
Robb tells Catelyn that he loves Talisa and plans to marry her instead of the interchangeable Frey daughter to whom he’s betrothed. Stannis has a weird moment with Melisandre where he’s choking her to death, which seems inadvisable given that she’s an all-powerful witch…? She asks him to stare into the flames and see his victorious future. He does, but we can’t see it, presumably because the producers blew their special effects budget on last week’s battle.
Everyone’s favorite Maester, Luwin, is giving Theon advice to 1) flee and 2) join the Night’s Watch so he can maintain a smidgen of dignity/his life. Theon’s being tormented by the tooting of a horn outside Winterfell’s walls; he’s surrounded. Toooooooooot. Theon gives his men a rousing speech about how they’re going to storm outside and die fighting those northmen. Toooooooooot. Dagmer Cleftjaw is nodding hilariously. “Aye! Aye! Aye!” “What is dead may never dieeee!” he screams before being clubbed over the back of the head. What ensues is about five seconds of abject hilarity as you realize his men have conspired to knock him out and take him back to the Iron Islands, but then Luwin shows up and Cleftjaw stabs him in the gut, and then everyone in America began to weep.
In what was probably my favorite scene in this episode, Varys informs Tyrion that Bron’s been relieved of his duties and hill tribesmen were paid off by Tywin to leave King’s Landing. He needs to cut off some contact with Tyrion. “Don’t want to swim too close to a drowning man? And I thought we were friends,” says Tyrion, bitterly. “We are,” replies Varys, bringing Shae into the room. “There are many who know that without you this city faced certain defeat. The king won’t give you any honors, the histories won’t mention you, but we will not forget,” says Varys.
Left alone, Shae unwraps the gauze from Tyrion’s face to see his unsightly gash. “Fuck your money,” says Shae. “Let’s leave.” She’s ready to peace out of King’s Landing with Tyrion and GTFO of Cersei’s reach. Tyrion refuses to leave, and asks if she’ll leave anyway. “You have a very short memory,” she says. “I am yours, and you are mine.” Tyrion weeps. We all did, don’t pretend. SNIFF.
Of course the writers follow up that incredibly sweet and touching scene with Robb and Talisa exchanging wedding vows. Thanks for ruining the moment I was having with their saccharine exchange, show!
In the second-best scene of this episode, we come upon Arya, Gendry and That Guy Who Is Always Talking About Pie traveling in the wilderness as they encounter Jaqen Hagar. He asks Arya to come with him to Bravos so she can learn how to kill everyone on her list. She refuses, because she has to find her brother, and mother, and her dumb sister. Jaqen gives her a coin and tells her if she ever needs to find him again, she can give it to any man from Bravos and say the incantation, “valar morghulis.” She pleads with him not to go. “Jaqen is dead,” he tells her, as he transforms into a different man. Glad “Jaqen” isn’t dead, but sad that cute actor is no longer playing him.
Bran and co. come out of the crypts of Winterfell to find it burned to the ground, and all the civillians dead. Bran and Ricken’s direwolves direct them to Maester Luwin, who is bleeding to death by the side of the creek. WEEP. He commands them to put on their warmest clothes and head for the Wall, to Jon, since there are too many enemies in the south. “I pulled you into this world, both of you,” he tells the boys. “And I’ve seen your faces every day since. And for that I consider myself very lucky.” WEEPING. In the throes of death, he warns Osha she might need to protect the boys from her own kind. She offers him milk of the poppy, but he asks for a quick death by dagger instead. Personally? I would take the black tar heroin. The motley quartet head north as Winterfell billows black smoke in the background.
Dany, Jorah and her remaining blood rider approach the House of the Undying. Dany vanishes into thin air. Jorah lets out a cry of “KHAAAAALEEEEESIIIIIII!!!!!” that my friend Alexandra pointed out is the new “STELLAAAAAA!!!!!!!” Dany’s suddenly in a sunless tomb, following the sound of her dragons’ cries. She comes into the Throne Room. The ceiling is burned out as snow falls softly through the rafters. She climbs the steps to the Iron Throne but walks away just before touching it, still following the baby dragon wailing. A door opens, and she is north of the Wall in a great white wilderness. Ahead she sees a Dothraki tent. Entering, she finds Khal Drogo, and The Wold’s Most Adorable Baby, wearing a toupee. The baby, not Khal Drogo. He still has his ponytail and his super cool beard and eyeliner. The family embraces as they couple discuss the possible reality of their situation. Is it Dany’s dream? Is it Khal Drogo’s? Is it a pre-Nightlands purgatory? “Until the rivers run dry,” she sobs. The toupee baby gurgles in agreement.
Still hearing the dragons’ cries, she exits the tent and finds herself in a stone chamber with her dragons, chained to a pedestal. Pyatt Pyree and his doppelgangers instantly chain Dany to the walls in front of her dragons, insisting she will stay there “forever” to help harness the dragons’ magic. In a little-too-convenient turn, she commands the dragons to immolate Pyree. Apparently, in the books, they burn the whole damn House of the Undying to the ground, but again, they were working with a decimated special effects budget.
Qoren Halfhand challenges Jon Snow to a fight in order to seal his acceptance by the wildlings. Just after Jon delivers the fatal blow, Qoren whispers, “We are the watchers of the Wall.” The Lord of Bones sets Jon free and commands his men to burn Qoren’s body. “Come along Jon Snow,” says Ygritte. “Time to meet your king beyond the Wall,” as they take in the vast populated valley below them.
A hook grazes the sleeping chest of Xaro Ducksauce. Dany takes his necklace-key. Cradling her dragons, they open his vault to see the vast and immesurable wealth stored within. It is empty. Ducksauce is the Bernie Madoff of Qarth! Dany locks him and her last remaining handmaiden, Doreah, inside the vault to die, which seemed a bit harsh for her handmaiden, since she was probably just trying to survive, but whatever. Dany shows no mercy! It was also a little too The Cask of Amontillado for me. I read that in a Poe anthology when I was nine and laid awake for three nights, terrified a deranged friend would seal me inside his wine cellar.
Luckily they have enough gold and jewels and flat screen televisions to pawn for a ship. ”It’s all a lie,” says Jorah. “Take all the gold and jewels” he commands the Dothraki, and they could not be happier. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE GOOD AT, they cheer with the inebriation of spring-breakers. FINALLY, SOME PILLAGING!
Sam and his buddies continue to wander north of the Wall. They hear a horn blast, and get excited that it’s Halfhand and co. They hear a second blast. Wildlings! Third blast. WHITEWALKERS. RUN. A terrific storm blows in. Sam’s cohorts take off without him. Sam inexplicably stumbles off without his sword, and trips clumsily in the snow. Watching the advancing snowstorm, he sees dark figures in the distance, moving slowly. As the two figures at the forefront lurch forward, we see one is a half-decayed, half-naked corpse, and the other is a frozen-white corpse. Sam presses himself flat against a rock. Horse hooves stamp the snow near him, and he looks up to see an eyeless, half-eaten horse being ridden by a….
WHITEWALKER. FINALLY, finally, finally, we get to see one of these in the flesh. I mean, we did in the pilot of the show with those weird blue-eyed creatures, but they were all shrouded, and same when they showed up at Craster’s camp to eat his baby sacrifices. But now we get some real whitewalker action, in the last minute of this freaking show. It looks humanish…except it has elecric blue eyes, and a craggy, feline face, and a sword made of ice, and when it screams it sounds like a thousand velociraptors descending onto your eardrums. It makes eye contact with Sam, but doesn’t seem to “care” much. If it cares. I don’t know. Do whitewalkers have feelings?! What is their endgame?? Why do they eat some humans and turn others into zombies (“wights,” as they are called in the books). Do they only eat live human flesh, and then turn corpses into zombies? What did they do with those babies? Eat them? Because zombie babies seem like they’d be kind of a hassle.
The shot pans out from behind Sam’s Hiding Rock, and we see dozens, then hundreds upon hundreds of wights, and another whitewalker atop zombie horseback. HOLY CRUD YOU GUYS, THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO BE AFRAID OF WINTER. WINTER IS COMING.
So, everyone? You tell me you read these, but let’s talk in the comments. What are your predictions for next season? Will Dany and Her Dragons sign a record deal? Which one will play the tambourine? Will Jon Snow take Ygritte to the Wildling High prom? Will all of humanity be united against undead evil? If you’ve read the books, no spoilers – but I would like to know how this finale differed from the books.