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Game of Thrones: The Mountain and the Viper

“Trial by combat, deciding a man’s guilt or innocence in the eyes of the gods by having two other men hack each other to pieces. It tells you something about the gods.”

If I could lighten the mood with 'a mountain and a viper walk into a bar' joke, I totally would.

Towards the end of the second act, Arya and the Hound get to the Bloody Gate looking for Lysa Arryn. When they're told of Lady Arryn's untimely death, Arya bursts into manic peals of laughter. For her, it's the only sensible reaction to their current state of affairs. Yet after watching 'The Mountain and the Viper', I can relate completely.

Mole’s Town: We hardly knew ye

It's hard for me to mourn the local malcontents and ne'er do wells that inhabited Mole's Town but I am relieved that Gilly and her bebe likely made it. Honestly, her mama bear attitude with the drunk bargirl made me root for her all the more. That and her 'street smart' know-how that sh*t was about to go down--no, it was not just an owl. (Love when Sam's bros point out that quietly, she has been a bad ass all along!) As always, it was good to see Ygritte. And, frankly, seeing Ygritte showing mercy is a win/win.

Castle Black: Déjà vu

You guys, I don't know. Am I imagining that the same scene is basically playing out from slightly different angles this season a la Castle Black? Am I also missing that there's some kind of plan they are masterminding? Because all I'm getting is a lot of moping around and no real plans being made for the impending attack. Is there something here that refers back to the line that Ramsay says about traditions being important whereby the "tradition" of the Night's Watch feels, at best, antiquated and at worst totally inefficient?

The Great Pyramid

Oh, young love. What I loved so much about Grey Worm's apology to Miss Andy (forgive me my nature that I have to rebel against Martin's elaborate names somewhere. I promise I know the real spelling of her name!) was that despite it not being clear whether he was physically interested in her, what was on the surface was an intimate exchange about the gift of being seen. They are after all, two people who aren't commonly used to being regarded as whole separate individuals.

The Taking of Moat Cailin 1 2 3

Theon seemed so comfortable as his original self that for a second there, I almost thought Reek was a ruse. Watching him get coached up by Ramsay was, in some ways, more twisted than all the other sadistic sh*t Ramsay's done to him in the past. After Cailin was 'won' all I could think was, "Yeah! You are now the proud owners of a moat and loads of people with one foot in the grave!" Apparently the victory was worth much more as Ramsay gets the (dubious?) honor of now being a Bolton.

Eyrie and tha Vale

I am sorry but I am totally shipping Sansa and Baelish. Game of Thrones, you have won. My moral compass is officially demagnetized (I mean). It's mostly because I want to see what Sansa's plan is! And I can't imagine it would be less fun getting further entangled with the Master of Coin. The way she took the room to another level when she 'confessed' who she really was and what Baelish's 'role' has been in her life, well, is it too much to say I was cheering out loud? She just became so psychologically interesting that even a spectacular physical transformation was mere icing on the cake. (I feel the need to disclose that I have loved Aiden Gillen since Queer as Folk and would probably ship him with a wall.)
And Robin Arryn: You in danger, boy. Petyr practically tells him he's going to die an extremely mundane (read: accidental) death. And soon.

The Great Pyramid: Part Deux

I'm sorry but I have also (quietly) shipped Dany and Jorah since Season 1 so I guess that fantasy dies with him now so coolly sent away. I feel like her reaction was way harsh. I must admit I don't completely understand the weight of his betrayal against all of his actions that have proved his fealty but I also can't deny that her anger was so tangible that she couldn't even look at him. And as for my hate/love of Tywin and his brand of evil, well score one for him knowing exactly how to get the reaction he intended with just one pointed letter.

King’s Landing: The Red Dead Viper

Okay, let's start with the puzzling profound scene in Tyrion's cell with Jaime before the trial by combat. Per the writers' intention, I'm sure, I have been turning over the beetle monologue meaning again and again. Yes, it works as insight into a character's psyche who is potentially facing death for a crime he did not commit. Yes, it works in a meta context about the Game of Thrones author(s) who prefer to show violence and cruelty as both proclivity and happenstance. But you know what it didn't prepare me for? The final scene and Oberyn's horrific death. A death, enacted in a single moment of time, that reminds us how utterly corporeal we are. The kind of real that all the confidence and swagger on the planet cannot save us from falling victim to. I was speechless after the scene. And still kind of am. And while my morality is corrupted, before this episode, I hadn't yet developed an attachment disorder. But now? Well, time will tell. I will miss Oberyn very much. He just took awesome to a new level.

Grumpkins and Snarks

*The Stark family being in proximity is practically a Scoody-Doo trope/screwball comedy/French farce at this point. The one where a characters will just miss meeting up with another character when s/he leans against the wall and it spins and send them into another room. Also done with a hallway of doors where characters are walking in one door and out another but missing each other by an instant.

*Were Dany and Miss Andy braiding each others hair and talking about boys?!?

*The shot of the Bolton time-honored tradition of flaying gave this Hannibal a run for its money.

*Speaking of shots, the one of Jorah riding away from Meereen was really sad.

*Does Ser Barristan have any stake in Jorah being gone?

*The ironborn mantra: "What is dead, may never die" is so hardcore and I love it.

*Cersei and Tywin are dead inside. Their lack of reaction during the fight was staggering. And I am NOT counting Cersei's joy whenever Oberyn was down as a reaction to disprove this theory!

*Last but not least, that fight scene was OUTSTANDING. The choreography/direction/stunt work was second to none.


Dany: “When the slavers castrate the boys, do they take all of it? The pillar and the stones?”

Ramsay: “Remember what you are and what you’re not.”

Lord Royce: “You’ve been licking Tywin Lannister’s boots so long it’s a wonder your tongue’s not black.”

Baelish: "My lady wasn't meant for a world as brutal as ours." (no kidding)

Baelish: “Sickly little boys sometimes become powerful men.”

Dany: “Don't ever presume to touch me or speak my name again.”

Baelish: "Best to gamble on the man you know than the strangers you don't?"

Baelish: “Take charge of your life… for as long as it lasts.”

The Hound: “So you’re sad because you didn’t get to kill Joffrey yourself. Is that it?"
Arya: “At least I could’ve been there to watch. I wanted to see the look in his eyes when he knew it was over."
The Hound: “Aye, nothing in the world beats that look."

Tyrion: “Laughing at another person’s misery was the only thing that made me feel like everyone else.”

Tyrion: "You could at least wear a helmet."

Oberyn: “Size does not matter when you are flat on your back.”
Tyrion: “Thank the gods.”

Ellaria: “Don’t leave me alone in this world.”
Oberyn: “Never.”

Reminder: The comments on these episode reviews are appropriate for newbies. If you haven't read the books, you're safe! If you have read the books and would like to talk about upcoming events, please do so here, in our Season Four spoiler thread.


  1. Well, they did it again. I thought I'd be prepared, wise after a beheading and a red wedding - but this!?
    It's at the same time fantastic that a tv-series (book) actually has the guts to do stuff like this and brutally kill off characters we've grown very much attached to.
    And my reaction was exactly the same as when Ned was shortened and during the Red wedding: No! But!? They're going to make it. Right? RIGHT!? No. *emptyness*

    An emptyness followed by, in this case, that I woke up three times during the night with the image on my retina. You know which one. And the sound in my ears. Gods. The sound.

    I do so much love/hate GoT.

    So, what happens to Tyrion now? The only way he can go free is if the REAL kingkiller reveals him/herself, right? And could it really be Baelish or...uhm...the old woman? Just because they said the did it doesn't really prove anything. They could both claim the "victory" as a way of positioning themself to power towards others. Or am I wrong?
    Since I haven't read the books I have no idea. But perhaps, with the hiatus coming up, I should pick up a book. Whereabouts in the books are we now?

    By the way. The hounds and Aryas exchange about the look in someones eyes when they know it's over...as related to Oberyns eyes. Oh, just got a chill down my spine. Horrible, horrible, horrible death.

    And also. This whole monologue about the beetles and the dropped-on-the-head-cousin was for med more about Tywin than the mountain.
    If you don't want to be squashed like a bug, don't get in close proximity of Tywin - or he'll squash you like a bug with a stone. Or, in this case, an entire mountain.

  2. One more thing. Are we (be)heading for a meeting between Brienne/Podrick and The Hound/Arya?
    They're both going to the Bloody gate aren't they!?
    Brienne vs The Hound coming up?

  3. Oh and hey. One more more thing.
    If you, like me, are suffering from PTSD after this episode then this might help. A little.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Henrik,
      That picture is flipping fantastic!
      (Deleted because autocorrect :/)

  4. Henrik - Where we are in the books is a complicated question…for some of it (most of it?) we're at the end of book 3, but for other parts (like Dany) we're well into book 5...

  5. Henrik, excellent photo. Hey, everyone: click on Henrik's link!

    (Always trust Henrik's links. Remember, he is the reader who showed us the joy of "What Does the Fox Say?")

    Heather, that's a very good point about the French farce of Stark near-misses.

    Since I've read the books, I knew how this fight would end. So all I could think was that maybe Oberyn's Inigo Montoya accent has been one big in-joke this whole time:

    Hello, my name is Oberyn Martell.
    You killed my sister.
    Prepare to die.

    Hello, my name is Oberyn Martell.
    You killed my sister.
    Prepare to die.

  6. I also love the Scooby-Doo analogy, perfect! (It's also getting really annoying now, but still).

    I knew what was coming and since the TV announcer corrected the usual 'strong violence' warning to 'very strong violence' I just listened rather than watching! Though Tumblr keeps showing me gifs of it for some reason...

    I'm glad we had a non-book-reading reviewer for this week - some major events are huge no matter what, but it's nice to get a spontaneous reaction on something like this, which it's harder to have a strong reaction to once you know it.

  7. Oh, Oberyn, this is what happens when you don't follow the third rule of Fight Club.

    If you're in a fight to the death, make sure your opponent is actually dead before showing off to your girlfriend.

    I knew what was coming, but it didn't make this scene any less difficult to watch.

  8. So, by some incredibly crappy twist of fate/timing, my cable provider decided that I was inadvertently receiving the wrong cable package...and cancelled HBO. I either pay $10/mo more to add it back, or go without. UGH.
    I think I'll watch the last 3 ep's at my sisters house. Screw you, cable company.
    Being a book reader, I knew what was coming, so when I finally DO watch this ep, I won't be surprised. But based on the reactions, its still gruesome.
    HENRIK - That picture is the best!

  9. Thanks everyone for the appreciating words concerning my link, especially the vote of confidence from you Josie. I always try to make sure a link is really, really, worth it, and for me this one was.
    It, seriously, helped me deal with the anxiety. I also tweeted Pedro Pascal to convey congrats and admiration on superb acting in both GoT and The Mentalist. Again, therapy.
    Finally, just one more one more thing:
    Are we headed towards a meeting/clash between Brienne and The Hound? They should be in each others vicinity or will it be another Scooby-Doo/Farce near miss?
    A fight, or matchup, of Brienne/The Hound and Arya/Podrick would be either amazingly awesome or break my heart.

  10. You can safely start reading the first 3 books, all of the plots looks like they will reach the end of book 3 by the time to season is over.

    Some characters are already in book 4 and book 5 material though. I bet mentioning which ones might be too much of a spoiler, but i'll risk it. Sansa and Littlefinger are quickly running out of book material to use, wonder if next season we will see the first truly original plot from the show and will it be totally approved by GRRM. (by that I mean completelty replicated alter in the books if he ever finishes them)

  11. Thanks Patryk, that seals it. I'm getting the books. The first three ones that is. I'm commited to the TV-show now and won't want to spoil it for myself...

    Just thought of yet another one more thing. Remember the exchange Tyrion had with Bronn a couple of episodes back? About Tyrion askign him to be his fighter again and Bronn saying somehting like "I could dance around for a bit but one mistake and I'd be dead".
    Well, he was/would of been right...

  12. Fare thee well Oberyn. Your skull was like a delicious ripe melon. You were far too confident and charming in those moments before the fight to survive. It's amazing that George R.R. Martin can make a complex character with a mission and a journey to accomplish, and cut them off before they even get around to halfway accomplishing it. Keeps you on your toes, I love it. How will Tyrion wiggle outta this one eh?

    Ser Jorah of the Friendzone can't get a break, eh? Looks like he'll have to find someone else to lend his sword to. Gonna be honest though, that scene with him and Dany came off really awkward to me with the way she was looking away from him. Obviously I got it, she was so disgusted she couldn't look at him, but it looked kinda dumb. Maybe if they used another camera angle.

    Great to see Sansa finally take charge of her life. She's suffered far too long at the hands of cruel men; great to see her truly make a decision for herself again. Does she have what it takes to survive the "game"? We shall see.

    The stuff at the wall is so aggravating, they're basically screwing themselves over because a buncha old guys want to play politics. It makes sense but and fits the Game of Thrones world (heck, the real world) but it's still annoying. If they would destroy the tunnels, they could pretty much hold off the Wildlings forever.


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