Monday, June 4, 2012

'Game of Thrones' recap: 'Valar Morghulis'


It seems like just yesterday that this amazing season began but here we are at the end of Season Two of Game of Thrones. Last week's episode was pretty epic but left us wondering what would happen to many of our favorite characters. This episode tried to appease us in a whopping 70 minutes. So here we go...

The eye-opening episode begins with us discovering that our favorite imp, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), is indeed alive but looking pretty beat up and defeated. He's not in his usual posh chambers, but in what looks like some sad storage room. Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover) informs Tyrion that he is no longer the Hand of the King. We then discover that the savior of the city, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), is deemed the Hand by his grandson, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). Tyrion was just doing the job as a temp anyway.

Joffrey then starts handing out wishes like he's a mix of Santa, Satan and Oprah. Lord Peter Baelish, aka Littlefinger the Pimp (Aidan Gillen) is granted desolate Harrenhal. He is honored beyond words and jokes that he needs some offspring to share it with. He received this honor because he encouraged the joining of Renly's army, remember? Ser Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) gets a wish ("ask and he shall receive"). He wants House Baratheon and House Tyrell united though a marriage between his still-virginal, and fan of the deep-v sister, Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and King Joffrey. Sansa (Sophie Turner) has a WTF? look on her face but we know she's internally cheering this on. Joffrey says that he is pledged to Sansa but gets a reprieve because the pledge came before her father's treason and subsequent beheading. Well, that didn't take long. Joffrey vows his love for Margaery until the day he dies. Sansa is temporarily gleeful until buzz-kill Baelish reminds her that Joffrey will probably still abuse her and that because of his great affection (major crush) for her mother, he'll try to get her home safely. She says that she wants to stay in King's Landing and he calls her a liar amongst liars.

Next we find our favorite whore, Ros (Esme Bianco), touching us her healing bruises. Lucky for her, Joffrey survived the attack on Blackwater Bay. In walks Obi Wan Kenobi? Nope...It's Varys the Gossipy Eunuch! What's he doing in a brothel? Ros is confused but eventually learns who he is by the power of touch. He's basically there to offer her a partnership with him instead of being one of her pimp's "collection of profitable holes". We're not sure what he has in mind so we must wait...

On the river's edge we find prisoner, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) still giving Lady Catelyn's (Michelle Fairley) loyal knight, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) a hard time about her looks and how she must want to know what it feels like to be a woman. She keeps her cool until she is affected by seeing three wildling women hanging in the trees. Three men happen upon them and we discover that they are Stark men. They want to know what Brienne's business is and harass her (because she's a woman) when she reveals that she is transporting a prisoner. Big mistake guys! When they question if that's the Kingslayer, Brienne kills them off in awesome rapid succession, the last one getting it a little less humanely (like the poor hanging women). She serves Lady Catelyn, not the Starks. Jaime is impressed. Can we agree that he's got a little crush on Brienne?

We don't get to see much of Robb Stark (Richard Madden) in this episode, but we do discover that love over an oath is very important to him. In a brief scene with his mother, Lady Catelyn, he challenges his engagement to the Frey girl and mom gives him a lecture on how love builds over time and if you treat oaths recklessly, your subjects will too. He's not buying it, he's still pissed at her for releasing Jaime and is still really hot for that nurse. In a later scene, he marries nurse Talisa (Oona Chaplin) in a short but sweet ceremony with no family around. Swoon!

Stannis (Stephen Dillane) is still alive and not too thrilled with his girlfriend the sorceress. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) supposedly saw his victory in "the flames" and assures Stannis that she still does see him succeeding at the expense of thousands of lives. He's not buying it and chokes her in frustration, asking her "where's your god now?". She replies "inside you!". He actually feels remorse for being the cause of his brother's death. Melisandre then let's him know that he will be king one day and that all the fighting to attain the rightful throne will be worth it. She shows him this prophesy in some flames and by the look on his face, he likes what he sees

. Poor Theon (Alfie Allen) doesn't like the battle horn that's being blown by the Northerners surrounding Winterfell and vows "I will kill that man!". He's not really enjoying his stay in his conquered city and his advisor, Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter) urges him to run because he can't win and find amnesty by joining the Night's Watch. This was like a "Be all you can be" ad. Theon admits that he'd never make it back to Pike and that he's not the man he's pretending to be. He then tries to rally his measly 20 men to fight against the 500 that are surrounding the city. In a crazy-eyed speech, he proclaims that he's overdue for a good f**k, and today "we die today brothers!". Yeah well they just want to go home. Theon's First Mate knocks him out cold, puts a hood on his head and drags him off. Poor Luwin runs in to defend Theon and gets speared in the process. Well that sucks!

Later we find Osha the wildling (Natalia Tena), Hodor (Kristian Nairn), Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and little Rickon (Art Parkinson), emerge from hiding to find Winterfell burning. They then find poor Luwin under a tree and realize he is wounded. He comforts the children by saying he is fine and that they need to keep going in case "they" come back. He urges the wildlings to go to find Jon Snow (Kit Harington) at the Wall. When the boys are out of sight, he asks Osha to kill him. She obliges and we see them fleeing as Winterfell burns in the distance.

Varys gets some decent screen time in this finale. He informs Tyrion that the man who tried to kill him was probably ordered to do so by Cersei (Lena Headey). When Tyrion requests protection, he discovers that he has no more power or men to protect him. Even Varys bids him adieu! What's he up to? Fortunately, Tyrion's love, Shae (Sibel Kekill) touchingly vows to stay by his side. "I am yours and you are mine." We all choked up when Tyrion held her and cried, right?

This was a paranormally-charged episode which made it extra awesome! So when we see Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), her advisor Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) and a sword-carrying member of the khalasar approaching the Qarthian funhouse named the House of the Undying, we got a little giddy, admit it. There are no guards because the magicians kill with sorcery, not steel. Dany challenges them to come and get her and that she's not a little girl. This house is one big riddle and Dany disappears inside ,much to the chagrin of Jorah.

Later, we find Dany inside the mysterious maze and she hears the screeching of her beloved trio of dragons. There are many doors she could enter and the one she chooses is filled with falling snow. It resembles the Iron Throne room but it is destroyed and has no roof. Winter has come? Is this a foretelling of what the future holds for her if she and her dragons attain the throne? Then a large door opens and we see in the distance a lit tent. She enters the tent and, oh my gods! It's her deceased husband Khal Drogo (Stargate Atlantis' Jason Momoa) and her baby son, Rhaego (Wren Ross Elliot-Sloan). In this dramatic and touching vision, Dany gets to say goodbye to her husband and son and we get to shed a tear.

She then discovers her other children, her dragons. They are chained up by magician, Pyat Pree (Ian Hanmore). These creatures fuel his power and Dany makes them even stronger, therefore, he's taking all four hostage. If the dragons get stronger near Dany, well, look out! Even though Dany gets chained too, her power takes over with the utterance of one word. Her baby dragon breathes fire onto Pree and destroys him. Too easily? The chains dissolve and she gets her babies back.

In a final scene, Dany and the gang walk in on wealthy Xaro Xhoan Daxos and one of her slave girls in bed together. The girl pleads with her and is pretty much saying that she was taking one for the team. Xaro's secret door is opened and Dany finds that where he said were all the riches she'd need, was empty. Don't mess with a girl and her dragons! She has Xaro and his lover sealed up in the room. They could keep each other busy until they die a slow painful death. They then raid Xaro's home and find enough riches to buy a ship (or a fleet) so Dany could get home and pursue the throne.

So what's with this weird episode title "Valar Morghulis"? Well, we find out when Arya (Maisie Williams), Gendry (Joseph Dempsie) and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) encounter death genie Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) on their travels. Arya wants to know how he found them and wants him to teach her how he does his deeds. H'ghar says that she would have to come with him to Braavos, but Arya is determined to be united with her family. He also knows of her long death list. He hands her a special coin and tells her that anytime she needs him, to give the coin to someone in his town of Braavos and say the words "Valar Morghulis". Piece of cake! Just like in "Army of Darkness", repeating the right phrase is very important. Repeat it Arya! He then turns and reveals a different face. So this is how he gets away with killing people and being able to live amongst safely?

So what's up with Jon Snow and that wild and crazy Ygritte (Rose Leslie) in the Frost Fangs? They're being led to see King Mance by the Lord of Bones (Edward Dogliani) while Ygritte antagonizes Jon with his own sword. Fellow prisoner Qhorin Halfhand (Simon Armstrong) starts to pick a fight with Jon and Jon ultimately kills him. He is released by Lord of Bones and led to the edge of a cliff to spy a vast wildling village. Time to meet the king beyond the Wall!

Brace yourselves for an always awesome final scene! Sam (John Bradley-West) and two other crows are still digging toilets in the snow. Sam is still hung up on Gilly and the guys are busting him. They then hear the horn blow. One time is a ranger returning. Could it be Jon Snow? They hear it again...this means enemies. But when it blows a THIRD time? Remember, three times means WHITE WALKERS! The men take off and poor Sam stumbles and spies a large group of ominous figures in the distance. He hides and sees them approach. Yep, they're medieval zombies! Even the horses are zombies. What looks to be the leader with long gray hair and glowing blue eyes, spies Sam but even he ignores the poor chap. They ride forward to start their zombie apocalypse mission! Pure awesome!

So what did you all think? Were you satisfied? Moved? Scared? Are you even excited about the next season which is 42 weeks away? I know we are!