We open with Tyrion being yelled at by Jaime in his cell. Jaime is furious that Tyrion threw away his chance to live. Tyrion asks him if Jaime would be his champion, but Jaime admits to him that he no longer can be considered a great swordsman.
Tyrion asks him to go and look for Bronn who fought for him once before. That whole scene was really wonderful - Dinklage was so much better here with all the subtle nuances than during that ridiculous over acting display last week.
Tyrion asks Jaime who does Cersei plan on choosing for her Champion. Jaime just falls silent and we cut to the glorious re-introduction of Gregor Clegane, The Mountain. He was played by two different actors already - non book readers may remember him from the moment he beheaded a horse during tourney in season 1 or Harrenhal scenes in season 2.
Now Gregor is played by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, one of the strongest men in the world. He does have the right look for it - he is huge, to the point Lena Headey, a tall actress, looked so tiny next to him. The thing is that I don't feel the show has done the good enough job on establishing just how monstrous The Mountain is.
They conveyed his brutality well but what is missing is the extent of his evil - the horrific lack of compassion or any good qualities, the horrible tales of what he did - the story of the rape of innkeeper's daughter is one of the worst instances of cruelty in the books. We did have Oberyn's line hinting at Mountain's lack of humanity ('he raped her with their blood still on his hands') as well as Hound mentioning him burning his face, but they should have given us more.
The fear of the Mountain comes not just from him possessing the strength to crush you, it's because he can make anyone his rag doll, treat a person like a piece of meat. He just doesn't care. He killed Elia's child by crushing the newborn's head - throwing an infant at the wall. This is the kind of a man he is.
The scene was very well done with ominous music playing in the background and Cersei relishing the sight of the Mountain cutting down random people in front of the city gates. Cersei walks over to him, stepping over the spilled guts of common folk (I loved loved loved that shot) and welcomes him to the capitol. He asks who is he fighting. Cersei asks if it matters. Mountain just shrugs.
We check in with Arya and Hound. They encounter a wounded man and after pointless chat and uninspired delivery of Arya's 'nothing is just nothing' quote, the Hound kills the man and stops his suffering. Foreshadowing couldn't be heavier here.
Suddenly Biter throws himself on Hound and bites his neck. Rorge is there too, the man who threatened Arya back in season 2 - it's a small world, Westeros, isn't it? Rorge informs the Hound that there is a bounty on his head and Hound asks 'is that what happens when you tell the king to fuck off?'. You've gotta love Rory McCann.
Hound asks if this guy is on Arya's list and she responds that no, because she doesn't know his name. When Rorge gives her his name she says thank you and kills him after which The Hound says 'you're learning'. Also it only dawned on me that Rorge was played by the guy who was Errol in Snatch.
Our hero and savior Jon Snow returns to Castle Black after his raid on Craster's Keep. But the lovin' ends with the hug from Sam. The bitchy duet of Slynt and Thorne appears and Thorne tells Snow that this is not a place for a wolf. Jon leaves with Ghost, insulted, to find a place for his buddy.
The boy whose parents died when the wilding attacked was there too - seems to me like he is assuming the place of Satin from the books and no doubt he will have something very important to do in the battle episode.
We get another scene in Night's Watch storyline in which Jon yet again tries to speak sense to the people in charge and no one listens. He proposes that they seal the tunnels, which would also mean cutting the wall from North and putting a stop to the Wallers patrolling the North.
In a long run this is a bad plan - as we know, and Jon knows ,what is out there. But right now? The Watch doesn't stand a chance. Thorne seems a bit unsure of his 'Night's Watch will win' motto when Jon mentions the giants. They will storm these walls and if they go through, the whole North will be flooded by savage wildlings. And they won't stop there, nor will the other things that live in far North.
I really liked the little moment in which Sam tries to hold back Jon when he is about to lose his temper. It may be a hint for a certain scene people are looking forward to in finale. I don't think it's gonna happen this year, I hope not - the more of Wall the better and there is no need to rush it.
Meanwhile, in King's Landing, Bronn arrives to see Tyrion in his cell. Shae isn't mentioned at all which I thought was a big plot hole - Bronn is the last person who saw her when she was about to get on the ship. And Tyrion doesn't even ask if he had anything to do with her not leaving the city?
Anyways, turns out that Bronn is to be married to Lollys Stokeworth. A noble girl, which would mean by marrying her Bronn will climb even higher on social ladder. A match arranged by Cersei, to get Bronn far away from Tyrion.
In the book the only way this is even possible is because Lollys was raped by over hundred men when the mutiny started - in season 2, after Myrcella was shipped off to Dorne. See, contrary to what some outraged idiots claim the show does not take every opportunity to show violence. She is now pregnant with a bastard and as Tyrion notes 'it's the only reason she'd want to marry scum like Bronn'.
The scene was handled much better than in the book - in the book Tyrion was bitter and angry and they parted on horrible terms. Here there's understanding between them - even if Bronn would fight there is a small chance he could actually survive facing the Mountain.
We get several very interesting lines from Bronn abut the possible duel. I thought it was very clever for them to have Bronn talk about the Mountain - makes the audience more nervous for whoever ends up fighting him, seeing how the man is seemingly unbeatable and we witnessed Bronn defeat a skilled knight in season 1.
Bronn leaves Tyrion after assuring him that he does like him and they are friends. He simply likes himself more. Tyrion understands and they shake hands. I do hope we will see Bronn again in the show, unlike in the books. Hopefully he joins Jaime on his quest next year, capitalizing on those practice scenes we had this season..
Tyrion is now left alone with no champion and his only two possible choices both turned him down. We see a very telling shot of him being alone and so small in his dirty, hopeless cell.
In Meereen Dany finally gets laid. That's the gist of it.
I'm really almost forgetting what it's like when Emilia Clarke is not horrible on screen. The actor who plays Daario is actually quite good and likable. But her? Sitting there with glass of wine in her hand telling him to take off his clothes...I was embarrassed for her.
Is it Meereen: Cougar Town? Is she a middle aged divorcee? Because she is acting more like Cersei here than a young, adventurous and erotically charged girl. Clarke is trying to do something here but my God she is failing miserably. Trying to come off as sexy and confident, she just comes off as laughable.
At Dragonstne we are treated to annual nudity from Carice van Houten. She is a gorgeous, talented actress but there is a massive confusion here. The Dargonstone story arc is not hers, it's Stannis. She is the shadow that lurks, he is the main character. But that's more of a digression over completely fucked up screen time for the actors in season 3. Funny thing is that Stannis and Melisandre work best when they are separated from each other.
That's also true here. We couldn't see Stannis tonight and we won't see him for a while, as much as it pains me being deprived of Stephen Dillane's beauty, it's the right call to make. And that invented scene at Dragonstone this week was actually really good.
Stannis' wife Selyse comes over and acts shy when faced with Melisandre's naked beauty, much like her husband does whenever Melisandre happens to be naked around him. Melisandre tries to make a joke and Selyse doesn't get it. Making a joke at Dragonstone...it's like making a joke in the middle of a funeral. For a unicorn.
Melisandre tells Selyse a bit abut her powders and potions. One of them is said to cause lust. Selyse asks if Melisandre used it on Stannis and Melisandre says no. Of course not. Stannis doesn't need a potion to bang a woman on a table.
Anyways, in highly disturbing turn of events Shireen is mentioned. Selyse and Melisandre are leaving Dragonstone to join Stannis and he wants her to come with them. Melisandre shows Selyse the flames, telling her it's important that Shireen comes with them. I just hope nothing happens to Shireen. If Mel does something to her, bitch is done. Stannis would kill her for much less. Also Stannis loves Shireen - and there is so little love in his life as it is. Please don't take her away from him.
Speaking of love and suffering - Jorah. Daario runs into him as he is doing his walk of
What follows is a well written scene rescued by Glenn because Clarke might as well be a mannequin. Jorah convinces her not to execute the masters who reinstated the slavery in the cities she conquered.
Dany takes his advice and is very kind to him, given her choice of words, she let's Jorah know how much his counsel means to her.
Back on the road there is a lovely scene with The Hound and Arya. Arya tries to tend to his wound with fire but Hound freaks out. He refers to the story of how his brother - The Mountain - once burned his face. He says the worst thing about it was that his own brother did that.
He finally lets Arya wash his wound. They are both so broken together.
Another power couple, Brienne and Pod are having a meal at the inn. And who's there? None other than Hot Pie! Brienne tells him they are looking for Sansa Stark. After they leave the inn Hot Pie mentions that he thinks Brienne is a proper lady so he tells her the truth. He tells her that he never met Sansa but he met Arya.
Brienne asks him about what happened and at one point Hot Pie mentions Brotherhood. The noise you heard when that happened was just me yelling like crazy because SOON. Anyways, Hot Pie gives Brienne a greatly improved version of his wolf breed for Arya and asks her to give her that when she finds her.
Brienne and Pod are approaching crossroads and sex and knowledge of all things savant Pod mentions how Arya is probably headed to the Eyrie, where her aunt Lysa is and perhaps Sansa is there too. I liked how given the events that are about to go down they made a decision to go to Eyrie at the crossroads. If only they chose the other path....
In King's Landing Oberyn visits Tyrion's cell. In the finest scene of the entire season so far, Oberyn tells Tyrion about Cersei's little game - how she came to him acting all nice, but in truth she wanted to manipulate him into making sure Tyrion is executed.
Oberyn mentions that him and Tyrion met before, many years back. Oberyn and his sister Elia visited Casterly Rock. While they were on the way there all they could hear was how a monster was just born to Tywin Lannister. How he has claws, red eye and a tail. When Oberyn and Elia arrived Cersei kept telling them that soon they'll see the baby.
She finally showed them Tyrion and Oberyn notes how Tyrion's head was a bit too large and limbs too small, but he was still just a baby. Oberyn tells Tyrion how Cersei pinched his penis an only stopped when Jaime stopped her. She said that Tyrion killed their mother and he shouldn't even be alive this long. That he'll soon be dead. Tyrion, with tears in his eyes, says 'sooner or later Cersei always gets what she wants'.
This is such a great scene, lifted pretty much from the books only from different scene - I believe Oberyn mentions that to Tyrion in books upon first arriving. Here it worked even better - it shows how Tyrion had to face injustice and humiliation from the moment he was born. It shows that the hatred Cersei has began because their mother died when Tyrion was born. Was it Tyrion's fault? No. But Cersei's hatred for him is so profound because it began in such a drastic way - her losing the mother she loved. Cersei has always been a psychopath but the beauty of those dynamics here is that nothing is easy, nothing is black or white. There is a reason for everything.
Oberyn tells Tyrion that he wants things too. In a gloriously powerful moment he reminds him that Gregor killed his nephew and niece and raped and killed his beloved sister. Oberyn wants justice. And all those who have wronged him are in King's Landing. He'll start with Gregor. He tells Tyrion he will be his champion and Tyrion has an expression of pure joy, relief and gratitude on his face.
We all did while watching that scene, didn't we?
Even though the iconic lines above were changed I didn't care because that scene was just as powerful as in the books - when it's the case I don't mind any tweaks or substitutions they chose to employ. I thought Dinklage delivered one of his better scenes in whole series here - his face told us so many things and he didn't overact once.
But it's Pascal who is the brightest star. Not since the introduction of Tywin Lannister in season 1 has a person embodied the character so profoundly. Oberyn stands there with all of his sadness and nobility while remembering what happened to Elia, tears in his eyes, courage in his heart, right on his side. I read that it was the first scene Pascal shot on the set. Amazing.
That scene was so wonderful and sets up the events of next episode so well I wish it was the ending to the episode, seeing how the other monumental scene didn't have as much impact as I hoped.
In Eyrie we are treated to one of the most beautifully written scenes in the books - Sansa witnessing the snow falling from the sky, thinking of home and building a snow castle - Winterfell. The scene was gorgeously shot and they really did the best they could with it.
In the books Sansa remembers snow ball fight with Arya and Bran. She desperately tries to remember all the little places in Winterfell when she builds the castle. I didn't like the way Sophie Turner acted out that scene and scene with Robin. In the book Sansa comes off as childlike, innocent, sweet. Turner came off as smug. There's something abut the way she speaks that just annoys me.
Robin destroys Sansa's castle, after he loses his temper. In the book Sansa destroyed his doll and Robin went into full on epilepsy attack. Here Sansa slapped him which I enjoyed. Combined with her comment on how much she'd enjoy seeing the people who threatened her die and her smile at Littlefinger's line about essentially killing those who hurt the ones we love, I feel like the show is hinting at Sansa becoming very cold and ruthless in the future. Hopefully, that would at least make her more interesting.
Littlefinger comes over and creepiness ensues. He tells Sansa how much he loved her mother. He tells her in a better world she could have been his daughter. He tells her she is more beautiful than her mother ever was. And he kisses her. The look on his face afterwards was one of the funniest things this season. This whole arc is messed up beyond belief, in many different ways.
While they are kissing we are treated to ingenious and clever shot in which camera slowly goes up to reveal Lysa, who witnessed the kiss.
Sansa comes over to the throne room and finds Lysa standing on the edge of the opened Moon Door. Lysa tells her about how the bodies that fall are sometimes in pieces and sometimes intact. Lysa tells her she saw what she did. Sansa assumes she is talking about her slapping Robin and she apologizes.
Then Lysa grabs her hair, calls her a whore and forces her to look down through Moon Door. She knows about the kiss, she tells Sansa that she cannot lie to her because she saw the whole thing with her own eyes.
Lysa goes full on stay away from my man, bitch on her and starts telling her how everyone who stood between her and Petyr is now dead, that this what happens to those who try to come between them. Turner was actually very good here - she really looked horrified. They didn't let us see the close up of the view from Moon Door - in fact that whole scene was low key. They do need all the money they can gather for the last 3 episodes, so it's understandable, but still disappointing.
Littlefinger walks in and tries to get Lysa to calm down. He tells her that he will send Sansa away. Lysa finally lets Sansa go and Sansa falls on the floor, traumatized. Littlefinger embraces Lysa.
He then tells her that he only loved one woman his whole life. She smiles, thinking that he means her. He says Only one. Only your sister. And then he shoves Lysa through the Moon Door. The scene was too short - it really should have been combined with Jon Arryn reveal. The build up was good but it needed few more lines between Littlefinger and Lysa.
I really don't mind all the changes but there is something I just don't understand. That scene right here is known as Only Cat among book readers. That's the last thing Littlefinger says to Lysa. It's an iconic line - you say Only Cat to the book reader and everyone knows the scene. Why, why, why change that? I'm not saying it's a huge flaw, but what kind of reasoning could they possibly have?
The only excuse I found was how non book readers are bad with names and wouldn't know who Cat is. Do we really think non book readers are this stupid? This is just an insulting suggestion. Out of all the unnecessary changes, this one is just the kind of thing writers seem to do because they can. Worse yet, there really should be more build up. It's like Eyrie storyline is a casualty - they needed time and money for other things this year.
Overall it's a good scene, thanks to Dickie and Turner and the chilling ending shot but sometimes when I watch the show the weird tweaks and puzzling choices made by showrunners occupy my mind more than what actually happens on screen.
We arrived at that horrible time of the year - the two week long hiatus. It's all because 2 years ago instead of watching Thrones people spent time with their families (madness) on Memorial Day. Blackwater, my favorite episode of the series, had much lower viewership than rest of the episodes. So now we have a hiatus. For shame, America.
In two weeks it's time for The Mountain and the Viper. Reek helps Ramsay take Moat Cailin, Lords Declarant arrive to investigate what happened to Lysa, Wildlings reach Mole's town.
And most importantly:
If you die before you say her name, ser, I will hunt you through all seven hells.
For Elia, for Tyrion and for justice.
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