Not that we didn't see it coming, but... what?
The episodes of Game of Thrones, filled with shocking deaths and stunning plot twists are usually the ones that get the most press, but it is often episodes like last night’s Mockingbird – slow, precise and dialogue heavy – that really serve to move the plot forward and give us an insight into the characters . If you haven’t guessed it already, this is your spoiler warning for Season 4 Episode 7 – Mockingbird.
Game of Thrones - where noone is ever safe.
The episode opens with another impassioned chat between Jaime and Tyrion – a broken Tyrion, who is just about to have his fate sealed in a trial by combat. Unfortunately, Tyrion’s only friend at King’s Landing – Jaime – is still hopeless with any kind of weapon and facing Gregor Clegane (aptly nicknamed “The Mountain That Rides”) is completely out of the question. Of course, there’s always Bronn. The wisecracking sidekick is only a sellsword, but he has developed a sort-of friendship with Tyrion over the past two seasons, surely he’d agree to be the Imp’s champion, right? Wrong. Bronn has been bought off with a wife and castles and the realization stabs us through the hearts almost as much as it does Tyrion.
Speaking of hearts, let’s talk about Arya raising a wall around hers. We love the little wolf girl as much as the next Thrones fan, but when she stabs a man’s heart without so much as blinking – keeping with the heart theme this episode – it becomes increasingly clear that Arya is fast losing not just her childhood, but her humanity as well.
Meanwhile, in Mereen, Daenerys is doing a good job ruling, but Daario, who, in his own words, is only good at fighting and women. So Dany makes an executive decision to give him what he wants – sending him to Yunkai to kill a bunch of masters and… look, there’s no way to gloss over it, they have sex. That’s all well and good, apart from the part where Ser Jorah gets his feelings hurt and convinces an almost bloodthirsty Daenerys to let the masters live and make up for their crimes.
We get some one-on-one with Arya and the Hound and finally we hear in the show Sandor Clegane’s origin story, if you will. Stifled from a young age by his sadistic older brother (the aforementioned Mountain), he was tortured and burned as a teenager, leaving him the disfigured, emotionally unstable mess we know and love today.
Then there’s a nice little scene where Podrick and Brienne encounter an old friend at an inn. Just when they’re wondering who to trust, Hot Pie gives them bread for Arya, should they find her, and much needed information – such as, say, the fact that Arya is alive, which no one in the south knew up until this point. So good of the showrunners to give us all a breather before the darkness ahead.
This episode was all exposition and no shocking twists, up until the very last scene.
Cut to Tyrion, in the dungeon, desperate and preparing to die, when our new favorite outsider steps in. Oberyn Martell seems to be the only person in King’s Landing, who doesn’t think he’s a monster. He comes with a proposition – to step up as the Imp’s champion, just for the chance to fight the Mountain and avenge his sister (this is where book fans have a big advantage, when it comes to understanding the plot.) So Oberyn and Tyrion form the latest secret alliance of King’s Landing – the enemies of Oberyn’s enemies, etc.
In every episode there is one scene that carries the entire message. This time, it was finally Sansa’s moment to shine. We first see the flame-haired heir to Winterfell building a snow castle in the courtyard of her aunt Lysa’s castle. Say what you want about Sansa, but she’s a survivor. Not only has a 13-year-old girl managed to survive all the political trappings of King’s Landing and not get killed, she’s also managed to keep her childlike spirit almost intact – and learn a thing or two about politics as well. Team Sansa all the way.
But I digress. Our heroine has a rather unpleasant unpleasant exchange with her cousin/betrothed Robert, which ends with him knocking down her show castle in a fit of rage. That’s when Littlefinger comes in and everyone watching instantly gets the creeps. The short version: don’t worry about Robert or aunt Lysa, everything will be ok because uncle Petyr is here to protect Sansa, just because he’s nice, he loved her mother and he wants to make out with her occasionally. Wait, WHAT? That just went from mildly unsettling to full-on creep fest. Poor Sansa. Having escaped the betrayal infested political rat trap that is King’s Landing, she is now forced to navigate an even smaller rat trap – one that ends with being “sent to fly” by her aunt or becoming Uncle Petyr’s personal redheaded sleaze fantasy. Key phrase: “What do we do to those who hurt the ones we love?”
Once again she faces terror as her aunt Lysa threatens to push her out of the moon door. Thankfully, Littlefinger intervenes, before any serious harm can come to our favorite lady. He calms down his wife and promises to send away Sansa. And then… we all saw it coming, book fans especially, it’s obvious when Littlefinger embraces Lysa right in front of the moon door. But still, the end of Lysa Tully, like most other deaths on Thrones, is a complete shocker.
Are you counting how many original cast members are still left standing?