“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.”
We’ve finally hit the end of our seasonal Game of Thrones journey. “Valar Morghulis,” the season’s finale, was both heartfelt and, much like the first season’s conclusion, left us with so much to look forward to for next year.
Relationships were a huge motif in this episode. First, there was the contrast between Robb and Joffrey choosing their wives and how each son’s respective mothers played a role in it. On one hand, Cersei sways Joffrey away from Sansa, the girl whom he was picked to marry; and on the other hand, Cat is furious at Robb’s similar decision when he informed her that he would wed Talisa. There aren’t many times that there will be such a glaring contrast between a Stark and the insufferable King Joffrey, but this one was done quite well. Then there’s poor Tyrion Lannister. He awakes to a horrific scar across his face and his title of Hand of the King having been stripped away. By the time Shae enters the scene and he breaks down into tears, the emotion felt is completely palpable. In regards to relationships, however, the icing on the cake was easily the brief reuniting of Daenerys and Khal Drogo in a dream sequence in which Dany gets to hold her child in her arms. Her entire story this week was great, and although The House of the Undying itself left a lot to be desired, seeing Dany and Khal together eased any disappointment. Dany in this moment is faced with a decision of staying with Khal and giving up everything she has been striving for. It was a great reminder of how much Khal truly loved his Khaleesi and an instant reminder of what fuels the fire in her quest for the Iron Throne.
If I had a central complaint about this episode, it was with the fate of Winterfell. Theon Greyjoy getting knocked out following his hilariously anti-climactic yet epic speech is our last view of the city before we see it in flames. It was as if an entire chapter was left out from the books. Maybe we are to wait another season for the Bastard of Bolton to be introduced? Then again, straying from the book isn’t anything completely unfamiliar in this season, especially with the lack of visions from Dany this season. Either way, there were enough peaks in this episode, like Dany closing the vault door on Xaro and Doreah or Arya’s “Valar Morghulis!” quote, for me to spend my time dwelling on the valleys.
The finale also features solid scenes from the likes of Jon Snow and Ygritte, Arya and Jaqen, and Stannis and Melisandre. Of the brief side encounters in the episode, however, Jaime and Brienne’s scene was phenomenal. The banter between them was absolutely hilarious, and the killings? Well, two quick ones and a slow one. The White Walkers, the clear cliffhanger of the finale, were awesome as well. Referred to in the books as the Others, we finally have a true first glance at this undead army – and oh yeah, a zombie horse!
All in all, an amazing ending to an amazing season. Season two gave us some great quotes and some epic set pieces, such as the first glimpse of the Iron Islands of Pyke and the wildfire explosion from the Battle of Blackwater for example. We were introduced to great new characters (Ygritte being a personal favorite of mine) and saw fantastic character development with the likes of Arya and Theon. It’s going to be a long 10 months, but one thing is for certain: winter is no longer coming; winter is here.
9.5 out of 10