Game of Thones: “Mhysa” (ep. 3.10) Episode Recap
**full spoilers for Season 3, Episode 10 “Mhysa” below**
In the wake of a thoroughly traumatic Red Wedding, Game of Throne’s season 3 finale delicately wraps up each plotline and sets things in motion for a new season. Per the usual, episode 9 had featured our drastic climax (i.e., Ned’s beheading, the Battle of Blackwater, and the Red Wedding) and the season finale was executed with underwhelming – yet necessary – precision. In just about every other episode, certain stories have to be sacrificed. We would routinely go a week without seeing Jon Snow or Daenerys for the sake of focusing on more prominent characters. But here at the end of the season with a third of the Starks dead, it’s becoming steadily more manageable to keep things tighter, ironically as things appear to be spiraling out of control in the North.
To add further insult to the butchery of the Red Wedding, Frey and his men beheaded Robb and his direwolf and sewed Grey Wind’s head onto Robb’s body. Whereas she was shielded from watching her father’s beheading, this time around Arya had to watch as the men paraded Robb’s corpse around like some sick prize. The weight of her misfortune is gradually consuming Arya with hate and lust for revenge, and a kind of blind rage that became most evident when she murdered a random soldier just for laughing about her brother’s death. Seeing her trick the man and stab him in the lower back felt hollow and wrong, and then when the Hound mopped up the remaining interlopers, it was almost comical watching them try to defend themselves. Rory McCann – who plays the Hound – has this powerful on-screen presence where you never worry about his safety because he kills with such reckless abandon and assuredness that just about nobody can beat him. Arya seems safer than she has been since Ned left Winterfell, which may or may not be exactly what that heartless bastard George R. R. Martin wants us to feel.
The newly married Tyrion and Sansa seem to be getting along quite well. It comes as no surprise considering that Tyrion can charm or at the very least entertain just about anybody, and it was nice to see Sansa lighten up and even get amused by him. All the while, Shae walked silently behind them sulking oppressively. Her later scene with Varys was an interesting one, as he tried to bribe her into leaving in order to “uncomplicate” matters. I half-hoped that she might go if only so that we can see Tyrion get ahead, but we all know that Shae would never give in and leave like that. Between her fading love for Tyrion and her stubborn, fiery pride, I don’t think that we’ll be saying goodbye to her any time soon, especially when you take into account her affection for Sansa.
Seeing Sansa just cry silently at her window upon hearing the news of her brother and mother’s deaths was really the only way she could react. There are no frustrated fits of rage with her. There’s never any railing against her misfortune or the gods (the old or the new). With the exception of infrequent bouts of fear and the half-a-second that she considered pushing Joffrey to his death, Sansa takes it all as passively as possible. Her capacity for quiet sufferance and dull obedience is herculean, which is why it was strange to see her smile early in this episode and even stranger to hear her talk about Arya sticking poop into her bed. Sansa? Nostalgia? Smiles? Wtf?
At the small council, Tywin crushes it as usual, effectively sending Joffrey to bed when he speaks out of line. And this happened while Cersei took the boy-king’s hand and cooed him with reassurances and sweet nothings. Joffrey is babied and virtually unchallenged as his cruelty and sadism rocket out of control. You might remember his snatching of Tyrion’s wedding step-stool and then later his threats to rape Sansa in the night. Now he’s gleefully tramping around the small council chamber claiming that he’s going to serve Sansa her brother’s head at his wedding feast. Tyrion stood up for his bride and challenged Joffrey, who then commenced a temper tantrum, going so far as to call his grandfather a coward. With poise and an inhuman amount of control, Tywin didn’t lash out or yell. He simply said that the King is tired and in need of rest. Moments later, when it’s just Tywin and Tyrion, he reiterates his hatred of Tyrion for “killing” his own mother as she gave birth to him. It’s the kind of unfair judgment that makes me want to reach through the screen the punch Cersei or Tywin every time they bring it up. Am I the only one that thinks they all need to get over it? Like Varys says, Tyrion is one of the few people that is actually trying to make the Kingdom a better place and he can’t do that with his family pining against him at every corner.
Perhaps things will be different for Tyrion now that Jaime is back, for in the past it seemed like Jaime was his one would-be ally in the entire family. The one-handed Lannister seemed to be almost in shock as he strolled right through the front gate at King’s Landing, especially after being yelled at by a random commoner for standing in the way. Naturally, his first reaction inside the city was to leave Brienne in the dust and rush straight to Cersei’s room, where her nonplussed reaction confused more than just Jaime. I think we were all expecting something dramatic to happen. Tears, kisses, hugs, or at least something. Instead she just sort of sat there. When you consider her claims earlier in the episode that she won’t be marrying her “sword-swallower” Tyrell along with the confession that if not for her children, she would have killed herself long ago, it makes you wonder how she feels towards Jaime these days. Has she given up any hope for happiness? Does she feel even remotely guilty for her incestuous infidelity? Will any remorse come in between her and Jaime? Probably not. But even if it does, Jaime is clearly a changed man and things are now very different for all of the Lannisters.
In quite possibly the worst breakup ever, Ygritte tracked Jon Snow down and shot him with not one, not two, but three arrows. He tried to reason with her, saying that they both knew who he was all along (a Crow through and through). Despite Jon confessing his love for her, an anguished Ygritte still sticks it to him. While it seems pretty clear that it’s over for them – particularly when Jon rejoins his Brothers at the Watch after riding home all Aragorn-style-death-side-saddle – I can’t help but wonder if Ygritte just shot him out of frustration and of necessity. What if she had just freed Jon and forgiven him? What the heck would she do? She certainly couldn’t go with him and the Wildlings would never accept her again. This was sort of her only option.
When a feverish Jon does make it back to Castle Black, he looks to be near death and finds Sam waiting for him, along with Gilly who is now safely cooking and cleaning while the Watch prepares for war against the ice zombie hordes.
Sam had just recently left the company of Bran’s company, whose conversations included tales of a cook who was punished by the gods for killing a king’s son and serving him up in a pie. Bran was careful to explain that the cook was turned into a giant rat and forced to eat nothing but his own young not for serving the king his own son to eat, but he was punished because he killed one of his own guests. Sound familiar? This was a rather heavy-handed explanation of precisely how terrible the Red Wedding was, something that as far as customs go, might not have been that clear in “The Rains of Castamere”. Early on in “Castamere”, you might have noticed Robb, his mother, and his wife all eating bread and salt which is a ritual that invokes that Guest Right. Having invoked the Guest Right, Robb had every reason to consider himself safe from massacre. Unfortunately, Walder Frey is a slug who cares more about being selfish trash than respecting customs or the gods.
Meanwhile, Bolton has become Warden of the North, and we find out that his son Ramsey Snow has been the one tricking, torturing, and more recently, castrating Theon before renaming him Reek. Ramsey, looking more like Smeagol every day, also sent Theon’s “favorite toy” to Balon Greyjoy as a threat to make him evacuate the North and all claim to it. Despite the fact that Balon gracelessly refused to rescue his son, his daughter stepped up and is off on an expedition to rescue Theon, who may or may not have phantom limb penis (seriously who the hell thinks up this stuff?).
At Dragonstone, the Onion Knight is clearly missing his cell as he once again betrays Stannis to go with his gut instinct, which almost always universally means to oppose the Red God in any way he can. This time around, he releases Gendry rather than allow him to remain and be the magic power pyre that would somehow propel Stannis to true kingship (who the hell knows how this Red God works). In one particular scene, Stannis was front and center to the camera with Lady Melisandre and Davos on either side of him in the background. With the way it was framed, it almost looked like the class “angel on the left shoulder and devil on the right”. Perhaps this is the Red God’s way of telling us that the Red Witch really is an angel after all? Who knows, but great camera work as always.
A few things that irritated me about the scene between Stannis, Melisandre, and Davos: at one point Davos makes a very good point that he is very afraid of having the kingdom be ruled by black magic. Stannis’ response, in childlike fashion, is to point out that the Targaryons used dragons to rule, and dragons are magic! While they are magical beasts they are still animals. Big lizards that happen to breathe fire being tames by humans hardly equals subversive and untrustworthy magic. My other problem with this scene is how ridiculous it is that the Red Witch claims to see so much in the fire and was so preoccupied with making Stannis King and getting him to win the Throne, yet as soon as she throws the note from the Night’s Watch into the fire, suddenly she says, “Nope! Everything I said before is wrong. The true war is to the North. That is where you are most needed!” If I were Stannis, I’d call bullshit right there.
Regardless of how manipulative and self-serving Melisandre seems, it’s apparent that the conflict at the Wall is going to be the center of the plot in season 4.
The final loose end for us to wrap up in the season and the last scene of season 3. Dany freed the slave peoples of Yunkai and their response was to walk slowly, gravely out of the city to stand in front of her and her army. She gave them an earnest speech about how their freedom is theirs alone to take and give and that for the first time in their lives they could choose what to do with it. The crowd responded by chanting mhysa over and over again. Then, with a joyous smile, Daenarys Stormborn, the Unburnt Mother of Dragons of House Targaryen….crowd-surfed? Between that and the background music, it felt more like a feverish Enya concert than the conquering of a city, but I suppose it all fits with Dany’s character doesn’t it? She’s bringing freedom to thousands of slaves and trying to make all of Westeros a free land for her people. Dany is more than just the mother of dragons. She is the true mother of her people and despite being stuck halfway around the world, she would be my bet for who might finally win the Game of Thrones one day.
Game of Thrones: we will miss you. Perhaps in the next ten months until the season 4 premiere, I’ll actually pick up some of the books to make me feel better. In the meantime, I’ll probably have to find a new show to Recap. Hodor.