As news of the death of Robb Stark spread through Westeros, the War of the Five Kings appears to be over, but there’s a larger threat lurking north of the Wall…
After the bloody drama of the Red Wedding, things are a little bit quieter in Westeros in this finale episode of Game of Thrones. Quieter, maybe, but no less important in terms of plot and character. Game of Thrones has developed something of a habit of tossing all the ‘sturm und drang’ of a season into the penultimate episode, leaving the job of picking up the pieces and putting everything in place for the next season to the final instalment.
A lot of ongoing plot threads are resolved (mostly) in this episode, some of them only temporarily, but enough to make for a satisfying conclusion to the season. The end of the Starks means the end of the war, at least for the moment—and it certainly didn’t go the way viewers who haven’t read the books or otherwise spoilered themselves might have expected. Could it be that the disreputable Lannisters are actually the ‘heroes’ of this show?
Family duty, familial bonds and responsibilities ran through this episode, from Tywin’s dealings with the unbalanced Joffrey and the disappointed Tyrion (with some brilliant thesping from Charles Dance in both scenes), and Sersei’s expression of love for the child Joffrey once was, through to Jon Snow’s dedication to his ‘family’ the Night’s Watch (at the expense of Ygritte) and Arya’s frustrated, violent revenge on a random enemy who was boasting of having played a major part in the killing of Robb Stark (her brother).
Between delivering deadly messages from the Lannisters and depriving Theon Greyjoy of some vital equipment, the various iterations of the Bolton family are turning out to be right bastards (and not just in the literal sense in the case of Ramsay). Away from Westeros, and the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Stormborn, has an ever growing flock with the freed people of Yunkai joining her cause. The season ended, in an echo of the finale of the first season, with a focus on Daenerys and her trio of rapidly-growing dragons.
The foundations have been laid here for the next season, which will be largely base on the second half of George R.R. Martin’s third A Song of Ice and Fire novels, A Storm of Swords. It seems a safe bet that this show will continue to deliver on all fronts…
Verdict: A calmer instalment than the previous one, but nonetheless packed with cracking character drama.
Episode 10 ‘Mhysa’: 10/10
Brian J. Robb