Spoiler Heavy Reviews: Game of Thrones- ”Valar Morghulis”

by Joe on June 3, 2012

Game of Thrones S2E10: “Valar Morghulis”- Joe’s Rating~”A”

I can officially say that Game of Thrones is probably going to follow the same pattern next year as it did this season and the one before. Not to say that’s bad (if it aint broke…) but predictability in a show (and series) that prides itself on its plot twists can be damaging to the viewer. Take for example last week’s “Blackwater“. It was the culmination of this years storyline, an amazing episode with fantastic water cooler (aka internet forum) moments. One could draw a parallel to last years penultimate episode “Baelor” which did the exact same thing. So going into tonight’s episode, I assumed (and correctly so) that this episode would be the denouement. It would be a set up for next season wrapping up plot elements and setting up new locations and storylines. Even though last year’s “Fire and Blood” was more exciting for me because I got set up for all the coolness this season, I couldn’t help be a little disappointed that all the real excitement was over last week and this week was nothing more than a “coming soon…” In actuality I was wrong, I was presented with a real strong episode, that gave both closure, and almost felt like a cliff hanger (of sorts).

It seems Tyrion is alive, and how beautiful that he is being treated by Maester Pycelle. Also he isn’t the King’s Hand any longer. It’s such a great visual, almost as good as the horse shitting in the Red Keep. That’s essentially what the realm sees of Tyrion. He’s being shit on. As he defended the city with his own blood, his father swoops in and steals the victory. And Grandpa is rewarded for it! So is Littlefinger for arranging Margaery and Joffrey’s marriage.

It’s an interesting move as now Sansa is free. Littlefinger warns Sansa about Joffrey based on how awful he was to the prostitutes. In fact Littlefinger seems to be a little attracted to Sansa, perhaps he’s equating the newly womanized Sansa with her mother. Littlefinger’s success has it seems pissed off Varys. He tries to recruit Roz for his services (though they are not sexual of course.)

Once again we meet with Jaime and Brienne who stumble upon some women killed by Starks. The plot point about how evil the Starks are is just not as interesting as the gender reversal of Brienne. I’ve always lamented at how feminine identity is never properly utilized in fantasy. Female characters often have to take on masculine identities to take part. However Brienne is interesting as she is constantly hounded by a feminine identity. She constantly seeks to be masculine.

After his spectacular defeat at the battle of the Blackwater, Stannis is finally starting to break, he finally shows regret for killing his brother. He almost goes as far as to choke the life out of Melisandre. I love the look of regret in his eyes as he chokes her. It’s almost the same look as he looks into the fire. That of having to sacrifice everything.

Theon is also finally regretting his decision to take Winterfell. He realizes he is between a rock and a hard place. He’s surrounded by northmen, and he can’t go home. It’s interesting how he is counseled to join the Night’s Watch, and he almost does it. Jon saw it as an opportunity to escape Winterfell also. However Theon only sees the Wall as another place he’ll get his throat sliced. Unfortunately for all of  his impassioned speech his men want nothing of it. It’s simultaneously hysterical and very sad.

Arya meets up with Jaqen and he promises to take her to Braavos and teach her how to be a “faceless man”. This is a quite literal promise as he seemingly loses his face right in front of her. However she refuses as she still needs to find her family. Arya is at a crossroads, and she chooses to stay as Arya, though seemingly every season she receives a mysterious mentor. They are training her something, but what, and who will it be next season?

Winterfell has burnt to the ground, and now Bran and Rickon have to go North to the Wall, to find Jon. Tyrion finds out how far he has fallen, but he does find that he has friends in Varys, and Shae is still loyal. She asks him to go away with her, but he refuses.  We find Robb is marrying for love as well, breaking his treaty with the Freys.

The strongest love though is Daenery’s love for her dragons. Inside the House of the Undying she finds the Iron Throne covered in snow, but she is called away by the sound of her dragons to north of the wall where she finds Khal Drogo and her son. Once again she called away by her dragons. Finally she is confronted by Pyat Pree who has seemingly imprisoned them and now her. The dragons love Daenerys too and they burn Pree alive. Daenerys takes her dragons to Xaro and with her new courage enters his vault to find nothing, so she fills it with him.

Finally Qhoren makes his move and fights Jon, forcing Jon to kill him. This move earns Jon the respect of the Wildlings who now take him to Mance Rayder and his massive camp.  Back with his fellow Night’s Watch, they hear three horn blasts which only means one thing, the Others are coming. And holy shit there are a lot of them!!!

The Good:

  • As I mentioned, I feel that this episode felt like both a closer and a cliffhanger, something all good season finales should do (I’m looking at you Mad Men!)
  • A really great shift from the King’s Landing to the Wall. Since all last week was in King’s Landing it felt like a really good transition.
  • They hit every storyline! I was impressed.
  • God, Maester Luwin dying was really sad.

The Bad:

  • Tyrion with Shae felt a little forced. I liked the acting, but it seemed almost out of character for him. Maybe that was the point, but it didn’t work for me.
  • Really Pree was killed with the dragon fire? A bit of a letdown for 4 episodes worth of buildup.
  • It’s always bad when I have to wait a year for more episodes.

The Weird:

  • Zombie Horse!!!

See you all next year of Game of Thrones: A Storm of Swords, or as I like to call it “GoT ASS”

Read some other stuff from Joe, hear him on the Planet Arbitrary podcast, or follow him on Twitter @planetarbitrary

 

Previously on Game of Thrones

S1E1, S1E2, S1E3, S1E4, S1E5, S1E6, S1E7, S1E8, S1E9, S1E10

S2E1, S2E2, S2E3, S2E4, S2E5, S2E6, S2E7, S2E8, S2E9

 

Read Joe’s other articles:

Game of Thrones: Casting Roundup 1 and 2, Game of Thrones Primer IIGame of Thrones Primer I, Inn at the Crossroads Interview, Season 1 recap, The Greyjoy Rebellion, Robert’s Rebellion Pt.1, Robert’s Rebellion Pt.2

Star Trek: Evening the OddsStar Trek Blu-rays 1 and 2 Trek in your Queue 1 and 2, Obama TrekStar Trek: A Different Generation, Failed Star Trek Spinoffs

Doctor Who: Doctor Who Season 6 Round Up, An Alternate History of the DoctorDoctor Who Season 6 primer

Misc: Sci-Fi ComposersThieving Sci-Fi, Paranormal Activi3The Walking Dead Primer, The Genre Problem, Conan Primer, Mutant Fatigue, Sci-Fi A-Team, A Love Letter to Natalie PortmanThor Primer


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