So the second season of Game of Thrones comes to a close, with lots of action, feelings, and setup for next season. A lot happened in the extended finale, so let’s get cracking!
In the aftermath of the battle in King’s Landing, Tyrion has been removed as Hand of the King and replaced by his father Tywin Lannister. As he heals in a private, modest home somewhere in the city, Varys brings Shae to visit him and reveals that his attacker was sent by Cersei. Later, Varys comes to Roz with an offer, wanting to take her out of Petyr Baelish’s employ and make her his partner. (Oh god yes please yes). In the court, Joffrey honors Baelish for his help in uniting the Lannisters and Tyrells by giving him Harrenhal. And speaking of the Tyrells, Joffrey now plans to marry Margaery, news that gives Sansa her first genuine smile of… um, maybe the whole season? Baelish continues to be a sneaky motherfucker, giving Sansa the impression that his influence is the only thing that could get her back home to Winterfell.
Back at the Stark home, Theon and his men are surrounded by Stark supporters. He plans to make a fight of it and rallies his men with an inspiring speech, only to be knocked out and presumably given up to the enemy, in exchange for the rest of the men being allowed to go home. Before they leave, however, they stab Maester Luwin, who drags himself to the godswood and dying, tells Bran and Rickon to leave Winterfell, head to the Wall and look for Jon, who will be able to help them find their mother and Robb. It seems more than a few viewers were a little confused as to what exactly happened in Winterfell, because Theon’s men apparently burned the place down, but what happened to the 500 men that were surrounding it? There is no trace of them when Osha and the boys come out of hiding, and why would they have let Winterfell be burned in the first place? I guess we’ll find out next season? Hopefully?
Out beyond the wall, Jon Snow does “what must be done” when he kills Quorin Halfhand after a struggle. It was all part of Quorin’s plan for Jon to gain the trust of the wildlings and get to the king, whom it seems we will see next season. But will Snow remain loyal to the Night’s Watch and betray the wildlings, or sympathize with them? His interactions with Ygritte expose his complicated feelings, so what will prove more important to “the Bastard”? Honor… or freedom?
Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie are finding their way in the wilderness when they come across Jaqen again. He offers to take Arya with him to Braavos where she can learn to be an assassin like him, but she reluctantly declines, saying she needs to find her family first. He gives her a coin, and tells her if she ever wants to find him again, to give it to a man from Braavos and say the words “Valar Morghulis.” As she calls out to him as they part, he tells her that Jaqen is dead, and changes his face entirely. I have loved the relationship between these two; Arya has gotten a second mentor of sorts in another man from Braavos, and this was a perfect way to wrap it up and give Arya time to do her own thing and grow. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Jaqen again, though who knows what face he will take next time?
In Qarth, my baby Daenerys stole the show, when she marched straight to the House of the Undying to search for her dragons. The warlocks’ home is full of tricks, a particularly heart-wrenching one coming in the form of Khal Drogo and their baby, tempting Dany to stay with them. She wisely sees through the mirage and leaves, finding her dragons chained up, with Pyat Pree waiting for her. He explains that since the dragons returned, their magic has been stronger, improving in close range of the dragons, and stronger still when the dragons are by Dany’s side. He chains her arms, planning to keep her trapped in the tower forever, but the Mother of Dragons is not having that shit, and she commands the dragons to burn him to death. They escape the tower easily as their chains melt away. But homegirl isn’t satisfied yet, going to find Xaro in bed with her handmaiden, who betrayed them. She takes the key to Xaro’s vault and, finding it empty, seals them both inside despite their pleas for mercy. The remaining Dothraki raid Xaro’s home of any valuables, in the hopes of buying a small ship and sailing back across the sea to seek the Iron Throne. This is where Dany really shines, when diplomacy fails and she has to improvise with unforgiving force (and dragons). I am beyond stoked to see her return to Westeros.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL, FOLKS! Robb goes and acts a fool when he marries Talisa in the woods, despite Catelyn’s warnings against betraying the Freys. As many fans have noticed, show-Robb and book-Robb seem to be taking two different paths, with show-Robb acting simply petulant, selfish, and immature, and book-Robb having a much better relationship with Cat, and coming to decisions much more reasonably. After scolding his mother for acting recklessly in giving up Jaime Lannister, he does her one better by ignoring all strategy and tact and marrying for loooove. This turn of events bodes so poorly that I’m already preparing my heart to get ripped out next year, because there is absolutely no way this can end well.
And finally, three horns blow at the Fist of the First Men, signalling that the Night’s Watch is about to be beset by a horde of White Walkers. Sam gets caught in the middle of them, but they pay him no heed, marching onward instead, towards the Night’s Watch, closer and closer to the Wall. Who ya gonna call, Westeros?