Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep. 7: Mockingbird

I read a criticism of HBO once, that as a general rule of thumb, their shows start out with lots of nudity to draw the viewer in, and end with lots of violence to shock the audience and keep them hooked with the audacity of it all. I’ve noticed this to be true of True Blood, Deadwood and of course, Game of Thrones. Episode 7, folks – we’re more than half over, and the bloodshed has barely begun. Are you ready?

Oh, Tyrion. You’ve insulted the whole realm and demanded trial by combat. You had a deal, and you scorned it in a moment of passion and pride – but who could blame you! HOWEVER, I cannot honestly, truthfully believe that up until this point, Tyrion, the learned, crafty book reader that he is, did not fucking notice that his brother’s fighting hand is gone! Of COURSE Jamie cannot be your champion, you damned fool!

I do love it when they break the fourth wall a tiny bit – “Brilliant speech. They’ll be talking about it for days to come,” says Jamie, almost indulgently as the internet is currently abuzz with gifs and videos from Peter Dinklage’s passionate monologue, demanding that the man receive an Emmy for that scene.

The Mountain being named as Cersei’s champion has bleak implications for Tyrion’s trial. When last we saw Ser Gregor Clegane, he was pillaging the North, leading Ned Stark to send Beric Dondarrion after him (who was murdered by the Mountain twice – and formed the Brothers without Banners and is generally an interesting guy). I believe he’s just been causing mayhem ever since. The Mountain is supposedly over 8 feet tall and not someone you want to fuck with – he’s both strong and fast and is known for defiling dead bodies.

Don’t anyone say they are surprised at Bronn – from day one, he’s been out for money and to save himself. Dude has a point: “I like you, but I like myself better.” For some reason, I think they part ways as bros here better than the books – I recall thinking Bronn was way more of a jerk in A Storm of Swords.  SIDE NOTE: Lollys, Bronn’s new bride, is described as mentally challenged and pregnant via rape in the ASOS (during that part in King’s Landing where Sansa is saved by The Hound, Lollys isn’t so lucky) – super skeevy and horrible. His marriage to her is not about affection or attraction – it’s all about the wealth. One track mind there.

Thank the Seven that we have Oberyn Martell to swoop in with his revenge-lust and act as Tyrion’s champion. And he solidifies his deal with that sad story – Cersei has been evil since day one, and has always had it out for Tyrion. Seriously, though. Oberyn Martell is not just a wonderful story teller – that voice! – he has more reason than most for justice. Duh, of course we’re all gonna be rooting for him.

Arya and The Hound are getting even chummier, with continued fireside heart to hearts, and showing Arya, well, literally where the heart is. Nice little nod for book readers to see Rorge and Biter, if only as a method to wound Ser Sandor and to show Arya’s style of justice. At any rate, the show reminded us a number of times this episode that she was indeed captured by The Hound, even though they seem to want us to believe they’ll go riding off on funny little Turner and Hooch-style adventures for the rest of their days.

Jon Snow, that FACE. If I never had to see him pout again… I think the thing I primarily don’t like about him is that they make him into such a wise hero – he is the only one who has the right battle plan, the only one who is talking sense about fighting the Wildlings. Sure, he’s got more intimate (Har!) details about them than anyone else, but let’s remember two things: one – he’s like 20 years old, and two – in a faithful book adaptation, he would have just been thrust into battle, becoming an actual battle hero instead of this whiny “Guys, why isn’t anyone listening to meeeee” act. I like the battle scenario better, as I don’t want to be around for his “I told you so” moment.

I still cannot buy into Daario Naharis. HE IS SO BORING. He gives this passionless speech about how he came to fight war and fuck women, and he’s all out of war! Where’s the swagger, the bravado? You climbed into the queen’s quarters with what, flowers? And she’s just like “Eh, alright.” Bah. BAH. Begone, ye!

But not before rubbing it in Ser Jorah’s face! Ser Friendzone, there is just no winning for you. She even wears more revealing clothes as if to remind Jorah what he ain’t getting. I love that he still gives her advice that smacks her off her high horse, especially as helps spurn her new lover. Yep, Jorah sold slaves, and pretty much only by luck and some really devious deeds (like spying for the Crown) did he end up by the side of Danerys. He seems very much to have turned his life around to be a good man. Will it stick?

In place of chemistry between Danerys and Daario, we get awkward nude moments between Melissandre and Lady Selyse! “Did you seduce my husband?” “Oh, my lady, men will be men, you know that!” Ominously, the Red Lady admits that the Red God needs the Baratheons’ daughter at a late point. I hope it’s not to subject her to more of this weirdness (this is not a book plot).

In another extraneous nod to book readers, we get whole hilarious scenes with Hot Pie! Hot Pie had long since disappeared after the run in with the Brotherhood without Banners (and has not returned in the books) – so it’s nice to see him here, not only giving us the secret to kidney pie, but also giving clues as to how to locate one of the Stark girls. I’m not sure how the writers plan to move Brienne’s and Pod’s story along – they seem to be speeding some of it up. I don’t care what happens, just nobody mess with Pod.

Finally, we check in on the Vale. Poor, poor Sansa! Girl cannot catch a break – her cousin is a little brat, her uncle, a dirty perv. You can see a tiny glimmer of hope as he describes killing Joffrey in revenge for her mother… “You might have been my child.” And then that kiss. Ugh.

Book readers have been clamoring about a tweak to a moment that I rather forgot about: as the final line in A Storm of Swords, instead of saying “Your sister,” Petyr’s response is “Only Cat.” Either way, you had to see it coming – Petyr again shows his true colors and shoves Lysa out the Moon Door.

Whatever will become of Sansa? Will Oberyn be spry and vengeful enough to take down The Mountain? Is Jon ever going to stop pouting?? I’d tell you to tune in next week, but alas, the show is gone for two weeks instead of one. Perhaps that’s enough time to read the book (or at least the wiki) and spoil season 4’s ending? Stay strong, sweet summer child! The internet is dark and full of spoilers.

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