Game of Thrones: The Mountain and The Viper (4×08)
Synopsis: Unexpected visitors arrive in Mole’s Town. Littlefinger’s motives are questioned. Ramsay tries to prove himself to his father. Tyrion’s fate is decided. Rating: ★★★★☆
On days when I know something bad is going to happen on Game of Thrones, I’m not sure if I’m happy that I know or wish I didn’t.
At the beginning of the season, show creators said that they would be making changes this season, and that this is the season that would really diverge from the book. Well, here comes episode 8, and I’m thinking to myself, maybe Oberyn will survive? Maybe they’ll let him live just for the sake of it? Maybe there is something else planned. Yeah, no.
Nothing is quite as painful as watching that most visceral death of Oberyn Martell.
We’ve been leading up to it in this season, and originally, I thought I would be ok with this plot. I’m not a GoT book reader, so I felt little attachment to him. I wanted him to get revenge, but I knew he wouldn’t get it (what else is new in the land of Westeros). But that was before I met Pedro Pascal’s Oberyn. Pascal played him fantastically down to the very last moments.
The entire scene left me a broken husk of a fan. From Oberyn’s easy going smile and passionate kiss with Ellaria to his Inigo Montoya-esque monologue and his final breath. I have to give credit to Alex Graves’ excellent direction of the fight scene. Oberyn’s dance around Gregor felt triumphant up until the end when his own thirst for justice and vengeance lead him to his own demise.
Of course, what’s made worse is the reality of what will happen now after Oberyn’s demise. Tyrion’s head is going to end up like Oberyn’s.
Not only was the fight scene dramatic, it left us on the edges of our seats. With the whole “we might go a different path” tone kept in mind, I thought up until the last minute that he might make it out of this. But of course, with a monologue like that, you’re either the main character, or you’re about to be dead. Lesson of the day, never ever get too absorbed in your monologue.
It’s hard to imagine a more painful and ruthless death than by the one they call the Mountain. It’s true Gregor Clegane sees his opponents (and probably people in general) as beetles just like simple cousin Orson, to be squished for his own entertainment. I can think of few other characters in the story that we can view as so purely evil as Gregor. With no real loyalty, he kills for the sheer pleasure of killing and indulges in the act of suffering as one can only expect from a true sadist. We can safely say, that although the Mountain is a weapon treasured by the Lannisters, there will be no love lost when Gregor Clegane goes five feet under.
Speaking of the Cleganes, we see the Hound make his way to the Vale with Arya Stark in hopes of getting some sort of payment or reward for bringing Arya Stark back to her remaining family members. Of course this has to be exactly three days after Lysa’s dance towards the moon door. Arya’s response to this news was pretty much equal to mine. As if to say, of course. Of course this would happen three days before we get here. The Starks, it seems like, are doomed to remain separated.
While it seems Arya will never be on steady ground, Sansa seems to have finally found her grounding. Her confession to the council at the Eyrie is a firm foot planted into the game that, up until now, she’s been reluctant to play. Survival is the name of the game, and after all of the horrors she’s faced, Sansa would rather stick with the devil she knows. At least Littlefinger will keep her alive due to his obsession with her mother, this much she knows. It’s about time she embraced the game and steeled herself to the politics of Westeros.
As quickly as Sansa Stark embraces this new part of her, so too does Ramsay Bolton, who is officially recognized as Roose’s heir. About fucking time. It’s hard to feel anything but cautious fear for someone like Ramsay Bolton, but you’d be lying if you said you couldn’t see the pride in his eyes of being legitimized. And I’d be lying if I said I’m excited to see Winterfell again, even if it is under the control of Roose Bolton.
Of course who can forget the events in Meereen. If you’ve been following along closely with the story, you’ll know that Jorah was originally spying for Westeros in order to get his way back to his homeland. Originally exiled for slaving, he agreed to spy on Daenerys when they first met. Obviously his feelings have changed over time. We know Jorah is pretty much head over heels for Dany, but crushes are one thing, treason is another. Sorry, Jorah. You chose poorly.
It might be doom and gloom for Jorah and Dany, but there is some prospect on the front of Greyworm and Missandei. Dany, who has pretty much been the embodiment of Greyworm/Missandei shippers everywhere, has a somewhat enlightened talk with Missandei about what exactly Greyworm is working with in the lower department. Of course he is still castrated, but a girl can hope. Also, I am saddened by the fact that this episode once again proves that nudity is a man’s game. What all the women bathe naked but men bathe with pants on?
Finally, there’s the very small yet very important attack on Mole’s Town. This is setting us up for the next episode, the penultimate one of the season. I suspect a few things to happen, but nothing can be set in stone yet. I just suspect that Oberyn “Ouch” might not be the last one we see of the season.