This "Game of Thrones" discussion is written by someone who has read George R.R. Martin's books but will generally only discuss events that have happened on HBO's televised version. Please respect these boundaries should you choose to participate in the comments section.
Episode 4.8: "The Mountain and the Viper"
FINAL SCORE: Violence 813, Sex 5
(Note: the baseline for the score is dead bodies versus nude bodies, though the reviewer reserves the right to award HUNDREDS of bonus points if an explicitly violent scene shocks him in a way he never thought possible.)
Totals: Widespread slaughter in Mole's Town resulting in blood dripping through the ceiling; one graphic axe to the dome at Moat Cailin; one gruesomely skinless corpse following a date with Ramsay Snow-Bolton; two dead (well, one and a second who looks close to it) in a trial by combat featuring, oh, just the most horrifying thing I've ever seen on television.
Notes: There's more on this below, but most shows don't have the gears to downshift from "hero winning the fight" to "hero getting his eyes gouged" to "hero's skull pops like a zit." Lemme see you do THAT, "Mad Men."
Totals: Plenty of eye candy, but not much action: 3 or 4 background breasts at the Mole's Town tavern; a half-dozen shirtless Unsullied at the streambed; and several bare breasts at Meereen's popular Naked Laundry Day, featuring Missandei in full bloom.
Notes: Missandei is only 10 years old in the books, which is why books are garbage and you should never read them.
Darkest Timeline Inigo Montoya
"I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life." -- Inigo Montoya
All season long, Pedro Pascal's Oberyn Martell has had an obvious, or at least spiritual, predecessor in Mandy Patinkin's Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride. With both characters sporting a Spanish accent and an unquenchable thirst for avenging the deaths of family members, it was easy to see the Viper as an R-rated, bisexual Inigo.
The comparisons only get easier with Oberyn's final scene, when he repeats the Mountain's crimes ("You raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children!") in a cadence so similar to "You killed my father, prepare to die!" that it can hardly be a coincidence. Alas, while Inigo survives several flesh wounds to become the next Dread Pirate Roberts, Oberyn's pride betrays his expertise, and the Mountain uses his dying moments to dislodge some of Oberyn's teeth, gouge his eyes, and crush his skull.
As shocking and devastating "Game of Thrones" deaths go, this ranks somewhere near Ned Stark's execution and not too far below the Red Wedding. Even as a book reader who knew the death was coming, it somehow felt unexpected, and I found myself giving in to hope -- hope that was dashed to pieces on the stones of King's Landing with a mailed fist.
Exile may seem harsh, Jorah Mormont, but it beats the hell out of the friend zone.
A Quick Note on Beetle-Smashing
"And I still couldn't figure out why he was doing it, and I had to know because it was horrible that all these beetles should be dying for no reason." -- Tyrion
The scene between Jaime and Tyrion before the climactic trial by combat works on two levels: it's a slice of comedic absurdism just before the episode's most gruesome scene, but it also illuminates the ethos of the show as a whole. The Lannisters' simple cousin Orson crushes beetles all day long and never explains his reasoning. There's no satisfaction for Tyrion, no reason for all the death, just husks all the way to the sea -- and the secrets go forever unlearned when Orson gets kicked to death by a mule.
Basically, even the anecdotes on "Game of Thrones" that explain the show's approach to abrupt and inexplicable deaths end in abrupt and inexplicable death. Translation: George R.R. Martin is SO dying before he finishes writing the books -- and he'll do it just to spite us.
Tell Me About It, Stud
New Sansa = Sandy at the end of Grease (plus daddy issues)
1. Arya + learning yet another family member has died
2. Tyrion and Jaime. Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have always had an easy chemistry, and their characters' recollection of simple cousin Orson provided a deep and memorable laugh (second only to Arya's scene).
3. Oberyn and Ellaria. Spinoff on Cinemax, maybe?
27. Barristan and Jorah. Awwwwwwkwaaaaaaaard.
43. Missandei and Grey Worm. I've made the comparison before, but I hardly think "The Sun Also Rises" gets better with subtitles.
"Me too!" -- the Internet
- Whore belches: 10
- Trial by combat survival rate: approaching .000
- Unnecessary flourishes, Oberyn: SO MANY
- Arya's worth without any surviving family: zero silver pieces
- The Hound's neck wound: it's fine, stop asking
DNP, Coach's Decision
King Tommen and Queen(ish) Margaery; Stannis + Team Fireheart; dragons; direwolves; Ser Pounce; Bran and his boring-ass story line; Mance Rayder; Cersei's wine goblet; white walkers; Salladhor Saan's fleet of naked ladies; Hot Pie; Iron Bankers.