Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 10: Valar Morghulis

Well, that brings us to the close of season two. It has been an amazing ride and I can’t believe it is already over. Game of Thrones season two has seen some of the most amazing television production HBO or any other network, has ever brought to air. Tonight’s season finale felt appropriately epic (though not as much as last week’s episode and that is by design), closing the door on several chapters and opening up even greater potential for season three. Each main character got their due; good and bad decisions were potentially made (though nothing is ever what it seems) throughout.

Let’s start with Theon Greyjoy, who has fascinated me with his stupidity all season. Last we saw him, Theon decided to stay in Winterfell with his small force of twenty men. This always seemed like a bad idea, but Theon saw himself trapped between two worlds, and was unwilling (rightly so) to go back to how things were before. Though Maester Luwin advises him to drop what he’s doing and head north to “take the Black” at the Wall (thus absolving him of his sins and crimes), Theon refuses. His impotent man-boy rage eventually gets him taken prisoner by his own men, in what can only be described as poetic justice. Eventually, Luwin lay dying and Bran and Rickon are spirited away to the Wall by Osha, Winterfell burns (though we’re not sure who set fire to it), and the long talked about winter is finally here.

In Qarth, situations finally resolve themselves. What surely could have taken only five or six episodes to handle, Daenerys finally confronts Xaro and the Warlocks of Qarth. She retrieves her dragons after a vision quest, which included a very welcome vision with Khal Drogo (who is missed, and who had like thirty lines!). With Jorah Mormont and her people by her side, Daenerys, it seems, is finally ready to make some forward momentum in this universe. She locks up Xaro in his own vault and her men ransack the palace, taking enough gold and jewels to hire that boat she desperately needs to get back to Westeros. In short, it was great to see Daenerys finally take charge the way she did back in season one.

Arya Stark escaped Harrenhal with the aid of Jaqen, with whom she departs and heads off with Gendry and the heavy-set young man she met way back in King’s Landing (whatever his name is… I don’t know) to find her mother, brother, and also Sansa if that would be ok too. Jaqen reveals himself to be one of “the Facelss Men,” a group of assassins from Braavos. He gives her a transport coin as a payment, telling her if she wishes to see him in the future, she only need to present the coin to a citizen of Braavos and say the words “Valar Morghulis.” He mysteriously shapeshifts his face, and heads off into the unknown. He’ll be back I’m sure.

In King’s Landing, Tyrion learns he is no longer Hand of the King. His father, Tywin, has returned (having last week almost single-handedly defeated Stannis’ forces). For his help in winning the battle, Tyrion is now ceremoniously dumped off in another part of town, far away from the Red Keep. Though Shae offers to leave for Penthos, Tyrion vows to stay in King’s Landing. He loves playing the game far too much, and throughout the entirety of season two, he’s found that he’s quite good at it.

In the Stark camp, Robb, who at one point seemed like he had this whole rebellion thing under control, continues to unravel. He refuses to reconcile the situation with his mother, arrogantly brushing off her advice to him to keep his vows. Even Stannis (who is apparently not captured I guess?), in an unrelated scene with Melisandre, feels remorse for killing Renly, his brother. Robb marries Talisa in a secret, short ceremony, defying the oath he made to marry the Frey girl. Robb’s continued arrogance, in several ways, mirrors that of Joffrey and Theon. This marriage can only mean disaster for the Starks.

By far the most interesting developments are taking place north of the Wall, where Jon Snow, after killing the Halfhand, has become an accepted member of the Wildlings (this was planned between the two and is far too complicated to really comment on here). Snow is finally able to see the Wildling camp that Rayder has gathered. Now that it seems Snow is in their inner circle, we will be privy to what Rayder’s been planning. We’ve been hearing about him since the first episode of season one and I’m eagerly waiting for what happens next in the frozen north. We are also finally witness to the creatures and monsters beyond the wall, as they have assembled and are no marching, perhaps towards the Wall and castle Black itself. This was an excellent, terrifying scene that I’m sure cost HBO a pretty penny but was totally worth it. We’ll have to wait until next March to find out what happens next!





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