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Game of Thrones: “Mhysa” Review

Posted on June 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm by Jeff Mueller


Alright boys and girls, I don’t know about you but I’m still not fully recovered from last week’s bloodbath (the silent credits still haunt me) and now I have to accept the fact that another season of Game of Thrones has come to an end.

So how did it stack up? Pretty damned good I must say! When the episode picked up moments after the chilling credit roll from last week, with death and destruction befalling what remains of Rob’s forces outside the walls of Walder Frey’s keep, I got a little worried; once we got past the horrendous scene of Rob Stark’s headless form being paraded around with his wolf’s head sewn onto the body (in front of poor Arya to top it off) though things settled down into a solid hour of homecomings, betrayals, political intrigue, Lannister infighting, and jailbreaks.

We begin by checking in on Walder Frey and Roose Bolton as clean up from the “Red Wedding” is under way; it seems that Arya wasn’t the only one to slip out, and that Brynden Tulley, the Blackfish, somehow made it out alive as well. What this means in terms of the last dying gasps of the war effort is still yet to be seen.

Game of Thrones - MhysaWe also come to finally learn exactly who it is that has been tormenting Theon with such unabashed joy for what seems like forever. Ramsay Snow. That’s right, another bastard of the North; this time sprung forth from Roose Bolton’s loins’. I have to say, while I know that Joffrey draws the majority of viewers ire for being an unmitigated prick (and he continues to fight hard for that honor this episode as well) it is Kirk Cameron’s twisted medieval twin here that deserves the award for being the most psychotic in the realm. The way he has gleefully broken Theon down, and how he makes him adopt the name “Reek“, is thoroughly disturbing.

Not only is it disturbing that Ramsay Snow seems to want to keep Theon around as his tortured plaything, it is also pretty messed up that he sends Papa Greyjoy a “Box o’ Theon” along with his version of a cease and desist letter.

I don’t think anyone had any doubts that Balon Greyjoy would shrug this off, but it was a bit of a turn to see Yara stand up for her brother; taking the fastest ship on the Iron Islands, along with a seasoned crew, to attempt a rescue. Who knows how this will work out, but I can’t see her getting there in time before there is nothing left for her to set free.

Seeing as we can’t just have Lord Greyjoy’s familial contempt to warm our hearts, we get a whole pile of Lannister dysfunction as well! Tywin hates Tyrion. Tyrion hates Cersei. Cersei hates Joffrey. Joffrey hates Tyrion. Tyrion hates Tywin. And so the circle goes!

We are starting to see the cracks forming in the house of the golden lion, as Tyrion’s ability to suppress his rage over Joffrey’s incessant torture of Sansa continues to weaken. His unabashed glee over the Walder Frey’s treachery and his desire to serve her Rob Stark’s head on a platter at his wedding was so distasteful that not only did Tyrion speak out, so did Cersei and Tywin (with Maester Pycelle being the only one to actually take Joffrey’s side… oh how I’ve missed that weaselly old bastard!) The aftermath of this gives us what has come to be the gold standard for this show, conversations between the Lannisters. If you think about it, these are the scenes where how really amazing the acting in this show is! We got treated tonight to Tywin and Tyrion discussing the sacrifices that must be made in the name of the family and Cersei showing her human side while explaining to her diminutive brother that despite the monster Joffrey has become, he was beautiful child who brought her much joy in those days long passed. So good!

“Everyone is mine to torment” – Joffrey

Both Jon Snow, Samwell Tarley and Gilley make it back to Castle Black while Jamie Lannister and Brienne finally return to King’s Landing; some in better shape than others though.

We reconnect with Jon Snow shortly after his fight, and escape from, the wilding raiding party. Ygritte comes across him as he is cleaning his wounds and draws on him with her bow. Jon, explains to her that he loves her and that he must go home, and after once again telling him that he knows nothing she puts three arrows into him before his horse gallops off with his limp form on its back. Luckily the horse manages to make it to Castle Black’s gates where he is brought inside to presumably have his wounds tended to. As luck would have it, his return was shortly preceded by Sam making it back with Gilley, and her son, in tow. After explaining to Maester Aemon what transpired north of the wall, they agree to allow Gilly entry into the wildling asylum program and Aemon commands that ravens be sent to every corner of Westeros carrying the news of the dangers marching south.

While it seems that anyone with half a brain is migrating south to avoid the scary frozen zombie army, Bran and his companions, the Reeds, are determined to make it north of the wall. They manage to accomplish this feat with the help of Sam who runs into them in the ruins of the Night Fort. After unsuccessfully trying to convince the youthful group to come with them to Castle Black, he arms them all (even a reluctant Hodor) with dragon-glass weapons and wishes them luck. I wonder how Jon is going to react when he finds out Sam let them go north of the wall? I can’t imagine he is going to take that too well. One also has to wonder how long it is going to be until Jojen Reed’s counsel is going to be the downfall of yet another Stark… north of the wall is no place for an army, it can’t be safe for three teenagers and a slow-witted half giant.

While not home yet we also get a glimmer of hope that not everyone is going to die. At least yet. After bonding over their upbringings, surrounded by the shit filled streets of Flea Bottom, Davos makes a bold move and frees Gendry before Melisandre can sacrifice him; placing him in a rowboat and pointing him towards King’s Landing. Whether or not he will make it is yet to be seen, but even though the final conversation between them was filled with sage advice (“Ever been in a boat before?” “No.” “Know how to swim?” “No.” “Don’t fall out.”), it still was not confidence inspiring in the least. We do learn through all of this that the Red Priestess believes that the war for the Iron Throne is but a distraction before the bigger war to be fought against the evil in the North. Whether this is true, and how Stannis and Davos factor into this is yet to be seen.

“… Then she comes at you. Big words, no clothes. What would you have done?” – Gendry

Lest we not forget that the battles for control of Westeros and for control of the north aren’t the only impending dangers, we find Daenerys Targaryen prepared to open the gates of Yunkai after the cities soldiers surrendered last episode.

Game of Thrones - Mhysa

As she addresses the ocean of slaves that pour forth through the gate, she urges them to take freedom themselves… it seems she does not wish to be seen as a conqueror, rather as a liberator. The chants of the titular “Mhysa“, which means ‘mother’, begin and she walks among them, fearless, seemingly as their savior. Will her trust in the nature of these people ever get come back to haunt her? That is a trait that has seemed to bring about the downfall of many a character so far, and you can continue to see Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan’s growing uneasiness of the situation. How are they to protect her when danger hides so easily in this far away land? We will see if she, and her dragons, will continue to make their trek towards the shores of the west or if the allure of these desert lands shackle her eventually?

Finally, I would be remiss in talking about this episode if I didn’t touch on the moment so many fans have been waiting for… Arya breaking bad on someone. When she and the Hound (this pairing has grown to be one of my favorites in the show in a short time) come across a group of soldiers huddled around a fire, boasting about killing Stark bannermen and participating in the grizzly sewing on of Grey Wind’s head to his corpse, you know something bad is going to happen. The way she hops off the horse and coldly walks up to them, and then turns “sweet” while offering them money (the valar morghulis coin) to partake in their fire and food is a little damned scary! As is the way she repeatedly prison stabs the braggart, before the Hound steps in for clean up.

When he asks her “Where did you get the knife?“, her matter of fact response of “From you” and the look of surprise on his face makes me hopeful that she will turn into the harbringer of death that everyone wants her to be and we will finally start seeing revenge exacted for her family’s losses.

All in all I thought this was an outstanding way to wind down the season; we checked in with almost every character both main and supporting (notably missing were Margaery, Lord Baelish and Bronn) and set up the next season pretty well. I don’t know about you, but the wait in between seasons are almost as painful as waiting for George Martin’s pauses in between each volume of the books… and, of course that was a lie. Where’s book number 6 dammit?!?!?

My Score: A

So let us know what you thought! Have you recovered from last week’s episode yet? Does Bran’s ghost story of the God’s curse on the cook who murdered the guests under his roof foreshadow doom for Walder Frey? Who will heed the warning from the Night’s Watch? What program is going to fill the Sunday night void for you while you wait for next season? Get to commenting below!

Make sure to follow @themightyjerd on Twitter so you can lament together over having to wait for Season 4!

Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 10 “Mhysa” aired June 9, 2013 on HBO.

Please Note – Due the nature of this TV show being quite far behind the books in terms of plot, we want to remind everyone that there is a zero tolerance policy regarding spoilers in the comments. Keep discussions relevant to the show only!

    • Snackbar

      Tywin is the best. He effortlessly puts Joffrey in his place, and sends him to bed. Arya remains the woke beacon of entertainment from the Stark Clan. I won’t go into differences between the show and the book, but Theons sister heading out to rescue her brother could he a biggie. I just hope they don’t use her to replace someone awesome from Book 4.

    • Scott Kielty

      Solid C. As a finale, I’d expect something that MAKES me want to slam my hand down on the table and say, “Damn! I can’t wait for the next season!!” Alas, that didn’t happen. I think the only thing keeping me going was knowing it was only half a book and there was another half to read.

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