'Game of Thrones' Season 2, Episode 10 (Finale) Recap - 'Valar Morghulis'
You had to expect, considering how epic "Blackwater" was last week, that this week's season finale was never going to measure up. You would have been correct, too: "Valar Morghulis" was an odd finale, one that felt more like a denouement than a climax.
And, now that we're done with that whole simple-to-cover single location thing, we're back to recapping by location. Here we gooooooooo!
One of the first images we get is of Tyrion waking up (yay!), but unfortunately he quickly finds out that he's in a bad spot. Seeing as Tywin is back in town, Tyrion is out as Hand of the King, and Bronn has been fired from the Gold Cloaks too. That's especially bad news, as Varys reveals that it was Cersei who ordered Mandon Moore to kill Tyrion on the battlefield. If Tywin is in charge of the guard, Tyrion should be okay. If Cersei is, then he's... well, not okay.
Tyrion's bravery and strategy in the battle is going completely unnoticed as Tywin and the Tyrells have more or less stolen all of his thunder. Not that Joffrey was going to give Tyrion any credit anyway.
But perhaps this is all for the best: Tyrion was getting a little too in control, and one of the big reasons that we root for him is that he's the underdog. It's much more fun to watch him outwit and outplay his way to the top than to watch him stay there, even though I could watch him give battle speeches all day.
Oh, also Pycelle totally burns Tyrion by tossing him a coin and saying "for your troubles." Gran Maester burn!
The one bright spot for Tyrion is that Shae is still by his side, and they get another rather sweet scene. Peter Dinklage is once again doing really great work, and is a sure bet for another Emmy at this point. The woman who plays Shae is not. Here's a fun fact: she did German hardcore porn before she was on this show. It's true! Google it! Not if you're at work, though.
Things aren't going particularly well for Sansa, either: when the Tyrells show up, Joffrey offers them anything they want, and they respond with Margaery giving a speech about how she wants to marry Joffrey and she's been admiring him from afar. The cleavage was a good choice. Well played, Margaery.
Joffrey considers this, but turns it down since he's sworn to Sansa. But then Cersei and Pycelle speak up and say something to the effect of "UH DUDE NO MARRY HER INSTEAD PLEASE," so Joffrey agrees. This should be great news for Sansa as she is now free of that engagement, but that's only if Joffrey actually decided to free her. As Littlefinger so delicately points out to Sansa, Joffrey can now use her however he likes. She could be raped, beaten or killed at this point and nobody would care. So, time to GTFO Sansa. Like, now-ish.
Speaking of Littlefinger, he gets Harrenhal for his arrangement of the Tyrell/Lannister alliance, which makes Varys rather pissy indeed. He goes to Roz and proposes that she work for him instead... presumably the start of a plot to bring Baelish down from the inside. Intriguing.
On the Road (Brienne and Jamie Edition):
Brienne continues her road trip with Jamie, who is as obnoxious as ever. But when the two run into the hanging corpses of three girls who fraternized with Lannister men, left there by the Stark army, Brienne stops to give them a burial and they run into three Stark soldiers.
This is where Brienne gets laughed at extensively by the three jerkoffs, who admit that two of the three women had quick deaths. Thankfully, one of them recognizes Jamie and Brienne is free to slice all three of them into mincemeat, giving the especially dickish one a nice, slow, painful death. Another point for Brienne. And hopefully Jamie has a little more respect from now on.
I don't know about you, but I was kinda hoping we would get to see Brienne and Jamie attempt to make up a fake name for Jamie at the same time. What names would they have come up with? Harry? Mortimer? J'Garmogh?
For lack of anything better to do this week, Robb gets married to Talisa because they're in loooooove. The possible implications of this are that Robb crosses Walder Frey and ends up in trouble later. We'll see.
I thought that Stannis had at least been captured last week, considering he was over the wall when Tywin and the Tyrells showed up. Apparently, though, he and Melisandre escaped back to Dragonstone, where Stannis is having some serious regrets. "I murdered my brother!" he says. Yeah buddy. Yeah you did.
Melisandre comforts him, though (after he gets a good throttling in on her) and tells him to look into the fire, where he sees visions of his future. So either she's pulling more tricks on him or he's really still supposed to be doing this.
Dany, who has been largely ignored for most of the season, finally gets to do something: she goes to the House of the Undying to look for her dragons. The sorceror's magic separates her from Jorah and has her wandering through the very creepy tower alone, following the calls of her dragons.
It's a slow but interesting sequence: her exploration of the tower leads her into the burnt remnants of the throne room in King's Landing, where she is almost drawn into touching the throne, but is lead away by the cries of her dragons. Then she finds herself north of The Wall and wandering into her hut, where she finds Drogo and her son, both quite healthy and quite not dead. Drogo, as it turns out, is still a pretty sweet guy even as a projection of Dany's desires (or perhaps because of that).
This is all a way of showing what Danaerys wants, which is a refreshing change of pace for a character who has just been yelling what she wants all season. It's always been "the throne is mine by right" and "my dragons blah blah" but very little action from Dany. With this, though, we can see her greatest desires as they are presented to her, but her desire to be with her dragons and earn her right to the throne is greater still.
She finds them, but it was all a trap: the sorceror chains her up to keep her near her dragons and keep his magic strong. He forgot about one thing, though: THOSE ARE FUCKING DRAGONS, YO. THEY BREATHE FIRE. A simple command from Dany and they burn the sucker to a crisp. Awesome.
Turns out that Xaro was a dick, too, as his vault was totally empty. Dany's traitorous former handmaiden was also sleeping with him, so there's that. They both get locked in the vault where they belong, and Dany raids Xaro's place for gold and jewels to buy a ship.
On the Road (Arya Edition):
Arya & Friends continue their exodus from Harrenhal, where they run into Jaqen one last time. Arya thanks him, and Jaqen makes her an offer: she can come with him to Braavos, where he will teach her to be a "faceless man." She declines, because she still has to help Robb and Sansa, so Jaqen gives her a coin. If she ever needs him, he explains, she should give this coin to anyone from Braavos and speak the words, "Valar Morghulis."
We all assumed the "faceless man" thing was a metaphor and whatnot, but as it turns out, Jaqen can actually instantly change his face to a completely new one. Seriously. It's like "Face Off" but with less John Travolta. Jaqen is now the new coolest person ever.
Some pretty great scenes take place here, as Theon sits, sleepless, listening to the hornblower from the Stark army who aims to keep him awake. It's working. He has an emotional conversation with Maester Luwin, who attempts to convince him to sneak out and join the Night's Watch.
Instead, though, Theon attempts to rally his 20 men with his own St. Crispin's Day speech. It's actually a pretty good one, but it only results in his still totally shady soldiers knocking him out, stabbing Luwin, and burning Winterfell down before they leave.
Bran and his crew find Luwin just barely alive, and he tells them to go to The Wall, where Jon Snow will undoubtedly take care of them.
North of the Wall:
What Luwin doesn't know, though, is that Jon is still in deep snowy shit up in the Wilds. Qhorin Halfhand executes his plan to free Jon, which involves starting yet another fight with him and tricking the Wildlings into letting them duke it out with swords. Jon wins, so now the Wildlings consider him to be trustworthy and unbind him. Jon is now on his way to meet the King of the North.
The big setup for next season, oddly enough, starts with Samwell & Friends, as they continue their work. They hear two blasts and get ready to fight off Wildlings... that is, until they hear the third blast. And what does three blasts mean, class? That's right: White Walkers.
Samwell, being a little behind on his cardio regimen, gets left behind in the hasty retreat to the Wall. He hides behind a rock and watches as a veritable army of Wights go by him, led by a rather nasty-looking White Walker on a zombie horse.
And with that, season two comes to a close. Thanks for tuning in, folks. We'll be back next season, assuming we can all stand the wait until then.