ONLY THREE MONTHS OVERDUE!
Ladies and gentlemen, I must beg forgiveness for the terrible tardiness of this final recap for Game of Thrones series 2. This is well beyond Walder Frey territory, really. But here it is, finally - the last instalment this season of Raven On!
Explanations? Various amounts of busy-ness, laziness and feelings of emptiness. I DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE OVER. Not when Creepy Rapey guy turned into a slightly less rapey but no less creepy guy, and there was a wrinkled demonic White Walker leading a hoard of zombified ....
oh wait, spoilers. SPOILERS!
Poor Tyrion. A true hero in last week's episode, he's now disfigured, Bronn-less and relocated to a dank corner of the Red Keep. Maester Pycelle seems happy enough to reveal a bit of his true self to the injured imp; confident his power has been all but destroyed and the old order is re-established. Thank goodness for Pod. Still very silent in this episode, I can't wait to see more of him. Shae was also genius; after entreating Tyrion to flee with her, she listens to his impassioned declaration that messing in the politics of the Seven Kingdoms is the only thing he wants to do. This determination could be the downfall of a more foolish man; but with Tyrion's smarts, it could be the saving of a nation.
I don't think there could have been a better way to introduce Tywin Lannister than through a pile of horse droppings plopping onto the flagstones outside the throne room. Tywin's refusal to even dismount to receive his Hand badge really shows the disrespect with which he holds its heritage and legacy. Can't wait to see what he gets up to in Series Three; I hope he meets Arya again.
Margeary! Way to go with the plunging necklines and Machiavellian love declarations! She was ahem completely believable.
"No thanks, Your Grace, we brought our own wind machine."
However, the whole rigmarole of allowing Joffrey to ditch Sansa and join himself to the Tyrells through marriage was a beautifully staged event, complete with Cersei, looking no worse for wear after her drunken romp through the Battle of Blackwater Bay.
I broke into a huge grin just as Sansa did; joyous in her brief moment of believing she was free from Joffrey's grasp. What a heel Baelish was to take that from her; still, Littlefinger had a point. Joffrey doesn't like losing his toys, and Sansa is still in quite a large pile of lion droppings herself.
Varys spent some time chatting up Ros, who, after all that business with Baelish and Joffrey and the beating and the whatnot must be quite relieved to find herself in the company of a groinless man. Now while Lord Varys always wants something, and he is still pretty scary himself, I've decided I'm rooting for the Spider to beat Littlefinger in their power game, so come on, Ros, throw down with the ball-less wonder and let's crank up some insurrection next season.
Brienne and Jaime's Excellent Adventure continues apace. Jaime is really living up to his title of the biggest shit-stirrer in Westeros, relentlessing teasing Brienne about her size and mannish-ness. But damn, he gains some respect after she brutally dispatches three Stark men who rumble their identity.
Lovesick Robb Stark. Awww. Determined to marry Talisa despite Catelyn's best efforts to deter him. Their wedding in the wood means danger ahoy, and sadly, probably death. Really putting the "cinder" in "Cinderella".
One of the highlights for me this season has been Stannis Baratheon's theme music; that slow, low, deliberate, menacing chord progression that underscores all of his scenes. It was really prominent in his scene with Kate Bush (who for some reason is still being called "Melisandre"), in which he bitterly strangles her as a kind of revenge for his battle loss, only to stare into a naked flame on her command and see... something. His future? His victory? His ability to smile? (Not gonna happen).
Meanwhile, up beyond the wall, Jon Snow is being led back to Mance Raydar's seat of power; but also being led to an inevitable but still terrible decision. Qhorin is the other Night Watchman captured; but as he hints to Jon, only one of them could be effective inside. Qhorin eventually draws Jon into a battle to the death, in which they both make a huge sacrifice. I am trying to recall if Jon had actually killed anybody before this; apart from the White Walker in Mormont's chambers in series one, I don't think he has. To kill a brother is serious indeed; but as Qhorin whispers in his dying moments, "We are the watchers on the wall". It is reassurance as well as a reminder of the task Jon now faces.
I was so happy to see Khal Drogo again, as part of Danerys' dream fantasy in Q'arth's House of the Undying. And how cute was baby Rhaego? That kid came straight out of "Tug On the Ovaries" Casting Agency. Dany was confronted with a frozen wasteland of her never-seen home, including the Iron Throne itself. But the trick failed to trap her; upon finding her dragons she instinctively unleashed their firepower to burn the creepy warlock clones. Dany's side trip to Q'arth throughout this season has been a bit drawn out; but it's good to see her still growing, and really getting an edge. Deciding to lock-up Xaro and his lover Doreah (her one-time loyal servant) and take ALL the gold was pretty fricking hardcore. The message for series 3 is Don't F* With Dany. She's coming for you all.
"Oh, you messed with the WRONG blonde."
Yay! (Best Moments)
Theon Greyjoy being totally pwned at Winterfell. "I will kill that horn-blowing c*", he bemoans, under siege by Roose Bolton's bastard and his forces, with only Master Luwin around to offer genuine advice (aka "Run, you idiot, run to The Wall"). But Theon decides a glorious death is his destiny, and is finishing off a rousing speech to his troops when they thump him from behind, knocking him out. "It was a good speech, I didn't want to interrupt" is a corker line.
Arya's final scene with Creepy Rapey Guy, aka Jaqen Ha'gar (a man must have a name). He turns out to be one of the Faceless Men of Braavos. Arya would like to go with him to learn their secrets; but she must find her mother, brother and (reluctantly) her sister. He gives her a coin and the spine-chilling words "Valar Morghulis", should she ever need to find him again. Arya begs Jaqen not to go, only for him to turn around and BOOM - different guy. As I said, less rapey, but still creepy. More of a square-jawed type. Will be interesting to see where and when he shows up again.
Zing! (Best Lines)
Virtually everything out of Shae's mouth in her scene with Tyrion, but particularly her retort after he tries to put on a brave face and ask if she's leaving him - "You have a shit memory. I am yours." BLESS.
One of the Night's Watchmen keeping Sam company while they wait for Jon to return: "Nobody should live anywhere you have to burn shit to stay alive." AMEN, BROTHER.
Wow, bit of a "shit" trend here. I obviously like swearing a bit too much.
Ewww, gross (A skin-crawling moment)
When Brienne asks the Stark men if they killed three serving girls quickly, one replies "Two we did, yeah.". It's one of those blithely delivered bits of horror that Game of Thrones does so well. Brienne, though, acts as a god of retribution, efficiently killing all three after they rumble and delivering the same message back to him "Two quick deaths?". The look on Jaime's face is priceless.
I didn't understand the razing of Winterfell. So the Iron Islanders torch the joint then escape... but what happened to the siege forces? Surely they would've raced in to help; they were under orders to find the intruders and to secure the safety of the Starks. Why was it deserted when Osha brings Bran, Rickon and Hodor to the surface? And how did the Iron Islanders escape? Through the tunnels? Wouldn't they have run into the Stark children?
Master Luwin's death. This actually really shocked me. I loved that guy. Wise, kind, generous, loyal... he's a big loss.
What's with the zombie army? Did that wizenened icy melty dude actually see Sam Tarly? Are they just going to walk right on by the little fat kid and onto the Fist of the First Men camp? Or are they heading for Mance Raydar's city? And what's special about them - if they turn out to be just regular zombies I shall be most annoyed. If I wanted to do Walking Dead recaps, I'd do Walking bloody Dead recaps. Still, bring on series 3. It looks like we're going down that "Magic is Back" road; but as long as Tyrion keeps flying the flag for political machinations, I'll be happy.
"Hmm, did I pack moisturiser?"
I do want to write more, but this is already pretty epic, so I'll leave it here for now. In the meantime, I'm putting together a collection of spectacular Game of Thrones merch that you can buy, some licenced, but most just inspired by the series and put up on various creative websites. Feel free to leave any suggestions for this list!