Review of Game of Thrones ‘Valar Morghulis’
After all the attention that was focused upon King’s Landing last week, the season finale played catch up this week in the other plot threads.
The first thing to mention was the astounding conclusion to this episode which featured an army of White Walkers. The White Walkers have not been seen for a while and it came as an unexpected shock when they emerged. It was a great payoff to see the legion of snow zombies. Are they making their way towards the Wall? If so, Winter is indeed coming. Although some of the White Walkers looked like they had wandered out of a computer game, the more natural-looking ones were quite impressive. Will battle finally commence in series 3?
As a whole, Valar Morghulis had a significant amount of progression in several of the strands, including the one involving Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). She has spent half of the series in the Red Waste and the other half in Qarth but at last she entered the House of the Undying and retrieved her dragons.
In some ways the sequence had a Crystal Maze vibe to it with Pyat Pree (Ian Hanmore) serving as a sort of sickly Richard O’Brien. It was fantastic to see the Mother of Dragons growing in strength and commanding her ‘children’ to destroy the warlock. Daenerys has come so far and with each series she is growing in strength. She is capable of mercy but can be ruthless if the occasion calls for it. She showed this side when she was betrayed by Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie). Clarke is developing the strength of her character but there are moments when she falters but as she grows more into the role this is likely to fade.
In relation to the other subplots, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and the others remained fugitives. Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin) secretly married against the wishes of Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). The other Stark boys were also on the run as Winterfell smouldered. Meanwhile, Sansa Stark’s (Sophie Turner) engagement to Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) ended. He was betrothed to Maegery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) who will do anything to obtain power for her family. In the Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) camp, Melisandre of Asshai (Carice van Houten) said that he would be victorious but whether this will come to pass may does not seem like a certainty. Beyond the Wall Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is still a prisoner of the Wildings and is being taken to Mance Rayder.
There was a lot of underlying comedy in the episode between Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) while she continued to escort him back to the capital. The comedy comes from Jaime unashamedly questioning Brienne about her sexual experiences. In return she answered as if she is swatting at fly who kept buzzing at her ear. He asked questions that you would never dare to ask someone if you wanted to live. He knows he can nettle her because she won’t kill him.
There was a brilliant laugh-out-loud moment when Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) gave a rousing and inspiring pre-battle speech before getting knocked out by Dagmer Cleftjaw (Ralph Ineson). It was such a surprise but worked so well. This humour may be quite modern and anachronistic like the swearing but it seems to work in Game of Thrones. Perhaps that is part of the charm of the show, this medieval fantasy drama doesn’t take itself too seriously and there are moments when the tongue-in-cheek works.
Valar Morghulis offered progression however, in the overall story arc it is still early days with at least another series to follow before the song of ice and fire reaches its half way point. Series 2 has had its share of twists and turns, with the battle for King’s Landing being the highlight of the series.
Some suggestions for the next series: either feature less female nudity or show some more male nudity to create a balance; give more time to the strands, sometimes the ‘check-ins’ feel redundant and fail to move the plot forward at all; more musical numbers from Bronn (Jerome Flynn); finally, please can someone take off Joffrey’s head?
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Image credit: HBO
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