Season finales are always hard. Is it best to wrap up storylines? Is it best to create cliffhangers and keep viewers salivating for more over the months that the show is off air? Last nights episode of Game of Thrones seemed to tow the line between both, and did it pretty successfully. In this season two finale, which had an extended run time fit everything in, we travelled around the map and visited almost every part of Westeros, so we got a little status update on all of our favorite characters before saying goodbye for longer that I would like it to be. After last week's Battle of Blackwater (which was so epic I want to re-watch it for the third time) I found it a bit difficult to jump around, because once again, we didn't get to spend more than a couple of minutes with any of the characters, but it was fun as there were definitely quite a few twists and turns and surprises that I didn't see coming at all. It was also interesting, because they truly did seem to play on the theme of the title of the book series "A Song of Ice and Fire" as we jumped between both elements and saw many of the events playing with one of those in some form.
We start out with Tyrion Lannister in one of the coolest shots I have seen in a long time. The scene opens on an extreme close up of Tyrion's eye as he lays on the ground and we see the fire of war raging in the reflection of his eye after he has been cut across the face. Then, with one blink of the eye we are transported to a different time and place where we now see Maester Pycelle's reflection in his eye. I thought this was such an awesomely interesting shot, that I was so pumped, but then quickly became disappointed at the state of our friend Tyrion. He is now been relinquished to some dark and dismal room after King Joffrey has him stripped of his title of Hand of the King and given it back to his father, Tywin Lannister. I don't know what I expected to happen to Tyrion after the battle, but I certainly never expected this. I think I became saddened by this scene, as it had seemed as if his father had finally accepted Tyrion and realized how smart and politically savvy he actually was when he made him the Hand of the King. Now, that all seems to be forgotten and even more forgotten (other than by Varys) is the fact that he was the one that allowed them to win the fucking war. If it wasn't for his plan with the Wildfire, King's Landing would have likely fallen to Stannis Baratheon and his army before Tywin and the Tyrell's were even showed up. I can only hope that there is some foreshadowing in his conversation with Shae when he denies her offer to escape it all as he says "Outtalking them, outthinking them. I like it. I like it more than anything I've ever done." All I can say is please let Tyrion find a way to think himself out of this predicament....I truly am not sure if I can bear the Lannisters in King's Landing without him.
Cut to the sickening scene where King Joffrey gets to congratulate everyone on a job well done, while completely ignoring the fact that he literally ran away and hid during the battle. I think possibly one of my only disappointments with this season is that we close it out with him still sitting on the Iron Throne, and seemingly, no closer to being ripped of the title than when we first began. The surprising element of this ceremony that I did not see coming at all, is how Margaery Tyrell is actually able to fulfill her wish and her pledge to become Queen. I suppose I should have known better, but when she declared this, I didn't think there was any possibility of it actually coming true, and yet here we are. When looking at this, she does seem to be a much stronger choice, and I can only hope we will soon be treated to some pretty brilliant scenes between she and Cersei, as I venture to guess she will able to stand up and go toe-to-toe with her much more than Sansa Stark ever did.
It was also nice to see Sansa smile for the first time in well, possibly, ever? I just wish she would actually listen to any of the people that are trying to get her out of King's Landing. She first turned down the offer from the Hound, which could have been understandable because she would have broken her vow to marry the King, but now that she has been released, why oh why won't she let Littlefinger get her out of there? I certainly hope when he called her out for lying, she changed her mind. Speaking of Littlefinger, has all of his scheming finally paid off as King Joffrey declares him the master of Harrenhal? He will for sure be on of the most powerful Lords in Westeros, but the question will be what will he do with this power. It is interesting when thinking of Littlefinger, because other than being "out for himself" we really have no idea what his end game is.
Oh, and after the Battle of Blackwater, we can count Stannis Baratheon down, but according to some fire and his witch lover Melisandre, we cannot necessarily count him out. I still don't like that woman and she gives me the creeps every since she birthed that smoke baby, but she allows Stannis to look at another vision for his future in her fire. I have no idea what he actually saw, but he seemed to like it, so while last week it seemed like we wouldn't be seeing any more of him, I now suspect he will have much more story to come.
In Robb Stark's camp, I guess I should not have been surprised by this one, but I certainly was annoyed by the fact that he just up and married that girl and completely broke his vow to marry one of Walder Frey's daughters. I am all for a good love story, but I wanted to yell at him and say "grow up!" While he seemed to be one of the strongest choices for King of the North, it truly made me wonder if he really has the ability to do what needs to be done. This also seemed a bit out of character for Talisa who struck up a conversation with Robb by preaching how war has killed and hurt so many men, and now she just willingly entered in to a marriage that has the potential to hurt his men more than anything up to this point.
And, then there was everything that happened at Winterfell, which was pretty sad and depressing (except for when Theon Greyjoy got knocked out…that was quite amazing.) Theon is left surrounded by the bastard who has come on behalf of Robb Stark to get revenge (since he thinks Theon has burned his two brothers to death) but the surprising moment was when the Maester Luwin actually tried to help Theon. I wasn't sure if he was trying to get him out of Winterfell in order to save it, or if he actually still had an affinity towards him, but Theon really should have listened. Instead, he gives what he thought was a rousing speech (much like Tyrion's last week) to rally his troops, but in quick moment he gets knocked out and dragged away to a location un-known. I loved this moment as anything that makes Theon look like an idiot is great, but the fact that Maester Luwin gets stabbed and ultimately dies made did not make me very happy. And then, Winterfell gets burned to the ground. Remember back when Ned Stark was alive and Winterfell was such a place of refuge and as much happiness as we could expect from anyone in Westeros? Yeah, not anymore…now the family that once lived there is spread across the land, all in varying degrees of danger, and now it seems that with this fire, we know that they will never be united and together in their home again. Good thing Bran and Rickor are able to escape the flames, but not good is the fact that the Maester suggests they go to the North Wall. He suggests they go there so Jon Snow can protect them, but sadly, he isn't there, but rather he is becoming rather entrenched with a pack of Wildlings.
As for my favorite little Arya Stark, I'm all for being loyal to family, but how she decided not to go with Jaqen H'ghar and find out how to do that "change your face" trick is beyond me. Had she done that, she probably could have hidden out and survived for years while becoming one of the most terrifying characters in the land. At least we know, she will be able to find Jaqen, excuse me, Valar Morghulis, whenever she needs him. I also must say that I hope she teams up with someone else soon because after her alliances with Tywin and Jaqen, her dynamic duos are my favorite couplings in the show.
And, as much as I would like to, I simply cannot forgot Daenerys and her dragons. I know that her scene with Drogo was supposed to be very heart-warming and sweet, but I have never been able to feel much for their relationship, because I have always been confused by when/if they actually feel "in love"? One moment she was threatened that he was going to rape her and the next she was calling him "My Moon and My Stars". I just never got behind this, so his appearance felt so contrived that I really just was ready to move on to someone else. She also has become more annoying as the episodes have gone on, so I guess I was happy that she was reunited with her dragons,(sorry…children) but really only because I think they bring another interesting element to the show. After they kill the creepy skinny man, they truly show that their fire is something to be reckoned with and scared of, and I like the addition of their power to the battle.
On the other end of the spectrum, we close the episode out with the opposite of the fire-breathing dragons and we meet what I would like to call the "Ice Army". The blue eyes of the White Walker Ice King are truly and simply terrifying. And, the high point in the episode, were the final moments as they march through the ice and snow (and decide to leave Sam alone) and head on their way to battle. I have no idea what their intentions are, but holy shit this leaves us with the biggest cliff-hanger of the season, as to how these new creatures will figure in to the battle for the Iron Throne.
So, at the end of season two this is where we stand as we wait for season three: we have dragons, we have White Walkers, we have zombies, and we have one hell of a war coming. My question that I am struggling with right now? Can I wait that long? The ending of last nights episode for the first time made me want to read the books. Not that I haven't had a desire before, but since I watched season one the week before season two aired, I haven't not been without my friends in Westeros long enough to miss them. Now that I know I have a long 10-month stretch do I need something to fill the void? My heart wants to say yes, but as fan of the show part of me wants to be fresh as I watch. Oh, the struggles you have caused me Game of Thrones. Until we meet again…