(Photo Courtesy of The Scruffy Nerf Herder)
Three “television enthusiasts,” the dynamic brother-sister duo of Marci and Rusty Buehler and Zac Hirschbeck, watch Game of Thrones each Sunday night and exchange their thoughts on the show’s happenings.
Marci: Wow. Game of Thrones has always been fun to watch, but this season keeps leaving us with super memorable moments right before the credits roll each week. “The Mountain and The Viper” was no exception, as Prince Oberyn found out what it’s like to have your head LITERALLY EXPLODE (count your blessings, people who complain about allergies).
Yes, we got to see the duel last night, which I was very pleased about. As the minutes ticked by on the clock, I was afraid we weren’t going to get to see the bout until next week, but the showrunners blessed us with not only a fight, but a great one. At first it looked as though The Viper would surprisingly use his hatred and rage towards The Mountain to get a few good slashes in before ultimately (almost) giving him the kill shot. BUT… his pent up rage got the best of him, as he wanted to see The Mountain suffer until he confessed to raping and murdering the Prince’s sister. Unfortunately for the Viper, The Mountain did eventually confess — but he did it while gouging at the Prince’s eyes until his head exploded like a piñata being hit by The Rock.
And I’m not sure what the official rules of duels are in King’s Landing, but although it seemed like both champions were dead by the end of it, Tywin announced that Tyrion was sentenced to death. So I guess it’s whoever dies first loses? If so, they should have a doctor or something there to officiate – maybe the Prince’s heart was still beating after the head explosion – if so, did he technically “outlive” The Mountain? I mean this is what we’d call a photo finish in horseracing. Except when these champions lose, they won’t be made into glue.
So what’d you guys think of the duel’s outcome? Did it surprise you? Were you satisfied? Did the Prince’s constant jibber-jabbering during the duel remind of you Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride?
That’s not all that happened last night, though. What’d you boys think of the return of Zac’s favorite Wilding, Ygritte? And the odd new relationship Sansa and Littlefinger are forming? And the fact that Jorah continues to not be able to catch a break?!
Zac: “I should have known that it would end this way. I should have known that there was no other way. Didn’t hear your warning. Damn my heart gone deaf.”
Some fitting lyrics from Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters that sum up my feelings at the end of last night’s episode. Although I can’t really explain why, I was more devastated by Oberyn’s death than any of the other brutal deaths in this show’s past. Despite the injustice and shock that came from seeing almost the entirety of the Starks wiped out by Joffrey, Walder Frey, and the Boltons, I soon understood the value in setting up a story through each of their respective departures. I truly can’t bring myself to comprehend Oberyn’s death. What purpose does his death truly serve? Are we going to meet his brother, who is the true Prince of Dorne? Are we going to meet Oberyn’s bastard daughters that are lovingly referred to as the “Sand Snakes”? While those both would prove to be interesting storylines down the line, I’ll readily admit that I remain very much bummed out over the Red Viper’s death. Those last three minutes took me from the highest high to the lowest low. As I saw Oberyn get the better of the Mountain and begin his, as Marci very aptly put it, Inigo Montoya-like monologue, I was fist-pumping and cheering. Seconds later, as the Mountain had arose from his brief slumber and began squeezing and gouging the life out of my new favorite character, I was turning away in horror and sadness.
Ultimately, as Dave Grohl so eloquently put it, “I should have known.” There is no justice on this show. There is no happy ending. While Inigo Montoya avenged his father’s death and lived to tell the tale, Oberyn head was reduced to the crushed beetle corpses that Tyrion and Jaime had recalled moments earlier in the dungeons. For the first time last night, I questioned my allegiance to this show. While it’s undoubtedly incredible television, there’s consistent levels of guaranteed misery. I think we’re all anticipating eventual triumph for likable characters like Arya, Jon Snow, and Daenerys, but will that ever come? Moments like Sunday night suggest no. As one of our collective favorites Littlefinger told the breast-suckling Robyn after his mother’s death, “Everyone dies.”
Marci, was Oberyn’s death easier to accept since you knew it was coming? Do you think you might be sitting alongside me in my disappointment if you hadn’t read the books?
As far as the other happenings, I did love a Ygritte sighting and her compassion for Gilly and her child. Sansa and Littlefinger’s evolving relationship was thoroughly uncomfortable to watch throughout. And although I wasn’t as sympathetic to Jorah as you both were weeks ago, I truly feel bad for the guy. Is Khaleesi making a mistake by banishing him? I say yes.
How about the only brief moment of positivity in last night’s episode? Television’s new favorite couple is… Grey Worm and Missandei. I’d throw in an exclamation point or two, but my hopefulness for good things has been sapped by Oberyn’s death. Did I mention that I’m a little bitter over his death?
Marci: Zac, I’m sorry that The Viper’s untimely death has got you down. I’m actually coping pretty well, since I’ve learned to watch GoT with a Valyrian steel shield around my heart. Even when I know big deaths are coming, they still seem to shock me all over again (or maybe just the act of watching and hearing someone’s head getting squashed is more dramatic than what happened in my mind’s eye while reading). Or I just forgot what I read (this seems to happen a lot, to the point where I’m not sure when I’m watching the show if I’m predicting what will happen, or I’ve already read it and I know what’s going). This makes me feel old. But I’m getting off topic…
If there’s one thing we learned over the seasons, it’s that no one is safe in Westeros – and sadly, it oftentimes seems like the more likeable characters get killed off first. Conversely, our villains (Tywin, The Bolton’s, etc) seem to stick around much longer than we wish they would.
Speaking of The Bolton’s, they’ve officially added a new Bastard to the crew, turning Roose Snow into Roose Bolton. His coming of age involved having The Reek formerly known as Theon Greyjoy pretend to be Theon Greyjoy to brutally trick some Ironborns into thinking that they would be spared if they surrendered their castle. One thing’s for sure, I’m glad that my coming of age did not involved such a bloody plot. Mine was filled with anxious singing of prayers, awkward dancing with BOYS (gasp!), and a take home favor of an inflatable basketball that read “I had a ball at Marci’s Bat Mitzvah.” Much more pleasant if you ask me. But, I guess the Bolton’s have their own traditions, which seemingly include torture and murder on a consistent basis. Long story short on them: I’m so sick of them and I hope they all die horrible deaths soon.
Another moment that stuck with me from last night’s episode was Arya’s cackling laughter when she and the Hound finally arrived at the Eyrie only to find that Aunt Lysa recently made the journey to the other side of the moon door. Arya, ever the sucker for ironic laughter, had a hoot with this news. I’m eager to see if The Hound tries to sell Arya to whoever’s still living at the Eyrie anyways. If so, how do we think the Sansa/Arya reunion will play out? For some reason I don’t think either of them will be all that happy to see the other. But knowing how this show usually goes, I bet they’ll never make it into the same room as one another.
I can’t believe there’s only two episodes left! What will happen with Jon Snow & Co at the wall?! Will Jorah commit suicide after being cast aside by Khaleesi?! Will Tyrion find a way to get out of his newly appointed death sentence?! Will Hodor learn to speak another word besides “Hodor?!” So many questions still unanswered…
Rusty: Zac, I share your sadness. The Red Viper was a very cool character, and I wish he had stuck around for longer than eight episodes. Also, why only 10 episodes this season? HBO recently renewed Game of Thrones (no surprise) but for TWO more seasons. I’m curious to see what the episode order will be next season, as this show has become the watercooler conversation, both in person and online. Seriously, I had to tiptoe through the Interwebs today to avoid a whiff of anything that resembled a spoiler.
What a gnarly death. Tyrion and Jaime’s conversation about their moronic cousin with a penchant for squishing bugs should have been more of an ominous indicator of things to come. There were a lot of layers to that scene, and the recaps that I’ve been dancing around today must have had a heyday with what it was all about. Were we Tyrion, trying to understand the senseless violence that goes on and on within this show? Is there a reason behind all of the bad in Westeros? Should we feel guilty that we laugh when Jaime and Tyrion laugh at Orson’s endless delight in the squish?
But, I’m really here to talk about the most important part of the episode: Sansa’s Maleficent dress! WORRRRRRRRK, GIRL! She has embraced the dark side, she is ready to squish some bugs, and she wants to look good doing it. A lot of kids are in peril as we approach the end of this season: Robin is in Baelish’s slippery hands, Stanis’ daughter is on a boat with the Red Witch, and Arya’s only value to the Hound has now been unceremoniously thrown through the Moon Door. If we follow the show’s conventions Robin’s toast, and Stanis’ daughter probably won’t fare much better. However, Arya and Sansa have learned from their parents’ weakness. It’s sad to watch them fall to the dark, but it’s the only way to survive in this world!
Marci: Rusty, a very ominous view of what’s to happen – seems like you think all the children are in danger. So, with the two episodes left this season, any predictions on who else dies? I only know of one more death that is impending, so I will not share that one. But since the show is ahead of book three on some plot lines, I might be surprised myself.
The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Stannis’ daughter is toast by the end of the season. I don’t know if you all remember, but Arya’s friend Gendry is also in the hands of the Red Witch (he is also unknowingly Robert Baratheon’s bastard son, so he has king’s blood in his veins). I feel like the future doesn’t look so bright for these young people on the Red Witch’s boat. By the way, what does Stannis plan to do with his boats, now that he’s gotten his big loan from the Iron Bank? Not sure if that will be wrapped up this season or not…
Next week looks like it will be an episode focused on Jon Snow and his brothers defending the Wall, since it’s titled “The Watchers on the Wall.” OH SNAP, while I was looking that up, I saw that the final episode of the season is titled “The Children.” Looks like Rusty’s prediction might come true. I’m actually really nervous about what’s to come. eeeeeek!
Zac: I’d just like to briefly retrace our steps and focus on some of the questions that Marci proposed several paragraphs ago. Will Jorah commit suicide? I don’t think so. I believe we won’t see Jorah for a while, but he’ll inevitably return to save or help Khaleesi in some way. He’ll likely die trying as well since it appears Jorah isn’t allowed to have nice things. Will Tyrion manage to escape his apparently inevitable death sentence? Yes. While no one’s safe on this show, Tyrion has proved very capable of avoiding his own demise over the past few seasons. I have no idea how he will do it, but I do believe he’ll avoid execution. Will Hodor extend his vocabulary? Probably not, and I’m happy for him. Just Hodor being Hodor. Also Marci, if you still have any of those mementos from your Bat Mitzvah, I’d like one. It sounds like a keepsake that I’d truly treasure.
Rusty your point about this show’s children having a rough go of it is something I haven’t really considered, but sadly makes a whole lot of sense. All four of the remaining Stark children have led miserable lives up until this point. Out of the three Lannister children, Joffrey is dead, Myrcella has been shipped away to Dorne, and Tommen sits upon the most dangerous seat in Westeros. The list certainly doesn’t end there. You guys both discussed Robyn and Stannis’ sweet daughter, but how about Arya’s young friend that was brutally murdered by sword? Or those two children that Theon murdered and burned to pose as the Stark boys? Kids certainly don’t have it any less easy than the adults on this show. The future doesn’t exactly look bright either.
As far as my thoughts on the remaining two episodes, I’m definitely looking forward to the Wildlings-Knight’s Watch battle next week. I think Jon Snow has to live on as a heroic figure. I’m also hoping Ygritte survives the fight, but that might be a bit too optimistic. I think Daenerys will likely remain in a holding pattern until next season. I think that we’re due for a surprising turn within the Lannister family. I think they’ve been hinting at the potential demise of the Lannisters. Joffrey’s death, Cersei’s newfound vulnerability, Jaime’s display of legitimate emotion, Tyrion’s sentencing, and Tywin’s admission of sizable debt have all revealed a family that may not be as strong as it has been prior. I think one of the four family members is going down before the end of the season. Be it at the hands of each other, a vengeful citizen of Dorne, Stannis, or Khaleesi and her dragons, I think one of the Lannisters will finally pay their fitting debts.
If the death of Prince Oberyn has you down, it’s okay – it’s just make believe! Check out this pic of The Viper & The Mountain together in real life, alive and well: