Game of Thrones, Season 2, Ep 10 “Valar Morghulis”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

King’s Landing: Tyrion wakes up after the battle, heavily bandaged (I knew he wouldn’t die). But rather than being given a hero’s reception for saving King’s Landing, he is in a cell. Tywin has taken over as Hand of the King, and nobody seems to want to give Tyrion any credit at all for his plan to decimate Stannis’s fleet. In fact, Varys tells Tyrion that Cersei plotted to have him killed on the battlefield. I’m not sure what Cersei has against her brother – he’s the only one who was keeping Joffrey in line. Maybe she reckons Tywin can do a better job. Good luck. Shae arrives and Tyrion figures she’ll be repulsed by his facial scars, but she is loyal and urges him to run away with her to back to Pentos, which I think is her homeland. But Tyrion is stubborn and wants to hang out where nobody likes him.

Meanwhile, Joffrey rewards Tywin and some other men who helped save the city from Stannis. One guy asks that Joffrey marry his sister, Margaery (Renly Baratheon’s widow), to cement an alliance between Houses Lannister and Tyrell. Joffrey actually seems to show some interest in a female and it looks like he wants her, but he makes a show of holding his path to marry Sansa. Cersei argues that Sansa is from a traitorous house and so the oath is null, which Joffrey immediately seizes on to express his wish to marry Margaery. Sansa turns away, seemingly upset, but does a little “Yes!” dance as she walks away. But Petyr Baelish warns her that she is now in danger in King’s Landing, and he will work to get her home to Cat and her family. I was a bit confused here, because I thought “The Hound” Clegane offered the same thing to Sansa last episode, and it wasn’t clear if they actually left the city or not. I guess not. Well, Sansa better get out of here quickly now… I can’t see Joffrey keeping her around much longer. I can’t honestly see him treating Margaery much better, either.

Red witch hangout: Stannis survived the battle, but is furious at the witch Melisandre for prophesying that he would win. She makes some Trelawney-esque excuses about The Sight being more sort of guidelines than rules, but that she still foresees his eventual victory in her oracular flames. She encourages Stannis to peer into the fire too, and when he does he says he sees it too…

I’m not sure what they’re seeing, but Stannis seems pretty convinced. Which will only make him more dangerous because presumably he’ll never give up now.

Fleeing Harrenhal: Arya, Gendry, and their fat friend (whose name I don’t know) make their way across the land. The mysterious Jaqen shows up, semi-mystically, for a chat with Arya. He wants to take her to Braavos, to learn how to fight, but Arya just wants to go home to Winterfell. Jaqen gives her a special coin, saying that if she needs him she only has to give it to anyone from Braavos and say the words “Valar Morghulis”. He makes her repeat them twice for good measure, then mysteriously vanishes.

I’m not sure if this is some sort of magic, or just mystical ninja abilities. It’s also highly unclear why Jaqen wants to offer Arya even more assistance, after having already fulfilled more than his initial promise of killing three people for her. And also, if this Jaqen can travel around so magically, how the heck did he end up locked in a cage by the Lannister army in the first place? He seems like he wants to help Arya, but everything about him smells fishy – I don’t trust him. He must have some hidden agenda of his own going on.

Winterfell: The town is besieged by an overwhelming force of Stark soldiers. Theon and his small group of men have nowhere to go, so Theon decides to stand and fight to the death. He gives a rousing speech, then one of his men cold-cocks him from behind and they stick a bag over his head. Maester Luwin races out to see what is going on, and one of Theon’s men stabs him with a spear, mortally wounding him. Theon’s men then drag Theon off, presumably to head back towards the Iron Islands. I thought at first they’d killed Theon, but it looks like he’ll live to do more stupid stuff another day. His dad will probably chew him out, and Theon will go crazy and fly into a murderous rage or something. Yeah, I bet Theon kills his father at some point.

Bran, Rickon, Hodor, and Osha emerge and find Theon’s retreating men have torched the town. Luwin is somehow sitting under one of those red-leafed trees outside the town, dying. He tells Bran to head to The Wall, where Jon will look after them. They head off, and at Luwin’s request Osha puts him out of his pain.

So… Arya is heading to Winterfell, but Winterfell isn’t going to be there when she arrives. One wonders what she will do then. Maybe head to Braavos and become a fighter.

Qarth: Daenerys enters the House of the Undying, a tower which behaves a lot like a Dungeons & Dragons trap dungeon, separating her from Jorah and her remaining Dothraki horseman. She wanders a while, seeing what looks very much like the Iron Throne room, except the roof is caved in and snow is falling into the room. I guess this is a premonition of the coming winter, and possible the after effects of her attacking King’s Landing with dragons – melting the castle around the Throne. Then she meets Drogo and their son, and wonders if she has joined them in death. So we’re seeing alternate futures? I presume some of this will make sense at some point, but it’s a bit confusing now.

Then Daenerys hears her dragons, and finds them chained on a pedestal. The wizard guy does his Mirror Image D&D spell thing, but Daenerys sics her dragons on him and they breathe fire and kill the guy. Pretty poor show from an alleged wizard, honestly. But this does show how powerful Daenerys and her dragons will be. Just wait until they grow up a bit!

Daenerys emerges with dragons in tow. Then she finds Daxos in his bed with some woman, and takes them prisoner. She opens his vast treasure vault, but puzzlingly finds it empty – it seems Daxos is only pretending to be the richest man in Qarth, and doesn’t actually possess anything. Which is very weird – you can’t just pretend to be rich, you actually need some money to pull it off. Anyway, Daenerys decides a suitably ironic fate will be to seal Daxos in his own vault.

This is a silly move. Normally Daenerys is moderately sensible, but never, ever leave an enemy to a fate where you don’t see their dead body. Any number of Batman villains could tell you that. I predict we have not seen the last of Daxos.

The North: Jon’s companion Watchman starts a show fight with Jon, and remembering his words that Jon needs to convince these wildlings that he has turned to their side, Jon kills him. Okaaaay… it seems like a stupid plan, but whatever. The wildlings lead Jon to a small town, which obviously looks unlike anything he ever expected to see the wildlings put together.

Samwell and some other guys meanwhile are out in the snow collecting animal dung to burn, when they hear a horn signal from their main camp. It’s three blasts, which signals… they never say what it signals, but the dread indicates it’s probably White Walkers. And indeed, an army of dead/undead things comes tromping across the snow towards them. They scatter and Sam takes refuge behind a rock, watching as the nasty undead things walk past…

Presumably they’re heading south, to attack The Wall and emerge into the lands beyond. Look out! Nice cliffhanger to end the second season.

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