‘Game of Thrones’ – Season 2, Ep. 10 Season Finale – ‘Valar Morghulis’ Recap and Review

DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS EPISODE—SPOILERS BELOW!

That’s it friends: Season Two of Game of Thrones has come and gone. What an episode to go out with!

The episode begins with one of the season’s most beautiful and best shots: a close-up of Tyrion’s eye. Tyrion awakes, bandaged, in a small room, with Maester Pycelle looking over him. Pycelle informs him that he’s no longer Hand of the King. Tyrion looks scared as Pycelle leaves.

Tywin sits atop his horse outside the hall. The horse promptly shits on the ground, and Tywin enters the room to be given verbal recognition for his victory by Joffrey and is officially declared Hand of the King. Joffrey also thanks Littlefinger for his part and declares Harrenhal his prize. Joffrey also welcomes the Tyrells, who in the previous episode had officially betrayed Stannis and rode with Tywin. Loras asks for his previous actions to be forgiven and for Margaery to be forgiven, as well. She tells Joffrey that she’s fallen in love with him at a distance through listening to the stories about him. She wishes to marry him. In a surprising turn of events, he wishes the same. Cersei suggests that he should, given that the Starks are traitors. Pycelle then speaks up to say the gods will allow it. It’s done. Sansa is embarrassed publicly but secretly relieved. Before she can sneak off, Littlefinger approaches her. He tells her that he can help her leave the city of liars. Sansa’s wishes are totally unclear at this time.

In one last scene, Varys approaches one of Littlefinger’s whores (Daisy?) and offers her a job working for him. The motives are totally unclear here, except for the fact that Varys claims to know Littlefinger’s weaknesses, despite his good job of covering them up.

We then catch-up with Brianne and Jaime. The mudslinging Kingslayer continues to harass Brianne when they approach three women’s dead bodies hanging from a tree. They were killed for being with Lannister men. Just as Brianne is about to cut them down to bury them, three Stark men approach. They demand to know who she is and who her prisoner is. Despite her and Jaime’s best attempts to avoid a confrontation, Brianne is forced to kill them. She kicks some serious ass, and even Jaime looks impressed. She then cuts down the women. Brianne has just earned some serious points with Jaime and, likely, a new level of respect.

In the next very brief scene, Robb talks to Lady Catelyn about being in love with Talisa. She tells Robb that his word is to the Frey’s, as is his future marriage. Despite this admission, Robb rebels and refuses to go along with this concept of loyalty.

Somehow, the show cuts to Dragonstone and Stannis. For once this season, I’m confused by the continuity. How does he get here? He was on the wall of King’s Landing the last time we saw him! Anyway, Stannis is pissed at Melisandre for losing. He has given in to the faith of the Lord of Light and is more than disappointed that he loses the battle. Despite this loss, Melisandre is adamant that it’s all part of the plan. She and Stannis gaze into a torch flame so they can see “it.” When Stannis stares, he’s in awe.

At Winterfell, Theon sits in front of a fire with horns occasionally blaring outside. Maester Luwin enters and reminds him that it’s a siege tactic to cause him stress. Theon opens up to Luwin. He’s resentful about his upbringing and angry at his treatment from his family. Luwin suggests that Theon escape and take a place at the Wall, so that his sins will be forgiven.

The next morning, Theon stands in front of his men and delivers a speech about how they will fight to their death at the hands of the army outside the gates. They will be remembered for their fight, and it’s time to die. Just then he’s clubbed over the head by his own men. They bag him and get ready to go home, but before they do, they stab Luwin and leave him for dead.

Back in King’s Landing, Tyrion talks to Varys. Varys tells him that Tyrion was attacked by order of his sister Cersei. He also tells Tyrion that the game has changed and that they likely will see much less of each other. He respects the battle that Tyrion led and that the people will remember it. Shae enters and in a nice moment, agrees to stay with Tyrion, despite his new awesome scar (which he considers the final straw that destroys his remaining personal shield).

Cut to a tree at night, and a secret wedding ceremony transpires between Talisa and Robb. Robb has officially gone against his mother’s wishes and his word and has sworn requirements from the war. Given the loyalty that’s held in this story on one’s word, Robb commits a major act of rebellion. It doesn’t look good for Robb in the long run, but thankfully he survives this season, despite my initial thoughts. I still don’t think he’s going to make it in the long run because most characers who can be considered good people haven’t yet.

Finally, we arrive back at Qarth. It seems like we’ve been waiting ten episodes for anything of real impact to happen with Daenerys, and it feels about time that this moment has arrived. She, along with Jorah and Rakharo, approach the House of the Undying. As they inspect the tower in the middle, Daenerys mysteriously disappears from the sight of Jorah. She appears inside the dark tower and hears her dragons in the distance. Because the creators of the show love dragging her story out, we’ll stop here for now.

Next Arya and Gendry have safely escaped Harrenhal. Jaqen waits for them. This guy is really good. In a quick conversation, Arya wishes she could follow him to learn how he does what he does, but knows that she needs to find her family. Jaqen bids her farewell, gives her a coin, and tells her he is off to Bravos. Should she need to find him again, she need only show a man of Bravos that coin and say “valor morghulis,” and Jaqen will be found. As he turns to leave, he says Jaqen is dead and turns around again. His appearance has changed. Indeed, the man without a face! Apparently magic is becoming more rampant around Westeros than previously believed.

Osha, Bran, Ricken, and Hodor leave the tombs to find that Winterfell has been burned. There’s no siege army; it’s all a trick of Theon’s men to get him out, capture him, and leave. Unfortunately, they burn the city before they leave. They flee Winterfell and find Maester Luwin dying under the Heart Tree in the Godswood. In his dying words, he wishes them well and tells them to flee north to the Wall in hopes that Jon Snow can watch them until Robb and Catelyn are made aware of their safety. As they leave, Luwin tells Osha that she’s the only one who can save them and in her last act, mercifully ends Luwin’s suffering.

Finally, we get back to Daenerys in Qarth. All alone, she roams the tower. She enters a snow-filled replica of the Throne room at King’s Landing and stares at the Iron Throne, although she doesn’t touch it. Then she walks out a door that opens automatically. It turns out to be the gate at the Wall. Amidst a snowstorm, she walks into a hut. Khal Drago is inside, holding their son. They talk about this dream, the love they still have for each other, and just about kiss before she gets up and leaves to find her dragons. The Warlock’s magic is strong in this place. As she leaves this particular chamber, she exits to the center of the tower to find her dragon’s chained up. Pyat Pree appears and magically chains her up. The Warlock is strongest around the dragons, who are strongest around her, ergo she’s now his prisoner. Not fearing Pyat anymore, she looks at her dragons, and they suddenly gain the ability to shoot fire. They burn Pyat to death, and their chains fall right off, as do Daenerys’. She and her dragons are free. Well, things just got a lot more intense and exciting with Daenerys! In last season’s finale, the dragons are born. In this finale, they gain the ability to spit fire. They’ve grown up!

North of the Wall, Jon is still a captive of the Wildlings along with Qhorin. In a ruse, Qhorin fights Jon in order to maintain his cover. Jon knows the game and slays Qhorin. This act gains his favor in the eyes of the Wildlings, who cut Jon’s bonds. He walks off with Ygritte to meet Mance Raydar, the King Beyond the Wall.

In a final scene in Qarth, Daenerys wakes Xaro, who has been sleeping with Doreah, knowing that she’s been betrayed. They go to open his great chamber, which he promises is filled with enough gold to buy an army. Just like the rest of the world, he’s full of lies, and the chamber is empty. Daenerys locks him and Doreah in it and shuts the door. She and her remaining Dothraki then loot Xaro’s home for gold and jewels to buy a ship to sail across the Narrow Sea. FINALLY, this story is moving somewhere just in time to go into season hiatus until March 2013.

We cut back to north of the Wall, albeit very close to the Wall. Sam is walking and talking with Edd and Grenn, when they hear the horn. It blows once (Rangers are returning), then again (Wildlings are near), and for the first time in over 1000 years, a third time (White Walkers have been seen and are coming!). The two run to the Wall, and Sam trips in the snow. He hides behind a rock and fears for his life, having seen vague shapes in the sudden blizzard that’s arrived. As he hides behind a rock, what can only be described as snow zombies slowly walk and appear beside him walking to the wall. A dead horse stops just to his side, and the King of the Walkers, with his dead blue eyes, stares right into Sam and raises his sword. The Walkers then walk straight at the Wall. This HUGE army of the frozen undead are headed south, the Wall right in their sights and not far off. THE END.

Seriously friends, this extra ten minutes of episode really packs it in. The episode is filled with season resolutions. Yes, there are plenty of cliffhangers, but for the most part it’s a very satisfying season finale. All threads are touched upon, and all story lines given their proper season finale. The appearance of the Walkers for me was unexpected and shocking (I’m reading Clash of Kings (1998) but have purposefully stayed behind as I watch the show to stay surprised—I’ll be finishing the book promptly now).

Season Two is over and for me, it was incredibly satisfying. I don’t think it matches up to the first season, but it had plenty of its own exciting moments. I hope you’ve enjoyed going through the season with me and will return next year when the show comes back.

However, to keep things exciting, I’ll be doing the same review and recap style for the new season of True Blood, which starts next Sunday. Stick with me and we’ll see what is in store for Sookie, Bill, and the rest of the Vampires, Werewolves, and craziness of Bon Temps, Louisiana!

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3 Comments

  1. I think they are on "The Fist of First Men" which is not close to the Wall, but quite a distance.

  2. I may be wrong, but I thought the ending shot was a pull out pan with the Walkers well within sight of the Wall (also why they would have heard the horn blast 3 times).

  3. It is not the Wall but the plateau where the ranging party is camping (Fist of the First Men) after they left Craster's Hut. The horn sounds is probably from the scouts around the perimeter of the camp.

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