Always Ask for a Trial By Combat – Game of Thrones S04EP08 Recap
Here be all the spoilers from this week’s Game of Thrones: Littlefinger’s life is spared, Ramsey gets a new title, Jorah gets sent packing, the brothers Lannister reminisce and The Red Viper has the world’s worst headache.
Season four has kept the shocks coming. Episode seven ended with everyone’s favorite crazy aunt getting tossed through the Moon Door by the always slippery Petyr Baelish. This week starts off with the repercussions of those actions. The council of the Vale of Arryn demands answers for Lysa’s death and their first order of business is interrogating Littlefinger, a scapegoat persona non grata almost everywhere in the Seven Kingdoms. He claims that Jon Arryn’s widow flung herself to a rocky death and that the only other witness was his niece. What he didn’t count on was Sansa Stark coming clean–sort of. While Ned and Cat’s eldest daughter reveals herself as a Stark, she does substantiate Baelish’s claims of Lysa’s suicide.
If there’s one thing Game of Thrones does right, it’s making you hate characters you thought you loved and appreciate characters you once detested. Last season saw this arch happen with Theon Greyjoy, the Ironborn who betrayed the only family he truly knew in favor of attempted to earn his father’s approval. But try and tell me you didn’t feel for the guy during his transformation into Reek at the hands of Ramsey Snow! Ramsey, Lord Bolton’s bastard son, is perhaps the least likeable character in all of Westeros. He’s a violent psychopath with a penchant for flaying and dismembering. Somehow, someway, this episode had me rooting for the guy. As reward for murdering Robb stark, Tywin Lannister gave the north to Lord Bolton–causing Flayed Man banners to rise where Direwolves once stood. After securing Moat Calin, an integral land for strategy in the north, Lord Bolton extended his title to his bastard son, removing the surname Snow and replacing it with Bolton. If that doesn’t give you all the warm and fuzzy feels, I don’t know what will.
We have known for awhile that Ser Jorah Mormont started out his career with the Targaryen siblings as a spy for Varys, reporting back to the capital the circumstances that brought the silver-haired Daenerys to be in the Khalasar and subsequently carry Drogo’s child. Well, oops, the Mother of Dragons wasn’t aware of this fact until now–and she is PISSED. These two have been inseparable since season one, but Khaleesi banished him from Meereen and sent him packing back to the capital.
While their relationship has been rockier than their homeland (see what I did there?), a potentially final conversation between Tyrion and Jaime Lannister saw them reminiscing on better times long past. Their “simple” cousin Orson had a propensity for squashing beetles before a mule kicked him to death. Let that trip to metaphor city roll around in your head for a bit! Do we all crush what’s beneath us while silently waiting to meet some haphazard fate, or is a beetle sometimes just a beetle?
Finally came time for Tyrion’s trial by combat. The Lannister imp’s champion: Oberyn Martell. The crown’s: The Mountain, Gregor Clegane. This episode saw what is potentially the most incredibly choreographed fight scene, not only in the series, but on television. Ever. Armed with a spear, fitting as it is part of the Martell house’s sigil, Oberyn’s dexterity in battle is matched only by his wit in conversation. The Mountain, on the other hand, what he lacks in flexibility and speed he makes up for in sheer brawn and muscle.
Most fight scenes are not known for their compelling dialogue, but the Red Viper resonating accusations that the Mountain raped and killed his sister and murdered her children, in between spearing his way to victory, was nothing short of spectacular. After striking the Mountain down, the second prince of Dorne took an ill advised moment to gloat. While playing dead, the Mountain struck Oberyn in the leg, leaned over his body and crushed his skull in with his thumbs in his eye sockets. Seven. Hells. Pedro Pascal, who portrays the Red Viper said it best:
— Pedro Pascal (@PedroPascal1) June 2, 2014
In accordance with the trial by combat, Hand of the King Tywin Lannister announced to the crowd that, in sight of Gods and men, Tyrion Lannister was sentenced to die.
BUT, I wonder what happens in a trial by combat if both champions fall. I mean, the Mountain was severely wounded after all. Also, there’s been a lot of poison flowing through the Red Keep in season 4. Perhaps there’s some hope that Peter Dinklage will stick around, but keep in mind that Game of Thrones is not at all opposed to killing off show runners.
RELATED: Get caught up with all things Game of Thrones here.
Nerd out with Kurt on Twitter @theactualkurt