The season 1 finale of Game of Thrones brought us the arrival of Daenerys Targaryna’s baby dragons, so the bar was set incredibly high. Somehow the show managed to top that with a visual so shocking and amazing that I was left flabbergasted. But aside from the arrival of the Whitewalkers, the Game of Thrones season 2 finale provided plenty of new directions for all of the characters, including a wedding, a facelift and a return appearance from a very dead character.
In King’s Landing Joffrey celebrates victory by making sure everyone knows their places. Tyrion is relegated to a small room because Tywin is here to take over as Hand of the King. Petyr Baelish is given Harrenhal for his help while Loras Tyrell asks for Joffrey to marry his sister, Margaery.
Sure, Joffrey is already betrothed to Sansa (who sadly didn’t run away with the Hound), but since the Starks are traitors, he’s given the freedom to act like that doesn’t exist. Instead, Joffrey will marry Margaery. I can’t wait to see a scene between Margaery and Cersei, because they will be an epic bitch-off.
That leaves Sansa up the creek without a paddle, though Littlefinger promises to help reunite her with her family. But since you can’t trust anything he says, I won’t hold my breath.
As for Tyrion, he’s left with a massive, bad-ass scar across his face. Varys arrives (after asking Ros the most popular prostitute in the world, to be one of his spies) to let him know that they won’t be seeing much of each other, and even though Tyrion will never get the credit, Varys and many others know that Tyrion is the only reason they won the battle.
As a reward, Varys brings him Shae. She wants to run away and live happily ever after, but Tyrion loves playing the game of thrones too much to leave, even when people are trying to kill him. Shae is truly in love, so she decides to stay too. Unfortunately Bronn was removed as Commander of the City Watch, and since he’s one of the only characters who doesn’t appear in this episode, we’ll have to wait for season 3 to see what waits for him.
Stannis goes to see Melisandre, his Red Priestess, and demands to know why he lost. She lets him know the war is far from over and promises him that the Lord of Light will let him win in the end. He seems OK with this, but I am not OK with the lack of Davos Seaworth. Did he survive the blast into the water?
Robb Stark Gets Married
Robb tells his mom that he doesn’t want to marry that girl he’s betrothed to because he loves Talisa. She doesn’t approve, but Robb doesn’t care. He runs off and gets married to her in secret anyway. I guess betrothals don’t mean anything to anyone in this episode.
Brienne Kicks Butt
On her way to King’s Landing with Jaime Lannister, Brienne gets sidetracked when she sees some women strung up. She wants to bury them, but gets interrupted by three Stark supporters. They cause some trouble and recognize Jaime, so Brienne has no choice but to kill them all. You see, she’s loyal to Catelyn, not the Starks. I hope Jaime gets more to do in season 3 than he did in season 2, because he was easily the most underused character of the year.
Jaqen Is No More
Arya, Hot Pie and Gendry are on the road when they meet up with Jaqen H’ghar. He offers to take Arya to Braavos to get help in her revenge against Cersei, Joffrey and everyone else. She considers it, but decides she needs to stay and find her family (even Sansa). Jaqen gives her a coin and tells her to give it to anyone from Braavos and say “Valar Morghulis” and he will appear.
It turns out, Jaqen really is a Genie of Death, because he turns around, turns back and his face is completely different. Jaqen is freaking magic! And since Arya points out Syrio Forel, her dancing teacher from season 1, was also from Braavos, it seems very logical to assume that Syrio and Jaqen may have been the same person, Arya’s version of a fairy godfather.
Theon’s Big Speech
Up at Winterfell, the castle is surrounded by Robb Stark’s men and they’re blowing a horn all the time, making Theon go a little crazy. He gets a nice speech to Luwin about why he feels so lost, because he was a prisoner who was told he was lucky to be alive, then his father dismissed him, so basically Theon has no one. Luwin suggests Theon should run away to join the Night’s Watch, but he refuses.
Instead, Theon goes out to deliver a stirring speech to his troops about going to battle. It’s just as good as Tyrion’s big speech last week. Only this time it ends with his own men knocking him out because they just want to go home. Oh Theon, you get no respect.
Bran on the Run
Sadly, Theon’s men also stab Luwin and burn Winterfell. Bran, Rickon, Hodor and Osha get out of the crypts and find Luwin, who tells them to go to the Wall and stay with Jon Snow. He then asks Osha to kill him, and to protect them with her life.
Daenerys and Her Dragons
As if there weren’t already enough subplots crammed into this show, Daenerys arrives at the House of the Undying to reclaim her dragons. She travels inside and gets trapped in a magical room. She walks through a door and suddenly she’s in…King’s Landing! It’s snowing in the Great Hall because the roof is destroyed. Daenerys approaches the Iron Throne, but gets called away by her dragons. She goes outside into pure white and finds a tent. She walks in and finds…
KHAL DROGO! Oh, how I’ve missed you, Khal Drogo. And he’s holding their baby. They talk of their true love and how, if this is a dream, he never wants to wake up. But Daenerys has to get back to her dragons and won’t let this magical trickery get in her way.
She finds her dragons, but gets captured by Pyat Pree. It turns out the dragons give him his magical powers, and they’re at their strongest when Daenerys is near them, so she is chained with her dragons for all eternity. At least that’s what he thinks.
Daenerys commands her baby dragons to breathe fire, and they do. The dragons breathe so hard they burn Pyat Pree alive, the chains vanish and Daenerys is free.
Now that she’s back to full power she finds Xaro Xhoan Daxos (who has started sleeping with her handmaiden, Doreah) and looks in his vault, which is actually empty. Bored with trickery, she locks him and Doreah in the vault. The bitch is back, folks, and her story ends by pillaging Xaro’s home for gold and jewels to buy a ship.
Jon Snow Is Snape
OK, I totally predicted this storyline two weeks ago. While Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand are being transported to see Manse Rayder, Qhorin starts a fight with Jon and, in the end, Jon Snow kills Qhorin. He’s then freed, proving he’s now with the wildlings and ready to pledge his allegiance to the King Beyond the Wall. Of course this is obviously a ruse, because Jon Snow isn’t a bad guy, and he’s just becoming a double agent in Manse’s camp.
The Walking Dead
Finally, after more than an hour of story, we see Samwell and his two pals roaming the snowy mountains when they hear a horn from the Wall. One horn means friends. But then there’s a second horn, and that means wildlings. But then there’s a third horn.
And three horns means Whitewalkers.
A blizzard comes in, and then we see Whitewalkers (who basically look like zombies) slowly walking towards the Wall. Then Samwell sees a giant zombie horse, and on top of it is a creepy white zombie with crystal blue eyes. I’m guessing this is the King of the Whitewalkers, and if I read the books I’m sure I’d know exactly who he is, but I’m still impressed. He looks as creepy and amazing as the baby dragons looked last season.
And that’s the end of another epic season of Game of Thrones. This episode seemed to pack a lot of exposition in, but seeing Khal Drogo, fire-breathing dragons, Jaqen’s face switch, Tyrion’s scar and the Whitewalkers made it all worth it.
(Image courtesy of HBO)