***Do not read on if you haven’t watched the last episode of Game of Thrones because this post is full of spoilers!***
“Only death can pay for life.”
As far as season finales go the one for Game of Thrones season 1 was everything you could hope for. The last scene with Daenerys Targaryen sitting curled up with her baby dragons after the heat of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre fire burned itself out was the coolest thing I have ever seen. Seeing her rising like a phoenix from the ashes and honed like steel for the battle ahead of her filled me with such excitement for next season. (Excitement which is usually reserved for TrueBlood. BTW did you catch the sneak peek for TrueBlood after GoT?) When thinking about how things played out, how they’re going to play out and the future of the characters next season, I can’t help but feel absolutely hooked by the brilliance of this fantasy series.
The first thing we see is Ice covered with Ned’s blood. You even see a strand of hair or two in the dripping gore, and then the executioner Sir Ilyn raises Ned’s severed head for all the world to see. Sansa is collapsed on the dais and Arya is being clutched by Yoren of Night’s Watch who is preventing her from seeing the grisly sight. Suddenly he starts calling her a boy and drags her away from Baelor’s Sept and begins to shear off her hair with his dagger. They are going north to the Wall.
Bran is talking to Osha about his recurring dream of the raven with three eyes. Osha is carrying Bran on her shoulders and Hodor follows behind. They are going to the crypts of Winterfell. Once there Bran begins to tell Osha who’s who and we finally learn why Robert Baratheon went to war and ended up as king.
While in the crypts, Rickon’s dire wolf rushes out of the darkness snarling and menacing. Rickon emerges and tells Bran of his dream and that he saw Ned so he’s looking for him in the crypts. It seems both he and Bran share the same dream. Rickon returns to the darkness, his dire wolf Shaggydog at his side and Bran and Osha leave. As they are talking, Maester Luwin meets them in the courtyard at Winterfell and tells them of Ned’s death.
The stoic Catelyn is grieving her beloved Ned’s death when she hears sounds in the wood. She finds Robb repeatedly striking a tree with his sword, overtaken with grief. Catelyn comforts her son and though they both want to kill them all, they first must get the Stark girls back from their enemies.
At court, we see another example of the type of king Joffrey is. His reign of terror has only begun and already he’s cut off heads, massacred a household, and cut a minstrel’s tongue out of his head for singing an amusing song mocking the goings on in the realm. Without waiting to see Ser Ilyn carry out his orders, Joffrey takes Sansa out to see the sights. Those sights are heinous indeed. He forces her to look at Ned’s head and Septa’s both resting on pikes on the Red Keep’s ramparts for anyone to see that it is death to be caught in treason or to be an acquaintance of a traitor.
Joffrey threatens to deliver her Robb Stark’s head as well, and to my surprise it is here that we see some backbone from Sansa. She taunts Joffrey saying that maybe it will be Robb who brings her Joffrey’s head instead. Unable to do his own dirty work, Joffrey gets one of his guards to strike Sansa for her impertinence. She will be Joffrey’s prisoner both before and after they are wed. In a moment of crazy, it looks like Sansa planned to push Joffrey off the bridge, but the moment is passed before it can come to fruition. The Hound offers Sansa a piece of cloth to wipe her bloodied lip and a warning to play nice because it will be easier for her. Things look bleak for Sansa indeed, but will she find an unexpected ally in the Hound in the future?
With the news of Ned’s death the bannermen of the North hold a meeting to decide their next move. They no longer want to be ruled by a king who sits in the south who knows nothing of what it is like to be a man of the North. They proclaim Robb the king of the North and they all pledge their allegiance to him. Catelyn looks on pleased as punch and like it was inevitable all along.
Later Catelyn goes to see the captive Jaime Lannister. After bashing him over the head, she asks him why he tried to kill Bran and he admits he did it, admits he had hoped to kill the boy, but he doesn’t say why.
While Cersei reads the message that Jaime was taken captive, we discover that she has been bedding her cousin and that there is no end to her disgustingness. Tywin is also deliberating on his next move. He tells Tyrion he was right about Ned Stark. He knows that killing Ned was plain stupidity. He makes Tyrion the Hand in his place and sends him to King’s Landing where it will be his job to bring Cersei and Joffrey to heel.
We finally discover the fate of Dany and her loved ones. She wakes, noticeably weakened and frail seeming with Ser Jorah by her side. Her child died, deformed and monstrous when it was born. The Khal is alive but he is senseless, just a shell of his former glorious self, unaware and unresponsive to anyone or anything around him. The witch Mirri has gotten her revenge for the destruction of her home and the violation of her person. She knew what Dany was in for. She claims it was the price for the spell. She gloats to Dany’s face that her son was destined to be the Stallion That Mounts the World and now he will not. Now he will never be anything or harm anyone. Yes, her revenge is fait accompli, but Dany is the Dragon and her vengeance will be terrible.
Jon takes off from Night’s Watch wanting to be with his family as they fight this war and grieving over Ned. He is followed by Samwell and the rest of his “gang” who persuade Jon to return by reminding them of his oath to his new family. Even though he broke the law of the Watch and Lord Commander Mormont knows, Jon isn’t punished. Instead Mormont asks him to make a choice. Is he with the Watch or not? The last we see of Jon he’s mounted up with his brothers of the Watch as they go out to find Benjen and see what is out there rather than waiting for whatever it is to come to them. And whatever it is, it is far worse than a war for the crown.
We also see that appearances are more than meets the eye, especially when it comes to the king’s councilors. As Baelish eyes the Iron Throne with a covetous gleam, Varys enters the room and throws a few taunts his way, taunts that are predictably parried by Baelish. Even though Varys and Baelish squabble at every chance they get they also admire each other. Who knows what they’ll be up to during Joffrey’s reign.
Yoren instructs Arya how to conduct herself now that her father is dead. He brings her to the caravan that is headed to the Wall and leaves her to fend for herself. Almost immediately she is set upon by bullies who try to intimidate her and take her sword Needle. At first it looks like Arya has been broken by her father’s death, but in pure Arya fashion, not only does she defend herself, she puts the fear of the gods in the would be bullies. In addition to being able to handle herself, it looks like she has found an unexpected ally. Robert Baratheon’s bastard son Gendry who worked as a blacksmith also happens to be in the caravan headed to the Wall. He backs Arya up and off they head to the North.
This is good for Arya because Jon will eventually return, and even if he doesn’t she will be trained as a warrior for you just know she’ll keep up the ruse of being a boy. And it looks like her and Gendry will become boon companions in their exile. Wouldn’t it be funny if Arya and Gendry end up being husband and wife and the rulers of the seven kingdoms? The one that wanted to be a lady the least and the least likely candidate for the throne. That would be ironic indeed.
And just like I always knew, Dany has finally come into her own, but sadly it isn’t without much sadness, tragedy and loss. Dany tended her beloved Drogo tenderly, urging him to come back to her. Finally she realizes that he is gone from her even though there is still breath in his body. Knowing that this is no life for him, she ends his life and smothers him with a pillow. Double crossed by Mirri, bereft of both husband and child, and heartbroken, Dany becomes what she was always meant to become and it was thrilling and exhilarating to behold.
In a scene that will go down in the annals of awesomeness, Dany has her vengeance. She frees the Dothraki’s slaves and promises those that remain that no one will ever harm them and those that do will die screaming. She has the loyal Rakharo place her dragon eggs next to Khal Drogo on the huge and majestic funeral pyre and has the betrayer Mirri the witch tied to the pyre. Then Dany lights it up and everything goes up in a blaze worthy of the Viking burials of old. But that is not the end. Despite Ser Jorah’s worry for her, Dany regally steps into the flames and disappears.
At dawn, Ser Jorah and the remaining freed slaves that are loyal to Dany watch in amazement as they find a soot covered Dany sitting unharmed and naked in the embers of the funeral fire. Snuggled and clinging to her are three tiny yet fierce dragons. Dany stands, her silver blond hair glowing and the baby dragons draped lovingly and protectively around her body, as the people surrounding her bow in reverence to the Dragon Queen, Daenerys Stormborn of the old house of Valyria. The dragon perched upon her bare shoulder lets out a piercing shriek, a sound that is no longer myth and memory. Pretty amazing stuff, huh? Dany wasn’t kidding when she said she didn’t have a gentle heart.
I can’t wait for next season! Can you?