The Rains of Castamere recap/review
It seems I'm barely over the events of last week's episode of Game of Thrones and the season finale has arrived. Oh wait, I'm not over the events of last week's episode. To recap, lots of people I liked died, and others I liked were heartbroken. And it was just horrendous and I want to curl up in a ball and cry about it. Again. Still, I must move on. And so to the final episode of series three, which was full of revelations.
In and around the Wall
Bran and the gang take shelter in one of the old castles along the Wall. Bran takes the opportunity to tell a fireside tale about the Rat Chef, a man who killed a king's son and then fed him to the king. The chef was punished by being turned into a rat, doomed to eat his own young. Only the reason he was punished wasn't for the murder or for feeding the king his son, it was disrespecting guests. And so Bran becomes the first person to talk about hospitality and the rights and rules that come with it.
As the group sleep, Bran hears a noise and a scuffle ensues as the group catch an intruder. Only it's not any old intruder, it's Samwell, Gilly and the baby. Samwell recognises Bran from Jon's descriptions, and tries to persude him not to go north of the Wall. I found these scenes really touching, and it made me wish that all the good guys could just stay together and help each other, instead of constantly putting themselves in danger.
Gifting the group with dragonglass daggers, Samwell and Gilly watch them walk through the tunnel and out onto the north side of the Wall, before the pair head to Castle Black. From there a message is sent out to rulers across the kingdoms about the dangers Samwell and Gilly saw (after a touching moment where Gilly reveals she will call her baby Sam).
Meanwhile, somewhere near the Wall Ygritte tracks down Jon Snow, who confesses that he does love Ygritte, but that he's never hidden who he is. As he turns away from her, she shoots him, catching him with an arrow in the back. Then she shoots him again, and again, before he eventually escapes, badly injured, on horseback, and makes it to Castle Black, where the brothers of the Night's Watch take him in. The look on Ygritte's face as she sees Jon ride off is one of many heartbroken faces we see this week.
Tyrion and Sansa are getting on quite well, joking together, when Tyrion is called to a meeting of the Small Council where a gleeful Joffrey tells him both Robb and Catelyn Stark have been killed.
Joffrey can barely contain his joy, which puts him on a collision course with Tyrion, especially when the former says he plans to serve Sansa Robb's head for dinner at his wedding feast. The little scrotum that is Joffrey doesn't seem to understand he's heading into danger when he begins to argue with Tyrion, and it's only when he turns his wrath on Tywin and accuses him of being a coward that it all comes to a head.
Tywin sends Joffrey to bed like the child he is, and then proceeds to tell Tyrion that he needs to get Sansa pregnant, fast, so that their child can rule in the north on behalf of the king. Tyrion has some major issues with this, rightly pointing out that Sansa is definitely not going to sleep with him now.
He's also the second person to point out that killing guests in your home is unforgiveable, and will come back to haunt you.
And so Tyrion heads back to Sansa, who simply looks at him like her heart has been shattered.
Lord Varys visits Shae and offers her diamonds to leave King's Landing, so that Tyrion may have a chance to become the great ruler he can be. She refuses and tells Varys Tyrion must send her away himself. He's too busy getting drunk with Pod though, and then bonding with Cersei, who tells him that he should give Sansa a child so that she has something to take pride in.
Cersei reveals that her children are the only thing that make her happy, even Joffrey, who was a happy baby. When her brother questions how long the Lannisters must keep fighting for, Cersei's only answer is until they stop having enemies.
And then Cersei gets the surprise of her life, when Jaime walks back into her life. I can't tell if she's happy to see him or not, and I don't think she and Jaime can either, although it's clear they feel deeply for each other (in a gross, incest-y way).
Walder Frey's place/somewhere dark and dingy
Walder Frey is happily munching on lunch, while chatting to Roose Bolton and watching maids clean the floor of his dining room of Stark blood.
As the pair discuss events - Blackfish got away (yay!) - it is revealed that Ramsay Snow, the creepy guy who's been torturing Theon Greyjoy, is actually Bolton's bastard son. And he's been torturing Theon because the poor boy was given up by his own men.
It's been a few weeks since we saw Theon, and as we revisit he's not really in any good state. Ramsay has cut off his manhood, and is now determined to break what little sanity Theon, or Reek as Ramsay insists on naming him, has left.
Theon's manhood, meanwhile, is mailed to his father and sister. The former could give two hoots and doesn't care about Ramsay's threat to kill Theon, but the latter has suddenly grown a conscience and takes off in a boat with 50 of the Iron Island's deadliest men to rescue her little brother. I do find Yara's change of heart a bit sudden, and I wonder what's made her suddenly sympathetic to her younger brother. Is it simply that he's blood and she can't abhor the way he's being treated?
Pearls of wisdom come this week from Gendry, who bonds with Ser Davos Seaworth when the latter visits him in his prison cell. When Ser Davos asks why Gendry succumbed to Melisandre, Gendry answers with words that could be used as an excuse for many things that happen in Game of Thrones: "Big words, no clothes, what would you have done?"
Gendry's honesty works and later, when Stannis Baratheon orders Gendry be killed Ser Davos frees Gendry and sends him back to King's Landing. Stannis sentences Ser Davos to death instead, but the Onion Knight is wily - having learnt to read he is in possession of a note from the Night's Watch which details the horrors stirring beyond the Wall.
Melisandre is quick to switch tack, advising Stannis that beyond the Wall is where the real battle lies, and so Stannis spares Ser Davos, so that the knight can help him form his army.
On the road
Arya and the Hound, having escaped from Walder Frey's joint (after seeing Greywind's head stitched to Robb Stark's body), are back on the road. I'm not sure where they're heading, but I'm guessing King's Landing since there's nowhere else for them to turn.
On their way they pass a group of Frey's men, boasting about killing the Starks. Arya slips off the horse and heads over to the group, lulling them into a false sense of security and then repeatedly stabbing one of them to death. The Hound handles the others and then rounds on Arya, asking where she got the knife from - it's his. As the Hound tucks into food, Arya picks up the coin Jaqen H'ghar gave her and says the magic words: "Valar Morghulis."
Daenerys waits outside the gates of Yunkai with her warriors, waiting for those inside to come out. They do, and after listening to Daenerys tell them they must free themselves, the group start chanting. The word they're chanting? Mhysa. It means 'mother'.
Daenerys lets her dragons fly, and then walks into the crowd, where she is picked up and greeted like a queen, like the queen we've seen her grown into. In the final scene of the series, we see a triumphant Daenerys surrounded by an army of her people, with her dragons flying overhead.
And there we have it, season three of Game of Thrones is over. It's been painful, really painful, although perhaps not as painful as it has been for Theon Greyjoy. Still, despite all the pain, the final episode ended with some hope, especially for Daenerys (ever more worshipped), Jon Snow (back at home with family) and even Bran (off to conquer a new world). It even ended with a hope of sorts for Jaime Lannister, who will hopefully continue on the path Brienne has set him on and become a good man.
Just a year to wait and then we'll see.