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Review: Game of Thrones Season 2 Finale: Valar Morghulis

Updated on June 5, 2012

Game of Thrones Review: “Valar Morghulis”

Episode Air Date: 6/4/12

Unlike when I reviewed the show Legend of the Seeker, as of now, I have not yet read the Game of Thrones series so I view the show differently perhaps than someone who has the read the books.

That being said, I have to say that I have enjoyed everything I’ve seen so far. The acting has been fantastic, the set pieces awesome, the storytelling is great. In this episode, we see Tyrion Lannister lose his privileges as the Hand to the King. He’s obviously wounded pretty badly and doesn’t want to leave when his girlfriend begs him to do so. I expect Season 3 will have a large amount of payback in some measure for Tyrion since it was he who really saved Kings Landing. In the same sense, Joffrey sets aside Sansa Stark and she doesn’t seem to realize she needs to leave Kings Landing as well. Littlefinger sees the danger better and offers to get her home. I expected to see more brains in Sansa. Again, I’ve not read the books but I thought she had more brains from the very start of the show but she seems to be putting her duty before her safety at a time when she really hasn’t been safe since her father was killed.

We see John Snow kill his brother-in-arms, Qhorin Halfhand in an effort to gain the trust of his captors. He learns of the huge army of people beyond the wall he never thought to see. How he is mixed up in all of the intrigue is still a mystery to me but I look forward to seeing it play out. The White Walkers scenes were done very well.

Theon’s exit from Winterfell, unconscious at the hands of his own men was confusing. If there are 500 Northerners outside the gates, and Theon has been given to them, who burned Winterfell to the ground? I’ve been told there is a reason for this but it was not explained in this episode and was very confusing. Theon did make a great speech however. I have to further say that his taking Winterfell, which I assume happens in the books, seemed a bit much when it took place a few episodes back and was never a good idea. I’m not exactly sure what the resolution for that part of the story is. I may be overthinking this but we know he needs to prove himself to his father, I think we all get that. How did taking a city he KNEW he could not hold and supposedly killing the two youngest Starks work in his favor – how was it EVER going to work for him? I haven’t read the books so maybe it was handled differently but it doesn’t seem to be a great idea on ANY level.

The Kingslayer has been taught a valuable lesson – don’t underestimate Brienne. She kicked the crap out of those guys. I think Gwendoline Christie, the actress playing Brienne is doing a great job. I know it’s not a huge part, but her story so far has been interesting and her story, really about shifting loyalties and even her restricting her shifting loyalties (she doesn’t serve the Starks, just Catelyn) is a microcosm of the entire series.

We find Stannis isn’t dead but nursing his wounds with the witch who nearly got him killed. Interesting but if this happens in the books, it would have been a great idea to not reveal this now and reveal it at the beginning of next season.

Robb Stark gets married and not to the Frey girl but to Talisa. No problem there but can we see Robb do something besides talking. He was winning this war at the beginning of the season. Now we don’t know what’s going on with him and his army. They don’t seem to have gotten anywhere this season – maybe it’s just me.

Arya escapes and is given a way to protect herself until she finds he brother. That was done well and was very cool. I have to admit I have no idea who Jaqen H'ghar really is, I missed something somewhere along the way but it was still very cool.

Daenarys defeats the illusions and the magicians of the House of the Undying and seals Xaro Xhoan Daxos in his own, ahem, empty vault. Well done. I like that she gets her dragons back and that they seem to be growing along with her connection to them. While this part of the storyline has always felt very unnecessary to me, I’m sure it will make sense when the entire story is told. I understand the Targaryen line is important and I assume she will come with dragons blazing later on but this part of the show always seems like a really out of the way plotline to me.

So what do we have at the end of Season 2:

Joffrey: Still King and will be marrying Margaery Tyrell – good luck to both of you.
Cersei: Still mother of the King and becoming very annoying as a very whiny character at times
Tyrion: No longer the Hand of the King and wounded badly but still has his girl and a better understanding of what he’s really good at
Jaime: Being returned to Kings Landing but very slowly….

Robb: The King of the North had many people betray him this season but he also doesn’t seem to be doing anything with the army he has. He did marry a very beautiful woman in Talisa who seems to have real substance to her.
Arya: Free and looking for family with a way to call for Jaqen H'ghar if needed
Catelyn: Imprisoned by Robb for allowing the Kingslayer to escape.
Sansa: no longer betrothed to the King but not smart enough to run for her life.
Bran: homeless and searching for Jon Snow at the Wall with Osha and Hodor
Rickon: homeless and searching Jon Snow at the Wall with Osha and Hodor
Jon Snow: lost beyond the Wall but learning more about the lands he fears
Maester Luwin: Dies at the hands of Theon’s men
Eddard Stark: yep, still dead

Daenerys Targaryen: Got her Dragons back and buying ships to sail for Westeros.
Theon Greyjoy: Lost Winterfell and who knows what else..
Petyr Baelish: Littlefinger gains Harrenhall, offers Sansa Stark his help to flee King’s Landing
Lord Varys: Understands everything going on everywhere and plotting against Littlefinger.
Shae: Still adores Tyrion and wants to leave King’s Landing with him
Renly Baratheon: Killed by his brother’s witch
Stannis Baratheon: Thwarted in his attempt to take King’s Landing, still alive and plotting
Ser Davos Seaworth: Supposedly killed during the attack on King’s Landing
Gendry: still blissfully unaware of who he really is but travelling with Arya Stark
Loras Tyrell: gets his sister betrothed to King Joffrey
Jaqen H'ghar: helps to free Arya Stark and gives her a way to locate him if needed

This great finale gets all five stars. There are questions to be answered of course, but there is still so much more story to tell…

See you at the beginning of Season 3!!


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    • earthmom75 profile image

      Jennifer Foster 5 years ago from Arnold, MO

      Usually when I try to watch a movie or TV show that is suppossedly based on a book I come away hugely disappointed and wondering what story the scriptwriters were following. Game of Thrones is by far the best show I've ever seen at staying true to the original story as written in the books. There is so much going on in each subplot that it would be easy to skip over big parts of the story to simplify it, but I am so glad they have not done that. It's the complexity and the intrigue that makes whole story so compelling.

    • dblyn profile image

      dblyn 5 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      I just bought dance with Dragons so I'll be working on that for awhile - it's huge.....

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 5 years ago

      Yeah he has abilities and basically offered to teach her if she wanted to come with him to Bravos, but decided to find her mum, brother and sister first. He told her something about his abilities when she saw him that last time. He called himself something special (I can't remember what) but it was at the bit that Arya talks about her dancing teacher was from Bravos too (the man that was teaching her how to use Needle and fought the Kings Guard with a wooden sword while Arya ran). He gave her the coin so if she changes her mind she can find him again. After all he could have a different face again.

      Lol @ Sansa. She's only 15. She thought she was finally home and dry and so happy that she wouldn't have to marry the guy and take his abuse any longer. I think she's just naive and innocent. She can't imagine someone doing these things to her because her mind doesn't work that way. She's got no allies and even though Little Finger supposedly is trying to help her, I can't say I trust him. Look how he betrayed Ned. Plus there's clearly something in the past between him and Catelyn Stark. Is it a case of he couldn't have the mother, now he wants the daughter? He's kinda creepy to me.

      Yeah reading the books is a good idea and the show is so good that it doesn't ruin watching the show. Game of Thrones is one of my fave shows, I just wish they'd do more episodes. Just as I get into it, it's had it's run and we're back to waiting for the next season.

    • dblyn profile image

      dblyn 5 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      I remember when Arya helped Jaqen H'ghar in the wagon but I feel I'm missing something when his face changes as her leaves her. There is something about him I simply don't know. I did not think him to be magical in nature but he seems to be.

      I agree with you that Sansa is naive and yes, Ned sucked at this game too. However, she has watched Joffrey change over time and while he was never a caring person, he's gotten much worse. She should have been looking for any way out a long time ago. It is only now that Littlefinger has to explain it to her that she needs to leave. In my estimation that borders on stupidity as well.

      I'm sure all the threads tie in - I just can't believe we'll have to wait so long to see it all come together. I'm going to start reading book 3 now in preparation for next season.

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 5 years ago

      Jaqen H'ghar was one of the guys in the wagon that was being taken to the wall. Arya helped them escape the fire when their camp was attacked which is why he agreed to give her 3 lives in return, since she saved the 3 men in the wagon that would have died otherwise.

      Sansa isn't really stupid, she's just naive. She wasn't raised to have to deal with all this intrigue/politics. Plus her father really sucked at the game too. She's just a northern lass. Her parents never expected her to be involved with these vipers, so she isn't equiped to deal with the situations she finds herself in. Plus she is still only a little girl at heart.

      I think the Daenarys story will become more vital as the show goes on. I think it's all related such as the comet, the fact that magic is easier now, such as the production of wild fire, the return of the White Walkers etc. Right now it's all seperate threads, but eventually I can see them all coming together, including the God of Light and the stupid prophecy that seems to think Stanis is at the centre of. I think it's really about Daneary's bringing her dragons back to Westeros. I have a feeling that the Dragons will be needed to fight the White Walkers.

      I have only read the first 4 books and have really enjoyed them so far.