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Aurora Snow’s Game of Thrones: Season 4: Ep. 8: The Mountain and The Viper Review

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“The Mountain and The Viper”

 

“Take charge of your life for as long as it lasts.”

Though Littlefinger’s advice was to the young lord of the Vale, Robyn, every Game of Thrones character could benefit from such wisdom. And yet very few really are in charge with perhaps the exception of Littlefinger himself. Though at times things are out of his control too. You can bet he was sweating bullets when his “niece” was asked to speak about Lysa’s death.

Sansa’s character turned a corner, no longer the timid meek girl who follows blindly, she’s finally taking an interest in controlling her own destiny (to an extent). Her slightly embellished version of the events surrounding Lysa’s death saved Littlefinger’s butt. But it also gave her character a gumption she’d previously lacked. In the books Sansa dyes her hair to hide her identity, but in the series it seems she dyes her hair in a symbolic rebirth. Gone is the little girl who believed she’d marry a prince and live happily ever after. In her place stands a regal woman who is beginning to understand her true power.

Unbeknownst to Arya she’s just outside the castle Sansa resides in when she’s told her Aunt is dead. At this rate there won’t be anyone for The Hound to ransom her to. Each family member they journey to ends up dead and the irony is not lost on her – Arya erupts with laughter at the news. She’s one tough cookie, nothing gets to her anymore; she’s covered in an emotionally impenetrable armor. Her feisty attitude towards the realities of life make her one of the best characters on the show.

Oberyn Martell aka The Red Viper also had a habit of spinning reality to suit his needs. With a big whiff of victory only one crushing blow away, The Red Viper got cocky – and that’s what killed him. Watching The Red Viper nimbly out maneuver The Mountain gave us false hope – that at last justice would truly prevail. As an audience we should know better by now, no character on the side of righteousness lives long. George R.R. Martin has made it clear in interviews that being a fan favorite does not make a character safe, and this episode further drives that point home. Which now has me worried about Tyrion, the audience-favored Lannister.

Oberyn wasn’t just fighting for Tyrion’s life, but for his own. With his hedonistic lifestyle and debonair charm Pedro Pascal made his character, Oberyn, a joy to watch. Which made his death even more bitter.

It was a beautifully orchestrated fight, but what really sold it were the reaction shots, from the relief in Tyrion’s eyes to the hateful shock in Cersei’s. Yet it was Oberyn’s lover’s reactions that drove the stakes home; Indira Varma was sensational as Ellaria Sand, seeing the fight from her perspective made it heartbreaking.

“Say it. You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.”

Oberyn demanded a confession from The Mountain, his rage poured out like lust. He wanted to hear it from the killer’s lips, but he also wanted to know who gave the orders. Oberyn traded his life for that confession. Confident that he’d already won, Oberyn strung out The Mountain’s death long enough to meet his own, in one of the most gruesome GOT deaths yet. He died at the hands of The Mountain, his skull crushed like a baby watermelon. It’s a horrific sight you cannot un-see, sure to be etched in the nightmares of many.

Meanwhile over in Mereen, Daenerys must face a traitor in her midst — Ser Jorah Mormont. Though to call him a traitor is so first season. Ser Jorah was spying on her initially, but once enamored with her his loyalties changed, he became one of her wisest advisers. Though even if Daenerys believes this, once trust is broken it can be impossible to regain. Plus a part of her now blames Ser Jorah for the loss of her baby.

Something strange is happening with one of the Unsullied, Grey Worm has developed an interest in Dany’s handmaiden, Missandei. Odd because it’s said the Unsullied are incapable of having sexual interests. Which allows Daenerys to bring up an excellent point, “when the slavers castrate the boys, do they take all of it? The pillar and the stones?”

It’s hard to say how being neutered has affected Theon Greyjoy/Reek since he’s so messed up – thanks to Ramsey Snow (or should I say Bolton?). Can Reek ever have sexual interests again? Perhaps. Reek barely holds it together to help Ramsay commandeer Moat Caitlyn. Remnants of Theon poke forward, but the psychological damage is so severe you can see the torture on Reek’s face because of it. He doesn’t know who he is anymore, only that he is Reek — Ramsay’s favorite pet.

Though their manhood is intact, the men of Castle Black are lacking in bravado, these fierce men of the night’s watch are shaking in their boots. An army of wildlings will soon be upon them, and they have about a hundred men to fight a hundred thousand. Those odds would scare me too. Castle Black’s greatest defense has always been The Wall, the men will simply have to put it to use in the most advantageous way possible. If they intend to survive. With Jon Snow’s guidance they’ll have a fighting chance, but first they have to let him lead.

Next week the epic battle takes place! We’ll see firsthand how Jon Snow plans to defend The Wall. Plus we’ll find out what happens to Tyrion Lannister. They won’t really kill him… will they?!

Aurora Snow Says

Episode Rating:

[Rating:4.5/5]

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