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Game of Thrones



Episode 7 - Mockingbird

15 September 2014

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Tyrion can't expect Jaime or Bronn to fight for him but when the Mountain is named as his opponent a Champion emerges. The Hound learns of the bounty on his head and Arya helps him with a wound. Brienne and Pod encounter Hot Pie who puts them on the path to the Eyrie. Jon suggests sealing the tunnel under the Wall but is denied. Melissandre explains why Shireen must go with her when they leave Dragonstone. Dany allows Daario into her bedroom and then sends him to Yunkai. Jorah persuades her to show a little mercy. Sansa slaps Robin, Baelish kisses her and then shoves Lysa out the Moon Door.

The Good: The bonding scenes were all solid with Tyrion-Jaime and Tyrion-Bronn establishing both the mutual affection and the inability of each to fight for the Imp. Meanwhile Arya becomes increasingly sympathetic to the Hound and Pod proves the depth of his worth to Brienne. It was nice to see Hot Pie again even if Brienne's naivety seemed odd. I liked the sequence in Meereen too. Why shouldn't Dany enjoy what Daario is offering while refusing to trust him like she does Jorah. And what a great scene it was for him when he persuades her of the quality of mercy by invoking Ned Stark. A lovely nod to the core goodness in the show.

I like Jon's suggestion to shut the tunnel under the Wall. Should Sam point out that there is another one lying around? You've got to love Tyrion's response to the suggestion that he was a hermaphrodite ("That would have made things so much easier").

The Bad: As soon as the Mountain appeared (I guess this will be the last of the recastings) a chain of thoughts set off that led to Oberyn stepping in to fight for Tyrion. Though I shouldn't with this show I now assume that Tyrion will live and Oberyn will have his revenge. Is there something wrong with a predictable story that spares our favourite character? To some extent no but predictability is something Game of Thrones has so studiously avoided that it can't help but feel like an anticlimax. I'm sure in the books Oberyn got a lot more attention and felt less like a convenient guardian angel. Again I feel frustrated that now Tyrion points out that Tywin must know he is innocent. I don't think it's nitpicking to suggest that a wronged man would have mentioned this as soon as he was arrested.

The scenes at the Eyrie require no qualifiers, they were poor. Just when we think Sansa is growing up she yells at Robin for ruining her ice castle. The kid is clearly unbalanced and just talked about how much fun it would be to murder people. Surely you take the hint and tell him that not only did he not ruin Winterfell he made it better. Instead she not only scolds him but then yells and then hits him. We all have lapses but someone who spent months (or years?) at Joffrey's side has no excuse for such foolishness. Fortunately wise old Little Finger was around to, you know, kiss her in public. Every time Baelish flirts with subtlety he just destroys it in the next scene by fully revealing his twisted mind to the world. We could all see his creepy mind at work with Catelyn dead and Sansa in his grasp but apparently we needed the most cunning man in the Kingdom to temporarily become the most stupid. As soon as I saw Lysa with the Moon Door I knew she was going through it. Sansa has been invested in for too long to die now. The only question was whether Lysa would slip, jump or be pushed. The logical result of this moment would be for the senior Lords of the Vale to be deeply suspicious of Little Finger and probably plot to replace him as ward to Robin. I hope we get something like that because this was Heroes-level plotting.

For Arya to run into one of her tormenters (401) from the Kings Road was a coincidence. For allies of hers to run into Hot Pie was literary convenience. For the random creep who shared a cart with Jaqen H'ghar to find her and the Hound was silly. Did that add anything to the story beyond the sense that Westeros is a small world?

The Unknown: I guess Melissandre is going to want to burn Shireen soon. I assume Ser Davos would use that moment as a line in the sand to stop serving the man he keeps crawling back to.

Best Moment: Ser Barristan already tried to talk mercy to Daenerys (404). And it was nice to see Jorah step forward and do the same. The use of his own experience, connected organically by his slave trading, worked really nicely.  

Conclusion: There were two big weak moments here, which is rare for Game of Thrones.


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  • I think others have commented on the Vale scenes enough...It's sad that you missed the underlying ideas.

    What if Littlefinger wanted Lysa to see him kissing Sansa because he knew how she would react? What if Sansa, after getting abused for 4 sesons has had enough of people throwing a tantrum like Sweetrobin? I can perfectly understand from those scenes why she misses her home, since she has not been there since season 1...

    I guess the subtlety in the show NOT telling you these things in dialogue was too much?

    Posted by Great Eagle, 29/03/2015 10:49am (5 years ago)

  • Is there anything more annoying than book readers that attack the watchers of the show because of "i promise you, it will fit in the end"? It still may be bad or forced television in that moment. And people that are feeling obliged to say "I've read your review and I've read the book and I'm not gonna spoil, but I'm gonna HINT HEAVILY that what you guess is WRONG and something spectacular will happen."

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Valt, 06/09/2014 1:43pm (5 years ago)

  • After hearing both podcasts I immediately went back and rewatched the scenes where Arya kills Rorge and Lysa flies through the moon door. Both scenes use severe editing to make the action sequences appear faster. This was done in the movie Jabberwocky quite a bit. This to me is why the thoses felt funny. The editing was too comical. Even the way Rorge falls to the ground after he was stabbed.

    Posted by Fluids, 27/05/2014 2:31pm (6 years ago)

  • I was thinking about Littlefinger in the shower (a sentence which sounds extraordinarily wrong in writing but I'm going with it). And I don't meant to defend the Vale I did not particularly enjoy that part of the episode, it felt rushed.

    However I do like Littlefinger kissing Sansa as a character moment. I think it's perfectly within his character to do something this rash and it's why I find him interesting. Littlefinger is the counterpoint to Varys and while the scene between Oberyn and Varys might have seemed a little silly to some I think it served a very important purpose. It underlined the key difference between Littlefinger and Varys they both seem to be playing the same type of game but Littlefinger has these other human desires and lusts. Perhaps the show has emphasized these flaws too much in Littlefinger, my memory of the books fail me. But I think these moments are key underlining the differences between the two characters.

    Viewer score: 63 / 100

    Posted by Derek, 26/05/2014 5:42pm (6 years ago)

  • Thanks for the update, the beginning of each feedback ep is becoming "Dave answers our questions" :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 24/05/2014 11:16pm (6 years ago)

  • Some post podcast comments:

    The first actor who played The Mountain left the show because of scheduling conflicts with his role on The Hobbit. I can see why people would say the latest The Mountain looks younger than The Hound, the actor was born in 1988. But when I looked the pictures of him and Conan Stevens where they are dressed as The Mountain, they look more alike than the actor who played the character in season 2.

    About Bronn hate, I don't think there's many, but it exist after this episode, mostly random people in the net, but The Telegraph's review did call him "heartless".

    I rewatched the Sansa and Robin scene and I don't get that Sansa was being sarcastic. Maybe I'm just bad at picking up sarcasm, but I have seen enough of Sansa being annoyed at the show, the scene with her and Robin is no different.

    Robin, you took the words out of my mouth when you mentioned that the show should have express Oberyn's frustrations on Tywin not delivering his promise to hand The Mountain to him more better. My memory is fuzzy, but I believe in the book did that well, so it was more believable that Oberyn decided to by Tyrion's champion, whereas on the show, the Lannisters were practically kissing Oberyn's backside, I thought for brief moment that Tyrion would have to fight in the Trial by Combat himself.

    Posted by Dave, 24/05/2014 4:33am (6 years ago)

  • Thanks for the explanation. I clearly expressed myself badly because it's not that Oberyn has to be successful that makes him Tyrion's Guardian Angel, it's simply the way he has been introduced as a TV character. Here's a guy who has a grudge against the Mountain and isn't afraid of Tywin. Oh no Tyrion needs a Champion, who could it be? etc.

    And as for the choke point of the tunnel...the Bloody Gate wouldn't last if there were 100,000 men assaulting 100 defenders. So I assume Jon is right to force the Wildlings to all have to climb the wall. That way many of them should die just in that attempt, they will make themselves far more vulnerable and they wouldn't be able to bring supplies or animals with them which would mean if they did get across they'd be far less likely to thrive in the North.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 22/05/2014 10:26pm (6 years ago)

  • Wanting to spoil you is not meant as an insult. It is very difficult to comment (esp. disagree) on your review without spoiling you. I truly respect your choice to remain "unsullied", however when you make predictions and then make assumptions and judgments from those predictions (right or wrong) it becomes exasperatingly onerous to reply to your grading system.

    Viewer score: 79 / 100

    Posted by gcswift2, 22/05/2014 9:05pm (6 years ago)

  • Great comments Michael S. I love hearing about military strategy.
    Yes, the choke points at Thermopylae and the Bloody Gate worked because there is no other way into those areas due to the impassable mountains for very large armies.

    However, Thermopylae just delayed Persian forces because those weren’t quite impassable mountains. The Persians learned about a path through them and used it to get behind the Greek forces. Leonidas only held off the Persians for a short time before he was eventually surrounded; overwhelmed and Athens was torched. However, he stalled the Persians long enough for other Greek forces to get into position and defeat the Persians at the Battle of Salamis.

    I think the situation with the Wall could end similarly. Mance used to be a member of the Men of the Night’s Watch. He may know about the hidden tunnel and could send loads of troops through that to quickly surround Castle Black from the south.
    (Analogous to the path in the mountains that overwhelmed Leonidas.)

    I think the highest point (the top of the wall) is a great choke point depending on what tools or weapons soldiers are using to defend the entire top of the 300 mile long wall. If Tormund can scale the wall with 20 wildlings then it’s safe to say a number of Mance’s other 100K troops can do the same. If the whole top of the wall isn’t carefully guarded then it will be fairly easy for a number of Mance’s troops to scale the wall and overwhelm the walls defenses.

    That puts them on the wall and over the wall. I believe Castle Black has no defensive walls; just structures, so unless Stannis or some other forces show up to defend Castle Black it’s only a matter of time before Mance overwhelms the wall and every Castle along it.

    Posted by Fluids, 22/05/2014 2:52pm (6 years ago)

  • Adding to my last post…

    I question Jon’s recommendation to seal the tunnel. Drawing from another GOT analogy, it was clearly stated in an earlier episode that the Eyrie was impenetrable because the only entrance was a narrow choke-point that an invading army must use to penetrate the castle, allowing for a small contingent of Eyrie militia to easily hold-off an army of any size. Doesn’t the tunnel serve that same strategic purpose?

    Posted by Michael S., 21/05/2014 4:14pm (6 years ago)

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