Game Of Thrones Recap: C&C Style – Season 4, Episode 8


Game of Thrones – Courtesy of HBO

This isn’t something we normally do on Chowder & Champions, but after watching last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, something had to be done.

I am an avid watcher of the show and have not read any of the books, so my perspective is that of a shocked, confused, and somewhat disturbed viewer that is normally sideswiped with what occurs on Sunday nights on HBO. What happened this past week both kept my up at night and forced me to do to the message boards.

If you tuned in for “The Mountain and the Viper,” then you know exactly what I am talking about. But before I get into that epic final scene, let’s take a look at what happened throughout this memorable episode.

We have a heck of a throwback moment when a royal pardon for Ser Jorah Mormont comes from the hands of a child actor we will never see again and is intercepted by Ser Barristan Selmy, leaking Jorah’s secret of his spying and eventually having him exiled by Daenerys Targaryen in a scene that left little to be desired. We know that Jorah loved her, and she must have known how he felt, and I was admittedly surprised at how quickly she kicked him to the curb. This obviously isn’t the end of this, but it was a nice bookmark for this “theater” of the show.

Moving to The Vale we see a guilty (as usual) Lord Baelish being spoken to by a council of old people. The old people are obviously significant members of The Vale community and are unsure of Baelish’s story of Lady Arryn throwing herself through the infamous moon-door. Sansa Stark comes in and does something she has become quite good at in recent weeks, lying and crying all at once. Her emotions and frantic nature forces the female elder to comfort her as she explains the truth behind her identity, but the falsities that Baelish had told the council as well. We see that Michael Jackson Thriller moment when she smiles at Baelish while being hugged by the old lady.

Baelish then convinces this elder council to have Robin Arryn leave his sheltered home. Robin expresses his discontent in leaving to meet the rest of his people, but Baelish gives him some sage advice. He basically tells him how life is short and we shouldn’t worry about death, but rather worry about life, which in Westeros can be taken away from you just with the snap of someone’s fingers. Ironically, the Hound and Arya Stark were arriving at The Vale and upon hearing of her aunt’s demise, Arya burst out laughing like a chucky doll, probably the only way children laugh in Westeros.

We can skip what happened at The Wall, because frankly, that will be what next week’s episode is about. Yes, more people will likely die, but not having read the book, I won’t even begin to guess who. And Ramsay Snow is now Ramsay Bolton, and Theon Greyjoy is kind of Theon Greyjoy. I happen to find this story-line increasingly interesting, but it is hard to imagine much headway will be made prior to the end of this season. Hopefully, they tell us more about what the Bolton’s have planned for the Iron Islands.

Now we get to the nitty gritty. So Oberyn Martell (The Red Viper) volunteered to be Tyrion Lannister’s champion in the trial by combat against Gregor Clegane (The Mountain). We had come to root for Oberyn, who wanted to avenge his sister’s rape/death (and her daughters?) at the hand of The Mountain. So here we are at the battle of two of the most skilled fighters in all of the seven kingdoms.

Oberyn uses his speed and skill to his advantage and eventually has The Mountain laying on his back, gasping for air. He is demanding that Gregor confesses to the murder of his sister and the raping of her etc… But he gets too close and the Mountain trips him, lifts him up off the ground and delivers a punch that would make Ivan Drago proud. He then straddles Oberyn and begins to confess to the murder after all! However at the same time, he is squishing Oberyn’s head through his eyes until it bursts like a water-snake you left under your mattress. We hear his lover scream in horror and Tyrion’s fate is all but sealed at this astonishing finish.

I was shaking in bed after this scene and was trying to figure out how this all happened so quickly. Oberlyn’s screams were frightening and watching The Mountain manhandle him took the life out of the one the more colorful characters on the show. I had a feeling Oberlyn was going to die, but I could have never imagined the image of him lying with his head mushed in next to a fatigued Gregor Clegane. It was easily one of the most provocative and body-cringing moments on television I have ever seen, and that is saying a lot considering I have watched every previous episode of Game of Thrones.

We can talk about Tyrion’s beetle comparison and the subtle reference to George RR Martin and all that jazz, but here are my thoughts on that fight scene. Oberlyn, while arrogant and flashy, still considers honor above all else, even in the brothels. He needed that confession from the Mountain, not to make him feel better, but to dishonor Tywin Lannister in front of all in attendance. Oberlyn could have accomplished much more by defeating The Mountain and defending his family’s honor, and then getting closer to Tywin, but the cockiness of Dorne got in the way. It was truly a fantastic display by Oberlyn of both fighting and showmanship that ultimately had him fall flat on his face.