Game Of Thrones Season 4 Episode 8 recap

I think the question on everybody’s mind has to do with the human body, the physics therein, and whether that could have actually happened, but let’s do it in sequence as we usually do, just to maintain the suspense a little.

The previouslies alone need footnotes. Cross fingers for me. But – and this is a joyous spoiler – there is not a whisper of Stannis Baratheon around the place.   Instead:

Carousing, breasts, and The Rains of Castermere as a possible answer to a song being burped. It’s all very Master of the House, especially when, away from the action, Gilly is threatened because her baby is crying. And then she hears something.   She’s the only one who does …

…It’s the wildlings and some very dramatic music. Slash, kill, kill, stab. Blood and plunging swords, because of course. Ygritte is determined and the bitch who was harassing Gilly is no match for her. Dead, dead, dead. Then, Ygritte hears the baby.  Finds Gilly holding him – and she lets them live. Ygritte’s gone soft, we realize, as we watch blood stream through the ceiling.

The Wall. Sam is bereft, since of course he thinks they’re dead, while the Night’s Watch debate what to do next, given that the wildlings are surely coming. One of the dudes points out that Gilly’s a survivor, but Jon Snow is more concerned about the fact that they’re next on the Wildling’s march of terror.   

Elsewhere, Grey Worm bathes, trying his best not to gaze too obviously at the nude form of Daenerys’ handmaiden Missandel. She notices, and lets him look for a minute, before running immediately to tell the Khaleesi, who drops some wisdom about how the Dothraki celebrate the naked form. It’s worth noting that she’s braiding Missandel’s hair, so she still practices what she preaches.

“Pillar and the stones” is Daenerys’ euphemism for meat and two veg. It’s unclear whether the Unsullied are divested of all of it. It’s notable, says Missandel, because he was interested. As in, still has some drive, somewhere. In any event, Grey Worm quickly comes to apologize and they start discussing his predicament – having been cut – in practiced English. It’s kind of adorable, as Grey Worm says if he hadn’t been castrated, he’d never have met her. If you didn’t already love him, you’re meant to now. Also, the way they shoot him, he never makes exact eye contact with anything. He’s glad he saw her, and so is she.

Meanwhile, Ramsay is trying to train Reek to remember what it’s like to be Theon Greyjoy. There’s more lack of eye contact here as Ramsay has Reek promise to bring him Moat Cailin. Misty and ominous. Theon rides across the barren wasteland of the Iron Islands – we don’t get to see him summon the courage to say his name.   Instead, he’s led inside. Alfie Allen says more words in this scene than he did in the entirety of season 3 and 4 up to now. I of course now miss Theon, which I hate myself for doing. He entreats them to surrender and be mercifully treated by Ramsay Snow, but nobody’s buying this. Dude he’s appealing to says only a dog would speak the way Theon is, or for that matter, a woman. There’s some castration themes here. He spits blood at Theon, because he’s dying, and before Theon can react, one of the Iron-born sinks an axe into the head of the man who’s rejecting Theon’s advances and asks if it’s true they’ll get to live if they let Ramsay in. Straight to the point, he is…. 

Well, what did you think was going to happen? Dude is flayed, with blood pouring from his one eye socket, as Reek, exhausted at the effort of being someone – anyone – asks Ramsay pitifully if they can go home.

Baelish. Admits to “foreign blood” from Bravos. He’s incredibly handsome as he’s interrogated but the way he says “grubby” is magical. These three are an Eyrie council of elders or something, and they find it suspicious that Baelish married Lysa Arryn and she flew from the Moon Door within days. The council brings Sansa in, and when they ask her whether she’s Baelish’s niece named Elaine, she folds like a deck chair. She’s Sansa Stark, and she met the most obstreperous of the council – Lord Royce – when he was escorting his son to the Wall. He sits up straighter.

This is a revelation, and Sansa continues, saying Baelish has been lying for her, because she’s been tormented and tortured in King’s Landing – and then says he saved her and she was meant to be safe there. They swear she’ll be safe there. And then, as Baelish watches, Sansa swears that Lysa never loved Lord Arryn, and that she was so happy with Baelish for a moment but then was terrified that he would abandon her for a younger woman. Then she misinterpreted the kiss  - misinterpreted! – and Sansa cries real tears as she says she was called a whore and that Lysa tried to push her through the Moon Door. Baelish doesn’t dare look up at the miracle that is Sansa Stark playing the game – until he does. And then she does.  And they look at each other. Jesus.

The council are like “but seriously, that breastfeeding of Lysa’s was weird”. Baelish is a free man, it seems, and he wants to know what’s going to happen now. Are they going to support the Lannisters? Are they, more importantly, going to make Robin Arryn the heir he’s supposed to be?

Meereen. The men Daenerys had crucified are being lifted down. Ser Barrister receives a notice from the King’s Hand -  and heads to Jorah Marmont. He shows him the royal pardon that the previouslies reminded us of, and Marmont is all tight-lipped. Accusations of spying abound, and Marmont doesn’t do a great job of denying anything. He’s all “let me explain” and Barrister is all “fat chance”.

He goes to her in her throne room. The Khaleesi is in fine form. “Why did the usurper pardon you?” She’s even-keel here with him, waiting for her advisor to have a reasonable answer. Even though she must know she’s been betrayed, it’s part of her M.O. to listen carefully. Nice bit of acting here, consequently. Bit by painstaking bit, he explains what he told – that Viserys died, that she married Khal Drogo and was pregnant with his child. And then we get where we’ve been going. “I do not want you in my city dead or alive.” “Don’t ever presume to touch me again, nor say my name.” Finally, she realizes the scope of her power. She doesn’t break a sweat as she dismisses him, and let’s remember that he had it coming for a while (Lainey is cheering, I assume) but also as recently as the last time he was shaming her for getting some. See ya, Marmont.

Field. Ramsay Snow brings his father the banner of Moat Cailin. Bolton is like “walk with me”. They discuss that Locke was after the young Starks, and that he didn’t make it. Anyway, an object lesson – The North. 400 miles that way, 300 miles that way. Larger than the other six kingdoms combined. And then, “From this day until your last day, you are Ramsay Bolton, son of Roose Bolton”. Ramsey kneels, shocked.   He didn’t expect this? Being claimed seems both more and less ceremonial than you might expect. He celebrates by telling Reek he wants a bath.

Never have the words “you’re not a child any longer” been uttered without being creepy, and especially not from Baelish’s mouth. He wants to know why Sansa saved him and she’s all coy: “Well, what would they have done with me?” He wonders if she thinks she knows him and she’s all “I know what you want”. Sansa is ready to play the game!

Speaking of, The Hound and Arya are discussing what makes her happy. The fantasy of killing those on her list makes her happy, but she’s mad she didn’t get to see Joffrey die. They discuss whether dying via poison is a woman’s move, and Arya’s like “you don’t get it”. They’re on foot, approaching the Eyrie, and their banter really could basically be a romantic comedy at this point. The Hound assures her she’ll be properly bought and paid for, “Family, honour – all that horsesh-t”. And then they’re told that Lady Arryn died.

Arya bursts out into laughter. Like, hysterical laughter. Unabashedly a teenage girl laughter. It’s nice and unexpected. 

Meanwhile, Baelish has these words for Robin Arryn: “Don’t worry about your death. Take charge of your life for as long as it lasts. That’s what it is to be Lord of the Vale”. Robin nods, taking in for the first time someone who expects him to be more than mummy’s twisted little darling. 

AND THEN SANSA GOES GOTH. She descends the stairs, all dressed in black with black hair holy God. Creepy creepy creepy. She has assumed the role, inside and out.   I rewound her “now try to f*ck with me” smile about four times.

Tyrion! I missed you ! He’s talking to Jaime, who’s faintly amused by his musing on how the gods are stupid. He’s less amused when Tyrion begs him to say that Oberyn has a chance against The Mountain. Once he realizes there’s no way he can do anything but die, he starts wondering what the word is for a nephew executing his uncle. You know, small talk. God, these brothers are realistic and amusing when they hang out together, remembering a simple boy they knew. “Laughing at another’s misery was the only thing that made me feel just like everybody else.” And then we’re back to the beginning. Jaime can’t answer what Tyrion wants to know, and before they can go further into it, the moment of truth has arrived. The clock bongs.    It’s super bright. There’s no escaping what this is.

Massive crowds. Jaime in the Lannister’s box. Tyrion visits his champion, who is deep in the booze and the woman we remember from the wedding. Everything is fun and games until she realizes he’s going to fight (“kill!”) The Mountain. She stares in horror.

Pycelle announces that they’re there to determine the guilt or innocence of Tyrion, and there’s a glory shot of a sword, which makes me go “where’s Gendry?”

Oberyn swings his double-edged spear thing, and mouths off to the Mountain, whose sword is about the size of Oberyn himself. O is quite clear that he’s here to avenge his sister’s death. There are some ninja-turtle level gymnastics going on here. They’re so opposite. One is sheer girth, the other is all nimble. It really is quite beautiful, especially when they shoot it from far away.

It seems like no contest – more so when  Oberyn stabs The Mountain, has him flat on his back. He literally twists the knife, but won’t let him die until he admits to raping and killing his sister. Jaime beams.  

And then Oberyn trips.

And then The Mountain rolls up.  

And takes his hands. And forces them into Oberyn’s eyes. And keeps forcing, as they bleed. As they ooze. He spits out “Ilya Martell”. Insult to horrifying injury.

Oberyn’s head, oozing and vibrating under the pressure, quite literally explodes.

There’s an overhead shot.

I wasn’t grossed out. I wanted to see it again.

Is that wrong? It was kind of spectacular.

Tyrion is sentenced to death and looks worried, but after all that – how could you be thinking about your own neck? Did he just see what went down there?  

I need to rewind again.