Game of Thrones S3E10 “Mhysa”
Given the circumstances presented to it, I would say “Mhysa” did a pretty great job as the season three finale. What circumstances? I’m glad you asked. Season three is roughly adapting the first half of A Storm Of Swords so there’s no real ending to adapt here. Secondly, after the tremendous negative shock of the Red Wedding, ending the season finale on a negative note would be very difficult as it would likely pale in comparison to what occurred in “The Rains of Castamere”. “Mhysa” avoids both these problems by going for the standard mass check in’s that we’re used to in season finales and ending things on a positive note. There’s so much to talk about in “Mhysa” including a changing of the guard in the north, Arya achieving a milestone, a return to Castle Black, Davos getting into and out of trouble, and Dany becoming a liberator. All that and more so let’s not delay any further.
We got Red Wedding aftermath to deal with so best we get that out of the way now. The massacre is actually still going when we pick things up with “Mhysa”. Sandor is disgusted at the lack of respect shown to Robb’s body as they’ve taken his head off and sewn on the head of his direwolf, Grey Wind. Seeing that there’s plenty of fighting left to be done at The Twins, Sandor wisely picks up a House Frey flag from the ground and uses it to escort himself and Arya out of the chaos. The next morning, the duo pass by some Frey bannermen who are bragging about the events of the previous night and Arya isn’t just going to take that. She sneaks off the horse and plays a trick on one of the Frey bannermen to make him reach for the ground, Arya seizes the opprtunity to stab the guy viciously, over and over again. She may have killed that one, but the others are quick to react and come at her. Sandor comes to her aid and easily ends the threat. Sandor asks Arya for more warning the next time she’s going to do something like that and asks if that was the first man Arya killed. She says it was and the two head off to wherever it is they’re going. I look forward to more from these two next season.
Back at The Twins the day after the Red Wedding, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton congratulate each other for their parts in the massacre and reminisce about how they were mocked and ignored by their liege lords. For their parts in the Red Wedding, the two men are each rewarded handsomely. Walder is now Lord of Rivverun and Roose is the new warden of the north. Walder asks Roose what happened to Winterfell and Roose gives us some information that’s been held onto for a while. Roose says that his bastard Ramsay Snow went to Winterfell to take it from Theon, using the offer that Robb had. Robb offered the Ironborn safe passage home if they gave up Theon and the Ironborn did. Ramsay however, doesn’t play fair. He burned Winterfell and flayed the surrendering Ironborn alive. And he took himself the prized prisoner Theon Greyjoy as we finally learn that Ramsay is Theon’s torturer.
Speaking of which, Ramsay has a new name for Theon. Theon is now Reek, because he reeks. I’m going to finally say that Theon has hit rock bottom here, a nameless eunuch. Theon’s genitals were sent to Balon Greyjoy in Pyke along with a letter demanding he withdraw all Ironborn from the north on the threat that Ramsay will send more parts of Theon. Balon has given up on Theon and decides to do nothing but Theon’s sister Yara isn’t having it. Yara decides to take her father’s fastest ship along with fifty of their best soldiers and plans to march on The Dreadfort, home of House Bolton and honored guest Theon Greyjoy. My question is whether Theon will still be Theon by the time Yara gets there, or will he just be so far gone and broken that there’s no coming back? You can bet your life that Ramsay is going to continue to torture Theon so Yara best get there quickly.
At the wall, the abandoned castle of Nightfort hosts an unexpected meeting. Bran and crew enter the castle looking to get beyond the wall at the same time Sam and Gilly enter looking to get back to Castle Black. Sam quickly identifies Bran from the stories Jon has told him and says he’s more than willing to help a brother of Jon in any way that he can. Sam immediately becomes upset when Bran asks him to get him north of the wall, and after what Sam has seen, I don’t blame him. Sam gives in when he realizes that Bran can’t be swayed otherwise and gives Meera and Hodor some parting gifts. Alleviating our fears, Sam did have the entire bag of dragon glass weapons and he equips Bran’s group with plenty of the weapons. Where they’re going, they’re going to need them.
Sometime after, Sam has made it back to Castle Black and he presents Gilly to Maester Aemon. This is probably the angriest you’ll ever see Aemon as he think Sam is the father of Gilly’s child. Sam quickly tells him that she’s one of Craster’s daughters and Aemon immediately drops it and says Gilly can stay at Castle Black for the time being. Sam tells Aemon about the entire trip, including the white walker attack at the Fist of the First Men and his personal run in with a white walker. Aemon believes him and takes the threat very seriously, telling Sam to send all the ravens they have to all the high lords, asking for help at the wall to fight the looming threat of the walkers.
Also, Jon makes it to Castle Black, but he’s in pretty bad shape. Ygritte tracked Jon down when he was washing his wounds and draws her bow at him. Jon pleads with Ygritte and tells her she knew who we was the whole time and that she won’t shoot him. He’s right on the first count but wrong on the second as Ygritte lands three arrows in Jon. Jon was lucky to even make it to Castle Black and he probably won’t be in fighting shape for a while. He best heal quickly though. Mance’s army is marching on the wall and I’d be shocked if it doesn’t come to battle between the watch and the free folk sometime in season four.
Ravens either fly really quickly or there’s a bit of a time jump in the episode because one of those letters Aemon sent has reached Dragonstone. Davos’ reading lessons are going well and he’s reading Stannis’ mail (unbeknownst to Stannis) to get in practice. When he reads the night’s watch letter, he’s shocked at what he reads but he hears the bells, indicating Melisandre is ready to fully sacrifice Gendry so he heads over to Stannis to try and talk him out of it. Things are looking pretty bad in that regard as Stannis thanks the leech ritual for the death of Robb Stark. Davos shows his usual skepticism to these religious powers and pleads Stannis to not kill Gendry, who’s his own nephew. Stannis doesn’t listen and says they will go through with the sacrifice the following day.
Davos refuses to let an innocent child be sacrificed so at night, he sneaks into the dungeons and tells Gendry he’s helping him escape. He gives Gendry, food, water, a rowboat, and directions to King’s Landing. In the morning, Stannis finds Gendry’s cell empty and immediately suspects Davos. Davos doesn’t even deny it, thinking he did nothing wrong. Stannis sentences Davos to death but Davos pulls out his trump card, showing Stannis the letter from the night’s watch, warning of the return of the white walkers. Stannis asks Melisandre what she makes of it and she makes a very big deal about it, saying that the war of five kings is irrelevant and the only war that matters is to the north. Stannis still plans to execute Davos but Davos says he’s the best man to restrengthen Stannis’ army for the march to the wall, to which Melisandre agrees, thus saving Davos. Davos may not like Melisandre or the lord of light, but boy did they give him a life line.
Now let’s take a look at King’s Landing. Tyrion is called to a meeting of the small council and it is there he learns of the Red Wedding. Joffrey is ecstatic of the news and demands that Walder send Robb’s head to him so he can show it to Sansa. Tyrion stands up for his wife and threatens Joffrey again, and Tywin defuses the situation again. Joffrey then turns his attention to Tywin and calls him a coward who waited out the war while his father (he think’s its Robert) actually fought and won it. The tension is real here, Tywin has had people killed for lesser insults than that. Tywin shows who’s really in charge here as he gets Joffrey to go to bed and be sedated by Maester Pycelle. He dismisses the small council after this, save for Tyrion. Tywin confirms his role in orchestrating the Red Wedding and the two discuss ethics of killing 10 men at a wedding vs killing thousands in a battle. Tywin then steers the conversation to the heir of Winterfell, which is now Tyrion’s son by Sansa. Tywin knows that Tyrion has made no attempt at producing that heir and gets on his son to work on that. Tyrion goes to his wife, not for that, but to comfort her. He walks in on her sobbing, confirming that she already heard the news. Knowing there’s nothing he can really do, Tyrion leaves Sansa to grieve.
By the docks. Varys finds Shae and the two discuss their shared foreign origin and their mutual friend Tyrion. Varys pleads and gives Shae diamonds so she’ll flee to Pentos. Varys says that Tyrion is one of the few men who wants to make the country better and actually has the power to do so but Varys says Shae is a distraction in that regard. Shae gives Varys the diamonds back and suspects Tyrion sent Varys so he wouldn’t have to tell her in person. I don’t know what to make of that one. It very well could just be Varys but Tyrion has always warned Shae that King’s Landing is dangerous for her so I suppose it could go either way.
Jaime finally makes it back to King’s Landing here, along with Brienne and Qyburn. He only had a minute of screen time but it was so powerful. Jaime has become a better person over the course of the season, there’s no denying that. But when he arrives back home, nobody recognizes him, he’s just mistaken as a crippled country boy. The Kingslayer may have had a negative connotation but it was world famous, everyone knew him. Granted he looks different, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jaime comes back a better person but no one recognizes him. He’s later seen entering Cersei’s room and Cersei has a look of disbelief on her face when she sees him. He’s down a hand and has been gone for well over a year so these two have a lot of catching up to do.
Our last check in is just outside the gates of Yunkai where Dany and her group wait for the Yunkai slaves to come out so she can free them. They don’t immediately come out and Dany begins to wonder if she’s done the right thing. Slowly but surely, they all do come out and stand nervous, waiting to see what Dany has to say. Dany tells them that she cannot give them her freedom, they have to take it themselves and asks them if they’re ready to do that. One person yells out Mhysa, the Yunkai dialect word for mother. More and more join in and soon enough the whole city’s population is chanting Mhysa. Recognizing that they adore her, Dany decides to enter into the crowd and be with her people. She’s quickly picked up and thrown over some of the Yunkai citizen’s shoulders and the camera pans to a high shot of her and the citizens with her dragons flying high in the sky above. The question of conqueror or liberator is answered emphatically with liberator. After the bleakness that season three gave us, I think it was wise to end on a positive note.
Davos was really mad that there’s a g in “night”. Silent letters are tricky for new readers.
Great directing in the first scene with Stannis, Davos and Melisandre. Melisandre, who is in favor of killing Gendry is on Stannis’ left and Davos, who is against it is on his right. Got the whole angel devil on the shoulder thing going on.
I know Ramsay is a bad dude but it was hilarious that he was eating sausage for breakfast when Theon woke up from his “surgery”.
Good to see Gendry be in high spirits in his dungeon cell. He asks Davos about how he got his lordship and Davos tells him it’s a long story. “Best not, I’m pretty busy” Gendry quips. I found that line pretty funny.
It was great to see Tyrion and Sansa actually getting along and becoming friends early in the episode. Then the Red Wedding had to change everything. A shame really, Sansa and Tyrion bonding over society’s hatred of them awesome.
Tyrion told Jon in “Winter Is Coming” that if he wasn’t a high born, he probably would have been killed as a baby. Tywin confirms this when he tells Tyrion that he wanted greatly to throw Tyrion into the ocean when he was born but raised him as his son because he’s a Lannister.
Word spreads fast in the capital. When Podrick went to fetch Tyrion for the small council meeting, two women he passes by blush and point at Podrick saying “that’s him”. Hard to believe Podrick is a master in the bedroom but good for him.
Gilly finally names her son! And his name is Sam. Way to go big Sam, you got a kid named after you.
I loved how fascinated Hodor is of the concept of echoes.
Dead starring character count for the season is four, with Robb, Cat, Talisa, and Jeor Mormont biting the dust.
Quote of the day comes from Tywin, after Joffrey insists for the thousandth time that he is the king. Tywin calmly says that “Any man who must say “I am the king” is no king at all”. Tywin continues to just be awesome.
“Mhysa” delivers the aftermath of The Red Wedding and tracks the progress of other story lines in a skillful way, setting the table nicely for season four.
Episode Grade A-
Season Grade A