Do I need to say it? There be spoilers here.
Last night’s episode “Valar Marghulis”, beautifully directed by Alan Taylor, was a fitting capstone to a terrific second season of Game of Thrones. (The title of the hour is the password Jaqen gives Arya, along with the coin, should she ever need him. Um, that’s right before he transforms his face – one of the freakier bits of the episode
Moments of humor, moments of terror, a few moments that left me scratching my head…and then that wild ending as the zombie horde attacked (I mean the White Walkers.)
Poor Tyrion, disfigured and disgraced. Meanwhile in the throne room, King Joffrey is handing out rewards for saving the city from Stannis's attack. Littlefinger gets Harrenhal which to my way of thinking doesn’t seem like much of a gift but he seems chuffed. Tywin rides his horse into the chamber to be anointed the king’s Hand. The Tyrells? Joffrey offers them anything their hearts desire.
Well, since you mentioned it, your majesty, how about marrying Margaery, who despite a brief marriage to Renly is still pure as the driven snow (and we’ll see a lot of that in this hour). There follows a staged exchange whereby Joffrey is permitted to “honorably” break off his engagement to Sansa (who allows herself a wide grin as she leaves the room. Dodged that pike.)
Her older brother Robb will also not be wedding his promised. Instead he takes some quickie wicca vows to his medicine woman Talisa out in the woods with no witnesses.
Theon, besieged in Winterfell, gives a rousing speech to his vastly outnumbered troops, spurring them on to a final suicidal charge. At the culmination of his speech, his first mate knocks him over the head, and the men from Iron Island bag and bind Theon and drag him out the gates to surrender.
That leads me to my first question? Who burned down Winterfell?
Daenerys goes inside the spooky House of the Undead to take on the Sorcerer and get back her dragons. First she chooses one of the identical doors ringing the main chamber and ends up in a touching reunion with Drogo. I don’t know about you, but I missed the big guy. And that baby is so cute! Please can we keep both of them? No, we must free the dragons. OK, but let’s keep that Drogo option open for season three.
Way up north is where the real action was. And also where my second question emerges. Could Jon Snow really be tricked into losing his cool so badly over a few insults that he would plunge his sword through Halfhand? I mean it was pretty obvious the guy was intentionally inciting him to make the hostility between them seem real.
Well, it worked. Jon is unbound and shown the valley of the Wildings and promised a meeting with the King Beyond the Wall. It may be a short visit.
Because the Night’s Watch latrine diggers are out wandering the moraine when they hear the warning horn blast thrice. Thrice! That means White Walkers! These creatures supposedly had ceased to exist centuries ago. Pure myth, right?
Tell that to Sam, as he crouches behind a rock in blizzard like conditions. Here comes the White Walker on his grotesquely decayed horse. And he’s trailing a massive army of Wights, i.e., the undead. Hey, you can call them what you like, George R.R. Martin fans. They look like zombies to me. And I didn’t watch with a compass, but I bet they're marching towards the Wall.