G.O.T. Heart? The Season Finale Answer: Yes!
In the stunning season finale "Valar Morghulis" Game of Thrones Season 2 ends with a bang and the series reveals it has heart!
Robb Stark and Talisa's wedding
"I am hers and she is mine, from this day, until the end of my days."
At the center of this often brutally violent and deeply dark series beats a romantic heart. Who knew!
It wasn't the best overall season but the finale was so amazing it was well worth the wait!
Winter is Coming
Zombies are Coming!?
In a spectacular finale, Game of Thrones tied up loose ends with an emotionally packed end-of-series episode where the characters made key decisions. And if they found themselves at a crossroads earlier in the season, their paths were now clear.
It was an amazing finale. For all the jockeying for the throne, there he sat, the horrible King Joffrey. Wishing for his head on a spike became a familiar emotion during much of the season and his sitting on the throne was made only slightly better by the fact that Sansa now has a chance at escape. She's a misguided, naive girl who needs to learn to listen to those around her and trust her instincts. In short: Get the hell out of Dodge, girl, because when a crazy king like Joffrey un-engages himself from you it can only mean bad things.
King Joffrey wins
The season ends with King Joffrey winning. He sits upon the Iron Throne. This round of Game of Thrones goes to Joffrey and House Lannister.
The final episode covered a lot of ground. I was relieved to find Tyrion alive. But poor Tyrion Lannister. I really felt for him. He saved the city and led it to victory and his father takes all the credit. His sister plotted to kill him and so he sits, in a dungeon of sorts, with a gash across his face and no longer the Hand of the King. Why Tyrion didn't leave when his mistress, Shae, begged him to is anyone's guess, but the scene was incredibly moving. Dinklage will be sure to land another Emmy as we saw his face crumble into tears when his beautiful mistress whispered that she wouldn't leave his side, saying, "I am yours." It was a nice cut to go to Robb Stark and Talisa's wedding after Tyrion's moving scene. More on the vows below. (Talisa is played by Oona Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter.)
In a surprising reveal, the Eunuch Lord Varys appears to have some honor and informs Tyrion that it was his sister, Cersei, who plotted his death. He also tries to recruit a whore to his side.
Meanwhile, the lady knight escorts Jaime Lannister back to King's Landing, even defeating three men by her own sword. She's definitely a bada**.
The Starks lose
The Starks are losing this game and it's not a pretty sight. We want the Starks to win.
I was sad to see Winterfell burn. Winterfell is the castle viewers most identify with because it evokes a feeling of "home." The Starks are family in a way the Lannisters are not -- i.e. they are "normal" and a good family who love one another and treat people with respect, an anomaly in Westeros. It was a relief to see Bran, his little brother and the witch-nanny escape. There was a moving scene between the witch-nanny and the old advisor, Maester Luwin, dying under the magical tree. He asked her to look after Bran, to protect the Stark children against -- even possibly -- her own kind. Then she stabbed him, compassionately, so he wouldn't bleed to death. (Ah, compassion!) As Bran was pushed in a makeshift sled across the land with his brother in tow, we saw Winterfell as smoldering cinder of what it once was.
Theon, the dumba**, made a mockery of sacking a castle, and his own men gave him the ending he deserved. After an impassioned speech that had him sending his men on a suicide mission (they were outnumbered 20 to one), his men mutinied and gave him what he deserved: They hit him on the head to drag him home to the Iron Islands ("I thought he'd never shut up!" said one) and left Winterfell.
The Starks. The Starks are our way into the series: They most closely represent us and most closely represent the heroes of the story. Robb, sidelined the entire season, argued with his mother and then promptly wed the nurse he's in love with. The vows between Robb and Talisa were quite moving. In case you have pending nuptials, or are the fairy tale mythic romantic type, I've included the vows below. It was one of many emotionally gripping moments of the finale.
Jon Snow lost at the end of the world
Not much happened to Snow. He defeated one of his own kind and earned some respect from the wildings who marched him to a mountaintop overlooking a village. "Come see the king beyond the wall," said Ygritte.
Arya: no longer lost
Arya seemed to find her calling in life: She wants to be an assassin. Can you blame her? I was riveted to the TV as Jaqen told her that she could kill Cersei, Joffrey and all of them but instead she wants to train with him. Changing her mind, she knows she must reunite her family. Jaqen gives her a magical coin to summon him. All she must do is give the coin to any man in Banos and say the words: "Valar Morghulis" and he will appear.
Stannis the biggest loser
Despite his sorceress-mistress devotion to the fire god, he lost the battle. Furious, Stannis tries to strangle Melisandre but stops just short. He is developing his rational faculties, apparently, asking her: What is up with your talking to your gods and stuff, yo, lady, I don't know if I believe you! "Where is your god now?" he whispers, but she has a hard time answering due to the fact his fingers are throttling her throat. But the lady still has it because she conjures up some sort of amazing vision in the flames of a fire that renders would-be strangler Stannis speechless. It's going to be a long war, she tells him, just hold your horses. You'll sit on the Iron Throne yet.
If the Starks are the heart of the series -- Khaleesi is its fire!
Khaleesi "mother of dragons"
Khaleesi was amazing! I can't say enough about her awesomeness! How many women (and blondes at that!) could take on the Warlocks and their dark magic and win? She did and she was not afraid because she is the "mother of dragons" and part dragon herself (I think?). Finally, her storyline had some punch and Khaleesi was back. In a fascinating moment, the Warlocks tried to tempt her away from her baby dragons with objects of her desire: Her deceased husband, seemingly alive and well in a tent in the desert, and the Iron Throne itself. But Khaleesi is strong and no fool. She saw through this ruse and made her way back to the dragons and reality: Evil warlocks who want to keep her chained and locked in a tower along with three baby dragons chained to a rock slab proved to be no match for her.
The CGI dragons are not to be missed. When Khaleesi escaped her chains by ordering her tiny baby dragons to breathe fire onto the Warlocks, it was the best moment of the season.
The zombies are coming!
Wow. All I can say is wow. The "White Walker" zombies are beyond creepy and rival any cinematic interpretation I've seen. The creature with the ice-blue eyes on the horse who ignore Sam (lucky guy!) and march toward the wall are too amazing to be missed. If you haven't seen them, go watch them now.
Even though Season 2 ends with the zombies marching toward civilization, that is not our takeaway. Our takeaway from Season 2 of Game of Thrones is something far more profound: a wedding.
Robb Stark and Talisa's wedding vows were incredibly touching and there was something primeval about them -- as if they call up something from our ancestral past -- the stuff of myth and legends. Ultimately, that's what Game of Thrones offers when it's really good, like tonight's final episode was. It's more than just fantasy escapism -- it sheds light in the dark, that even among the muck and violence that makes up human history there is also love. It shows us that as much as power and ambition move men and women to make decisions, ultimately what really moves us all is love.
The wedding vows:
"In the sight of the Seven, I hereby seal these two souls, binding them as one, for eternity. Look upon one another and say the words."
The vows, spoken by both bride and groom simultaneously:
"Father, Smith, Warrior, Mother, Maiden, Crone, Stranger, I am hers and she is mine, from this day, until the end of my days."
Photos courtesy of HBO