TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 10 – Valar Morghulis

The Lannisters are picking up the pieces after the battle for King’s Landing; Joffrey is rewarding those that supported him and Tyrion’s empire is slowly falling away now that his father has returned to take the place of King’s Hand. Theon struggles with the idea that Winterfell is under siege, Varys finds a new ally, Brienne and Jaime are still on the road and Robb makes a decision regarding Talisa. As well as this, Daenerys finally enters the House of the Undying, Arya is free and Jon Snow earns the trust of the Wildlings.

Warning: SPOILERS!

After the strong episode last week, this episode of Game of Thrones feels fractured, rushed and a little messy. We have not seen some of the characters for several weeks now, and the episode is used to try and wrap everything up before the season ends. We’ll try to get through everything concisely…

Tyrion is alive and Shae is standing with him, even though he is disfigured and has lost his empire. She tries to convince him to leave with her but reminds her that his place is in King’s Landing as out talking and out thinking people is what he is good at. Joffrey awards his grandfather the role of Hand and Harranhaal to Baelish. As well as this, he grants Cyril a wish that leads to him rejecting Sansa and agreeing to marry Renly’s widow. Sansa I relieved until The Hound reminds her that she is not yet free. Jaime is still goading Brienne but after she kills three Stark men who recognise him, he learns to shut up. Robb marries Talisa, which is sure to lead to problems with the family of the woman he was promised to.

Stannis begins to doubt the Fire God and turns on the Red Priestess until she reminds him that the war has just begun and he will betray everything he holds dear in order to win. Theon tries to rally his troops into dying with honour, but instead they attack him and leave for the Iron Islands. Luwin is mortally injured but as Winterfell burns and he dies, he tells Bran and Osha to head North to Jon Snow. Speaking of Jon Snow, he kills his fellow Ranger in order to gain the trust of the Wildlings and is taken to their king. Arya bids farewell to Jackan – who gives her a way to find him again – and Denerys has another great finale moment with her dragons as she outsmarts the House of the Undying and Xaro, in order to emerge victorious.

See? There is a heck of a lot going on this week. Some stories are wrapped up and others opened further, but perhaps the most shocking and gripping moment of the episode is when we finally get a good look at the White Walkers. The threat of zombies has ebbed throughout this season of Game of Thrones, as battle took its place, but now that these mysterious creatures appear to be marching to the Wall, another element has been added to the battle for superiority in Westeros.

In all, this was a messy episode of Game of Thrones, but a strong season. War may have dominated the season, but the hints at magic and the unknown, as well as the strong characters, keep the show strong and interesting. The battle for King’s Landing may be over – for the time being – but it is obvious that the war is still to come. Families are scattered and alliances broken, roll on season 3!

Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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