Airdate: May 18, 2014
Directed by: Alik Sakharov
Written by: George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire” by), David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator), David Benioff (written for television by), D.B. Weiss (written for television by)
Following the events of last week’s episode, we can expect to see some of the fallout from Tyrion’s decision, as well as follow up on some of the storylines not shown for a while. There will be a one week hiatus after this coming Sunday (the show will resume on June 1st), so it won’t be surprising if we end on some sort of cliffhanger. Benioff and Weiss have (wisely, in my opinion) refrained from cliffhanger endings going from one season to the next, but they often use them within a season – and a two week hiatus is a perfect time to use one. So what should we expect to see happen this week? Click through after the break to get a complete breakdown of the Promo video and my thoughts on this week’s upcoming episode.
<<Spoiler Alert: This preview of Game of Thrones S04E07 – “Mockingbird” – will discuss major plot points and events suggested by previous events and the events shown in the Promo video; read further at your own risk!>>
We should begin with the title of the episode, “Mockingbird.” This clearly refers to Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, despite the fact that he isn’t mentioned in the episode synopsis. He does, however, figure in the Promo video you can see below. The Mockingbird is Baelish’s personal sigil – it differs from the sigil of House Baelish, which features the Titan of Braavos, indicating the family’s origins outside of Westeros (as someone closely associated with the throne and a member of the Small Council, Littlefinger apparently doesn’t want this provenance widely known). Thus, we can assume that the most significant events of this week’s episode will take place in the Vale, at the Eyrie with Baelish, Sansa, her aunt Lysa, and cousin Robin. The last time we saw Lysa, she seemed far from stable, so it will be interesting to see how Baelish deals with her instability now that they are married, and he’s the new de facto Lord of the Vale (what with Robin being a minor).
This week’s synopsis over at IMDB reads: Tyrion enlists an unlikely ally. Daario entreats Dany to allow him to do what he does best. Jon’s warnings about the Wall’s vulnerability fall on deaf ears. Brienne follows a new lead on the road with Pod.
The last time the words “unlikely ally” were used in relation to Tyrion was back in episode 33, when that ally turned out to be Jaime, visiting his brother in the dungeons of the Red Keep and taking his side. The ally Tyrion needs now is someone to champion him in his trial by combat. This time, however, it won’t be Jaime – he’s too obvious, and is no longer an unlikely ally: he’s clearly allied himself with his brother. In addition, it won’t be Bronn. He championed Tyrion back in the Eyrie when he was accused of the attempted murder of Bran Stark, but he won’t do so here – again, he’d be a likely ally, not an unlikely one. So who does that leave? Tyrion cannot simply name a champion, the champion must offer his services. For those that have read the books, you know the answer (unless Benioff and Weiss decide to play with us again – which they won’t, as evidenced in the Season Four Trailer #1 video, which you can find here in my Season Preview – forward to 1:07 of the video if you want to be spoiled); for those that haven’t, pay attention to the names of upcoming episodes – there are clues therein.
What does Daario do best? Kill, of course. Dany is retrenching on the far side of the world, and as we saw last week, ruling is a lot more difficult than conquering (something nations forget time and time again). Who will Dany have him kill?
Jon will get back to Castle Black with news of the success at Craster’s Keep, much to Thorne’s and Slynt’s respective disappointment, I’m sure. However, success does not breed respect in the Night’s Watch, at least where Jon’s enemies are concerned. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Castle Black under assault by the end of tonight’s episode – this might even be the cliffhanger I suspect they’re going to throw at us with the two week hiatus coming up.
Brienne and Podrick will likely be little more than comic relief again. This is fine for what it is, and it is really a minor storyline, but I think that both characters – especially Brienne – have potential, and would like to see them better utilized. Focusing attention on them, however, especially when they’re not part of the main narrative, is a potential walk down the path to character-glut, Martin’s main problem with the book series. Benioff and Weiss have, wisely, chosen to roll some characters into composites, thus reducing this issue somewhat; still, with a cast reaching into the hundreds, side stories like Brienne’s become almost distracting – unless she can somehow become a game-changer again, like she was when she brought Jaime home.
Now let’s take a look at this week’s Promo video:
Open in the dungeons beneath the Red Keep. Jaime goes to visit Tyrion, telling him, “You threw your life away, you threw it away.” Tyrion replies, “Don’t give up on me just yet.” He turns to give Jaime an intense stare – he knows what he’s doing. Next we see Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (in his third iteration, played this season by 6 foot 9 inch Icelandic actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (not much “Half-Thor” about his size)), walking bare-chested toward a group of men pleading for mercy, as King’s Guards thrust them to the dirt. The Mountain swings up over his head, bringing his sword down as blood sprays up. We jump to Daenerys’s boudoir, Daario saying, “Send me to kill your enemies, any enemy, anywhere.” Dany sits and gives him a coy look. He continues, “Let me do what I do best.” Next we hear the Hound in voice-over, saying, “Next to you,” as Arya draws Needle and stabs an unseen opponent in one fluid motion. We then see her sheathing the sword, standing over a body, and turn to the Hound as he finishes, “I’m a walking bag of silver.” He doesn’t look well, not wearing his armor, and looking as though he may have been disarmed – has Arya somehow gotten the drop on him?
We finish at Dragonstone, where Melisandre is busy digging her claws deeper into Lady (Queen?) Selyse. She tells her, “You are strong enough to look into the Lord’s light, and see His truth for yourself.” The two women move closer to a brazier, staring into the flames. From fire to ice, we see Sansa building a snow castle copy of Winterfell, complete with a Weirwood stick in the enclosure. Baelish in voice-over, one we’ve heard before in the Season 4 Trailer #1: “Given the opportunity, what do we do to those that hurt the ones we love.” Note he’s wearing his mockingbird pin at his throat in this scene. Sansa looks sad, looking out at the Vale, and then we see her in the Eyrie’s throne room, her aunt Lysa dragging her by the hair, shouting “Liar!” as she pushes Sansa down to the edge of the Moongate (which, if you’ve forgotten, is the door leading to a drop of several thousand feet in the floor of the throne room – the one that Robin wanted to send Tyrion through in Season One).
Interestingly, the IMDB synopsis and the Promo video barely coincide at all (outside of the Dany/Daario scene), therefore giving us more information than we usually receive prior to an episode. In the Riverlands, it looks as though the power dynamic between the Hound and Arya is shifting, definitively in her favor. When she uses Needle, we see the Hound standing in the background, not intervening. She’s also the one that led him into a fight at the inn back in Episode 31, and more and more she seems to take the initiative completely away from the far more experienced knight. She’s a proto-woman on a mission, and is becoming one of the more dangerous people in Westeros. The Hound’s comment about being a walking bag of silver indicates as well that word of Tywin’s increased bounty on his head (from ten to one hundred silver), must have traveled to where they are already.
The reintroduction of his brother, the Mountain, is ominous – we’ve only seen him a few times, and usually where war and mayhem are being sown. With the King’s Guard assisting him, he must be back in King’s Landing – the perfect time to come to the aid of the Lannister cause. Consider him to be like Chekhov’s gun on the wall – he isn’t here just as window dressing.
I’m kind of tired of Melisandre’s machinations. I feel it’s already been well-established that she controls Selyse, so I’m not sure why we’re heading to Dragonstone, unless it’s simply to remind us that Melisandre exists. I’m curious as to whether there will be any other narrative need for this scene.
Finishing up at the Eyrie fits with the title of the episode, as I mentioned above. What would Baelish do to protect the ones he loves? And who does he love, besides himself? We know he was in love with Catelyn, not Lysa, despite having slept with the younger sister and impregnating her when they were young. He’s used Lysa in the intervening years (see her confession to her own husband’s murder, and the framing of the Lannisters at Baelish’s request), but has he grown to love her? He does seem overly fond of Sansa, in a creepy “You look just like your mother” kind of way – so how will he react to Lysa’s attempt to murder his ward? Which one – if either – does he love?
Sadly, we won’t see Tyrion’s trial by combat this week, which means we have to wait at least two more weeks after this episode – but it should come in Episode 38. On a positive note, we’ll still get a little Tyrion (no pun intended), some of Arya, and a bit of Jon Snow – all three of my favorite characters.