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‘Game of Thrones’ Season Finale Review: “Mhysa”

Game of Thrones Season 3 Finale Mhysa Review
HBO

Game of Thrones’ season 3 conjures its tenth and final episode of the season “Mhysa,” as Kings’ Landing greets the aftermath of the Red Wedding, Bran makes his way north with the help of a mutual friend, Davos defies Stannis once again, and Daenerys awaits her reception at the conquered city of Yunkai.

Previous ‘Game of Thrones’ episode “The Rains of Castamere” saw Jon’s true loyalties exposed, Daenerys’ men laying siege to Yunkai, and Robb and Catelyn’s fates at Edmure’s wedding to Roslin Frey took a horribly red turn, so what will the finale bring?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Game of Thrones’ season 3 finale, “Mhysa!”

Roose Bolton oversees the continued slaughter of Robb Stark’s camp, while The Hound slowly leads Arya through the chaos, and Arya wakes just long enough to see Frey men hailing the “King in the North,” made up of Grey Wind’s head sewn onto Robb’s body. Back in King’s Landing, Tyrion and Sansa begin to enjoy one another’s company, before Podrick summons Tyrion to a meeting of the small council.

Tyrion arrives to find the news of Robb and Catelyn’s death, with a gleeful Joffrey eager to serve Robb’s head to Sansa at his wedding. Tyrion defends Sansa as his wife, to which Joffrey grows even more incensed, mocking even Tywin for his past losses. Tywin grows silent and “suggests” that Joffrey be put to bed, clearing the council room save for Tyrion. Tywin presses that the best thing Tyrion could to would be to better the Lannister family with a child for Sansa, pointing out his own most generous act of sparing Tyrion at birth for the good of the family. By the time Tyrion returns to his chamber, Sansa has already heard the news of her family, and weeps by the window.

Bran, Hodor and the Reeds set up camp in an abandoned castle, wherein Bran relays the ghost story of the “Rat Cook,” a cook from the Night’s Watch who killed the King’s son and served him to his father, thereafter condemned to the life of a rat, eating his own young for breaking the sacred rules of guest right. Elsewhere, newly-named Warden of the North Roose Bolton watches Walder Frey’s servants clean the blood out of the hall, and explains to Walder that it was his bastard son Ramsay Snow who sacked Winterfell, before taking Theon as his prize for his own perversions.

Meanwhile at the Dreadfort, Ramsay Snow mocks Theon for his recent castration, as Theon begs for death. Ramsay jokes that Theon no longer looks like a lord, and henceforth will be known as “Reek” for his putrid stench. Theon insists upon his own name, before repeated blows from Ramsay finally lead Theon to accept his new moniker. Back at the castle, Bran and the Reeds hear someone approaching through the castle, quickly revealed to be Sam and Gilly, who recognizes Bran and Hodor from Jon’s stories. Bran asks for an incredulous Sam’s help in going north of the Wall, despite the presence of White Walkers.

Back at the Iron Islands, Yara delivers a message to her father from Ramsay Snow, demanding all Iron Islanders to leave the North and delivering “Theon’s favorite toy” as an warning. Balon insists there would be no point in rescuing the foolish Theon now, though Yara protests, and resolves to take a troop of her best men to attack the Dreadfort where Theon and Ramsay reside. Back below Castle Black, Samwell gives his dragonglass weapons to Bran and Reeds, before watching them depart north.

Davos goes to visit a captive Gendry, wherein the two learn they share childhoods in Fleabottom. Davos explains that he accepted knighthood from Stannis in order to better his son’s future, though his son died following him. Back in Kings’ Landing, Varys confronts Shae and urges her to leave the city with a clutch of diamonds to make a new life for herself, as Varys believes Tyrion to be the best hope for Westeros, and Shae a danger to that. Shae rejects the offer, saying Tyrion can tell her himself if she isn’t wanted anymore.

Tyrion and Podrick drink heavily before Cersei interrupts, and mockingly asks Tyrion about his marriage. Cersei too suggests giving Sansa a child for her own happiness, as Cersei’s children were all that spared her from suicide, even Joffrey. Elsewhere out on the road, Arya and the Hound pass some Frey men boasting about the death of Robb Stark, when Arya confronts them and asks to share the fire. Arya offers Jaquen’s coin but drops it, stabbing the man repeatedly when he turns his back to fetch it, while the Hound kills all the others. The Hound chides Arya for her lack of warning, as she whispers “Valar Morghulis” to the coin.

Jon drinks from a pool, quickly finding himself confronted by a vengeful Ygritte. Jon apologizes for his actions but swears that he loves Ygritte, for which she shoots him with an arrow. Jon runs to his horse and speeds off, not before sustaining two more hits, leaving a sobbing Ygritte. Back at Castle Black, Sam explains Gilly’s presence to Maester Aemon, who reluctantly allows her to stay, before tasking Sam to write dozens of letters of his accounts for the ravens.

Davos sifts through Stannis’ many messages with his fledgling ability to read, aided by Shireen. When Davos reaches Samwell’s letter, the bells of Dragonstone begin to ring, sending Davos rushing to Stannis’ chamber. There, the group shares news of Robb Stark’s death, as Davos again insists Stannis’ use of blood magic in uniting the kingdoms to be evil. Stannis presses that Melisandre can grant him dragons with which to make his enemies suffer, but Davos continually pleads for the life of Gendry, to deaf ears. Afterward, Davos smuggles Gendry out of his cell and places him on a boat to escape, suggesting he hide back in Fleabottom.

Barely conscious, Jon Snow arrives back at Castle Black and smiles at the sight of Sam, who welcomes him home. Elsewhere, Jaime and Brienne arrive at King’s Landing, shortly after which Jaime pays a visit to a shocked Cersei. Back at Dragonstone, Davos freely admits to his crimes and accepts Stannis’ death sentence, but urges him to reconsider given the contents of the Night’s Watch letter, which warns of the White Walker invasion. Melisandre burns the letter, but agrees that Stannis will need Davos to help rebuild the army, as White Walkers pose a much greater threat than the War of the Five Kings.

Daenerys, her followers and her army await outside the gates of Yunkai, wondering how its newly-freed citizens will greet their liberator. When the people exit the city to greet her, Missandei introduces Daenerys as the one who gave them freedom. Dany corrects Missandei, claiming that their freedom was not hers to give, but theirs by right. The crowd slowly begins a chant of “Mhysa,” old language for “Mother,” welcoming Daenerys with adored reverence. Dany sends her dragons to fly overhead as she enters the adoring crowd, who marvel at their new leader and triumphantly lift her onto their shoulders.

And so, ‘Game of Thrones’ season 3 has come to an end. Given the unrivaled shock of last week’s events, we couldn’t realistically expect tonight’s finale to prove anywhere near as dramatic, even as “Mhysa” set up some important threads for next year. Crucial to note is that splitting George R.R. Martin’s “A Storm of Swords” across two seasons with elements from later books sprinkled in also changes what we’ve come to expect from a ‘Game of Thrones’ finale, eschewing any major cliffhangers or supernatural revelations.

However anticlimactic, “Mhysa” still does a fine job of resetting matters after the Red Wedding, so hauntingly reminded by the visual of Robb’s wolf sewn onto his own body. The reactions between Arya and Sansa to offer accordingly different sides of the grief spectrum as well, seeing Arya give in to some of her rage while Sansa’s brief moments of happiness with Tyrion turn to further grief. At last, we also finally learn the significance of Theon’s torturer, bastard son to the newly-positioned Roose Bolton, whom we’re certain to see much more of next season.

Bran’s story finally gained a bit of momentum in briefly encountering Sam and Gilly, though it’s anyone’s guess what those four would get up to beyond the Wall next season. On the same note, we were glad to see Jon and Sam reunited at Castle Black as well, but not before Jon shared one final heartbreaking encounter with a spurned Ygritte.

With Daenerys’ story largely relegated to the final minutes, most of the episode’s development goes to Stannis, Melisandre and Davos, whose journey north next season should offer far greater momentum than stewing around Dragonstone and performing spell after spell. Dany too should have an interesting role next season, though we might have liked a bit more bite or climax to the final minutes of the episode, which in previous years had left us with some major “wow” moments.

All in all, the air (or blood) of the season had mostly been let out by “The Rains of Castamere,” as even a returning Jaime’s most interesting moments arrived much earlier in the season, but “Mhysa” gave us a good course-heading for season 4, with some much-needed catharsis along the way.

Did you get your fill of sword-swinging ‘Game of Thrones’ action?  What did you think about tonight’s finale “Mhysa” Check out all our other ‘Game of Thrones’ season 3 coverage to come, and join us next season for all-new episode recap of ‘Game of Thrones’ season 4 on HBO!

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