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‘Game of Thrones’ Season Finale Review: “Valar Morghulis”

Game of Thrones Season Finale Valar Morghulis
HBO

War already came, but there’s still lots of other stuff to be excited about! ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 comes to a snowy end with the ultimate episode of the season, as the Daenerys enters the House of the Undying to reclaim her dragons, while Kings’ Landing deals with the aftermath of last week’s battle, and Jon Snow makes new friends north of the wall.

Last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode “Blackwater” saw the forces of Stannis Baratheon finally arriving at Kings’ Landing, and all out war erupting while Tyrion, Bronn, Joffrey and the Hound attempted to keep from losing the city, and Sansa and Cersei commiserated in a safe room, so what will the latest season bring all the way ahead to April?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 finale episode “Valar Morghulis!”

A wounded, but still living Tyrion awakens, immediately sending for Bronn as Pycelle brings him up to speed that he’s no longer Hand to the King.  Over in the throne room, Joffrey’s busy proclaiming his grandfather Tywin as Hand, as well as as the “Savior of the City.”  So, what other business is on the docket?

For his aid in brokering the Lannister / Tyrell alliance, Petyr Baelish is granted Castle Harrenhal, while Margaery Tyrell humbly pleads her love for Joffrey and asks to be his queen.  Though Joffrey puts on quite a show of keeping his betrothal to Sansa, everyone ultimately agrees that Margaery is better served as queen.  Though initially relieved, Sansa quickly learns that Joffrey will still keep her as a mistress, and Baelish vows to help her escape from Kings’ Landing for her mother’s sake.

Over in Baelish’s whorehouse, Varys stealthily appears to remind Ros of her worth, while out on the road everyone’s favorite paring of Jaime and Brienne happen across three women hung upon the road.  In spite of all of Jaime’s insults, the two attempt to protect one another when three inquisitive men ask them their purpose, eventually recognizing the Kingslayer.  Faced with no choice, Brienne swiftly takes all three men down, saving the last one for a gruesome, horrible end as she slowly stabs the man through his body, beginning with his…well…ouch.

Back at his camp, Robb ignores his mother’s pleas to inform her that he’ll be marrying Tulisa rather than keep his appointed marriage with the Freys, even when Catelyn reminds him that hers and Ned’s marriage too was arranged, until it was built into something meaningful brick by brick.  Less amicable a conflict however, is a very aggravated (but still-living) Stannis Baratheon, who nearly chokes Melisandre to death for her false visions of his victory!  She assures him that Blackwater was but the first in a line of battles, and urges him to stare into the flames to see his future, which he eventually does…somehow.

Meanwhile, Theon Greyjoy remains on edge with Ramsay Bolton’s armies outside of Winterfell, endlessly blowing their horns, while Luwin pleads with Theon to flee up north and take the Black to repent for his actions toward the people who cared for him.  Theon insists he no longer has a place in Winterfell or even Pyke, and thus must commit to becoming the powerful, cruel man he’s tried so hard to become.  The following day, he delivers a rousing speech to rally his men to ride out with him, though before he can finish, Dagmer simply knocks out his commander with a blow to the head.  All the men laugh and prepare to leave, and poor Luwin gets speared through the gut for his confusion at the turn!

Varys sits at Tyrion’s bedside and attempts to warns him that his sister means to kill him, a feat she might well accomplish now that the Golden Guard belong to Tywin and Cersei.  Even Shae’s pleas to leave the city with her fall on deaf ears, as though he loves her and vice versa, Tyrion’s grown too addicted to the game, and wants to stay where he belongs outwitting the bad people of Kings’ landing.  Meanwhile, Daenerys approaches the House of the Undying, and quickly finds herself magically separated from Jorah, alone and in the dark…

While Rob and Tulisa marry in secret, Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie happen upon Jaqen out on the road.  The mysterious man offers to take Arya with him to Braavos, to learn how to kill the many names on her list, though she insists on finding her mother and brother…and I guess Sansa, too.  Just then, Jaqen reveals himself as a “Faceless Man,” who can apparently shape-shift at will, and offers her a mysterious coin that will call him if she gives it to someone from Braavos and utters the words “Valar Morghulis.”  Changing his appearance, he bids her farewell.  What a weirdo.

Emerging from hiding, Osha leads Bran, Rickon and Hodor out into a raised and abandoned Winterfell, where they find a dying Luwin by the Godswood tree.  He fondly bids the little lords well, urging them to go North to find Jon Snow, and comforting hem for the joy they’ve given him over the years.  With the boys turned, Luwin begs Osha protect them, and to quickly end his suffering, while Winterfell smokes into the sky.

Journeying deeper into the House of the Undying, Dany finds herself confronted with a strange vision of snow covering the Iron Throneroom, before exiting into the Northern wall.  Once there, she spots a snow-covered tent, which upon entering reveals a very-much alive Khal Drogo holding their infant son.  While the two briefly renew their love, uncaring of what brought them back together, the cries of Dany’s dragons bring her back to the real world, and she says goodbye to Khal once more.

Back in the altar room, Dany finds her three dragons, but the warlocks magically bind them all, intent on keeping Daenerys close to her dragons, and the dragons close to them for the boost it gives their magic powers.  Refusing to call the House of the Undying her home, Dany commissions her dragons to spit their fire at Pyat Pree, killing him.  With Pree dead, his magic fades and the chains turn to ashes.

Out in the Wildling North, Ygritte and the Lord of Bones lead Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand in bondage, when Qhorin picks a fight with Jon.  Confused, Jon ultimately has no choice but to kill Qhorin, for which the Wildlings unbind him and take him in as their own.  Agreeing to take Jon to “King Beyond the Wall” Mance Rayder  to be presented as “the man who killed Qhorin Halfhand,” Ygritte shows Jon the size of their army, while her fellow Wildlings take to burning Halfhand’s body, lest he “come back.”

Dragons in arm, what’s left of Dany’s Khalasar raid Xaro Xhan Daxos’ home, finding Doreah in bed with him, and open his vault to reveal…nothing!  Her lesson learned, Dany locks Xaro and Doreah in his own vault, and watches as her followers raid the house for enough money to buy a ship with which to sail.

Meanwhile, while Samwell and the other Night’s Watch comb the frozen wastes, a horn sounds in the distance.  Jon Snow and Qhorin must be back!  A second horn?  Must be a Wildling attack!  A third horn?  But that would mean…couldn’t be…Samwell falls behind in fleeping along with his cohorts, and winds up hiding behind a rock.  Behind him a horde of zombies slowly march through the show, led by a sharply blue-eyed White Walker!  The Walker eyes him, but takes no action as the dead make their march on the Fist of the First Men!  Cliffhanger!

Say what?  This ain’t ‘The Walking Dead,’ but how are fans supposed to survive all the way to April for the next round of ‘Game of Thrones?’  What’s the deal with the zombies?  Will Arya ever return home?  Will Tyrion continue to play the game, even with his face slashed in half?  and what of the consequences of Robb’s marriage?

There’s a lot of unanswered questions still, but that was one hell of a finale, don’t you think?  After “Blackwater” and this, has the show ever been better?

Did you get your fill of sword-swingin’ ‘Game of Thrones’ action?  What did you think about the finale? Join us next year for all-new episode recaps of ‘Game of Thrones’ on HBO, and in the meantime, check out our favorite moments from Season 2!

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