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‘Mockingbird’ – There may be some justice in Westeros after all.

Leading into the final few episodes now, Game of Thrones has felt a bit off this series. It is entertaining in parts, sure, but as a whole it has been a bit dull. Much in the way Arya and the Hound keep plodding along, stopping every now and then to argue or get in a quick fight, these seven episodes so far have struggled to be as epic as the ones we’ve had the last few years. It’s the same again with episode 7, which definitely has its moments, particularly the final two scenes.

Tyrion and Jaimie are enjoying a bit of brotherly bonding, trying to laugh about the terrible situation they’ve found themselves in. At least Tyrion managed to take one last stab at Tywin’s pride in his tirade against the trial’s attendees. With his fate to be decided by a ‘trial by combat’, Tywin’s plans for a relatively skirmish-free and easy sentencing were scuppered. Cersei has recruited the Mountain, Gregor Clegane, to be her champion ­- a ruthless killer with immense strength, as we get to see in his brutal ‘training’ sessions. With Jaime still not fighting fit, Tyrion asks for Bronn, who eventually deigns to meet with Tyrion but only to refuse to be his champion. Not simply because the sellsword has been bought by Cersei and is to be wed into a wealthy family, but because he is rightfully s**t scared of being ripped limb from limb by the Mountain. Even a friendship (almost a bromance) with Tyrion can’t sway him to reconsider.
game-of-thrones-mockingbird-01Arya and the Hound come across a mortally injured man on the road. Their discussion with the man about the will to live and the will to die is harrowing when you realise how much Arya has lost and how much death has touched her. Her assertion that ‘Nothing is not better or worse. Nothing is just nothing’, shows how deeply sunk into this world of death and malice she is. This hits home when, after they’re ambushed by two men, she coldly murders an attacker, one of whom bites the Hound. The one positive in this scene is that Arya and the Hound do finally find out that Joffrey has died. So that’s good news for them! Strangely, while in this early scene there is a lot of talk of misery and death, later on in the episode the two have a much different scene. The Hound reveals his childhood trauma and the reason for his fear of fire, and allows Arya to help clean and dress his possibly infected wound. There is tenderness between the two in this moment, despite the sense that one of them could still sell the other out at the next opportunity.

Jon Snow is having less and less luck at the wall. Even returning from Craster’s Keep alive and in one piece doesn’t mean he’s won the battle. The Night’s Watch leaders still fail to grasp the enormity of his warnings about the army beyond the wall, and shoot down his idea to seal up the tunnel for good. If Jon keeps talking about Giants, then they probably never will.

Across the sea, having more luck than Snow, is Daenerys, whose relationship with Daario has just become all the more complicated. The leader of the Second Sons makes his way into the Khaleesi’s private chambers by climbing through the window – bouquet of flowers in hand – and is reprimanded by being told to take his clothes off. As with any Mills and Boon novel, I’m sure, you can guess where this then leads.

The scene shifts to Melisandre and Selyse, Stannis’s wife, in Dragonstone, having a chat about the Lord of Light and Melisandre’s ‘magic’ potions. She reveals that most of the magic produced is lies and trickery; powders and fluids that create plumes of smoke or flames of fire to seduce unbelievers to her cause. Only when these people are tricked into believing, can they truly see the Light. When Selyse asks for her daughter Shireen to remain in Dragonstone, Melisandre instead demands that Shireen goes with them on their next journey. Maybe Stannis’s daughter is next in line to be a sacrifice for Melisandre’s real magic.
game-of-thrones-mockingbird-02The following morning in Meereen, Jorah walks in just as Daario is leaving Daenerys chamber. His disappointment is obvious, as is his frustration with the Khaleesi’s orders to kill all the masters back in Yunkai. Fortunately she heeds Jorah’s warning about taking such merciless action and decides to take the less ruthless route by sending a former Meereen master with the Second Sons as an ambassador (and warning) to her Yunkai enemies.

Brienne and Pod find their way to an inn where they run into Hot Pie – Arya’s old travel companion from a couple series ago. Hot Pie lets them know that Arya was last seen with the Hound heading to the Wall, so off they go to find a Stark. Brienne and Pod work so well together they’ve become two of the most entertaining and likeable characters on the show. Let’s hope they survive until next series. Brienne’s sarcastic banter with the docile yet clever Pod is brilliant.

On to the last two scenes that really make the episode and prove that there might be justice left after all in this world: back in King’s Landing, Oberyn Martell visits Tyrion in his gloomy and misery-stricken cell. What follows is a beautifully acted scene from Dinklage and Pedro Pascal. After explaining how he met Tyrion as a baby – promised a vision of a monster by a young Cersei, Oberyn instead met an innocent child detested by his sibling – Oberyn promises to be Tyrion’s champion in order to get his revenge on Ser Gregor Clegane. When Oberyn holds up the flaming torch and announces his plan, he looks like the hero that this show, and Tyrion, needs. The sob of relief and gasp of astonishment that Dinklage gives is heartbreakingly good to watch.

The last scene shows us the action at the Eyrie. Sansa finds a moment of peace, building a miniature Winterfell in the Eyrie’s snow-covered garden. When Robin joins in it seems like the two betrothed cousins are getting along nicely, despite his obsession with making people ‘fly’ from the Moon Door. When he accidentally destroys Sansa’s snow creation, Robin reacts badly, stomping on the mini Winterfell and Sansa slaps him. Lord Baelish appears out of nowhere to reassure Sansa that Robin deserved it, before expressing his love for her mother and snogging her. Lysa sees this and retaliates by almost shoving Sansa out the Moon Door herself. Littlefinger saves Sansa, and assures a heartbroken (and psychotic!) Lysa that he has only ever loved one woman: “your sister”. With that, he pushes Lysa out the door to plummet to her death. The plot thickens!

★★★★

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