The penultimate episode of “Game of Throne’s” third season was about despair, the kind of soul-crushing despair that only a horror like the Red Wedding could bring about.
But the season finale was about hope -- hope in the form of Daenerys Targaryen, the last of her name, who has emerged as the show’s conqueror and abolitionist.
As a bloody civil war tears Westeros apart, Daenerys has freed the slaves of multiple cities in Essos, that continent to the east full of warlocks, Dothraki nomads and mysterious sellswords.
For this, she is becoming beloved.
As the episode ended, the now-free people of Yunkai hoisted her up upon their shoulders and chanted, “Mother, mother, mother.”
It was not the thrilling climax of episode nine – “Thrones” season finales never are – but the episode did a fine job of setting up the pending battles and storylines of future seasons. All the main characters got their due, and Dany's closing scene -- which ended in a spinning, spiritual way -- was moving.
If Daenerys ever crosses the sea to retake the kingdoms her father once ruled, she will be joined by tens of thousands of loyal subjects. And she will be returning as Essos’ Great Emancipator, a beloved leader whose army fights not out of duty, but out of loyalty.
And she will have three dragons, who are quickly growing into the giant beasts her ancestors once rode.
I can see the boy-king Joffrey peeing his pants at the sight of them.
The episode began where last week’s left off, with more despicable horror at The Twins. Arya is forced to watch as some lowlife soldiers parade around Robb Stark’s mangled body with Grey Wind’s severed head sowed on top. (Classy, Westeros. Classy.)
Arya gets her revenge later in the episode when she and The Hound happen upon some soldiers on the road from the castle. One of the men is boasting that he helped defile Robb’s body. Arya approaches the group innocently, and then stabs the man multiple times in the throat. (She’s becoming quite the little assassin.) The Hound does the rest, easily killing the overmatched opponents.
“Where did you get the knife?” The Hound asks.
“From you,” she replies.
She says this is the first time she's killed a man, but methinks she stabbed one to death in her escape from Harrenhal (or was that only in the books?).
At the capitol city, Tywin Lannister tells Tyrion of the role in played in the Red Wedding, orchestrating the massacre from afar.
“Explain to me why it is more noble to kill 10,000 men in battle than 12 at dinner?” Tywin asks.
Tywin names Roose Bolton, who thrust the fatal stab into Robb Stark, ward of the north.
And a handless Jaime finally makes it back home.