Game of Thrones Episode (4×08) Review – “The Mountain and the Viper”



Game of Thrones Reminded Fans Why They Should Be Careful What They Wish For

This week’s episode of Game of Thrones offered up the most horrific death to date during the much anticipated battle between Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martell and Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. As Tyrion’s life hung in the balance until the fight decided whether he would be convicted of murder or freed, viewers were reminded that they need to be careful what they wish for. Following Lysa Aaron’s Baelish’s “suicide”, some strange investigation began looking into her mysterious death. Though the investigators may not have believed the words coming out of Littlefinger’s mouth, Sansa Stark Lannister managed to save Petyr’s hide with her brand of mixing bald-faced lies in with the truth. Sam’s choice of “safe haven” for Gilly and her babe continued to prove to be the worse decision ever then the Wildlings attacked Mole Town. Now that the savages are almost at Castle Black, maybe now Thorne and his cronies will begin listening to Jon Snow. Probably not. Meanwhile across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys discovered Jorah’s treachery from season 1 of reporting her business to King Robert “The Usurper” Baratheon in exchange for a pardon. Never mind Jorah quit acting as a double agent the moment he fell head over heels in love with Dany. Dany gave Jorah the boot, leaving her one advisor short. “The Mountain and the Viper” may not have been the most action packed episode, and much of it seemed like the episode was treading water, but the ending more than made up for this oversight. Besides, all of the “unnecessary” scenes will most likely end up hella important later on as usual, so I hope you were paying attention. Now that you’re all caught up, let’s discuss the episode!

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“Remember what you are and what you’re not.”

Ramsey Snow Bolton was back to his old antics this week as he prepared Theon for his grand performance of masquerading as himself. His old self. Theon’s task? Go to Moat Cailin and convince the Iron Born who hold the castle to stand down in exchange for Roose Bolton’s forgiveness. Theon did as he was asked, and his fellow islanders were flayed within an inch of their lives. Theon received a pat on the head like a good dog, while Ramsey got the last name he always wanted when Roose finally legitimized his bastard son. Even though this storyline was only a small part of the episode, it was very significant. Ramsey isn’t a mean-spirited, but fairly dumb boy like Joffrey. Instead, Ramsey is a very good tactician with the ability to concoct elaborate schemes and the patience to execute them. While he’s a fun character to watch, Ramsey may also turn out to be the most dangerous we’ve seen.

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“Better to gamble on the man you know than the strangers you don’t.”

After Lysa’s “tumble” out of the Moon Door in the previous episode, it may have seemed likely that Sansa would throw Littlefinger under the bus like the scared little bird she’s always been. Wrong! Sansa has learned at the feet of the Lannisters and thanks to Littlefinger’s recent tutelage has finally figured out how to play the game. Instead of turning on Petyr, Sansa mixed truth and lies so well during her interrogation, that it’s almost easy to forget what really happened. Sophie Turner was absolutely mesmerizing this week in her portrayal of Sansa. Her scarred little girl routine made her lies believable as much as her honorable maiden name. While watching Sansa become a skillful liar was amazing to behold, her later transformation into a confident player by the end of the episode was even more so. With the exception of Petyr’s constant reminders of his tragic love affair with Sansa’s mother Catelyn, Littlefinger and Sansa’s relationship is quickly becoming one of my favorites on the show. Clip Sansa & Little FingerInside Sansa & Little Finger Scene with George RR MartinGame of Thrones 4.08

“If you’re found in Meereen past break of day, I’ll have your head thrown in Slaver’s Bay.”

The revelation that Jorah was one of Vary’s “Little Birds” happened so long ago, that I all but forgot it. In fact, I actually thought Dany found out long ago. Guess not. Thanks to Tywin’s letter writing skills, Sir Barristan received the royal pardon Tywin sent Jorah and discovered the truth about the lovesick knight. It wasn’t long before Dany heard Jorah’s confession, and the dude was cast out like a dirty diaper. Dany’s claim that she would behead Jorah if she ever laid eyes on him again may seem a bit much, but she has a very good reason for being so unforgiving. Think back to season 1 when Dany saved a woman from being raped, only to have the woman kill Drogo later on. Dany was soft and her good heart cost her the love of her life. Some mistakes offer up hard lessons, and forgiving an enemy isn’t one mistake Dany is desperate to repeat. Sorry, Jorah, but it looks like you got your wish to be out of the Friend Zone! Betrayal Clip

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“How do a 102 stop 100,000?”

Sam’s decision to move Gilly to Mole Town may have cost the young mother her life when the Wildlings sacked the town. When we last saw her, Gilly and the baby were hiding in a cupboard, but it appeared that she had been discovered by Ygritte. The guilt may have been eating Sam alive, but the Wildling’s move may have given Jon the ammunition he needs to sway Thorne and the others to his side of things. Though we may not have seen the big battle between the Wildlings and the men of the Night’s Watch that’s been all season long, these scenes did set the stage for what’s to come in the next episode.

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“There’s no kind of killing that doesn’t have a word of its own.”

Tyion’s day of judgement arrived at last when the titular battle between the Mountain and the Viper commenced. Before the big to do, Tyrion and Jaime got the chance to have another one of their famous heart-to-hearts as they discussed a cousin they both looked down on. Funny enough, the cousin discussed happened to have a fondness for alphabetizing different forms of killing. This comes back later during the battle to decide Tyrion’s life.

Oberyn: Today is not the day I die.

Who would think Oberyn Martell could best the Mountain after seeing them stand side-by-side? No one. Not even Ellaria Sand. The Mountain is an impressive looking man, and it seemed almost impossible that the slender and worldly Oberyn would best the giant. So when Oberyn did just that it almost seemed as if the impossible had come to pass. I say almost, because Oberyn made the fatal mistake many heroes do in novels and films. He let hubris defeat him by trying to force a confession from Gregor Clegane before landing the killing blow. This mistake cost Oberyn his life in one of the most disgusting deaths in Game of Thrones history. I guess it was Oberyn’s day to die. Ellaria’s loss is our loss as well, as this means Pedro Pascal will no longer play the warrior. I’m going to miss that dude. He stole every scene he was in, and I looked forward to the King’s Landing scenes because of that. RIP Oberyn! Oh, and Tyrion is now sentence to death as a result of Oberyn’s defeat.

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Creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff did it again by writing another awesome episode. We got to see almost every major character, if only for a few minutes, and got to watch more pawns move into place before the last two episodes of the season gives someone a checkmate. Director Alex Graves had the tough job of moving between the various locales and characters we’ve been watching all season. This probably meant making tough choices between which scenes got longer screen time. Come on! Who doesn’t think Messandei and Grey Worm’s bathing flirtation couldn’t have been cut shorter? As cute as those two love birds are, time will tell on how important their burgeoning little dalliance will be. “The Mountain and the Viper” wasn’t the best episode of the season, but it definitely made the top five. Now that the #SaveTyrion campaign has essentially come to a dead end, Oberyn’s death is a signal that more heads will surely roll. Jorah’s if Dany has anything to say about it. Inside GoT 4.08 with Creators

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Questions…. Comments…. Concerns…

  • How crazy (and heartbreaking) would it be if the Mountain ended up dying from his wounds, and we lost Oberyn anyway?
  • Will Jaime’s little talk with Tyrion cause him to have a change of heart over freeing his little bro?
  • Arya laughing at the news that her aunt Lysa died had to be the best tension breaker ever! Second best? The look on the Hound’s face when he realized he won’t be making it rain in Mole Town’s most happening brothel was so priceless, Mastercard should use it in a commercial.
  • Speaking of faces… Jaime looked like a kid in a candy store while watching the big fight. Nice to see the once great swordsman appreciating another skilled fighter.
  • How do you feel about Littlefinger and Sansa? Gross or furture power couple?
  • Speaking of couples… did your heart break a bit when Dany told Jorah to kick rocks?