Game of Thrones: Mhysa   First Watch 
September 11, 2015 11:13 AM - Season 3, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Joffrey challenges Tywin. Bran tells a ghost story. In Dragonstone, mercy comes from strange quarters. House Frey receives the Seat of Riverrun. Roose Bolton is appointed the new "Warden of the North." Maester Aemon sends out ravens to alert Westeros about the arrival of the White Walkers. Dany waits to see if she is a conqueror or a liberator.

Tyrion: “You just sent the most powerful man in Westeros to bed without his supper."
Tywin: “You’re a fool if you think he’s the most powerful man in Westeros."
Tyrion: “A treasonous statement. Joffrey is king."
Tywin: “You really think a crown gives you power?"

Longer Summary (Spoilers Within.)

At the Twins: Wedding carnage continues to unfold. While Robb's leaders were slaughtered in the main hall, his army was slaughtered in the camp it had made outside the walls by Frey and Bolton forces. Robb's corpse is decapitated and Grey Wind's severed head attached instead. The Freys gleefully parade the mutilated body around the castle on a horse while mockingly chanting "King in the North! King in the North! Here he comes, the King in the North!". The Hound (with an unconscious Arya) attempts to casually ride away while carrying a Frey banner. Before they can leave, Arya regains consciousness. The Hound seems horrified by what he is witnessing. but Arya only shows a dead stare. They flee, unchallenged.

The following morning, Lords Walder and Bolton gloat over their victory: Frey is to be Lord of Riverrun. The Freys will receive Riverrun. Bolton is the new Warden of the North. Bolton expresses concern that Brynden "Blackfish" Tully escaped the massacre and reveals his true feelings about King Robb, whom he thought arrogant, politically incompetent and unwilling to make hard decisions needed to win. Roose further explains that the Boy who has been torturing Theon is his bastard son, Ramsay Snow.

Arya and The Hound pass by a small group of Frey men, one of whom is bragging that he cut off Grey Wind's head and attached it to Robb Stark's body. Arya approaches them and sweetly asks to warm herself by the fire. She offers the coin given to her by Jaqen H'ghar as payment. When the Frey man goes to examine it, she stabs him in the neck. Shocked, The Hound dispatches the others. Arya then reveals she stole The Hound’s knife without him realizing it. Progress: throughout the season, Arya has been unable to pull anything over on The Hound without him knowing what she was thinking first.

In The North, At the Dreadfort: Ramsay Snow eats a thick sausage while taunting Theon about his recent emasculation. This scene was described by the New Yorker as "Theon Greyjoy, whose penis was being messengered across the country while the rest of him watched a sadist eat sausages...." Theon begs for death. Ramsay tells him that he is more valuable alive than dead and notes that Theon reeks, declaring to Theon that his new name shall be Reek. Theon resists. Ramsay beats him. Theon capitulates.

​On Pyke: Balon Greyjoy reads a message from Ramsay Snow while Yara Greyjoy cautiously opens an accompanying box. Ramsay's letter explains the box contains "Theon's favorite toy" The letter further demands the ironborn withdraw from the North by the next full moon or they will receive more bits and pieces of Theon. Any ironborn remaining will be flayed alive. We learn that Ramsay Snow and his soldiers were the ones who burned Winterfell to the ground. He had sent false reports to Roose for Robb Stark claiming the ironborn were responsible. Balon washes his hands of his son. He feels Theon is incompetent and worthless since he can no longer produce an heir. Yara announces her intention to take her fastest ship with her fifty best men, sail around Westeros, besiege the Dreadfort, and liberate Theon.

In King's Landing: Tyrion and Sansa walk through the gardens. A pair of passing gentlemen mock Tyrion, either because he is a dwarf or thanks to the rumors he hasn't yet consummated his marriage. Sansa tells him to pay them no mind. Tyrion reminds her that he's used to being mocked, since he's always been a dwarf. He also says that he's not Joffrey: he'd rather bide his time and humiliate them. They are interrupted by Podrick Payne, who calls Tyrion to a meeting of the Small Council.

In Tywin's chambers, Grand Maester Pycelle acts older and frailer than he really is, messing with Tyrion while handing him a coded message from Lord Frey. Joffrey jubilantly explains its surprising contents: Robb and Catelyn Stark are dead and Stark's army has been massacred. The King gleefully announces his intention to serve Robb's severed head to Sansa at his wedding feast. None of the Small Council are able to mask how distasteful they find the concept. Varys points out that Sansa is Joffrey's aunt by marriage now. A deeply embarrassed Cersei forces a smile and insists to the rest of the council that Joffrey was only joking and did not mean it. Joffrey contradicts her: he will have Robb's head served at his wedding feast. Tyrion flatly forbids it and tells Joffrey that Sansa isn't his to torment anymore. Joffrey angrily proclaims that he is the king, and everyone is his to torment. Tywin counters that a king who has to remind his subjects of the fact is no king. Joffrey loses his shit and tries to fight his grandfather, deriding Tywin as a coward who hid under Casterly Rock while Joffrey's father King Robert won the real war when he overthrew the Targaryens.

Everything stops. The entire Council gives Tywin an "Oh Shit" look, waiting for him to respond to this shocking insult. As the silence goes on, even Joffrey begins to look scared that he has gone too far.

Tywin coldly and calmly declares that the king is tired and advises the Queen Regent to see him to bed. Joffrey protests but leaves. Tywin asks Pycelle to give his grandson a sedative to make sure he goes to sleep. He then dismisses the council, but tells Tyrion: "Not you." Tyrion notes that Tywin has sent the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms to bed without his supper. He then confronts Tywin about his part in the Red Wedding, deducing that he must have orchestrated it. Tywin confirms this and dismisses Tyrion's concerns. He then complains that Tyrion has not had sex with Sansa. Tyrion refuses to rape her, and counters that she is unlikely to ever have sex with him now that the Lannisters have murdered her mother and brother. Tyrion demands to know when Tywin ever put the family's interests above his own. Tywin retorts that he did exactly that on the day that Tyrion was born: he wanted to throw his newborn son into the sea, but instead spared him tor raise as his son, because Tyrion is a Lannister.

Tyrion returns to his chambers. Sansa has been informed of the news. He backs out of the room, leaving her in her grief.

Elsewhere in the Red Keep, Varys meets with Shae. He knows she is genuinely in love with Tyrion - and that is why she should take the diamonds he offers her and leave immediately for Essos to build a new, lavish life for herself. Varys is convinced that Tyrion is the last hope for the Seven Kingdoms' current regime, therefore Shae is a weakness that Tyrion, and thus the realm, cannot afford. Shae confirms that she is in love with Tyrion and that she cares deeply for Sansa as well, but in spite of her pain at seeing them together and the danger she poses, Shae will not leave unless Tyrion asks her to.

Jaime, Brienne and Qyburn finally arrive in the city. No one recognizes them. Jaime visits Cersei, who looks at him with confusion and disbelief.

At Dragonstone, Ser Davos tests his new literacy on Stannis' correspondence. ("Why is there a ‘G’ in ‘night’?") He argues with Stannis against sacrificing Gendry, but the King is convinced by Melisandre that Gendry's death will give him the power to destroy his enemies and claim the Iron Throne. Davos then frees Gendry. The last we see of Robert's bastard, he's in a rowboat headed for King's Landing. Furious, Stannis sentences Davos to death, but the Onion Knight produces a letter from the Night's Watch and insists that it is Stannis' duty to help defend the Wall. He tells Stannis he will need Davos's assistance to rally troops and mercenaries. Melisandre burns the letter and acknowledges the truth: the War of the Five Kings is irrelevant. The true war lies in the North, and evil and death are marching on the Wall. She also agrees that Davos has an important role to play in the events to come.

At the Wall: Meera, Bran, Hodor and Jojen arrive at the abandoned Nightfort. Later that night, the four are woken by something large climbing out of the castle well; Meera attacks and overpowers the intruders, who is revealed to be Samwell and Gilly. Sam recognizes Bran's direwolf and Hodor, then: "You're Jon's brother! The one who fell from the window!" Bran asks Sam to take him and his group north of the Wall, and though Sam protests the idea, given the threat of the White Walkers and the undead horde they command approaching, he eventually relents and takes them through the passage. Before they separate Sam gives the group the rest of his dragonglass supply and tells them that it has the power to kill White Walkers. The groups then head in different directions; Sam and Gilly for Castle Black, and the Reeds, Hodor, and Bran beyond the Wall. Sam and Gilly later arrive at Castle Black, where they present themselves to Maester Aemon. She comes up with a name for her baby – Sam. Aemon permits them to stay, and on hearing their recount of events, orders all the ravens be sent with messages warning the return of the White Walkers.

Riding back to the Wall, Jon stops to wash his wounds when he hears Ygritte draw her bow. Jon tries to talk her out of shooting him, but when he turns to leave, she fires three arrows into him. He manages to escape. Jon later arrives at Castle Black, having passed out from his wounds. The Night's Watch brothers take him in

Outside the walls of Yunkai, Dany, the Unsullied and her advisors wait for the city's newly-freed slaves to appear. Daenerys worries that the Yunkish slaves, who are better treated than Astapor's might have grown to like their chains and will not welcome freedom. When they arrive, Missandei begins to tell how 'Daenerys the Unburnt' freed them, but Dany interrupts and tells the slaves that only they can take their freedom back. The crowd begins to chant "Mhysa", which Missandei tells Daenerys is Ghiscari for "Mother." Daenerys walks amongst the freed slaves, who lift her to their shoulders. She smiles and looks up into the sky as her dragons fly freely and squawk with joy.

Tywin [to Tyrion]: “Shall I explain to you in one easy lesson how the world works? A house that puts family first will always defeat the house that puts the whims and wishes of its sons and daughters first. A good man does everything in his power to better his family’s position, regardless of his own, selfish desires."

Trivia (From here)
* Joffrey's angry declaration to Tywin that "my father won the real war!" during Robert's Rebellion has an ironic truth to it. Robert Baratheon waged most of the campaign of the rebellion, and personally killed Rhaegar Targaryen at the Battle of the Trident, but he wasn't really Joffrey's biological father. However, Joffrey's real biological father, Jaime Lannister, did in fact play a major role at the climax of the rebellion, when he personally killed Mad King Aerys II Targaryen himself. Joffrey doesn't realize how right he is.
* Walder Frey says he thinks the Great Houses are hypocritical for looking down on him for marrying teenaged girls well into his eighties and nineties, but no one criticized Jon Arryn when he married "that Tully bitch", Catelyn's sister Lysa Tully. Walder misses the point, however, in that while the other Houses are disgusted at the massive age difference between Walder and his young brides, this isn't the main reason they look down on him. Rather, the other Great Houses are disgusted by Walder Frey and his entire family due to their utterly shallow loyalties, i.e. how Hoster Tully infamously dubbed him "the late Walder Frey" because he intentionally marched the forces of House Frey so slowly that they wouldn't reach the Battle of the Trident until it was already over, providing absolutely no real help during Robert's Rebellion. Moreover, within the TV series, other vassals of House Tully from the Riverlands joined Robb Stark's army without question because they had sworn oaths of allegiance to the Tullys. When Catelyn pointed this out to Walder in Season 1's "Baelor" he waved it off as "I said some words" which meant nothing to him - unlike the other sworn Tully vassals, Walder Frey only aids Robb Stark after extorting his own overlords into promising that Robb and Arya will enter into marriage alliances with House Frey. Other lords marry younger brides, but what Walder can't even comprehend is that other people take oaths seriously and are outraged when he casually breaks them - first oaths of loyalty, but now he has revealed that even the sacred oath of guest right means absolutely nothing to him: it's just "some words". The Freys even break basic social oaths such as not desecrating the bodies of fallen enemies, by instead gleefully mutilating Robb Stark's corpse and triumphantly parading it around their castle.
* The final scene generated some negative attention from critics, who perceived colonialist undertones in having a platinum blond, pale-skinned aristocrat liberating a society of dark-skinned slaves. Yunkai having uniformly dark-skinned slaves is technically inconsistent with the books, in which the Slaver's Bay cities took slaves from whatever population was at hand indiscriminately. Indeed, the books make clear that the slave-masters basically just "enslave" anyone they are able to overpower and slap chains onto. Even passing ships from the Free Cities will be attacked in slaving raids and the children sold into slavery.
* The books explicitly state that several of Daenerys' Unsullied are ethnically Lysene, who are characteristically blonde haired, light-skinned, and blue-eyed. "Slavery" in Essos is similar to slavery in Ancient Rome and Greece, which was based on socio-economic more than ethnic lines. George R.R. Martin explained that the crowd of slaves was mostly composed of dark-skinned people as a side effect of filming the scene in Morocco using exclusively local extras.
* Martin also reiterated that the "slavery" in Essos is much like the Greco-Roman version of socio-economic slavery: "Slavery in the ancient world, and slavery in the medieval world, was not race-based. You could lose a war if you were a Spartan, and if you lost a war you could end up a slave in Athens, or vice versa. You could get in debt, and wind up a slave. And that’s what I tried to depict, in my books, that kind of slavery. So the people that Dany frees in the slaver cities are of many different ethnicities, and that’s been fairly explicit in the books. But of course when David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] and his crew are filming that scene [of Daenerys being carried by freed slaves], they are filming it in Morocco, and they put out a call for 800 extras. That’s a lot of extras. They hired the people who turned up. Extras don't get paid very much. I did an extra gig once, and got like $40 a day. It's probably actually less in Morocco since you don't have to pay quite the same rate. If you're giving 800 Moroccans 40 bucks each, you're not going to fly in 100 Irishman just to balance the racial background here. We had enough trouble meeting our budget anyway. I know for some readers, they don’t care about this shit. But these things are about budget and realism, and things you can actually do. You are shooting the scene in a day. You don't have a lot of time to [worry] about that, and as someone who has worked in television this kind of stuff is very important to me. I don't know if that is answer or not. I made that answer, and some people weren't pleased with that answer, I know. They are very upset about that."

The Hound: "Where did you get the knife?
Arya: "From you."
[The Hound takes his knife back]
The Hound: "Is that the first man you killed?"
Arya: "The first... man."
The Hound: "Next time you're going to do something like that, tell me first!"
[The Hound walks away. Arya bends and retrieves the coin with her bloody hands]
Arya: [whispers] "Valar Morghulis."
posted by zarq (3 comments total)
This is a First Watch with Books thread.

Please do not reveal spoilers for subsequent episodes from any source.

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 11:14 AM on September 11, 2015

The Hound: "Next time you're going to do something like that, tell me first!"

The beginning of the Hound and Arya as a traveling duo of rough equals, I think.

what Walder can't even comprehend is that other people take oaths seriously and are outraged when he casually breaks them - first oaths of loyalty, but now he has revealed that even the sacred oath of guest right means absolutely nothing to him: it's just "some words"

Which makes me think, again, about the series being (in part) an ongoing depiction of a society which is in decline/crisis or was already a failed state; oaths are becoming meaningless, to be betrayed at the first chance of advantage, while the Houses that cling to them - e.g., the Starks - are at a disadvantage and vulnerable because of that.

Tywin Lannister basically takes a position of ends justifying means here in this episode, but he (in the books at least) has made the point that after achieving your ends, you need to have something to offer or else you are nothing ("When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you. And any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king at all. Aerys never understood that, but you will. When I’ve won your war for you, we will restore the king’s peace and the king’s justice"). Not sure if Walder Frey is capable of thinking that far ahead; he seems to have gotten lost in his bitterness and the Frey rulership of the Riverlands seems destined for problems as a result.

And I don't think that the series is trying to argue that the past is any better - the history of Westeros is littered with atrocities and horrors; but there does seem to be a point being made that without people honouring obligations and oaths, there is nothing but Fire and Blood.

Which gets me thinking about Dany's sojourn in Essos, where she is quite capable of overthrowing existing structures, but it is not yet clear if she is capable of building anything in their wake. She has, perhaps without realizing it, created a host of obligations for herself by her actions in seeking to overthrow the slavery.

Melisandre too argues that the existing order is meaningless in the face of the threat from the Others, and that the ends justify the means in the pursuit of that victory. We have yet to see the outcome of that.

All of which is a long way of saying that given that the series does have themes around governance and power, I think that seeing the powerful cast off restraint is interesting in terms of what it means for the structures from which they derive their power.
posted by nubs at 11:33 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Melisandre burns the letter and acknowledges the truth: the War of the Five Kings is irrelevant.

Just a day late (+/-) for the Starks. And trashing Winterfell was shortsighted too; it would have been an important staging area. At least we finally learned who was responsible for it.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:21 AM on September 24, 2018

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