“Monsters are dangerous and just now kings are dying like flies.”
The season finale follows the usual path for Game of Thrones – whereas the second last episode offers the climax of the season (Ned’s execution, Battle of the Blackwater, Red Wedding) the last episode sets up the new plots and prepares the viewer to what they will see next year.
Mhysa begins with the destruction of Robb Stark’s army, although we learn that “Blackfish” Brynden Tully has escaped. Roose Bolton has been named Warden of the North, which indicates that he will be an important player in the next season.
A small bit of revenge is handed out by Arya and the Hound when they kill four of Walder Frey’s soldiers, who happened to be boasting of being part of the murder of Robb Stark. The scenes of Arya and the Hound have been great so far – are they the new Jamie and Brienne?
Perhaps the most interesting scene of the episode happens in King’s Landing, where the Small Council meets to hear the news of Robb Stark’s downfall. Joffrey is sadistically evil here, but crosses a line when he talks down to Tywin. Tywin and Tyrion are soon the only ones left in the meeting, and we get a ‘Lannister’ father-son moment. It reveals more about Tywin’s character and his motivations, and while he does mention that he almost killed Tyrion on the day of his birth, I found that Tywin was showing a compliment to his son.
Nearly all of the other characters get at least a brief scene in this episode – Ygritte says goodbye to Jon Snow by shooting three arrows into him; Daenerys gets a hero’s treatment for conquering Yunkai and freeing the slaves; Bran crosses under the Wall and heads into the north; we finally learn why Theon Greyjoy is being tortured and that his sister Yara is coming to his rescue.
After last week’s The Rains of Castamere – which left many viewer saddened and despondent – this episode brings some hope back. We actually see people like Samwell Tarly and Gilly make it to safety, and that Jamie has finally made it home, perhaps a changed man. However, Game of Thrones only allows small joys, and we are left with much more anticipation in the Season 4.
There are some minor quibbles with this episode – Daenerys’ scene comes across as a little too over-the-top and not quite fitting with the grittiness of the other parts of the show. It would also have been good if we knew more about what lies ahead for the mother of dragons – will she soon sail to Westeros? But Mhysa accomplishes its main goal of getting the viewer excited about what will come next year.