By ANDY LYONS (digitalBURG) – The finale of season three of “Game of Thrones” did exactly what I expected it to: set up season four. The season was based on the first half of the third book in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, “A Storm of Swords.” The episode really tied all the current storylines together except one. Osha, Rickon Stark and his dire wolf traveled south away from Bran in the last episode.
The episode, titled “Mhysa,” began with the fallout of the “Red Wedding,” an aerial view of the Stark men embattled with Frey and Bolton soldiers. After being clubbed by The Hound, Arya awakens on his horse in time to hear men chanting “The King of the North” and sees her brother’s headless corpse with the head of his dire wolf sewn in place of his own in what is the most iconic image of the season. The scene ends with a Stark sigil flag burning, signifying the end to a major plot point, and possibly the end of the war for the Iron Throne.
A bit later, we see Roose Bolton and Walder Frey talking about all the gains they’ve made by facilitating the fall of the Starks. They jeer about the shift in positions and Bolton talks about how his bastard son Ramsay has made more gains by capturing Theon Greyjoy.
This episode jumps all over Westeros to shore up all the plots and give viewers an idea of what to look for in the next season. We see a small council meeting that has Tyrion threatening King Joffrey again, leading to another conversation between Tyrion and his father, Hand of the King Tywin, that essentially shows that the Hand has no love for his son and only cares about him because his last name is Lannister. Ramsay, who is confirmed as the one who’s been torturing Theon, even removing his manhood, mocks his prisoner and decides Theon’s new name is Reek.
Ramsay has sent Theon’s “favorite toy” to his father in the Iron Islands and demands all Ironborn to return to their islands or he’ll continue sending boxes of “more Theon” until all the Ironborn have returned home. Theon’s father, Balon Greyjoy decides to abandon Theon and refuses to leave the lands he has taken. Theon’s sister, Yara, decides to take the fastest ship and 50 killers to rescue him.
While it is a bit confusing to jam so many characters into an hour-long show, “Game of Thrones” fans appreciate the different plotlines and it surely helps to make every episode interesting. This episode wasn’t quite as exciting as some of the others this season, especially not last week’s, but it was more of a “bring it all together” episode. This season definitely hit the point home that “In the game of thrones you either win or you die,” as Cersei flatly put it in the first season.
At this point, the characters are really well developed and viewers are involved in their lives. As shown in the video of fan reactions to the “Red Wedding” that went viral last week, fans are invested in characters and pulling for them to win. It will definitely be exciting to see how the fallout from the Frey betrayal pans out, and see some more White Walkers, as it’s clear that a battle is coming to the Night’s Watch.
SPOILERS: So, here’s the loose ends we have to look forward to next year, which wetpaint.com is reporting will start in April 2014, citing the start dates of the previous three seasons.
-Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth finally made it to King’s Landing. In a brief scene, Jaime enters a room where Cersei is looking through some things that are presumably Jaime’s. He says her name and she turns with a look of disbelief and the scene ends.
-Tyrion has threatened Joffrey again during a council meeting that reveals that Robb and Catelyn Stark are dead, after Joffrey says he will request Robb’s head to present to Sansa at his wedding to Margaery Tyrell. Tywin intervenes and sends Joffrey to bed, and that leads to another scene where Tywin explains his “family first” ideology and talks again about how he wanted to kill Tyrion in his infancy.
-Bran and company hold up in one of the abandoned castle along the Wall. The scene opens brilliantly with Hodor leaning over a well, slowly yelling his only line into it. Later, the group meets Sam Tarly and Gilly. Sam recognized Bran because of his dire wolf, and accuses him of being Jon Snow’s brother. After failing to convince the group to come to Castle Black, he shows them through the wall before making his way to the castle himself.
-Jon Snow has stopped at a pond to nurse the wounds inflicted by a hawk during his fight with the Wildlings. Ygritte approaches and hits him with three arrows as he leaves. He makes it to Castle Black, full of arrows but alive.
-Arya and The Hound are fleeing the Twins and come across a band of men making fun of the manner in which Robb and Catelyn died, and talking about the dire wolf head being sewn onto Robb’s corpse. Arya jumps off the horse and approaches the men, asking for food and to keep warm by their fire. After being told to leave, she offers money, and flips the coin given to her by the assassin, Jaqen H’ghar. As the coin hits the ground she repeatedly stabs the man. As the others move to assault the girl, The Hound kills them all. The scene ends with Arya staring at the coin and mouthing the special words told to her by H’ghar, “valar morghulis” that will allow her passage to Braavos to be trained as he was.
-Davos, the Onion Knight, has freed Robert Baratheon’s bastard, Gendry, who the red witch Melisandre was going to sacrifice to further their cause. Stannis Baratheon then sentences Davos to death, but while learning to read Davos found a scroll from the Night’s Watch with a warning of what’s coming from north of The Wall. Melisandre agrees that he will be needed in the battle to come and claims the war for the kingdoms. “This war of five kings means nothing. The true war lies to the north, my king. Death marches on the wall, only you can stop it,” she says. Davos convinces Stannis of his worth with Melisandre’s help.
-Daenarys and her group have gathered in front of Yunkai to see if the city has been conquered or liberated. As the slaves group up in front of her Unsullied warriors, a speech is given, letting them know that freedom is theirs. They begin chanting “mhysa” which is “mother” in their native tongue and Dany moves amongst the crowd. The episode ends with her being held on the shoulders of the recently freed, her dragons circling overhead.