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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Game of Thrones 4x08: The Mountain and the Viper



Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Moat Cailin -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Braavos -> Meereen

Mole's Town
A the female inn keeper is playing Name That Tune via burps. One patron first guests “The Rains of Castamere” but is wrong. The next guy correctly guesses “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” which, duh, those are the only two songs in Westeros.

Anyway, Gilly is at this inn and I think we are all shocked to hear she's not having the time of her life. She hears an “owl” hooting and gets freaked. The innkeeper doesn't know what the big deal is but soon we see Ygritte and her wildings showing up and slaughtering people. Ygritte finds Gilly and her child hiding but her heart grows three times larger and she decides to spare them.

The Wall
Sam is sulking after hearing the news of Mole's Town. Jon says there's no way Sam could've known. Sam says of course he should've known. I whole heartedly agree.

After the Night's Watch tries to comfort Sam and convince him Gilly could still be alive they talk of more important things. Mole's Town is the final stop until The Wall. The Wildlings are going to attack from the front which means Mance's army will descend upon them from the back. Everyone pretty much agrees they're boned.

Meereen
Grey Worm is bathing in a lake when he catches a glimpse of a naked Missandei. He likes what he sees. But he doesn't like the fact that Missandei sees what he's seeing and knows that he's liking it. Afterwards, Missandei tells Daenerys about it but Daenerys simply wonders how much of Grey Worm's penis was cut off.

Grey Worm visits Missandei apologizing for sneaking a peak. Grey Worm tells Missandei that he's glad he had his dick chopped off because that set him on the path to meeting her. Honestly, I can't think of a greater compliment. This pickup line works and Missandei admits that she liked the fact that Grey Worm was checking her out.

Elsewhere, Ser Barristan receives information about Robert Baratheon had pardoning Jorah. He confronts Jorah about this and confirms that Jorah first came aboard the Daenerys train as a spy.

Jorah meets Daenerys in front of Barristan and Missandei. He'd like to speak to her alone but Daenerys thinks meeting a traitorous spy alone might not be prudent. Jorah says he used ti be a spy but is now on Daenerys' side. Oh, he loves her too. Daenerys is like, “Woah, we're clearly in the friend zone.” And it's a good thing she even likes him that much because it means instead of execution he just gets exiled. Good thing he got that pardon or else he'd have nowhere to go!

Moat Cailin
Ramsay Snow shows up on the outskirts of Moat Cailin with Reek. Reek must now pretend to be Theon Greyjoy and deliver a letter to the ironborn soldiers. Reek enters Moat Cailin and meets with the soldiers' leader. The leader is suspicious that Theon isn't who he says he is due to Reek's talk of honorable surrender.

The leader starts grilling Reek and it looks like Theon/Reek is about it crack when one of the other soldiers decides putting a dagger through top of the leader's head was the right move to make. That soldier thinks surrendering and living sounds better than fighting and dying. So he and the rest of the soldiers surrender...and die. Ramsay Snow is nothing if not dishonest.

Roose Bolton shows up later and seems pretty giddy about controlling the entire North because it's so large in area. Greenland is too but you don't see anybody fighting over that, do you? Anyway, Roose is so appreciative that he makes Ramsay Snow an official Bolton. Now it is Ramsay who is giddy and he wants to celebrate by having Reek bathe him...and probably serenade him with a rendition of "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You."

The Vale of Arryn
Petyr Baelish is being questioned about the murder of Lysa Arryn. Littlefinger swears it was suicide but the council's isn't convinced. They bring in Sansa who says she can't lie. So she tells the council the truth about everything including her true identity. Well, she did lie and say the kiss Petyr gave her was a “peck on the cheek.” Oh yeah, and she also lies and says Lysa killed herself. So, the council is convinced and Baelish gets away with murder...literally.

Later, Petyr visits Sansa asking why she vouched for him. Sansa basically says she has no idea what the council would do with her but she does know Baelish wants in her panties so she's at least safe with him around. I think her pragmatic manipulation of events just made her even more arousing to Baelish, if that's possible. But her manipulation just made me sad for the loss of her innocence.

Petyr then talks with the council people about having Robin spread his wings (pun intended). He thinks Robin should learn to fight, ride and visit other places in the Vale. I would say Baelish is plotting something but that would be like saying Cookie Monster is craving cookies.

Anyway, Petyr tells Robin his plan and soon Sansa comes in looking all done up and giving Petyr a seductive smile. I'm not sure if she's just using Baelish for safety or if she is actually into him. I'm hoping for the former but I fear it's the latter.

Almost Directly Outside The Vale of Arryn
Westeros' favorite couple is talking about their favorite topic: killing. Arya says she's not as happy as she thought she would be when she heard Joffrey was dead. Arya wanted to kill him herself. Who didn't?

The Hound thinks poison is a woman's weapon. Arya thinks that makes The Hound weak. Killing is killing. Who cares about the method?

This very upbeat discussion comes to an end when they reach the Bloody Gate. The sentries want to know who goes there and The Hound tells them he's come to give Arya to her aunt. The guard informs them that Lysa died three days ago. Arya finds this pretty friggin' hilarious.

King's Landing
Jaime and Tyrion are making small talk before the trial by combat. Tyrion's pretty convinced his number is up despite Oberyn's confidence. Jaime and Tyrion then talk of their mentally handicapped cousin who killed beetles all day. Tyrion always wanted to know this kid killed beetles all the time. He never did find out.

So, Jaime and Tyrion walk to the arena. Tyrion is unimpressed by Oberyn's lack of armor and drinking of wine. Oberyn wants to know what combat experience Tyrion is drawing upon to give this advice.

The Mountain comes out and people are suitably impressed with his size. But Oberyn has a spear and all sorts of acrobatic movements. Oberyn does his best Inigo Montoya impression (however, instead of talking of his father's murder he asks The Mountain about raping his sister before killing her and her kids, which would have set a darker tone for The Princess Bride). Oberyn repeatedly asks The Mountain about his sister while he pretty much kicks The Mountain's ass. After stabbing him repeatedly and getting The Mountain to the ground Oberyn then stabs The Mountain through the stomach.

However, Oberyn gets cocky. He can't have The Mountain die just yet because he needs his questions answered. Oberyn Martell does get the information he desires but the information comes after Oberyn has been tripped to the ground by The Mountain and while The Mountain is gouging Oberyn's eyes out and squishing his head like a Gallagher watermelon.

After Oberyn Viking-ed the victory away Tywin declares the trial by combat over, sentences Tyrion to death and Tyrion gives the same look I gave at the end of the 2009-2010 NFC Championship Game.

Other Thoughts
I thought it was kind of nice that others in the Night's Watch were trying to comfort Sam.

I'm no doctor, but if you take a boy's grapefruits before they reach puberty do they experience sexual attraction? Also, I would think the masters would want the Unsullied to keep their stones since that would increase testosterone (and, thus, strength). Needless to say, I'm overthinking this but I'm also very curious if the pillar and/or the stones were taken.

I think it was pretty obvious that Ramsay Snow was concerned that having Reek act like Theon would bring out Theon.

I found it laughable that Jorah pointed out that Robert Baratheon's pardon showing up was just Tywin trying to devide Daenerys' army. That's like when a cheater blames their significant other for searching their cell phone history.

As Jorah was leaving Meereen I was waiting for a dragon to swoop down and bite his head off.

I was happy to get some sort of reaction from Arya regarding Joffrey's death this episode.

It did seem to me a bit unfair that Oberyn was able to get a new weapon during the battle after his first spear  broke.

So, is The Mountain going to live? His wounds seemed quite serious. If The Mountain dies as a result of the battle too does that change the verdict at all? Is it like a hung jury?

I would think this outcome of the trial by combat will strain the alliance the Lannisters were trying to build with the Martells.

After last episode I was very confident Oberyn would take down The Mountain. But as the weeks went on I remembered what show I was watching. I became even less confident of Oberyn's victory when I realized that Tyrion still had the possibility of living even if Oberyn didn't (by some sort of means of escape). When Oberyn was acting over-the-top cocky I really knew I was in trouble. So I won't say I was surprised by the outcome but it did bum me out.

I would say Oberyn's death has been the Game of Thrones death that has frustrated me the most. Ned Stark's demise was spoiled for me. The Red Wedding was annoying but that was more because I hated the Lannisters rather than me having any giant amount of love for Robb and Catelyn Stark. But, despite him being a relatively new character, I genuinely liked Oberyn. And not only did I like Oberyn but I felt that there was more to his story that we will now not get. Also, I thought Game of Throne would have taken a more interesting path if Oberyn had won. Him losing just makes me feel like the plot is spinning its wheels.

Obviously we're not even halfway done with this show so by the time Game of Thrones has finished I reserve the right to change my mind. However, at this point in time, if somebody asked me if they should start watching Game of Thrones I'd be hard pressed to recommend that they do. The whole process of watching this show feels so masochistic. I feel like the only reason someone would recommend this show is the thought that, in the end, things will work out and we'll get a (relatively) happy ending. Maybe that's true, however, there is zero evidence that suggests that will be the case.

None of that is to suggest I'm going to stop watching Game of Thrones. I...well...I have a very complicated relationship with this show.

Reek/Theon: Do this and he will be just and fair with you as he has been with me.

The Hound: Family, honor and all that bullshit. It's all you lords and ladies ever talk about.
Arya: I'm not a lady.

Tyrion: Trial by combat. Deciding a man's guilt or innocence in the eyes of the gods by having two other men hack each other to pieces. Shows you something about the gods.

Season 4 Totals
Boob Count: 28 (A bathing Missandei.)
Full Frontal Count: 4 (3 Female, 1 Male)
Butt Count: 10 (8 Female, 2 Male)(Only the audience got to see this part. Grey Worm had to settle for the front.)
Coitus Count: 4
Main Character Death Count: 4 (Joffrey, Karl, Lysa and Oberyn)(Yup, wasn't crazy about this one.)
Hodor Count: 40

8 comments:

  1. Wow, Oberyn's death was the most gruesome thing I've ever seen. I will be skipping that any time I watch this episode again.

    I was also disappointed that Oberyn died, but I look forward to more Martells next season, hopefully. I'm with you that it was plainly evident he was going to lose when he got carried away goading the Mountain. "Defeat from the jaws of victory," indeed! Too bad.

    I get where you're coming from about the loss of Sansa's innocence, and really she was the final uncorrupted Stark -- but I hope this means she's getting smarter. She was always a bit dull-witted when it came to the Game.

    Also, did the Hound and Arya just turn around and walk away after Arya's giggle-fit? You'd think the Hound might still try to ransom Arya to the new ruler (who I guess is Robin? Is Littlefinger like the King Regent or something? I'm confused.). If they're still there next week, I'll assume this is what happened in the book. But if they're back on the road, I'm going to guess their arrival at the Vale was an invention of the show.

    Lastly, the next episode trailer made it appear that it will be an all Night's Watch episode. A Battle of the Wall in the vein of of the Battle of Blackwater? Count me in!

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  2. I accepted that Oberyn was going to die from the moment he agreed to be Tyrion's champion. "Game of Thrones" is getting predictable in that it's trying too hard to be unpredictable -- in setting up Oberyn has the one righteous person in all of King's Landing, you just knew he was going to die precisely because the show wanted you to like him.

    Sadly, I think that the show would have been more surprising if Oberyn had won. Seeing a good guy win for once -- just once -- would have made me rethink my assumptions and would have kept me guessing enough that I'd have been legitimately shocked me the next time a protagonist was killed.

    And speaking of protagonists getting killed, while I wouldn't be surprised if Tyrion is beheaded, I think instead he'll find some means of escape thanks to Jaime. The pair have spent an awful lot of time on screen together for their story not to have some dramatic climax like that.

    Also, like Matt, I'm pretty excited for an all-Wall episode if we get to see a huge episode-long battle. (Maybe I just want to be distracted from Oberyn's death.)

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  3. An errant click on the opening image Rickrolled — Rooserolled? Boltoned! — me over to YouTube. I went back and found that this has been a running motif for at least a few episodes now.

    // His wounds seemed quite serious. If The Mountain dies as a result of the battle too does that change the verdict at all? Is it like a hung jury? //

    I had the same question. The Mountain sure looked mortally wounded to me. And Tyrion is someone who would know the fine print on this kind of thing.

    // Gilly is at this inn and I think we are all shocked to hear she's not having the time of her life. //

    Points for the sarcasm. Demerits for reminding me of not one but two songs I can't stand.

    // The whole process of watching this show feels so masochistic. //

    I agree with you there, although it has enough bright spots — even occasional whimsy — along with the forward motion and general quality to keep me watching. Certainly more so than that other show you write up, which I have come close to bailing on several times due to the relentless wallowing in its dystopic malaise.

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  4. Your Princess Bride analogy made me realize the ending of this episode is the equivalent of the Six Fingered Man stabbing Inigo through the throat two words into his famous mantra. And I'm pretty sure we can all agree, that would have been such a better ending!

    I know, I know, two different stories with two different goals. But seriously, it's okay to give the audience something to cheer about once in awhile...

    Ygritte finds Gilly and her child hiding but her heart grows three times larger and she decides to spare them.

    Great shot in that scene with the blood dripping down from the floor above. Also, the long shot that opened the scene, following the female innkeeper around, was pretty neat too.

    Sam says of course he should've known. I whole heartedly agree.

    Right? Like, how could he ever think sending her to what is essentially the local brothel where he couldn't see her would be any better than her being harassed by men at a place where he could look after her?

    . I'm not sure if she's just using Baelish for safety or if she is actually into him. I'm hoping for the former but I fear it's the latter.

    Yeah, I'm all for Sansa realizing that she has power over Baelish and using that to her own ends (even if for nothing else than safety/protection) - it's the smartest we've ever seen the character, and probably the closest thing a woman in her position will ever come to empowerment - but I really hope she's not legitimately falling for Baelish. Use him, give him what he wants because doing so gets you what you want, fine. Just don't actually fall for the guy, because ewww, and also, not so empowering.

    After Oberyn Viking-ed the victory away Tywin declares the trial by combat over, sentences Tyrion to death and Tyrion gives the same look I gave at the end of the 2009-2010 NFC Championship Game.

    Bravo. You could also say the Mountain kicking out Oberyn's legs was like the missed field goal in '98.

    I found it laughable that Jorah pointed out that Robert Baratheon's pardon showing up was just Tywin trying to devide Daenerys' army.

    It is laughable, but while it doesn't excuse Jorah's actions, he does have a point: the pardon showing up now is curious, and has to mean something, right? Like, somebody sent it to Barristan, at this specific time. Why?

    So, is The Mountain going to live? His wounds seemed quite serious. If The Mountain dies as a result of the battle too does that change the verdict at all? Is it like a hung jury?

    I'm really hoping the Mountain will die from his wounds, if only to salvage some kind of victory for Tyrion and Oberyn. I mean, I expect Tyrion will still be guilty, even if the Mountain dies (it's probably one of those things where if your champion dies in the course of the battle, you're guilty, regardless of what happens to the other guy), but at least we can solace ourselves with the knowledge that Oberyn avenged his sister even if he died in the process.

    I would think this outcome of the trial by combat will strain the alliance the Lannisters were trying to build with the Martells.

    I wonder if it will? Oberyn was the second (or third? Not the crown prince, at least) son, who entered the trial by combat of his own volition. I mean, it sucks for the Martells, but it's all perfectly legal/above board as far as Westeros is concerned.

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  5. @Matt: You'd think the Hound might still try to ransom Arya to the new ruler

    Yeah. I mean, I get why Arya is laughing, but it's not like Robin and/or Baelish wouldn't still want Arya.

    who I guess is Robin? Is Littlefinger like the King Regent or something? I'm confused

    Me too. I think you're right though.

    A Battle of the Wall in the vein of of the Battle of Blackwater? Count me in!

    Ditto!

    @Michael: "Game of Thrones" is getting predictable in that it's trying too hard to be unpredictable -- in setting up Oberyn has the one righteous person in all of King's Landing, you just knew he was going to die precisely because the show wanted you to like him.

    That's my biggest problem with this episode, and the show as a whole right now. Whether the series is too bleak or dark, and whether we can complain about that even though that's the nature of the story it's telling, all that is debatable.

    But it's pretty much reached a point where you can just assume that any given plot point will go in the direction that leads to the most misery and suffering for anyone even close to being traditionally heroic, and that's just bad writing. Predictability is never good, whether it's the predictability of "good always triumphs" or, in this case, the predictability of "evil prospers and smug SOBs get to remain smug SOBs while everyone with any inherit decency suffers".

    I understand that we're basically at the Empire Strikes Back point of the series (and that point has been stretched over two seasons because the third book was split into two), but I have zero confidence at this point we're ever going to get to anything close to the triumph of Jedi, which makes all the darkness all that much less impactful.

    @Blam: I went back and found that this has been a running motif for at least a few episodes now.

    Heh. Yeah, Dr. Bitz puts stealth You Tube links into pretty much all his image posts.


    I agree with you there, although it has enough bright spots — even occasional whimsy — along with the forward motion and general quality to keep me watching. Certainly more so than that other show you write up, which I have come close to bailing on several times due to the relentless wallowing in its dystopic malaise.


    I'm with you here as well. Despite everything I just said above, this show still isn't nearly as bleak and nihilistic as Walking Dead, in part because there are still moments of levity and triumph (however brief) to break up the darkness (sure, Sansa is probably going to have to sleep with her creepy uncle and is still a wanted woman, but she's technically better off than she was in King Landing's), and in part just because the possibility of these characters having a happy ending exists, if we're unlikely to ever see it.

    I mean, theoretically, Tyrion could escape next week and live out a long, happy life in exile in Braavos, or something like that. It's unlikely, but it could happen. Whereas Rick and company have nothing to look forward to but death, followed hopefully by nothing else.

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  6. If the show keeps to the book's background, I must regretfully report that the Mountain's fate is now irrelevant. Oberyn died first, and that's all that matters. Which isn't to say there's no upside to Gregor Clegane snuffing it, of course.

    It's interesting that this season has everyone feeling so depressed, considering we've seen the deaths of obvious villains Polliver, Joffrey and Locke, the end of the woman whose cowardice (or, as we now know, actual mendacity) caused her to refuse aid to her sister and nephew which played a big part in their deaths, the escape of Sansa, and at last an end to all the horrible torture porn up at the Dreadfort. And I loved Oberyn too, but that wasn't no Red Wedding or nuthin'. Especially since I wouldn't describe him as a "good guy" so much as an entertaining rogue who just happened to be a violent thug towards all the right people.

    That said...

    @Michael "Game of Thrones" is getting predictable in that it's trying too hard to be unpredictable

    I agree entirely with this, and I'd go still further. It's not always the villain who wins - though of course that happens very often - but it is almost always the character whose death would speedily resolve matters that survives. If the Hound had lost to Dondarrion, Arya would probably have been in Riverrun by now (though that would have its own problems). If Oberyn had killed the Mountain, the trial pot would be finished. If Stannis had won at the Blackwater, we wouldn't still be having to deal with the flailing around of the Lannisters in King's Landing.

    In truth, this is far more of a problem in the books. Pretty much every development in the War of Five Kings seemed carefully planned so as to extend the fighting, right up to the Royal Wedding, and we've still got Stannis Baratheon and Balon Greyjoy causing trouble. Honestly, the best reason to hope the Night's Watch would pull off a surprise win in episode 9 was quite simply that the fall of the Wall would actually represent material narrative progress.

    @Teebore

    I wonder if it will? Oberyn was the second (or third? Not the crown prince, at least) son, who entered the trial by combat of his own volition. I mean, it sucks for the Martells, but it's all perfectly legal/above board as far as Westeros is concerned.

    He's the second son; younger brother of Prince Doran. And you're absolutely right that the Dornish don't really have a leg to stand on in terms of legal recourse. On the other hand, this is Westeros; since when has anyone but Eddard Stark needed a clear legal precedent to get their revenge on? I can just see the scene in Sunspear now. "You know we sent Oberyn to get answers from the dude who raped and killed his sister? Well that dude killed him. Should we give vengeance up as a bad idea?"

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  7. @SpaceSquid: Which isn't to say there's no upside to Gregor Clegane snuffing it, of course.

    Yeah, while I don't expect a Mountain death to spare Tyrion, I'd like it to be revealed that he died just to give Oberyn's death SOME meaning, and to dole out SOME come-uppance to Tywin and Cersei, in that at least their chief thug and rapist is no longer at their disposal as a result of their plot against Tyrion.

    It's interesting that this season has everyone feeling so depressed, considering we've seen the deaths of obvious villains Polliver, Joffrey and Locke...

    Speaking for me, Polliver's death was satisfying, but the glee of Joffrey dying was dampened by the fact that it just implicated Tyrion, and the fact that he died without ever getting any comeuppance (other than, you know, death. Basically, I wanted him to realize what a horrible little shit he was before he died, or at least lose his throne or something), and Locke's death, while a genuinely triumphant moment, was created by the series, which doesn't exactly lessen the feeling that GRRM likes to deny his readers any sense of heroic triumph.

    the end of the woman whose cowardice (or, as we now know, actual mendacity) caused her to refuse aid to her sister and nephew which played a big part in their deaths

    This was certainly appreciated, but Lysa had been such a background player for so long that the ire her villainy raised was more abstract than visceral, taking some of the satisfaction out of her death.

    the escape of Sansa

    ...into the arms of her creepy ass uncle who wants to bone her. Like I said, at least now she seems to be acting with some of her own agency for once, which is good, but if it's a win, it's a technical win more than anything. Which, again, is harder to cheer.

    and at last an end to all the horrible torture porn up at the Dreadfort.

    True, though we're still saddled with Ramsey and his flay happy ways. We're just getting less of it.

    And I loved Oberyn too, but that wasn't no Red Wedding or nuthin'. Especially since I wouldn't describe him as a "good guy" so much as an entertaining rogue who just happened to be a violent thug towards all the right people.

    Well, for me, Oberyn > Robb or Catelyn, so while the Red Wedding was more shocking, this made me sadder.

    And while I agree that Oberyn wasn't a good guy so much as a bad guy who attacked the right people, the frustrating part of his death is that his victory offered so much: sparing Tyrion, comeuppance for Tywin, forward momentum on the plot. His death, meanwhile, adds nothing more than additional frustration, plot stalling, and the feeling that whatever outcome benefits Tywin, that's the one that we should expect to happen.

    On the other hand, this is Westeros; since when has anyone but Eddard Stark needed a clear legal precedent to get their revenge on?

    Heh. Well said.

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  8. Hey, I found time to respond! Better late then never? (That's...an honest question.)

    @Matt: "I will be skipping that any time I watch this episode again."

    I rewatched some of the episode but turned it off when Oberyn's battle started.

    "Also, did the Hound and Arya just turn around and walk away after Arya's giggle-fit?"

    I am curious what the plan is. It probably doesn't involve Arya meeting Sansa since reunions seem nearly forbidden in Game of Thrones.

    "A Battle of the Wall in the vein of of the Battle of Blackwater?"

    Well...obviously it's already aired. But it was pretty good!

    @Michael: "you just knew he was going to die precisely because the show wanted you to like him."

    Heh, it's true. I once said Arya seemed packaged specifically for everyone to like her. She's still alive but maybe even GRR Martin doesn't have the heart to kill off young girls? Instead he just wants them corrupted in various forms, I guess.

    "I think instead he'll find some means of escape thanks to Jaime."

    I don't know if it'll specifically be Jaime but it is really hard to believe Tyrion will die, right?

    If this was just a TV show I'd say no way Game of Thrones thinks of getting rid of Peter Dinklage. But these were books first...

    @Blam: "I went back and found that this has been a running motif for at least a few episodes now."

    Yeah, they're kind of my Easter Eggs, though, you're the first person to actually mention them. I wonder if this means you deserve a prize?

    "I agree with you there, although it has enough bright spots — even occasional whimsy — along with the forward motion and general quality to keep me watching."

    I do agree. Game of Thrones has a way of giving you just enough cheer to keep you watching. They are walking on thin ice, though.

    @Teebore: "You could also say the Mountain kicking out Oberyn's legs was like the missed field goal in '98."

    Both 2009 and 1998 are apt. I could geek out and tell you why I think the '09 Vikings fit the analogy slightly better but, in the end, I went with the reference mostly because it was more contemporary.

    "Like, somebody sent it to Barristan, at this specific time. Why?"

    They have been talking about Daenerys in King's Landing a lot lately. Maybe Tywin decided it's time to do something?

    @SpaceSquid: "It's interesting that this season has everyone feeling so depressed"

    I'll pretty much defer to what Teebore said.

    "On the other hand, this is Westeros; since when has anyone but Eddard Stark needed a clear legal precedent to get their revenge on?"

    That's my point. Regardless of legality, it can't look good that Oberyn visits Kings Landing and is killed by the same person who killed and raped his sister and her children.

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