Game of Thrones: "The Mountain and the Viper" (Season 4: Episode 8) Recap/Analysis | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” (Season 4: Episode 8) Recap/Analysis

HBO, Sundays 9 p.m.

Jun 03, 2014 Game of Thrones
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[Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Mountain and the Viper,” then read no further.]

I should know better by now.

Last week I wrote up my 10 favorite moments from this season so far, and gave Prince Oberyn an honorable mention with the caveat that I was confident his best moment was coming this week. I thought there was no way someone as decadently enjoyable as “The Red Viper” could easily outwit the monstrous brute that is “The Mountain.”

I forgot what show I was watching.

Season four lulled us into a false sense of security by limiting the most impactful deaths to those who we longed to see die. Joffrey’s murder was almost gleeful, and Lysa’s was sad in a pathetic kind of way.

But this. This is rage inducing.

Oberyn volunteered to fight to the death for Tyrion’s trial by combat, and danced around his opponent taunting him, begging him to confess to raping and murdering Oberyn’s sister. He cuts The Mountain down within minutes and pleads him to confess to his crimes before he dies. Then The Mountain knocks Oberyn to his feet, punches all of his teeth out, and crushes his head with his bare hands, and millions of viewers scream at their televisions.

Okay, George R. R. Martin, you’ve proved once again that we should never get too attached to any of your characters. You are a cruel genius, sir.

It’s hard not to give this episode a lower rating than it deserves because of the ending. The episode leading up to the battle was good, but it was also unsettling in its revelations. Jorah was dismissed from Danaerys’ inner circle and banished from Meereen, Ramsay’s domination over Theon pays off as he’s accepted into the Bolton clan, and then there’s Sansa-her transformation in this episode was one of the highlights, but still felt wrong. She’s finally making a play for some kind of control or power, but seeing the years of torment finally manifest is a little tragic.

Things have to evolve and change, even for the worse. That’s certainly the theme here, but with a resounding uncertainty as we are left pondering Tyrion’s fate. We can’t bargain with the forces at work any longer. All men must die, and all girls must grow up. Arya’s reaction to the news of her Aunt Lysa’s demise seems as good a response to the bleak future as anything else. She laughs like a maniac, because reality is harsh and absurd. There’s nothing left but to submit to the will of the gods.

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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