Game of Thrones

TV Review: Game of Thrones 4.08 “The Viper and The Mountain”

game of thrones

Our long national geek nightmare is over!  Game of Thrones has returned for 10 weeks of fantasy awesomeness and this is the eighth installment in our lively talk-backs and reviews of each episode.  A warning, and the only one before we dive in, this column is specifically for people watching the show live week-by-week so if you don’t want spoilers, don’t continue.

After a week of for Memorial Day (that was just cruel to make us wait 14 days), Game of Thrones was back for antepenultimate (yes, I made that up) episode #8.  We’ll get to the shocking end in a bit, but as I just saw it about six minutes ago, I’m trying very hard to get notion of how fragile a human skull is out of my head.  It may inform my writing.  I’m just warning upfront.


When last we left Westeros, Lysa Arryn was flying through the air in an exceedingly downward fashion.  After having been scooped out of whatever crater she must have made upon impact there is a formal hearing into her death.  Lord Baelish is looking extremely guilty to the Lords of the Vale until Sansa reveals her true identity and lies just enough (omitting the whole murder thing for example) to save Petyr and cement his place as the new guiding hand behind the most powerful house to sit out the conflict thus far.  Sansa, genius that she is, seems to have hitched her star to Petyr’s and is going to ride that where it will. (LIKE A GRAPEFRUIT! MY GOD!…..Ok, sorry still thinking about the end.)

Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones Season 4, HBO, Kit Harrington, Jon Snow

In the North, thanks to a Trojan Theon, the Boltons now own all that was once Ned Stark’s and our parting shot of them in the episode is a horde of Flayed Men moving toward Winterfell.  The Ramsey/Reek thing is just creepy as hell.  I’m just saying.

Further North, the Wildlings sack Mole’s Town and the stage is set for next week’s episode-the always dreaded episode nine of a GoT season-entitled “The Watchers on the Wall.  The raiding party with Tormund and Ygritte is moving up from the south while Mance Rayder’s 100,000 descend on the remaining 102 members of The Night Watch from the North.  Jon’s got his work cut out for him next week. (LIKE GALLAGHER TO A WATERMELON…..SPLOOSH…..I am really having trouble shaking that.)


No sooner do I remark how glad I am that they seem to have dropped the whole “Ser Jorah is a spy” storyline then it becomes this week’s biggest development with Dany’s party.  I mean, there’s the whole “Grey Worm is missing his junk” subplot, but how far can we go with that?  I really have a problem with what being sent away from Dany does to Jorah and I feel like it ruins his character and makes him pointless in the books.  Plus, Jorah’s got one of the best voices in the world.  There’s Morgan Freeman.  There’s James Earl Jones.  Then the guy who plays Jorah Mormont.

Game of Thrones, The Hound, Arya Stark, Maisie Williams

We only have a brief bit with The Hound and Arya’s Road Trip this week, but it’s a significant bit.  They reach the gate at the bottom of The Vale where The Hound finds out that his meal ticket took a header three days before he could get Arya to her aunt.  Arya, on the other hand, is apparently a huge fan of irony and Maisie Williams lets loose one of the best inappropriate laughs in recent TV memory.


Ok, let’s talk about the end, because I need to scrub my head of the visual that’s plaguing it.  Tyrion’s second trial by combat in the series takes place.  Oberyn Martell serves as his champion against Gregor Clegane aka “The Mountain”.  It’s an awesome fight.  Martell goes completely Inigo Montoya on The Mountain, who raped and killed his sister and murdered her children.  Martell has the fight won.  Has Clegane ON THE GROUND WITH A SPEAR IN HIM, but he won’t stop channeling Mandy Patinkin from The Princess Bride.  He wants to hear The Mountain admit his guilt.  He gets too close and The Mountain grabs him, rolls him over, and as he screams his confession into Martell’s face, SMASHES IT BETWEEN HIS HANDS LIKE HE WAS POPPING A MEAT BALLOON!  I was NOT ready for that.  Did NOT recall that particular bit from the books.  So House Martell now has even more of a reason to hate the Lannisters and Tyrion is royally screwed.  Also someone is going to have to clean up Oberyn’s pulped head.


With the exception of the last 10 minutes, this really felt like a set up episode for the final two, next week’s which I suspect is going to take place nearly entirely at The Wall and then the finale.  Even during breather weeks, GoT manages to be indelible.  Have I mentioned anything about the head squashing?  A head was squashed….oh, spoilers!

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