Games of Thrones Season 4, Episode 7 Mockingbird review

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“Mockingbird” was a contemplative and philosophical hour in Westeros, a meditation on the causes and consequences of justice, revenge and above all else, death.
This season has been at its most effective when episodes have focused on fewer storylines, giving each greater time and space to breathe. “Mockingbird” was in some ways a return to the scattergun approach of jumping around to various locations for a quick check-in.
Some of these (most notably Jon Snow at the Wall) felt decidedly out of place when compared to the more haunting, melancholic scenes. Yet while many of the storylines’ narrative progressions were minimal, the episode’s overall consistency in tone retained a mostly satisfying emotional core.
Arya has previously killed out of necessity, grief and revenge, yet her conversation with a dying man continued to shape her perspective and relationship with death.
Arya’s main reason to keep on living is her wish to tick more names of her list, killing those who have caused so much grief to her family. Yet here this quest is not justified as a glorious goal or an act to be savoured, but rather a purpose to keep on going. Death is not a fear to be worried over or celebrated, but rather empty – a nothing.
When the Hound quietly slips a knife into the dying man’s heart it is an act of mercy, but when Arya kills Rorge, a man who had threatened her a couple of seasons back, it is quick and sharp devoid of emotion.
We’re also beginning to see what kind of ruler Daenerys is becoming. Daario Naharis begs Daenerys to be allowed to do either one of the two things he claims to best at: sex and warfare. When Daenerys allows him to stay for the former, she also implicitly is being seduced by the latter – a path to war and violence.
Her pledge to bring the same “justice” she delivered to the slavers of Meereen to those of Yunkai was a reminder of the darker side of her nature. And yet what was seen as triumphant and justified during her conquest now seems barbaric in a position of power and at a time of relative peace.
Poor Sansa – it seems that the only reason people are ever interested in her is her claim to the seat of Winterfell. And then when finally it looks as though her aunt Lysa and new uncle Petyr are being nice to her because of familial ties, Petyr makes a move on her and her aunt tries to murder her.
It was perhaps not surprising that Petyr Baelish ended up dispensing with Lysa, but it was the precursor to this that should be even more unsettling.  Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa, is 18, but her character in the show is supposed to be around 15.
As always, you really have to question the honesty of Baelish’s alleged motives. While no doubt he loved Sansa’s mother, he is far too calculating and ruthless to act on anything more than self-interest.
Baelish will also face the rather difficult charge of explaining how Lysa ended up falling out the Moon Door and to subsequently explain his claim to control the region.
Tyrion’s search for a champion was also a sad rumination on his isolation.
His brother and only true supporter, Jaime, cannot be his champion since he was crippled and lost his fighting prowess. Even the thought of the Lannister name being snuffed out in one fell swing wasn’t enough to persuade Jaime to enter a doomed battle.
Tyrion also reached the end of his tether of how far his family name and wealth could extend. His friend and former saviour in trial by combat, Bronn, has received a better offer and rather understandably thought marrying a noblewoman would be preferable to fighting the Mountain. You have to fear for Bronn’s soon-to-be sister-in-law, though.
And then Oberyn arrives. The Dornish prince’s recollections of his first meeting with Tyrion was a painful reminder of how far back the discrimination against Tyrion runs. Right from his birth he was denounced publicly as a monster, blamed for his mother’s death and tormented by his sister.
But for Oberyn justice is not about fairness and righteousness in the eyes of the gods or mean around him, but the deliverance of revenge. His offer to be Tyrion’s champion is not a chance to prove Tyrion’s innocence but an opportunity for retribution for the death of his sister and her children.
It also throws a grenade into the already tenuous state of Westerosi politics. If the Mountain wins, he would have the blood of another Dornish noble on his hands, while Tyrion himself will face imminent execution; while if Oberyn manages to slay the Mountain he will no doubt seek to further quench his thirst for revenge.
Whichever way this fight goes chaos ensues.

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