[Review] - Game Of Thrones, Season 4 Episode 7, "Mockingbird"

Courtesy of HBO
Mockingbird is my favourite kind of episode of Game of Thrones: the kind where everyone sits around and talks. Some people seem to be under the belief that the only way thing happen is when things physically happen. Episodes like this prove that not to be true, as there was a hell of a lot of development along all of these storylines, and all of it was accomplished whilst sitting down (and briefly, falling down).

Hit the jump for the brief review, which contains spoilers that like you, but like themselves more.


This episode managed to cover some major emotional ground, and I'm going to expose my neck a little and say there was more genuinely emotional material here than in a event meant to startle, like the Red Wedding. There were confessions, admissions, good-byes and proclamations. Characters were brought to the verge of tears, and if I'm being honest, so was I. And for all the acclaim that Peter Dinklage received after his fiery speech at the end of last week's episode, I think the true mark of his talent was the betrayed whimper of relief he expressed through little more than a chin wag when Oberyn announced he would fight for the dwarf. This wasn't an episode that was concerned about dragons or magicks or White Walkers. It was an episode about the genuine humanity of these characters.

And Tyrion got a lot of it. I'm really enjoying the scenes between him and Jamie, showing how close and loyal the brothers are to each other. Considering that we've spent three seasons seeing how much the Lannisters despise their youngest member, it is comforting to know that someone loved him, and helps explain how he survived so long in what could only have been a tumultuous childhood. Having a kindly older brother really would have helped. But the series isn't being shy about heaping on the pathos for everyone's favourite character, as life continues not to go his way.

His loyal sell sword, in an entirely reasonable bit of logic, took survival and glory over futile friendship, and even though I knew the scene was coming, it was difficult to watch Bronn and Tyrion part ways. The writers made a point of injecting a lot of humour into that scene, and it played very real, the sort of awkward dancing around of emotions by strong men who don't want to admit how they feel. Then there was the Oberyn scene, which was just heart breaking. No humour there, just mutual appreciation of shared hatred.

This season's two duos, Arya and the Hound, and Brienne and Pod, got extended sequences, and the award once again has to go to Arya, in the Riverlands, with Needle. The scene when they come upon a dying man and have a philosophical discussion about the benefits of death was fantastically written and performed (Barry McGovern deserves recognition for his brief role). And then transitioned into yet another scene which shows the stripping away of Arya into something emptier, something colder. Something that has more in common with the Hound than any of her former family. Maisie Williams once again impressed, as she consistently has, as she calmly requested the name of someone who has done her wrong, then poked the life out of him. 

A couple scenes later, she and the Hound have a heart to heart over their legacies of suffering, as the Hound opens up to her, and allows her in. The Hound's character, while ruthless, has always teetered just on the bloodier edge of those characters on the show that are more than their well used swords. Like Jamie before him, this season has stripped away the armour and revealed the soft meat beneath, all the while applying that armour to Arya. Soon enough it seems, she'll be the hardened shell, and he'll be the exposed wound.

When it came to advancing Brienne's quest to reclaim Sansa, the writers quite wisely turned to humour, as it was a dark episode besides. A road diverged in the wood for the mismatched pair, representing the notions of the Stark girl's paths. And received unlikely advice from HotPie, who is making the most of life as an impassioned but overly talkie cook. the writers have talked in the past about how fine an edge there is between Game of Thrones and Monty Python's Holy Grail. They really seem to be taking the opportunity with this odd pairing of characters to have a chance to play the Python aspects stronger than they can get away with elsewhere. It wouldn't surprise me, and wouldn't seem necessarily out of place, if next week their adventure brought them upon the Knights Who Say Ni.

No episode next week, as HBO avoids wasting prime material on the viewership blackhole that is Memorial Day, so in two weeks we'll return to see the Viper of Dorne stand up in defense of the half-man of Casterly Rock, and Dany basks in the remaining afterglow of finally getting some.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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