Game of Thrones: VALAR MORGHULIS Review (Mania.com)

By:Jarrett Kruse
Review Date: Monday, June 04, 2012
Source: Mania.com

*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT

The Game of Thrones Season 2 finale was a truly epic TV event. This was the kind of climax episode that will have both geeks and regular folk talking at the water coolers for the next few days. At the end of last week’s battle at Blackwater, Pop Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) rode in to King’s Landing claiming victory in putting down Stannis and his approaching army. What a difference a week makes. King Joffrey has stripped his uncle Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) of his Hand of the King title replacing his grandfather in his stead. Soon we learn that Tyrion’s near fatal injury was at the hand of his merciless sister Cersei. Tyrion is in bad shape and recovering when a visit from none other than the Spider (Conleth Hill) reminds him that his deeds will be remembered regardless what history may say. This was a major character departure for Lord Varys as he even brought Tyrion’s beloved Shae to his side. What the Spider plans to gain from these niceties is yet to be seen but he is one cool customer.

In his recovery from his loss at Blackwater, Stannis is again at the side of the dark sorceress Melisandre (Carice van Houten). She assures the defeated Baratheon that his victory is imminent but it will be a far greater and darker war than expected. Upon looking into the fire (and escaping death at the hand of Stannis), Melisandre sees what is to come and shares her vision in the flames with him. Whatever was in that fire had Stannis’ eyes widen and if Melisandre is involved I get nervous. It was prescient that they covered this as it seems like this is something that is going to be a big factor next season. At Winterfell, Theon is in quite the fix trying to worm his way out of the hole he has dug for himself. In a scene that had me in hysterics, Theon gives a convincingly rousing speech to his troops to continue the fight before being hit over the head by his own men. Classic. 

Catching up with Arya is when we hear the namesake of the episode “Valar Morghulis” said by Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha). The elusive mystic warrior gives the young Stark a “magical” coin and tells her to utter the phrase to any man from Bravos and he will then appear. Jaqen then shape-shifts right before our eyes into a completely different person! Awesome. The other Stark tots did not fare as well as Bran and Rickon along with Hodor and Osha bid farewell to Maester Luwin after he was stabbed by Theon’s men. It was a bittersweet moment when they move on. Their one last true link to Winterfell has now been severed. 

Although we were all complaining about Khaleesi ‘s continued whining about her dragons the last few episodes, it proved to be the lull we needed to think she was out of the game. In a brilliantly executed sequence at the House of the Undying, we are treated to a breathtaking and magical retrieval of the three dragons. With her Targaryen blood boiling, Khaleesi rises again and viciously seeks revenge on Xaxos. As if this scene was not enough of a show stopper, we are taken a world away to the icy freeze where Sam is marooned by a blizzard with only a rock to stay behind. Forcing himself to look at the approaching force, Sam sees a brilliant army of FX majesty as the White Walkers are finally revealed. Although clearly spotting him, the walkers continued on their march of the undead.  It looks like winter has finally arrived. Now how many days left in summer?




Mania Grade: A+
Episode: VALAR MORGHULIS
Starring: Gwendoline Christie, Peter Dinklage, Sibel Kekilli, Raw Leiba
Written By: David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator)
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Network: HBO
Series: