Game of Thrones

Season 4 Episode 8

The Mountain and the Viper

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 01, 2014 on HBO
out of 10
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Episode Summary

A verdict is reached on Tyrion's fate; unexpected visitors arrive in Mole's Town.

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  • The Mountain and the Viper

    An interesting fight that could have been scripted better perhaps, but still had a kind of shocking ending. The discussion about the beetle smasher was pure genius too.

    Great episode.
  • The Mountain and the Viper (Spoilers Ahead)

    This week's Game of Thrones (delayed by the Memorial Day weekend) brought about the much anticipated trial by combat of the Viper vs the Mountain that was the momentous event of the episode while also closing up a few threads, it would seem, to make fewer stories have to be tied up in the season finale (since next week is entirely set at the Wall).

    The Wall

    The Wildlings attack Mole's Town (great idea to send Gilly there earlier this season Sam). Luckily (and surprisingly believable as well) Ygritte seeing Gilly hidden behind a curtain with her baby in her arms made her spare their lives. While she is shown to be as indiscriminate a killing machine as Tormund and Styr in this and previous episode there's something about seeing a mother and child that plays on the heartstrings especially since Gilly is not shown to be holding a weapon. It was good to see that Ygritte is much more talk for her fellow Wildling companions than walk as she proves much less ruthless in certain circumstances. We get a scene of Sam being all "woe-is-me" about everything and the Night's Watch now only has 102 soldiers on the Wall since 3 died at Mole's town. 102 vs. 100,000 that doesn't sound so bad.

    Moat Cailin

    Ramsay takes Reek to pose as Theon with a flag of neutrality to re-take Moat Cailin by parlaying with the Ironborn who still hold the stronghold (since as the show has established it is the key to the North as Robb Stark had to take it if he was going to re-take the North before his untimely death last season). Theon is let inside the stronghold and just when you think he's got it all together and is coming out of his Reek persona the Ironborn leader questioning him sternly causes him to start babbling "Reek. I'm Reek. I'm Luckily, someone puts a weapon through the leader's head because Theon claims that Lord Bolton will let them return to the Iron Islands. This turns out to be a lie and we are shown how many of the men are flayed (House Bolton's banner is the Flayed Man). Meeting atop a hill Roose Bolton legitimates Ramsay to become Ramsay Snow by the King's will and as the new Warden in the North. This seems to be the end of Theon's arc this year since much of this has been taken from Book 5 and supplemented in here so I'm sure Ramsay becoming a highborn son now will change things dramatically especially with Roose wanting to rebuild Winterfell. This turn of events will hopefully help Theon become himself again rather than the sniveling mess of Reek that he's become now.


    Missandei and Grey Worm continue their sexual tension as he watches her bathe in the river. She confides in Daenerys about this and how Grey Worm (even though an Unsullied, not sure if the "pillar and the stones as she puts it" are both removed) but that he was looking at her with Grey Worm's scene with Missandei in which he apologizes and she says it's all right leads a quite tender moment between them of how Grey Worm wouldn't change anything since all the things in his life have led to him meeting her. Both Missandei and Grey Worm being promoted to series regulars starting next season will surely make this a side love story to make Daenerys's story less about her exploits/love triangle with Jorah and Daario. Speaking of Jorah Barristan gets a letter from King's Landing pardoning Jorah for slavetrading that is signed by Robert Baratheon (showing how long ago it was signed and how long it must've taken to reach there). Barristan warns Jorah to leave and how he'll never be alone with the Queen again. He is called before Daenerys and banished from Meereen for spying on her (even though he quit long ago back in Season 1 reporting to Varys but still almost got her killed by the wine merchant). This changes the counsel and the character direction for Daenerys as she's really come a long way from the headstrong young girl of Season 2 to more of a decisive benevolent leader in her own right. Her sparing Jorah's life is almost more punishment than putting him to death since Jorah, even able to return to Westeros wouldn't want to, especially with how much he cares for her. This felt like the final beat of Dany's story this year with the hint of finality to it which is a great way to leave us for next year.

    The Vale

    The Lords of the Vale investigate Lysa Arynn's supposed suicide by interviewing both Baelish and Sansa. When Sansa is called before them she lies and says the Lysa threw herself out the Moon Door and breaks into tears telling them of her true identity and how Baelish only wanted to protect her from the Lannisters. The best part about it is that it contained mostly truth just leaving out the last bit and how Petyr kissed her on the mouth, not the cheek. When asked later by Baelish why she helped him she admits that he saved her from King's Landing and that he's better as the "man you know rather than the strangers you don't" being able to count on him to protect her. Baelish speaks with the Lords of Vale and plans to have Robin tour the Vale to inspire confidence his followers of his strength. Sansa and Baelish will accompany him in doing so, and in a shot of Sansa in a new dapper dress she resemble her mother Catelyn almost identically so kudos to the makeup and costuming department for pulling that off and making us see what Baelish sees which is the spitting image of Cat but at a younger age. This also seemed like the crescendo of this story this year since there is a point for it to begin next year and it seemed to leave us hopeful that Sansa is in a good place in terms of confidence and no longer being a victim but an accomplice of the very best of the chaos ladder climber, Lord Baelish. Outside the Bloody Gate the Hound attempts to deliver Arya to Lysa but learns just as they arrive that she has passed on now a few days ago. Arya's "I'm always too late and all my relatives die when I try to visit them" ironic laugh was greatly suited to the scene as her disbelief showed on the young actress's face.

    King's Landing

    Tyrion has a great scene before his trial by combat with Jaime visiting him and telling the tale of his slow cousin Orson and how he smashed beetles with a rock. Tyrion always watched him do it and never understood why he would continue to do so. I wonder is Orson is a stand-in for George . Martin and fans asking why he kills off almost all of his beloved characters. Tyrion is summoned to witness his trial and Oberyn drinks and prepares for battle against the Mountain. In a traditional story Oberyn (charming, sexy, and in the right to avenge his sister rape and murder against a monster of a person) would win. The trial by combat is swift and flawlessly executed, Pedro Pascal no doubt having taken some spear combat training to do the choreography and wearing minimalist armor because he likes to "move He spins and careens and has a few close calls there but ends up getting the Mountain hamstrung and on his back and with a spear through the Mountain's torso. From the books it sounds like his retort to Tyrion about suggesting he wear a helmet and discussing the "fighting pits" is a reference to Essos where Oberyn may have picked up his handy combat skills. Oberyn not finishing the job allows the Mountain to get a hold of him and confess while he caves in Oberyn's skull and getting Tyrion sentenced to death in a shocking and unexpected turn of events. Even having read about that in the books it was still utterly shocking to see unfold as I hoped they would change it but alas the charming and sexy Prince of Dorne fell because of his thirst for vengeance. But he was fantastic, Pascal was not how I pictured him but his performance sold me 100% that he is the Red Viper. I only hope they keep with the fact that his spear was tipped with poison as the Mountain in the books dies a horrible death because of it (thankfully so Oberyn did in fact get vengeance for his sister's rape/murder and the killing of his kin it will just be delayed somewhat). But this punctuated the end of the episode was the right call to make as it gives us a cliffhanger that makes us wish to see what exactly happens to Tyrion next.

    A fantastic episode with a lot of threads seemingly tied up as if in a season finale (which is good because there won't be ten storylines to wrap up in two weeks) and also leaves many character fates up in the air as we move into the final countdown of another great season of one of TV's best shows.moreless
  • This is getting silly

    While I can appreciate that GRRM wants to aim for a ... realistic fantasy series, this is starting to get dumb. I don't care how big you are - if you get skewered through the chest with a spear, there's no way in hell you're getting back up; let alone manage to crush a guys skull with your bare hands. I've had enough of let downs. This has turned from realism to sadism (maybe that happened a long time ago, but I was too blind to notice), and I for one am no longer entertained, but disgusted.moreless
  • future killer

    I don't have the feeling Arya will come home to her family anytime soon. She found a taste in killing and I suppose that will be her path. Fate seems to prevent her from reuniting with her family, as every time she is near, she finds out part of her family has been killed.

    Sansa finally grows up and learns to play the game that the others ( her telling almost the truth to her aunt's investigators was really very cunning) are playing. Stunning makeover at the end. She really looks different now, not a small, naive child anymore but a woman.

    The plot at the Night's watch is dragging on as usual. I always have the feeling that they are just sitting there until they are all slaughtered. And has nobody told Jon that this brother Rob has declared him as his heir?

    And Dany finally finds out that Jorah did spy on her at thebeginning. I don't think it is a good decision to send Jorah away. He was always the one who gave her good advice and tempered some of her extreme ideas. And he gave up spying on her a long time ago. Everybody could see that he went from spy to loyal supporter. I just wish he would have confessed to her a long time ago and perhaps she could have forgiven him then. I am really afraid what might become of Dany without his council.

    And the fight at the end was really gruesome. When we thought that the mountain was actually defeated and sighed with relief they turned it around at the last minute ( if Oberyn hadn't been so obsessed with getting a confession he actually would have won) and let the mountain squash his head, yuk. I can't quite understand why this still means that Tyrion gets executed. Both of the fighters died ( I definitely think the Mountain is also dead), wouldn't that at least mean a rematch?moreless

    Many great scene in that episode. Firstly Daenerys asked Jorah to confess and ban him from her city, really sad. Then, Sansa lying to save herself and baelish and finally starting to play the game. And one of my favorite, the really intense scene between the two Lannister brothers. Loved the ending and can't wait for the next episode.
Roger Ashton Griffiths

Roger Ashton Griffiths

Mace Tyrell

Guest Star

Grahame Fox

Grahame Fox

Ralf Kenning

Guest Star

Paola Dionisotti

Paola Dionisotti

Anya Waynwood

Guest Star

Pedro Pascal

Pedro Pascal

Oberyn Martell

Recurring Role

Mark Stanley

Mark Stanley


Recurring Role

Ben Crompton

Ben Crompton

Eddison Tollett

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions