Game of Thrones

Season 2 Episode 10

Valar Morghulis

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 03, 2012 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
462 votes

By Users Episode Review


    Game of Thrones: The Wide World of Westeros

    Season 2 drew to a close with the world of Westeros, and the threats to its well being, growing bigger and bigger.

  • Episode Summary

    In the aftermath of the battle, Joffrey names his grandfather Hand of the King, relegating Tyrion to much smaller quarters. Petyr Baelish is rewarded for his loyalty, while Lord Varys recruits a new spy. In Winterfell, Theon Greyjoy loses his position. In Qarth, Daenerys retrieves her dragons. Elsewhere, Arya says goodbye to Jaqen H'ghar. And amidst the war in the South, Robb moves forward with Talisa despite another promise.

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    • Valar Morghulis

      A strong ending to a strong season of Game of Thrones. From the great speech, to the stunning justice given out by Mother of Dragons, this served us nicely, while leaving us counting the days until the show's triumphant return.
    • Valar Morghulis

      It's very rare that you can call a series "epic" anymore, but it fits here. So would "dense," "smart," "addictive" and And the best of Game of Thrones could be ahead of it, which is inspiring and impressive.
    • Spoiler-filled kudos to this season's best episode.

      In season two's last episode, King's Landing gets a thorough update that includes a new Hand of the King, a new Queen for Joffrey, and a new alliance for Sansa. On much bigger scale, however, are Daenerys' dragons making for fiery tumult in the city of Qarth, Samwell Tarly encountering well-disposed white walkers on his little nature hike, and just by the way, Winterfell burning down. Now that explains the additional ten minutes for "Valar Morghulis".

      Things are quickly back to normal for most of King's Landing's residents and Joffrey is all love, peace and harmony when naming his gramps Tywin the new Hand of the King who is as cool about that as his horse is about defecating right in the Red Keep. Right afterwards, Ser Loras Tyrell had the impudence to propose his ambitious sister Margaery to the King and that unpredictable tike just dropped Sansa and decided to wed Renly's widow. You know, that reckless "whatever" attitude young people have nowadays. Sansa, apparently not that overwhelmed by The Hound's offer to take her back to Winterfell in "Blackwater", now has the next guy volunteering for a ride to her home Petyr Baelish, new Lord of Harrenhal (oh right, Joffrey disposed that as well). I'm not entirely sure how the girl is going to decide since Littlefinger does seem a bit creepy when he's subliminally incorporating his lusting for her mother every time he talks to Sansa.

      In less splendid chambers, Tyrion wakes up with nah, you didn't expect that Grand Maester Pycelle standing in front of his bed. That mendacious old fellow whose talking pace is about one word every five seconds is feeling really great when fooling Tyrion in the same way Tyrion fooled him earlier this season. Varys and Shae too get to spend time with the scarred imp, who is understandably not too happy about his current situation. I'm still not sure if I should buy the emotions between Peter Dinklage and Sibel Kekilli though, that just doesn't really seem genuine to me.

      In entirely unrelated business, the episode's gibberish title is thankfully defined it's a phrase that the faceless joker Jaqen H'ghar made up just for kicks so Arya could find him. I've loved every single interaction between Maisie Williams and Tom Wlaschiha and their farewell in this episode (or is it?) is outstanding. That's not applicable for Jaqen's new face, however. Couldn't that guy find anything more attractive in Harrenhal's second-face-shop? It was definitely a great effect, though.

      Stannis Baratheon hasn't finished cursing everything there is since his last scene in "Blackwater" and now sees the Red Priestess Melisandre as the culprit. The two share not only some interesting dialog but also fully clothed S&M fun on the most dangerous level. Once that's done, Stannis finds new inspiration in the flames and it seems as if the grouchy claimant to the throne isn't done with fighting yet.

      Now to the absolutely stunning stuff "Valar Morghulis" had in store: at first there's little Theon getting angry about his unwinnable position, but then he regains his self-confidence in a war speech that I actually found not bad, only to be betrayed by his own men. Well, that really wasn't the best season for Theon. Same goes for Bran and Rickon who relinquish their hideout, only to discover that their actual home is not really there anymore. So are the Greyjoy troops, miraculously gone with the wind, and Maester Luwin, suffering from a fatal wound in the Godswood. And even though he was never a very big character, Luwin's passing is extraordinarily touching and I feel that I'll miss his wise monologues in future seasons.

      The best parts are saved up for the final quarter of an hour, namely the Daenerys and Jon Snow storylines. Say what you will about their scenes in season two so far (I personally reckon them to be outstanding), but how everything turns out for them in this episode is undeniably perfect. Daenerys gets more screen time than ever as she is put into a dream-like state in Pyat Pree's House of the Undying and enters three jaw-dropping venues. As Jason Momoa returns with their son, a new apex is reached in terms of how awesome a scene can be while still having subtitles, and her reconnoitering a snowy version of the Throne Room had visuals too amazing to describe in words. But no, best part of the episode is still not reached and the Khaleesi is back to the real world and meets the aforementioned scary warlock who is, to his detriment, unaware of the fact that dragons can spit fire and dies one off the greatest deaths in the series. You go, Daenerys' dragons! Not enough of them still, and after the bogus King of Qarth whose name is clearly too long to write out gets locked up for death in his own, sadly empty, treasury together with Doreah (her dishonesty is only a surprise if you haven't watched the Blu-Ray Easter Eggs), the Mother of Dragons walks off with her three children (her words, not mine) on her shoulders, which is almost too cool to watch, seriously.

      But no, the episode's apex is still not reached and it also isn't Jon Snow killing Qhorin Halfhand (say wat) in the show's most touching, yet also most flawless swordfight. The first view of Mance Rayder's abode comes quite close to the top on my "The 50 best things in Valar Morghulis" list, but it really is the final shot that makes "Valar Morghulis" the second best Game of Thrones episode until that point (I ultimately prefer "Winter Is Coming" even though not a single person on Earth agrees with me). The White Walkers approaching the Fist of the First Men is mind-blowingly good and one of the best zombie scenes in TV and also movie history. Left-alone Sam (he is quite a klutz, admittedly) seeing all of this in indescribable awe enhances the intensity additionally and then he sees him: the White Walker on a dead horse (a White Warmblood, right?), which is the shot that spread all over the internet. Understandably, considering it's just freaking awesome. So is most of the rest of this episode. It's not perfect, but it's damn close to it and it did a fantastic job in making me excited for season number three.moreless
    • ending was epic

      ending was epic

      WHITE WALKERS AT LAST................

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (1)

      • The phrase "valar morghulis", the title for this episode, is High Valyrian meaning "all men must die". It is a traditional greeting in certain parts of Essos. "Valar dohaeris" (which is the title of the next episode, the season 3 premiere), meaning "all men must serve", is the traditional response to it. Along with Dothraki and Skroth, High Valyrian is one of the fictional languages created for the show by David J. Peterson based on what George R.R. Martin envisioned for his "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels which "Game of Thrones" is an adaptation of.

    • QUOTES (3)

      • Varys: (to Tyrion Lannister) There are many who know that without you this city faced certain defeat. The king won't give you any honors, the histories won't mention you, but we will not forget.

      • Petyr Baelish: (after Joffrey Baratheon had chosen Margaery Tyrell over Sansa Stark) My Lady. My sincerest condolences.
        Sansa Stark: They're right, I'm not good enough for him.
        Petyr Baelish: You shouldn't say that. You'll be good enough for many things. He'll still enjoy beating you, and, now that you're a woman, he'll be able to enjoy you in other ways as well.
        Sansa Stark: But if he's not marrying me...
        Petyr Baelish: He'll let you go home? Joffrey's not the sort of boy who gives away his toys. You have a tender heart, just like your mother did at your age. I can see so much of her in you. She was like a sister to me. For her sake, I'll help get you home.
        Sansa Stark: King's Landing is my home now.
        Petyr Baelish: Look around you. We're all liars here, and every one of us is better than you.

      • Tyrion Lannister: Well?
        Shae: (after seeing Tyrion's badly cut face) You are a mess.
        Tyrion Lannister: I'm a monster as well as a should charge me double.

    • NOTES (0)

    • ALLUSIONS (0)