Game of Thrones 4×7 Review: Mockingbird

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It’s no secret that I’ve had a lot of issues with certain decisions that the Game of Thrones writers have made this season, and with tonight’s Mockingbird I, as a huge Sansa fan, was on the edge of my seat. While there were a lot of great scenes leading up to the big one – which was again placed at the very end – some of my good impressions were tempered by what occurred in the Eyrie.

Before I get into that, though, I will say that I thought the opening conversation between Jaime and Tyrion was a bit of a slow start for the episode. I’ve really enjoyed seeing them interact this season; it’s one of the changes made by the show that has worked really well. It was also a smooth (if predictable) lead-in to them reintroducing Gregor Clegane. While it’s understandable that the writers wanted to remind viewers that The Mountain is a huge jerk, seeing him disemboweling random men (presumably/hopefully prisoners) over and over again seemed a bit over the top.

The scene made for a good segue into the Hound and Arya. I’ve been wondering how the show would wrap up their storyline, and it seems that in tonight’s episode they moved leaps and bounds toward doing so. Their conversation with the dying man was a bit drawn out for my taste, and the sudden attack by Rorge and Biter was a bit much – to the point of seeming like lazy writing. Not even because this was another deviation from the books. Sandor and Arya killing them will of course effect other characters’ story lines, but probably not in an extremely problematic way. It seems to me that what should have been a more pivotal scene for Sandor and Arya was rushed, or perhaps even thrown away entirely.

Meanwhile, up at the Wall, the writers are doing their best to make viewers despise Alliser Thorne. We already know from recent episodes that he doesn’t like Jon, and although I understand that there were loose ends here that needed to be tied up, the inclusion of this brief interlude – at least at this point in this episode – felt awkward at best.

Keeping in line with the show’s need to push some plot lines forward sooner rather than later, as we just saw Tyrion’s trial last week and know that the next episode is named The Mountain and the Viper, it was clear that they had to move quickly to reveal his champion. It was nice to see another great book scene recreated nearly word for word when Bronn visited him, and certainly interesting that despite not introducing Lollys they are mentioning her anyway. I’m intrigued to see if we will ever meet her (or any of her family members).

GoT 4x7 4The next few exchanges were a bit of a blur. Dany’s relationship with Daario escalating now of all times is a bit fast, in my opinion, though part of the issue could be due to the actor changing. As for Melisandre and Selyse, the entire scene and conversation depicted in Mockingbird was nothing short of contrived. Melisandre actually attempting to joke was simply awkward.

Not, however, as awkward as Jorah arriving at Daenerys’ private chambers (apparently very early in the morning) and finding Daario leaving them. This is one of the situations where not being in the character’s head means losing important pieces of information, and though Daenerys tells Jorah that she is sending the Second Sons away because she knows that she can’t trust Daario, I do wish we saw a bit more of her inner turmoil over her attraction to him.

I also think there is some harm being done in terms of how they are portraying her decision making process – she crucified the masters of Meereen, and though last week’s scene with Hizdahr seemed meant to make her second guess that decision, she’s somehow still ready to go kill all of the masters of Yunkai? Then a brief conversation with Jorah makes Dany change her mind about doing so. I’m sure we’re meant to believe that her willingness to compromise (to a small extent) is a good thing, but in portraying it this way the show is in danger of making her seem wishy-washy.

Thankfully, this was followed by one of the stronger scenes in the episode, in which the Hound finally got the chance to tell his own story about his burns! Rory McCann was truly splendid with this monologue, which feels like both a blessing and a curse, if only because it once again makes me wish he’d been the one to tell Sansa these things as well. I suppose I could have done without the constant shot of his neck wound from being chomped on by Biter, but as a whole I really loved this interaction. Somehow I’m both anxiously awaiting and dreading what may happen the next time we see these two on screen.

GoT 4x7 3As much as I love Arya and Sandor together, Game of Thrones is doing an amazing job with Brienne and Podrick – and no, it didn’t hurt that an old favorite of mine showed up in Mockingbird…Hot Pie, that is! I have to be honest, I think I should have probably disliked a lot of the developments that his appearance led to – Brienne knowing that Arya is probably alive, that she’s likely with the Hound, and that the Vale is the next obvious stop for her – but I just can’t. The kidney pie bit perhaps wasn’t necessary, but having Brienne and Pod stumble upon Hot Pie is just not something I can bring myself to complain about. Especially when he’s clearly been working on his ability to make wolf-shaped loaves of bread.

We were then granted another great scene ripped right from the books – Oberyn’s visit to Tyrion and the tale of the Martells visiting Casterly Rock. Combining some great book material with Oberyn’s astute observations regarding Cersei (based, of course, on earlier season four interactions that did not exist in the books) once again reminded me how well the Game of Thrones writers can do things when they really try.

The problem for me is that after such a great portrayal of Oberyn’s offer to be Tyrion’s champion, I was feeling really good about the show and thinking that they really couldn’t mess up what was coming next. It started out well, as Sansa got to build her Winterfell snow castle, which was then ruined by Robin…but sadly, apparently the best substitute that the show could come up with for Sansa tearing up Robin’s doll was for her to slap him. Never mind that at this point in her story line, it makes absolutely no sense for Sansa to be so physically violent – especially not with a child who she barely knows, a child who, no matter how obnoxious he is, is her family. Even if I separate Sansa on the show from Sansa in the books (who I believe would never hit a child like that, period), it still makes no sense.

Of course, even knowing that Petyr kisses Sansa in Storm of Swords, I was shocked that the show portrayed this particular physical interaction. I know, I probably shouldn’t be shocked or surprised at all, but they certainly have my attention now…I just wish that I felt a lot more positive about where the show is taking the sweet Sansa I love in the books.

The ensuing scene between Sansa and Lysa, followed by Petyr’s arrival and his pushing her out of the Moon Door put things back on track – at least for now. It was at least an exciting end to an episode that was otherwise fairly disjointed, in my opinion…but hopefully the next two episodes, both of which have fairly hefty story lines to tell, will be a lot more streamlined.

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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