'Game of Thrones' Season 4, Episode 7: spoiler discussion


The night is dark and full of spoilers. Below we'll be talking about the HBO series Game of Thrones, up through and including tonight's episode, "Mockingbird." Discussion of future episodes — or information from the books — is off limits.

Things are starting to pick up as we enter the back stretch of the season, and Game of Thrones is busy paying off early-season teases and setting up what will no doubt be some very big episodes up ahead. We'll have to wait for two weeks until the next episode airs, but a few moments tonight gave us plenty to chew on.

The Mountain

Otherwise known as Gregor Clegane, The Mountain has popped up from time to time — and been recast more than once — but it's mostly just been to show that he's the biggest, and most brutal, person in a world full of horrible monstrosities. The key points are that he's brother to Arya Stark's traveling companion The Hound, and when they were both children young Gregor held the Hound's face to a fire, scarring him forever. He's also responsible for the rape and murder of Prince Oberyn's sister, to say nothing of the death of her children.

Basically, he's utterly horrible and can kill anything and is about eight feet tall. And he's also the guy that Cersei has chosen to fight on her behalf in Tyrion's trial by combat. Somebody's going to have to face off against The Mountain, and if that person loses, Tyrion will die.

Cersei: 1, Tyrion: 0

Bronn's Betryal

Bronn served as Tyrion's champion and saved his life in a battle at the Vale long ago, and the two have been chums ever since. When Jaime admits his left-handed sword skills won't be enough to defeat The Mountain, Bronn is the natural backup... but when he does show up to see Tyrion, he's cloaked in fresh clothes and bad news. Cersei has set up an arranged marriage, and Bronn will be marrying into some prestige and a castle. Tyrion pleads, calling back to their friendship, but Bronn isn't moved. "Aye, I'm your friend," he says. "And when have you ever risked your life for me?"

For Bronn, it's all about simple economics and survival: if he fights for Tyrion and saves him, it could pay off in the future, but standing down guarantees him rewards now (not to mention it spares his life; as Bronn tells Tyrion, one false step and The Mountain would strike him down).

Cersei: 2, Tyrion: 0

Prince Oberyn, Winner of Everything, Forever, For All Time

Things aren't looking great for Tyrion as literally everyone he's reached out to for help has turned him down. He's at the point where he's contemplating battling The Mountain himself, and then Prince Oberyn walks in the door. Right off the bat, Oberyn levels with Tyrion: what Cersei's been doing, and how she's been manipulating people to seal Tyrion's fate. Then he tells the story of how Cersei showed him the newborn Tyrion, many, many years ago. Despite the horrible tales that had spreading throughout the kingdom, the young baby boy wasn't frightening at all. "'That's no monster,' I told Cersei. 'That's just a baby.'"

It's a touching moment of empathy from Oberyn, but it's just prelude. Now that The Mountain has arrived for the trial by combat, Oberyn is in the position to finally start taking the revenge he came to King's Landing to extract — both against the Lannisters and Gregor Clegane himself. "I will be your champion," the prince tells Tyrion.

Book readers that said I would flip out when the Tyrion champion reveal went down, you were right. Straight-up chills. Let's just put Oberyn on the Iron Throne and call the series over and done with.

Cersei: 2, Tyrion: 2

(Yes, Oberyn is worth two points. Possibly three, but we'll see how the battle goes down.)

Later, Lysa

Littlefinger showed off once again how creepy and devious he could be — first by kissing Sansa. ("Call me Petyr," he says. Even if he wasn't her uncle by marriage, this would still be one of the skeezier things in the show.)

Of course, he also did it out in the open — and Sansa's unstable aunt Lysa saw. The new Mrs. Littlefinger freaks out, threatening to throw Sansa out the Moon Door to her death. Baelish intervenes, comforting Lysa at first, and then he drops the bomb: he's only loved one woman, Catelyn Stark. And then he throws Lysa out the Moon Door.

Looks like Baelish needs a new bride.

(Side note: the shot of Lysa falling out the Moon Door looked particularly bad. Like, 1981 Clash of the Titans bad. What happened there?)

What did you think of tonight's episode? Awesomeness aside, does Oberyn stand a chance against The Mountain? Are you still cool with Arya's slow, measured transformation into a complete psychopath? And what will Baelish do if Oberyn throws a wrench into all of his plans by saving Tyrion?