Game of ThronesGame of Thrones Season Finale Review: Sitting on the ThroneGame of Thrones - RSS 2.0
What follows is one of the greatest fight scenes the show has produced. It wasn't as showy as the Mountain versus Oberyn, or as epic as the scene at Castle Black, but it felt extremely real. The pain, the agony of just trying to kill another person with whatever tools are available was exhilarating to watch. Brienne and the Hound are evenly matched swordsmen. The ease at which the two exchange blows ranges them far away from Arya and Pod. Swords are lost, and the pair resort to punching, with Brienne picking up a stone to help bash in the Hound's already messed-up face. Through it all, her grunts and exhalations echo in the hills. I love that the show-runners did not take away her femininity in the fight. Brienne is strong. She is a skilled warrior, but she is also a woman. Her grunts are high-pitched, yet powerful, like Monica Seles or Serena Williams.
But what made the fight so compelling was that, at least for me, I wasn't sure who I wanted to win. Brienne is a likable character, but the Hound has the most at stake. We've seen him at rock bottom this season. He recounted how he was burned by his own brother to Arya, comparing his lot to hers makes the Stark's story feel like a theme park. For him to die now would mean the character never received redemption.
He is beaten. Brienne flips him off a short cliff and she survives with most of her person intact. Of course, she can't find Arya, and Brienne screams at Podrick to find her. To come all this way without one of the promised Stark children when she had her within her grasp is too much.
But Arya doesn't want to be found. She hides, then goes to say goodbye to the Hound. He is bloodied and broken; the femur protruding from the middle of his thigh. Sandor knows he is done for, and he expects Arya to give him the same mercy he gave the peasant in the Riverlands. She doesn't. Clegane even taunts her with all that he's done, including riding down the butcher's boy, Mycah, all the way back in the first season. You know, the act that put the Hound on Arya's little list. He begs her: "Kill me! Kill me! Kill me!"
But in the end, Arya walks away. Withholding the one thing Clegane craved, his own sorry death. The Hound, for all the relationship they have built together, is not worth the nothing he has brought to so many souls.
Arya takes his silver though, and makes it to the harbor town and boards a ship. The Wall is too cold, says the Braavosi captain (with a finally authentic accent!) Oh wait, she's got a special iron coin from Jaqen H'Ghar, the shape-shifting assassin who broke her out of Harrenhal in season two. The captain looks at her incredulously. "Valar morghulis," Arya says. He replies, "Valar dohaeris."
Arya is off across the Narrow Sea, then. To Braavos to become what, exactly? We shall see.
What will Gregor Clegane become? We speculated the Red Viper used poison in his duel with the Mountain, but it wasn't completely clear. In this episode, we see Maester Pycelle tutting about his laboratory with the Maester stripped of his chain, Qyburn. Cersei Lannister oversees the proceedings. Qyburn tells her the Mountain was poisoned with manticore's venom, and Pycelle says that he'll surely die. Qyburn disagrees, and at Cersei's behest, begins the process of bringing Ser Gregor Clegane back to a healthy life. Sort of. Long Live Ser Strong!