Finally, we're getting inside these characters' heads!
In the middle of last night's of Game of Thrones, Tyrion — awaiting his trial-by-combat — tells Jaime a story about how, as boys, their brain-damaged cousin Orson would spend endless hours crushing beetles.
"Why was he smashing all of those beetles? What did he get out of it," Tyrion wonders aloud. These questions have plagued him since childhood. While Orson's obsession was smashing beetles, Tyrion's obsession was finding out why.
He asked and never got an answer. He observed and never got an answer. Despite Tyrion being a genius and Orson being a "moron," Orson still managed to go to his grave possessing some knowledge that Tyrion never will — and that's why he loved crushing beetles so damn much.
Sometimes, no matter how smart or strong or relentless you are, you don't get the answer that you want — that is, if any answer at all. That seemed to be the moral of last night's episode "The Mountain and the Viper," which saw the spectacularly brutal death of the beloved Oberyn Martell, Red Viper of Dorn, at the hands (quite literally) of much hated Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane.
As soon as Tyrion begins his story about Orson and the beetles, it becomes pretty clear that Oberyn, fighting for Tyrion, is not going to come out of the trial-by-combat alive. (The tale isn't exactly what I'd call a subtle metaphor.) To solidify our dread, Oberyn enters the fray against the Mountain with an ostentatious combat style that, while thrilling to watch, can only mean a terrible end. The fates of the Seven Kingdoms aren't exactly kind to the flashy. (They're not too kind to the austere either, as any Stark can tell you. Welcome to Westeros: Either Way, You're Fucked.)
For a moment, it almost looks like Oberyn is going to win. He's knocked the Mountain to the ground — a seemingly impossible task — and stuck him with a spear, yet he refuses to deal the final death blow. Before the Mountain dies, Oberyn needs to hear him admit that he raped and murdered his sister, and killed her children as well. Drawing this out can't end well. Tyrion knows it. We know it, too.
Still, Oberyn gets what he wants. Maybe not in the way that he wants, but he does get the Mountain to publicly confesses to his crimes against the Martells. Unfortunately, the confession comes with a final surge of tremendous strength and, using nothing but his giant meat mits, the Mountain squeezes Oberyn's head until it literally explodes in a gory, brain-y mess. Was this the most vile death on Game of Thrones so far? Yes. Yes, indeed. Sorry, Ros: You're still a close second.
(I wish I had more articulate thoughts on this, but to be honest, I'm feeling a little sloppy after a restless night full of nightmares about getting brained. WHO KNOWS WHERE THOSE CAME FROM. Thankfully, C.A. Pinkham has your thoughtful analysis right here.)
Anyway, it looks like Tyrion was wrong. There is one way to get inside another man's mind —and that's by putting your thumbs through his eye sockets. Again, probably not the answer he was looking for.
Also without satisfying answers: Ser Jorah gets busted as a traitor (or is he a traitor to his treachery? Do I care? Probably not), having actively spied on Dany on behalf of Robert Baratheon prior to the king's death. Rightfully, Dany and her bold eyebrows are piiiiiiiiissed and no confession of Ser Jorah's love will change that. He asks for her forgiveness and she denies him (duhhh), instead giving him until nightfall to GTFO of Slaver's Bay or die.
Then there's the Hound and Arya, who finally make it to the Eyrie only to learn that Lysa Arryn is dead. This puts a bit of a damper on the Hound's plans to ransom off his angry little "traveling companion," but his pain is worth it, if only for Arya's reaction to her aunt's death:
The deaths in Game of Thrones have become so plentiful that not only are they no longer sad, they're funny. In fact, come the next episode, the Powder wildling could go ahead and kill everyone and I wouldn't even care. That's how unattached I've become to these people. RIP, EVERYONE. Now wrap it up so I can watch Veep.
It looks like there are a couple people who might be getting thriving and surviving. Bastard son Ramsay Snow finally flays his way into his father's favor and becomes Ramsay Bolton, legitimate son and possible heir to the North. Then, in better news (maybe?), Sansa decides to switch up her (understandably) meek routine for something a little more assertive.
Questioned by the Lords of the Vale about Lady Arryn's fatal exit through the Moon Door, Sansa, like Littlefinger, lies and says that Lysa tripped — but she doesn't do it Littlefinger's way. Instead she launches her own strategy, giving away her identity, gaining her questioners' sympathies, inciting hatred against the Lannisters and making Littlefinger sweat it out a little bit.
Once in private, Littlefinger asks, "Do you think you know me?"
"I know what you want," Sansa replies. It's a smart answer. No one really knows Lord Baelish, but Sansa — being the beautiful daughter of Catelyn Stark — wields a very special power of him and her discovery of it is absolutely transforming.
Funny that this teenage girl is probably the only surviving woman who can leave Littlefinger (a man who earns a good portion of his scratch running the raunchiest brothels in King's Landing) so completely awestruck. While it's kind of sad that Sansa has only been able to find power through an older man's attraction to her, I'm just thrilled that she's found any source of it at all. It'll be so exciting to see if and how she uses it to her advantage.
Keep serving that regal, raven realness, girl.
Breasts (galore!): 13
Speaking of getting naked, why didn't Dany tell Missandei that she and Grey Worm can do things that don't involve his dick (or lack thereof)? USE YOUR MOUTHS, DUMMIES.