The Game of Thrones season three finale begins amidst a maelstrom of chaotic violence, Stark bannerman hacked to pieces surrounded by hellish flames. It’s a confronting opening even before the “young wolf” is brought forth, but it’s not representative of the episode as a whole, which takes the opportunity for reflection after the enormity of last week’s events.
Most of “Mhysa” observes intense conversations between two individuals, often revealing hidden thoughts or motivations. It was essentially perfect, as an hour of television in its own right and as a palate cleanser to move from the Red Wedding to season four. Many of the conversations led to violence in their own right (Arya’s frenzied murder, Ygritte’s “farewell” to Jon Snow) or plot development, but my favourite moments were less eventful. While Tyrion has been mostly sidelined this season, his conversations with Joffrey, Cersei and of course Tywin were highlights in an excellent episode. The only misstep was the clunky execution of Daenerys’ messianic veneration in the closing moments.
The show has had the occasional stumble this season, but nonetheless it’s been a resounding success. Even if it never again matches the impact of the Red Wedding, I’m eagerly awaiting season four.