Nightmare Fuel: Game of Thrones
"Once I begin to sing, no-one must enter the tent. The dead will dance here tonight."Remember all the Nightmare Fuel that A Song of Ice and Fire had? With Game of Thrones it's now in live action.
—Mirri Maz Duur
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1 — Winter Is Coming
- The White Walkers, if not solely for their utterly terrifying eyes.
- Their horrific assembly of a dismembered wildling clan into a bizarre occult art piece, with a little girl impaled into a tree, almost like a warning sign. Even scarier, when Will comes back Gared and Waymar Royce, all the bodies are missing.
- Will's cue to run away as fast as he can? He sees someone standing still in the middle of the woods. She turns around and it's the dead little girl he just saw nailed to the tree, with glowing blue eyes. This became the page image for Occult Blue Eyes.
- Though it is clearly a well-known form of justice and execution, there is a strong Dark Age tone to the scene where Ned's sons watch him decapitate Will, the Night's Watch deserter (who, in a way, was the first hero of the story), with his huge greatsword. It lets you know right away that our noble heroes have a dark side and aren't always completely right in their actions.
- When Princess Daenerys tells her brother that she doesn't want to marry Khal Drogo and that she wants to go home, Viserys starts talking to her as if she is a dumb child, casually explaining that aligning with Drogo and the Dothraki is the only one to get home and that he would let his entire army and their horses fuck Daenerys if it means getting an army to take back the Seven Kingdoms.
- An even better indication of how twisted and scary this series is going to be comes at the end when ten-year old Bran stumbles upon Cersei, the queen, having sex with her twin brother, Jaime Lannister. Then Jaime shoves Bran out of a window. Cue the end credits.
- Robert's discussion with Ser Barristan about the last words of their foes. He calls in Jaime to quiz him about his own experiences — and to needle him once again about the fact that, yes, he killed Aerys Targaryen. It backfires when Jaime replies perfectly calmly and coldly, "He said the same thing he'd been saying for hours: burn them all." Even Robert appears to be freaked out by this.
- Robert describing the first man he killed, a soldier sworn to House Tarly, who, after Robert already crippled him with his first blow, cowered on the ground and begged for Robert to "Wait, wait!" The way he talks about it really lets you imagine how awful it would be to be on the wrong side of Robert and his warhammer. It also shows just how merciless he can be toward his enemies.
- Ser Gregor Clegane cutting off the head of his horse in a temper tantrum.
- Gregor's first line in the series, immediately preceding this. Very eloquent:
- A group of wildings discuss how they'll head south in order to avoid the White Walkers. Implying that the wall may not be keeping everything out of Westeros... or won't be for much longer...
- The Sky Cells are a pretty frightening concept when you imagine what it must like being a prisoner there. There's no protection from the elements, and you could never sleep easily, always fearing that you would fall out of the window — not to mention the terrifying vertigo you'd have all the time. It seems like the ultimate point is to drive prisoners to suicide and give them an easy means of accomplishing it. The floors are also somewhat slanted, meaning you can unconsciously find yourself rolling right off the edge in your sleep. Tyrion's Oh Crap! look when that almost happens to him says it all. Apparently there are worse cells that have even steeper inclines.
- While it's a comparably tame scene for that show's standards (which, of course, isn't saying much), the way Viserys is killed (by getting a pot of molten gold poured on his head) is quite scary, as you can only imagine the pain... In addition, he dies gruesomely in front of his sister, who had to watch it and do nothing. Yeah, Viserys was a dick to her, but he was all she had, and she had to watch him die knowing that even if she wanted to, she couldn't do anything to save him.
- The way Drogo, in full Blood Knight mode, crouches down and gets in Viserys face as he dies screaming. It's like Drogo just wanted to absorb and relish in all of the suffering he's inflicting.
- The aftermath of the Battle of the Green Fork. Tyrion wakes up and sees he's being carted through the blood-soaked battlefield, where the hill tribesmen are seen holding down and mutilating the wounded Northmen.
- In "Baelor", while we don't get to see anything, the unearthly screaming noises coming out of Khal Drogo's tent as his life is "saved" through blood magic are more than a little chilling. Add in a little Fridge Horror, it's clear from the way that the other characters are acting that only Dany can actually hear the sounds.
- Ned Stark's execution is still unpleasant to watch. The utter build up towards the scene whilst Sansa screams hysterically for Joffrey to stop it, Ser Ilyn getting ready to use the sword, and Yoren constantly holding Arya back from watching is mentally unnerving. Worst is the fact Ned's only fear of the situation was that Arya may have to watch his execution to which luckily he died knowing she wasn't and Yoren was there, but just imagine the inner turmoil he would have suffered before death if Yoren wasn't there to shield Arya from watching. It gets worse. Once it was over, Yoren lifted her up so that she was looking over his shoulder. He was walking away from the Sept, so while Arya may not have seen the execution as it happened, she did see her father's headless body and the Hound holding up his head.
- The episode opens immediately after Ned gets decapitated. We are greeted to some sickening shots of the blood-soaked blade, The Hound holding the severed head up in the air, the crowds roaring in applause, guards dragging away the headless corpse, Sansa fainting in horror at Cersei and Joffrey's feet.
- The aftermath of Daenerys and Mirri Maz Duur's attempt at blood magic to save Drogo. He was indeed healed of his fatal wounds and illness, but is left in a permanent catatonic state.
Mirri Maz Duur: He lives. You asked for life. You paid for life.Daenerys: This is not life! When will he be as he was?Mirri Maz Duur: When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, when the seas go dry, and when the mountains blow in the winds like leaves.
Mirri Maz Duur: Monstrous, twisted... I pulled him out myself. He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him the skin fell from his bones. Inside, he was full of gray worms.
- Also, the price of the spell turned out to be greater than a mere horse, since Dany's child Rhaego came out of her womb stillborn and freakishly deformed. The docile way Mirri Maz Duur describes the poor thing really sells it. It's the epitome of Body Horror, with a little Adult Fear added into the mix.
- "I am the dragon's daughter, and I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming."
- Then Dany proceeds to burn Mirri Maz Duur alive.
1 — The North Remembers
- Ser Dontos Hollard shows up late and drunk at the melee on Joffrey's name day. So Joffrey has his men hold Dontos down and then orders them to drown Dontos by pouring a cask of wine down his throat. The poor knight would have choked to death if Sansa hadn't convinced Joffrey to instead turn him into his new fool.
- Cersei slaps Joffrey in front of the workers in the throne room when he starts throwing the fact that Robert cheated on her repeatedly in her face. While we normally expect Joffrey to whine or rage out in moments like this, he responds by calmly composing himself before telling his mother that what she did is punishable by death and that she is never to do it again, implying that he'll make good on that punishment if she ever does.
- Doubly scary in that this is likely the moment Joffrey decided to eradicate all of Robert's bastards. Because his mother slapped him for bringing them up.
- Melisandre drinking all of Maester Cressen's poisoned wine after he has only taken one drink. She then calmly watches the old man die while nothing happens to her at all and the ruby on her choker begins to glow brightly. It's a pretty haunting display of her power, and possibly that of her god as well. She then calmly recites her creed: "The night is dark and full of terrors, old man, but the fire burns them all away".
- The massacre of Robert's bastards, including slitting a baby's throat, repeatedly pushing a boy into the ocean until he drowns, and torturing Gendry's boss by pushing his face into his own forge.
- Littlefinger's pleasant little story about a whore he bought who was much too sad and how his losses were mitigated. It's as much what he doesn't say as what he does — nothing about his tone when he says "he wanted to transform her" suggests that the man who bought that poor girl was not just going to turn her into Westeros's Next Top Model. The rumors earlier in the series of him catering to necrophiles don't help. (Another unpleasant possibility, could this man perhaps have been Qyburn?)
Littlefinger: I hate bad investments.
- We actually get to see hints of what happens to Craster's sons. It's not pretty.
- In the opening titles, amidst all the beautiful clockwork intricacies of the different cities on the map, Harrenhal is a blackened, broken piece of clockwork where nothing works or moves.
- We find out that Joffrey is more interested in watching women forced to beat each other, possibly to death, than having sex. While this may have been more to send a message to his Uncle, it's still disturbing how gleeful he looks during it.
- This is especially horrifying for Ros, who has barely gotten over seeing a woman's baby girl get butchered, and is now forced by an insane boy to slowly beat one of her friends to death with a mace for his sick pleasure. And he threatens to shoot her with his crossbow if she doesn't do it.
- Arya gets to watch people being tortured horribly by ingenious use of a rat, a bucket and a torch (which actually was a real method of torture in the past), killed and having their heads hammered onto pikes for at least two days, all the while knowing she could very well be next. Many of the people she's with are watching their families receive this treatment.
- The fact that the Mountain picks the guy who was staring at him. He had escaped being picked before, thinking it was because the Mountain was put off by his stare, but it turns out that it was completely random. The idea that someone could be so completely detached from humanity that he literally has no more reaction to someone looking at him than to a turned back is terrifying.
- The closing scene, wherein Melisandre gives birth. The shadow child/son/demon/shadow sounds like Stannis.
- Renly's death. Being stabbed in the back by a shadowy assailant, and seeing your own wound in the mirror — and then as you're choking on your own blood, you see that your attacker looks quite a bit like your older brother. And then it roars at you before it disappears.
- Theon executing Ser Rodrik Cassel. He doesn't have the strength or proper armament to behead him in a single swing, so there is a gruesome scene of Theon repeatedly hacking away and then roughly kicking Ser Rodrik's head away.
- The riot at King's Landing turns into this when the starving townspeople start dismembering and devouring members of the royal entourage and Sansa is chased down and almost raped by a group of men. Sansa screaming and pleading as she's held down is really hard to watch. Thank god the Hound had a Big Damn Heroes moment, though it was really close.
- The Pyat Pree doubles. They slit the throats of the Thirteen without a flicker of emotion. Their dissonant serenity follows Daenerys as she tries to escape: 'A mother should be close to her children!' Stab one through the back? It just sighs in exasperation and disappears, leaving only garments behind.
- Sansa's first period, especially when she realizes that now she's fit to marry Joffrey. A prospect that she doesn't relish.
- Daenerys and Jorah's attempt to escape the Qarth council chamber, with doubles of Pyat Pree blocking their every path. The off-kilter camerawork just adds to the unease.
- Theon presenting the burnt corpses of the boys.
- The troops that Jaqen had killed effortlessly and undetected, then propped up in their at the gate of Harrenhal so that Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie can escape. What did he do to that guy's head?
- The effects of wildfire on Stannis' troops. The troops at King's Landing can hear the mens' screams from across the water.
Imry Florent: We're too far from their gates. The fire — their archers... hundreds will die!Stannis: ... Thousands.
- The reaction shots of this event just add to it's nightmarishness. The more respectable characters like Tyrion, Bronn, Stannis and especially The Hound are suitably shocked/horrified by what they see. Then Tyrion looks at Joffrey and Wisdom Hallyne, who are both smiling rapturously at the fiery destruction.
- Immediately after his fleet's vanguard gets incinerated before his and his army's eyes, Stannis tells his men to prepare to land on the beach in spite of the heavy losses and the wildfire that's spreading across the water. His men are not exactly thrilled about this to begin with.
- Stannis gets to the walls of the city with a few of his troops; almost immediately a thrown rock from the defenders smashes a mook's head into his shoulders and Stannis's face is sprayed with blood. Uuuuugh.
- As Stannis is cutting down Lannister soldiers like the boss he is, he manages to cleave the top of a man's head clean off. The man's eyes rolling up with the blood spilling over his face doesn't even begin to describe the utter squick and horror of seeing that.
- Cersei's reason for having Ser Ilyn with the women and children: they would not take any of them alive if the battle was lost. Who knows if the other women knew this already, but it sure frightened Sansa when she was told...
- Cersei sitting on the Iron Throne with Tommen on her lap, telling him a fairy tale to keep his courage up — while preparing to poison him so Stannis doesn't get his hands on her youngest child.
- Seeing Tyrion get double-crossed and wounded in the middle of a huge battle.
- In his commentary, George R.R. Martin has a hilarious ongoing rant about how much he hates the trope Helmets Are Hardly Heroic... except the part where he explains why he feels this way: during filming of the first script he ever wrote for television, a stuntman got his nose cut off thanks to the director insisting on his visor being left open.
- Having Brienne killing you is scary already. Having her state to your face that she is going to kill you, in the slowest and most painful way possible, by ramming a sword up your crotch, while you're lying on the ground unable to do anything about it is a lot worse.
- In a fit of rage after his defeat, Stannis starts strangling Melisandre, asking her "Where is your god now? Will he save you? Where is your god!?" To which she submits, holding out her arms as if allowing him to kill her, and says, "Inside you."
Melisandre: This war has just begun. It will last for years. Thousands will die at your command. You will betray the men serving you, you will betray your family, you will betray everything that you once held dear... and it will all be worth it. Because you are the Son of Fire, you are the Warrior of Light. You will sweep aside this pretender and that one. You will be king.
- What's more haunting is the way she calmly describes what Stannis's future will be like if he stays his course:
- Dany's experience in the House of the Undying. Eventually she comes to the throne room of the Red Keep in King's Landing. Why is this scary? Winter has come.
- The fates of Doreah and Xaro — locked in an dark, empty vault to slowly die of thirst, starvation or asphyxiation.
- Bonus points in how they would likely resort to cannibalism in order to survive a bit longer. That is, if they didn't suffocate first.
- Might be lessened by the very easy He's Just Hiding theory that, like his claim that the vault was full of treasure, Xaro's claim that the vault is "impenetrable" is a lie.
- Our first good look at a White Walker, and the massive army of wights at the end.
1 — Valar Dohaeris
- The state of Harrenhall. 200 prisoners of war were butchered by the retreating Lannisters and left rotting in the open just to spite Robb. As Robb surveys the carnage one of the bodies starts to cough, his throat slit, seemingly the only survivor. His name? Qyburn.
- During Tyrion and Cersei's conversation, we get a glimpse of Cersei's Troubling Unchildlike Behavior growing up. It's easy to see where Joffrey gets it from:
Cersei: You've slandered me to father before.Tyrion: Slandered? When?Cersei: You told him I had my guards beat that servant girl at Casterly Rock.Tyrion: You did have your guards beat her. A girl of nine, I believe.Cersei: I was nine too.Tyrion: (disgusted) She lost an eye, if I remember correctly.Cersei: (chuckles) If I remember correctly, she never stole a necklace again.
- The Unsullied, a slave army trained from birth with only a quarter of them surviving. Their final test is to buy a newborn baby slave and kill it in front of its mother. They currently number eight thousand. The scene where the slave trader slices off one of their nipples to demonstrate that they're impervious to pain isn't too pleasant to watch.
- Dany sure is lucky Ser Barristan Selmy came to her rescue or she'd have fallen prey to the Manticore that was inside a seemingly harmless hollow ball the warlock girl gave her. The Manticore itself is creepy enough; a large shimmering green scorpion like bug with what looks like a face on its stinger and a poison so powerful it kills in seconds.
- Orell during his warg period. There is a brief three second shot of him looking up to the sky with completely white and vacant eyes *shudder*
- While well deserved, Theon's torture at the hands of the Bolton men qualifies.
Theon: WHAT DO YOU WANT?!Guard: I want to do this.(shoves pick under his fingernail)
- The Walk of Punishment, where slaves are crucified after being tortured for the tiniest disobedience. Daenerys offers water to one, but he refuses, looking forward to being free in death.
- The scene of Locke chopping off Jaime's hand alone is nightmarish. We don't even get the kindness of a Gory Discretion Shot, we watch the bastard bring the knife down on Jaime's hand and the moment it's done it takes a few seconds for Jaime to realize what just happened and he pulls back his stump where his hand once was as he begins to scream in horror and we see the injury in all its disgusting glory.
- Brienne's attempted gang rape at the hands of the Boltons. For a character so strong, confident, and generally badass and awesome to be brutally beaten and dragged off into the darkness while screaming in fear is extremely unnerving.
- Theon gets caught in his attempt to escape the Dreadfort and is captured by Bolton men. They actually brace him to the ground and pull down his pants as one of the Bolton men seems to be undoing his while promising to fuck Theon into the dirt. We are left with the horrific certainty that they were going to rape Theon right there and then had the boy not come and saved Theon. Going from the remarks their leader made this is standard practice for them whenever they apprehend escapees.
- It's pretty raw when Theon gets chased into the woods on horseback by Bolton men, and one of them knocks him off his horse by striking him in the chest with a morning star. The fact that he survived this without wearing any armor is even worse. What makes it extra painful is the ringing sound effect mixed with Theon's agonized gasp when he hits the ground. Ouch. Very ouch.
- The spiral of severed horse parts arranged in the snow, no doubt left by the White Walkers for the Night's Watch to see.
- Mance Rayder questions Jon about there being 300 Night's Watchmen at the Fist of the First Men. After looking around at all the blood and mutilated horses, Jon tells him, "There were...", knowing that they have likely joined the legions of the dead.
- In the opening credits, among all the clockwork on the map, Winterfell is shown burnt to a crisp, with black smoke billowing from the burnt remains. It's incredibly creepy and unsettling.
- The story of how Varys was castrated: a sorcerer fed him a potion that paralyzed him but left him fully able to feel the pain, then used the parts for a spell that let him talk to some demon or spirit. Varys is a man who knows of terrible things, yet he still has nightmares of the voice coming from the flame. And then the reveal of that very sorcerer in a box, very much at Varys's mercy. The background music is extremely creepynote , Tyrion looks more and more freaked out until the revelation, the sorcerer is clearly terrified and whimpering through his gag, and Varys is... calm, and very satisfied. What truly makes the scene is that you feel terrible for Varys. He's describing the worst and most terrifying moment of his life and its hard to not feel bad for him. And then you see Tyrion's face as he looks at the box and is connecting the dots. And that's when you realize that behind the persona that Varys shows to other characters, he's truly one of the most dangerous men in series.
- Cat shaking Bran up a tree in one of his dreams, calling back her last conversation with him in a deranged fashion, before pushing him off the tree... "Promise me! Promise me! PROMISE ME!!!"
- Theon suddenly discovering that he's been led straight back into his torture chamber is terrifying; he's so stunned he can't even articulate the betrayal and can only beg incoherently, while his betrayer has a truly deranged look of enjoyment on his face. Also, while it's not elaborated on in the scene, so might be more a case of Fridge Horror, it makes you wonder; what sort of person would go through all that trouble (including killing some of his own men) and build up so much trust (including getting the only true confession of Theon's feelings in the series), just for the sake of playing some sort of game? Someone who wants to move up in a Crapsack World.
- The scene at Craster's Keep is all very subtle and very effective Nightmare Fuel, as tensions in the house rise and you can just see the more level-headed brothers of the Watch getting more and more uneasy, knowing something awful is about to happen. Everyone's reactions are chillingly realistic, as anyone who's been in a similarly unstable situation with many people involved could tell you.
- Rast and some other brothers staging a mutiny against Lord Commander Mormont at Craster's Keep, with Rast stabbing Mormont in the back. There's a Hope Spot where it looks like Mormont might at least choke Rast to death before he dies, but then Rast stabs him again and throws him on the ground before stabbing him over and over.
- Qyburn cutting away the rotting flesh from Jaime's arm stump, after he refuses anesthesia. Complete with long, loving close-up. And meanwhile, Qyburn talks about how the Grand Maesters stripped him of his chain due to his experiments. He's vague about what this entails, but the circumstances point to Jaime currently being treated by the Westeros equivalent of Josef Mengele.
- Lord Karstark's brutal murder of the two Lannister children Robb was holding hostage. A father's anger is understandable, but damn it Karstark, those were children who had nothing to do with your son's death, and the poor kids woke up just in time to see their guards killed and beg for their lives before they died.
- It was truly chilling to hear Tywin Lannister finally yell at one of his children. Granted it was directed at Cersei, but it's genuinely not pleasant to see a man who has, up till now, combated defiance with a calm demeanor. Tyrion gets a very subtle look of rage as his father leaves which is unsettling as well. No doubt his father has already crossed the line.
- Tywin's expression when he says he "remembers all too well" the woman Tyrion was in love with and married all that long ago.
- Arya's reaction to Sandor winning his trial by combat: she grabs a knife and runs toward him to kill him herself or at least go down trying, and when Gendry drags her back she shrieks at him to "Burn in Hell." She definitely has good reasons for all of it, but it's quite disconcerting to see from a little girl and comes off as a possible Start of Darkness.
- There's something about Robb's fury after executing Karstark for the murder of the two Lannister children and their guards that is completely terrifying. Perhaps even more disturbing is the fate he had in store for the men who helped Karstark.
"This one was just the watcher. Hang him last so he can watch the others die."
- Selyse keeps the remains of her stillborn sons embalmed in jars in her room. What makes it worse is that for the first half of the scene, you never see or notice them until she moves to them — and then that's all you ever see.
- We learn exactly what the Mad King meant by "burn them all": Aerys had prepared wildfire caches all over King's Landing, and had given the order to his pyromancer to set them off and kill everyone rather than suffer defeat on his enemies' terms. Jaime killed the pyromancer, but Aerys still kept shouting it even as he was killed, too. Even worse is that, due to Ned Stark's Honor Before Reason mentality, Jaime's side of the story was never publicly known — to Stark, seeing a Lannister's sword buried into the King was enough to call him a traitor.
- "I Know I Know", the closing credits song sung by Shireen. It's a truly chilling and haunting song sung in an innocent enough child voice, but there's something about it that doesn't sit well when you listen to it.
- Theon's entire torture scene, from beginning to end. Perhaps even worse than the gruesome physical abuse is the relentless and sadistic psychological torture. The torturer gives the victim a faint Hope Spot by "playing a game" with them, acts like they guessed right... and then cheerfully says that they should have asked first if he was a liar or not. Turns out, he is, and there goes one of your fingers. Even worse? He actually makes them beg him to cut the finger off. Just to clarify, he is not just chopping off the fingers, he is slicing and flaying them until the victim shrieks for him to cut it off. Poor, poor, poor Theon's nightmare has only just begun.
The Boy: This isn't happening to you for a reason... well one reason. I enjoy it!Theon: PLEASE!!! CUT IT OFF!!! CUT IT OFF!!! CUT IT OFF!!!!The Boy: I win.
- Melisandre's look of pure terror upon coming face to face with Arya, and what she sees in her future of "all the eyes she will shut forever". Just to further emphasize the point, Melisandre is a woman who has a king wrapped around her little finger, burns people to death on a daily basis, consorts with the only "real" deity shown so far in the setting, and occasionally gives birth to nightmarish shadow demons. And Arya is the thing that freaks her out. Especially considering that Melisandre's prediction that she and Arya will meet again implies that Arya will kill her sometime in the future.
- "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." Gets worse when you realize this one line could easily be the tagline of the entire series. And he says this while cutting Theon's finger open bit by bit, until Theon begs him to cut it off to stop the pain.
- The nail-biting climb up the Wall, especially when Ygritte causes an avalanche that kills half the group and leaves her and Jon dangling in empty space. And then Orell decides to cut them loose.
- Beric Dondarrion's horrific existence. He's resurrected as many times as need be by the Lord of Light, but he still carries the scars of every fatal wound, and feels less like himself after each time.
- While the sight of Sansa watching Littlefinger's ship sail away after discovering that she's marrying Tyrion instead of Loras is mostly a tearjerker, the look in her eyes is quite disturbing. She's clearly right on the verge of cracking up into a full-blown Freak Out, and it's like an even more intense and less rational version of the look she got right before she nearly pushed Joffrey off the ramparts. The likelihood of her either doing something desperate or having a complete breakdown is looking higher than ever.
- The worried look on Varys' face when he realizes that his previous comment that "Littlefinger would burn the entire world if he could be King of the Ashes", might have been a major understatement on his part. He's actually far more insane than that! This and Littlefinger's entire "Chaos is a Ladder" speech - which doubles as a villainous Moment of Awesome.
- Towards the end, we see that Littlefinger was aware Ros was serving as Varys' mole. His response? Let Joffrey use her as target practice for his crossbow. As far as we know, this is the first time Joffrey's killed anyone with his own hands instead of via proxies.
Littlefinger: But your confidant - the one who fed you information about my plans. The one who you swore to protect - you didn't bring her any enjoyment. She didn't bring me any enjoyment. She was a bad investment on my part. Luckily, I have a friend who wanted to try something new... something daring. And he was so grateful to me for providing this fresh experience.
- Osha's story about how her lover disappeared, and then came back one night... as a wight, who tried to kill her even after she stabbed it in the heart. She had to burn down their home to kill it, and is clearly still traumatized.
- Theon's already nightmarish torture reaches a distressing new low. After the torturer baits him with beautiful women in order to get him aroused, he then brutally beats a weeping, trembling Theon to the ground before having two of his cronies hold him down, and then after smugly stating how he knows that Theon's cock is his "most precious part" and that he is "just going to make a few alterations", he crouches over a shrieking, flailing Theon's crotch with a hooked gelding knife, and gleefully prepares to start cutting while Theon begs for mercy... And note that the camera goes out of focus at the end of the scene. Yes, we've actually reached the point where even this show thinks something is too horrible to be shown onscreen.
- The actual 'sex' itself is an exercise in Fan Disservice. At no point in the scene does it seem sexy — at best it seems to be a cruel parody of Theon's wildest fantasies, and at worse seems like actual rape, considering the girls climb aboard while Theon cringes and explicitly tells them to stop.
- Locke and his men putting Brienne into a pit with a hungry bear, with only a wooden sword to defend herself. And laughing and singing as they anticipate her getting killed and eaten.
- Gendry's ordeal at the hands of Melisandre. First he is drugged with likely spiked wine and then is seduced by her, only to be tied to the bed and have leeches attached to his chest, abdomen, and... somewhere very painful.
- Granted it's directed at Joffrey after he persists in making a total asshole of himself again and this borders with Moments of Awesome and Funny, but Tyrion's very audible and cold rage in his tone and the look of fury on his face as he drives a knifepoint into the table and fearlessly threatens to cut off Joffrey's dick in front of everyone certainly left many viewers as silent as the court. Note that up until this point, Tyrion has done nothing worse than slapping his nephew and making non-serious threats behind his back and all to help him be a better man, but it's obvious at this point after Joffrey has attempted to have him killed and refuses to quit humiliating him, Tyrion's hatred for Joffrey is just as strong if not stronger than Joff's.
- Joffrey's ever growing madness. It's very subtle, but he's pretty much telling Sansa to her own face how he plans to invoke Lord's Right and rape her after Tyrion's had her. He doesn't wait for a response telling her Ser Meryn and Ser Blout will hold her down for him.
- The White Walker stalking towards Sam and Gilly, while a huge flock of crows perk on a nearby weirwood tree and scream. We also see just how useless normal weapons are against the White Walkers, when it grabs Sam's sword and shatters it.
- Arya is falling deeper and deeper into Troubling Unchildlike Behavior. One example is the way she calmly turns towards Sandor "The Hound" Clegane and tells him, "Someday, I'm going to put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull."
- The Red Wedding.
The Rains of Castamere starts to play. Nothing even happens as it does, but after an entire season of references to the song, the viewer already knows it's the Lannister's theme and know something really, really horrible is about to happen.
Catelyn turns to Roose Bolton (Robb's most powerful bannerman present and thus supposed to be his closest protector) for reassurance after the Rains finishes playing, only for him to slowly turn towards her with a flat-out disturbing, smug Psychotic Smirk (up until now, he has been a stoic, silent, and serious man with little obvious discontent with the Starks) and Kubrick Stare as he looms her via his eyes to lift the sleeve of his shirt to which Catelyn notices he's wearing chain mail and thus understanding immediately he has betrayed Robb.
Lothar Frey repeatedly stabbing Talisa's pregnant stomach.
Some soldiers are playing at dice in the yard. As soon as the carnage starts, the Frey men all pull out their swords and violently massacre the shocked Stark soldiers before they can react. After this, some soldiers surround Grey Wind's pen and shoot him with crossbows.
Robb getting shot multiple times with crossbows bolts.
Roose Bolton: "The Lannisters send their regards." *STAB*
Walder Frey is completely indifferent to Catelyn's holding a dagger to his own wife's throat, saying that he can always find another wife.
Catelyn has a catatonic reaction to Robb's death. She just slits the throat of Walder's wife and then looks on in Stunned Silence before Black Walder Frey comes up and slices her own throat open.
** Not exactly. If one watches that scene again you will clearly see that Catelyn has an absolute look of horror and is silently crying her eyes out as Robb dies in front of her. Then she screams/cries out in anguish as she slices Frey's wife's throat before her own death.
The complete lack of credits music after this scene does not help matters.
- An extremely subtle one, but for those who have followed the third season through the King's Roadmap, soon after this episode was broadcast, the app disappeared and in its place was a page just saying 'Gone'.
- The box that is sent to the Greyjoys, containing Theon's "favorite toy", looks like it's made from a Greyjoy breastplate, most likely Theon's own. The message that accompanies the box threatens to wipe all the Ironborn out if they don't leave the North, and promises to send more pieces of Theon if they don't withdraw immediately.
- Bran's story about a Night's Watch cook who killed his king's son and served him in a pie. The king liked it so much he asked for more.
- The Evil Gloating scene between Walder Frey and Roose Bolton about the Red Wedding, while several Frey servants are cleaning the bloodstains off the floor.. Now, Joffrey may have had his insane outbreaks, but he is just a child. This is the first time we see competent, serious villains revelling in the heinous crime they just committed. The smile Roose gives deserves special mention. The creepy smile just goes to show, like father, like son.◊
- Arya once again demonstrating further slippage into Cute and Psycho territory, in the sheer cold and calculated manner with which she plays an innocent girl before brutally murdering the Frey Soldier who claimed responsibility for desecrating Robb's body. As well as the reveal that the knife she used was one she stole from the Hound, without him even knowing it. Suffice to say, even the Hound looks scared of her at this point. For extra creepiness points, the music that plays while Arya contemplates both her first adult kill and the Braavosi coin she used to distract her victim with is none other than Jaqen H'ghar's theme.
- Ramsay decides that "Theon" is too noble a name, and decides to give him a name more befitting someone as broken as him. Like "Reek." Theon is in for a whole lot more suffering, but the scene just positively drips with No Yay, with Ramsay getting uncomfortably close to Theon and smelling him. Even though his identity was an open secret... for some viewers that are close followers of the books, the speaking of Ramsay's name in this episode counts as this.
- The Small Council meeting, where Joffrey gleefully tells Grand Maester Pycelle to send for Robb Stark's head, as he's planning to serve it to Sansa on his wedding feast. Everone present — Varys, Tyrion, Pycelle, even Cersei and Tywin, are alarmed (each in their own way) that their twisted little "king" is getting completely out of hand. And when the master schemers are scared, guess what that means for the general populace.
- The sight of the Freys massacring the Stark forces is horrific. The entire camp is in flames. Men are being butchered all around. We see a man with his legs cut off, a man being lynched, and a man being stabbed over and over by at least 5 people. And then we see those Frey bastards parading around the decapitated body of Robb with Grey Wind's severed head impaled on it◊ while mockingly chanting "The King in the North." It really hammers home how twisted and evil the Freys really are. And unlike when Ned was executed, Arya has a front-row seat to witness the profaning of her brother's corpse. Even the Hound has this "Holy shit, this is fucked up" look on his face as this is all going down. Contrast this to how the Lannister soldiers dispatched Ned Stark's household in Season 1. They were merciless and quite brutal, yes, but there was a sense of efficiency and professionalism. With the Freys, they rejoice at their cruelty and seem to take pleasure in killing the Stark forces in the most painful ways possible
1 — Two Swords
- The title sequence finally features the seat of House Bolton on its clockwork map, arguably the most Nightmare Fuel-inducing location since Harrenhal. The Dreadfort is jarringly gritty brown with fading paint, scratch marks and dried blood stains, is enclosed by spiked battlements and towers shaped like meat tenderizers, and its centerpiece displays what looks like a dried piece of flayed skin with the Bolton sigil painted on it, being stretched over a miniature torture rack by the rotating gears of the castle. The sequence is made worse by how the camera then immediately shifts to the west of the Dreadfort to show the burnt out husk of Winterfell.
- Arya killing Polliver. Rather than the rushed, passionate act from the book, here she's very calm and deliberate, even sadistically drawing it out, making it clear that something snapped in her at the Red Wedding. The Psychotic Smirk she gives riding the white pony, willingly, with Sandor and the Dissonant Serenity as their horses approach the war-torn wasteland shows her descent into madness as well.
- Oberyn remembering what happened to his niece and nephew and his beloved sister Elia; she was raped and killed by Gregor Clegane. And all this horrible information related very quietly but not at all calmly; Tyrion looks honestly scared, as if he expects Oberyn to suddenly lash out and slit his throat. While hardly the most gruesome death in the entire lore, it nearly does take the fucking biscuit. She was apparently split in half with his broadsword. Before having her head crushed by the Mountain. Her children, the crown prince and princess had equally grisly deaths, enough so that battle-hardened soldiers of the rebellion couldn't look under the Lannister cloaks they'd been wrapped in without losing the contents of their stomachs...
- The Thenns and their eating habits.
- The Meereenese get wind of Dany approaching their city, the largest of the slaver cities, and kindly decide to "point her" to the city by way of over a hundred crucified slave children on every mile marker between her and Meereen. The state of the bodies clearly signify that their deaths were not quick... The first girl sacrificed also visibly resembles Dany, making this even more of a slight towards her personally.
- When Daenerys tries to calm Drogon, who is squabbling with his siblings over some meat, he whirls around and snarls at her. Dany is visibly frightened, and with good reason. The dragons are getting bigger and more dangerous by the day, and now the only person who could control them is having trouble with it...
- Ramsay goes hunting. Damn.
- The fact that his "girlfriend" seems to enjoy it just as much as he does. One has to wonder if she is just as much of a psycho as Ramsay is, or if Ramsay conditioned her to be that way.
- Ramsay is a blunt instrument. He can break people down, but he can't rebuild them in his own image. Lady m appears to be just naturally share his inclinations. One wonders how long she's going to last before he gets bored, regardless.
- Though we thankfully get a Gory Discretion Shot with a closeup of Theon, the look on Theon's face as he watches her get torn apart by Ramsay's dogs and the horrid wheezing sounds that the girl makes as she dies are truly the stuff of nightmares.
- Theon Greyjoy's face when he is told that Robb Stark is dead.
- The utterly broken and trembling wreck Ramsay has transformed Theon into is simply horrifying, with his complete inability to do anything to defy his master, or even draw blood from Ramsay while shaving him with a razor while Ramsay was taunting him over the death of Robb. Even Roose is shocked by what his bastard has done.
- Ramsay's greeting of his new step-mother, Walda. He's perfectly polite to her and calls her 'mother', but do we honestly believe his pleasure is genuine? Walda will need to watch her back...
- Melisandre having the non-believers of the Lord of Light at Dragonstone burned at the stake. One of them is the brother of Stannis' wife Selyse, who is possessed by mad zealotry as her brother pleads with her and then screams along with the others in agony.
- How about their dinner afterwards, where Selyse begins to talk about how 'sinful' Shireen Baratheon is on the heels of her telling Stannis that a new sacrifice is needed for the Lord of Light? Stannis actually stops chewing and just stares as he realizes that his wife is honestly thinking of burning their little girl to death.
- Worse yet, the moment Stannis forbids this she immediately suggests in a dangerously casual way that Melisandre go and see her... No wonder even Melisandre was looking creeped out by the end of that scene.
- It gets worse. Remember in Season 3, when Melisandre performed a ritual to burn three leeches in place of the 'usurpers' standing in the way of Stannis' claim to the Iron Throne? As of Season 4, two of those three kings are dead: Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon. Aside from Daenerys' dragons, it's starting to look like the only active supernatural power in this world is a god that demands sacrifice by fire. Which makes you wonder exactly how 'benevolent' the Lord of Light really is...
- "There's only one hell, Princess... the one we live in now". Chilling because of Melisandre's usual Dissonant Serenity but also because, knowing how Westeros is, it's not far from truth.
- For as much of a little shit as he was, Joffrey's death by poisoning was still a rough way to go, even if it was deserved. Even Tywin looks horrified at what he's witnessing, and shields Tommen from seeing it. To wit, the suffocation is only the half of it. It's immediately followed by violent vomiting, seizures, and bleeding from every orifice, before he ultimately drowns in his own fluids. Jesus.
- Depending on how you look at it, Joffrey's face looks like a Wight's, since the blue of his eyes show off more.
- Cersei's utterly insane fury at Tyrion is rather unnerving in itself. Throughout all four seasons she has rarely risen above an unpleasant Big Bad Wannabe with delusions of talent and intelligence, but as she watches her son die in her arms and is led to believe Tyrion is responsible she completely snaps and starts shrieking for him to be arrested like a madwoman, literally spitting with impotent rage, her homicidal expression letting the audience know she is going to fucking end Tyrion if it's the last thing she does.
- For book-readers... between that and the utterly cruel and unnecessary decision to feed the extra food to the dogs instead of King's Landing's poor makes it clear that the halfway sympathetic Cersei of the previous seasons is gone, and the monster of AFFC is here.
- Even worse, when Pycelle questions her decision she threatens to have him fed to the dogs if any of the extra food is given to the poor.
- The whole "reenactment" of the War of the Five Kings during Joffrey's wedding. Watching five dwarfs essentially humiliate themselves before the crowd and trivializing all the death and destruction that the war had brought into a comedy for Joffrey's own sick enjoyment is quite unnerving. Made even worse by the fact that amongst the audience are people like Sansa, Loras, Brienne (and possibly even Joffrey's own wife, depending on how much she really liked Renly), who have to watch this very disrespectful mockery of their loved ones and their deaths.
- The band Sigur Rós's rendition of "The Rains of Castamere" which appropriately plays during the credits following Joffrey's death. Unlike The National's version which has a sense of pride and upbeat factor, Sigur Rós's is simply somber, hollow, and very gloomy, sounding exactly given the circumstances like wake/funeral music what with percussion and pipe organ. There's also these creepy wheezing sounds periodically playing in the background which sound like screaming at times fitting Joffrey's manner of death by choking.
- Sansa being met by Littlefinger on that ship. See page quote for why this might not be a step forwards for her.
- Jaime raping his own sister by Joffrey's dead body. She repeatedly keeps telling him "it's wrong" through sobs, but he doesn't give a toss, and is nearly emotionless as he remorselessly plows her in a frenzy of pent-up aggression and sexual frustration. On what is supposed to be sacred ground, no less.
- Somehow the fact that Jaime was tenderly holding her and stroking her hair just seconds earlier makes it even worse.
- And the way he tells everyone to leave the sept before he speaks to Cersei. Did he have rape on his mind right from the beginning?
- Joffrey's body with the eye-stones on his eyes. The camera lingers on it at the creepiest possible angle.
- The northern village being attacked by Wildlings. One little boy's parents are both killed, his father by an arrow shot by Ygritte and his mother killed by Styr's ax. He only lets the boy go to warn Castle Black, but not before telling him he's going to eat his mother and father.
- The farmer's morbid description of life in the Riverlands now that the Freys are in charge. Unlike the Tullys, the Freys aren't interested in the plight of the common folk, so bandits and thieves run rampant across the lands. He can't go south, because that's Lannister territory, and he can't go north, because it's now ruled by the Boltons who aren't much better than the Freys and is plagued by constant raids from the Greyjoys and Wildlings. The Hound figures that the farmer and his daughter won't even survive the winter. That scene just spells out how much of a Crapsack World the Seven Kingdoms are for the common folk.
- Cersei's downward spiral continues when she furiously demands Jamie murder Tyrion as "vengeance" for Joffrey's death, and her even more furious reaction when he refuses.
- Edd's dark quip about the fate of Craster's daughters now that the Night's Watch mutineers have taken them for their own;
Edd: Bet those girls never thought they'd miss their daddy?
- Aww looks like Jon Snow has made another friend at the wall... Wait, what is Locke doing at the wall?! This cannot bode well for Jon. And great, he is accompanying him north of the wall.
- The mutineers at Craster's Keep have turned it into their personal rape-camp and Karl is drinking from Jeor Mormont's skull. Then Craster's wives convince them to sacrifice his last baby to the White Walkers. They do, and again, the White Walkers take the baby... only this time, we see what happens next. The White Walker takes the baby far north to a glowing green-blue mountain and an altar made of ice, where he leaves it... and the GREAT OTHER (or at the very least a White Walker "king") appears to turn it into a new White Walker. And yes, whatever this creature is, it looks even more horrifying than the White Walkers. Confirmed by HBO that the figure at the end is in fact "The Night's King." Start panicking.
- There is something vaguely unsettling about White Walkers wearing armor, and having an ice fortress (it's implied that the huge citadel we see is in THE LAND OF ALWAYS WINTER, the Eldritch Location unmapped region of the North where the White Walkers are said to come from,) and a court. In all the other series and works, the White Walkers seem to be completely savage and barbarian, even though they have power over ice and the dead. Now we see that they're really more like the Uruk-Hai under Sauron at best, or The Fair Folk at worst (Martin had made a comparison with the Siddhe before, but only NOW do we see what he truly means.) Prior to that, the White Walkers were The Dreaded and The Horde, but nothing that could compare to say, Sauron or Jadis. Now we know that they have a leadership, that they can turn humans into White Walkers (It was just a theory before). And you are left with the horrible feeling that not even Daenerys and her Dragons will be enough to cut it.
- Which means because of Craster, there are 99 more White Walkers.
- Considering how long Craster has been sacrificing his sons, plenty of the younger ones might have been picked up by their own brothers/uncles.
- When the Night's King picks the baby up, the boy grins for a moment. Given how he was raised, a complete stranger picking him up and supporting him when he cries might be the closest thing that baby has ever had to affection.
- And then just to make it worse, these same mutineers capture Bran and his group. The mutineers are especially pleased to see Meera... Especially considering the fact that Karl notes how her hair reminds him of his mother...
- Making all this even better? Apparently the original cut of the scene was even worse, but then the director and editors decided that even for this show, they'd gone too far. Exactly what that would entail is probably best left to the imagination.
- What is really troubling about it is Craster's daughter/wives immediately say "give him to the Gods" for his last son. Considering what they have undergone first under Craster and then under the Mutineers, as far as they are concerned, "the Gods" are a way better deal, since unlike Karl who's willing to kill the child, the White Walkersmerely make it one of them. That's right: the White Walkers have treated them better than any fellow man.
- Fridge Horror invites this trope for the conversation between Olenna and Margaery. Margaery didn't know about Olenna's plan to poison Joffrey. Watch that episode again and notice she's by his side the entire time as Joffrey takes his fatal drink. If he had offered Margaery a sip, or if she had taken one of her own, that could have been Margaery collapsing to the ground with blood running from her mouth and eyes. And Olenna would have been forced to watch knowing it was her fault.
- Well, if it serves as a Nightmare Retardant, it doesn't seem like Margaery drinks at all (likely something her grandmother taught her, since getting drunk is stupid, and that's men's department where Tyrell women are concerned, especially since Cersei's not too subtle about her own drinking habits), and Joffrey is not exactly to type to offer a drink to anyone, unless Margaery asked for it. Also, Olenna put the poison on Joffrey's cup only (during Joffrey's pigeon-pie cutting, likely right before Tyrion took the cup), and Joffrey started gasping and dying on spot after drinking just a little while Margaery has her backs to him and he's mocking Tyrion. The timing didn't give any great chance to endanger Margaery. Also, Olenna's two seats away. She can easily call Margaery on spot, make a sarcastic comment, which would buy time for Joffrey to start gasping, and not look suspicious.
- During that hilarious/adorable scene where Maergery meets Tommen and his cat, Tommen reveals that Joffrey threatened to skin the cat alive and mix his innards up into Tommen's food for shits and giggles.
- Some of Margaery's lines towards Tommen get a little... creepy as well, such as her "our little secret" line and the whole attempted seduction thing. Especially when one considers she is pretty much a grown woman when he is at least 12 or 13. When she directed this toward Joffrey it was at least aimed at someone a) of age and b) wholly deserving of any and all emotional manipulation. Here she is basically sexually grooming an under-age boy who clearly has no idea what she is doing.
- Moreover, remember Olenna's story about seducing her future husband by sneaking into his chambers and fucking him to the point where he couldn't walk? Until she realized how non-sexually inclined he was, Margaery's gameplan was to have sex with a 12 year old boy in order to manipulate him out of Cersei's control... That there is a whole bag full of wrong and creepy, though overlapping with Deliberate Values Dissonance, as "coming of age" celebrations were around the age of puberty back then.
- Daenerys's sentencing of the slave masters of Meereen. Yes, they weren't nice people by any means; yes, Pay Evil unto Evil... but Daenerys is getting more and more ruthless in her pursuit of justice, and it's clear that Ser Barristan is starting to get worried about her state of mind. Plus, it's going to do absolutely nothing for her reputation across the rest of Essos.
- And, hey... Who can guarantee that all those people she killed also ordered the execution of the children? She may have filled the quota with people who were against it. This is later proven to be true for at least one of the masters in The Laws of Gods and Men, when the son of said master comes to Daenerys to beg for his father's and the other masters' corpses be taken down from their posts and be given a proper burial. Imagining how the man (and any others who objected to the children's crucifixion but were overruled like him) had to suffer the same fate as those that truly WERE guilty is truly mortifying to think about.
- And all of this is compounded by the final image of the scene — Dany standing alone with the screams of the crucified men filtering up to her balcony beneath a giant Targaryen banner. Ser Barristan's fears are justified... she really is her father's daughter.
- Cersei sinks ever deeper into hateful madness, exacerbated by heavy drinking. She is no longer content with having Tyrion killed — she wants Sansa's head as well, and she couldn't care less that Sansa is the last possible person who could've committed the deed. She might've had all the reasons to desire it, but it's just not her, and everyone admits that, but Cersei just doesn't give a shit.
- Lysa's insanity and obsession with Petyr start off hilarious... but get terrifying when she begins to suspect he has affection for Sansa. Her kind demeanor changes to pure rage and envy so quickly one realizes Sansa is still a long way from being safe. Lysa telling the audience she's responsible for Jon Arryn's death doesn't help much.
- All the battles, all the deaths, all the massacres, every single event that has happened in The Series is because of one man, who's responsible for just about everything that has happened when he had Jon Arryn poisoned by his own wife. His name? Littlefinger.
- Littlefinger is a sinister and confident mastermind who isn't afraid of anything. He is clearly unsettled by Lysa's obsession with him.
- Not the worst fuel in the episode, but the look on Sansa's face when she learns that she's again about to face yet another unwanted arranged marriage.
- Karl attempting to rape Meera.
- Bran warging into Hodor and using him to kill Locke is essentially a Mind Rape. Of course, it was justified given the circumstances, but damned if the Stark children aren't getting darker and darker.
- The look on Hodor's face when warged by Bran is unsettling given that Hodor is otherwise possibly the gentlest character in the series. Which means that that expression of pure hatred and rage is actually Bran's.
- Locke's corpse is not a pretty sight either — his neck is ripped wide open, with his spinal cord protruding from the gash. Hodor is clearly traumatized by the sight of it. When Jon and the others see it, even they are quite shocked, wondering what the hell could have done that.
- The Iron Bank of Braavos. When Tyrion first learnt of the tremendous amount the kingdom owned it, he was worried, but still spoke of it as just another institution, powerful and ruthless, sure, but nevertheless just another strong player to consider. The way Tywin (who clearly knows much better) speaks of it... the Bank comes across as either the (not so) secret rulers of the world or, worse, an inexorable force of nature if not something beyond nature and comprehension.
- Which makes Davos and Stannis's decision to enter into business with them even more foreboding. Westeros is pretty much a wreck at this point; if the Lannisters can't pay their debts, how and where on earth is Stannis going to get the money to pay back his loan?
- The Lannisters squandered their wealth to fund their wars and were dependent on their gold that is now gone. If Stannis were to win his claim to the Iron Throne, he could certainly arrange a repayment plan from the collective tax income of the all of the Seven Kingdoms, gathered from the High Lords as war reparations. It might take decades, but the Iron Bank is in no hurry as long as the income is steady.
- Or, the Lannisters were incapable of repaying with the kingdom's money but simply unwilling to repay from their own and their vassals' coffers. Stannis could force them to, essentially subcontracting to the Iron Bank as a debt collecting agent or repo man. Stannis the Repo Mannis!
- Jojen's vision of when the end of their story comes. He just curiously stares at his hand, which is on fire.
- Karl was complete scum and deserved to die, there is no denying that. That doesn't make his death by sword-through-the-mouth any less unsettling, though.
- While Craster's keep being burned to the ground was awesome there's some Fridge Horror when you realize what Mance Rayder said last season "The signal to attack will be the largest bonfire the North has ever seen".
- In the opening credits map, The Iron Bank finally has a place. The name of that place is the city of Braavos, guarded by a monstrous statue of the Titan. The way the statue moves and takes place is just... wrong.
- Also creepy and cool is the way a coin rolls down a large aqueduct and into the bank. From the books
- The histories and lore videos showed that the Iron Bank and the Faceless Men are the de-facto rulers of the city. If a noble fails to pay their due to the bank, they pay another noble to dispose of them. But if a regular merchant fails to do the same, they send the Faceless Men to send them down the rivers. Braavos is pretty much a gangster ruled city.
- Reek's bath scene... sweet R'hllor, Reek's bath scene. After proving his loyalty to Ramsay when some "nasty creatures" (Yara and her Ironborn) come to take Reek away from his beloved master (save Theon from his unspeakably evil captor) Reek is rewarded with a nice warm bath Ramsay made for him. After making him strip naked and get in the bath Ramsay begins to lovingly scrub his beloved pet with a sponge. As one can imagine in this description, the underlying Ho Yay of Ramsay's sadistic cruelty towards Theon over the past season is now flat out explicit and has reached pure Brain Bleach levels. The most horrifying part of the scene however is how utterly broken Theon has become to Ramsay's will, and has regressed to a frightened child in his terrified yet fanatical devotion to his tormentor, to the point where he violently and viciously resists Yara's attempt to save him and even wholeheartedly tells Ramsay how much he loves him, thus showing how Ramsay's Cold-Blooded Torture and Mind Rape skills are now on par with those of Room 101 in 1984.
- Ramsay's question "Do you love me, Reek?" and Theon's answer are especially reminiscent of the quote "He loved Big Brother" from the aforementioned book.
- The way Ramsay speaks about Yara and her men in front of Theon - "creatures in the night" and "very bad men" is the most chilling evidence of howmuch he has broken Theon - he's talking to him like some twisted version of a father/older brother who tucks his son/sibling in and tells him there are no monsters under the bed. The once proud young man is now a terrified child who believes in boogeymen and mistakes his own sister for one of them. Also given Theon's upbringing, he's never received gentle treatment in his childhood. He told as much to Ramsay, and thus Ramsay's mock display of approval and care is, on top of everything, a cruel mockery of the childhood Theon wanted but never had.
- When Theon takes his shirt off and we finally see all the lacerations on his body from being viciously tortured. We see him being tortured and we see him in harrowing condition but this is where we finally see just how substantial the damage to his body is. Though thankfully we don't get to see...THAT scar. Granted, the twisted grin that appears on Ramsay's face when he notices it, isn't much of an improvement.
- Bonus psychological torture: If you look closely, the room is in fact Ramsay's bedroom. He is invoking Bathe Him And Bring Him To Me on Theon.
- Ramsay slaughtering most of the Ironborn under Yara's command while half naked and forcing her to flee and leave her brother for dead. Said Ironborn are described as being the best killers on the Iron Islands, proving exactly how dangerous Ramsay is. If Ramsay isn't shaping up to take the cake for being worse than Joffrey, it's because he already has at this point. Not to mention he walks in the room already bloody and scratched up, with the most Ax-Crazy Slasher Smile possible on his face.
- Proud Theon Greyjoy, heir to the Iron Islands, is now reduced to sleeping in a cage in the kennel.
- As... stunning as Dinklage's performance is in the final scene of the episode, Tyrion's sheer unrestrained rage at his father, his sister, Shae, and the ungrateful rabble of Kings Landing is terrifying to behold, especially when he roars at the court how much he wishes he had let Stannis kill them all in Season 2 and how much he wishes he could kill them all now, not to mention rubbing Joffrey's death in Cersei's face in the most brutal way possible. In this moment the snarky, witty, yet charming and kindhearted Anti-Hero of the past three and a half seasons dies, and the man who takes his place is more terrifying for a few moments than even the White Walkers. In the same scene, his complete heartbreak and tone of defeat when he says, " Shae... please, don't..."
- The Mountain clearly living up to his reputation when introduced by casually killing off prisoners of Kings Landing, even the ones who were begging for their lives. Blood Knight to a frightening degree.
- Littlefinger stops beating around the bush, straight up admits that Sansa is his Replacement Goldfish for Catelyn, then kisses her. For a bit of a meta example, it could have potentially been one of the most uncomfortable scenes to film in television history. Coming right off a discussion where he tells her that she could have been his daughter. Squick.
- Robin's completely casual conversation about "making people fly" — he implies Lysa doesn't just do it to criminals, but anyone she happens to dislike, and proudly says when he grows up he'll do the same.
- Littlefinger coldly shoving Lysa Arryn out of the Moon Door to her death hundreds of feet below, all while Sansa is watching.
- Mellisandre and Selyse's scene has the revelation that Mellisandre is very intent on taking Shireen to the wall with them, for some purpose even Selyse (who aside from despising her for being sinful/heretical/deformed/alive is insistent on not taking her with them) instantly accepts. Now what possible reason would a witch obsessed with using the blood of kings to fuel her magic have to take a princess with her? And what possible thing could make Selyse (who has already been shown to be willing to have her own brother burnt at the stake) happy to take her despised child with her? Poor Shireen just can't catch a break.
- Oberyn's mention of Cersei's vicious Groin Attack on an infant Tyrion, and how she wouldn't stop trying to twist his penis off until Jamie forced her to stop. The woman's clearly been cruel since childhood. In addition, all the vicious rumors about baby Tyrion's appearance could count, showing how truly despised he was simply for being born with dwarfism.
- The death of Oberyn at the hands of the Mountain was easily the most nightmarishly violent and brutal death shown in the ENTIRE series... and yes that's including Ser Hugh, Talissa, and all those guys gutted and bisected by the Clegane Brothers. After a furious yet brutal fight which he easily won due to his skills and swiftness, Oberyn gets far too cocky and enraged over Gregor's continued silence so he stands a little too close to his seemingly dying body... only for Gregor to grab his leg, pull him down on top of him, and smash his face in and knock out most of his teeth with a single punch. He then wrenches himself on top of Oberyn, shove his thumbs into his eye sockets, and as he literally begins to crush his skull, roar in triumph how he killed his sister's children, then raped and murdered her, punctuating this by exploding his skull with a sickening crunch. We see and hear all of this, including the aftermath with Oberyn's brain spilled out onto the floor.◊
- Oh yeah, and during the part where Oberyn has two thumbs wrenching into his eye sockets, the poor guy is actually shrieking in agony. Good luck sleeping after watching that. Ellaria's screams are heart wrenching, and only add to the horror. There's a reason she is pictured atop this page.
- Perhaps what makes this even worse is the sheer Oh Crap! the audience experiences, which then turns into pure Squick when you realise that, after the Mountain punches Oberyn in the face with his mailed fist, you're given a loving shot of the latter's teeth scattering across the ground.
- Here◊ is a helpful Gif which illustrates the horror quite nicely.
- And here's the actual scene. You may really want to rush off here immediately afterwards.
- Some added Nightmare Fuel for the scene? When Gregor literally fucking mounted Oberyn and began to crush his skull, he could well have been consciously re-enacting his rape of Elia for the sheer sake of it. Seeing it happen to the dashing badass Oberyn was horrifying enough, but the reminder he did exactly this and MUCH worse to Elia whom had been so lovingly described by Oberyn as the kindest and most gentle person imaginable is just nightmarish.
- Cersei's reaction to that scene. She could be given pause due how brutal it is. An Oh Crap! wouldn't be unwarranted either, seeing how Oberyn's death and Gregor's confession will anger Dorne and might have doomed one of her two surviving children. But instead, she's smiling smugly, because now she gets to see Tyrion die. She's become so cruel and so shortsighted that she's endangering her own daughter in order to kill her brother.
- More understated but still terrifying on a Fridge Horror level is Roose Bolton's little speech to Ramsay at how vast the North is, and how much power Roose now wields since the Ironborn are being driven from his new domain... said power he is now willing to bequeath Ramsay as his true son and heir for taking Moat Cailin for him. While all other sadists and scumbags are either dying horribly (Joffrey, Rorge and Biter, Polliver) or will soon be dying horribly ( the Mountain) and even the Lannisters as a whole are losing their grip on power. Ramsay Bolton, arguably the most depraved and cruel of all of them, is now in line to inherit half of Westeros.
- The show officially gives us something we never saw in the books: a full-on, firsthand view of one of Ramsay's flayed victims.◊
- "I'm gonna need a bath, Reek", as said, cheerfully, by Ramsay. So the No Yay was not just for convincing Reek into taking Moat Caitlin, he really does enjoy it. Cue Squick.
- Though it's far more understated than the gore-fests described above, the Stark girls are an equally big source of horror in this episode.
- Sansa calmly throwing her lot in with the man who has made his creepy advances towards her quite clear and murdered her aunt, because there is literally no better option available to her is awful to watch.
- And Arya? When she's told that Lysa Arryn is dead, and her last hope of her being reunited with her family is gone, she breaks down into hysterical giggles that sound utterly insane. It's a chilling reminder of how damaged she is, and how close she is to losing her mind completely.
- The Thenns' warg, both when warging and when not; as creepy as Orell looked when he was warging, at least he looked fairly normal the rest of the time. That fish-eyed stare, yeesh... the close-up shot didn't help, either.
- The "Scythe", tearing apart Wall and man alike with thunderous force, pretty much reducing the Wildling climbers to a fine red mist. All that remains are their hands, embedded in the Wall, still holding their climbing axes...
- The idea that there is probably more than one Scythe dotted along the wall as part of the defenses and that the entire Wall could be littered with the remains of frozen, half-severed Wildling hands from centuries past.
- The unanswered question of just what the Scythe was originally built to prevent from scaling the Wall? Wildlings, Giants, or White Walkers?
- The giant lifting up the gate and charging to where Grenn and his five men were waiting. It's easy to understand why one of them was so terrified.
- The fight between the Hound and Brienne starts off as a typical swordfight, but Combat Breakdown quickly kicks in with the two of them resorting to hair pulling, crotch blows, and all sorts of other cringe worthy spectacles, which culminates with Brienne biting the Hound's ear off.
- Whatever Qyburn is going to do to Gregor Clegane. One of which is siphoning his blood into a bottle.
Qyburn: You should know, the process may... change him. Somewhat.Cersei: Will it weaken him?Qyburn: (In best Mad Scientist voice) Oh, no.
- During that scene we also get a lovely glimpse at Gregor's wound which depicts his flesh burning and festering and goddamn bubbling as a result of the Manticore poison from Oberyn's spear.
- And then an equally lovely glimpse at the look of rapt fascination on Qyburn's face.
- The deeply disturbing yet deceptively simple exchange between Cersei and Qyburn.
- As the Night's Watch burn the bodies of their dead Melisandre catches a glimpse of Jon through the flames and looks at him forebodingly. Whatever designs she may have in mind for Jon, its definitely not anything pleasant.
- Fully skeletonized wights erupting from under the snow in classic zombie fashion.
- Yet another petitioner comes to Daenerys, carrying a bundle in his arms and weeping. At first it seems like it's just another sheep that Drogon barbecued, but it gradually dawns on Missandei, Ser Barristan and Danerys herself what's actually in the bundle. The horror shows on their faces, as Daenerys is clearly thinking 'please no, please gods no' - and then the man reveals that Drogon killed - and probably at least partially ate - his three year old daughter.
- A little minor Fridge Horror, but what's going to happen to Varys' "little birds" now he's fled King's Landing?
- In the books, most of those "little birds" are children.
- Also from the books, they were just fine. They spent a period of time under Qyburn's command and reunited with Varys after he made his triumphant comeback.
- The sound the crossbow lever makes as it scrapes lightly along the floor to Tywin's privy is straight out of a horror movie.
- The entire concept that Tyrion has snapped so far as to actively seek out a target to murder. No doubt, he was always the most intelligent Lannister. The only thing that kept him from being the most dangerous was how he was relatively The Fettered compared to his sister and father. That has changed. May the light of The Seven protect us from what comes next.
- It was actually a pity they Adapted Out The Reveal about Tysha. While the Live Action!Tyrion was pretty scary, Book!Tyrion went completely psycho. It was a pity we couldn't see Peter Dinklage repeat his performance at the trial scene Up to Eleven.
- A major Fridge Horror, say what you will about Tywin but he had proven time and again to be an effective administrator and would have likely been able to ensure the future of Tommen's reignnote . Now that Tywin's dead, this leaves the increasingly unhinged Cersei to act as Tommen's regent. As bad as thing have gotten for the Lannisters, they're likely about get even worse for them and everyone else with Cersei in de facto control of the Seven Kingdoms.
1 — The Wars to Come
- The title sequence has a subtle change: Winterfell now carries the sigil of House Bolton. This could be considered unsettling.
- The flashback of little Cersei's visit to Maggy the Frog. There's a decidedly eerie air to the whole scene, Cersei shows she already has rather psycopathic tendencies - and then Maggy proceeds to creep the girl out by drinking her blood, and telling her that her children will have golden crowns and golden shrouds, implying they'll all be crowned and all die because of it. And then she laughs at Cersei's confusion and fear.
- White Rat's murder; he was getting what little emotional comfort he could from paying a prostitute to sing him a lullaby - implying no woman would want to get near him without being paid - and then, at this vulnerable moment, he's attacked and brutally killed.
- Mance Rayder's death. He's sentenced to be burned by Stannis, and even after calmly accepting his fate, he starts to panic as the flames begin to engulf the pyre. Thankfully, Jon puts an arrow in his chest before he actually catches on fire.
- Daenerys going down to visit Viserion and Rhaegal. The dragons aren't exactly happy to see their mother again. After them snapping and roaring at Dany, she is unable to calm them and is forced to run out of the chamber.
- After Mossador is executed, all the slaves immediately begin hissing at Dany before starting to pelt the former slave masters with stones, then direct the stones towards her. A riot breaks out and Dany is forced to flee back to the pyramid while heavily guarded. Fortunately, it doesn't turn out as badly as the riot that Joffrey caused.
- Ellaria's idea of vengeance on the Lannisters: cutting Myrcella into little bits and sending them to King's Landing.
- Why can't Tyrion just go outside for a walk? How many dwarves are there in the world? What's Cersei going to do, have them all killed until one of them is Tyrion? ... Yes. That's exactly what she's going to do, starting with an unfortunate dwarf who just happened to look a little bit like Tyrion. And then Qyburn continues to rack up his creepy points by asking to keep the head for his "studies."
- Gilly remembering what happened to two of her sisters who had greyscale; Craster quarantined them from the rest of the group, but the people in the long house could still hear them. "They didn't sound like themselves any more." Eventually, when the scale covered them, Craster dragged them out into the woods on ropes like animals. And all this is said to poor Shireen, who is none too happy to learn what might have happened to her. Gilly doesn't answer when Shireen asks what happened to the sisters in the woods, but it's not too hard to imagine.
- The flayed corpses of Lord and Lady Cerwyn being displayed at Winterfell and Ramsay's casual explanation for it. Apparently Reek's horrified expression has become his default face, but apart from that he looks more or less unfazed by the gory scene, as if this was a perfectly normal sight for him nowadays.
- Just as you thought she couldn't do any worse than Joffrey, Sansa gets betrothed to Ramsay Bolton, a man who so far caused a new elaborate entry on this very subpage with nearly every appearance he ever had on the show. The Reaction Shot of his equally sadistic lover does not help the matter. You never wished so hard for Littlefinger to know what the hell he was doing when he contrived this arrangement.
- Qyburn being completely unperturbed by Gregor thrashing around on the table, in a moment reminiscent of Audition.
- The Red Priestess in Volantis seems a bit eerie on her own already. And then she gives Tyrion that long, haunting Meaningful Look...
- Cersei authorizes the Sparrows to take up arms and re-brand themselves a the Faith Militant, turning them more into a cult of Knight Templars. It's stated in the very same scene that the Faith were banned from carrying weapons in the past. Their subsequent rampage through King's Landing gives the audience an idea why that might have been.
- The raid on Littlefinger's brothel, the Faith Militant seize whores and patrons alike mid coitus and dole out some rather nasty beatings. Bonus points for when Olyvar spots a group of Sparrows about to stab two men to death for having homosexual sex, and realizes just how much trouble he's in if they find out about his own sexuality. No wonder he runs for it.
- Not only that, but the seven-pointed star-shaped scars on their foreheads during the riot scene only cranks ups the Nightmare Fuel, really enforcing the idea of the Sparrows as a dangerous cult. We even get a close-up look at the "procedure" when we see Lancel Lannister getting a star carved into his head a la Inglourious Basterds. The closest thing to anesthetic is a leather belt between his teeth as the knife cuts into his forehead, and yet he sits up quite calmly afterwards, no doubt accepting the pain as righteous and punishment for his sins. Brrrr.
- The way Cersei exacts her revenge on Margaery for her earlier humiliation in the previous episode. First, she sends Lord Tyrell on a mission to Braavos to collect from the Iron Bank, guarded by her 'most trusted' knight. It's all but outright stated that Mace will meet an 'unfortunate accident' during his trip. Then she outs Loras, who is then arrested by the Faith Militant for being a homosexual. She takes Margaery's family from her, and also deprives Highgarden of its Lord and male heir, in one fell swoop. It's more than clear that she will stop at nothing to hurt Margaery, no matter the damage she causes to King's Landing and the few alliances her family has left.
- Our introduction to the Sand Snakes. They've got a man buried in the sand up to his head with scorpions crawling all over him. Obara explains that he came to her trying to sell information about Jaime Lannister, to which she and her sisters apparently did this to him to ensure he was telling the truth about Jaime being in Dorne. Once Ellaria arrives and enlists the girls in her plot to start a war with the Lannisters through Myrcella, Obara callously thrusts a spear into the poor bastard's head. While it could be argued that the man had to die for overhearing their conversation, it's still pretty cold to terrorize and murder a guy who was going to help you either way.
- "You know nothing, Jon Snow." The look on Jon's face really sells the horror of hearing those words again.
- Though it is mostly a heartwarming moment, Stannis's story about Shireen contracting greyscale as a baby — and the fact that everyone actually told him to give up on her and send her to the ruins of Old Valyria to live out her short life with the Stone Men — is a rather surprising and effective case of Adult Fear. Luckily, Stannis had the resources and sheer determination to save his daughter's life.
- The guerrilla warfare that The Sons of the Harpy take part in against Dany's forces. It's a terrifying display as they are able to use the crowded, labyrinthine streets of Meereen to get the drop on The Unsullied (who aren't used to combatting enemies in such environments). They swarm pairs of Unsullied, grabbing them and holding them down to be stabbed to death before they are able to do any significant damage to their numbers.
- The fact that they are apparently members of Meereen's now downtrodden aristocracy makes it even more twisted when scenes of The Sons of the Harpy's ruthless mass killings of The Unsullied are juxtaposed with Hizdahr zo Loraq diplomatically arguing for their rights. If this is how monstrous the ruling class was before Daenerys arrived, it seems Daenerys made a huge mistake by letting them remain within the city.
- Watching two heroes like Grey Worm and Barristan Selmy get slashed up and taken down by these hordes of thugs is as scary as it is tragic.
- It is finally revealed what fate Littlefinger has in store for Sansa, the girl he supposedly loves. He is wedding her to Ramsey Bolton! Somehow, his assurances that she'll be able to control him are not reassuring at all, especially if one remembers how Ramsey treated his previous bride and how, in the books, he treats the one he receives there instead of Sansa.
- Early in the episode, when Daenerys has all the leaders of Meereen's noble families brought to the dragon dungeon. The Unsullied then start prodding the men forward into the dark, closer to the sounds of snarling monsters. As Dany coldly terrorizes them, she has one of the weakest men shoved ahead of the others. He ends up face to face with the dragons, who proceed to burn him alive and rip him to shreds as they eat him. And this is all happening right in front of the chained and trapped nobles.
- Daenerys's ruthlessness is always disquieting, but in this scene in particular, it's a sight to behold.
- Ramsay and Myranda's twisted relationship, now complicated by the arrival of Sansa.
Ramsay: Jealousy bores me. You remember what happens to people who bore me, don't you?
- Myranda bites the hell out of Ramsay's lip, stating she won't bore him. Cue the violent, psycho sex.
- When Myranda brings Sansa to the kennel. She claims she wants to show Sansa something that will help her remember her past. That it's a surprise. Plenty about this is creepy. First of all there's Myranda in full-on Stepford Smiler mode while clearly wanting to hurt and kill Sansa for posing a threat to her. Then there's the nightmarish kennel, completely dark and filled with the sound of dogs barking and thrashing against their cages. And of course, there's the surprise at the very end of the kennel that Myranda wanted to show Sansa, telling her "You won't believe it when you see it." Of course, it is Reek, a shell of the man Sansa once knew as Theon Greyjoy.
Theon: You shouldn't be here.
- Theon himself can attest to how scary the combination of sadness and rage on Sansa's face is when she sees him again.
- There's Ramsay Gaslighting Reek after making him confess to having seen Sansa earlier, making him think he's going to be punished by losing another finger to his master's knife. Only for Ramsay to pat him on the hand and forgive him.
- With the exceptionally long shot of Reek's terrified face right near Ramsay's crotch and the already strong No Yay vibes, it can look very much like Ramsay's about to force him to do a handjob/blowjob.
- Ramsay deliberately introducing Sansa to the new Reek/Theon and needling her over how he's the closest thing to family she has left. Clearly he's not going to let his inability to flay her prevent him from torturing her any way he can. The repeat of Sansa's helplessness under Joffrey's torment just makes it worse.
- Ramsay's reaction to Walda's pregnancy. Even after Roose reassured him (pretty nightmarish in itself, see below), you can't help but fear for that baby...
- We learn the story of Ramsay's conception. Roose hanged Ramsay's mother's husband for marrying without his permission and raped Ramsay's mother under the corpse. When Ramsay's mother showed up at the Dreadfort with her newborn son, Roose almost had her whipped and Ramsay drowned. And now we know where Ramsay's Ax-Crazy tendencies probably come from.
- The bloody stone men, people so severely afflicted with greyscale that it covers their entire bodies and turns them insane. People really told Stannis to send Shireen to them?! And even if they believed the disease terminalnote , there's something called palliative care...
- For good measure, the spread of the greyscale is so severe that they can actually be mistaken for statues provided they hold still - leading to a deeply unsettling Meaningful Background Event when one of them slowly gets to his feet and drops into the water. For extra Fridge Horror, take a good look at some of the long shots of Valyria, and notice those curious shapes on top of the archways - many of them pretty similar to the first stone man that was introduced. How many of those shapes are just broken masonry, and how many of them are dormant stone men? Just how many stone men live here, and what do they live on apart from desperate travelers?
- Tyrion falling into the water while tied up is distressing enough. Then a stone man grabs his ankle. The screen fades to darkness as Tyrion, struggling to get free, is pulled down deeper into the darkness. It takes such an agonizingly long time staying on the black screen that some viewers were afraid that would be this week's cliffhanger. Luckily, we discover that he was saved by Jorah.
- The ending cliffhanger, with Jorah being infected by one of the stone men. To make matters worse, immediately after the episode cuts to the credits, the music consists of slammed lower piano keys similar to a horror film with swelling crescendos of the strings to let the horror really sink in.
- Whatever happened to reduce Valyria, once the greatest city known to mankind, to ruins.
- The fact that whatever it was, is referred to as "The Doom", and that it apparently is still there.
- The slaver captain giving the order to cut Tyrion's throat. Then demanding that his cock be cut off to be sold for its "magic powers." Even though they ultimately don't go through with it, it lets you know that Dany's anti-slavery campaign is truly just. Plus, Tyrion begins audibly panicking, which is rather unsettling when you consider what a smooth talker he usually is.
- The Hall of Faces. A roomful of Facial Horror.
- The fact that Littlefinger can pit so many huge players against each other with effectively one conversationnote so easily is as terrifying as ever.
- Brother Lancel is quite scary as well. This was a girlish Butt Monkey who Tyrion made his bitch, Cersei sucker-punched and Robert sent on a Snipe Hunt. Now he's a scary wingnut who gives Littlefinger a Death Glare. Baelish holds his nerve but he's clearly scared at seeing people he can't really manipulate with money, whores and bribes. After all, there's not much you can do against someone who walked out of the richest family in Westeros to become a warrior monk.
- Myranda telling Sansa about all the women Ramsay "got bored with" in complete Dissonant Serenity as she washes the latter in a bath tub. Very dark. Thankfully, Sansa is able to turn this into an awesome moment by telling Myranda in no uncertain terms that she is Sansa Stark, that Winterfell is her home, and Myranda will not touch her.
- Sansa's rape at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. And Theon being Forced to Watch.
- The wedding. Clear proof that there really is no such thing as a "normal wedding" in Westeros after all. Also, the look on Ramsay's face after Sansa says her vows is terrifying; a Slasher Smile couldn't even begin to compete. Add to that the fact that Theon is wearing the SAME outfit that Robb wore at the Red Wedding.
- Winterfell continues to get worse:
- Sansa is now little more than Ramsay's sex slave, locked in a single room all day and raped and abused every night.
- Ramsay's entire demeanor during his scene with Sansa. Whether it's the eerily long time he takes to smile at her when she first arrives or the Death Glare he gives her when she starts needling him about his status as a bastard, right up to when he reveals he's aware of her plans to escape. All while keeping up the facade of a loving husband.
- Ramsay's description, and the pieces we see, of Sansa's ally inside Winterfell, whom Ramsay flayed alive then hung up for Sansa to see.
- Points especially for the Death Glare. For the entire scene before Sansa mentions his bastard status, Ramsay has the same smug grin/Slasher Smile that he usually does. And it instantly changes into a look of pure malevolence when Sansa brings it up. If you had any heart, you feared for Sansa right there.
- The horrible conditions Stannis Baratheon's army has to suffer through as they march to Winterfell in a snow storm.
- Melisandre's Dissonant Serenity when she tells Stannis that the only way he can win and be the hero is by sacrificing his beloved daughter, Shireen.
- Though it is a bit of a Heartwarming moment and a Tearjerker, there's Cersei proudly restating her murderous convictions when it comes to protecting her children.
Cersei: I would do anything for you. Anything to keep you from harm. I would burn cities to the ground.
- Olenna Tyrell is not far behind, she's at her wits end seeing her house and grandchildren threatened by the Faith and having her hands tied. She then blackmails Littlefinger to help her and scarily tells him that if he tries anything funny or hurts her and her family:
Olenna: They'll never even find what's left of you...
- One of Yezzan's pit fighters is exceptionally brutal, stabbing a man in the carotid artery so the blood drains right out of his throat and slashing the back of a younger fighter's knees and caving his head in with a large, jagged stone.
- The High Sparrow's pure, dogmatic devotion to The Seven is an apt and scary portrayal of religious fundamentalism. That his belief in a power greater than himself or anyone else can drive this penniless man to "strip away the finery" of wealthy ruling houses like the Tyrells or the Lannisters without a hint of fear.
- Cersei's arrest. At first the High Septon merely makes some comments about removing finery to find the truth... then Lancel steps out, moves to stand beside him and stares ominously at Cersei. She realises too late the danger she's in and tries to get away, but is restrained and dragged off screaming futilely, to be shoved into a cell awaiting who knows what kind of trial or punishment. Even if you don't like Cersei, it's hard to watch.
- The way in which the kind and naive Tommen insists before Cersei that he is the king and makes plans to send the army to kill the sparrows for imprisoning Margeary makes him sounds unsettlingly like his older brother. Granted, he does it out of love and against dangerous fanatics, but he is obviously beginning to slip.
- Unella the Septa that physically arrests Cersei, (and by extension her 'sisters'), all have a very abusive matron vibe about them, the type you would find in a religious Boarding School of Horrors. Taking down Cersei also makes her a contender for the baddest bitch on the show.
- The beginning of the attack on Hardhome. Starting with the rumbling in the distance. Then the snowy mists that sweep down on everyone. The majority of the wildlings don't make it through before the gates are closed. What's really scary is how quickly their desperate pleas for help go silent as the mist hits them. Then when the Magnar looks through a crack in the wall, he gets to see the Zerg Rush of wights coming straight at him.
- It's not all silent; most of the yelling dissipates as soon as the mist falls, but when the Magnar looks through the crack, one can still hear a few muffled screams coming from the other side...
- When Jon sees the dark silhouettes of the Night's King and his white walker captains on the cliffs above Hardhome, calmly sitting on their undead horses, observing their undead army massacring the wildlings. Cold chills.
- There were exactly four riders on the cliffs...
- A huge wave of wights leaps off a cliff like a horde of undead lemmings... then gets up and continues their charge. Dolorous Edd speaks for everyone:
Edd: OH, FUUUUUUUCK!
- The last scene. Jon and the remains of the wildling army desperately flee Hardhome. Jon looks back and sees the Night's King turn all of the fallen, including both of the Mauve Shirt wildling chiefs introduced this episode, into wights. Jon looks at the new army of the dead and realizes that there is no hope of defeating the White Walkers. Not with a single Valyrian Steel sword. The creepy music that plays over the credits makes it even worse.
- The chilling Death Glare that the Night's King had for Jon at the end. He's not fucking around anymore.
- The episode really showed the reality and horrors of fighting an undead army. Not only are the wildlings outnumbered, but the white walkers engage in psychological warfare by reviving deceased wildlings and turning them on the living. One of the free folk who threw her lot in with Jon ends up getting devoured by the wights of emaciated children.
- Accusing him of fighting for crows is bad enough, but do not accuse Tormund Giantsbane of fucking a crow. He will take your weapon away from you and cave your goddamn head in with it like you're nothing. As the Lord of Bones discovered.
- In the previous episode, we were shown a broken Margaery in the Sparrow's Dungeon. It's through Cersei's treatment here that we learn what happened; those under suspect are deprived of any food or water. Cersei is repeatedly beaten to be coerced into confessing her sins.
- Qyburn assures Cersei that "the work continues."
- While the wildling archers are attempting to keep wights from climbing over the walls, the camera pans back and rises to show a huge horde of wights charging the wall. Reality Ensues near the end of the battle where their combined weight not only causes the wall to collapse but also breaks the gate.
- Listening to the dying screams of the wildlings that were unable to escape the wights at the end of the battle.
- Stannis, under the guidance of Melisandre, finally decides to sacrifice his daughter and only heir Shireen to the lord of light. What makes this scene even more harrowing is that all the while Shireen is screaming for her parents and then in agony as the flames consume her. Her mother is powerless to save her and Stannis is commited to the act.
- Stannis's cold and resolute expression as she's burning and screaming, in contrast to his men, who are openly horrified and/or ashamed. And then her screams just cut off...
- Melisandre's perfectly placid smile as Shireen screams and burns. If it wasn't clear before, it's clear now. Individual people mean nothing to her unless they're contributing to her god in any way.
- It's worth noting that, despite what some might say on this entry, Stannis appears extremely uncomfortable during the whole process, at least as much as this notorious deadpan can appear to be uncomfortable. For instance, when he first enters Shireens tent, she asks him "are you not cold?" This, along with his noticeably slurred speech as he rambles to his daughter, affirms that he is clearly rather drunk, to numb the immense guilt of the action he is about to undertake. This is a man who is known to stay away from the drink under almost any circumstance, a habit he breaks just to make it bearable. And when he's staring at Shireens burning body? That's not a face of indifference - its a mans mind warring with itself, wondering whether it was the right thing to do for the good of the realm.
- Stannis orders the hanging of his army's sentries for failing to detect Ramsay and his 20 men sneaking into the camps and destroying the army's supplies, regardless of why they failed to detect them. This is eerily similar to something that Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane did in the books.
- Arya finds Meryn Trant in Braavos and follows him and his men to a brothel. She sees Trant examining various prostitutes, only to reject them for being too old. We learn what he means when the madame brings in a little girl who can't be any older than thirteen or so and Trant accepts; even his men are disturbed. What's worse, Trant tells the madame that he wants a new girl for each night he spends in the city... Implying that he either wants virgins to break in, or that they'll be in no suitable condition to repeat said activities the following day.
- The random creep who, when Arya is pitching her wares, asks: "how much for your little clam?" *shudders*
- The Sons of the Harpy suddenly popping up everywhere in Daznak's pit, perfectly accompanied by the most haunting example of Ominous Latin Chanting the show has used so far.
- When The Sons of the Harpy reveal themselves, they don't just start killing Unsullied and Second Sons. They go after whoever is close to them and not wearing a mask, stabbing to death everyone from freedmen to their own fellow aristocrats.
- For some added fuel to this nightmare, it also firmly proves that, no, not all of the Meereenese upper class is in on the whole Sons of the Harpy resistance. Dany has in fact condemned many innocent people to horrific deaths along with those who were guilty.
- Just when you think he's going to have a massive effect on Dany's queenship in Meereen, possibly even being the orchestrator of the ensuing Sons of the Harpy coup, Hizdahr zo Loraq is unceremoniously stabbed to death by the terrorists just as he tries to lead his future queen to an escape route.
- Daario does not react to the attack on Hizdahr until after it has happened. In fact, he apparently just stands by and watches as the Sons of the Harpy attack from behind. While some have thought he was just shocked that Hizdahr wasn't the one behind the attack, it's more likely Daario just let him die to Murder the Hypotenuse. If so, it looks like his threats weren't just for intimidation.
- It's hard to tell at first, but Drogon is pretty damn indiscriminate when he's breathing fire at people. There are Unsullied and Meereenese civilians getting burned to death just for being near the Sons of the Harpy that are endangering his mother. It lets you know that good and bad people alike are going to inevitably be caught in the (literal) crossfire of whatever future war Dany and her dragons will take part in.
- Jon Snow is lured out by the hope of news of his uncle Benjen, only for Alliser Thorne to stab him with each of the other brothers present taking their stab too, even Ollie, saying "For the Watch" in front of a cross marked "Traitor". Jon falls and blanks out in a pool of rapidly growing blood as the episode ends.
- Everything about Arya's killing of Ser Meryn. The way she hardly flinches when he punches her, the way she's cowering on the floor doing her best Sadako Yamamura impression and of course all the gore and Eye Scream when she actually does the deed. He had it coming of course, but it was still just as disturbing as it was satisfying
- When she slits his throat, the shot is framed almost exactly the same way as Catelyn's death
- Arya Stark repeatedly peels off faces from the poisoned man until she finds her own. And then she turns blind. Equal parts weird and disturbing.
- Jamie watches helplessly as his second child dies in his arms after being poisoned.
- Gregor's back, and what little you can see of him through his armour isn't looking so great.
- To elaborate... Well, take a look for yourself.◊ All we see of his flesh are behind the eye sockets of his helmet - noticeably, a Kingsguard helmet that has been molded and buckled uncomfortably over his face (perhaps to keep the whole mess together). Heavily bloodshot, cold eyes embedded in extremely bruised and bloodless flesh. When Qyburn tells Cersei that "Ser Robert Strong", as he's now known, has taken a vow of silence, you can't help but imagine why.
- The aftermath of The Battle of Winterfell where Stannis' army is completely massacred by the Boltons. We're treated to the sight of Ramsay killing off stragglers, followed by a birds eye view of all the dead troops while unsettling music plays.
- Myranda describing Ramsay's plan for Sansa is unpleasant, to say the least. It makes her death all the more satisfying.