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Recap / Game of Thrones S4E8: "The Mountain and the Viper"

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We begin in Mole's Town, where we see a regular night out for the locals at the bar. Some of the Night's Watch members go there for a "discreet" night of whoring. They are hosted by a woman who engages them in a song-quiz by burp and then decides to harass Gilly. They suddenly hear a cry, but while the unpleasant woman dismisses it as probably being an owl, Gilly recognizes the sound for what it is; an assault signal. The Wildlings have reached Mole's Town and start pillaging, killing everyone in sight and setting houses on fire. Styr, Tormund and even Ygritte storm into the pub and kill the three Night's Watchmen before setting off among the others. Ygritte then goes to the side and is attacked by the bullying woman, whom she sticks to the wooden wall and then slits the throat of another one before hearing the cry of a baby. She goes inside the pantry to find Gilly nursing her Sam in the corner. Ygritte, who has been in a very violent mood since Jon left her, finds her icy heart thawing, she shushes Gilly and walks away, letting her live. We cut to...
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Castle Black where Sam, Jon Snow, Pyp, Grenn and Dolorous Edd react to news of the attack on Mole's Town. Sam blames himself for leaving Gilly in harm's way, while the others try and comfort him and even Dolorous Edd, of all people, cheers him up with the chance that she could still be alive. Jon Snow however notes that with Mole's Town attacked there's nothing keeping the Wildlings from Castle Black, and with the loss of three of their brothers in their attack, they now have 102 members against an army of 100,000. Dolorous Edd tells everyone that the last man alive should burn the rest of the corpses because he's had enough of one life and doesn't want to return as a wight.

In Meereen, Grey Worm and the other Unsullied enjoy freshening up in a tributary of the Skahazadhan river. Grey Worm swims upstream and finds the other handmaidens washing their clothes and bathing as well, including Missandei, who feels his gaze and retracts bashfully. Grey Worm, noticing her discomfort, slips away underwater. Later, Daenerys is tending to her handmaiden's hair and they discuss whether or not eunuchs can feel sexual attraction, with Daenerys surprised at Grey Worm's crush. Missandei and Grey Worm have a friendly exchange where the latter adorably tries to apologize for making her uncomfortable earlier. Missandei assures him he didn't and that she empathizes with his mutilation. Grey Worm tells her not to; for what he has endured has led him to be free, a leader of men and to have met her. The girl from Naath tells the boy from the Summer Isles that she is glad he saw her that day.

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Outside the Northern fortress of Moat Cailin, we meet a decisively less adorable odd couple, Ramsay Snow and Reek. Like Grey Worm, the former Theon Greyjoy is also lacking in the "pillar and the stones" department. Unlike Grey Worm who has pride in his service to Daenerys, Reek is stripped of any memory of pride and is filled with fear and self-loathing as Ramsay's "pet rat". Ramsay notes that, much like the Kraken they wear on their banners, the Ironborn might be a force to be reckoned with on the open sea, but they are weak and boneless on dry land. He gives Reek the unenviable job of offering the Ironborn holding the Moat amnesty in exchange for surrender. Ramsay also makes sure to warn his servant that while he is going to be playing the role of Prince Theon Greyjoy on this mission, he must never forget that his real name and role in things is Reek, and it will be so until the day he lies dead and rotting in the ground. Riding up to the castle alone and identifying himself as Theon to the guard, Reek is let inside and is presented before the Ironborn leader, Ralf Kenning. The Ironborn are far from home, short on supplies, low in morale and teeming with sickness. Kenning, wounded from battle, treats with Theon and listens to his terms but is still too proud to surrender to the Boltons and questions Theon's honor as a Greyjoy. Unfortunately for Ralf, the others don't share his sentiments and like Reek earlier, he gets betrayed by his fellow soldiers. An Iron Islander somewhat urgently asks Reek that if meeting these conditions means they can finally go home, they will all gladly surrender... Then we Match Cut to a shot of Ramsay and Reek inspecting the same man's flayed corpse with Ramsay noting somewhat remorsefully how the ancient 'tradition' of skinning your enemies alive has been dying out. And where would we be without such rich history. Theon can only kowtow to his master's morbid humor and ask tearfully whether they will go home now. Ramsay believes they shall... to their new home.

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At The Eyrie, Littlefinger is submitted to an inquiry by Lord Yohn Royce of Runestone and Lady Anya Waynwood of Ironoaks. Lord Baelish tells them that Lysa jumped to her death. Lady Waynwood doesn't believe that, noting that she would at least live for her son Robin who she adored. For the first time, Lord Baelish's lies and excuses are unconvincing. Lord Royce notes with disdain Littlefinger's Braavosi lineage, his grubby work at the useless job of Master of Coin given to him by Jon Arryn, his reputation as a Lannister toady, moneylender and pimp. Lady Anya then tells Petyr that they wish to interrogate his niece Alayne. Baelish demurs, stating that she won't be of help, but offers to fetch her at their insistence. However, Lady Waynwood has already taken precautions and summoned her. Sansa Stark enters and initially maintains Petyr's cover but her resolve withers under Yohn Royce's angry questioning and she decides to tell the truth. "Lord Baelish has told many lies", she begins, telling them that she is "Sansa Stark", much to Lord Royce and Lady Waynwood's shock and surprise. She tells them that Petyr Baelish was her Only Friend at King's Landing, that he protected her from the Lannisters and then spirited her away and brought her to Aunt Lysa. She then tells them that Lysa Arryn got crazy with jealousy and believed that Petyr preferred the younger woman over her and killed herself over this despite Petyr trying to talk her out of it. Lady Waynwood hugs the traumatized young girl and even skeptical Lord Royce believes the daughter of the just and honorable Ned Stark. Lord Baelish looks at Sansa with wonder, while she fixes him with a hard stare over Lady Waynwood's shoulder.

Petyr escorts Jon Arryn's bannermen down the stairs and tells them that it's time that Robin Arryn became a true Lord of the Vale, that he be given proper training as a warrior and statesman and meet his fellow lords on a progress in their own strongholds. Lord Royce concedes that it's a good idea, and that he should consider it done. Being firmly anti-Lannister and friends of Ned Stark, they vow to keep Alayne's true identity secret and to back Petyr's seemingly noble endeavor.

Back in Meereen, Ser Barristan is observing the Unsullied take down the rest of the crucified Good Masters. Daenerys feels that she's made her point and that enough is enough. A small slave child then calls out to him. Selmy, an old veteran of the Kingsguard and former denizen of King's Landing, knows that something is not quite right. He accepts the scroll given to him and notes the seal of the Hand of the King. Ser Jorah Mormont is surveying maps of King's Landing, assessing strategy, when Ser Barristan approaches him on the wharf. Barristan shows him the letter, a royal pardon signed by King Robert Baratheon, and asks him to explain it. Mormont can only stare ahead and asks him if he has told Daenerys. Ser Barristan informs him that he relayed the contents of the letter to him first, so that he cannot later claim that he went behind his back. Jorah asks for a private audience with Daenerys but Ser Barristan, relieving him of the evidence, states that he will never be alone with her again.

When Ser Jorah is summoned to her throne room and sees the girl he has aided, now a woman and Queen in her own right, greet him with a mixture of wariness, disbelief and bottled rage, Ser Jorah can only stand before and below her, not daring to approach too near, as Grey Worm and Ser Barristan make quite a point of bristling at his presence. Mormont steps up to the plate and tries to offer excuses, pointing out that this is obviously a ploy by Tywin Lannister to divide and conquer them, but Daenerys reminds him that the date on the pardon was the year of their first meeting and she asks, hopefully, if it's a forgery. Jorah denies the get-out clause and admits that he was a spy for Varys when he entered her service and told him everything about her movements up to and including the conception of her child, actions which triggered an assassination attempt (which Jorah foiled but even so). This also created a chain of events that led to the deaths of Khal Drogo and Rhaego's stillbirth. Daenerys is cold and furious at what this treachery represents and Jorah prostrates himself, tearfully begging for forgiveness, which she is far from willing to give; he sold her secrets to the man who killed her brother, who stole her father's throne, who inadvertently destroyed both her families. He argues that he has protected her, fought for her, killed for her. He even desperately admits that he loves her. Daenerys, caught between sorrow, resentment and incredulity - throws his 'love' back in his face, as this betrayal of her has undermined the entirety of one of her oldest, most precious relationships. She declares scornfully that he should go and collect his reward back in Westeros, if he can, that he may never touch or speak to her again and that were he any other man she would have had him executed on the spot. Instead he is to be banished from her sight on pain of death; he has until dusk to gather his belongings and leave her city. At sunset, we see Jorah "the Andal" depart from Meereen, exiled once again, only this time from his true home.

Somewhere in The North we witness anything but a touching father-son reunion now that the bulk of the Bolton army has entered the North. Roose Bolton is greeted by his base-born son, Ramsay, who presents the Kraken banner of House Greyjoy as a token of his victory at the Neck. Roose regards his bastard for a moment, then wearily says "Walk with me." They discuss Locke's disappearance and Roose concludes that Bran and Rickon Stark are likely dead. No other Northern Lord has received word of them... He mentions that the Ironborn have nearly all fled his domain, and with the loss of Moat Cailin, more will follow. The Lord of the Dreadfort then leads Ramsay up a hill and asks him what he surveys. Ramsay sees only the empty valleys and nothing of importance, failing the test, but Roose educates him that the lands he sees make up the North, the largest of all the seven kingdoms, even with all the other six combined. Which is now theirs. "Now tell me, what is your name?" Roose inquires of him. "Ramsay Snow", the bastard answers dutifully, but with evident resentment. Roose corrects him-from this day forth Ramsay is now officially a Bolton, and he gives him a royal decree legitimizing him as his true son and heir. Ramsay is speechless for a moment, and then drops to one knee in deference to the Warden of the North, swearing to Roose that he will honor the Bolton name and uphold their family's traditions. "I will be worthy of you, father! I promise..." Ramsay vows, his deepest desire now nearly fulfilled. We then see Ramsay and Reek ride with Roose and the Bolton armies towards their "new home". Ramsay tells Reek that he will be drawing his master a bath when they get there and in the distance we see can see Winterfell on the horizon, soon to be under new, decidedly less honorable management.

Littlefinger confronts Sansa in her room at The Eyrie noting, with approval, that she's no longer the young, innocent girl now that she has willingly become an accomplice to murder. Sansa ignores him and continues sewing clothes. Petyr wonders why she protected him. Sansa merely responds that she didn't trust the Vale lords and asks him to consider: if they threw him out of the Moon Door, what would they have then done with her? Littlefinger smiles, wondering if she decided to gamble with someone she knew rather than the strangers she didn't, asking her if she knows what kind of person he is? Sansa says "I know what you want." "Do you?" Baelish replies, amused. She leaves his question unanswered, and instead sends him an appraising look.

Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane are marching to The Bloody Gate discussing Joffrey's death. Arya notes that she's not as happy as she expected at Joffrey's death; she would have been happier had she seen him die. Sandor notes that Arya is never happy, but yes, seeing that little shit die would have been awesome. His neck wound from when Biter bit him earlier is bothering him, and she scolds him for not letting her cauterize the wound to stave off infection. They meet Ser Donnel Waynwood at the Gate and Sandor introduces himself and Arya to the Knights of the Vale, telling them that they are here to reunite Arya with the Aunt she has never met. Waynwood offers his condolences to Arya, telling her that Lady Arryn died, only three days past. The Hound is stunned beyond belief and Arya can only burst out laughing at him, considering he's lost his ransom reward for the second time.

Up on the mountain, Lord Baelish tells a nervous Robin that it's long since time he stepped out of the Nest, educating him that the Eyrie is no less dangerous than the rest of the world outside and that one shouldn't be worried about death, but about their life and how to seize every opportunity available to you. He then turns his gaze to see a strange sight, a woman in black coming down the stairs. Silhouetted against the half-light, she almost resembles his beloved Cat. Baelish is amazed at her beauty, and Sansa smiles, fully aware of her effect on him.

At King's Landing, Tyrion and Jaime have what might be their final conversation together. Tyrion is worried about how Oberyn will fare in the duel. He tries to reassure himself, pointing out that you don't get a nickname like "The Red Viper of Dorne" unless you're deadly, but Jaime has never seen Oberyn fight and thus has no insight. They end up discussing the various technical terms of murder, considering Tyrion has been accused of the double whammy of regicide and nepoticide, the killing of one's nephew - filicide, matricide, fratricide, infanticide, patricide, suicide - a word for every type. Except cousins, Jaime adds, with a sheepish grin, perhaps remembering that time he killed his unfortunate distant cousin Alton.note  The conversation then turns to their cousin Orson Lannister, who suffered brain damage when he was dropped by a midwife and spent his life obsessed with crushing beetles. Tyrion tells Jaime that he once tried to get to the bottom of the mystery of why Cousin Orson crushed the beetles, but despite a period of intense study of Orson he could never figure it out, and then Orson died from a mule kicking him, taking any chance of solving the riddle with him to the grave. "Why did he do it? What was it all about?" he asks with feigned calmness. Will Tyrion be just another beetle crushed under the forces of the world? Jaime has no comforting answers to give. The bells ring and Tyrion's fate is now in the hands of his champion, Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne.

He's led out to a rather stunning quay-side arena by the Red Keep. The many tiered stands are jam-packed with crowds awaiting the martial spectacle, a special pavilion is erected for the Royal Family, and Jaime goes and joins them. Tyrion takes his place beside Oberyn and Ellaria. The littlest Lannister understandably worries about whether Oberyn is heavily armored enough or if he needs a helmet, but Oberyn is fearless and even partakes in strenuous warm-ups for deadly combat such as sipping wine, washing his hands and smooching his paramour, leaving Tyrion upset with how lightly he is taking the upcoming imminent battle with Ser Gregor Clegane, who emerges opposite them soon enough with his squire in tow, covered head to foot in boiled leather, chain-mail, full black steel plate and a partial helm. "You're going to fight that?" Ellaria gasps in fear, now also concerned with Clegane's monstrous stature. "I'm going to kill that," Oberyn reassures her confidently, and we see the Red Viper's squire grease the spear heads he will use with a translucent resin... Grand Maester Pycelle tries to instill some elegance to the proceedings, but Tywin Lannister is already bored and signals for a horn to cue Pycelle to get lost.

Ellaria gives Oberyn a Big Damn Kiss and before he can move into the decisive battle, she holds him back —

Ellaria: Don't leave me alone in this world.
Oberyn: Never.

And so the fight of the century begins, two decades in the making. Oberyn introduces himself to the audience with grand-standing flair of the weapon spinning variety and a volcanic smile on his face for his foe; he posits to Gregor whether they have told him who he is. "Some dead man," grunts the Mountain and immediately comes down on him with his six-foot greatsword,note  swinging it overhead to bisect the Prince. Oberyn keeps him at bay disdainfully with the pike's superior reach. "I am the brother of Elia Martell. And do you know why I have come all the way to this stinking, shit-pile of a city? ... For you."

His spear grazes Gregor's helm twice-the Mountain that Rides tries to cut him in half, but Oberyn merely slides back across the slick, mosaic-tiled yard without a scratch. He circles his opponent brazenly. "I'm going to hear you confess, before you die. You raped my sister, you murdered her, you killed her children. Say it now and we can make this quick."

Clegane agrees, at least about the quick part, trying to run the Red Viper through before parrying Oberyn's barrage of spear strikes. The Prince of Dorne controls the giant's momentum down, away and around, smacking his helm off with the butt of his weapon. "Say it", Oberyn demands of him. Gregor goes nuts and hacks away at the man making his head hurt, but the Red Viper easily parries the brute's sheer power into mindless wind-milling, repeating his proclamation for the black knight to admit his evil deeds. Gregor traps his spear against the ground and tries to run the blade back along the shaft but Oberyn twists it under and uses the power of Gregor's lift to help him vault away with an impressive set of gymnastic twirls, laughing at the rush.

Oberyn toys with the Mountain further, feinting at his unprotected face, zipping out of the way of his lumbering attacks and shouting his mantra before driving his spear at Gregor's chest, only for the blow to be turned on his plate. Gregor kicks him down and Tyrion's heart is in his mouth but Oberyn recovers, controlling the distance between them anew with lightning-quick spinning attacks at his opponent's thinly armored knee joints. Clegane backpedals but finally gets a strategic thought in his head and severs the tip of Oberyn's halberd before knocking the remnants out of his hands and sending the salty Dornishman to the mat. But it's all part of the show for Oberyn, who Wushu flips over Gregor's sweeping ground attack to the cheers of the audience, Cersei's displeasure, Jaime's admiration, Ellaria's relief and Tyrion's mounting terror. He is promptly furnished with a fresh spear.

Prepped, Oberyn now doesn't hold anything back and unleashes his best moves yet. He doesn't let up with his prayer either, now shouting at Gregor, telling him to confess: "Elia Martell: you raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children!" The Mountain attacks furiously, hewing and slicing at the Prince and again manages to get him off his feet but Oberyn is ready this time and like the snake waiting in the grass, he catches the colossus off guard from his seemingly weak position and with the speed for which he is famous, spears Gregor in the armpit through a gap in his armor.

Tyrion cannot believe his fortune, but it's not over yet. Oberyn's intonation reaches a fever pitch and as Gregor bull-rushes him, mad with pain and hate, he dances aside, catches his spear in the leather of Gregor's booted calf and rips the blade up, severing his Achilles tendon and hobbling him. Grief and vengeance overflow from Oberyn as he roars for justice for his butchered niece and nephew and with that he runs flat-out, leaps through the air and skewers Clegane in the gut, pinning him to the floor and causing the monster to vomit up his own blood and stomach acids.

But Oberyn refrains from giving the Coup de Grâce: he can't make the kill yet, he wants Ser Gregor to confess his crimes and will not let him burn in the seven hells without hearing him say her name, along with the naming of the man who ordered her murder, Lord Tywin Lannister. "Who gave you the order? WHO GAVE YOU THE ORDER?! SAY HER NAME! YOU RAPED HER! YOU MURDERED HER! YOU KILLED HER CHILDREN! Say it. Say her name! ... Say it!"

But this doesn't have a happy ending: Oberyn tragically strays too close to the downed behemoth and as he looks to his love with pride and victory infusing his smile, which she gladly returns — Gregor uses what's remaining of his not inconsiderable might to knock Oberyn's feet out from under him, grab a hold of the neck of the smaller man with vice-grip fingers, dead-lift him above and punch him in the mouth with his armored fist. Oberyn's teeth are smashed out, clattering and skipping across the stones as Ellaria and Tyrion watch in slack-jawed horror. The crippled Gregor then rolls over, crushing the nearly insensible Prince of Dorne flat to the ground with 500lbs of muscle and metal astride his chest, mounting him like a lover, he grips the Red Viper's face in his hands, putting his eyes out with his thumbs as Oberyn shrieks in sheer agony, helpless, while Gregor bellows out for all the world to hear, with every ounce of pure malice left to him: "ELIA MARTELL. I KILLED HER CHILDREN. THEN I RAPED HER! THEN I SMASHED HER HEAD IN LIKE THIS!" Clegane gets a nauseating purchase and implodes Oberyn's skull with his gauntlet-garbed hands, splattering his own face with gore. Ellaria screams repeatedly in horror and anguish as her lover and the father of her children is both gruesomely killed and his body defiled simultaneously. The Mountain flops aside as he succumbs to his wounds, either unconscious or dead, while Oberyn's blood and brains gush out onto the marbled surface of the Baratheon-Lannister sigil. Cersei smiles sadistically and Lord Tywin stands to declare that the Gods have made their will clear: "Tyrion Lannister. In the name of Tommen of the House Baratheon, First of His Name, you are hereby sentenced to death."

All the shell-shocked Tyrion can do is stare at Oberyn's cooling corpse, his hopes utterly extinguished.


Tropes

  • Absentee Actor: Several in this episode: no Aemon Targaryen, Janos Slynt or Alliser Thorne at the Wall; at King's Landing, no Tommen Baratheon, Loras, Margaery Tyrell or Bronn; most characters currently travelling don't show up, either, so we don't get to see Bran's party, Stannis and his subjects or Brienne and Podrick.
  • Adaptation Distillation / Adaptation Expansion:
    • Perhaps the biggest change from the books so far is Sansa Stark revealing her identity to Yohn Royce and Anya Waynwood, which completely alters the dynamic from A Feast for Crows. This also eliminates more work for the costume department, as they don't have to take time to make less ornate clothing for Sophie Turner (as in the book, "Alayne" couldn't wear finery such as Sansa was used to, given her station as a bastard).
    • Arya Stark and the Hound arrive at the Bloody Gate and the former reveals her identity to the Knights on guard.
    • The complicated nature of Barristan's engagement with Daenerys and Jorah in the books had to be Adapted Out. This required the reveal of Jorah's brief tenure as an informer to come from a third party. In this case, Tywin, as foreshadowed two episodes ago and confirmed in the seal of the Hand of the King that emblazons the scroll.
  • Adaptational Badass: Compared to their duel in the book where the Mountain can't so much as lay a finger on Oberyn, Clegane does better. While Oberyn ends up dominating the fight, Gregor manages to kick him off his feet, break his spear in half and shove him across the arena.
  • All There In The Books: The name of the ironborn that kills Kenning: Adrack Humble.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Jorah finally spits it out to Daenerys but it is far too late; she even throws that word back at him in anger, since he had been a spy from the very beginning.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Sansa hastens to explain to the Vale lords that the kiss Baelish gave her was only an innocent peck on the cheek.
  • Armor Is Useless: ZigZagged. Gregor Clegane's full plate armor allows him to shrug off blows that might otherwise have been crippling, but Oberyn knows to Attack Its Weak Point and still manages to do massive damage (also the armor is seriously downgraded as he Oberyn shouldn't be able to go through the breastplate during his final attack and by the book description it would have took a long time to even pierce the weakspot). Oberyn himself opts to wear light armor for faster movement, since he knows that even the thickest armor really WOULD be useless against Gregor Clegane's greatsword.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Being a critical episode in terms of redefining relationships, it features this:
    • Daenerys is only concerned with one thing regarding Jorah's period as an informer for Varys:
    "Did you tell them I was carrying Drogo's child?"
    • Kenning's rather horrid hitting of the nail on the head for Reek before he himself is hit on the head with a hatchet.
    "Are you a woman, boy?"
    • And the very first question Theon is asked on approaching Moat Cailin: "Who are you?"
  • A Shared Suffering: Averted; Jaime says he'd expect Tyrion to have more sympathy for his mentally-impaired cousin given the way he's been mocked all his life. Tyrion replies that mocking the less fortunate was the only way he could feel the same as everyone else.
    • A subtle version is when Sansa says that Lysa Arryn didn't love her husband, but "she did as her father commanded, as so many of us have." The comment is clearly aimed at Lady Waynwood, who gives a slight nod in agreement.
  • A Sinister Clue: The Mountain wields his sword in his left hand.
  • Asshole Victim: We get to see the brothel madam mistreating Gilly, so we don't feel too bad when Ygritte kills her.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Oberyn's comment when he and Ellaria first see Gregor in full battle gear.
    Ellaria: You're going to fight that?
    Oberyn: I'm going to kill that.
    • Subverted sadly, but Ralf Kenning gives a pretty impressive one:
    "The Ironborn will not surrender. You go tell your master that, Theon Greyjoy, or whoever the fuck you are!"
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Sansa looks like she's going to expose Littlefinger, only to back up his story that Lysa had killed herself.
    • The ironborn soldier has a look of hope on his face because he’s going home, then cut to his flayed corpse.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Ramsay Bolton preys on the Ironborn's usual petty cowardice with the exact same trick he used in Winterfell (which was actually Robb Stark's idea but nevertheless): to offer pardons and safe passage home in exchange for surrender, which drives them to kill the one commander who opposes. They then get flayed anyway (and they wonder why Westeros doesn't take them seriously?).
    • Tywin Lannister once again uses one by sending a letter with the seal of the Hand of the King to Ser Barristan, knowing fully well that the old knight's steadfast honorable nature would compel him to reveal it to Dany and countenance little explanation from Jorah.
    • Sansa also pulls one during Littlefinger's inquiry. She essentially uses her father's reputation and family name to get Littlefinger off the hook from the very proud Lord Royce and Lady Waynwood. This ensures that the Vale are loyal to her rather than Baelish and that should anything happen to her or she raise a complaint, then Baelish will face difficulties. She has moved from being under Baelish's control to equal partner, and Littlefinger is impressed.
  • Better the Devil You Know: Littlefinger lampshades this trope, asking if that's why Sansa decided to stick her neck out for him. After being betrayed by Joffrey and Cersei, her Aunt Lysa and having her real family also suffer from betrayal, Sansa has decided that a treacherous, murderous creep who has an obvious crush on her is her best chance to survive.
  • Blade on a Stick: Oberyn carries one into the trial, and when the Mountain cracks it in half he gets tossed a second. Both have a snake design in the tassel to go along with his viper motif.
  • Blood from the Mouth
    • The commander of the garrison is dying of infection, but it still defiant enough to spit blood in Theon's face as a sign of contempt.
    • Subverted by the Mountain; he spits blood when Oberyn impales him with a spear, but it does not mean he's out of the fight.
  • Broken Smile/Laughing Mad: One way to interpret Arya's fit of laughter upon learning of Lysa Arryn's demise.
  • Burping Contest: In an unusual variant, one of the whores in Mole's Town belches the tune of a song, and the men playing try to guess what the song is.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A notable aversion has The Mountain enumerating his crimes in the right sequence (first the infanticide, then the rape and finally the murder of Elia) after Oberyn mixes the order. Though its not that Oberyn was unaware of this, as he himself listed the crimes to Tyrion in the same order as the Mountain in the previous episode.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tywin Lannister has no respect for Maester Pycelle; at the trial's beginning, a formal proceeding, he doesn't care to hear his entire summoning and has it cut short.
  • Call-Back:
    • Jaime probably didn't think of cousin-killing entirely at random. Poor Alton.
    • Jorah's betrayal of Daenerys returns to bite him in the ass.
    • Sansa mentions Lord Royce's son Ser Waymar — the first character on screen (and the first to die) way back in the first episode.
    • This isn't the first time Sansa has been called up as a witness. First was when Cersei called her to speak on the matter of Joffrey's accusations to Arya and Nymeria, and she ended up taking a poor third option of saying nothing at all. Now she takes a more calculated third option.
    • Kenning's death, attacked from behind by one of his exhausted men just after a badass boast suggesting that he'll never surrender, recalls Theon's ambush from behind by his own men after a similar speech in "Valar Morghulis."
    • The ironborn at Moat Cailin betray their commander so they can surrender and live... only to be flayed alive by Ramsay Snow. Remember the 20 ironborn at Winterfell?
    • In "Blackwater" Cersei advised Sansa: "Tears aren't a woman's only weapon. The best one's between your legs. Learn how to use it." Sansa uses tears to convince the lords of the Vale, and Littlefinger's lust for her to make him an ally of convenience.
    • During the scene where Littlefinger is saying She Is All Grown Up, Sansa is sewing just, as she did in her introductory scene in the pilot; however the audience knows her Princess Classic act is now a deliberate facade instead of a role she embraces.
    • Someone shows his contempt for Theon by spitting in his face, like Rodrick Cassel did before Theon cut his head off in "The Old Gods and the New". Given that Theon drops into his Madness Mantra at that point, it may well have been an In-Universe reminder too.
    • A mysterious boy hands Ser Barristan the pardon, just as another boy did to Ser Jorah in "You Win Or You Die".
    • Arya saying that Sandor will never be a great killer recalls her deriding him the previous season, in preference to Jaqen H'ghar. Also counts as foreshadowing her decision at the end of the season to abandon Sandor and join the Faceless Men in Braavos.
    • A possible subtle callback to the conversation between two Lannister soldiers in Season 2 concerning who the best fighter in Westeros is (with Gregor Clegane being directly compared to a bull) was the fact that Oberyn fights him in a manner suspiciously similar to bullfighting (i.e. fighting with very showy and visually impressive flourishes of his spear and wearing him down gradually with quick spear stabs before striking a mortal blow. Not to mention the strong Hispanic influences on the Dornish), and Gregor's main tactic was repeatedly charging him like a bull.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Sansa is established to be good at sewing in the very first episode. Four seasons later, it actually becomes useful when she unveils her Evil Costume Switch.
  • Combat Aestheticist: Apparently Oberyn Martell believes in putting on a good show for the audience, including lots of weapon-twirling and acrobatics in his fighting style.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Oberyn Martell uses light armor, constantly moves, and uses Hit-and-Run Tactics against Clegane (not to mention purposefully enraging him). He successfully gets Clegane to tire himself out, and manages to seriously wound him. Sadly, he forgets to be pragmatic when it really counts and is killed for it.
    • Arya snarks at Sandor when he derides the poison used to kill Joffrey.
    Sandor: Poison's a woman's weapon. Men kill with steel.
    Arya: That's just your stupid pride talking. That's why you'll never be a great killer. I'd have killed Joffrey with a chicken bone if I had to.
  • Composite Character: Kenning, the commander of the Ironborn garrison at Moat Cailin. He has the surname and position of Ralf Kenning and the actions and fate of Dagon Codd.
  • The Corrupter: Baelish looks to have made some headway on this front with Sansa, and seems intent on repeating the process with little Robin Arryn. Admittedly, Robin needs SOME strong influence to prevent him from becoming a Manchild, though Petyr has his own agenda in mind...
    "People die at their dinner tables, they die in their beds, they die... squatting over their chamber pots. Everybody dies sooner or later. Don't worry about your death, worry about your life, take charge of your life... For as long as it lasts. That is what it means to be Lord of the Vale."
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Sansa is no longer quite as innocent and naive as she once was, as Littlefinger notes with approval.
  • Coup de Grâce: Averted. Oberyn spends so long getting to the finishing blow that he never gets a chance.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Oberyn's death is far and away the grisliest and goriest depicted in the series, which should tell you something.
    Pedro Pascal: (in a tweet shortly after the episode aired) Ouch.
  • Dark Reprise: We finally get to hear the Winterfell theme... Now made ten times more sinister as the victorious Boltons and the newly legitimized Ramsay ride towards their new home.
  • Death by Disfigurement: The Mountain's first strike on Oberyn knocks several teeth out. This makes it clear to savvy viewers that he's not coming back from that one.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Yohn Royce inserts quite a few unnecessary insinuations about Petyr's poor roots and Braavosi ancestry in what is an inquiry about Lady Arryn's death, even using the rather nasty insult about his grubby hands being good for handling money. These racist and classist attitudes are obviously pretty common among Westerosi nobles and something that Petyr has had to deal with all his life, as evidenced by his bland reaction and smooth retort.
    • Lord Royce does have the good grace to apologize to Littlefinger after the inquiry, but that's more about putting an "innocent" man on trial than anything else.
  • Dissonant Laughter: Arya reacts to learning of her aunt's death by laughing and grinning like it's the funniest thing she's ever heard, to the disquiet of the men guarding the gate.
  • Double-Meaning Title:
    • A viper is a symbol of betrayal. Besides Oberyn, the episode focuses on other traitors: Theon betrays the Ironborn, the Ironborn betray Ralf Kenning, Jorah pays for having betrayed Daenerys, Littlefinger gets away with having betrayed Lysa.
    • "The Mountain" can refer to Ser Gregor Clegane, but also to the mountain the Eyrie is built on.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Played with; when Jorah addresses Dany as Khalessi, she curtly tells him not to call her that, as it's a reminder of their fire forged friendship.
  • Downer Beginning / Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite being raised in slavery, Grey Worm claims that everything he's gone through as an Unsullied, horrible as it was, has become worthwhile, since he's now a respected commander in the army of a ruler he believes in and has made friends and met Missandei.
  • Downer Ending: The episode ends on a high note for almost every villainous character, and an awful note for every moral or relatable character. The only exception is that the Mountain is likely mortally wounded:
    • On the villainous side:
      • Tywin and Cersei get to have Tyrion killed.
      • An attempt to hold Tywin directly responsible for at least one of his atrocities has ended in failure.
      • Ramsay Snow becomes Ramsay Bolton, and Roose Bolton gains another fort. The last shot of them even shows them riding into Winterfell.
      • Littlefinger has literally gotten away with murder. Again.
    • On the less-villainous side:
      • Oberyn Martell is quite dead, and as such Tyrion is sentenced to death.
      • Arya and the Hound find out Arya's aunt is dead, and Arya's sanity is shown to be increasingly slipping from her.
      • Sansa has become an accomplice to murder.
      • Daenerys has lost a friend and valuable ally, and Jorah is exiled (which also plays into Tywin's hands).
      • Sam feels responsible for Gilly's death; he has no idea that she's alive (albeit alone and in a ransacked town).
      • Jaime now has to watch his beloved brother die at the will of his father and sister, despite his earlier efforts to protect Tyrion.
      • The 102 members of the Night's Watch are awaiting the arrival of a wildling army of 100,000.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Sansa looks fantastic in her travel attire. Littlefinger approves.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Jorah, whose underhanded dealings are finally brought into the light for Daenerys.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Sansa makes a Grand Staircase Entrance in a black gown with feathers on the shoulders (playing on Littlefinger's mockingbird sigil) showing a good deal more cleavage than usual.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Ygritte, whose character has become noticeably darker since Jon dumped her, spares Gilly and her son.
    • Jaime is visibly horrified when Oberyn gets his head crushed to the point of shutting his eyes and looking away. And this is a guy who headbutted his own cousin to death!
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Oberyn Martell showboats shamelessly with his Blade on a Stick before and even during his duel with Gregor. There may be an actual combat purpose to it, since his strategy seems to be provoking Gregor into wild and poorly-planned attacks.
  • Evil Gloating: Cersei lets out a big smile at Tyrion after Oberyn dies. It's the happiest she has been since Joffrey died.
  • Exact Words: When Reek offers terms of surrender to the Moat Cailin garrison, he says, "[Lord Bolton] will be just and fair with you as he was been with me." Given how Reek has now been crippled, castrated, flayed, mentally broken...
  • The Exile: Daenerys exiles Ser Jorah Mormont off Meereen and away from her sight, under threat of death if he doesn't comply.
  • Eye Scream: Oberyn's eyes are gouged out by The Mountain prior to his death.
  • Fanservice: The audience is treated to shirtless Unsullied bathing, handmaidens washing their clothes while wearing nothing at all, and Nathalie Emmanuel nude.
  • First Name Ultimatum: Played seriously. On being exiled, a desperate Jorah calls his Khaleesi "Daenerys" for the first time. She forbids him from ever speaking her name again.
  • Flaying Alive: We finally get to see the Boltons prove the truth of their sigil. A naked man has few secrets; a flayed man has none.
  • Fragile Speedster: Oberyn Martell probably can't survive a direct hit from Gregor Clegane's greatsword, like any other man. Fortunately, he's too darn fast and skilled to let that happen. However, even one punch from the Mountain cripples him.
  • Get Out!: Daenerys final words to Jorah are a quietly spoken "Go...now."
  • Gilligan Cut: Used for a particularly morbid bit of Black Humor. The Ironborn soldiers in Moat Cailin are quite pleased with the prospect of being spared; cut to their flayed corpses.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Oberyn points accusingly at Lord Tywin while demanding of the Mountain "WHO GAVE YOU THE ORDER?"
  • Good Old Ways: Ramsay laments that flaying has fallen out of fashion, but he is a man of (this particular) tradition.
  • Gorn: The death of Oberyn Martell reaches a new level for the series: his face is smashed, teeth knocked out, eyes gouged/squished, and head crushed (with a bang). Of the following shots, several focus on the bloody mangled mess of Oberyn's (former) face.
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: Daenerys concludes Jorah's banishment with a rhyming couplet.
    If you're found in Meereen past break of day
    I'll have your head thrown into Slavers' Bay
  • Grew a Spine: Gilly briefly stands up to the whore that she was cowering from not a moment ago, since her baby got involved.
  • Half Truth: Aside from a few carefully altered details (like where Petyr kissed her, and how Lysa fell), Sansa's story is quite close to the facts. This makes her lies all the more convincing.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Missandei covers her breasts with an arm and her crotch with the clothes she's washing when she notices Grey Worm staring at her.
  • Handicapped Badass: Several heavy spear wounds can't prevent the Mountain from crushing a grown man's head like a watermelon.
  • Held Gaze
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Justified, then deconstructed. Prince Oberyn refuses to wear a helmet during his duel with the Mountain despite Tyrion's advise to play it safe, because Oberyn wants to make a public spectacle of the duel to quench his thirst for revenge for his sister's death. This ends up being his undoing, as it gives the Mountain the opportunity to crush his skull with his massive hands. Of course, given that it's The Mountain, it might not have mattered if he wore a helmet.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Sam has one when he hears about the attack on Mole's Town and presumes that Gilly is dead.
    • Tyrion, Jaime, and Ellaria all have huge ones when Oberyn is slain.
  • Hollywood Healing: Averted; Arya notes that Clegane's neck injury from where he was bitten is troubling him, and he's moving slower as a result.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Oberyn wants Gregor Clegane to suffer, and confess to his crimes. He suffers, but it costs Oberyn his life.
    • Ralf Kenning is a rare positive version from an Ironborn, rightly seeing through Ramsay/Theon's phony offer of peace and refusing to surrender, only to get killed in turn. In his case, the honorable course isn't any dumber than the dishonorable one, as Ramsay fully intends to kill them whether they surrender or no.
    • Jorah Mormont could have lied and claimed the pardon was forged. Likewise Ser Barristan approaches Jorah first before informing Daenerys, setting himself up for the Have You Told Anyone Else? trope, though he's likely confident of his Famed In-Story swordsmanship to defeat Jorah if he did attack him.
  • Hope Spot: Tyrion gets one after Oberyn manages to put his spear through Gregor Clegane. But then Oberyn gets a bit greedy in his desire for revenge and strays into Gregor's reach.
  • I Can Explain: Ser Jorah Mormont tries to explain his actions to Daenerys, but she refuses to hear any of it.
  • Idiot Ball: Petyr Baelish's plan to escape the justice of the Vale lords is uncharacteristically shaky so that Sansa can help him and prove her growing worth.
  • I Lied: The promise of the Ironborn being allowed to leave should they surrender Moat Cailin. Ramsay does not keep promises.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
    • Ygritte rams her spear through a whore and the wooden wall behind her.
    • Oberyn drives a spear right into Gregor Clegane's gut. Sadly, it isn't immediately fatal.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Oberyn's main tactic seems to be pissing off the Mountain as much as possible, verbally and physically, by toying with him and making him waste energy with poorly-aimed attacks of rage. It succeeds in wearing Gregor down.
  • It's All About Me: Subtly shown by Cersei's smug reaction to Gregor popping Oberyn's skull like a pimple. Is she horrified at this act of nightmarish violence or at poor Ellaria's heartbroken screams? Nope. Is she at least worried at the political consequences of Oberyn's death at the hands of the Lannisters' most notorious hired psycho, thus not only crushing any chance of an alliance with Dorne, but seriously endangering her own daughter's safety? Hell no. So long as she can now see Tyrion die she doesn't give a fuck about anything or anyone.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The lords of the Vale are needlessly belittling Baelish's ancestry and background, but they are right to mistrust him. One even points out how convenient it is that Petyr arrives at the Vale, gets married immediately to Lysa, then Lysa just so happens to fall out the Moon Door mere days later.
    • Littlefinger wants to send Robin away as part of an evil scheme, but his argument that Robin is in desperate need of exposure to the real world is entirely sound. And the advice he gives to Robin about not letting fear keep him from living is exactly the kind of thing you might hear from a wise mentor.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • Flaying is a horrible thing to see, but that asshole who murdered Ralf Kenning getting his just deserts is not bad.
    • Ygritte ends up killing the whore that was harassing Gilly for being a Wildling earlier.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre:
    Ellaria: (worried) [The Mountain]'s the biggest man I've ever seen!
    Oberyn: (smugly) Size does not matter when you are flat on your back.
    Tyrion: (bitterly) Thank the gods...
  • Large Ham: Justified. Oberyn is obviously trying to make a spectacle of his revenge on the Mountain, being very hammy as he demands his confession.
  • Last Kiss: Ellaria and Oberyn share one right before the fight.
  • Madness Mantra: During Kenning's "The Reason You Suck" Speech Theon starts to mumble "Reek...Reek..." until Kenning demands to know what he's saying; only his timely death at that point stops Theon from breaking down and spoiling Ramsay's Evil Plan.
  • Male Gaze:
    • Grey Worm staring at a nude Missandei.
    • Littlefinger, during Sansa's great performance at her interrogation and especially after her Evil Costume Switch. It's up for debate if she, now more savvy than ever, actively tried to invoke that reaction.
  • Mama Bear: Even timid Gilly tells the whorehouse madam that she'll not touch little Sam.
  • Meaningful Background Event: During her questioning by the Lords of The Vale, Sansa compares her forced marriage to Tyrion to her aunt Lysa's marriage to Jon Arryn, saying that Lysa "did as her father commanded, as so many of us have." As she says this, the camera cuts to Lady Waynwood, who closes her eyes in silent acknowledgment of a noblewoman's usual role in Westerosi society.
  • Mutual Kill: In all likelihood, the fight between Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane. Gregor is not dead at the end, but it's hard to imagine him surviving the wounds he got and it is known that Oberyn puts poison on all his blades.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: It seems to be working well for him at first, but this actually winds up being Oberyn's downfall as getting the Mountain to acknowledge his crimes gave him the opportunity to kill Oberyn.
    Oberyn: Her name was Elia Martell. You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.
  • Never Learned to Read: Adrack Humble.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: After initial doubts, Yohn Royce remarks that Lysa was obviously crazy to start with, what with her breastfeeding Robin despite him no longer being an infant. Anya Waynwood invokes this trope and makes him shut up.
  • New Era Speech: It's the beginning of the Bolton regime in the North:
    Roose: Tell me what you see.
    Ramsay: ... Nothing.
    Roose: Not nothing, the North. Ride 700 miles that way you're still in the North, 400 miles that way, 300 miles that way. The North is larger than the other six kingdoms combined and I am the Warden of the North. The North is mine.
  • Not Worth Killing:
    Daenerys: Any other man and I would have you executed, but you... I do not want you in my city dead or alive.
  • Offing the Offspring: Although he doesn't show it, it's rather obvious to the audience Tywin Lannister is pleased to be given the legal right to sentence his son to death.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Jorah when Barristan presents him with a copy of his royal pardon.
    • Ellaria Sand has a rather understandable response to seeing the Mountain. "You're going to fight that?"
    • Oberyn has a single-frame one, when he's being strangled and realizes he's about to be punched in the face by the strongest known man in the world.
    • When Oberyn is getting his eyes gouged out, you can actually see Tyrion's jaw dropped in horror as he watches.
    • Jaime has a subdued one in the background upon realizing that Tyrion isn't going to last much longer.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Even Dolorous Edd tries to tell Sam that Gilly's probably alive, and he actually means it too.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: Grey Worm takes a while to look away when he sees the bathing Missandei.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • A villainous version: Roose Bolton despite insulting Ramsay for being a bastard has secretly arranged for his legitimacy and officially makes him his heir. Ramsay is so surprised by this that for a moment the audience might actually forget he's one of the most vicious and sadistic bastards on the show.
    • Anya Waynwood hugging Sansa Stark in sympathy is another. It's the first real maternal hug she had since she left Winterfell. Sadly, Sansa is no longer sweet and sincere and doesn't know if Lady Anya intends good.
  • Plot Hole: A rather minor one, but still: why are both Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly down at the castle instead of up the Wall, keeping watch as ordered last episode? Obviously, they could take shifts, so one of them (Sam, given the scene) could be at the castle, but not both.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: The Mountain waits until he gets the upper hand before giving his confession, rubbing it in Oberyn's face as he kills him.
    • "Elia Martell. I killed her children. Then I raped her. Then I smashed her head, IN LIKE THIS!"
  • Princess for a Day: Daenerys is shown braiding Missandei's hair. It's inconceivable that a queen would do this to a servant, but Dany is clearly enjoying doing girly stuff out of sight of her subjects.
  • Pun: Littlefinger wants Robin Arryn to tour the Vale: "Time for Robin to leave the nest." Sandor too gets into the act.
    Waynwood: Who would approach the Bloody Gate?
    Sandor: The bloody Hound!
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • Gregor Clegane won't live long considering that he was run through the stomach twice with Oberyn's spear, which is usually a mortal wound. If he somehow manages to survive the wounds, the spear likely pierced Gregor's spine, meaning that even if he does live, he'll probably never walk again. From the books 
    • There's also one for the Lannisters. Sure, Tywin and Cersei can have Tyrion executed now with the gods' approval... but that doesn't change the fact that Tywin's bannerman openly admitted that he killed Elia Martell and her children, and then proceeded to kill the second Prince of Dorne by gouging out his eyes and crushing his skull while he screamed in agony, all in front of a huge crowd that contains at least some Dornish spectators. If Dorne was pissed at the Lannisters before, there may well be another war on the horizon now. At the very least, Tywin's hope for an alliance against Daenerys is thoroughly dashed.
  • Rain of Blood: During the massacre at the Moles Town brothel, Gilly sees blood dripping down between the ceiling boards, several Thenns with big axes having gone upstairs earlier.
  • Rank Up: Ramsay Snow is now officially Ramsay Bolton, son of Roose Bolton, Warden of the North, the largest of the Seven Kingdoms (in terms of landmass, if not in resources and population).
  • Reaction Shot: Done to everyone with a key stake in the Mountain vs. Viper fight. At first, Tyrion, Jaime, and Ellaria look hopeful when Oberyn is stomping Gregor into the curb, meanwhile Cersei looks a mix of concerned and angry while Tywin looks furious. Then everything gets turned around...
  • Reality Ensues: All it takes to win a fight is one good hit, and all it takes to lose a fight is to let your guard down long enough for your opponent to get that hit in. Oberyn was winning the entire fight, but all it took was one unguarded moment for him to lose.
  • Revealing Hug: After Sansa's tearful story of her aunt's "suicide," she's hugged by Anya Waynwood and levels a sober and meaningful look at Baelish behind Anya's back.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Oberyn had ample opportunity to quickly deliver a lethal blow to his opponent, but his desire for revenge led to him letting his guard down, subsequently leading to his death. To make it worse, it was a single misstep that cost him the fight, just as Bronn had said before.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The Ironborn who surrendered to Reek end up flayed. The one who killed Ralf Kenning is explicitly shown, using a medium shot right on a Gilligan Cut.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Plenty of this in Tyrion's quest for understanding why countless lower lifeforms get crushed by a moron for some ultimately incomprehensible reason.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Arya's insane laughter after hearing of Lysa's death may be a sign of this. Alternatively, she has realized the dramatic irony of this being the second time the person the Hound wants to ransom her to died right before their arrival and/or the fact that her situation (as far as she knows) has gotten a lot worse again (with the wound likely being infected and her protector therefore being in serious danger).
    • Tyrion Lannister's crazy story about beetles to Jaime also leaves the latter visibly worried about his brother slowly losing his mind.
  • Scenery Gorn: Moat Cailin was pretty much this even before Ramsay got his flaying hands all over it.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: The Ironborn at Moat Cailin are willing to backstab Ralf Kenning when "Theon Greyjoy" offers them surrender terms if they go home.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Tyrion tells a story about trying to figure out why his mentally-deficient cousin Orson spent his years crushing beetles, but the story trails off without any resolution. The underlying point is the senseless cruelty of the universe, which cuts men down without reason, like an idiot crushing beetles.
    • Arya Stark's laugh is derived from the fact that every time she tries to reunite with her family, something horrible happens and they keep dying around her. The Hound is likewise frustrated at the fact that his journey fraught with much death and mayhem, and a higher bounty on his head is unlikely to lead to fruition.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Littlefinger tells Sansa, "The first time I saw you, you were just a child. Girl from the North come to the capital for the first time. You're not a child any longer." Later, she debuts her new adult look, black hair and a sexy black dress, as part of her becoming more of a player in the game. Littlefinger clearly likes what he sees.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Tyrion's story about cousin Orson and the beetles recalls a famous scene in Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory where a condemned man compares his brief life to that of beetles. It is also reminiscent of a famous quote from King Lear.
    Gloucester: As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods. They kill us for their sport.
    • While fighting, Oberyn shouts The Mountain's crimes at him in a way reminiscent of Inigo Montoya. (This is confirmed to be an allusion by Word of God, incidentally.)
    • Another one is when Theon approaches Moat Cailin and the caller asks, "Who are you?" which hearkens to another famous moment in Lawrence of Arabia with virtually the same context of loss of identity.
  • Sickly Child Grew Up Strong: Invoked. Littlefinger points out that this sometimes happens to weak boys like Robin Arryn, though Lady Waynwood cynically points out that more commonly they just die young.
  • Single Tear: Sansa when she tells of how Littlefinger was her Only Friend in Kings Landing. She turns on the full waterworks when talking of her aunt's 'suicide'.
  • Smug Snake:
    • Pun aside, this is what gets Oberyn killed. He could have left the Mountain to die, but tried to get him to confess.
    • Cersei has a very smug look on her face once Tyrion is sentenced to death.
  • Spiteful Spit: Theon is trying to convince his fellow Ironborn to surrender. Their commander who's got Blood from the Mouth spits some in Theon's face to show his contempt for that idea.
  • The Starscream: What was promised by Lord Tywin at the end of the Red Wedding finally becomes official. With his troops finally free to enter into the North, Roose can now officially take charge of his office and duty as Warden of the North with Ramsay finally promoted to becoming his official heir.
  • Stealth Insult: Pycelle uses his fake-senility act to troll Tyrion.
    "We gather to ascertain the guilt or innocence of this err...umm...man."
  • Stupid Evil: Before he squashes Oberyn's head, The Mountain thinks it's a good idea to taunt Oberyn by loudly declaring that he killed Elia's children, raped her, then murdered her, all for everyone present to hear. Of course, he was mortally wounded by that point and may have figured he had nothing to lose by doing it.
  • Super Strength: As if the audience needed any convincing, The Mountain manages to pop Oberyn's head like a huge grape with his hands.
  • The Svengali: Littlefinger to Robin and Sansa. Littlefinger seems to actually be succeeding as Sansa has essentially become his Number Two.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Daenerys's reaction to finding out about Jorah's spying.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Barristan confronts Jorah about his role as a spy for Varys before taking the evidence to Daenerys, and is not hostile when he does so. He even tells Jorah straight up that he didn't want to go behind his back.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Oberyn Martell. On one hand, demanding a confession is bold, but not too bad. What was too dumb to live was assuming the Mountain was down for good, and getting within arms' reach of him with his guard down.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sansa Stark finally gets her moment to step up and start playing the Game. And she jumps right in with Littlefinger, no less, putting on a performance worthy of any in King's Landing.
  • Teeth Flying: Gregor knocks out most of Oberyn's teeth with one punch before gouging out his eyes and crushing his skull with his own two hands.
  • Token Minority Couple: Missandei and Grey Worm despite the latter being a eunuch and having no such relationship in the books.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The promo for this episode makes it seem like Gilly is killed in the wildling raid, complete with a Reaction Shot from a crying Sam; at the end of the episode, it appears she is still alive, having been spared by Ygritte. Sam was crying because he thinks she's dead.
  • Tranquil Fury: When she confronts Jorah with his betrayal, Daenerys only barely raises her voice once.
  • Trial by Combat: The entire final act is the trial by combat for Tyrion's alleged regicide.
    "Trial by combat: Deciding a man’s guilt or innocence in the eyes of the gods by having two other men hack each other to pieces. It tells you something about the gods."
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Ser Waynwood regretfully informs Arya Stark that her aunt has died, then stares incredulously as she breaks into laughter.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Pillar and stones" for a man's privates. Again.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Jorah's intelligence resulted in the wine merchant's botched hit, which resulted in Khal Drogo deciding to invade Westeros, resulting in his own death and that of Daenerys's stillborn child Rhaego. Losing her sun-and-stars, as well as her son, was deeply traumatic to her, and she seems perfectly content to hold Mormont responsible. (It also led to the birth of her three dragons, but evidently that's a different matter.)
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Ramsay Snow delivers Moat Cailin to Roose Bolton, as ordered, and is rewarded by being legitimized and accepted into the House as Ramsay Bolton, just as he had wanted for so long. Ramsay's eyes fill with tears as he falls to his knees and promises to do his family proud.
  • Wham Episode
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Several Reaction Shots in the finale show Tyrion, Ellaria and Jaime wondering why Oberyn is unnecessarily prolonging his duel with the Mountain when he could simply kill him then and there... Alas!
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Daenerys doesn't look at Jorah in the eye when she orders his banishment, and is obviously holding back on her pain and anger.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The Wildlings, as before, kill women just as readily as men.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Presumably why Ygritte spares Gilly and her baby, since we've just seen that she Would Hit a Girl.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Subverted; Oberyn's spear gets cut in two during his fight. It looks as if he's going to be in serious trouble, but his squire simply tosses him a new spear and he continues the fight.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: The Hound's facial expression when he hears about Lysa's recent demise.
  • Your Head Asplode: While gouging out Oberyn's eyes with his thumbs, the Mountain finishes him off by squeezing his head so hard that the entire left side is destroyed.
    Pedro Pascal: (in a Q&A session shortly before the episode aired, when asked whether he would make the choice to be Tyrion's champion) "Absolutely/ No brainer."
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Ramsay says mockingly after flaying the Ironborn who surrendered, "You didn't think I was going to let them go, did you?" Theon of course had no such illusions.

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