Game Of Thrones: Season 3 Episode 10, Season Finale “Mhysa” Review

Game Of Thrones Season 3 Episode 10 Mhysa Mother. Emilia Clarkejpg

After last episode’s bombshell, fans expressed their outrage, heartfelt sorrow and disbelief. The collective gasp of shock from living rooms around the world roared into a frenzy on Twitter and other social media sites. The aftershock even reverberated across TV talk shows and newspaper headlines as if what happened was like a real life event. A week later, millions of viewers tuned in (or downloaded) to watch a confident, well-written season finale that began with its darkest hour and ended with a rare moment of inspiration. Continue reading Game Of Thrones Season 3 Finale, “Myhsa” review and recap.

I’m starting off with my favorite character in this finale. The writers made a subtle yet clever choice with Arya pretending to be a hungry, clumsy girl which is not out her element having previously taken on the guise of Arry the boy and Tywin’s cup-bearer. Arya’s growing list of personas is by design; all the more symbolic while holding the coin given by the faceless assassin. Arya knows her destiny and what she must do: “All men must die” she says in Valryian.

Author George R.R. Martin subverted expectation when Robb did not avenge his father’s death. So there’s a measure of instant gratification in Arya’s premeditated murder on the man who sewed Grey Wind’s head to Robb’s body. All season her fate has been in the hands of men; escaping the Brotherhood only to be taken by the Hound.  As dark and disturbing as it is for a vengeful girl to kill in cold blood, she’s taking control of her fate.

I can’t help but cheer for Arya after all she’s gone through. I also loved the Hound’s reaction. He doesn’t reprimand her for killing he only asks to be told ahead of time. The Hound is not a hero but the image of him protecting Arya on horseback and carrying the Frey flag to get safe passage makes me want to root for him too.

Game-of-Thrones-03x10-Mhysa The Hound and Arya

As for Arya’s sister, the cruel irony of Sansa smiling and joking with Tyrion while the viewer knows her family is dead would have been poignant if I cared more about her. Because I’m not as invested in Sansa, it was effective to simply have her teary-eyed and staring out a window with the camera cutting to Tyrion’s empathetic face without having to say a word about the Red Wedding.

Elsewhere in King’s Landing, the small council are relatively subdued over news of their enemy’s demise, with the exception of Cersei’s sly smirk and Joffrey’s tantrum.  It’s natural to empathize with the Starks because they are a relatable, loving family torn apart, that I forget that the Lannisters are a family too ensuring their survival.

The Lannisters are the poster child for dysfunction, so it did not occur to me how much Tywin values his family over the whims of its individual members but it makes absolute sense considering the political marriages he brokered. Tyrion will never feel worthy in his father’s eyes, so was he supposed to find some consolation learning Tywin took one for the team by not tossing him into the sea because he’s a Lannister? That’s a low blow Tywin, no Father’s day gift for you!

As encapsulated in the council’s meeting where King Joffrey is sent to his room without a meal, a component of the series’ narrative dismisses the power of the crown and army. For instance, Tyrion points out the King of the North won every battle yet lost the war and Melissandre recognizes her curse on the kings won’t bring Stannis any closer to the throne. Tyrion himself has experienced first hand that power is an illusion. After his demotion from Hand of the King, whatever power he thought he had continues to slip away when he’s forced to marry a teenage bride and all but ordered to father a son.

It’s evident that the Freys and the Boltons believe power resides in Tywin. And his power is tangible; in return for the Red Wedding massacre, the Frey’s secure an alliance with the ruling Lannisters and for Roose, appointment as Warden of the North. Yet, titles and alliances are like a flame flickering in the wind when kings are dying like flies. Perhaps the shadow on the wall in Tywin’s master scheme is not receiving the recognition or the blame for the Stark’s destruction, something the North will undoubtedly remember. Even if they do discover the true mastermind behind the Red Wedding, they’ll think twice before going into war with House Lannister.

There are clear parallels between Theon and Jamie’s story involving the loss of a body part that represented their identity and what they viewed as their source of power in the world. The show’s intent was to portray Theon’s degeneration into a broken shell of flesh and bone with no will to live and having death denied to him, forced to submit to the name of Reek (as in stinking meat). Though Theon’s arc may have some merit in gaining viewer sympathy, I would have preferred one scene early in the season that revealed he was a prisoner and then comeback to him at a later point much like Jamie Lannister in Season 2 where he was off-screen for a long time.

It’s been ingrained in our psychological makeup to have affinity for characters who start making decisions to do the right thing, even those as morally complex as Jamie. The Kingslayer’s self-less actions such as saving Brienne from rape and impulsively jumping into the bear pit informed his character as much as his hand amputation. Plus the bath scene, a symbolic baptism of sorts, transformed him from a dishonorable, backstabbing knight into a man who saved the realm from a mad king. It was a tease with Jamie arriving in Cersei’s room, I hope we get to hear their conversation (assuming they talked ;)).

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate the Boltons, Roose’s bastard son named Ramsey Snow is confirmed to be the man abusing Theon. One consequence of withholding the identity of the torturer is getting the explanation to what happened at Winterfell a full season later. Some fans that did not pay close attention or haven’t read the books found it confusing even if the producers intended it to be a mystery.

I did feel a bit queasy about the box containing Theon’s favorite toy (at first I thought it was all the Iron Islanders that Ramsey flayed), but I liked that Yara didn’t scream or cry. She’s tough, defying her father’s wishes and on a mission to save her little brother though she tries to hide how much she cares for him. Yara has the potential to be a fan favorite like Brienne, but I don’t think TV viewers are given much to invest in her at this point.

Up north, Bran’s scenes are closer to what I would have liked earlier in the season. Telling scary stories around a campfire builds the friendship between these kids, which was lost in the bickering with Osha. One issue on the show is that I haven’t warmed up to the Reeds yet which is unfortunate since they had a whole season to develop their characters. Tying back into to the Red Wedding, Bran’s tale about the man who was turned into a giant white rat after killing his guests is a great allusion to the rodent-like Walder Frey after he slaughtered the Northerners beneath their roof.

Bran’s voyage beyond the Wall is reminiscent of the first season finale with Jon. I thought Bran would have asked Sam to keep their chance encounter a secret from Jon. I guess its clear to Sam that Bran is following his destiny which doesn’t involve reuniting with brother. But what’s Sam going to say if Jon mentions seeing his brothers’ direwolves?

An ongoing obstacle with Jon’s story is his inner monologue doesn’t come across without Sam as a sounding board so it’s good to see they’re reunited at Castle Black. After last episode’s abrupt break up, Jon and Ygritte’s relationship needed closure and there’s nothing like riddling your ex with arrows and tears streaming down the face that says it’s over. While I like actress Rose Leslie and Ygritte, her final scene with Jon didn’t emotionally resonate with me as much as it should. Even though Jon says he loves her, the performance feels like he’s still holding back his emotions. Or maybe it’s because I’ve already experienced these moments from the book?

With several story lines converging and the White Walker threat on its doorstep, the Wall’s ecosystem will develop further when Stannis Baratheon answers Maester Aemon’s call to arms, brought about by Ser Davos and his new-found literacy.

There’s a similarity between Ser Davos saving Gendry from sacrifice and when Ned spoke out against King Robert Baratheon’s plan to assassinate Daenerys. Davos is guided his principles in deciding not to sacrifice one innocent life to possibly save thousands of others. Certain of aspects of Ned live on in Davos so hopefully he can represent someone who stays true to their values without losing their head.

Davos and Gendry’s talk about growing up in Fleabottom underscores the inequality of the social class systems in Westeros. The plight of the powerless and journey of empowerment is a central theme of GOT, above all in Daenerys’ story. As the hour started to wind down I started to wonder if I was going to get my Dany moment, since a finale wouldn’t be complete without her.

Game Of Thrones Season 3 Episode 10 Mhysa Daenerys Stormborn

At first I was underwhelmed but after allowing her scene to sink in, I appreciated the uplifting feeling it left me with, something few and far between on this show.  Game of thrones continually asks where does power come from and has explored many different aspects to this question. What I liked about the ending is that it’s layered and broad enough so viewers can choose for themselves what it means, in the same way that the Yunkai slaves chose to herald Dany not as Khaleesi, Conqueror or Emancipator but as Mother. 

Although I may have nitpicked at some issues, they are relatively minor and can be addressed next season. Overall, this was a solid episode to cap off a really good season. It’s going to be a long ten months waiting for Season 4. Big thanks to all the Game Of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire fans that take the time read this blog and for sharing your thoughts in the comments. Did this season meet your expectations? What story arc are you most looking forward to next season? 

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Posted on June 15, 2013, in Game of Thrones and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Why did you have to show that first pic again 😦 It hurts. I think I’m most looking forward to that big one on one fight next season (you know the one). That is one of my favorite parts of the books. Hope they can do it justice on screen, but it will be tough. Very curious about casting because of that battle too. I think Jon’s storyline should be really exciting too. Just in general everything up at the Wall should be really good. Arya has some cool stuff too. As much as I love Dany, I’m not sure she has a lot of great material for next season.

    Any idea what you’ll be reviewing next on here? Breaking Bad perhaps? I noticed you did those before though I don’t think I knew of your blog at the time.

    • I updated the pic to something happy :). The Hound vs Beric was fantastic which gives me high hopes the show can pull off the even bigger 1 vs 1 coming up. That’s the most important new character to cast that I can think of.

      At this point, the show could benefit from focusing on the characters already in play which means certain POVs in Book 4 may get omitted. I’m completely okay with that.

      I like anticipating which events will happen in each episode next Season. I hope they save a sizable budget for events up North, what episode should this happen? As for Arya, more scenes with The Hound would be great, I don’t mind if they stretch out their adventures together. Dany’s will be a tricky one to pull off because they need to push her story forward yet not rush too far ahead into Book 5.

      That’s a good question, I’m not sure what I’ll be reviewing next. I’ll be watching True Blood, Breaking Bad and possibly Dexter but I don’t think I’ll be reviewing them. Too be honest, my reviews are more recap and reaction but they take me a very long time to write up. I wish I could write really fast. What do you plan on reviewing next? By the way you did a great job with your GOT reviews and didn’t miss an episode unlike me!

      • I’m curious how many of the Dorne and Iron Island characters they will have in the show. There are like a million introduced in Book 4… haha.

        As for the event up in the North. I don’t know. The big one I’d think would be an Episode 9 candidate, but there seems to be too much to do afterwards so maybe 8? I’d guess Joff’s Wedding is Ep. 3 or 4. Maybe the one on one fight is 9 then the fallout of that, the stuff in the Vale, and SH in ep 10. I’d don’t know. It’s kind of fun to try and guess. There is just a ton of cool stuff saved for next season.

        And thanks! I am going to be taking a break from weekly reviews for now. They are really tough to keep up with and I’m looking forward to taking a break. Hopefully I will pick something up in the Fall to review. Hope to see you reviewing TV again though. I really enjoy them.

        • *** These comments may contain spoilers ***

          Everything that happens on the Iron Island should be scene thru the eyes of Yara. But since it looks like she’s shipping out to rescue Theon, they might just skip it out entirely?

          The issue with introducing new characters is that if they don’t service them with enough scenes it’s hard to care about their story arc. Some viewers were intrigued by Mance Rayder but he fell off the radar, although it’s clear to non-book readers he’ll play a bigger role in the future. I’d personally be happy if they continue to invent more scenes for the Queen of Thorns and Margaery to make up for not introducing more characters.

          There’s no mention of Princess Myrcella this season, not even from Cersei in the finale episode where she talked about her children. I think they’ll cut out the Dorne characters in Season 4 entirely except for the one that comes to King’s Landing. Would you be a little disappointed if they don’t cover House Martell and Iron Islands?

          Yeah, if they stretch or rearrange things, ep 8 can be the North. Ep 9 can be the 1vs1 and Ep 10 can be the crapper scene lol. If I remember correctly from the books, by the time Brienne arrives in Kings Landing, the “little bird” has flown. I think the next wedding will happen early like you said, ep 3 or 4. It’s so much fun trying to guess what and when will happen.

          If I had advance copies of shows like GOT, I would love to do proper reviews or at least more thought out ones. Some critics or websites get early copies and have the reviews posted as soon as the episodes officially airs. Sometimes I don’t post my reviews fast enough while the episode is fresh on people’s minds I think it effects the number of views. I write because I enjoy it but it’s also nice to know people read it.

          Were you happy with the number of views on your GOT reviews? Or do you care about that? Thanks again for following my reviews. I also enjoy read your gaming articles but I might not have anything interesting to say to comment on them.

          • Book spoilers in this comment.

            Are you saying the TV show won’t have time to dedicate to all 73 Sand Snakes… haha. Honestly I could see them skipping a lot of the Dorne and Iron Island stuff and I guess I wouldn’t mind too much. I am just wondering if characters like Euron, Victarion and Arianne will be important enough going forward in the books that they’d need to be introduced. They feel that way to me though I suppose that’d be more Season 5 stuff. Maybe Arianne could actually accompany the Red Viper to King’s Landing initially? Actually I’m not sure that works, but with some tweaking maybe. Do you think they’d cut Quentyn altogether? I don’t know. I’d actually kind of like to see Dorne in the show, just because I like to see the various regions of Westeros in the visual medium, but I definitely understand the need to not keep including more and more characters. Season 3 actually had some issues keeping up with the storylines it already had.

            I wonder what they’ll do with Brienne for the time being. Will she just sit in a cell somewhere for a while? I wonder if Jaime will be at Joff’s wedding?

            I hear you about not having screeners. I used to do my Fringe reviews whenever I finished them sometimes a week later usually after a second viewing, but then I did one the day after and the view difference was pretty substantial, so I decided to always try and do them the day after now. As much as I write because I enjoy it. views do help. My views for GoT reviews were pretty good relative to my other blogs though that still isn’t all that many.

            Thanks for indulging me in these comments. I don’t get to chat with many other book readers about the show. If I’m getting too spoilery for your comments (I know you have non-book readers that visit here) and you want to shoot me an email that’d be cool too. We could even get into future book theories if you want.

  2. Lil' Ass Kicker

    Nice review Sidekick. as always may I say ?
    This one has been expected for days !

    So, here we go : GOT season 3 finale “Mhysa”. Wait. What is “Mhysa” by the way !?

    What a shocker to see GreyWind’s head sewed on Robb Stark’s body.
    The whole idea is deja-vu (cf. Kick Ass 2, comics) but how harsh it is seing that in flesh !
    Globaly, this episode is one of the most barbaric “by Jupiter’s cock” !! (Ramsay got some Batiatus’s blood in his veins by ripping Theon’s toy. RIP Segovax).

    I loved the way Arya and The Hound crossed the battlefield. The Hound really looked like a hurted animal watching carefully all around. Strong image too to see that big man’s fate relying on a piece of tissue, Frey’s flag I mean.

    And the “Father of the year Award” goes to……… Freys ? Boltons ? Greyjoy ? Lannisters ?
    Well, you know.. “War is a simple game. 5 Kings chases a crown, and at the end Tywin always win”. When Stannis Baratheon prays “Dear God”, Tywin rips “Deer guts”.

    Seriously, The Oignon Knight Ser Davis is the one brave Father out this mess. I found him irrelevant in first two seasons but for now I think he probably could be the season 3 revelation. He’s the only good guy standing tall by as his acts as his words.

    That said, Tyrion is not far behind. His scenes are well built and beautiful to watch. What an irony for that scar faced imp..

    I really miss Littlefinger and Varys antics by the way. We did not was them that much lately and that’s a blow on the strategic chessboard.

    About peace peeps, here comes the (former-) Kingslayer !! Jaime stands strong in my opinion. Cersei in an other hand (no word play here)… Well, never looked that weak. She’s not THE Queen anymore to me, more like a depressed mother tired of her “Brat Impson’s” fits of anger.

    Aaaaaannd here we are. Daenerys. Dany. The lady in white. Che Guevarra in skirt.
    So what’s the plan again ? Free thousand of slaves and drag ’em on the road across her empire of dust ? ’til they die like her previous Khalasar did ? Come on.. You screwed the most powerful cities of the country and humbled their pride !! Now you got satisfaction having devoted zombs as your “childs”, like big lizards I guess… (ait to see the Christmas family portrait.. ). Daenerys is a Keanu Reeves. Basically, she saves people. And never fail to. In any ways. Wait… After the “Unsullied” are thoose people she just freed “Unstarvable” ? Or maybe Dany is waiting for the next “Meet your friendly neighboor party” to get close to some free buffet ? Really ? Oh.. ok. My bad. 🙂

    That was my words for this GOT season 3 finale ! I actually enjoyed it a lot. Good time TV.
    (I skipped on Jon and Sam because I totally share your words on them Sidekick).

    • Thank you for the kind words! I started writing the review many days ago but I ended up re-writing a lot of it.

      “Mhysa” means Mother which is the word the Yunkai slaves used for Daenerys.

      Yeah, Grey Wind’s head on Robb’s body is a tough one to watch. I read Kick Ass 2 a few months ago and I’m looking forward to the movie. It’s going to be bloody awesome!

      Between the Unsullied, Grey Worm, Varys and now Theon there’s a lot of missing members. Segovax was really graphic but obviously a CGI effect with the blood spurting out.

      I also loved the way Arya and The Hound rode out on the horse with all the carnage on the battlefield.

      That’s a good point about the cruel, evil Father’s on GOT. It makes me miss how great of a father Ned was to his daughters. Ned always accepted Arya for who she was and gave her sword/dancing lessons. He also tried to keep the peace between Arya and Sansa without siding with one or another.

      On the other hand, Tywin is cold and calculating. He doesn’t let emotions or trying to do the “right thing” get in the way of making strategic decisions which is the opposite of poor Robb. The first time we see Tywin is gutting the deer and degrading Jamie which sums up his character perfectly.

      This finale made me interested in Ser Davo for the first time. I liked that he wasn’t too proud to learn how to read from a little girl and has a good heart unlike many other people on the show.

      Peter Dinklage is an excellent actor, so lucky to cast the perfect Tyrion. I’ll think he’ll have more to do next Season.

      I found it kinda funny that after Littlefinger announced he was going away to the Vale to marry Catelyn’s sister, he stayed in King’s Landing for many episodes after. Varys and Tyrion is one of my favorite duos from Season 2. I hope we see more of them working together since they appear to be real friends.

      Jamie is a different person from when he last saw Cersei. Add Tyrion to the mix and it’s going to a be a fascinating family reunion. I wonder if Brienne will stay a bit in King’s Landing especially since her mission is to rescue Sansa and Arya.

      Haha, Dany gotta lot of hungry mouths and growing dragons to feed. Do dragons like the taste of human flesh? If so, then they have something in common with zombies. Speaking of zombies, they sure seem to be walking really slow to the Wall. These are the classic zombies not the sprint running zombies from 28 Days Later. Maybe they are taking the scenic route? Daenerys was handled much better this season compared to the last. After the excitement from crowd surfing fades, she’s going to realize she has a huge responsibility to people she’s freed.

      I loved reading your thoughts on Season 3 finale, it made me think and laugh at the same time. This is great TV talk! Thank you Lil’ Ass Kicker! 🙂

  3. I kept forgetting they cut book three in half for this season and kept expecting stuff that wont happen until the end of next season haha 😀

    • Yeah there’s still a lot of great things to come from book 3. Before the finale aired, there was some speculation it could end with Book 3’s epilogue. If they can secure the cast member for a couple of scenes they can reveal it in Season 4 or in the next finale as a cliffhanger depending how much material they use from Book 4. Phew, it’s hard discussing this show without spoilers. 🙂

  4. Season three did meet my expectations but went too fast, 10 episodes flew by. Since I haven’t read book three and on yet, I’m most looking forward to Jamie’s storyline. Although he was part of the Kings guard, I never quite understood why everyone hated him for killing the king. Yes, he was supposed to protect the king but everyone was trying to kill him anyway since he was “mad”. The episode with Brienne brought some insight into why he did that and seemed to gain some semblance of decencey to Jamie. Hope he keeps it. Also looking forward to Arya’s story and what she’ll do, where she will go. Enjoyed your recaps and looking forward to next season!

    • Always great to get your perspective. Having read the books, sometimes I wonder how much it influences my perspective of the show, from the pacing to character development.

      I also loved that scene with Brienne when Jamie revealed his true motivation for killing the Mad King which most people in King’s Landing still don’t know he saved the city from being burnt by wildfire. Tywin in King’s Landing changed the game so I’m looking forward to how Jamie’s return might change up the family dynamics.

      Arya’s journey is full of exciting possibilities. With the amazing young actress, whatever direction her character goes I’m sure she’ll pull it off. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  5. I hated the finale. 80% of it were filler scenes. Easily worst episode of the show for me. There were some good moments like Arya killing a Frey, Sandor being sad and horrified upon seeing the King in the North and small council scene but most of the episode was a wasted opportunity. Robbwind was so rushed many people didn’t even register what happened. Not showing Cat being thrown into river is not only a bad decision it’s also worrisome – if they have Talisa as LS it will be the worst decision ever. Djawadi’s superb track would be terrific for resurrection scene which happens about the time episode events happen, fits the episode’s title and would have been best ending the show had yet. Instead they ended with the cheesiest scene of the show….

    • Game Of Thrones goes against the grain compared to season finales of other television shows. While most shows up the ante, GOT spends its time wrapping up story arcs and setting up the next season. Mhysa didn’t do an excellent job of either of these but as a fan I was satisfied … for the most part … though Jamie and Brienne deserved a much better conclusion, just a conversation would have been nice. And like I mentioned Jon and Ygritte’s break up wasn’t the emotional ending it was supposed to be.

      *** some possible book spoilers ahead ****

      As for Cat, the Frey people that Arya & the Hound killed should have also talked about what they did to Cat’s body. I personally prefer to have the LS reveal at the end of Season 4 because it’s only been one episode after RW.

      I admit it wasn’t a great ending to cap off the season with “crowd surfing”. To be honest, I didn’t initially like the ending to Season 2 either because the White Walker invasion felt too tacked on, like a forced cliff hanger. It would be better reserved for the Battle of the Fist of the First Men, which Season 3 did not depict except for the fade to black ;). Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I always enjoy hearing other opinions on Game Of Thrones!

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