The penultimate episode in each Game of Thrones season is always the one where the big stuff happens. In the first season, that’s when Ned Stark’s head was cut off. The second season had the Battle of Blackwater. And this season? Well, we got the Red Wedding. And just like with the events in the first and second seasons, the Red Wedding is a total game changer—whole trajectories of what might have happened must be abandoned. Predictions must be re-evaluated and all the things we thought we knew must be questioned. So, rather than have anything momentous occur in this episode, it is instead laying the groundwork for next season. Characters that we haven’t seen for awhile come back, some mysteries are answered, some more questions are raised. All in all, this finale did exactly what it was supposed to do—it didn’t satisfy anything, it just left the viewer craving more. Well, it certainly didn’t leave this viewer craving sausage, but I’ll get to that shortly.
We open on Roose Bolton, striding up to the top of the Twins, so that he can better survey the carnage and fire down below. The Stark bannermen are being slaughtered by the Freys and Boltons, and the Hound attempts to ride out with Arya, who is still dazed from both the events of the night and also, of course, the fact that the Hound hit her in order to pacify her and take her from harm’s way. Their exit is stalled by men chanting “Here Comes the King of the North! Here Comes the King of the North!” and parading out of the castle gate with…oh. Shit. Arya shouldn’t be seeing this. It’s Robb’s decapitated body propped up on a horse, with the head of his direwolf, Grey Wind, attached. The look on Arya’s face is one of dawning comprehension. It’s heart-breaking. The Hound whisks her away. The Stark banners burn. If there was any doubt left that the Starks have been utterly defeated, that doubt is now gone.
Back in King’s Landing, though, the sun shines and newlyweds Tyrion and Sansa walk through flowering gardens, with Shae following in their footsteps. They seem to be getting along quite well, much to Shae’s chagrin. However, their happy matrimonial conversation involving stuffing sheep shit into the beds of their enemies is cut short when Tyrion is summoned to a meeting of the small council. He enters the room, sees that piece of shit Joffrey smiling and asks, “Killed a few puppies today?” No. No, Tyrion. Your family has killed some wolves.
“Robb Stark is dead. And his bitch mother,” Joffrey crows. And then he declares that he will serve Robb’s head to Sansa at his wedding feast because, even though Tyrion protests that Sansa is no longer Joffrey’s to torment, Joffrey insists, “Everyone is mine to torment.” Joffrey sounds exactly as insane as he actually is, and everyone from Varys to Cersei try to hush him up. I guess Joffrey hasn’t done much reading about the fate of the last Mad King. That didn’t end so well. But I guess I’d rather Joffrey didn’t know about that, after all. Maybe this way he’ll get what’s coming to him.
Anyway, Tyrion has clearly kept his finger on the pulse of what is going on with the mortality rate of kings, saying to that little piece of shit Joffrey after he calls Tyrion a monster, “Oh, I’m a monster, am I? Well, you should talk to me more softly then. Monsters are dangerous and just now kings are dying like flies.” Yes, Joffrey. Watch the fuck out. Because not only is Tyrion against you, but Tywin has had enough of your bullshit too. Tywin puts Joffrey in his place by reminding the little piece of shit king that it is Tywin who has been winning the war, while Joffrey has been doing nothing except torturing and killing innocent prostitutes (RIP Ros). But Joffrey hates being disrespected and so tells his grandfather that it is Tywin who is the coward, because he “hid under Casterly Rock” during Robert’s Rebellion. Oh, you stupid little piece of shit, Joffrey. You should not go against Tywin Lannister. Tywin sends Joffrey to his room, and tells Grand Maester Pycelle to drug the little piece of shit to boot. Joffrey is an even bigger idiot than he seems if he thinks he can disrespect Tywin like that.
Once the rest of the small council is gone, Tywin tells Tyrion, “All the Stark men are dead. Winterfell is a ruin. Roose Bolton will be named warden of the North, until your son by Sansa comes of age. I believe you still have some work to do on that score.”
“Do you think she’ll open her legs for me after I tell her how we murdered her mother and brother?” Tyrion is clearly not so keen on taking advantage of Sansa, but Tywin goes on and on about how family is everything and that it is essential to sacrifice everything else for the good of your family. Tyrion questions whether Tywin has ever put family over his own desires and Tywin tells his son, “The day that you were born. I wanted to carry you into the sea and let the waves wash you away. Instead I let you live and I’ve brought you up as my son, because you’re a Lannister.” Sick burn, Tywin. That’s why you’re the baddest bitch in Westeros.