I have some spoilery thoughts, as you might imagine. “Mockingbird” is easily one of the busiest and often most poignant episodes of the season, littered with subtle changes from the books and plenty of big moments ripped right from the pages of A Song of Ice and Fire. But before we get to this week’s rambling of book knowledge nonsense and wild speculation (mostly the latter), let’s give everyone who isn’t spoiler savvy a chance to get out while there’s still hope.
Below is a picture of Walter White Walker: Lord of Spoilers. Below that are book spoilers. Read on at your own peril.
Is Lady Stoneheart still in play?
Time for our weekly check-in with my most firmly held theory for the ending of season four. The answer is yes, absolutely. In fact, the promo image seen at the top of this article, released by HBO this week, gave me great pause. It’s Brienne and Pod standing in a bit of fog, looking somewhat perplexed. In the end, it’s either a nice fake-out by the HBO marketing department or my mind searching for clues where none exist. Then again, executive story editor Bryan Cogman confirmed in an interview last week on A Cast of Kings that the little details absolutely matter.
The details that matter this week: lots of talk of Catelyn Stark, the Brotherhood, getting revenge upon those who hurt the ones we love. All of this screams out to me that Lady Stoneheart is going to make an appearance. As well, Brienne and Pod have already passed through the Inn, diverted their quest toward The Vale and skipped over a bunch of stuff that happens in the books. Like the part where Rorge descends upon them and is killed by Brienne. In this episode, Rorge gets skewered by Arya Stark. It’s part of the show’s Riverlands Mix-n-Match, as The Hound should have been wounded at the fight at The Inn. Instead, he gets bit by the Biter (something that happens to Brienne in the books) and Arya kills Rorge.
My theory remains strong. Somewhere toward the end of the season, Brienne and Pod will get into some new trouble. They may then be saved by Gendry (who could very well have rejoined The Brotherhood by now) and judged by Lady Stoneheart.
True or false: The Viper vs. The Mountain will be the greatest single combat fight scene in the history of television?
True. No doubt.
The execution of Oberyn’s storyline has been masterful. It’s not without its changes, though. In the books, Oberyn isn’t quite so sure who exactly murdered Elia and uses his desire to know the truth as a jumping off point with Tyrion. He agrees to be Tyrion’s champion if Tyrion tells him who did the killing and proceeds to spend much of the fight trying to bring The Mountain to confession. The show paints him as more resolute, which makes him far more dangerous. It also sets up a far more fierce confrontation in the next episode between Oberyn and The Mountain. “I will be your champion” is a killer line for book readers and non-readers alike. Oberyn is cemented as one of the show’s most masterfully realized characters yet.
All that’s left is a badass fight and some sadness.
How does Daario’s trip to Yunkai figure into Dany’s accelerated storyline?
The trouble with Daenerys’ storyline in the show is that it’s starting to deviate heavily, especially where chronology is concerned. Eventually Daario Naharis goes to Yunkai to get the formerly conquered slave city under control for his queen. He is then captured and held with the demand that Dany kills her two imprisoned dragons. Since none of the other pieces are in place yet, the most likely deviation here is that Daario will have a successful trip to Yunkai as a replacement for his ambassadorship to Lhazar in the books. It will also give the show time to introduce Daario and Hizdahr zo Loraq to each other, setting up the rivalry that will eventually develop from Dany’s marriage to the Meereenese noble. It’s an important landmark that Dany’s story must get to, the driving away of Daario so that he can be captured and be unavailable for the eventual undertakings upon Dany’s big exit of Meereen.
The other thing that’s perplexing: the Jorah thing. Perhaps the show wanted to get the sexual tension between Dany and Daario out there first, making her dismissal of Jorah seem a little bit safer of a decision, but it can’t be far off, right? They’ve planted some seeds, mentioning Jorah’s spying in the small council meeting in last week’s episode. The pieces are there. The season is running short on time. Surely it has to be coming up.
As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, the show has a way of taking the long way around and arriving at the same destination at the books. Honestly when it comes to the Meereen storyline, I’m a bit flummoxed. This doesn’t feel like the long way so much as an entirely different road altogether.
What about the changing of Littlefinger’s great line (“Only Cat.”)?
I had a similar reaction to that of my spoilery podcasting partner in crime Joanna Robinson, who beat me to it with her explanation last night. We have to come to terms with the fact that the show will have to do a certain amount of hand-holding for the non-reader audience. There are a great number of nuances that can be spread throughout several chapters in the books that just don’t make it into 10-hours per year of television. So the change doesn’t bother me. The message is delivered. He never loved Lysa, he was using her to further his quest for power.
These are my thoughts for now. Something tells me that after another viewing of the episode, I may have a lot more to say, but I’ll save that for my weekly appearance on the A Storm of Spoilers podcast with the aforementioned Joanna and Dave Gonzales. Give it a listen, you won’t be disappointed. Also, feel free to share your own thoughts and theories in the comments below.