(Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO)
(Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO)

There be spoilers ahead.

There’s been an unusual running theme in HBO’s Game of Thrones episodes lately. The show has put one of the most popular characters, Tyrion Lannister, literally on trial and in harm’s way making us fear for his life slowly.

The resilient and resourceful Tyrion has masterfully elluded certain death for three seasons, which in this series is a miracle. Sunday’s episode, Mockingbird, ups the game once more and brings memorable developments to several storylines.

We start at King’s Landing with some fallout from last episode. Tyrion tries to explain to Jaime why he couldn’t take the deal that would have saved his head but condemned him to a life on the Wall. There’s still some warmth left between the two Lannister brothers. Unfortunately, Jaime will definitely not be Tyrion’s champion on his trial by combat. We also learn that Cersei is going for maximum overkill by choosing the Mountain, ser Gregor Clegane, as her champion. Cut to the Mountain cutting down prisoners for training.

Bronn finally visits the cell but with no intentions to participate. Cersei has arranged for him a comfortable marriage with a title and the possibility of a castle inheritance via some unsavory means that don’t disturb Bronn. When Tyrion tells the sellsword that his future bride is dimwitted, the reply is classic Bronn: “If I wanted wits, I’d marry you.” All fun and games aside, Bronn doesn’t want to put his neck in the line against such formidable foe.

Somewhere in the Riverlands, the Mountain’s own brother. the Hound is apparently still on the way to the Eyrie. It’s becoming a bit unsure if they lost their way or Sandor Clegane is going to have to admit he doesn’t completely detest the company of his captive. The pair run into a dying man who the Hound puts out of his misery while showing Arya how to kill instantly. The Hound gets attacked himself as some crazed desperate guy bites him in the neck. It’s not a winning move. His would-be assassin partner lets them know there’s a prize on Sandor’s head. He also turns out to be a familiar foe or Arya’s when she was first captured. The guy barely gets to say his own name before Arya demonstrates she’s a quick learner in the ways of killing a man. The Hound is more resistant to learning, he refuses to burn the wound that could infect him.

All the way north at Castle Black, Jon Snow has returned victorious. Acting Lord Commander Alliser Thorne is not amused. He’s quick to order him to keep his pet direwolf outside. Later at the Night’s Watch mess hall, Jon tries to convince them to seal the tunnel but Thorne redirects the question to the First of the builders, who’s quick to side with Thorne. Jon and Samwell get assigned to the unwanted task of night duty.

(Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO)
(Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO)

Back across the Narrow Sea in Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen discovers and intruder on her bedroom. Daario Naharis shows up asking for something to do that involves more killing and possible something else. The Mother of Dragons has no problem in taking something as well, as he orders him to disrobe. In the morning, Jorah Mormont runs into a happy Daario on his way to meet Daenerys. He can’t hide his disapproval to his Khaleesi. even more so when he learns Naharis and the Second Sons also get to take Yunkai and execute the Masters. Daenerys extends an olive branch as she allows Jorah to change her instructions by taking Hizdahr zo Loraq, the noble who wanted to bury his father in the last episode. Hizdahr will now inform the Masters of Yunkai of what happened to the Masters of Meereen.

In Dragonstone, Melisandre is taking a bath when Queen Selyse comes in. Perhaps the only lull in the entire episode as a naked Melisandre explains how she uses potions to warp the minds of men and finally dismisses Selyse’s request to leave Shereen behind. According to Melisandre, the Lord of Light needs the girl.

Somewhere on the road, Brienne and Podrick finally have a decent meal and unwanted conversation for Hot Pie. The young kid still won’t shut up about kidney pies. He promptly cuts the talk short when Brienne mentions her quest to find Sansa Stark. As they prepare to ride on, Podrick warns Brienne about revealing too much about their mission while on lands under control of the Lannisters. He’s proven wrong as Hot Pie decides to come clean and tells them about his brief encounter with Arya Stark. Brienne rubs it in, but I’m with Podrick on this one. Later on, Podrick proves he listened to Lord Tyrion as he remembers Lady Arryn on the Eyrie. With a fork on the road ahead, Brienne takes a decision. Which one, we’re not told although geographically it would seem they’re turning east.

I usually group all the storylines geographically, but in this case I’ve left one last surprise in King’s Landing. Tyrion gets the unlikely visit of Prince Oberyn of House Martell. He’s out for vengeance. The visit from Cersei where she expressed her real concern about her daughter Myrcella seemed to have not fooled Oberyn. Tyrion says it best: “Making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of her many gifts.” Oberyn has taken the decision to first punish the Mountain, who originally raped his sister Elia and killed her children. Oberyn is now Tyrion’s champion.

(Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO)
(Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO)

Back in the Eyrie, Sansa Stark comes out to find the first snowfall and decides to build a snow replica of her long lost home of Winterfell. Until Robin Arryn comes in and ruins it. In a rare fit, Sansa slaps the silly out of him which sends the little brat scrambling away for his dangerous mother. Petyr Baelish chooses this moment to appear (oh he was stalking her I’m sure). Sansa asks again about his real motives to kill Joffrey. Littlefinger admits he was avenging Catelyn Stark’s murder, which wins him a smile from Sansa. Unfortunately, he also decides to kiss her while Lysa Arryn spies from a balcony.

Lady Arryn wastes little time in summoning Sansa. She barely has time to apologize for slapping Robin before she learns Lysa is mad at hell for the unwanted kiss. She precariously pulls Sansa to the ledge of the Moon Door, threatening to make her fly. Littlefinger interrupts the threat of Sansa’s life, promising to send her way. Lysa reluctantly lets Sansa go. Petyr approaches Lysa and tells her he has only loved one woman. That brings a smile to Lady Arryn’s face, but it is short-lived. “Your sister,” says Lord Baelish.

And with a quick push, Lady Arryn flies.

Highs: Bronn appears one more time with great lines. Tyrion telling Bronn: “Why are you sorry? Because you’re an evil bastard with no conscious and no heart? That’s what I liked about you in the first place.” Daenerys gets one great line this week: “They can live on my new world or they can die in their old one.” Arya demonstrating he’s been listening to Sandor by killing a man through the heart. Oberyn visiting Tyrion’s cell. Tyrion’s line about Cersei: “Making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of her many gifts.” Sansa’s short-lived scene building the snow castle of Winterfell. Lysa Arryn flying out the Moon Door.

Lows: The Mountain’s scene killing prisoners was a bit over the top. Jon Snow should really pick his battles against Alliser Thorne, he’s brought down every time and it’s getting dull. The conversation between Melisandre and Selyse seemed to be unnecessary unless there’s some nakedness quota the series must hit every week.

A great episode overall. Be aware there will be no new episode next Sunday due to Memorial Day Weekend.

That will do for now.

(Sources: HBO)