Sign up FAST! Login

Game of Thrones S4E8 Book / Speculation followup for non-readers: "The Mountain and the Viper"

Stashed in:

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

lukeatlook summarizes and analyzes "The Mountain and The Viper":


Welcome to the weekly followup for non-readers and join us in the journey to entertainment through enlightement! You should be safe from any spoilers and in case any contents are disputably too revealing, I'll cover them in the proper tags, but generally you should be OK checking those, too. Note: in case of some plotlines, we've already reached AFFC (Sansa, Brienne) or ADWD (Daenerys, Theon) material. "Book" scope here means: I do not spoil events that are yet about to happen in the show.

TL;DR: "Did you know that..." - "Well , in fact..." - "It made sense in the books" - "Well, that wasn't in the books" - "It's just the beginning"

Disclaimer for book reader and/or personal bias: read at your own riskDisclaimer for poor grammar: some possible accretions from Polish, last week I've made up the word "monstrual" forgetting it's "monstrous"

The Plot Hole, Filler'd

I should never have left her there - Samwell Tarly, realizing that the book version was far more reasonable

  • "Wait, are there only two songs in this world?" - Yes and no. Many songs are mentioned, but only about four have their lyrics written down. I think we could hear "The Dornishman's Wife" next season. Anyway, "Rains of Castamere" are supposed to be overplayed to death and then some, and the people of Westeros make jokes about it. Joffrey's wedding featured seven different renditions of this song.

  • Mole's Town is generally not a place of events from the POV of any characters, at least not until the current moment of book story presented in the show we can talk about. Not much is said about the place, but in the books Jon warns the people of Mole's Town of the attack, allowing them to scatter around the place and survive the raid.

  • What we saw here was the end of the huge filler arc. Basically anything that happened this season concerning Jon Snow up till now was show-only content scavenged from some other passages. So if anything feels wrong to you, blame the show adaptation, although the filler arc was really quite decent.

  • If you didn't see the preview for the next episode (or saw it and didn't get the implications), we're having Blackwater 2.0. That means: episode centered around one location, lots of fighting and a huge budget. This should excuse any issues we've had with this plotline so far.

Lords of the Friendzone

You will never be alone with her again - Barristan Selmy, proving that the enormity of Jorah's blue balls is yet to reach its peak

  • We've reached the point where more or less all the plot points of Daenerys's story from ASOS have been resolved, barring Strong Belwas (whose only role so far was winning the fight with the champion of Meereen). The character of Strong Belwas himself may or may not come back in the future season(s). So just a side note: we're officially out of ASOS and into ADWD, when concerning Dany.

  • The last point left was the reveal of Jorah's betrayal. It is, in fact, connected to a much longer plotline, which is "Arstan Whitebeard", Barristan's fake identity which he keeps until the siege of Meereen.

  • TV Barristan was never at the small council meetings, unlike his book counterpart. This small and smart change allowed to rebuild his storyline, since in the show he had no reason to hide Jorah's betrayal if he knew about it. In the books, he was hiding his own identity all the time, unsure of the intentions of all Daenerys's camp, Dany included.

  • The revelation comes before the siege of Meereen, when Daenerys tries to knight Arstan. While Barristan says he's already a knight and begins to confess, Jorah recognizes him and outs him as a traitor and Robert Baratheon's man - only to get a crushing reply with Barristan revealing Jorah's involvement with Varys's spy network. There is no need for Tywin's letter, and, in fact, there is no concern over Daenerys at all in King's Landing.

  • Daenerys, mad at both her advisors, send them through the sewers to have them open the gates of Meereen for her army. In the end, Barristan's humility saves him, while Jorah is full of excuses. Once Dany learns he's been sending reports up till Qarth, she exiles him.

  • I'll leave the Grey Worm-Missandei romance without any comment since I have no book material to back it up. "Uncalled for" are the words I'd use to describe the situation, but hey, sometimes fillers deliver. Also, there's some sweet irony in my disdain towards this relationship - sometimes such reaction is predicted and calculated, just like Shae was supposed to be annoying.

The Circle of Life

Everything the light touches will be yours - Roose Bolton, glad he doesn't have a jealous brother

  • This will quite probably get more focus in the future, but Theon's muttering is actually a rhyme: "reek, reek, it rhymes with meek" and so on. It used to be a regular teaser joke on this subreddit a few years ago before it got declared a spoiler material together with Ygritte's assessment on the extent of Jon Snow's knowledge; the latter phrase became so grossly overused that any post on this subreddit containing it is automatically removed.

  • The Neck is a swampy, narrow land that provides the only passage from Riverlands to the North. Moat Cailin being held by the Ironborn, in case you forgot episode 2, was the reason Roose Bolton had to sail from the Twins to Dreadfort. The Bolton army marched from the Twins.

  • A bastard can be recognized by the king. The letter held by Roose is signed by Tommen Baratheon and legitimizes Ramsay as Roose's true heir. This does not work without king's consent, so Gendry (the boy smith) is not the true heir by any means, unless Stannis recognizes him, de facto abdicating in his favour.

  • In case you hadn't recognized the last location, it's Winterfell. Burned down and abandoned, but its walls are still stadnding in the center of the North, and winter is coming. In fact, during the winter a large part of the smallfolk gathers around the castle, forming a settlement called Winter's Town.

In Flight

It's time for Robin to fly out of his nest. - Littlefinger, not sure which little prick is he talking about

  • Book spoiler scope clarification: Just like with Dany, Sansa's story has already surpassed the scope of ASOS and made the first step outside it (into AFFC).

  • Trivia time! Did you know that you've already seen Waymar Royce in the show? It was the first episode, first scene! He was the leader of the unlucky party that discovered the return of the White Walkers. He was also a dick, which may be the effect or the cause (or both?) of his exile. He was lord Royce's third son, so no changes to the lne opf succession.

  • "Bronze" Yohn Royce is a renowned tourney knight. He was bested by Rhaegar Targaryen at the Tourney of Harrenhal and Jorah Mormont at the Tourney of Lannisport - but those two were the victors of their respective tournaments and other than that, Bronze Yohn is rather a formiddable opponent, winning sparrings against Ned Stark and Thoros of Myr.

  • This might come as somewhat spoiler-ish, but book Littlefinger has a really handy explanation to the whole event - he puts the blame on the bard Marillion, the same poor fellow whose tongue Joffrey had had cut off in the show. Well, the term "poor fellow" is disputable here, since the bard tried to rape Sansa at the Fingers (Littlefinger's family nest). This is the last scene of the last chapter of ASOS: Lysa begins her tantrum and tells about poisoning Jon, Littlefinger swears to have loved only one woman, says "Only Cat", pushes her through the Moon Door, opens the gates and claims that the bard has kiled his wife. Book Marillion is not mute and never in King's Landing, but still he can't really talk his way out of the accusation, especially since nobody will have his back.

  • It's time to stop for a while and adore the costume design of GoT. In case you hadn't noticed, the embroidery in this show is detailed beyond belief, giving each dress a unique style and emphasizing the position of characters wearing them. Sansa, for example, starts with delf-made dresses with fish motives (after her mother's Tully sigil), but once in King's Landing, she begins to add lion details to her clothing. Her newest dress is a full-blown Baelish mockingbird, but the texture on the chest resembles fish scales. Compare her dress to armour of Edmure and Brynden Tully. I am so gonna make an image submission out of that simple juxtaposition.

  • It's not just Sansa, though. Bronze Yohn Royce has Runestone sigil all over his cloak and lady Waynwood's dress looks like bird wings (although their sigil isn't a bird).

  • If this was any other episode, Arya's laugh would be the highlight of the week. But this was THE episode...

So "Rains of Castamere" is like "Happy"?  :)

Yes, it is the "Happy" of Westeros!

Sing along:

A little more...

Mind = Blown

What did he get out of it? - any fan, questioning GRRM's tendency to kill off characters for no apparent reason

  • Interpreting the show-only story of Orson "Beetlethmather" Lannister is a topic for a separate post. I love that this scene can be read in so different ways. Some say it's about people looking down on Tyrion, some say it's about Oberyn's persistence in revealing the orders behind the Mountain, some even say it's about George R. R. Martin killing off our favourite characters. Let's go full meta: Tyrion is as puzzled about why Orson was smashing beetles as we are about what the hell is that scene supposed to mean.

  • "This is not the day I die" is actually the catchphrase of Jojen Reed. And his paranormal abilities give him a damn good reason to make that claim. Pedro Pascal might have even copied and ad-libbed this line, since he's a fan of the show.

  • Gregor Clegane is actually really annoyed by Oberyn's talk. The Mountain is on strong anesthetics (he drinks milk of the poppy, equivalent of our morphine) to kill his headaches and other body pains (he suffers from severe gigantism). He can't both think and fight. "You talk too much," he grumbled. "You make my head hurt."

  • Trial by combat's outcome is determined by whichever side yields or dies first. Even is a champion dies a mere second after the other one, his side wins the trial. Of course neither side wanted to yield, since Tyrion was gambling for his life and Cersai was hellbent on having him killed.

  • Book includes a few more details exempt from the show, such as the Mountain accidentally slicing a bystander in half or Tyrion puking in reaction to the skullcrunch and laughing maniacally when he realizes he had put his life in Viper's hands, and snakes don't have hands.

  • Oberyn's bravado goes a bit further in the book: he takes the Mountain's greatsword, with the words If you die before you say her name, ser, I will hunt you through all seven hells. Awesome, but the greatsword's weight prevents Oberyn from dealing the decisive blow when the Mountain grabbed him.

  • Us readers didn't have this any easier. To be fair, the book merely stated As he drew back his huge fist, the blood on his gauntlet seemed to smoke in the cold dawn air. There was a sickening crunch. There was no mention of Oberyn's scream or the bloody gore, only Tyrion's reaction to it and Ellaria's scream.


Want more?

You May Also Like: