Game of Thrones Finale Recap: Winter Is Here [UPDATED]

Game Of Thrones Season 2 Finale SpoilersIf you haven’t seen tonight’s Game of Thrones finale yet, get thee to thy DVR immediately! Everyone else, read on.

After last week’s Battle at Blackwater, it didn’t look too good for many of the Game of Thrones crew. So it was a relief to see so many of them survive and plan for the future in the second season finale, “Valar Morghulis.” Here’s what happened:The Lannisters: As a result of his grandfather riding to the rescue in last week’s fight, Joffrey’s insolent tush was back in its wrongful place on the throne. He reinstated Tywin as Hand of the King, and ditched Sansa as his betrothed when it became clear that Margaery Tyrell was unsullied and willing. (Sansa’s relieved joy, however brief, was such a beautiful thing to see.) Meanwhile, Tyrion recuperated from his battle wound in an undisclosed location because, as it turned out, Cersei was behind his near-death. Note: You’ve got to admire just how much treachery that woman fits into each day; she must be a multi-tasker. In pretty much the only instance of me ever not finding Lord Varys creepy, he thanked Tyrion for saving Kings Landing by bringing Shae to him. Tyrion refused to go to Pentos with her, and in an uncharacteristically open and raw moment, was brought to tears by her vow to stay by his side. Elsewhere, Brienne killed three Stark men as she continued to accompany Jaime to King’s Landing. It was pretty kickass. “I don’t serve the Starks,” she stated, making her affiliation quite clear. “I serve Lady Catelyn.” And Stannis (not a Lannister, I know, but this is the place he fits in best) choked Melisandre in his anger over losing at Blackwater, but didn’t kill her. She told him he’d eventually win, but it would be an ugly war. As he stared into some flames, whatever he saw left him dumbfounded. That can’t be good.

The Starks: Against Catelyn’s wishes, Robb was handfast to Talisa. I’m sure that promise he made to marry the bridge dude’s daughter will just be swept away as a wedding present, right? At Winterfell, Theon realized there was no good end to his situation: He and 20 men were surrounded by hundreds. Maester Luwin tried to talk some sense into the Stark’s delusional ward — “I’ve known you many years, Theon Greyjoy. You’re not the man you’re pretending to be. Not yet.” — but the youth instead tried to rouse his tiny army to what would certainly be their death. He wasn’t very successful: A few of the men brained him with a pole, mid-speech, and dragged him to their boats to go back to the Iron Islands. “Thought he’d never shut up,” one quipped. Ha! When Luwin demanded to know what was going on, he got a spear in the belly for his troubles. Bran, Rickon, Hodor, and Osha returned in time to say good-bye to the wise advisor just before he passed. With his last breaths, he told Osha to take everyone north to see Jon at The Wall, then asked the Wildling woman to kill him quickly, which she did. As the Stark boys and their friends sadly went on their way, the ashes of Winterfell smoldered behind them. There was a lot of crying, only a little of it from me. Arya fared a bit better: Jaqen gave her a coin that would summon him whenever she needed. “If the day comes when you must find me again, just give that coin to any man from Braavos and say these words: valar morghulis,” he told her before somehow changing his face (!) and walking away, saying, “Farewell, Arya Stark.” Jon killed one of his Night’s Watch brothers to gain the Wildlings’ trust, and it appeared to work when Ygritte announced that he was going to meet the King Beyond the Wall. In another part of the tundra, a blizzard blew in and left Sam stranded. As he tried to hide behind a rock, a freaking huge army of undead White Walkers in various states of decomposition slowly streamed around him. One noticed him but left him alone, instead raising its spear and issuing a zombierific battle cry. Too bad it’s eons before Rick Grimes’ time, eh?

The Targaryens: There’s technically only one Targaryen around, unless you count the three dragonlets that Daenerys went to the House of the Undying to recover. I do. Those suckers are cute. While Ser Jorah waited outside, she walked through the scary stone building, which appeared to hold both a wintery, abandoned royal court (the Targaryen one, I’m guessing) and a Dothraki tent in which a very much alive Khal held their infant son. But as pleasant as those visions were, the blonde realized that she was being tricked. When she finally found her dragons, a warlock chained her up and told her that because the dragons weren’t strong without her around, she’d never leave. Fortunately, her strength gave the dragons enough power to burp fire onto her captor, and the braided beauty was soon free. After realizing that her handmaid had conspired with the (broke) Xaro, Dany sealed them both in his empty vault and plotted with Ser Jorah to procure a small ship. Watch out, Joffrey — looks like the dragon lady is coming home.

What did you think of this season’s final episode? What are your predictions for next season? Vote in our poll and sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. AF says:

    The ending was ridiculously awesome. I can’t wait for next season!

    • person person says:

      Agreed. Worst episode yet. Total let down.

    • TV fan says:

      From Khal Drogo to Jaqen H’ghar and those amazing zombie horses at the end, this was an amazing episode! The first marriage out of love (Robb & Talisa) vs the first step into a slow build up (Jaime & Brienne), the last farewell between Arya Stark and a faceless man (Gendry must be relieved by now) vs the first real welcome between Jon Snow and the wildling men, Daenrys most impressive lessons from Qarth and everything the little lords must learn from now on. This was an epic season finale!

  2. Sylvie says:

    Possibly one fo the worst GoT episodes ever.

    • Tish says:

      It was an excellent episode. A perfect lead on all the characters for next seasons premiere

    • lisa says:

      you’re wrong and it was awesome.

    • seras says:

      shut up, joffrey.

    • bliss_infinite says:

      I agree. It was a fantastic season but the last episode was a total let down. With all that happened in season two, all the players go put back into their original places. Nothing really changed. The plot ceased being linear and became cyclical like a regular soap opera. Still a great show, though.

  3. anthonynewhall says:

    Crying. Perfect.

  4. NikkiNik says:

    Great episode (though last week’s was better). I wanted to see Theon get his comeuppance this season, though.

  5. Laural greco says:

    did anyone see ::(ED STARK ) Sean Bean,,,,as one of the three warriors who met Jaamie and his lady guard…I’m sure it was him….I had hoped it was another “bastard” child of his.. too bad he was killed off….

  6. tbux says:

    cant wait to see the red wedding!!!

  7. Rodrigo says:

    Some scenes don’t exist in the books. Maybe Martin altered the script.

    • Joan says:

      A book adapted to screen doesn’t have to be the same as it is on page. It’s an ADAPTATION, not a filmed book, if you know what I mean.

    • seras says:

      i agree with rodrigo. the stolen dragons sequence wasn’t scripted for the books, but it was another path to the same end: dracarys. they have been amazingly faithful to the books, so i trust when they make such grand changes it is for a reason. if you enjoy the series for what it is instead of comparing it constantly to the source material, you will enjoy it far more.

    • Martin, himself adapted the book to the screen

    • Kylee Pierce says:

      Actually some of the scenes described are in book 3 (A Storm of Swords) which partially overlaps book 2 (A Clash of Kings).

  8. Darth Pablo says:

    It was Ah-Mah-Zing!!!!

  9. Olivia says:

    That creepy magician reminds me of the “Gentlemen” in the silent Buffy episode. Was glad to see him fry, and surprisingly happy to see Khal Drogo again. Dude has seriously mellowed since his death, and it suits him. While Dany’s story was not the most exciting this season, it was nice to see the Dothraki getting back to what they are good at, sacking and pillaging. And a nice bookend to their first scene in Qarth when they got scolded for debating how they were going to steal everything later. Ahh how far the Khaaleesi has come.

  10. John Smith says:

    when will they give us 1 episode just for Jon Snow?? i think he’s got more interesting story, the wall, the wildings, the white walkers, and the first men.

    its better than seeing the starks lanister baratheon or Targaryens fighting for the iron thornes.

    • Ruby says:

      The answer to that is never, seeing as how this is an ENSEMBLE. However I agree about his storyline being really interesting, and he’s going to get some great stuff next year!

  11. andrea says:

    is it just me or were there some stuff missing from the house of the undying scenes? like some really important stuff that happens in the book? Anyways absolutely great finale, can’t wait till next season.

    • Claire says:

      yeah they cut out a lot from that whole part in the book, but when you think about it, it would have cost a absolute ton and probably taken up more than half the episode….I am a bit disappointed that that part was so short though as they could have made it more…magical…all in all good episode and I’m glad that next season they don’t have to fit the 3rd book only into 10 episodes, cause then they can really try and include all of what happens (hopefully)

  12. Barb says:

    The undead zombies and the WhiteWalkers are two different species. The ones shambling on the ground were wights (undead humans) and the one the horse was a Whitewalker – something different altogether.

  13. It was amazing! Tears were shed, minds were blown & there was plenty of cheering as well! I’m sad that its over. But I plan to read books 2-5 until it comes back on!

  14. Scout says:

    Hm…. I would be okay if Joffrey made Sansa disappear. I think she plays the same note on every episode. I wish the actress could add more layers to her performance so she doesn’t seem so one-dimensional and a bore. Anyway, I love this show. I wish there were more episodes in a season though…

    • W says:

      I disagreed. Sophie Turner is playing Sansa is exactly the way I imagine her being. she’s a hostage who cannot show her true emotions. In all her scenes, I can see her anguish, fear, and loneliness. All the child actors are perfectly cast IMO. Sansa won’t disappear anytime soon, her story is going to be much more interesting and heartbreaking as the series went on. I can’t wait to see more of her.

      • Haunting her is her father’s death. She could become a key player by her brother’s side. Wait until Arya is in the game with the two older ones! You know Joffrey and Cersei are in for a rough time!

      • I agree wholeheartedly with your comment ‘W’… the younger actors are incredible! So much talent overflowing and it comes from the strength and depth of the script. That dead stare that Arya gave Tywin a few eps ago blew me away…

        The whole cast is amazing. I have not seen a scene over the two seasons that was flat. It is a pure joy to watch a show like this compared to most of the tripe that is on usually. Well done Everyone involved with Game of Thrones.

    • Sarah says:

      Sophie Turner is doing an amazing job! The fact that the character is surrounded by enemies means she can only publicly display certian emotions. Turner does a great job not only portraying the public face of a very young captive but also shows that there is more going on with Sansa that she tries to hide. thats an incredible tricky thing to portray as an acxtor and I think Turner does it well

    • AB says:

      Sansa in the book is a bit of a bore too- she kind of has to be to survive.

  15. JD says:

    The 1st season was very faithful to the 1st book, the second season changed and altered so much from the book. I know they can’t show everything in the books, but I feel that they even changed the characters. Making Cersei and Tywin almost likeable? Changing the House of the Undying totally, stolen dragons(how & who the dragons burned),Jon’s wife a totally different person, Tyrion’s chain. IMHO very different than the book. Book 3 is the best in the series,again IMO, hope they stick to the storyline next season. Very dissappointed in this season.

  16. Eddy says:

    It sucked like almosT every episode this season! First season way better this was disappointing…I appreciate the suspense and build up as much as the next guy….but enough already and get to some killing and main points already…the story just Lewis building…I how the third season gives sine relief…because if it goes this same route there won’t be a fifth season

  17. Eddy says:

    Keeps*…I Hope* the third season gives some* fourth* stupid swype and auto correct…lol

  18. Bla says:

    @ JD
    “The 1st season was very faithful to the 1st book, but the second season changed things”

    “I feel that they even changed some characters. Making Cersei and Tywin almost likeable?[…] Jon’s wife a totally different person”

    (Cersei and Tywin are excactly the same as in the books. They just have different dialogues. “Oh my god, they changed dialogues”)

    “Did not show THE CHAIN…”
    “Blablabla… IMHO opinion… very different to the books… stick to the REAL STORYLINE…. blablabal … very dissappointed……”

    Most changes are for a reason.
    “The Chain” would have been far to expansive to show….
    Many “original” scenes would now work as well on screen,
    Jayne Westerling was a one-dimensional bore, etc. .

    If you fanboys could enjoy the series for what it is instead of mindlessly comparing every minute to the source material, you would enjoy it far more.

  19. Trenton says:

    So much of the books is written in the mind of the characters…their inner monologue revealing what they really think or feel. You can’t really do that with TV. The only relevant changes I have found…:

    Cersei: She seems to know Joff is a monster, whereas the book she was just a blind fool. But I still like how they altered that…she still loves him, as she told Sansa.

    Robb’s Wife: Who cares the point isn’t who he married, its the ripples that follow.

    Jon: Really faithful to the books with him…

    Tyrion: Again really faithful…you only have an hour to show…what is more awesome a giant firebomb of wildfire or a chain slowly raising out of the water…giant chain is sooo riveting. Having Bron sing Reins of Castamere was soooo much better than a chain.

    I think the point they made about Tywin verses Roose with Arya is that he isn’t evil. His motivations in life aren’t about being evil. He cares about his family name and his legacy. He was kind to arya b/c she is easy to like and useful…and that is the point of the story. These are Grey shades of people not white and black.

    • JD says:

      Ok, people, get a life. I was pointing out many of the differences. Did not say that they were all totally “relevant”, just that there were many. Jayne Westerling may have been a bore, but her family background is more important, as later they are all held captive at Riverrun. I don’t need them to stick to the books word for word, just want them to be faithful to the characters I have invested in. I feel, that making Cersei dislike Joffrey changes her character totally. She worshipped her son and was blind to his cruelty. The chain was important to show how important Tyrion was to the battle. I don’t care how they did it, but they did not show how he orcestrated the battle, even with the fire, they made it look like Cersei’s plan and it was not!

      • dinos312 says:

        Cersei knew that Joffrey was a monster, she just tried to find parts of him that made him a powerfull ruler (like Aerys), she wasn’t blind to his nature.
        What they change from the books is that in the books she doesn’t care so much.

  20. Kevin says:

    I am actually waiting to read the books so I can enjoy the show more. As far as this episode goes, it brought a good closure for me to the season, which as a whole I did not think was great. A lot of setting up situations for the future. For example: Robb Stark marrying a girl he is in love with but not promised to will certainly be an issue in the future. The first stop for Dany in Qarth on her quest to return home made her more Dothraki than she expected herself to ever become. Tyrion not being dead was a true blessing for the show. My heart dropped when Cersei’s soldier turned on him and I thought they killed another lead character. The teens cast in this show are doing a fantastic job and I agree with Sarah and W. Sansa is truely tormented and self loathing that she once fell for Joffrey. And Joffrey is doing a great job because he is playing the role that is making us hate him so much. (Unlike Theon) He almost tries too hard to be better and it makes us hate him and Ayra gets better every episode. The White walkers were cool enough to make you want to watch Season 3. They went the whole season almost dismissing their exsistence after the series opened up with Ned Stark beheading a guy for running from white walkers. Lastly, Cersei is phenomenal. I hate her on the show, which means I love the job she is doing. Just when I think she might be a bit more humane, she turns out to be plotting something else.

  21. Me says:

    I don’t usually mind the changes that they made from the books but the house of the undying was just terrible. The whole point of Daenerys’s storyline this season is to get to the house and they just ruined it. Forget no big budget things, I’m talking about the basic plotline. No prophecies or filling in of backstory is going to make next season kinda hard to understand for those who haven’t read the books.

    • JD says:

      Totally agree!! But wait, you will get bashed by the others who hate when you compare anything to the books!

  22. sara young says:

    Please tell me when the next season (3) starts? I have read all of the books, and watched all of the shows…. I just love this story!!!!! I hope they don’t wait until 2013 before it comes back on… please let me know

    • Danyelle says:

      Hate to be the bearer of reality, but I can almost guarantee you it’s not until next spring. TV seasons, here in America at least, are usually a year apart.

  23. Jeff says:

    I don’t get it. If Winterfell was surrounded by 500 men, why were they all gone when the wee-brothers Starck emerged? Why were the 20 men able to burn the place down? Wouldn’t they have been killed? Certainly they wouldn’t have been allowed to take Theon back to the iron islands.

    • Drew Melbourne says:

      Robb said he’d let all of the Islanders go except for Theon. The Islanders handed Theon over to Bolton’s men. As to who sacked Winterfell? That probably counts as a spoiler…

  24. I’ve read all the books. IMHO, they’ve done a good job getting the most important parts of the story across, and the ‘totally-different-from-the-book’ story elements fit in fine. Hubby & I are very much looking forward to S3, as it promises to be quite a roller-coaster of a season.

    I’m also glad that Tyrion got to keep his nose. ;-)

  25. Jake says:

    I can wait for the deaths of Cersei Lannister and Joffrey Baratheon. That little Sh&t needs a sword to the throat and Cersei just needs to die a painful slow death.

  26. Joe says:

    Did I miss what happened with the hound leading Sansa out of King’s Landing at the end of the last episode? It was never explained why she was still there in the finale. Are we to assume because they won the battle, the hound wasn’t able to get away? And, if so, why didn’t we see his head on a pike?

    • JD says:

      The Hound offered to take her, but she chose to stay, as it was in the book. I won’t spoil how she gets out, but they teased a little of it. Although, looks like they are leaving out another character, but the end result will be the same.

      • Joe says:

        Thanks for the reply. I’ll have to watch it again, because I thought she chose to go with him after she realized he wouldn’t hurt her. She even followed him out the door, didn’t she?

        • JD says:

          Sorry, I don’t recall if she actually followed him out the door. Guess I wasn’t studying it because I knew she didn’t leave with him(did The Hound kiss her in the show or was that just in the book?). I think she is just so terrified of Joffrey & Cersei that she is afraid to do anything. Loved her smile when Joffrey proclaimed that he will no longer be marrying her!

          • Joe says:

            He didn’t kiss her in the show. I obviously haven’t read the books, but I know how the lines can sometimes be blurred for those who have. I’m pretty sure she followed him out the door, which is the reason for my confusion upon seeing her in the finale.

  27. Ian says:

    At no point did we see Theon dragged to the Ironborn ships. How do you think they got back to their ships? Remember the offer that Robb laid out before? Any Ironborn that wants to can go home, except Theon.

  28. Katya says:

    great finale..but they did not explane who burn the winterfell … cause in the book the author said the man who were outside the castle….

  29. Ricks says:

    Enough with the spoilers!

  30. o_O says:

    What a stupid poll, of course GoT is the most awesome and epic tv show ever.
    As expected, great season final :) cant wait so long for the next season, i really have to start reading the books.

  31. louisecee says:

    Loved the episode and entire season. BUT… Just read the books and II was so looking forward to seeing the prophecies in the House of the Undying scene. Wonder why they left them out because they were quite important. Probably one of the most talked about parts of the books.

  32. croesos says:

    While I did enjoy the finale, there are still a number of things that annoy me when compared to the books, not just because they are different but because I don’t see a reason for them being different (which hopefully can still be remedied in season 3 in some cases)
    Most annoying to me was how they completely changed Robb’s character, with his marriage for love feeling like a hollywood-style romance and if you think about it very much out of place in the context of the whole series. The book makes much better sense to me, where the marriage is ultimately a direct consequence of events after Robb finds out about Bran being “killed” (same goes for Catelyn releasing Jamie).
    The house of the undying was a bit of a disappointment as well, but that was mostly because I loved the lead-up to it in the series (better than the book IMO).
    I’m interested in how they will explain what exactly happened in Winterfell in the end, seeing as they can’t really use the story in the book anymore, after leaving out so much of the preceding events.
    My biggest regret though probably is that they squeezed so much material into just 10 episodes, I think a 12 ep order would’ve been much better.

  33. comeuppence says:

    It’s not even fun to read Game of Thrones comments anymore. Every other one is “the book” “this is like the book” “this is not like the book”… We are watching the TV show. We are not all book readers. You explaining in depth about how it is or isn’t like the book, we consider to be spoiler information. Please consider this perspective is all i’m asking. I’m genuinely excited to come read people’s thoughts on the episode and i have to skip past nearly every one.

    That said, the episode was great. I didn’t particularly like the Whitewalking dead. The whitewalker himself on the horse was ok. Rob Stark just signed his death warrant by marrying that girl. Poor Tyrian.

  34. Uriel says:

    The 2 last episodes were a masterpiece. To whom complaining about boredom should read the books….. (first 3 books are good but 4 is rediculousley boring).

  35. Suxxi says:

    The GOT Season 2 is awsome! I like Ariya and that Fatboy that talks about food. Also the dwarf acting character is really impressive.

  36. eric says:

    is season 3 taping?

  37. Irene says:

    You guys are awful. The show was WONDERFUL. There has only been ONE BOOK that that’s ever been made into a movie “word for word” it was “the old man and the sea” by Steinbeck. Starring Spencer Tracy as the old man, and the Sea starring as the Sea. Just him, his boat,the big fish and of course the Sea!

    • JD says:

      Ummm, Book 1 and Season 1 were identical. They did not veer of course, but kept true to the story and characters in book 1. Season 2 , changed and ommitted things in the book. Great show, agreed. But, after reading the book, I wish they would stay true to them.

  38. Earnestly says:

    Ummmm… The old man and the sea was Hemingway not Steinbeck. Tales of the City series was the most exact screen replication of a book I’ve ever seen -virtually cut and paste dialogue. I think Maupin had a lot to do with the making if the series… Anyhoo… You have to take it for what it is I reckon. To Kill a Mockingbird varied significantly between page and screen, yet both were awesome.
    Anyway I found out what I came here to find out, which was what went down in Winterfell – which is that I’m not supposed to know yet. I’ll leave off reading the books – maybe come to that later… Depending how much I enjoy the series to come…