"Mhysa" is the third season finale of the American medieval epic fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and its 30th episode overall. Written by executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by David Nutter, it originally aired on June 9, 2013 on HBO in the United States.
|Game of Thrones episode|
|Directed by||David Nutter|
D. B. Weiss
|Featured music||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography by||Robert McLachlan|
|Editing by||Oral Norrie Ottey|
|Original air date||June 9, 2013|
|Running time||62 minutes|
The episode revolves on the aftermath of the events instigated by "The Red Wedding": House Frey receives the Seat of Riverrun, Roose Bolton is appointed the new "Warden of the North", while House Greyjoy begins a new military campaign. In the North, Maester Aemon sends out ravens to alert the whole of Westeros about the arrival of the White Walkers. And across the narrow sea, the freed slaves of Yunkai hail Daenerys as their "mhysa", the Ghiscari language's word for "mother".
According to Nielsen Media Research, "Mhysa" was seen by 5.4 million household viewers in the United States, a twenty-eight percent increase compared to the second season finale, "Valar Morghulis". After its broadcast, the episode received generally positive reviews from television critics, with some of them addressing its anti-climactic closure of the series' third season, and its establishment of potential storylines for the fourth season, such as through the final scene's "glimmer of hope". The episode received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
In King's LandingEdit
The icy relationship between newly married Tyrion and Sansa is thawing slightly, as they banter about their shared status as outcasts. At a Small Council meeting, Tyrion learns of the deaths of Robb and Catelyn Stark during the Red Wedding. King Joffrey orders Robb's head brought to King's Landing, planning to gift it to Sansa, the prospect of which makes Tyrion threaten Joffrey. Joffrey angrily threatens Tyrion in return, and insults Tywin when he reprimands him. Tywin, showing Joffrey he does not fear him, orders he be taken to his room and sedated. Tywin and Tyrion later discuss the murder at the Twins, and the appointment of Roose Bolton as the Warden of the North, until the son of Tyrion and Sansa is of age. Tywin dismisses Tyrion's warning that the northerners will neither forget nor forgive the role the Lannisters played in the Red Wedding. Tywin then chastises Tyrion for not having impregnated Sansa. Tyrion finds Sansa in his bedroom, staring forlornly out the window with a tear-stained face, revealing she has already received the grim news.
Elsewhere, Lord Varys and Shae discuss their shared eastern heritage, Tyrion's marriage to Sansa, and its effect on Shae. Varys gives Shae a bag of diamonds in the hopes that she will sail for Essos and make a new life for herself, freeing Tyrion from danger and allowing him to focus on making the capital a better place, but Shae refuses the offer and believes Varys was sent by Tyrion. At night, Queen Cersei visits Tyrion and tells him to give Sansa a child, as it will make Sansa happy as it did for Cersei when Joffrey was born.
Jaime, Brienne, and Qyburn arrive in King's Landing, and Jaime immediately goes to see Cersei.
At the TwinsEdit
Shortly after the murder of their king, the loyal Stark bannermen fight a losing battle with the Freys outside the walls of the Twins. "The Hound" Sandor Clegane and Arya are horrified to witness several Frey soldiers parade Robb's decapitated corpse around the entrance to the keep with the head of Robb's wolf, Grey Wind, attached to it. Later, Arya and the Hound come upon four Frey men discussing the murder of the Starks. Arya slips off the horse and brutally kills one of the soldiers who claimed to have desecrated Robb's body. Before his allies can aid him, the Hound steps in and easily kills them.
The morning after the wedding, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton discuss the previous night's events, the escape of the "Blackfish" Brynden Tully, and their new positions as Lord of Riverrun and Warden of the North, respectively. When Walder asks Bolton what happened during the fall of Winterfell, Bolton explains that he sent his bastard son, Ramsay Snow to take the castle back from the Greyjoys. Bolton's plan to offer the Ironborn safe passage in exchange for surrendering Theon worked, but Ramsay flayed and killed the surrendering Ironborn despite his father intending the offer be made in good faith.
In the NorthEdit
Bran, Hodor, Meera Reed, and Jojen arrive at the abandoned Nightfort. Later, Bran is awakened by a sound, and wakes his companions. They meet Samwell Tarly and Gilly; Sam deduces Bran's identity, seeing his direwolf. Bran asks Sam to take them north of the Wall, and though Sam protests the idea, he eventually takes them through the passage. Before they separate, Sam gives the group the rest of his dragonglass supply, and tells them that it has the power to kill White Walkers. Sam and Gilly later arrive at Castle Black, where they present themselves to Maester Aemon, who allows Gilly and her baby to stay. Aemon, on hearing the recount of events, orders all the ravens be sent with messages warning the return of the White Walkers.
Riding back to the Wall, Jon stops to wash his wounds when he hears Ygritte draw her bow. He tries to talk her out of shooting him, but when he turns to leave, she fires three arrows into him. Jon manages to escape, later arriving at Castle Black and passing out from his wounds. The Night's Watch brothers take him in, where Sam and Pyp identify him so that he is cared for.
At the Dreadfort, Ramsay Snow, the true identity of the mysterious boy, taunts Theon about his castration. When Theon begs Ramsay to kill him and end his suffering, Ramsay simply replies that he is more valuable alive, before giving him the nickname "Reek", and beating him until he acknowledges his new name.
On the Iron IslandsEdit
Lord Balon Greyjoy reads a letter sent from Ramsay Snow, crudely detailing his demands to have the Ironborn soldiers withdraw from the region of the North under his control, threatening to flay the soldiers if they do not comply. It is also revealed in the letter that Ramsay broke his promise and flayed the 20 ironborn that betrayed Theon in Winterfell. Ramsay also sends a box containing Theon's severed penis, adding that he could further dismember Balon's son. To the protests of his daughter Yara, Balon plans to refuse the offer and allow Theon's torture to continue. Yara disobeys her father's decision and takes 50 of the Ironborn's best men and the fastest ship available to march on the Dreadfort.
In the dungeons, Davos visits Gendry and tries to relate to him by telling the story of how he became a lord. Later, Davos practises his reading with Princess Shireen, when he reads the letter sent by the Night's Watch. When they hear the bells ringing, Davos leaves Shireen to meet with Stannis and Melisandre. Stannis informs Davos of Robb Stark's death, which he attributes to Melisandre's ritualistic burning of the leeches. Melisandre plans to burn Gendry as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light, and although Davos tries to get Stannis to spare Gendry, Stannis orders him to be sacrificed. At night, Davos frees Gendry from the dungeons and gives him a boat to escape Dragonstone.
Afterward, Stannis and Melisandre ask Davos if he freed Gendry, which he does not deny. Stannis orders Davos to be executed, but Davos tells Stannis that he will need his assistance. When Stannis asks why he would need Davos' help, Davos shows him the letter sent from the Wall. Melisandre burns the letter, and in the fire sees the war coming in the North. She tells Stannis that only he can save the North, and he will need Davos's help to do so, thus preventing his execution.
Across the Narrow SeaEdit
Outside Yunkai, Daenerys, her advisors, and her Unsullied army stand ready to greet the slaves of the city and free them. When they arrive, Missandei tells them that Daenerys has freed them, but Daenerys tells the slaves that only they can take their freedom back. The crowd begins to chant "mhysa", which Missandei tells Daenerys is Ghiscari for "mother". Daenerys passes her army to walk amongst the freed slaves, who lift her to their shoulders. Daenerys smiles and looks up into the sky as her dragons fly freely.
"Mhysa" was written by executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on George R. R. Martin's original work from his novel A Storm of Swords. Chapters adapted from A Storm of Swords to the episode were chapters 43, 49, 53 to 55, 57, 63, and 64 (Daenerys IV, Jon VI, Arya XI, Tyrion VI, Davos V, Bran IV, Jaime VII, Davos VI).
After being absent for the entire second season, Peter Vaughan returns as Maester Aemon and Josef Altin returns as Pypar. This episode also marks the return, after a long absence, of Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy and Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy.
In its original American broadcast in HBO, "Mhysa" was seen by an estimated 5.4 million household viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. It marked a year-to-year increase in viewership of 28 percent compared to the second season finale, "Valar Morghulis", which was seen by 4.2 million. The second broadcast of the "Mhysa" during the night was viewed by 900,000 viewers, bringing its total viewership for to 6.30 million. According to analysts, the success of the episode significantly helped Game of Thrones to surpass True Blood as the second most-watched series on HBO, after The Sopranos. In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 1.154 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.110 million timeshift viewers.
"Mhysa" received generally positive reviews from television critics, with some of them addressing the finale's anti-climactic closure of the third season and for establishing new storylines for the fourth. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 20 reviews of the episode and deemed 100% of them to be positive with an average score of 8.5 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "'Mhysa' wraps up several of season 3's lingering storylines while subtly setting the table for season 4." James Poniewozik of Time wrote in his review, "The end of season 3, then, spent some time among the winners and losers in post-Red-Wedding Westeros, giving the audience a chance to soak in the shock, seethe at the winners' glee, and get a reminder of the larger forces – White Walkers, dragons – well beyond the war between the Lannisters and the Starks. If the Red Wedding seemed to kill hope, 'Mhysa' made clear that it didn't end anything. And it weaved together the many, many threads of GoT's tapestry by returning to a recurring theme: that Game of Thrones is ultimately about family." Matt Fowler of IGN described that the finale had "nicely set up a lot of cool stuff for Season 4, but it was also lacking some of the power and majesty of previous finales. Especially the ending with Dany, who herself had a better ending back in 'And Now His Watch is Ended' when her dragons torched Astapor and she left with a full army." He also praised the scene where Arya killed a Frey soldier. Writing for Today, Drusilla Moorhouse remarked that "After last week's shocking massacre, most fans braced for more tragic deaths in season three's finale. Instead, the blow was softened with poignant reunions and surprising saves, setting the stage for an explosive fourth season."
In her review for Zap2it, Terri Schwartz wrote that "Nothing can ever quite redeem the deaths of Robb and Catelyn Stark, but at least larger forces are taking shape that are propelling this series into Season 4. Daenerys is as powerful as she's ever been, Jon Snow returns to the Wall while Bran heads north of it and the Greyjoys ready an assault to finally save Theon from his captor. Then there's the fact that Stannis decides to sail north to the Wall to aid the Night's Watch in their fight against the White Walkers, which seems like it's going to end up being the greater, global conflict in the future of 'Game of Thrones'." Writing for The A.V. Club, David Sims gave "Mhysa" an "A-" rating, while Todd VanDerWerff gave it a "B+". Sims, writing for audiences who have not read the novels, described the episode as lacking "a lot of serious plot movement or major twists and may have fans gnashing their teeth a little bit as they wait nine months for season four. The previous season finales have also had that quality, but they each ended on a barnstorming note. 'Mhysa', not quite so much." VanDerWerff, writing for audiences who have read the novels, wrote that "On a plot level, not a lot happens in 'Mhysa'", but praised the episode in addressing the series' "value of one human life is in the face of a kingdom." He also mildly criticized the series' template of when "something terrible happens in Westeros, Dany offers a glimmer of hope over in her story line", referring to it as its "Achilles' heel". Kevin Fitzpatrick of ScreenCrush wrote in his review, "All in all, the air (or blood) of the season had mostly been let out by 'The Rains of Castamere', as even a returning Jaime’s most interesting moments arrived much earlier in the season, but 'Mhysa' gave us a good course-heading for season 4, with some much-needed catharsis along the way."
The episode's final scene, in which Daenerys, "the blondest possible savior figure", appears with "uncharacterized brown people" as "[being lifted] up as their messiah and praising her for saving them from bondage", was criticized by at least four commentators as having colonialist or even racist undertones. They asked why the series chose to portray the Yunkish as nearly uniformly dark-skinned, rather than as ethnically diverse as in the source novels, to which George R. R. Martin replied that this was because the scene was shot in Morocco with local extras. Commentators also criticized, more broadly, that the series's inclusion of people of color was limited to only a small number of characters.
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