"The pain was bad, the smell was worse, but the worst thing was it was my brother who did it." So regales Sandor Clegane to Arya about how his brother, The Mountain, scarred him for life by burning his face as a child. In an enthralling if action-light episode that covered a lot of ground, Mockingbird presented both the numerous character pairings that have been formed in the show, and the various sibling rivalries across Westeros.
Playing the Game
Daenerys no longer has any relations, but she has created a loyal family of advisors fighting for her affections. Daario Nahaaris surprises the Queen of Meereen by appearing unannounced in her private quarters asking to use his talents for war and women.
Michael Huisman is doing a valiant job of playing the swashbuckling sell-sword, but unfortunately carries neither the presence or charisma to make his wooing of the mother of dragons any way convincing. In a role reversal of last season it is him who strips for Daenerys, and we are left to infer the Khaleesi is personally making the most of his so called 'talent' with women.
When Jorah raises his objections to trusting Daario, she deftly agrees to rescind her initial plan to send the sellsword to retake Yunkai, reminding us of who her most trusted advisor is, and to make sure Daario realises it's easier to get in her bed than her heart.
Meanwhile in the Riverlands, Arya and The Hound continue to witness the turmoil the war has brought across Westeros. The Hound mercy kills a gravely wounded farmer after he tells them that since the war there has been, "no balance any more".
And in this chaos a lady from Winterfell like Arya can become a killer, as she stabs Rorge in the heart upon being told his name. But the one name on her murder list that she is warming to is that of The Hound himself, as she helps him with the bite wound he received after he reveals the truth of how his brother caused him the facial scars and gave him the pyrophobia he still has today.
Whilst Arya journeys with The Hound towards the Eyrie, a former friend points her rescuers in the same direction. Hot Pie's welcome return garnered the episode's biggest laughs, as he waxed lyrical about the importance of gravy in pies, and continued to utter the malapropism of calling Arya's home Winter-hell. But his news about Arya is a vital piece of information for Brienne, who before assumed the youngest Stark daughter was dead, and with Podrick in tow the two head off to the Eyrie in the hope she'll be there.
Tyrion's defiant speech last episode might have been great to watch, but seems to have confirmed his doom. First his brother Jaime comes to his cell and apologises that without a hand he would not be able to defend him, even if he does laugh at the idea of, "Our family name snuffed out with a single swing of the sword," then Bronn also admits with great reluctance that he can't fight for him like he did back at the Eyrie. With a marriage and title promised, there's nothing Tyrion can offer which can convince the sellsword it's worth taking on The Mountain, and as he notes to Tyrion, "When have you risked your life for me".
You can see why Bronn's so reluctant. The Hound's hulk of a brother is introduced to the show in the goriest way possible, disembowelling various challenges who come his way before turning to Cersei and asking, "Who do I have to fight?"
The answer is Oberyn Martell, who like Cersei has a sibling score to settle. "It is rare to meet a Lannister who shares my enthusiasm for dead Lannisters," he says to Tyrion, before explaining how he saw him not long after he had been born, and despite being told that the youngest Lannister was a monster, just saw an ordinary baby.
He now sees the duel as a chance to avenge The Mountain raping and murdering his sister Elia and her children. The question is who will come out on top?
As we learn in the Eyrie, it's the love triangle between Petyr Baelish and Caitlin and Lysa Stark which has shaped the majority of events in Westeros. Before we learned of how an infatuated Lysa agreed to poison Jon Arryn for Littlefinger, a catalyst for the war between the Starks and the Lannisters. Now Littlefinger reveals the true reason for murdering Joffrey, as revenge for the Lannisters killing Caitlin at The Twins.
"In a better world, where love can overcome strength and duty, you might have been my child," he notes to Sansa, before perversely kissing her. But Lysa, who has always been jealous of Littlefinger's love for her sister Caitlin, can't stand to see him love her niece as well.
In a fantastically theatrical final scene she madly tries to throw Sansa out the moon door, before Littlefinger steps in to utter the damning words, "I have only loved one woman my entire life, your sister," and with that push his new wife through the same window to her death. Whilst this episode might have motored along in a lower gear, its shocking ending once more proves how much the game-changing moments of Game of Thrones are motivated on an intimate level by people's primal emotions.