Game of Thrones, Mockingbird, review: A more cerebral affair with some nudity thrown in for good measure

A meaty watch, which left the gratuitous violence out for once

For one week only, the swordplay was (on the whole) left to one side and instead the emphasis was on character dynamic and development.

Again, Peter Dinklage shone as Tyrion, who continued to languish in his filthy gaol and desperately find a champion to represent him in his trial by combat. Dinklage gave a strong performance, balancing Tyrion’s now waspish wit with his morose mood. It was as touching as it was amusing. Give Dinklage an Emmy Award!

Perhaps the most interesting turn came from Rory McCann as The Hound. Viewers saw a softer side to Sandor Clegane that is usually hidden deep beneath the armour, the rage and the expletives. It turns out when he isn’t dropping f- and c-bombs or telling Arya to shut up or killing people or generally being The Hound, he’s actually quite a sensitive soul. Just like Jaime, he is winning over the audience.

 

If ‘Mockingbird’ was getting too intellectual, there were some breasts and bottoms to keep things a little bit salacious and sexy - it just wouldn’t be Game of Thrones otherwise.

Season four is getting better at redressing the balance in male-female nudity and this episode was another example of the makers trying to bring some parity to the bare flesh. Yet, it was Melisandre who spent a whole scene wandering around in the buff while audiences briefly saw Daario Naharis from the back. Admittedly, it was at Danerys’ command that he stripped but it was fleeting. Game of Thrones still has a way to go before it is truly equal in the gender nakedness stakes.   

Saying this, the interplay between Selyse Baratheon and Melisandre was fascinating. The former is the queen in all but name and it was telling from the way Selyse obeyed the Red Priestess. Melisandre has slept with Stannis, something which any wife would find hard to swallow, yet Selyse accepts it.

As a viewer it’s difficult to decide whether to despise or respect Melisandre. Yes, she comes across as evil but she is also a great manipulator of monarchs and has deftly usurped the role of the queen from Stannis, which can only be admired. Game of Thrones is after all about power play and politicking.  

‘Mockingbird’ concluded with another spectacular death as Little Finger admitted his love for Catelyn Stark and flung his wife Lysa out the Moon Door. She had only just returned before she was flung out of the top of the Eyrie by her beloved. Things got even creepier when Little Finger kissed Sansa, Catelyn’s dead, so why not try it on with her teenage daughter? Shudder.

On a small note, there was an unexpected appearance from Hot Pie. We thought we had seen the last of him but his return was a great little treat for fans. His speech about making pies was hilarious and would have fitted perfectly into a medieval version of The Great British Bake Off. Mary Berry would have been equally proud of his direwolf cookie.   

Season seven is starting to build towards a climax and is changing up the pace. Hold onto your helmets, it’s going to be an even more perilous journey from here on out.

Game of Thrones is not on next week due to the Memorial Day bank holiday but will return the week after that.

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