Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 8

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers.

ALSO: Matt had this into me weeks ago. I have been very remiss and apologize for not getting this up sooner. Episodes 9 and 10 of The Eye of Newb should be coming soon.


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 8: The Mountain and The Viper

“Deciding a man’s guilt or innocence in the eyes of the gods by having two other men hack each other to pieces… tells you something about the gods.”- Tyrion Lannister


So-o, New York, and then Denver and US Airways (the “new” American Airlines), have all claimed me as their victims in the past few weeks, Friends.  Not necessarily in that order.  A bit of a more specific rant on at least a large chunk of this imprisonment in stages as we go along.  Once again, yer Faithful Newb finds himself racing to catch up with the events of Westeros – and, oh giddy up, boy – this here is the episode.  The title alone promises it.  The New Boy from Dorne and the uglier (in spirit anyway) Clegane brother are due to get it on, with the life of my beloved Imp dangling precariously in the balance.  Make it so, HBO Go.  Make it freakin’ so.  Off we go!

  • To a bilgewater little muddy-street burgh, and a young lady with an impressive belching range coupled with a wide, nay colorful, vocabulary.
  • Oh, this must be Molestown and the graceful and inspiring company into which The Tarley has consigned sweet, dear and dim Gilly along with Young Sam.  Dolt.
  • The gratuitously burping maiden has decided to make Gilly her prison bitch or at least assert some version of class-rage or territorial supremacy upon her.  Charming.
  • What ho?  Gilly turns in a heartbeat from meek wilding to all “shut yer mouth.” I own you on the belcher at the fake bird calls employed by Ygritte and her band of Merry Murderers and Cannibals.  You go, girl!  Even though you’ll be stone dead and possibly supper in a moment.
  • Slaughter of innocents, and a few inebriated Crows, ensues, but wait…
  • The Flame-haired Free Folk Stewardess has a heart of gold after all, deciding on a whim to spare Gilly and the Baby Sam.  This character creates so much conflicting in me, Dear Readers.  She’s confounding, dull, stoic and all “you know nothing” to the point of tears in one episode. Then, a week later, she’s all Sheena Warrior Princess: The New Batch.  And then, just for kicks, she gets all noble and pissy and wonderful the next.  Dammit.
  • Cut away to – oh Gawd no – The Tarley.  Simpering and moaning again.  About the blood on his hands (again).  Looking all forlorn and weepy (again).  And blubbering his way through 5 minutes of my teevee time (again)!
  • While my Tarley Rage sweeps upon me  a quick aside to the Rant on New York, Part the First…

Newb will indulge in a small series of assumptions here, Friends…  One, that most of the three of you left do not live in NYC.  Two, that some of you have been to NYC, and further…  Three, that some of you may have even ventured into the yawning hellhole that is midtown Manhattan.

Now, with that as presumptive context, and with the intent of relating this rNtn at least some small way to speculative fiction, one final assumption…  That some, if not all, of you have been exposed to The Hunger Games.

Thus, ahem, beggineth the Rant…

New York City is, in fact, the Capitol fromThe Hunger Games, Dear Readers, and not in a good, “Hey, there’s Lenny Kravitz!” way, but in the rapacious, vampire-squid, consume all and create nothing way.  It has precisely zero redeeming qualities, from the insensible and frightening fashion choices to the hideously overpriced and bourgeois foodstuffs.  From the mountainous piles of bagged trash coating the sidewalks like mucus to the omnipresent wafting scent of stress and urine.  The sky cowers in miniature rectangles before the strangling hunks of oddly-mixed “architecture” and the people push past, around and through anyone who fails to adapt their aggressive, rapid and largely incoherent shuffle.  I loathe it.  Especially its lack of civility, basic humanity and HBO.

  • Pause for breath…. And…
  • Off to Splashy Time in the river for the Unsullied and Greyworm, whom, upon his greedy stare at his tutor descends deep into a case of hot for teacher.  Awkward.
  • So we slip away to Danaerys debriefing her handmaiden on the aforementioned Underequipped Horniness Upon the Waters.  I really did not need the whole curious about castration spiel.  Not one bit.
  • Lots of time in Meereen this week, Friends, wherein the Mountain and the Viper stubbornly refuse to engage in any attempt to murder each other.  Boooo-ring!
  • At least we have this whole subtitled,halting and thoroughly icky teenage love story betwixt Grey Worm and his language arts teacher to buoy us, right?  Endearing, isn’t it?  Not really.
  • Rage rising (thank you, Ben Stiller)…

So, about New York…  Rant, Part the Second (and hopefully the Last, as I must focus). How is it that the City That Never Sleeps is a positive slogan?  Do you know why it never sleeps?  Allow me to enlighten you.  It never sleeps because there’s some sort of bonus program for cabbies who honk inexplicably at 3am.  Apparently, also, the only time that any significant construction is permitted by law is after midnight.  Lastly, the average hotel room is only slightly less posh than solitary at Pelican Bay.  That’s why.

  • Apologies.  Rage subsiding.
  • Thankfully, Meereen is gone again, and we sweep across the Narrow Sea to… Ramsay and Reek?!  Again, no Viper, no Mountain, no battle of epic proportions.  Dammit!  As if I’m not all ascetic and torqued up enough already, the Newb must sit through the Tarley, the Awkward Romance, and now the Batshit Crazy.  Sigh.  I guess I’ll strap in for the long haul.
  • Listen, Theon… You’re screwed.  I promise that this insane freak will tear you asunder and flay your mind and spirit before he’s done with you.  Run.
  • But no.  Instead Reekjoy offers his countrymen the same “just and fair treatment” as he himself received.  Ah, crap.  Are they all going to lose their favorite toys, too?
  • Ha!  I love the reaction of the Ironborn lieutenant to his commanders decision to fight on.  A tomahawk to the skull will. change anyone’s mind, I guess.
  • Yep…just and fair.  Flayed and tortured.  Ramsay, you’re a complete raving lunatic psycho bastard (literally), and someone should just kill your ass soon.  Perhaps the Mountain or the Viper.  Please?
  • Cut away to… well, at least it’s Baelish (yes! Baelish!). I’m in for this.
  • Hee, hee, hee… if Littefinger’s lips are moving, he is operating.  one more compliment directed at the Vale or its People and his face will freeze in that knowing, canny smirk.
  • And again, for the second time in his recent visit to the Eyrie, Littlefinger finds his schemes thwarted at every turn.  The Counsel will speak to Sansa, and he will not have a chance to prep the witness.  Interesting and nicely tense.
  • Enter Sansa.  How will she play this? Uh-oh.  She promises truth.  I can sense Baelish’s panic from the other side of the screen.
  • Holy crap!!  You GO, Sansa!  I did not see that coming, but the Poor, Poor Pitiful One has learned well in the orbit of Littlefinger and Cersei.  She has played this extremely effectively.  Forget Poor and Poor and Pitiful… Sansa Stark is now an operator in her own right, one who is owed a large favor by the best operator in the land.  Master stroke.
  • Oh, and did I mention that Barelish escapes… again!  Love it.
  • Especially enjoyable was the spectacle of Petyr Baelish staring on, in near admiration of Sansa’s deception.  That, to me, is graduation.  With Honors.
  • A quick sally through the Eyrie sets up Littlefinger’s next step in the plan – get Robin out of the Eyrie.  Why do i have a sneaking suspicion that he won’t be coming back.  Ever.  Now, who would that leave as The Lord of the Vale again?  Oh, right… Baelish.
  • Back to Meereen?!  Oh, for the love of all that’s holy, why?!  Mister Selmy, sir?  Message for you.  Could this be why Tywin needed his quill a few episodes back?
  • Solemn grunting between Selmy and Jorah follows, and yes, this epistle did originate with Tywin Lannister – a royal pardon for spying, apparently.  Oh, Tywin, you savvy manipulator. Sadly, this means more time in Meereen, but it does once again highlight Barristan Selmy’s defining honor.  I’m sorry I ever questioned it.
  • Of course this turn of events does not amuse Dany in the slightest.  So she send the Andal packing on a mule, like Clint Eastwood.  I guess it brings new meaning the the old chestnut “and the horse you rode in on.”  Moderately pointless table-setting. Either way, I’ve lost the will to care.  Meereen grows almost as tiresome to yer Newb as Manhattan.  Can we move it along?
  • Back away across the Sea to somewhere in Derry or Belfast… er, the North… and the Bolton Show.  So Ramsay gets his dreams fulfilled and his father’s name.  That whole scene took a lot longer than it needed to just to establish that there’s a lot of the North and Mel Gibson won’t be here, blue face paint or no.  Ate least there was some semblance of mountains in it.  No Viper anywhere, tho.
  • And much like the previous curiosity about castration, yer Newb did not need the whole “Reek gives Ramsay a bath” mental imagery at all.  Shudder.
  • Back to the Eyrie – it’s in the mountains, I guess – and the ultimate, growling question from Littlefinger to Sansa:  “Why did you help me?”  Sansa, Dear, I am not only wholly your little sister’s now, I may be wholly yours.
  • Speaking of Arya (yes, Arya!), she and the Hound appear to be making their way along the Ambush Highway to the Eyrie.  And there’s a Clegane in this scene (finally!)
  • Oh Dear Lawd, but Sandor Clegane has literally the worst luck ever, and I am even deeper in love with Arya.  Maisie Williams’ laugh is just so inappropriate and infectious.  Auntie is dead, and one more path is closed to the Hound and his ‘companion’.  Magical.
  • Snip to the inside of the Eyrie, and Robyn the idiot-boy expressing his distaste and fear for Littlefinger’s ‘leave the Eyrie’ plan.
  • Aside… I wonder how much of his soul Baelish would have given to kow that the other Stark daughter was at the gates of his fortress?  What leverage to have missed out on.
  • And speaking of Stark Girls… er.. Ladies… er, uh, um… damn!  Sansa has bloomed into full-on Maleficent, courtesan, fairy princess hotness.  It’s literally all Littlefinger can do not to leer.  Amazing!
  • Fi-nally!!  Off to the dungeons of King’s Landing, wherein Tyrion (yes! Imp!) and Jaime converse about the not-so-subtle truth at the heart of this long and sordid tale by Mr. Martin.  Maybe, just maybe, the gods of Westeros are only mentally-deficient children crushing beetles with stones.  Chunk-chunk-chunk.
  • And the gong sounds, the guards come, and we’re finally off the the Mountain and the Viper!  Giddy with the glee, Friends.
  • Okay, so that last six… six?!… six? …only six, Producers?!  You teasing, toying bastards!!  Anyway, that last six minutes was worth all of the preamble.  So much so that I was completely engrossed and am just now catching up on notes.
  • The New Boy fought incredibly well.  He could have and should have killed Gregor Clegane with barely a scratch – which would’ve only cemented his legend – but he fell victim to the scourge of the supremely confident…
  • Monologuing?!  The Red Viper of Dorne falls victim to the oldest comic book villain mistake in the book?  Will they never learn?  Kill.  Then monologue.  Not the other way around.  The other way around ends with a popped head.  Literally.  Like a grape.  Awesome.
  • The looks of gloom, then hope, then triumph, then horror in the crowd were priceless.  Except for the little smirk at the end from Cersei.  Bitch.
  • I’ve never seen Tywin move that fast to declare something over, either.
  • All that said… The Imp.  Can Not. Die.  Producer… you hear me?  I will quit and walk away from it all if Tyrion is actually executed.   And this time, I mean it.

So, denoument…

The Good – Head-popping wonderfulness.  A horribly wounded Mountain.  Arya’s laughter and Lady Sansa’s emergence from the chrysalis.

The Bad – Meereen… all of it.  The Reek and Ramsay show.  Cersei wins again, if only ata terrible cost.

The Ugly – A Tarley resurgence, and did I mention New York?


Until some undisclosed location in time, I remain Yer Faithful Newb.



By P.G. Holyfield

Founder of SpecFicMedia, author of Murder at Avedon Hill, and host of several podcasts.