After so much darkness this season, tonight's Game of Thrones was unexpectedly upbeat, with bonding moments and hopeful news scattered across Westeros and Essos. Consider: Arya and The Hound became closer besties. Brienne and Podrick gained more trust. Tyrion found an unexpected champion. Dany ordered up some sellsword sex. And shrewish Lysa got shoved out her beloved Moon Door. It's happiness and good news everywhere you turn! ... Except at Castle Black, of course, because life at The Wall blows like the freezing Northern wind. Which Tyrion reminds us as we start this week's recap of "Mockingbird" ...
King's Landing: Tyrion can't bring himself to regret his impulsive yet oh-so-satisfying, show-stopping demand last week for Trial by Combat. He got to ruin his dad's master plan, and the prospect of living at The Wall is only a shade better than being executed anyway. "Brilliant speech, they'll be talking about it for days to come," chides his brother, who accuses Tyrion of risking his life for his pride. But c'mon -- Tyrion is a Lannister. Of course a lion has pride.
Jaime breaks the news that he won't volunteer to be Tyrion's champion since his southpaw sword training with Bronn isn't going so well. I suppose getting his hand chopped off is a valid excuse not to battle the deadliest fighter in the land. "Where's your sense of adventure?" Tyrion asks, and notes if Jaime dies that will hurt their father even more. He's not joking -- the idea of both of them perishing just to spite Tywin kind of appeals to him. Tyrion really, really hates papa.
Next we see the man Cersei has appointed as the crown's champion: The Mountain, who is shot from below to make him seem even bigger. He grimly slashes his way through sacrificial prisoners' entrails like an explorer hacking at jungle vines.
Riverlands (at least, I think Arya and The Hound are in the Riverlands -- that's become my all-purpose "wandering around in the Westeros forest" location tag): So in this week's Road Trip Adventure-Time, Arya and The Hound come upon a dying man and have an existential discussion. Their Beckett-like debate is familiar to those who have watched a loved one suffer, or been jammed cart-to-cart in an endless line at Costco on a busy Sunday:
"So why go on?" Arya says. "Nothing could be worse than this."
"Maybe nothing is worse than this," counters the dying man.
"Nothing is just nothing," double-counters Arya.
The Hounds puts the man out of his misery, abruptly concluding this production of Waiting For Gregor.
NEXT: Zombie attacks The Hound