From at least one emotional death to the appearance of a few (hundred) White Walkers, the Game of Thrones Season 2 finale gave fans plenty to ponder over the next several months.
So let's start pondering! The TV Fanatic Round Table team of Matt Richenthal, Carissa Pavlica, Dan Forcella and Eric Hochberger have gathered below to relive and react to "Valar Morghulis."
What was your favorite scene from the finale?
Matt: As far as Most Memorable and Most Want to Never, Ever, Ever Happen to Me, gotta go with the slow death Brienne gave one of those laughing hyenas.
Carissa: Tyrion weeping as he wrapped his arms around Shae. Damn, that Peter Dinklage can rip my heart to pieces.
Dan: Theon's fantastic speech, which was quickly followed by a hit to the back of the head. I was super pumped, and then laughed hysterically within seconds.
Eric: Hate to rip off Dan here, but never have I been so motivated by anything out of Theon's mouth before. It almost did make me forget about his horrid actions, until his own man hilariously brought it all back.
What was the saddest death this season?
Matt: Maester Luwin. For his courage in the face of death. For his helpful advice before he passed. For his lifelong long for, and teaching of, Bran and Rickon.
Carissa: The two little boys who were substituted, through no fault of their own, for Bran and Rickon; boys killed by Theon, who was once wards of Winterfell in their exact same capacity.
Dan: The Lannister that Jaime strangled while in Rob's prison. We might not have known him, but it was still heart breaking.
Eric: I suppose saddest should go to every bastard child of Robert's that we didn't know. But where's the fun in that? I was saddest to see Rodrik Cassel go. Besides it just being the most disgusting butchered beheading ever, he was a great Stark man. Close runner up was Maester Luwin. Both great men needlessly killed thanks to the punk ass Theon.
Should Tyrion run off with Shae?
Matt: Totally! It's just a matter of what we name their spinoff. I'm partial to Keeping Up with the Lannister, or maybe Tyrion & Shae Take Westeros, but I'm open to suggestions.
Carissa: Tyrion should never run off. He has more sanity than any member of the Lannisters. They may not know how much they need him, but I have faith he can show them he can do a lot to further their cause.
Dan: What kind of a story would that be? The most captivating character needs to stick around to take care of the mess that is still going on in King's Landing.
Eric: Well, if he wanted to be boring and safe, absolutely. But then he wouldn't be the awesome Tyrion we all love. And who wants to watch that?
Which storyline has you most excited for Game of Thrones Season 3?
Matt: The most important one of them all: Joffrey, the Iron Throne and who will end up on it.
Carissa: Jamie and Brienne. Very high hopes.
Dan: Whatever Brann is up to. For some reason, that little guy has me intrigued beyond reason.
Eric: Since he obviously won't run away with Shae, I'm going with Tyrion. That dude isn't just a player in the game, he is Game of Thrones to me.
Grade the season as a whole.
Matt: B-. The highs were very high ("Blackwater"), but the lows were just too frequent. For season one to conclude on Dany and her dragons and season two to offer no progress on that storyline was very disappointing.
Carissa: In comparison to TV as a whole, B. In comparison to Game of Thrones Season 1, I have to say a C. It wasn't nearly as strong as the first season or as compelling. The cohesion wasn't as smooth and I wasn't on the edge of my seat in anticipation each week, waiting for the show to air.
Dan: B. There were still compelling pieces to the season, but they really lost the ability to keep the season great as a whole. I think the problem was that they had too much material and ended up summarizing. They should have scrapped some stories in order to develop others more deeply.
Eric: Relative to season one? B. If the season was simply "Blackwater" or even just ended on a high note like that amazing episode, I would have gone A-. But this ending felt too True Bloodish as it set up the next season. Not a way to go out. Plus, there were just way too many novel deviations that seemed like they had such cool premises but went nowhere. Dany's stolen dragons? Arya chilling with Tywin?