‘Game of Thrones': Nothing is Just Nothing

Published 11 months ago by

Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 7 Game of Thrones: Nothing is Just Nothing

[This is a review of Game of Thrones season 4, episode 7. There will be SPOILERS].

As the world of Game of Thrones becomes a larger and seemingly more diverse place, and as characters spread out, roaming great distances between locations worthy enough of being named and animated in the opening credits, it would seem that the spaces need to be joined by something, just to keep the series from becoming too disjointed. And so, as things progress, it becomes clear no matter how many miles are between this location or that, there is always a single driving notion that manages to unite them. Lately, that notion calls back to last season, when Petyr Baelish first mentioned the idea that Chaos is a ladder,” and then essentially adopted it as his own personal axiom; something to go along with the black mockingbird from which the episode gets its title.

In that sense, ‘Mockingbird’ is Petyr Baelish’s episode, even though Aidan Gillen only appears in the final moments, to ostensibly prove his maxim by speaking the utter truth one moment – yes, Robin’s mother should have smacked the moon door lust out of him years ago – and then, like flipping a switch, throws whatever good standing his previous sentiment earned him to the wind, by stealing a kiss from young Sansa, seemingly knowing it would provide him with the opportunity to shove his new bride Lysa from the moon door her obnoxious, snow castle-stomping son was so obsessed with.

Now that’s not the move that a Stark would have made in their usually honor-bound way of acting in the world, but, then again, that may be why the Starks are an endangered species in Westeros. If anything, writers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff wisely used this episode to highlight the actions of Petyr Baelish because it was the moment in the season they wanted to illustrate that the world has seemingly been thrown into a state of imbalance, and how those who can manage chaos the way some can wield a sword are the first, and often times, the only ones who will survive, if not thrive.

Sure, the idea that the world is in utter disarray is a common one on the show, but every now and again it’s nice to see the writers demonstrate it, and then underline it as exquisitely as they did during the scene where Arya and the Hound come upon a dying man. The sight itself is nothing uncommon for Game of Thrones, but it is peppered with some of the best dialogue a consistently well-written show has seen in a while. It can be tricky to underline meaning the way Weiss and Benioff did, as the old, dying man talks about the way things used to be, and even explains to Arya why it is that he’s bothering to hold onto a life he knows is literally slipping through his fingers.

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 7 Game of Thrones: Nothing is Just Nothing

It is a poignant scene that segues into an even better one between Clegane and his young captive, but it plays out so memorably because, for a moment, it is just a conversation between three people. No one has a specific agenda –a rarity for this show. The three of them are just talking their way around the idea of death – which Arya sums up by saying it is no better or worse than anything; it’s just nothing. And then things briefly turn chaotic once more, until the order of the moment is restored when Arya slays a man who threatened her in the past. The interchange between the Hound and Arya is incredibly well done, as it points out their understanding of the other – which is seen again when Arya tends to the Hound’s wounds after he regales her with the tale of why his face is burned – but it also emphasizes what the dying man was saying about there being no balance anymore.

And certainly, from the perspective of an old dying man of seemingly little importance, that notion may ring true. It may even be strengthened when the last two people he sees are a child honing her skills as a killer with the man planning to ransom her off. As unbalanced and chaotic as it may outwardly seem, the unlikely duo of Arya and the Hound have somehow made it work.

John Bradley in Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 7 Game of Thrones: Nothing is Just Nothing

In fact, a great deal of what makes the episode work so well comes from the small ways individuals make meaning of the chaos or imbalance around them (deliberately or otherwise). Melisandre asks her “queen” to fetch something for her while she bathes and then confesses her witchy potions are mostly tricks intended to deceive men and force them into thinking what she wants. Meanwhile, Jon Snow’s words of warning continue to go unheard at Castle Black. This again ties Jon’s thread in (thematically, at least) with Daenerys’ rule of Meereen, but it also works with what Petyr says to Sansa: “If you want to build a better home, first you must demolish the old one.” Jon could simply let Mance’s army do what needs to be done, and raze Castle Black, and, if he survives, Jon can build a better one.

Allowing others to do what needs to be done, or cannot be done by one person calls to mind Tyrion’s predicament, and his inability to find a champion who will take on the Mountain for him. After Jaime and Bronn prove unsuitable or unwilling to handle the task, Tyrion’s unlikely champion winds up being Oberyn Martell. And, in Game of Thrones fashion, Oberyn’s motives are driven not by a desire to see an innocent man go free, but by a need for vengeance, a need to bring a little order to the chaos of his life.


Game of Thrones will be back on Sunday June 1 with ‘The Mountain and the Viper’ @9pm on HBO. Check out a preview below:

Photos: Helen Sloan/HBO

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  1. Anyone else get the chills seeing the name of next weeks episode?

    “You raped her, you murdered her. You killed her children.”

    • Great episode per usual! “I will be your Champion!”

    • The icelandic giant`s english must be very bad, but i still really hope they don`t cut out his lines..

    • SAY HER NAME~!~!!!!!!!

      ELIA… OF DORNE!!!!!

      Uh oh.

      lol I’ve been waiting for that scene for years.


  2. Loved Daenerys new dress — the one she wore when speaking to sir “friendzone” Mormont. Just saying. :)

  3. The scene between Oberyn and Tyrion was great! It’s going to be a long wait for the next episode!

    • I kind of disagree with the writer of the article though. I believe Oberyn’s motives were a combination of wanting to see an innocent man go free and for vengeance. It’s an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. If he simply wanted vengeance, he could have simply proclaimed he’ll be his champion, but he didn’t. He sat down and spoke with Tyrion and pretty much told him that he’s against Cersi and that he’s on his side, not specific with anything, just in general. He obviously believes Tyrion and knows that Cersi is used to manipulating people to get what she wants.

  4. “I will be your champion.”

    I wasn’t surprised but when the Viper said that, coupled with Tyrion’s reaction I practically jumped out of my seat.

    I hate you HBO for making me wait 2 weeks for this.

    • HA! I yelled the same thing at the television last night which felt good after tears coming to my eyes as Oberyn told Tyrion the story of their first meeting. (Cersei’s mean. Just mean.)

    • I know, right? What’s up with that?

    • You could always…you know…read the books…and find out what happens?

      I will say even knowing what happens its still great to see it on the small screen. I kind of like how some episodes, much like the book, leave some characters out completely. I am interested in how quickly the world will open up once some pieces are set on the board and dont move for quite some time.

      • But why read the book when it’s only a 2 week wait? Would you have said that when Americans on this site complained that we got Cap 2 a few weeks before they did? Bit of a silly remark to make, wasn’t it?

  5. Wait, why is there a week without the show?

    *checks to see if the UK gets the next episode next Monday so I don’t have to wait*

    • The U.S. Memorial Day is Monday the 26th (long holiday weekend) and many weekend television shows don’t screen new episodes due to viewers being out of town.

      • Ahh, ok.

        You’d be amazed how many British fans are complaining about the 2 week wait on the GOT Facebook page. Most comments are all “If it’s a national holiday, aren’t they like our national holidays when everyone enjoys the day off work by sitting at home all day watching their favourite shows? Why should we wait a few weeks because they can’t be bothered to tune into a show they claim to love on a day they’re more likely to be at home to see it?”.

        • yeah…so sorry we have to celebrate our dead veterans…sorry that gets in the way of your television viewing…

          • only the 407,000 deaths the United States gave…including my grandfather…

            but yea…not anything to concern yourself about

            • just ignore spazz – he has a hate of America to go along with the his, (and most of Europe) inferiority complex towards all things American.

        • Interesting, in the 12 years I lived in London, I don’t even recall one holiday that I spent at home watching TV. I find more Americans do that (and in my experiences, they don’t do it all that much, either…unless it’s Thanksgiving).
          As to Game of Thrones…
          The show continues to be brilliant. Although both Arya and Tryion continue to be my favorite characters, it’s the performance Of Peter Dinklage that blows me away (with the last two episodes showing his great range).

  6. I havent read the books and sometimes im not the best at keeping up with the varying characters on a show like this so could some1 be so kind to confirm to me who is it that killed oberyn’s sister? I understand he volunteered to fight for ty so is the big tall guy that ty is supposed to fight the 1 who killed his sister or is just fighting for ty 1 way to get revenge against the other lanisters & thats his motivation? Thanks in advance for any answer :)

    • Yep, the tall guy (aka The Mountain, older brother of The Hound) killed Oberyn’s sister.

      • Thanks so much! I didnt even catch that “the mountain” was “the hounds” older brother so I learned even more then I planned :)

    • During Robert’s Rebellion, Ser Gregor Clegane (aka the Mountain) was one of the first soldiers to enter Kings Landing with the Lannister army during the sack of the city. During the sack, the Mountain went into the bed chambers of Prince Rhaeger Targaryen’s children and killed the prince’s son Aegon. After he kid the son he raped and murdered Rhaeger’s wife, Elia Martell. Elia Martell is Prince Oberyn’s sister.

      This is why Oberyn volunteered to be Tyrion’s champion. He wants to get revenge and kill the mountain for killing his sister and her children.

      Hope this helps.

      • Thanks so much! That was all great info that I hadnt quite pieced together on my own yet & helps alot of things make better sense lol

  7. I love Game of Thrones, it is soooo good!!! For me it is the best ongoing show right now.

    Only True Detective has given me this year a similar sense of satisfaction when it comes to the quality, the execution and the acting.

    I also have high hopes for the second season of Hannibal.

    • Would recommend you give Penny Dreadful a chance !
      It’s really well written and Perfectly executed Show !
      If you love GOT i do not think you want to miss that !


      • Ios posts…

        Would recommend you give Penny Dreadful a chance !
        It’s really well written and Perfectly executed Show !

        Agreed. Two episodes in…and Penny Dreadful has me hooked.
        The wealth of possibilities for this show, are almost endless.

        Nightcrawler (love the screen name) posts…

        Only True Detective has given me this year a similar sense of satisfaction when it comes to the quality, the execution and the acting.

        Again, I agree. True Detective was a very different type of detective show. With stunning performances.

        Notice how premium cable is dominating quality television? with that in mind…I would suggest checking out Da Vinci’s Demons on Starz.

        As for basic cable…I would like to make two recommendations. Fargo and Orphan Black.

        (excuse my deviating off-topic…It’s just that network television bores me to tears, and I want to champion alternative quality entertainment)

  8. The list of series I follow is long, but I’ll keep it in mind and I’ll try to make room for it


  9. Each time i hear Oberyn Martell, I keep picturing Inigo Montoya of Princess Bride.

    Hello, my name is Oberyn Martell. You killed my sister. Prepare to die!