|Game of Thrones episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2|
|Directed by||Alan Taylor|
|Written by||David Benioff|
D. B. Weiss
|Featured music||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography by||Jonathan Freeman|
|Editing by||Frances Parker|
|Original air date||June 3, 2012|
|Running time||63 minutes|
"Valar Morghulis" is the tenth and final episode of the second season of HBO's medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. The 20th episode of the series overall, the episode was directed by Alan Taylor, his sixth directing credit for the series, and was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It first aired on HBO on June 3, 2012.
In the episode, citizens of King's Landing deal with the aftermath of Stannis Baratheon's failed naval invasion. Tywin Lannister is named Hand of the King; Sansa Stark's engagement to Joffrey Baratheon is annulled, and Margaery Tyrell is betrothed in her place; Tyrion Lannister struggles with his loss of power; and Stannis broods in defeat at Dragonstone. In the Westerlands, Brienne of Tarth escorts Jaime Lannister south, while Robb Stark weds Talisa against his mother's wishes. Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow kills Qhorin Halfhand and is accepted into the Free Folk. In Qarth, Daenerys Targaryen reunites with her dragons in the House of the Undying. The episode's title is a code phrase spoken by Jaqen H'ghar to Arya Stark, but its meaning, "all men must die", is not explained until the third season episode "Walk of Punishment". Its meaning is consistent with the translation given in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels upon which the series is based.
"Valar Morghulis" received positive reviews from critics and audiences, and achieved a viewership of 4.20 million during its initial airing in the United States, setting a new record for the series. This episode marks the final appearance of Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo).
In King's Landing
Tywin is named Hand of the King and Baelish is awarded Harrenhal. Ser Loras asks Joffrey to wed Lady Margaery, with Cersei and Pycelle's agreement. Baelish offers to smuggle Sansa home but she declines.
Scarred and without allies except Podrick, Tyrion suspects his sister Cersei was behind the attempt on his life. Bronn is dismissed from his position as captain of the City Watch. Shae tries to convince Tyrion to leave for Pentos, but he refuses.
Stannis tries to strangle Melisandre for his defeat but relents after truly comprehending her involvement in Renly's death. His faith in her is restored when he sees visions in the flames.
In the Westerlands
Escorting Jaime to King's Landing, Brienne finds three women lynched by Stark soldiers for sleeping with Lannister soldiers. She kills the Stark soldiers before burying the women. Brienne reminds Jaime that she serves Catelyn, not House Stark.
Robb confides in Catelyn that he loves Talisa and will not proceed with the arranged marriage to House Frey. Despite Catelyn's warning, Robb marries Talisa.
Under siege, Theon rejects Luwin's advice to leave for the Night's Watch, believing Jon will kill him. Theon tries to rally his men, but is knocked out by Dagmer and brought to the Bolton forces. Luwin is stabbed by Dagmer.
Bran and his party find Winterfell burned and Luwin dying in the Godswood, advising them to head for the Wall before having Osha mercifully kill him.
In the Riverlands
Fleeing Harrenhal, Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie are surprised by Jaqen, who offers to train Arya in what he knows, but she declines, saying she must find her family. He gives her a special coin and the phrase "Valar morghulis" to use to find him, and reveals his face-changing ability before departing.
Pyat Pree's magic strands Jorah and Kovarro outside the House of the Undying while trapping Daenerys within. After encountering strange visions of a ruined King’s Landing, entering beyond the Wall and lastly seeing Drogo with their deceased baby boy, she finally finds her dragons chained as Pyat Pree appears and binds her. Daenerys orders her dragons to breathe fire, killing Pyat Pree and freeing her.
Daenerys finds Xaro in bed with Doreah and seals them in Xaro's empty vault (revealing that his claim to be wealthy was a fraud all along). She and her companions then loot Xaro's house to buy a ship to sail to Astapor.
Beyond the Wall
Qhorin goads Jon into killing him, convincing the wildlings Jon has defected. Jon is introduced to the massive wildling force and promised a meeting with Mance Rayder.
Edd, Grenn and Sam hear three horn blasts (meaning White Walkers). Edd and Grenn run and leave Sam. Sam is surrounded by an army of wights and a White Walker, who notice but ignore him as they march toward the Night's Watch's encampment.
The episode was written by producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss (their sixth and final script of the season) and directed by Alan Taylor. It was Taylor's final episode on the show until he returned for the season seven episode "Beyond the Wall". The episode covers chapters Tyrion XV, Sansa VIII, Theon VI, Arya IX, Bran VII, Daenerys IV, and Jon VIII from A Clash of Kings and the prologue and chapters Jaime I, Tyrion I, and Jon I of A Storm of Swords. As a season finale, "Valar Morghulis" is a slightly extended episode.
In its original broadcast on June 3, 2012, the episode received 4.20 million viewers, to become the most-watched episode of the series until the third season aired. In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 0.973 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week.
"Valar Morghulis" received highly positive reviews. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 92% of 26 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.6/10. The website's consensus reads, "Smart writing, a few surprising plot developments, and an ominous final scene make 'Valar Morghulis' a satisfying conclusion to a stellar season." Matt Fowler of IGN rated the episode 9 out of 10. David Sims of The A.V. Club gave the episode an "A" grade.
Awards and nominations
|2012||Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie, or Special||Paul Engelen, Conor O'Sullivan, and Rob Trenton||Nominated|
|Outstanding Special Visual Effects||Rainer Gombos, Juri Stanossek, Sven Martin, Steve Kullback, Jan Fiedler, Chris Stenner, Tobias Mannewitz, Thilo Ewers, and Adam Chazen||Won|
|2013||Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing – Long Form Dialogue and ADR in Television||Won|
|Best Sound Editing – Long Form Sound Effects and Foley in Television||Won|
|Visual Effects Society||Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program||Rainer Gombos, Steve Kullback, Sven Martin, and Juri Stanossek||Won|
- "Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis". HBO. Home Box Office, Inc. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
- "Valar Morghulis". Metacritic. Paramount Global. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
Air Date: June 3, 2012
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- Fowler, Matt (June 2, 2012). "Game of Thrones: "Valar Morghulis" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- Sims, David (June 3, 2012). "'Valar Morghulis' (for newbies)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 5, 2013.