Game of Thrones' second season ended last night. I'm happy, because it was a good ending to a good season, but I'm also sad because Game of Thrones is over now. The whole thing was kind of a comedown after last week's immense Battle of the Blackwater, but the finale wrapped up several hanging plot threads and set things up nicely for season three.

Spoilers after the jump.

  • PEW, PEW, PEW!

Hello, horse poop. Early in the episode we were treated to a closeup of Lord Tywin’s horse taking a sizable horse-dump on the floor of the Red Keep. After evacuating it’s bowels, the horse strode on into the throne room, where all manner of metaphorical horseshit was about to go down.

Okay, I get it, Game of Thrones. Yeah, I know Kundera said that kitsch was the denial of shit, and the playacting going on in Joffrey’s court is shit denial of the highest level. He praises his grandfather, Littlefinger, and Ser Loras, but pointedly leaves out Tyrion, the man who actually saved King’s Landing. The feigned emotional agonizing with Margaery and Sansa is obviously rehearsed, and even though there is an actual pile of shit that came out of a horsey butt just outside the door, the really vile horseshit is actually amongst the king and his several courtiers. So yeah, I got what you’re going for Game of Thrones, but did you still need to show us a closeup of equine excrement? That was a bit gratuitous.

Varys has no dick. Just in case you forgot.

Robb married Talisa. Robb Stark forsook his vows to the Freys and eloped with someone else. I'm sure Walder Frey will be fine with this, as he's a reasonable and understanding gentleman.

Brienne and Jaime have a wacky adventure. Get ready for a whole storyline wherein people who don't like each other are put into an extraordinary situation, have to work together, and then learn a little something each other, and life, in the process.

“Thank you wise bald man.” Oh, Theon. Maester Luwin was absolutely right- Theon is not who he's pretending to be. He's essentially an adopted northerner, playing at being a proper Greyjoy. My viewing party laughed audibly when Theon got whacked on the head by one of his own men after attempting an inspiring speech- he had it coming.

NOOOO! NOT THE WISE BALD MAN! So, I'm a little unclear as to who actually burned Winterfell. Obviously we see the Ironmen kill Maester Luwin, but Roose Bolton has been onscreen multiple times this season, and Ramsay has been alluded to. Hopefully they'll clear that up next season. Reek. Rhymes with "geek."

“These bad people are what I’m good at… And I like it." Poor Tyrion. For saving the collective bacon of everyone in King's Landing, he gets put into a tiny cell where bearded superdouche Grand Maester Pycelle gets to chuckled at him evilly. Shae suggested that they move to Pentos where they could "eat, drink, fuck, live," which sounds like a pretty good deal to me. But, he sticks around. Shae really does seem to feel for him. I'm sure their relationship will go great, and they'll be really happy and have lots of babies.

Valar Morghulis. Jaqen H'ghar's transformation was suitably subtle and creepy, and Arya is nicely on her way to becoming everyone's favorite murder kiddo. I've heard lots of people complain about how her story has been compressed- it hasn't bothered me.

NOOOO! NOT HALFHAND! Okay, so that happened.

Another reason to hate Stannis. He choked his girlfriend. Not cool, Stannis. The Stannis/Melissandre scene, though, did add a bit of depth to their relationship. He does not believe her unreservedly, and does have his doubts about serving the Red God. However, he's desperate, and will latch onto anything that will give him even a little bit more power.

Finally, the House of the Undying. I’d been waiting for Daenerys’ trip to the House of the Undying for a good hunk of the season, and I have mixed-ish feelings about how it actually played out. In the books, Daenerys’ trip through the mystical otherworld has all kinds of eerie foreshadowing, particularly for an dramatic event whose name rhymes with “bread bedding.” As they’re described in the books, though, the imagery is kind of impenetrable unless you know what to look for. Had the same images played out on TV with certain actors in… particular circumstances, the viewer would have immediately known what was going to happen. The book section is cryptic because Dany, and therefore the reader, who’s getting things from her perspective, doesn’t know who anyone in the images is. On TV, though, there could have been no such subtlety, so I understand why they left it out.

However, showing Daenerys in front of the Iron Throne and surrounded by the winds of winter did put her into perspective. HBO’s House of the Undying sequence did accomplish the exact same end as the book sequence, in that it found a way to emphasize Daenerys’ importance in the grand scheme of things.

“Maybe I told the Great Stallion to go fuck himself.” It was nice to see Jason Momoa back as Khal Drogo, even if it was just as a vision in Daenerys’ creepy magic-trip. Drogo and Daenerys do actually seem kind of smoopy and romantical together, and I can totally buy the Khal being a vicious killer by day and a strong yet tender lover man by night. For her part, Daenerys seems to have incorporated some Drogo-ness into her own personality. By the end of the episode, she was crushing her enemies and taking their stuff. Hopefully, the Khaleesi will continue to fuck shit up in season three, as she’s had almost nothing to do this season other than say “My dragons, my dragons!” over and over again. Speaking of which…

Minature flamethrowers of adorable death! Okay, if you’re actually reading this, you’re probably a Game of Thrones fan. We’re all friends here and… did anyone think that Daenerys’ dragons burning the warlock was sort of cool, but also sort of cheesy? I love me some tiny little flame spewing mini pets, but that particular scene seemed to step a toe over into Anne McCaffrey territory. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’m very happy to see that they’ve busted out the power of the dragons early.

HOLY SHIT ZOMBIES. This show has zombies. That’s kind of easy to forget.

I am very distraught that season three does not exist now. We have to wait a whole year or something for more Game of Thrones. This is highly disappointing. In the meantime, the folks at the A.V. Club put together an excellent essay on the show's second season. Effusive commenter Graham also alerted me to an interview that Jack Gleeson, who plays Joffrey, gave to GQ. Apparently in real life, he's not an irredeemably evil person.

See you next season. In the meantime, I'll be playing lots of Battles of Westeros and wildly speculating about the release date of The Winds of Winter.