Valar Morghulis

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"Valar Morghulis"
Game of Thrones episode
White Walker-Game of Thrones-S02-E10.jpg
White Walker with a crystal spear during the final scene.
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 10
Directed byAlan Taylor
Written byDavid Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byJonathan Freeman
Editing byFrances Parker
Original air dateJune 3, 2012 (2012-06-03)
Running time64 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Valar Morghulis" is the tenth and final episode of the second season of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. It is the sixth episode of season 2 to be written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and is directed by Alan Taylor, his fourth episode of the season. 64 minutes long,[1] it aired on June 3, 2012.

The episode's title is a code phrase spoken by Jaqen H'ghar to Arya Stark during the episode, but its meaning is not explained until the third-season episode, "Walk of Punishment": "All men must die." This is consistent with the meaning given in the books upon which the series is based.[2]

This episode marks the final appearance of Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo).


In King's Landing[edit]

After the decisive victory over Stannis Baratheon in the Battle of Blackwater, King Joffrey Baratheon gives Lord Tywin Lannister, his grandfather, the title of "Savior of King's Landing" for his help in the Battle of Blackwater Bay, and formally names him Hand of the King. For uniting the Houses of Tyrell and Lannister, the alliance which caused the victory, Lord Petyr Baelish is given the castle of Harrenhal. Ser Loras Tyrell asks for the king to wed Lady Margaery Tyrell, his sister, and though Joffrey insists he is bound by oath to Sansa Stark, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister and Grand Maester Pycelle argue that the gods will allow him to reject the oath on grounds of Eddard Stark's treason. Sansa is elated to be rid of Joffrey, but Baelish warns her that she is still in danger while she is in King's Landing, and offers to scheme to see her home safely. Lord Varys works to undermine Baelish's successes and plots to turn his associate, the prostitute Ros, against him.

Meanwhile, a scarred Tyrion Lannister wakes from the injuries that he received from the attempt on his life during the battle. With the arrival of Tywin, he has been removed from the position of Hand of the King and is left powerless and without allies, except for his squire, Podrick Payne. Lord Varys informs Tyrion that the Queen was behind the attempt on his life and says that he knows Tyrion to have been the true hero of the battle, even though he will receive no official credit. Tyrion is consoled by Shae, who remains loyal and tries to convince him to leave King's Landing for Pentos with her. Despite his fall from power, Tyrion refuses to leave King's Landing, saying that he has finally found a role at which he excels and that he enjoys.

At Dragonstone[edit]

In a rage over his unexpected defeat at the Battle of Blackwater, Lord Stannis Baratheon blames Melisandre for goading him into war with promises of victory and attempts to strangle her in a fit of rage. He relents only after Melisandre makes him truly comprehend his involvement in the death of his brother Renly. After informing Stannis that he will betray all that he has known in his quest to be king and assuring him it will be worth it in the end, Melisandre leads Stannis to a burning bowl of coal and has them together observe the dancing fire. As Stannis watches the flames, he seems struck by divine visions from the Lord of Light, restoring his faith in Melisandre.

In the Westerlands[edit]

Brienne of Tarth continues in her mission to escort the prisoner Jaime Lannister to King's Landing, in exchange for Sansa and Arya Stark. They happen to stumble upon the corpses of three women lynched by Stark soldiers, who soon arrive and discover that Brienne's prisoner is the wanted Kingslayer himself. Brienne kills the soldiers, avenging the three women, whom she then buries. When Jaime expresses his surprise that Brienne killed Stark soldiers, Brienne reminds him that she does not serve House Stark, but Lady Catelyn.

Meanwhile, King Robb Stark confides to his mother, Catelyn, that he is in love with Talisa Maegyr and will not proceed with the arranged marriage to one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters. Despite Catelyn's warning that breaking his oath with Lord Frey is reckless, Robb marries Talisa in private.

At Winterfell[edit]

With Winterfell under siege from Roose Bolton's bastard son, and his Ironborn garrison facing defeat, Theon Greyjoy rejects the advice of Maester Luwin to abandon the castle and join the Night's Watch, believing that Jon Snow will kill him for his betrayal. He decides to fight to the death with his men, but when he tries to rally them, Dagmer knocks Theon out. As the Ironborn drag him off to be handed to the Bolton forces in exchange for pardon, Luwin attempts to intervene and is stabbed by Dagmer.

Later, Bran Stark and his party emerge from hiding to find Winterfell sacked and Luwin dying in the Godswood, where he declares his loyalty and love for the Starks before having Osha perform a mercy killing, out of sight of Bran and Rickon. Bran and his group then escape the remains of Winterfell, bound for the Wall.

In the Riverlands[edit]

Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie flee from Harrenhal. They are surprised by the sudden appearance of the mysterious assassin Jaqen H'ghar, who helped them escape. Jaqen offers to take Arya with him to Braavos to train her in his abilities. Although tempted, Arya declines, intending to reunite with her family. Before departing, Jaqen hands Arya a special coin and the phrase "Valar morghulis," which Arya may use to seek him if she meets anyone from Braavos. Before departing, Jaqen turns to reveal he has changed his face, an ability of the "Faceless Men" he mentions to Arya.

In Qarth[edit]

Ser Jorah Mormont and Kovarro go with Daenerys Targaryen to the House of the Undying, the stronghold of the warlocks of Qarth, where Pyat Pree has her dragons held captive. Pyat Pree's magic quickly leaves Jorah and Kovarro stranded outside while trapping Daenerys in the stronghold. As she walks through the stronghold, Daenerys is struck with visions of places such as a ruined and snowbound Red Keep, and the Haunted Forest. She encounters her deceased husband, Khal Drogo, and their stillborn son Rhaego, both apparently alive and well. Although unsure whether she is dreaming, Daenerys leaves when she hears her dragons. She finds herself in an antechamber with her dragons chained to a pedestal. Pyat Pree appears and conjures chains to bind Daenerys, gloating that he will keep her chained for eternity. Daenerys orders her dragons to breathe fire, killing Pyat Pree and freeing her from the chains.

After escaping the House of the Undying, Daenerys — with her dragons, her remaining Dothraki contingent, and Ser Jorah — find Xaro Xhoan Daxos asleep in bed with Doreah, who, as Daenerys now realizes, had betrayed her, and takes them prisoner. Opening Xaro's vault, they find it empty, with Xaro's boasts of extreme wealth having been lies. Despite Xaro's and Doreah's pleas, Daenerys orders her followers to seal them both in the vault. Daenerys then proceeds to have her companions loot Xaro's house in order to buy a ship.

Beyond the Wall[edit]

Qhorin Halfhand, still prisoner of the wildlings, provokes a fight with his fellow prisoner Jon Snow, with the apparent goal of convincing the wildlings that Jon has defected. Qhorin goads Jon into killing him by insulting the memories of Ned Stark and of Jon's mother. After Qhorin is killed, the wildlings free a stunned Jon and introduce him to their massive wildling force, promising him a meeting with their King-Beyond-the-Wall, the former Night's Watch ranger Mance Rayder.

Meanwhile, while on duty, Sam, Grenn, and Edd overhear three horn blasts, signaling White Walkers' approach. The others flee, leaving Sam behind. He is quickly surrounded by an army of wights and a White Walker riding an undead horse. The White Walker sees Sam, but ignores him and orders the force to advance. Sam, now isolated from his allies, watches in horror as the army marches onward towards the Night's Watch encampment at the Fist of the First Men.



The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

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 7 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.[3] As a season finale, "Valar Morghulis" is a slightly extended episode.


The Minčeta Tower in Dubrovnik was used as the location of the House of the Undying.[4]



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.[5] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 0.973 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

"Valar Morghulis" received highly positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, surveyed 13 reviews of the episode and judged 92% of them to be positive with an average score of 8.6 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Smart writing, a few surprising plot developments, and an ominous final scene make 'Valar Morghulis' a satisfying conclusion to a stellar season."[7] Matt Fowler of IGN rated the episode 9 out of 10.[8] David Sims of The A.V. Club gave the episode an "A" grade.[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2012 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a 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, Juri Stanossek Won


  1. ^ "What to Watch This Week: May 28 – June 3". DirectTV. 28 May 2012. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012. In the special 70-minute second season finale...
  2. ^ Martin, George (2005). A Feast for Crows. New York: Bantam Dell. p. 88. ISBN 0-553-80150-3.
  3. ^ Garcia, Elio; Antonsson, Linda (March 24, 2014). "EP210: Valar Morghulis". Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "44 incredible Game of Thrones locations". Skyscanner. April 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (June 5, 2012). "Sunday Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs + 'Game of Thrones' Finale, MTV Movie Awards, 'Sister Wives', 'The Glades', 'Longmire' + More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (4-10 June 2012)". BARB. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  7. ^ "Valar Morghulis". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Fowler, Matt (June 2, 2012). "Game of Thrones: "Valar Morghulis" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  9. ^ Sims, David (June 3, 2012). ""Valar Morghulis" (for newbies)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 5, 2013.

External links[edit]