Did you do the Game of Thrones finale right? Throughout the season, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting up every Sunday with a small group of GoT devotees to communally cheer on and mourn our favorite characters in the Seven Kingdoms.
If there was ever a night to really do it up, it was during Sunday’s finale. We feasted on wild game and drank flagons of Dornish wine….and by that I mean we got pizza down the street and drank whatever around had an ABV higher than 7%. Don’t judge. One particularly ambitious member of our court did come armed with Sansa Stark’s favorite lemon cakes, and they were glorious.
That said, being drunker than King Robert out on a hunt, 9 p.m. rolled around and it was time to wrap up season 4. Here we go:
Episode ten begins where Watchers On the Wall left off. Jon has said his goodbyes, once again, to his brothers of the Nights Watch. This time he treks out alone in hopes of chatting with the King Beyond the Wall–Mance Rayder. Forgot about that guy, didn’t ya? Jon is quickly taken into custody and there he learns the real reason for the Wildling’s siege on Castle Black. While the northern tribes do particularly love a good fight, their real motivation is to head south in an attempt to escape the looming threat of the White Walkers.
Jon Snow may know nothing (still), but he does understand that there’s no way his brothers would ever open their gates to the Wildling hordes. Just when things are about to take a turn for the worse for Eddard Stark’s bastard son, chaos, commotion and fighting break out in the north. For the first time ever, Stannis Baratheon comes in with a win! It’s nice having the Iron Bank on your side, apparently.
In a particularly poignant moment, even by Game of Thrones standards, Jon takes this brief moment of peace to lay Ygritte to rest. He burns her body underneath the same Weirwood Tree that he visited in season 1 to say his Nights Watch vows. You know, the same vows that he broke by giving Ygritte the business in a cave.
If you keep up with my episode recaps, you’ll remember following The Mountain and the Viper, I reminded that poison had been flowing freely in Kings Landing. Indeed, before getting his face smashed in, Dornish playboy Oberyn Martell had his squire coat his spear in poison before taking on Gregor Clegane.
In a very Monty Python moment, The Mountain is “Not quite dead,” but slowly suffering. Cersei has faith in the Maester’s skills though and is rooting for Ser Clegane to pull through. Why, though? Maybe she wants the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms on her side. Maybe she wants him to survive because that would leave no questions as to who won Tyrion’s trial by combat.
The Queen Regent is riding high these days. So much so that, in a bold move, she tells her father she has no intentions of marrying Loras Tyrell and leaving Kings Landing. He’s none to pleased with her protests, as bringing the Lannister and Tyrell houses together will solidify a near unbeatable alliance. Finally, Cersei plays the ol “Incest Card.” The Lannister name will be shattered if it is revealed that King Tommen, the late King Joffrey and Princess Myrcella are all bastards born of incest with zero claim to the Iron Throne. Whoa! While Tywin may have silently heeded the rumors about his children, having it revealed and in his face causes him, for once, to be taken aback.
One minor gripe I’ve had about the show so far is the lack of attention given to Bran’s story line. Well, this finale gave the people what they wanted. After seasons of Bran traveling with the Reed children toward some barely known destination, they finally reach the Weirdwood tree north of the wall for which they’ve been searching. The entrance is in sight when their small party is ambushed by wights.
Okay, it’s been a minute, so just as a reminder, wights are reanimated corpses spawned back to live by the evil lurking around when White Walkers are nearby. Cool?
Bran wargs his way into Hodor’s consciousness and he fights off the wights long enough for the group to make some headway. Things start to look bleak, that is until a new race shows up on the show and firebombs the Seven Hells out of the wights. These are The Children for which this episode is named. They bring Bran and crew to a cave where they meet an old man, the physical manifestation of Bran’s Three-Eyed Raven from his dreams. Thumbs up: Bran has arrived at the destination of this long journey. Thumbs down: Jojen Reed was mortally wounded by the wights.
In an almost inevitable meeting, Arya and the Hound run into Brienne of Tarth and her dutiful squire Pod. They’re both headed for the Eryie, after all, in search of Sansa Stark. They join forces and prance off into the sunset. J/K, Brienne and the Hound beat each other to bloody pulps. After smashing his face in with a rock and biting his mangled ear off (ouchies), Brienne sends the younger Clegane tumbling down a hill. The fighting is over, but the Hound is suffering and dying slowly. He begs Arya to finish the deed, but she takes his coin purse and leaves him for dead. Even though the two have spent the whole season coexisting, his name was on her death list and easing his passing just isn’t in the cards.
And finally, we learn how they say “Happy Fathers Day” in Westeros. The night before Tyrion is set to be killed for the alleged poisoning of his nephew, big bro Jaime saves the day once again. He ushers the Lannister Imp out of his cell and sends him off to meet up with Varys, with whom he has conspired to free his little brother. On his way, Tyrion stops by his old quarters, the chamber of the Hand of the King, now occupied by his father. What he finds there isn’t exactly a welcome “farewell,” as his ex-lover Shae has stuck around for the chambers’ newest occupant. They wrestle for a bit, but not in the way the used to, and Tyrion strangles her to death with her gold necklace.
Wielding his dead nephew’s crossbow, Tyrion finds his father in somewhat precarious position–on the toilet. Tywin tells him he would never have let him be executed and while it is unclear if there’s any truth to that or not, we will never know. Not hearing any of his father’s justifications, Tyrion shoots two arrows into his father’s chest. And to think, all I did for my dad this year was send him a package of Omaha steaks…
Tyrion and Varys are shipped off in secret to a to-be-disclosed location. This appears to the be way out of any sort of trouble this season in Westeros as Arya pulls the same trick. Difference being, in her case, we’re well aware of her intended destination: Braavos.
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Truly, season four has seen Game of Thrones step up its game in many ways. Most obviously would be in the expansive nature of the fight scenes and other special effects heavy scenes. The dragons, White Walkers (and White Walker baby) and wights all look fantastical enough to suit their purpose, but somehow still fit seamlessly into the world we’ve seen being painted the last four years.
I’d venture to say some of the finest fight scene choreography that’s been seen on television took place this year. From Bronn training Jaime, Ser Gregor and Oberyn having it out and finally Brienne and the Hound’s duel, all the stops were pulled out for some epic fight sequences.
Now comes the inevitable post-season depression. We’ve got just under a year now before we return to the land of Westeros and plenty of questions to ponder in the meantime. Where are Tyrion and Varys heading? If the Hound truly dead? What of his brother? WTF is going to happen in the capital without Tywin’s leadership? Who in the Seven Hells is the guy who is also the three-eyed raven?
Are you super bummed that Game of Thrones is over? Feel free to commiserate or send show predictions to @theactualkurt