The ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 4 finale was easily the best episode of the season in terms of plot and character development; furthermore, despite no cliffhanger, per se, the finale left the viewer wanting more than any ‘GoT’ finale ever has! Full recap below!
The Season 4 finale of Game Of Thrones, was, without exaggeration, one of the most compelling pieces of television this year. While not quite as action-packed as the episode prior, “The Children” made up for it with a stunning amount of character and plot development which may have non-ASoIaF readers running to the books to find out what happens next more than any other finale has! In the June 15 episode, Bran’s journey is ended, Jon Snow is sad, Stannis makes an appearance, queendom in Meereen is not all it’s cracked up to be, and Arya kicks more butt than usual (as if that were even possible).
‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Recap: Jon Snow Has Bad Ideas But Brilliant Luck
“The Children” opens where the previous episode left off, with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) on his way to parley with Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds). A betting man would not place Jon’s Ghost-less, weapon-less odds very high; however, Mance agrees to meet with Jon, who insists that he’s not a traitor — all along, he was loyal to the Night’s Watch and to his vows. Mance raises the eyebrow of, “Oh really? What about that cave, then?” and asks, “She wasn’t enough to turn you, eh?” They drink to Ygritte (Rose Leslie), and I cry.
Mance has Jon’s number — Castle Black is low on arrows, oil, and men. 400 of Mance’s men are currently climbing the wall, and while some will die, most will make it over. All Mance and his wildlings want are to have the same protection that the wall offers from the White Walkers.
Suddenly, a horn blows in the distance, and it’s a mysterious army come to save the day! They totally surround Mance’s camp and they’re far better armed, skilled, and numerous than the free folk are. However, the wildlings are not without enthusiasm — they join the melee with gusto but it’s no real use; it’s a slaughter.
Mance commands his men to stand down at the same time that, of course, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) appear! Stannis demands that Mance kneel for surrender, and he refuses — wildlings do not kneel.
When Jon introduces himself to Stannis, it’s absolutely thrilling to see him interact with somebody from the south, from his past, connected to Ned Stark.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Recap: Cersei Admits That The Lannisters’ Hold On The Throne Is A Lie
In King’s Landing, The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) is not doing well after being speared by Prince Oberyn; Cersei (Lena Headey) is insistent that Grand Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover) do all he can to fix him, but it can’t be done. Pycelle is dismissed from his own laboratory when Qyburn (Anton Lesser) insists he can help; he does some weird, gross stuff which I’m sure will come into play at some point or another.
Cersei meets with her father, Tywin (Charles Dance), who reminds Cersei of her betrothal to Loras Tyrell. “Do you think you’ll be the first person dragged into the sept to be married against your will?” he asks Cersei. Happy Father’s Day! She doesn’t want to get shipped off to Highgarden, leaving Tommen alone. She threatens to burn the house to the ground before that happens, and even to tell everyone the truth. You know, The Truth Of Which The Lannisters Do Not Speak — that they do not really hold the throne, that Tommen is hers and Jaime’s, and that their “legacy is a lie.” He claims he never knew, but it’s pretty obvious that he just didn’t want to know; Cersei flounces off, leaving Tywin with that bombshell.
Cersei gives Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) the big news — that she told Tywin the truth, and that they are now free to be together. However, it seems pretty clearly a ploy to keep Jaime on her side in the whole matter of Tyrion’s sentence and in keeping her in King’s Landing — she has not been pleased with him since he raped her, and really, he had been cooling on her, as well. Twincest: so rife with problems.
Anyway, they do it on a table. One day these two will find a bed.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Recap: Daenerys Is Having Trouble Enforcing The New World Order, And Her Dragons, Too
Over in Meereen, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is receiving Fennesz at her court, a man who was once enslaved and is not happy about the current order. He taught his master’s children, and now he has no rightful place, nor a home — while Daenerys has set up mess halls to house the ex-slaves, the young rule the old. All he wants is to be a teacher once again, and asks to sell himself back into his ex-master’s home. Daenerys agrees that he may sign a one-year contract. Ser Barristan reminds her that Fennesz is not the only one bristling under the new world order.
Another man approaches, sobbing, carrying a bundle (“he came from the sky, a winged shadow”); he unwraps the bundle and it’s a charred skeleton of the man’s 3-year-old daughter. It’s pretty grim. And like, super bad PR for Dany.
Drogon is missing and out of control, and Dany’s other two dragons are nearly equally out of control. Crying, she chains them in the catacombs. The Breaker of Chains just had to chain her own children for the protection of her people — her rule doesn’t seem to be going well at all.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Recap: Jon Snow Burns Ygritte’s Body And Shippers Everywhere Cry
Back at the Wall, bodies are being burned so that they don’t turn into Wights — and now, their watch is ended. Tellingly, Melisandre appears through the flames.
Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), now a prisoner of the Night’s Watch, tells Jon that Ygritte loved him — “she told you?” “No, all she ever talked about was killing you — that’s how I knew.” Tormund tells Jon that she belongs in the north — the real north — and so Jon burns her body beyond the wall. It’s totally heartbreaking to see her pale, prone form, and to see Jon drop the torch on her grave and walk away.
While Jon has (mostly) always stayed true to his vows, the only times we’ve ever really seen him happy are prior to joining the Night’s Watch, and when he lived as one of the free folk with Ygritte.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Recap: Bran’s Storyline Is Fast-Forwarded, Blessedly
More north than ever, we meet up with Team Bran, who are fighting their way through a snowstorm to meet the three-eyed raven, when they find themselves at the edge of a short cliff, looking out onto a huge, glowing Weirwood set in front of a brilliant, sunny sky. It almost has a dreamlike quality, and it looks like their troubles are over until, of course, they are obviously not.
They’re suddenly attacked by skeletons fighting their way up from the ground — they look neither like Wights nor White Walkers — and it’s terrifying. Bran is pretty pointless in this fight until he takes over the terrified Hodor’s (Kristian Nairn‘s) mind, and helps the Reeds battle their attackers. Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is, sadly, stabbed several times by one of their attackers, and a young girl who looks basically like a tree person comes out to save their butts with magical firebombs.
The girl tells them to follow her or die with them, and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) mercy-kills him before they all run and follow the girl into the tree. She introduces herself as one of The Children — that’s what the First Men called them, but The Children had already been around for far longer than they had.
An old man, who looks embedded in the tree, tells Team Bran that it was always in Jojen’s story to die — indeed, Jojen knew he would die, and you could kind of tell by his general demeanor. He was not a boy who looked like he felt as if he had his whole life ahead of him. However, the old man tells Bran that Jojen helped him find what he is looking for. Bran asks after his legs — at a time like this, Bran? People have died — and the old man tells him, “You’ll never walk again — but you will fly.”
‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Recap: Arya Stark And Brienne Of Tarth Meet; Also, The Hound Makes Some Excellent Points
It’s my favorite time! The Pod and Brienne buddy cop hour! They wake up who-knows-where and their horses have gone. They wander about until, holy god, they see Arya (Maisie Williams) practicing with Needle. She and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) have a fabulous bonding moment, being ladies with swords who have been told it’s not ladylike, until Sandor comes loping up. Pod (Daniel Portman) recognizes him, of course, and Brienne realizes that they’re looking at Arya Stark. Brienne tells Arya that she swore a sacred vow to protect Catelyn, and Arya asks her, “Why didn’t you?” Good point.
“Come with me, Arya. I’ll take you to safety,” Brienne tells her. Sandor then makes some excellent points himself: “Safety? Where the f***’s that? Her aunt in the Eyrie is dead. Her mother’s dead. Her father’s dead. Her brother’s dead. Winterfell is a pile of rubble. There’s no safety, you dumb b****. You don’t know that by now, you’re the wrong one to watch over her.”
“That’s what you’re doing? Watching over her?” “Aye, that’s what I’m doing.” Aw, do we need to wish a Happy Father’s Day to Sandor, too?
They fight, and it’s vicious as hell. She gets the upper hand, sword at his throat, and tells him, “I have no wish to kill you, Ser.” He grabs her sword by its blade, and lets himself bleed by it — “I am not a knight.” He throws her off, and the fight begins again in earnest — and it’s gross. Brienne bites off his ear, and throws him down a cliff.
Brienne rushes away, calling for Arya, but she is hiding and doesn’t want to be found. Pod thinks that Arya went thataway, and the Pod and Brienne buddy cop adventure continues in the opposite direction of where the Stark children are, once again.
Sandor insists that Arya go after Brienne, but Arya doesn’t want to — she thinks she’ll be better off alone, and seems pretty keenly interested in watching Sandor die, slowly. He tries to get a rise out of her so that she’ll stab him through the heart and put him out of his misery, but Arya doesn’t bite, even when the Hound says he wishes he had raped Sansa bloody. Ugh, gross.
“Do it,” he implores her. “Do it.” She goes over to him, but it’s only to lift his silver — she walks away, letting him continue his slow death, as he yells “Kill me!” at her retreating form. Cold, Arya, cold. And perfect.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Recap: Tyrion Becomes The Killer He’s Been Convicted Of — Twice
Back in King’s Landing, Jaime appears in Tyrion’s cell — he’s there to free him, with Lord Varys’ help. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is to wait for Varys, but instead he goes through a secret passageway — to Tywin’s chambers in the Tower of the Hand. Where Shae (Sibel Kekilli) is lying in Tywin’s bed. Oh, not good.
Tyrion looks heartbroken until Shae grabs for a knife, and he jumps on top of her, strangling her with a necklace, crying. “I’m sorry,” he tells her dead body.
Eyeing a crossbow on the wall, he heads to his next stop — Tywin on the toilet. Not to ruin the moment or anything, but I find it kind of hilarious that Tyrion knew where he was. Were his toilet senses tingling? That castle is huge — Tywin could have been anywhere!
Right, anyway, so Tyrion finds Tywin in the privy and aims his crossbow right in his face. “All my life, you’ve wanted me dead.” “Yes. But you refused to die! I respect that, even admire it,” Tywin “Father Of The Year” Lannister tells his son, while trying to convince him to take their convo to his chambers. Tyrion seems like he’s going to let Tywin off the hook, really, until Tywin calls Shae a whore. “Say that word again,” Tyrion dares him.
“I am your son, and you sentenced me to die. You knew I didn’t poison Joffrey, but you sentenced me all the same. Why?” Tywin implores Tyrion, once again, to go to his chambers where they can talk. Tyrion doesn’t want to, because Shae is there, and Tywin’s like, it’s just a dead whore. Ka-thunk goes a crossbow bolt into Tywin’s chest. Tywin — he warned you.
“You’re no son of mine.” “I am your son. I have always been your son,” Tyrion says, unloading one last bolt into Tywin.
Tyrion then meets with Varys, who knows that Tyrion has not been picking wildflowers, and then loads him into a crate which is then lifted onto a ship. Varys joins him.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Recap: All Men Must Die — But Arya Is Not A Man
Finally, “The Children” ends with, well, a child. Technically speaking. Arya is far from it, riding her horse on her lonesome when she spots ships in the distance. She demands passage to the north, but the captain scoffs, until he tells her that they’re going “home” — to the Free City of Braavos.
Arya gives him the iron coin that Jaqen H’ghar gave her back at Harrenhal in Season 2, onto which “Valar morghulis” — “All men must die” — is inscribed. Season 4 ends with Arya on her way across the Narrow Sea to Braavos — a place as safe for her as any.
So, HollywoodLifers, what did you think of the finale? Aren’t you just dying to know what happens to the Stark children? And Tyrion? What about Jon at the Wall? If you’re not a reader of the ASoIaF books, are you going to start? Let me know!
— Amanda Michelle Steiner