[Ed note: The season finale was so epic, we couldn’t contain our thoughts in just one post! So to accommodate all the thoughts and feels from the Season 4, Episode 10 “The Children,” we’ve called on the heroic trio that led us the last ten weeks — Anna, Julie, and Alice — to each share their thoughts on the finale and the season overall. Part one is here; part two is here.]
With a heavy heart I write this re-cap of the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones: “The Children.”
How is everyone feeling? To tell you the truth, I had moments where I was like this…
Then I was like this…
…and in the end, I was like this.
Gotta hand it to those genius HBO executives who planned this finale on Father’s Day (or was it just happenstance?). What an appropriate day for Tyrion to give his pops Tywin the gift of a lifetime… while on the crapper!
During the most recent episode of Hard N.O.C. Life, we panelists speculated on Tyrion’s fate and whether he would die or not in the finale. As someone who read the books, I kept my mouth shut because I hoped the show would follow the source material (but you never know).
While it seemed that Tyrion’s fate was all but sealed after the death of the Red Viper, Jaime helped Tyrion escape right before his execution. As Tyrion was about to escape, he paused and turned back… he had some unfinished biz-ness.
At first, it wasn’t clear if he was sneaking into Cersei’s room, but viewers soon figured out it was Tywin’s since his Hand of the King pin was visible. What really hurt was when Tyrion heard a woman murmuring for her Lion in Tywin’s bed. You guessed it: Shae! After testifying against Tyrion, she hopped into bed from one Lannister Lion to another.
So Tyrion kills Shae in a fit of rage. However, his true rage is aimed at Daddy Dearest, the man who condemned him to death. This has been building up for quite some time. When you are considered a joke, a cancerous “disease” that must be removed, or a monster, it’s impossible to be unaffected by such rejection by family and society.
As a book reader, this moment is even more poignant because it’s not just about Shae’s betrayal. It’s about Tysha, the first woman Tyrion fell in love with. He mentions her briefly in Season One of the show. She was not a prostitute, Tyrion learned from Jaime, and she truly loved him. Learning this fact compels Tyrion to turn around and kill his father, a hypocrite who disdained whores while having one in his keep.
I am excited that viewers of the show will continue to see Peter Dinklage portray Tyrion next season. This time, there might be some humorous scenes with his odd couple pairing with Varys, the crafty spider who helped him escape.
Just when you think fight scenes couldn’t become more brutal on Game of Thrones, we have hand-to-hand combat that rivals the fight between Oberyn Martell and The Mountain. The viewers see Brienne and Podrick on their way toward the Eyrie when they encounter Arya and The Hound just as they are headed back.
After a brief my-dad-didn’t-want-me-to-fight-too exchange with Arya, Brienne quickly deduces her identity and tries to persuade her to join them. Arya’s instincts are immediately skeptical. How could Brienne protect her if she failed to protect her dead mother that she swore loyalty to?
The Hound was Arya’s enemy, but he was a known quantity. He’s a brute, but he has a code and taught Arya some valuable lessons in survival. A fight ensues between Brienne and The Hound and it’s down and dirty.
This ain’t some fancy schmancy trial-by-combat. This is MMA, Westeros-style! The sound designers need to win Emmys in every single category possible. I squirmed and grimaced at each blow and grunt by these two worthy opponents.
In the end, Brienne gave as good as she got and threw Clegane down a steep hill. As she and Podrick frantically search for Arya (thanks a bunch, Podrick!), we get a few final moments between The Hound and Arya.
Arya knows exactly where the heart is if she wanted to put The Hound out of his misery. This moment was a nice call-back to a scene earlier in the season when he hastened the death of a soldier they encountered during their travels. However, Arya deemed The Hound unworthy of such mercy — she has a code too, and he did not deserve an easy death. She took his coins, as she witnessed him do to others, and left.
Arya is all grown up — she does not need an adult chaperone or protector anymore although it would have been awesome to see Arya and Brienne together for her to have a female mentor who can also kick ass.
While she intended to head north to join Jon Snow at The Wall, the only transportation available headed east, to Braavos. It just so happens that Arya has a very special coin given to her by the mysterious Jaqen H’ghar that immediately gave her some respect when she presented it to the ship’s captain.
Arya, on the boat looking at the ocean toward the east, seems free. She’s mature beyond years and equipped to handle the cruelties of life. It feels like she just emerged out of her cocoon and will become something more than Arya Stark of Winterfell.
Jojen knew that his purpose was to help Bran reach his goal, to meet the three-eyed crow from his dreams. Sadly, his story ends in this episode. In another scary and violent moment in the finale (I mean, how many can viewers handle at one time?), wights straight out of Tales of the Crypt attack Jojen, Meera, Hodor, and Bran.
R.I.P., Jojen, and thanks for tutoring Bran on zen and the art of warging!
Bran, Hodor, and Meera are saved by a Child of the Forest, a mythical race of creatures thought to be extinct. Firestarter-era Drew Barrymore then leads them to a cave where the three-eyed crow awaits them.
Known as Bloodraven, he tells Bran, Hodor, and Meera that he’s been watching and waiting for their arrival. Unlike Arya, who is no longer a padawan, Bran is beginning his apprenticeship with Bloodraven on how to become a greenseer.
It’s clear that Bran has little idea of what’s ahead of him. He thinks what he lost was literal — his ability to walk.
All three of these characters are leaving their past lives behind and moving toward an unknown future. Both Tyrion and Arya are leaving their names and family ties once and for all. Being a Lannister or a Stark carries a lot of baggage, and to move forward both Tyrion and Arya have to shed this weight and get far away from Westeros to start over. Bran is about to start his metamorphosis as well, leaving behind one corporeal existence for another realm that involves what’s thought of as “magic.”
The finale was a roller coaster of emotions — I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was a masterful way of setting up the storylines for our beloved characters next year.
Valar Morghulis, Nerds Of Color!