Game of Thrones – The Children

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Well – the end has come. The end of season four at least; although funnily enough the end of season four did seem to coincide with some endings in my life too…but that’s neither here nor there and is also in another post somewhere.

I can’t believe the season went by so fast! It seems like it was just a few days ago that the season opened with me sitting on my couch in MS, praying the storms would hold off until at least 9 PM so I could see the season premiere and then just last night I sat in front of my computer screen in the dim light of my parent’s living room and watched the season wind up… And it was quite the end to the season, although I might have text my friend Lilah “that did NOT happen that way in the book” one too many times. Oh well, it was a good season finale…so before the nine month wait ahead…the recap, now with lots more pictures…some of them are even moving!!!

The season ender opens where the previous episode left off, with Jon trudging into the wilderness north of the Wall; he intends to talk with Mance Rayder, King Beyond the Wall…and he also intend to kill him if he can, knowing that without their leader, the Free Folk will likely fall apart and no longer be a threat. Mance chastises him for being dressed all in black again and is dubious that Ygritte wasn’t enough to make him turn his cloak; they drink to the men (and the woman) lost in the battle and Mance tells Jon that the only reason they attacked the Wall was because something dangerous is coming and they want to be on the other side of the Wall before it arrives; he tells Jon his terms are that they let them pass through the tunnel to the other side of the Wall or they’ll kill every single sworn brother of the Night’s Watch and pass through anyway. As Jon zeroes his sights in on a knife, their meeting is broken up by the arrival of soldiers…the army that Stannis Baratheon bought with the gold from the Iron Bank of Braavos!

Mance Rayder talks strategy, suffering & loss with Jon Snow.
The arrival of the army of Stannis Baratheon…
Jon lets Stannis know that he is the son of Ned Stark; telling Stannis that his father died for him, they both agree that Ned was an honorable man. Stannis asks Jon what he’d do with Mance if he had the choice and Jon tells him that when he was once a prisoner of Mance’s, he was questioned but treated kindly and so he suggests that they do the same – take Mance as a prisoner, question him and keep him in case they need him in the future. 
We move from the Wall to King’s Landing where Cersei, Grand Maester Pycelle and Qyburn are inspecting the body of the Mountain; Gregor Clegane. It seems that Oberyn Martell might have gotten in the last laugh since he poisoned the tip of his spear with manticore venom and now the Mountain is dying a slow and painful death. The Grand Maester says there is no way to save him but Qyburn disagrees and so Cersei dismisses Pycelle in favor of Qyburn – even though he had his Maester’s chain revoked by the Citadel. Qyburn tells Cersei that he will try to save Ser Gregor but he’s not sure if it will work…however, if it does work he will be different but stronger. Cersei gets that crazy gleam in her eye and tells him to come to her for anything he might need.
In the process of creating a monster…

Cersei is next seen confronting her Father, to tell him that she will not marry Loras Tyrell. She believes her place is with her son, Tommen and she will not be shipped off to Highgarden to marry a man she doesn’t love. Tywin assures her she won’t be the first woman to be dragged into the Sept to marry a man she has no desire to marry but Cersei goes him one better and says if he makes her marry Loras, she will burn the family legacy to the ground – she stares him down and tells him all the rumors are true, everything people say about she and Jaime is right; if he’d taken just one moment to be concerned about his actual family and really looked close enough, he would know that. She tells him she will tell the world his legacy is a lie and as she stalks away, leaving Tywin to sort out how he feels about the bomb she’s just dropped on him.
She goes immediately to the tower of the Kingsguard, where she tells Jaime that they can choose who their family is – and she chooses him. She doesn’t care what anyone will say about them because everyone else is so far beneath them that it doesn’t matter – she will be staying with the man she loves and their son; being with the man she loves is all that matters to her anymore. This is exactly what Jaime has been waiting to hear, so they go ahead and reconcile right there on the table…which again makes the rape scene from episode three make even less sense…but whatever. I guess we all collectively pretend it didn’t happen and move on, right?
Cersei makes her choice.

We move back to the North where we join Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen as the make their way to the Three-Eyed Raven; Jojen is struggling to keep going and as Meera encourages him to let them all stop and rest, he collapses and tells her they don’t need to rest, they’ve arrived. Sure enough, the huge Weirwood we’ve seen all season is just over the hill and so they begin to make their way toward what appears to be the entrance to a cave under the tree, walking across a field of pristine snow…when suddenly a hand reaches up through the snow and grabs Jojen around the ankle!
*Y’all, I was watching this in the dark living room, by myself at about 10:45 on Sunday night and when that hand popped up, I about came unglued. Which is pretty sad on my part because I knew this was coming, I’ve read the books and this part stayed pretty faithful…but I still jumped a mile!*
Bran wargs into Hodor’s body and he and Meera fight off the wights that keep popping up one right after the other; Summer (the direwolf) also jumps into the action and takes down a wight or two. As Meera looks away to fend off yet another wight, her brother Jojen is stabbed multiples times in the gut and before she can reach him, the damage is done. Cue one of the Children of the Forest throwing a fireball (what the heck was up with that???) and telling Meera that Jojen is lost; if they want to survive they must leave him and come with her, into the cave…the Three-Eyed Raven is waiting. As more wights pop out of the snow around them, Meera slits her brother’s throat to free him from a slow death and they race for the cave, watching as the wights break apart when they try to enter the cave – the magic that animates them will not work inside the cave.
Losing one member of the North of the Wall gang….

Hodor carries Bran into the cave, following the Child of the Forest until they come upon a grizzled old man seated on a throne of weirwood branches – the Three-Eyed Raven! Bran crawls across the floor to him and the Three-Eyed Raven tells him that he has waited a long time for him and now that he is come, he will return to him what has been lost. He will never walk again…but he will fly.
The Three-Eyed Raven…not as creepy as he’s described in the books…

We go once more to the Wall where Jon meets with Tormund, who is being held prisoner after last week’s attack on the Wall. Tormund wonders how they will choose to kill him; will he be beheaded, hung, thrown from the top of the Wall? He also asks Jon if he loved Ygritte; Tormund knows Ygritte loved Jon because all she could talk about was killing him after he did her wrong. Tormund tells Jon he should take Ygritte to the North, the true North because that’s where she deserves to be buried…and we last see Jon as he takes her out to the woods, lights her funeral pyre and walks away, tears streaming down his cheeks. 
Goody-bye Ygritte…you were fun while you lasted…

Across the Narrow Sea in Meereen, Daenerys is holding court and she first speaks with a man who was once a slave and a teacher for the family that owned him. He explains to Daenerys that while the young may love the freedom she has given them, the old are living in squalor…where once he had a place to live and a job to do, he is now aimless and has nothing and no one. He asks that he be able to sell himself back to his former master. Daenerys agrees that he may make a contract with his former master to last no longer than one year – the man is grateful but Ser Barristan warns her that other slaves and masters will take advantage of this.
The next petitioner at court is a man that carries a bundles of bones. He tearfully approaches the throne and as Missandei translates, he explains that the Winged Shadow came from the skies and killed his little girl; that Winged Shadow being Daenerys’ largest dragon, Drogon. As the man weeps over his child’s bones, Daenerys watches heartbroken and knows what must be done – she takes Rhaegal and Viseryon into the catacombs underneath the pyramid and chains them under the ground, sealing the catacombs as tears run down her face and her “children” scream in protest. 
Some very unhappy “babies”…
If Momma ain’t happy…well, you know the rest…

Over on the road to the Eyrie, Brienne and Pod have lost their horses but they’ve stumbled upon something else – Arya and the Hound. Brienne tells Arya about learning to use a sword growing up but the two are interrupted in their female bonding by the Hound coming around the corner – Pod immediately recognizes him and he and Brienne are immediately at odds. At the moment Brienne realizes she has found Arya Stark, Arya suddenly becomes very wary of Brienne when the Hound points out she is carrying a Lannister sword. Podrick and Arya get out of the way as Brienne and the Hound have a battle royale that involves both of them getting pretty bashed and beaten but Brienne gains the upper hand, biting off the Hound’s ear and beating him over a cliff…
Well this is interesting…
Preparing for Battle Royale – these two wailed on each other…

Brienne calls for Arya but Arya wants nothing to do with her and hides among the rocks until Brienne moves on. Once she reappears, she creeps to where the Hound lays dying. He asks her if she remembers where the heart is, then he tries to goad her into killing him and finally resorts to begging her for a merciful death – but Arya has seen too much and the Hound was one of the names on her list after all – she takes his money and leaves him to die on the side of the road, as he scream after her begging for death.
Arya crosses another name off her list….

We return once more to King’s Landing and Tyrion’s cell where he awaits his death. Jaime opens his cell door and ushers Tyrion into the hallway, telling him he’s come to set him free – all Tyrion has to do is take a flight of stairs up to a door, knock twice and then twice again and Varys will open the door and secret him to freedom. The brothers share a heartfelt good-bye and Jaime leaves Tyrion, but Tyrion can’t quite leave well enough alone so he creeps through the castle to the tower of the Hand….
Saying good-bye is never easy….
Tyrion makes his way into his father’s bed chamber and sees that someone is laying in his father’s bed…as he creeps closer, the woman mumbles “my lion” and turns to greet the person she thinks is Tywin Lannister, but is horrified to see that it is Tyrion approaching her. She immediately grabs a knife and the two begin to scuffle but Tyrion wins out in the end, choking Shae with the golden rope necklace that he gave her last season. As she lies motionless off the side of the bed, he gulps out a tearful “sorry” and then he spies Joffrey’s crossbow across the room. Since he’s already killed one person, he takes the crossbow, two bolts and moves out of the room and down the hall….
The worst way for a relationship to end…
Tyrion finds his father sitting in the privy – that’s right, he’s on the toilet – and Tywin manages to keep his demeanor of control throughout the conversation, even while sitting on a toilet. Tywin tells Tyrion that he was never going to let him be beheaded; even if he hates his son, he is still a Lannister and he wouldn’t have let that happen. Tyrion tells him that he killed Shae and his father tells him that it doesn’t matter because she was only a whore. Tyrion looses one bolt into his father’s chest and his father becomes angry, telling Tyrion he is no son of his… Tyrion levels a look of hatred at his father, levels the crossbow at his father, tells him that he’s always been his son and shoots him dead. He then climbs the stairs to Varys’ room, where he is loaded into a crate and put on a ship out of King’s Landing…and when Varys hears the bells of King’s Landing begin to toll for Tywin Lannister’s death, he too boards the ship as well. 
It must really stink to be shot on the toilet…no pun intended…

The final scene of the episode is one of some hope – Arya approaches the port of Saltpans and asks a captain for a ship to the Wall. He tells her there is nothing she wants at the Wall and he’s not going that way anyway, he’s going home – to Braavos. Arya takes out the iron coin that Jaqen Hagar gave her all the way back in season two, hands it to the man and utters the words: Valar Morghulis. He smiles at her, responds back with “Valar Doheris” and tells her that of course, she will have a cabin on the ship. As the music swells, Arya watches Westeros disappear off the stern of the ship, runs to the bow and looks to her new destination and what the future holds.
Looking ahead to Braavos & hopes for a better life…
And – that’s it! Another season has come and gone and now comes the long nine month wait until season five! Who knows, maybe we’ll get book six to tide us over until the Spring when it comes back on? Who am I kidding…I’m not holding my breath. Well, until next Spring that’s it for the Game of Thrones recaps. I’ll take you back to your regularly scheduled blog posts now – do enjoy!

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