It’s Game of Thrones season four finale time, everyone! You know what that means: some people are about to die, and things are about to get super real, and then we’ll have to wait for ten months to find out what happens to everyone whilst the book readers bask in their infinite knowledge. And by infinite knowledge I mean that the showrunners decided that all that reading was hard.
Resuming the action at the Wall, Jon goes out to speak to Mance. Mance offers him a peace, knowing that the Night’s Watch doesn’t have enough men to keep fighting off the wildlings. Breaking the bro-code, Jon makes a move to kill Mance, much to his irritation. Mance isn’t such a bad guy, he only wants to bring his people through the wall, as they fear the ice zombie things. Their parlay is interrupted by the sound of horns –riders are invading. A large host of men attack the wildlings. They are led by… Stannis the Mannis Baratheon. Stannis orders Mance captured. Jon introduces himself as Ned’s bastard. Stannis asks him what he would do with Mance, and Jon points out that Mance could’ve made things pretty awful for him when he was captive, but chose not to. So I guess mercy? Jon also advises the Baratheon camp to burn the dead.
The Mountain is unconscious and his wound from the Viper’s spear is festering. Pycelle has no way to save him from the manticore poison, but Qyburn, the nefarious ex-maester kicked out of the citadel for “unnatural curiosity” is optimistic. He begins what looks suspiciously like a blood transfusion. After telling him to save Gregor, Cersei confronts Tywin about marrying Loras Tyrell. Obviously she’s pretty determined not to marry him, for a wide variety of reasons. She ends up admitting to Tywin, who has thus far been in deep, deep denial, that all the rumours about her and Jaime are true. Happy Father’s Day, Mr. Lannister! Leaving Tywin stunned, she punctuates her dramatic revelation by hooking up with her brother.
Daenerys is holding her court again, and has to deal with freed slaves asking to rejoin their masters. She reluctantly allows them to sign yearly contracts, which Barristan tells her will allow the masters to once again exploit the ex-slaves. Before she can dwell too long on it, a man brings her the charred remains of his three-year-old daughter. She locks up two of her dragons (you know, the two that didn’t eat a child), though Drogon is still running around eating kids.
Aemon speaks some words over the dead crows. Tormond tells Jon that Ygritte loved him; he could tell by how badly she wanted to kill him. Giantsbane tells him the wildlings don’t honour their dead because dead people can’t hear you speak. I guess the north isn’t conducive to being terribly sentimental. Jon has a private funeral north of the wall for Ygritte.
Speaking of the true north, Bran, Hodor, and the Reeds come across a desktop background-worthy weirwood tree. Before they can reach it, ice zombies start grabbing at their ankles. The Reeds fight them, and Bran overtakes Hodor’s body again to help the fight, but nevertheless Jojen is stabbed to death by the animated skeletons. (Which… wait, what? Although, not bad CGI, HBO). Some little girl starts throwing rock laser bombs (I have no better way to describe these) to fend off the zombie skeletons. She ushers them underneath the tree where the stalfos have no power and explains that she is one of the Children, who existed before the first men. They meet an old man (the three-eyed raven) that has become a part of the weirwood’s root system. He tells them that Jojen knew he wouldn’t survive the journey, but that it was important for Bran to get there. Bran will never walk again, but he will fly.
Pod and Brienne run into Arya and The Hound. For a brief, brief moment, I hope that the show takes a 180 on the books and the four of them decide to travel around together like a big happy family. But alas, Brienne is hell-bent on bringing Arya with her, as per her promise to Catelyn Stark. She and the Hound get into a fight, and there is much head smashing and punching and such, and she ends up throwing him down a cliff. Arya ducks away from Pod, though, and dodges away from Brienne. Meanwhile, the Hound is obviously going to die from his wounds, but Arya won’t kill him. She watches him beg for mercy for a little bit, then takes his purse and leaves him to die. It made me sad.
Jaime comes to help Tyrion escape. Varys has set up a ship to take him away from King’s Landing. Jaime and Tyrion hug goodbye on good terms (which is pretty much the opposite of the book) and Tyrion escapes through some tunnels. He can’t help but stop by to confront Tywin, though. And who is warming Tywin’s bed but our friend Shae? Tyrion, enraged, strangles her to death with her necklace. He grabs a crossbow and confronts Tywin, who is on the toilet. Tywin calls Shae a whore and insists Tyrion would never shoot him. Then he calls Shae a whore again and Tyrion shoots him. Again, what a splendid Father’s Day for the Lannister household! When he denies Tyrion as a son, Tyrion insists that he’s always been his son, and shoots him again through the heart. He meets up with Varys and is smuggled on the boat. As it leaves port, the bells begin tolling.
Arya approaches a ship. She asks to be taken north, but the captain insists nothing is there but ice and wildlings. He is going to Braavos, and is not inclined to take her along. So she offers the iron coin she was given by Jaqen H’ghar. She sails away from Westeros because seriously, fuck that place.
Another season wraps up! Many things have changed: Tyrion and Arya are leaving Westeros altogether, Dany isn’t so keen on getting there anymore; Tywin is dead and his son is missing a hand; Stannis is helping the Night’s Watch and the riverlands are a mess; we’ve learned more of Dorne and their issues with the Seven Kingdoms; Sansa is getting in on the game whilst Bran is camping under a tree. Some things haven’t: Cersei’s still a total bitch, Arya still kicks ass with whoever she hangs out with, and the Starks will still never be a happy family. Everyone enjoy your now Game of Thrones-less summer, and never forget that winter is coming.