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Season 4, Episode 10, “The Children”

Season 4 went out with bang.  There were so many plot twists/ turns that even death, had its moments throughout the finale. “The Children” wasn’t just about the children of Meereen or the Forest; it was about the remaining Stark children, the Lannisters; even Dany and her dragons. Each story had a purpose and changed the course for many characters. The 66 minutes finale was directed by Alex Graves.   This episode has been submitted by GOT for Emmy submissions.

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The Wall

The aftermath of the Wall begins tonight’s chapter, as Jon walks into Mance’s camp to negotiate terms. Jon confesses he was under orders from Halfhand to infiltrate the Wildings to gather information about their attack. Mance questions him about Ygritte asking if she survived however, Jon tells him that she died but not by him. They drink to her death.  Mance asks about the Mag the Mighty. Jon reports he was killed by a farmer’s son, Grenn.  Both men drink to their deaths as well. The King beyond the Wall knows that the Wall is low on arrows and men. His real purpose is to get his people behind the Wall because  “winter is coming”.  Mance  discovers Jon’s real purpose, to kill him. All of a sudden, a horn blows.

Out of nowhere, a huge army enters the forest. They raid the Wilding camp and kill many in their way.  Mance instructs his men to stand down as Davos and Stannis come forward towards him. Davos announces King Stannis as the one true King of Westeros. He tries to get Mance to kneel before them but he refuses. Jon observes the interaction. Jon introduces himself to Stannis as Ned Stark’s son. Baratheon acknowledges Ned. He asks Jon what to do with Mance. Snow answers him by saying he was taken prisoner by him but not harmed; and that the King ought to listen to what he has to say. Stannis agrees with Jon. He tells Stannis to have his men burn the dead bodies.

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Later on at Castle Black, the Night’s Watch burn their dead. They end with infamous “and now their watch has ended”.  As Aemon passes the torch to Sam, Jon, Edd and Olly, Selyse and Shireen witness the funeral as does Stannis. Through the flames, Melisandre spots Jon.

Jon visits Tormund in the prisoner quarters. He asks if there is something to say for free folk dead. Tormund reveals that he knew Ygritte loved Jon because all she talked about was killing him. Giantsbane asks that she be burned beyond the Wall in north where she  belongs.  Alone, Jon takes Ygritte’s body outside the Wall near the Weirwood tree and sets fire to it. He says his emotional goodbye.

So finally, the big payoff of this storyline was Stannis’ army coming to the rescue. It was a great aerial shot. There was a mutual respect from Stannis when he finds out that Jon is Ned’s son. Mance was doubly surprised as Jon pleaded for his life.  A great move on Jon’s part. It will be interesting to see what Stannis plans are at Castle Black.  One particular scene stands out as Mel sees Jon through the flames leaving us wondering what she has in store for him.

It was a bittersweet send off for Pyp and Grenn as their time at the wall comes to an end as well as Ygritte. Kit Harrington brought it home tonight as did a very strong Stephane Dillane as Stannis.

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Beyond the Wall

Bran and company arrive at the Weirwood tree.  As they move closer to the tree, all of them are attacked by a “wight” army appearing out of the snow.  Jojen is grabbed by a “wight”.  More attack them. Summer fends one off. Bran waargs into Hodor. Jojen warns Bran to save himself.  Jojen is attacked by another wight. Meera comes to his aide.  Out of nowhere, a child welcomes “Brandon Stark”. A dying Jojen urges his sister to go on. The child throws  fireball at Jojen’s body as more dead try to attack.

The group run into the cave. The wights follow them but don’t survive. Bran asks the child who she is. She tells them she is known as a “child of the forest”  before the First men. The child announces that “he” is waiting for them.  As they travel through the cave, the troupe comes upon a man bound by tree roots.  He says he has been waiting for Brandon Stark. Bran crawls towards him and asks him if he is the “three eyed raven”. The man answers him with I’ve been called many names.  Meera comes forth telling him that Jojen died delivering them here. The  man acknowledges that Jojen knew his journey.  He  reveals that he has been watching  them with 1001 eyes . Bran asks him if he’ll walk again, but the man says  he will learn to fly.

After 4 years,  Bran’s storyline has a greater meaning now. The CGI effects of red Weirwood tree among the snow and the “wight” army attack was spectular. The art direction of the cave gave us a chilling and eerie feeling surrounding Bran .  Jojen’s death was completely unexpected.  Another mystical element is revealed yet again.  Season 5 looks promising for this story arc.

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Meereen

In the Throne room, Dany meets Fennesz, a former slave, who was a teacher to a master’s children. He tells her of the dangers since she freed the slaves. The young prey on the old with no remorse. She states the freedom allows choice. She decides to let the man work for his former master for 1 year under contract.  Selmy warns her that the masters will take advantage of this. Next a crying man has carries in a blanket to show the Khalessi. He recalls that a dark dragon came from the sky and burned his little girl. Dany is mortified.

In her private chambers, Missandei informs her the little girl’s name was Nyla and she was three. Grey Worm says that Drogon is missing and he is gone across the sea.  Day tells him to meet her at the catacombs.  She leads the other two dragons into the dark, wet cave.  As they chomp on some meat. Daenrys chains both of them up. She begins to walk away leaving the dragons as they call out to her, screeching. Dany takes one last look with tears in her eyes as the door closes.

This was a devasting moment for Dany. Her dragons have always been her children but she realizes that she can’t control them. Her decision to lock them up for the safety of the city was crucial to her rule.  It may have consequences down the road.

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Kings Landing

The Mountain is in horrible shape according to Pycelle, whom exclaims that he was poisoned by “Death of Manticore”.  Qyburn says he can save him as Cersei looks on..  Cersei excuses Pycelle while instructing Qyburn to “do everything you can” to save Gregor.  Qyburn begins to pump out the Mountain’s blood.

Next, Cersei visits Tywin in his chambers.  She refuses to marry Loras Tyrell. Tywin is not having it by telling she’ll marry him the day after Tommen’s wedding to Margery.  Cersei insists on staying with Tommen in the capital as he is her last child she has claim on.  She argues with her father, that between the Tyrells and him, Tommen will be pulled apart. Cersei  admits to the truth of the rumors of her and Jaime while Tywin looks on in disbelief.

Later on, Cersei visits Jaime in his chambers and  readily admits she can’t wait for Tyrion to die. She admits that she has told their father, the truth of their relationship.  She seduces Jaime by telling that she loves him.  And they get it on.

As Tyrion awaits his execution, a door opens, Jaime  comes to free Tyrion with the help of Varys. He urges his brother to take the stairs to the right. Tyrion thanks him for his life as they share a heartfelt goodbye. As Tyrion reaches the stairs, he hesitates for a minute, goes towards the Tower of the Hand.  

As he enters Tywin’s bedroom, he hears Shae exclaim , “Twyin Lannister, my lion”.  A shocked Shae sees Tyrion coming towards her. She grabs a knife to thwart him off. They struggle as the knife is pried loose. Tyrion strangles Shae with her gold necklace. The only words he can say is “I’m sorry” as he sits there for a moment.  He eyes the crossbow and takes it towards the privy. He finds his father, Tywin sitting there. Tyrion confronts his father about wanting him dead for his whole life. Tywin agrees that he wanted him dead but he would never die  and respects him for that because he is a Lannister. The Imp doesn’t buy it since his own father sentenced him to death. Tywin pleads with Tyrion to come to his chambers to talk it out.  Tyrion admits he loved Shae, but he killed in her in the other room. Tywin calls her a ‘whore”. Tyrion warns him not to call her “whore” but Tywin doesn’t care. Tyrion shoots him with the crossbow twice ending with “I’m your son”. Varys finds him in the tower and helps him escape by the way of crate boarding a ship to Essos.  As the Spider looks on, he hears the bells tow signaling death.

Kings Landing has been at the forefront all year however, this sequence really stands out for me.  We see the power play in Cersei as she confronts her father in order to stay in KL with Tommen. Her command of Qyburn’s experiments despite the protests of Pycelle.  She shunned Jaime all season long but seduces him by announcing her love for him to their father.  It is Cersei’s devotion to her children and their well being that keeps her motivated. She obviously wants everything but that may come at a price somewhere down the road.  Tyrion had another great moment when he confronted both his father and Shae when he found them. It is the look in his eyes that really stood out for me as he turned from the man trying to impress his father to suppressed rage. This episode showcased it in that scene. I felt  Jaime was lost this season because he caught in the middle of everything. Perhaps that will unfold next season.

The deaths of Tywin and Shae had its moments as well.  For Shae, it was full circle as she ended up back as a prositute. For Tyrion, it was his turning point to see the woman, he thought he loved become someone else’s property, namely his father. Tywin’s death was satisfying  as he tried to beg for his life, only to be killed by his own son. Sibel Kikelli was a great TV Shae although she is different in the books. Most of all, I will miss Charles Dance as he commanded so many scenes throughout the 4 seasons on GOT.

An honorable mention to Varys, the spider who hasn’t had much of a role this season, certainly pulled It off with carting Tyrion off in a box.  There is certain mystery to him and one that will keep us guessing each season.

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Outside the Vale

Brienne wakes up to find the horses are gone.  As she makes her way through the rough terrain, she comes upon Arya practicing with Needle.  Arya tells the Hound that people are coming.

Unbeknownst to Brienne, they chat about the swords and their fathers. As the Hound appears, Podrick announces his identity. Brienne determines the girl is Arya Stark. She tries to convince Arya to come with her.  She informs the young Stark that she swore an oath to her mother Catelyn to find her daughters.  The Hound interrupts her by stating that her family is dead and looks at the Valyrian steel with Lannister sigil. He thinks she is sent by the Lannisters for him.

The Hound challenges Brienne to a fight. They draw swords and begin to duel. The Hound begins to get the upper hand.  Brienne comes back with force and bites off the Hound’s ear. Finally, she pushes him off a cliff.  Pod and Brienne call out for Arya, hiding behind some rocks.

Arya comes upon a wounded Hound.  He tries to convince her to go with Brienne but Arya isn’t interested. Next, he tries to make her mad by insulting her sister and Mycah.  Arya just stares at him and says nothing. Finally he begs her to kill him. Arya grabs his bag of silver and walks away leaving the Hound to die.

The final scene has Arya riding by a beautiful waterfall as she spots a ship near a port. She quickly gallops towards the Saltpans.  Arya finds captain of the ship  and asks where they are going. He informs her that they aren’t going North but back to the free city of Braavos.  She shows him the iron coin saying. “Valur Morghulis”. The captain replies, “Valur Doheris” allowing her passage on his ship.  As the ship sails from the bay, Arya focuses forward to the open seas in front of her.

The intertwining of these two storylines worked. It gave Brienne a more ambitious mission to find Sansa. Brienne and the Hound’s  fight was second to none; almost as good as the Mountain and Viper fight scene.  One of the best of the season as both had strength  and size so it could have gone either way.  The Hound’s last scene with Arya was heart wrenching. Her stone faced look at him as he begged her to kill him was her turning point this season.  Kudos to Rory McCann for his outstanding performance as the Hound. 

Keep posted in the next few weeks for a complete Season 4 review.

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Random Thoughts and Quotes

Several scenes were heavily adapted and  a few were not in the books but some of it made sense to the characters and their plot lines.

The Jaime/Tyrion scene left some important information out but it was probably that it garnered more sympathy for Shae/Tyrion sequence.

Jojen’s death was unforeseen but it provided Bran’s motivation  to meet the Three eyed Raven.

One particular scene (books readers will know) was not included but let’s hope it bridges a gap into season 5.

 

 

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Limaxis June 17, 2014, 12:50 pm

    I’ll have to write this up by thread, there’s so much to say.
    I was almost completely satisfied with the season finale, with one exception. I got all the conclusions I asked for plus a bonus, but my misgivings over The Hound/Arya thread were realized.
    I still say that The Hound was not stupid enough to just let the fact of Lysa’s death prevent him from seeking some recompense for returning Arya to her last blood relatives.
    That aside I saw this episode as the end of several plot threads (The Hound, Jojen, Tywin, Ygitte). As well as a complete reboot of many – (in no particular order) Arya, Bran, Brienne, Cersei, Jon, Stannis, Mance, Jaime, Tyrion, Varys.
    This is good, as some of these had nowhere further to go. The Hound was (no disrespect to Rory McCann) a dead end, plot-wise, and Jojen had no role beyond getting Bran to the Three-Eyed Raven.
    The loss of Charles Dance, as you say, leaves a huge hole in the cast, as well as his character’s place in the saga. He was the glue that held Kings Landing together, and in his absence, who’s left? Cersei? What a disaster that would be! Jaime? He never wanted rule, and I have a feeling he will see through Cersei’s seduction (Does anyone really believe she doesn’t have an ulterior motive behind that seduction?) and quit King’s Landing at the first opportunity.
    The Wall:
    The scene between Mance Raider and Jon Snow was among the best written and played so far, with nuance, emotion, and at last some mutual respect. The toasts to the dead were a fitting non-canon addition, especially the toast to Meg the Mighty and Grenn, a nice contrast between the King of the Giants and a Farmer’s son.
    I liked Mance’s reaction to the fact that Jon was willing to try killing him, even knowing what it would mean for him.
    Those with foreknowledge were expecting to hear the horn announcing Stannis’ arrival, but it still gave me gooseprickles.
    Jon’s growth as a man, leader, and visionary (What’s to be done with the wildlings, with winter coming?) was on display in his introduction to Stannis. We’ll see how that tension plays out next season.
    Maester Aemon’s funerary speech, and the Night’s Watch’s response were emotional, but nothing compared to Jon’s funeral pyre for Ygritte by the Wierwood where he took his vows. I liked the insight of Tormund about Jon and Ygritte. Damn, but she looked so beautiful in death! I still say her teeth were too perfect for a wildling, but she will be sadly missed.

  • Limaxis June 17, 2014, 1:59 pm

    Beyond the Wall:
    As I watched Bran & Co. approach the cave, attacked by the wights, I couldn’t help thinking how far we’d come since Ray Harryhausen’s skeletal army in “Jason and the Argonauts.”
    Once again we see the usual movie device of having the hero surrounded by superior numbers who have no clue how to act as a unit. Each wight pops up separately to be dealt with individually, whereas if they all popped up at once they’d overwhelm our protagonists easily. Seems the bad guys (or “evil powers”) have no knowledge of strategy.
    I have to confess that I always look forward to Bran warging into Hodor. What a warrior he’d be with proper training!
    The best bit was the way the wights disintegrated when they tried following our heroes into the cave. Nice touch.
    I agree that the Three-Eyed Raven was a disappointment after GRRM’s description. Not nearly strange enough.
    With this thread coming to fruition (and with no further exposition in the books), it will be interesting to see what role Bran can have in the saga while just sitting in a cave. He’ll grow in knowledge, insight and wisdom, but what can he really *do?*
    My suspicion is that since the Stark children all seem to have the warging capability, he’ll somehow connect to them and give them guidance. The exception may be Sansa, who has, in Bran’s words, “Lost her Direwolf.”
    And what about Rickon?

    • nightshadow June 17, 2014, 3:26 pm

      Sansa will have to use her wits since her direwolf is gone. Good question about Rickon as he wasn’t present this season. I wonder if they will still have him going to the Umbers or divert it towards somewhere else. I guess that will depend on what the Davos role will entail next year. Although it might be towards the end of season to set up for season 6!

  • nightshadow June 17, 2014, 2:07 pm

    The tension at the Wall is going be intriguing to watch next year. The look Jon gave Stannis during the funeral said it all to me. And Jon is important in Stannis’ plans now that he has come back with a vengeance. Also, Melisandre, let’s not forget her as well. She’ll have plans of her own. Now I’m curious how they will write Davos in all this. I’m sure he’ll either be there next season but preparing for his end goal which is uncertain at this point in the last book. Ygritte’s send off concluded nicely, a perfect off the books moment that we got on screen. Yes, she did look stunning. I enjoy the off book moments on screen.
    I was overjoyed that Bran’s storyline comes to the forefront now however, the writers need to be careful not reveal too much as since it’s open ended I loved the cave scene, great art direction there. It gave me goose bumps. Sadly, Jojen didn’t make it but he served his purpose. I know the books differs however, I guess it’s another surprise for readers again to see his death as visual.
    Kings Landing is going to be a completely different place now that Tywin is dead. As you say, he held the glue together, not only for his family but in honesty, he was good strategist. I can’t see Jaime ruling with Cersei, although that’s where it looks to be going that way at this time. I think we’ll see her and Jaime come to odds at some point. I have say that Book 4 is one my favourites because so much is revealed in the POVs of these two characters. My only concern is that the characters have traded personalities. I must definitely say I liked how the writers wrapped up Tyrion’s storyline. It was gratifying even with the adaptation of dialogue. My heart was pulled when Tyrion and Jaime said goodbye. Jaime was the only person who really cared about his brother.
    I’m not sure why the writers put Dany into the finale but I’m guessing they want to showcase some excitement of dragons. And subtle reference of Drogon’s name was mentioned after 4 seasons! Dany’s children were so important to her yet, they became a hazard. Jorah warned her that dragons couldn’t be tamed which suggests a deeper meaning that conquering a city and ruling it are two different things entirely.
    The Arya/Hound/Brienne/Podrick sequence was fantastic. Another terrific adaptation of books to screen using main characters of the show. The Arya/Hound scene had to come to and end somehow. Like you said, the Hound had no other plans for Arya after the Vale. As in the books, his death is open ended though as we don’t know if he is really dead or not. I look forward to Ayra’s new adventure in Braavos.

  • Limaxis June 17, 2014, 2:29 pm

    Meereen:
    Without action to carry the thread, Daenarys’ part is getting a little stale, as it did in the books. I have to remember that drama needs low points so that the high points stand out in relief. I look forward to her reunion with Drogon next season.
    King’s Landing:
    Wow! Superbly written and acted, with just a couple of disappointments. Shae was not wearing the Chain of the Hand when Tyrion found her, which I thought was a nice touch in the books.
    Also, Tyrion’s rage over Tywin’s use of the word “whore” in the books had to do with Tysha, not Shae. It leaves us without his mantra through his drunken stupor for most of the next book – “where do whores go?”
    I wonder if the unprepared among the audience were shocked that Tywin, who was so judgmental of Tyrion’s whoring, would take Shae to his bed. Add the charge of hypocrisy to the long list of wrongs for which his father is guilty. Small wonder he was so cold in his crossbow work. The best line is “I was always your son.”
    One twist I do not recall from the books was Varys accompanying Tyrion away from Kings Landing. I will be interested to see if he remains in the foreground next season, and how.
    Qyburn was a relatively minor character in the books, but is emerging with an interesting arc of his own, if the scene with the Mountain is any indication. I still don’t think he will succeed, but his pronouncement that if saved, he will be changed, is decidedly creepy!

    • nightshadow June 17, 2014, 3:56 pm

      I agree about Tywin. It such a blatant statement on his part towards Tyrion. It is the ultimate betrayal between father and son. Given the fact that Tywin always disapproved of him and favored Jaime as his heir. Perhaps, that was Tywin’s weakness as well, control of the family name/line. Yet, Cersei put Tywin in his place about that. I can’t say I blame Tyrion for snapping the way he did but it makes both Shae and Tywin’s death extremely plausible. The scene was well executed regardless of the adaptation. It proves Dinklage and Dance are superior at their craft.
      The omission of Tysha is too bad because it forever changed Jaime and Tyrion’s relationship in the books once it was revealed. I have yet to recall if was ever mentioned in the series. I guess Shae became “Tysha” in a sense to bridge that gap. And Tyrion did love her and she, him. She ended up in the same position way back in Season 1. Full circle for her and her death.
      I do not recall the Varys accompanying Tyrion in the books. Now the writers could keep us guessing on that one. An interesting twist to say the least. I skimmed over the Tyrion chapter of ADWD which reveals a lot. Perhaps Varys planned this with Oberyn as per their chat a few episodes ago.
      Qyburn’s role will definitely be expanded next season if Cersei has her way. I agree, that maybe a creepy visual of things to come.
      And the title of this piece really speaks volumes, doesn’t it. Almost each character’s destiny is changed. And there is the definite unraveling between parent and child as in the case of Tywin/Cersei/Jaime and Tyrion. As well, the Ned’s sense of justice was evident in Jon and especially, Arya. And show really encapsulated that meaning for me more visually than the books.

  • Limaxis June 17, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Outside the Vale:
    One of the sweetest moments in the entire series is when Brienne encounters Arya practicing her water dancing. I may be imagining it but it seemed that Brienne had a flashback, seeing Arya as herself as a girl, doomed to be a warrior in a girl’s body. The opening line, “I like your sword. Does it have a name?” was perfect. Cute aside to The Hound: “You can shit later.”
    Typical of The Hound’s self-absorption that he always thinks everyone is after him for the Lannister Gold. I don’t know what his attachment to Arya is, now that the Stark money is off the table. Where does he think he’s taking her now? Maybe he’s willing to turn her over to the Lannisters for gold, but since they’ve put a price on his head, that’s not an option. Like I said. His thread was played out.
    The Brienne/Hound fight was well done. It’s an interesting exercise to speculate as to whether it was an even match, what with Sandor’s being weakened by the bite. It certainly didn’t go by the Queensbury Rules! The preview interviews prepared us for Brienne’s signature move – biting off Sandor’s ear.
    There will be endless discussion of whether Arya should have given him “the gift of mercy,” but IMO the only missing part was her explanation, “I don’t owe you a kindness.” Now that I’ve seen it a couple of times, I think the eloquence of her silence was spot on.
    The scene at Saltpans was exactly right for the series. We didn’t need all the angst, horsetrading, and indecision of the books. Just go straight to the Captain and get down to business, The exchange, “Valar morghulis,” and “Valar dohaeris,” was just right.

    • nightshadow June 17, 2014, 4:11 pm

      I’m in complete agreement with the Brienne/Arya scene. It was a nice touch that two strong characters can meet like that. And almost in an instant, Arya’s face changed when Brienne talked about her mother but couldn’t save her at the Twins. Her explanation was cut off by the Hound when he saw the sword.
      I think the Hound would have kept Arya around if he wasn’t wounded. She had a lot to learn from him however; her identity could also be threat as well. It was a catch 22. I did like their relationship and how it developed in Season 3 and 4. He was the surrogate father she needed for a time. Yes, her silence said it all without that line but it would have been nice finish to their relationship nonetheless.

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