Warning: Spoilers ahead!
The season finale of “Game of Thrones” is finally upon us. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most exciting and action-packed seasons of “Game of Thrones” thus far. After two weeks of action, this week’s episode did a fine job of bringing closure to many of our main storylines and left something for us to look forward to next year.
We begin right where we left off last week. Jon Snow walks through the gate from the Wall to Mance Rayder’s camp. As he walks straight into the camp, he passes dead giants and dozens of Wildling bodies. As Jon walks further into the camp, he is surrounded by Mance’s men and Jon puts his arms up. Mance approaches him head on and Jon explains he was sent there to negotiate.
Mance has Jon enter his tent and the two men discuss what has happened since they last saw one another. Jon argues he never broke his vows when he joined the Wildlings and explains what Quorin Halfhand made him do. Mance makes it clear he knows the Night’s Watch does not have the men or supplies to hold off another Wildling attack, and explains he already sent 400 men five miles away to climb the wall. Mance tells Jon his people just want the wall to protect them from what’s coming from the North. He tells Jon he did not lead one hundred thousand people to a war; they simple want refuge. Jon’s terms are for Mance’s people to leave and go back where they came from, but Mance refuses. He says if the Night’s Watch will let his people pass through the gate, no one will die.
As the two men talk, Jon eyes a knife. He grabs it but was too slow and everyone in the tent pulls their weapons. Suddenly horns are blown and Mance grabs Jon, demanding to know if Jon was keeping this attack secret. Jon swears his men are not attacking the camp. As everyone leaves the tent, a huge army full of calvary arrive and surround the camp, killing anyone that approaches them. Mance tells his men to stand down, and suddenly, Stannis and Davos arrive right in front of Mance. Stannis tells Mance he should kneel before a king, and Mance refuses to kneel. Jon addresses Stannis and tells him he is Ned Stark’s son. Stannis says Ned was a good man and wants to know what Jon thinks Ned would do to Mance. Jon explains Mance held him prisoner for a period of time and treated him very fairly; he tells Stannis he thinks his father would keep Mance as a prisoner. Stannis agrees and lets Mance live.
South of the Wall in King’s Landing, the Mountain is slowly dying as a result of the poison Oberyn Martell had in his spear during their fight. Qyburn thinks he might have a way of saving the Mountain, but Grand Maester Pycelle says there is no cure. Cersei demands Maester Pycelle to leave and has Qyburn continue his experimental treatment on the Mountain.
Cersei leaves Qyburn alone to do his work and finds her father. Marriage is brought up and Cersei continues to refuse marrying Loras Tyrell. Tywin insists she must marry Loras for the good of their family and to continue the Lannister legacy. Cersei tells her father she will not leave her only remaining son alone in King’s Landing. She tells Tywin if he makes her marry Loras she will tell the truth about Tommen’s true parentage and ruin Tywin’s legacy. She fully admits to Tywin she and Jaime had a sexual relationship, but Tywin refuses to believe her.
Cersei leaves her father to find Jaime. She kisses him as she tells him she chooses him. She lets Jaime know she told their father about their relationship, but she does not care what anyone thinks. Cersei and Jaime embrace and proceed to make love on the table.
Across the Narrow Sea in Meereen, Daenerys is in her throne room listening to her people’s pleas. An old former slave arrives and explains he was a tutor for his master’s children. He grew to love the children and cannot see them now that he is freed. He tells Daenerys that the quarters she gave to the freed slaves are controlled by young men who prey on the old slaves, and he wishes to be sold back to his old family and be a slave again. He explains he is not the only slave who has this wish. Daenerys cannot believe the old man would want to be property again, but she recognizes that having freedom means you have the power to make decisions. She allows the old man to sign a one year contract with his former master. The old man is thankful, but as he leaves Ser Barristan warns Daenerys the slave masters will take advantage of this show of mercy.
As Daenerys contemplates her decision, another man approaches her carrying a bag of cloths. The man cannot speak the Common Tongue so Messandei interprets as the man opens the cloths to show a small child’s bones and explains a black dragon came from the sky and burned his daughter.
Daenerys knows her dragons have become uncontrollable and is distraught Drogon killed a young child. She asks Grey Worm about Drogon’s whereabouts and Grey Worm explains Drogon has not been seen for three days. Daenerys goes to the catacombs with her two other dragons and chains them up inside. She knows she cannot control her dragons if they are wandering free in the skys, so she has to keep them somewhere she can control them. The dragons cry as Daenerys leaves them, and Daenerys cries as she walks away.
Back at Castle Black, Maester Aemon performs the last rites to the men of the Night’s Watch who died in the battle against the Wildlings. The dead men are all laid on a large funeral pyre, and Master Aemon, Sam, Jon, and the other men light the pyre on fire as they mourn their lost brothers. Stannis and his court watch cover the funeral from the balconies of Castle Black, and Melisandre appears at the pyre, staring at Jon Snow.
After the funeral, Jon visits Tormund Giantsbane in the dungeons. Jon lets Tormund know they do not plan to torture or kill him, and he asks if Tormund wants to say farewell to his people who are dead. Tormund explains Wildlings do not talk to the dead, but lets Jon know Yygritte loved him and she should be buried north of the Wall. Jon takes Tormund’s words to heart and brings Yygritte north of the Wall to burn her body in her home land.
Further North, we find Hodor pulling Bran through the snow with JoJen and Meera following them. JoJen is clearly growing sicker the further north they travel. As JoJen falls to the ground, Bran sees the tree from his vision; JoJen knows they arrived to their destination. Motivated by their success, JoJen is able to walk further, and the group approaches the tree. Summer runs ahead to scout out their surroundings, and suddenly a bony hand grabs JoJen from the ground. Dead bodies come from under the ground and begin attacking JoJen and Meera. Meera fights them off, but nearly is overrun with them. Bran wargs into Hordor and Hordor begins attacking the bodies. Summer also arrives and protects Bran. JoJen lies on the ground next to one of the bodies, and the arm from the body starts stabbing JoJen. A young girl comes out of the tree and starts shooting fire at the bodies. She tells Bran to come with her or die. JoJen insists Meera go with them because he knows his journey is over. Meera cries as she leaves her brother, and she, Bran, Hordor, and Summer follow the girl into the tree. They follow the girl as she explains someone has been waiting for Bran. They arrive to a room filled with tree roots and an old man sitting amongst the trees. Bran crawls to the man and realizes he is the Three Eyed Raven. The Three Eyed Raven tells Bran he will learn how to fly.
Meanwhile, somewhere near the Eryie, Brienne and Podrick wake up and find their horses are missing. As Brienne looks for the horses she comes across Arya practicing her water dancing. Arya sees Brienne and instantly becomes mesmerized with Brienne since she is a women covered in armor and knows how to fight. As the two talk, Podrick and the Hound arrive, and Podrick recognizes the Hound. Brienne then realizes the young girl she is talking to is Arya. The Hound starts interrogating Brienne because he thinks she was sent by the Lannisters; Brienne insists she is not working for the Lannisters but is keeping the vow she made to Arya’s mother. Arya explains she does not want to go with Brienne, but Brienne insists Arya come with her. The Hound defends Arya’s wishes and he and Brienne begin to fight. Brienne and the Hound beat each other to a pulp, but Brienne manages to defeat the Hound and pushes him down a cliff. Once Brienne recovers, she and Podrick look for Arya but they cannot find her.
Arya is hiding amongst the rocks and waits for Brienne and Podrick to leave. She goes down the hill to find the Hound alive but fatally wounded. He wants Arya to kill him to put him out of his misery and tries to anger her into killing him. She resists, takes his money, and leaves him to die.
Back in King’s Landing, Jaime visits Tyrion in the dungeons and opens the cell door to let Tyrion escape. Jaime tells Tyrion Varys is waiting for him through a secret passage way, and the two brothers embrace as Tyrion knows he may never see Jaime again. Tyrion proceeds to follow Jaime’s plan but delays to go sneak into the tower of the hand. He enters his father’s chambers and finds Shae in Tywin’s bed. Shae thinks Tywin entered the room and when she turns around to find Tyrion, she panics and grabs a knife. The two of them fight but Tyrion manages to strangle Shae to death. He sits by her body for awhile as he cries, then takes his father’s crossbow and sneaks throughout the castle.
Tyrion finds his father in the privy, and Tywin is shocked to see Tyrion but assumes that Jaime let him escape. Tyrion points the crossbow at his father as Tywin tries to persuade Tyrion to go back to his chambers so they can talk about their differences. Tyrion explains he cannot believe Tywin would accuse his own son of murder and have him sentenced to die when he knew very well Tyrion was innocent. Tywin admits he always wanted Tyrion dead, but explains he was never really going to let Tyrion be executed. Tyrion knows Tywin is lying just to save his own life and he shoots his father twice in the chest. Tywin dies as Tyrion runs away to find Varys. Varys has Tyrion hide in a large box that is placed onto a ship. Varys watches the box go onto the ship when the alarm bells ring in the castle, and Varys knows the guards know either Tyrion escaped or Tywin is dead. Varys decides to leave King’s Landing with Tyrion and sits next to the box on the ship.
The season ends with Arya walking amongst the hills and finds a coast. He rushes to the harbor and begs a ship captain to take her to the North. The captain refuses and explains he is heading home to Braavos. Arya remembers what Jaqen H’ghar told her about the coin he gave her when they last met, and Arya tells the captain she wants to go to Braavos and has an iron coin to pay for her passage. She gives the captain the coin and he immediately submits to her and says he will give her passage. Arya tells the man “valar morghulis” and he tells her she will have her own cabin. As the ship sails away, Arya looks ahead across the sea towards her new adventure.
And with that conclusion, we are done with season four of “Game of Thrones.” We will have to wait about ten months to learn the fate of Tyrion, Arya, and our other favorite characters, but it will certainly be worth the wait. Hopefully George R. R. Martin will publish another book in the meantime as two of the storylines are now completely caught up with the book series. Nevertheless, it has been a pleasure recapping the shows for you, and we will see you again next year!