Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT! (For the show, NOT the books)
In the past, “Game of Throne”’s finales have tended to be a little quieter than the ninth episode of the season, which is understandable considering they are mainly tasked with dealing with the fallout of the previous episode’s events along with setting up plot lines for the next season. “The Children” absolutely bucked that trend this week, offering up several brutal and bloody twists which fundamentally shifted the landscape of the show.
Even though he didn’t appear until towards the end of the episode, I have to start with Tyrion’s fateful moments in the Tower of the Hand. After Jaime (in league with Varys) had released him from his cell, Tyrion decided to take a little trip to his father’s living quarters. I’m sure a lot of people’s hearts were pounding as he walked into the room but thankfully neither of the two deaths that occurred was our favorite Lannister. First up came another moment of heartbreak for Tyrion as he found his beloved Shae in his father’s bed. There was no small talk at all, just a brutal struggle that ended in Tyrion straight up murdering her. Tyrion lying beside her body, repeating the words “I’m sorry” was another standout moment for the incredible Dinklage.
Next up was a visit to his Father who was having a nice relaxing trip to the chamber pot. It was a tense stand-off, with Tywin using all his manipulative tricks to try and get Tyrion to put down the crossbow he was brandishing. Tywin has been such a fantastic character to watch. You could see straight away that he realized the situation he was in and immediately set about trying to worm his way out of it. His arrogance was his downfall here as he clearly didn’t believe that Tyrion would follow through on killing him after warning him not to say “whore” again. “You shot me” he spluttered incredulously, moments before Tyrion fired one final crossbow bolt into his chest. This is an absolutely massive moment for the series, one which will have major repercussions for a whole host of characters. Tyrion met up with Varys afterwards and the two of them now find themselves on a boat across the Narrow Sea.
Daenerys had a couple of problems to deal with this week and she was forced to first re-establish a limited form of slavery before having to lock away two of her dragons. The first issue may cause long term problems for her but the second is more pressing. It was foreshadowed earlier in the season when Drogon attacked that sheep, but he finally moved up the food chain a little and killed a small child. We’ve known for a while now that her dragons would not be easily tamed and this is the biggest proof of that that we’ve seen. In a touching scene, Dany locked two of her dragons away in the catacombs as they acted like dogs pining for their owner. Her largest and most fearsome dragon, Drogon, is still at large however and it remains to be seen what will happen when he returns.
Arya’s scenes this week led to one hell of a great fight scene as Brienne and Pod caught up with her and The Hound. There have been a few occasions where characters have come oh so close to crossing paths on this show only to miss out, so having these duos actually come face to face was a surprise. What followed was one of the best and absolutely brutal fights in television history as Brienne and The Hound battled over Arya. There were punches, kicks, bites and a hell of a lot of sword clashes before finally Brienne ended the fight by tossing The Hound off the side of a cliff. After Brienne and Pod left in search of Arya, the young Stark returned to The Hound as he lay dying. Watching him do everything he could to get Arya to put him out of his misery, before resorting to begging was a great scene, with Arya eventually taking his gold and leaving him to die on his own. The closing moments of the season saw Arya giving the coin received from Jaqen to a boat captain and saying “Valar Morghulis” before setting sail on his boat to Braavos. It’s a great turn for the character, and marks the second major character to leave Westeros this season.
After The Night’s Watch took center stage last week, the start of the episode picked up right where we left off with Jon marching out to treat with Mance. With discussions going at a relatively civil rate, they were soon interrupted by a massive host of soldiers on horseback… led by Stannis Baratheon! We didn’t really know what Stannis’ plan was but it’s now clear that after securing his army of sellswords, he decided to take a foothold in The North. His army easily bested Mance’s untrained and undisciplined forces, and now Stannis has control of Castle Black, along with a lot of wildling captives. One interesting but brief moment was Jon catching the eye of Melisandre. The look on her face suggested she was taking great interest in Jon. Jon laid Ygritte to rest north of The Wall in a touching scene, with him lighting the fire and walking away, unable to watch as his love went up in flames.
Finally we come to Bran, Hodor and Co., a group we haven’t seen in some time. They finally reached their destination and seemingly safety, only for disaster to fall as they got attacked by some supernatural foes. I’m not entirely certain whether the skeletons that attacked them were the regular White Walker wights or something else entirely. Their situation looked dire, with Jojen stabbed over and over again and more skeletons moving in around them. Suddenly a blast of fire incinerated one of the skeletons, with the blast coming from the hands of a mysterious child. Further blasts of fire gave the group time to get into the safety of a magically sealed cave, with Meera having to slit Jojens throat to end his suffering. Inside the cave Bran was introduced to an old man at the base of the roots of a tree who we would soon learn was the Three-Eyed Raven from Bran’s dreams. “You will never walk again Bran, but you will fly” he muttered, certainly suggesting an interesting future ahead for Bran.
This was a rather fantastic season finale in the end, with multiple plot lines coming to satisfying conclusions while the seeds for next season were expertly planted. With Tyrion and Arya travelling across the Narrow Sea, anything could happen to them next season. There’s also the possibility of them crossing paths with each other or Dany and her people, so that is certainly interesting to ponder. Jon Snow and The Night’s Watch storyline has always been very cut off from the rest on the show but now that Stannis has arrived at castle Black, that may be about to change in a big way. After the way last season ended with a huge blow to the “good guys,” seeing a few of the shows biggest villains bite the dust this season has given us a bit more hope going into the next… which may be a bad thing for us viewers! Hopefully the 10 months or so until Season 5 will go by quickly.
How about that ending? What are you looking forward to next season? Let us know in the comments below. (PLEASE, NO BOOK SPOILERS!)
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