Recap: Game of Thrones' thrilling finale

JONATHAN PHILLIPS
Last updated 11:05 17/06/2014
Game of Thrones
DEADLY BATTLE: Brienne of Tarth and Sandor 'The Hound' Clegane duel to the death in the final episode of Game of Thrones' fourth season.

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As the dust settles on another season of Game of Thrones, fans are left wondering what's next for Westeros.

After this massive episode of Game of Thrones, I guess it is going to be a long wait for us until next season.

This week's episode was entitled The Children which has been a central theme- children having to come to terms with the war and the crumbling patriarchies of the Seven Kingdoms.

Only the Tyrells are still standing, but they seem rather supercillious to the main young characters who are having to make the decisions-  Arya leaving the Hound for an uncertain future; Jon Snow- now in charge of Castle Black; Bran who meets some weird bearded father figure in a tree; Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion finally coming to terms with their father; and that weird girl who shot fireballs, although still really unsure about her.

Arya and the Hound was the kind of scene that Game of Thrones generally doesn't give too much weight to, there was a frailty to the Hound as he begged for death and you didn't really know what Arya would do.

The Hound was a pretty terrible guy, and there was a real Stockholm Syndrome that developed between them as they survived through the mess left behind from the Stark-Lannister war.

But that was all that the Hound was offering- survival. "Safety, where the f...'s that? Her aunt at the Eyrie's dead, her mother's dead, her father's dead, her brother's dead, Winterfell is a pile of rubble."

I guess neither Brienne nor the Hound could offer much better than the promise of maybe lasting through the winter, but Ayra was faced with an impossible decision.

After last week's extended supercut of The Wall, we finally got some resolution for Jon Snow - another child dealing with events out of his control.

There was no official body count of last week's episode, but judging by the deaths at Castle Black; Jon Snow's mission into the heart of the Wildling's camp was pretty important. Until, in an Age of Empires styled pincer movement, Stannis showed up to save the day.

Stannis has had few opportunities to show himself as a hero in the show, so way to go buddy! Ultimately though, it was Jon's haunted expression that reveals he is basically in the same place as his
sister Ayra.

When Mellisandre appeared in the flames, it felt like a real pointed hint to the next season and some troubling developments for our hero.

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Cersei was in fine form finally telling her dad about her boyfriend and, finally, Cersei and Jaime are all happy- all the upsets of the season are forgotten. Things even got hot and heavy in the sept, but I got the definite impression that Cersei had crossed the Rubicon and there is no real coming back for her.

I guess Cersei hasn't really seen through the wider implications- once Tywin is dead, there is no one to object about her and Jaime's relationship, and that puts young Tommen in a pretty bad situation - unless everyone decides that incest is all okay in the Seven Kingdoms.

Once again we cut to Daenerys. This new world she has built for herself and her new subjects is not going so well, neither for Daenerys or the audience, although it turns out she is having problems with her children - teenage dragons.

I feel the dragons have definitely been under-utilised this season. Things have slumped so low that by the
end of this season we are getting the intricacies of the Queen of Dragon's Contract Law- some gripping television.

Daenerys' heavily symbolic chaining of the dragons I guess was meant to be deeply ironic considering her freeing of the slaves, but in a way we are all chained to her crappy situation. Still looking forward to them covering more legal issues in next season's Game of Thrones, a sort of Dungeon's and Dragons/Ally McBeal sort of approach could really work here.

Finally checked in with Hodor and the gang, who have made it to the tree in Bran's vision. Note to self, don't trust a pristine field of snow north of the Wall.

The undead scene completely made up for this, with its Evil Dead 3 sort of feel. Very hard to beat how much that scene ruled, especially loved the way that Harryhausen skeleton thing repeatedly stabbed Jojen, who I never really got into as a character.

Considering the episode was named after the "Children", the race from the dark past of Westeros, that helped Hodor et al escape the skeletons we didn't really get too many clues about them, except they are handy with fireballs.

Cut to inside a tree and some bearded due, the beard budget was serious on tonight's episode, tells Brandon Stark he "won't walk, but he will fly". Cryptic as hell, was half expecting some wings to bloom out of his back, next season maybe.

And then finally we come to the big climax, Jaime once again saves the day, although for the dubious reason of saving his relationship with his sister and helping Tyrion kill their father - only on Game of Thrones!

Just to complete the circle, Shae's relationship with Tywin ended last night as Tyrion choked her, but it could have been passed off as a game of auto-erotic asphyxiation. He then pumped his dad full of bolts, it was a tawdry end for a man who possibly deserved better than being shot to death on the toilet.

The season ends with the hopeful shot of Ayra looking out towards Braavos, and forward to next season I guess.

I don't exactly know what it is going to entail, but do know that it probably won't include anymore of Charles Dance's wonderfully understated performance as Tywin, or anymore of the giants, even though they bloody rule.

- Jonathan

Dearest Jonathan,

Apologies for the late reply I was stuck in the beautiful island Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu where it was difficult to access the season finale. But, I have returned to our wintry shores to hear once again that winter is still coming to the Seven Kingdoms. I thought the Stark's motto had been lost in the series, alas it is a reality north of the wall.

Great shots of Stannis' army at the wall. I didn't realise he had so many men and all with horses. If winter is coming could Stannis positioning himself at the wall give him a strategic placing in the battle for power or has he just landed himself with battles on two fronts?  

Knowing Stannis, he'll position himself on an ice throne pondering his moral duty and probably let the white walkers march on those on the south as punishment for their sins.

What the hell was the mother of dragons wearing? She needs a new outfit designer fast - more colour and more Grecian. She seems as chained as her dragons, but she could have at least have left them a little sunshine. I am with you on this plotline - it needs some spicing up.

I was half expecting Ygritte to pop up and be like "oh hey jokes I ain't dead" with that over the top shot of her on the funeral pyre

The dead skeletons were freaking awesome as was Summer ripping one to shreds and Bran using his warg power to take over Hodor. They chucked in an unexpected death with Jojen against other deaths I was expecting.

The cave setting was perfect, but the old man was not quite what I imagined. I was expecting more of a Gollum look crossed with Dumbledore's characteristics. He was just a creepy old dude reciting Christian rhetoric with his omnipresent seeing and the "he died so you could find what you have lost" comment. Is Bran the Jesus Christ of the seven kingdoms - flying instead of walking on water?

Glorious Podrick knows how to tie a figure eight knot - another great quality adding to his appeal.  Arya and Brienne have great dialogue - power to these ladies breaking through gender barriers. It was a respectable fight between Brienne and the Hound - two well matched characters the sound effects were down to a fine art.

This was a diversion from the books, but I liked it. Oh the Hound - the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short description of life settles on him so well. He sums up the whole ethos of this damn series. Did Arya not kill him due to sentiment or because leaving him to die alone begging her to kill him had a greater vengeance - vengeance methinks.

I was expecting a lot more death and now have many unanswered questions, which means more suspense for readers next season. But, one storyline I wish they had included was Tyrion finding out his first wife was not a whore.

It was, in my view, a dynamite piece of the Lannister puzzle and the hypocrisy and depravity of Tywin's character thus justifying his death. When I read your correspondence before I had watched the show I was somewhat curious at how Tyrion could strangle someone with longer arms - very nicely done.

We didn't see so much of Varys this season, but you can be sure like Baelish he is a puppet master. Those in the bureaucracy are always playing to their own agendas.

My final thought lay with the urgency for George RR Martin to get the next books written as the series nips at his heels.

Until next season,

- Kate

- The Nelson Mail

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