OKAY, YOUR TWO DAYS’ GRACE IS UP. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT BY NOW, YOU DON’T DESERVE ACCESS TO TV. SPOILERS AHEAD FOR MOON-DWELLERS!
If this season’s Game of Thrones finale, The Children, did anything, it worked damn well to ensure that we all tune in again like faithful, panting direwolves when season 5 rolls around. Almost everything that happened had import in an episode that, if not packed with action, was certainly stuffed fall of drama. What The Children delivered was another massive shift in the political geography of Westeros and beyond.
Let’s get down to specifics. Jon Snow arrives at the encampment of Mance Rayder, his plan – if you remember – to assassinate him. Before any fistifcuffs ensues however, the pair of them sit down and drink toasts to the dead. Things are basically looking pretty awful for the boys of the Watch but Mance is ready to make an offer of peace. He doesn’t want to slaughter everyone; he just wants to protect his people from the increasing threat of the White Walkers by getting them behind the Wall. Before Snow can say anything to this, the wildling camp is attacked by no less than a flipping army on horseback! And to whom does this army belong? Shocker number 1: Only Stannis bloody Baratheon, “the one, true King” as Baratehon’s trusty sidekick Davos Seaworth insists on reminding everyone! Vastly outnumbered, the wildlings surrender and the siege of Castle Black is ended. Mance is taken prisoner, Stannis finally gets to dig his heels in and, for some as yet unspoken reason, that crazy witch-lady Melisandre seems to find Jon Snow particularly enthralling. Why? You’ll just have to watch season 5 to find out.
Someway beyond the wall Bran Stark and his human crutches finally arrive at the dwelling of the Three-eyed Raven. Just before they reach the heart tree, however, they’re attacked by a bunch of skeletons that burst from the snowy ground – transporting me and anyone else from my generation back to Ray Harryhausen’s skeleton fight in the original Jason and the Argonauts film. Sweet! Well, not so much for Jojen, who gets brutally knifed to death (thereby sating the bloodlust of any GoT fans missing some of that Red Wedding rapid-multiple-stomach-stabbing). Anyway, with nothing to be done, Bran, Meera and Hodor, run towards a cave, aided by what looks like a small girl with the handy ability to conjure up white-hot fireballs. The girl tells them that she is one of ‘the Children’ (presumably the Children the episode was named after). This lot will probably turn out to be GoT’s version of Elves. Anyhoodle, they are taken to the Raven, who turns out to be an ancient old man suspended in the gnarly roots of the tree and who informs Bran that though he may never use his withered little tootsies again, he will “learn to fly.” I have the feeling this doesn’t refer to Bran enjoying a bit of slap-and-tickle with Meera. Maybe it does, though. Only season 5 will tell…
There’s not much to say about Queen Pouty, except that she finally seems to be learning that being Queen isn’t a simple matter of saying ‘do this’ and ‘do that’ – at bloody last! She’s also picking up on the fact that there’s a damn good reason why dragon owners need a license.
The travelling duos, Boo-Hoo and Tee-Hee, finally meet up when Brienne and Podrick (Tee-Hee) stumble across Arya and the Hound (Boo-Hoo). Brienne tells Arya that she is sworn to protect her, much to the Hound’s annoyance (aw, he’s jealous!). Neither of them willing to back down, they end up having a mighty old scrap, punching and kicking and biting the hell out of each other in a way that, anywhere else, you’d expect them both to either start kissing passionately or collapse in unison before laughing heartily, going for drinks and becoming the bestest of chums in all matey-dom. Instead, shocker number 2: Brienne pushes the Hound off a cliff! During the scrap though, Arya has buggered off and so B&P move out to search for her.
When they are gone, Arya returns to find the dying Hound. I enjoyed this bit, because I’ve always assumed that Arya would indeed kill the Hound, as she vowed, even as their relationship grew… but I thought it would be to put him out of a misery caused by an infected neck wound. Oh well, I thought, close. Nope! Shocker number 3: begging her to kill him quickly, Arya just nicks his purse and leaves him there to die slowly and alone, getting her revenge that way instead! That kid is hardening up quick smart and no mistake. Her journey is going to be an interesting one – indeed she is given the last shot of the series as she heads off in the direction of the Free Cities and Braavos, having obtained passage on a boat by flashing the coin given to her by the mysterious Jaqen H’ghar, the faceless man. I suspect she’s going to try and become his apprentice or something. I hope she does. To find out if she does, you’ll just have to watch season 5.
And finally to King’s Landing… Tyrion! Tyrion! Tyrion! Alright, alright, calm down, we’re getting to him, okay? So, a ton of shit goes down here. Cersei’s giant fighting dog Ser Gregor, under the eye of Qyburn, looks set to become a version of Frankenstein’s monster (because Westeros needs a few more monsters, right?) because Cersei wants it so. That done, she then pops off to see ol’ poppy Tywin to tell him she won’t marry and leave her son in his clutches. He’s all like, ‘yeah, you WILL!’ but she’s all like, ‘No, I won’t, cuz [shocker number 4] I’m doing the dirty wiv my bro and I’ll tell everyone!’ That’s right, she just up and tells her dad that she and Jaime have been making the beast with two backs, like, forever! Man, I bet she was a stroppy kid. Then again, Tywin’s a dick, so screw him!
Tyrion (YAY!) is set free by his brother Jaime, who tells him the escape is being aided by Machiavellian eunuch Varys. Before he slips out though, Tyrion goes to find ol’ poppy Tywin too but instead (shocker 5) finds Shae in the old man’s bed. Full of pain and anguish, (shocker 6) Tyrion strangles her to death, before picking up a crossbow and going off to find Tywin. Tywin, it turns out, is on the toilet, which is a fitting place for that evil old fuckbag to get his comeuppance. After calling Shae a whore one too many times (here comes shocker number 7) Tyrion kills him with a couple of arrows in the chest. HAHAAA! Bye-bye Tywin, you bastard! Tyrion and Varys then set off in a boat to who-knows-where. That basically leaves Cersei, the King’s mother, in charge now. That’s going to have consequences for a lot of people in Kings Landing, especially, you have to suspect, wily little Margaery. But what exactly will those consequences be? And what is to become of Varys and Tyrion? In fact, just what the hell is going to happen to any of them now?
Yeah, you know the answer to those questions… you’ll just have to watch season 5.