Last night’s season finale of “Game of Thrones” might not have been earth-shattering the way, say, the Red Wedding was. But it did wrap up many storylines, sometimes in the worst ways possible. Our recap/review has already analyzed what these moments mean for the series as a whole, but in case you want a visual sense of how each dramatic beat played out, or need photos to remember who exactly everyone is, check this out. [Spoilers follow.]
It wouldn’t be a tale of epic fantasy without at least five minutes worth of a guy walking through some bleak landscape! After last week’s battle against the Free Folk, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) goes north to have a chit-chat with Mance Rayder (Ciarin Hinds) about maybe ending all the battle-ing. They actually have a pretty nice time toasting their dead friends! At least until…
…These party-crashers show up. Yeah, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) is now in the North, because his red-haired ladyfriend told him it’d be a good idea, but it also means Mance Rayder is now a prisoner. I’m sure this will work out well next season.
In case you were worried, by the way, Jon Snow does find the time to barbecue his dead ex-girlfriend so that she doesn’t come back as a zombie. Rose Leslie (who plays Ygritte) didn’t have to work hard to earn her paycheck this week. Also, this show is weird.
On a happy note in King’s Landing, Cersei’s (Lena Headey) favorite strongman may not die as a result of the grievous wounds and poisoning he suffered during his big fight with the Viper in Episode 8. At least, that’s according to the creepy necromancer Cersei’s hired! (We’ll find out what actually happens to the Mountain next season. Presumably.)
And also, look who’s here to save Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) from being executed for a murder he didn’t commit! It’s Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), stepping up in the name of brotherly love to help Tyrion escape from jail. They have a really sweet moment of goodbye! Tyrion is literally steps away from freedom. But first…
You might think you’ve had rough break-ups, but have you caught your prostitute ex sleeping in your father’s bed after she betrayed you in court and helped ensure your conviction for regicide? When you think about it like that, maybe it’s slightly less horrifying, that Tyrion decides to choke out his beloved Shae with her own necklace. Slightly less horrifying.
And then Tyrion goes full Charles Bronson “Death Wish”…
…and shoots his father with a crossbow while he’s taking a crap. In the twelve hours since this episode first aired, numerous jokes about its Father’s Day broadcast date have been made. But has anyone observed that Tywin Lannister went out like a King — specifically Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll?
Tyrion does manage to make his escape, but still, it’s a sad way to say goodbye to the God of Tits and Wine.
Also, interesting things happen to Bran Stark and his entourage! Specifically, they get attacked by zombies…
And then Bran talks to a guy in a tree, who will apparently be an exposition machine next season. (When I said that interesting things happen to Bran and his entourage, I meant in comparison to past Bran stories.)
Finally, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and The Hound (Rory McCann) meet for the first time!
It doesn’t go well.
We’re talking “Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) leaves the mortally wounded Hound to die on the side of a mountain” levels of not-great.
But Arya does use this as an opportunity to take an all-expenses-paid trip to Braavos. And that’s where we leave Season 4 — with all the very best characters on boats, but with there being plenty of potential for more mystery, drama, fantasy, inappropriate sex and brutal violence in 2015. What is dead can never die.