Did the season finale tie up the dangling story lines or showcase satisfying denouements? Were expectations met given the immensity of the scope of Game of Thrones, especially with settings and characters? Will season 5 face the pressure of having to live up to the legacy of season 4?
In some cases, the production team lived up to par by wrapping up some dangling threads while in some, it failed to deliver on timing and climactic procession. Granted, the team definitely has a lot on its desk because of the wide expanse of settings it still has to cover. In episode 8, some storylines have been set up for season 5: the Boltons have proceeded to Winterfell, Sansa has become a player in the game, and the Red Viper is dead. But what about the others?
Stannis to the rescue!
Appearing out of nowhere, I would have preferred that Stannis’ big arrival and rescue of the Nights Watch be the conclusion to episode 9, as opposed to its insertion in the first few scenes of “The Children”. It makes for a grand entrance, yes, but it would have become a better point of reflection in the finale.
Nevertheless, I love the scene between Ciaran Hinds and Stephen Dilane. They both hold their own as kings who only want the safety of their people. Also, it’s a nice reminder for us audiences that Ned Stark championed Stannis’ claim to the Iron Throne, giving us some ground story for a future dynamic between Jon and Stannis.
Also, the panoramic shots of the Baratheon army rallying in a careful phalanx of ofense? TOTALLY AWESOME! 😀
Battle of Skeletons
I had a weird deja vu while watching this scene, remembering the same sort-of battle in the classic movie Jason and the Argonauts. Anyhoo, the skeletons this time are less puppets and more crazed undead following the orders of some nameless entity.
Its also a sad goodbye to Jojen Reed who seemed more to us like a plot device to move Bran’s story forward rather than a character that we would care about. When Meera had to stab him, I was like “Meh…”
Our first glimpse of “the children of the forest” is also a bit disappointing, seeing that we only saw a “child” instead of children, and so fleetingly too. Plus the Greenseer? I thought he’d be more cool-looking, with roots and branches twisting and coiling around his body. He just seemed like that old bearded dude from Skrull (anybody know Skrull? 😀 ).
Roar no more
As a wonderful denouement to Tyrion’s storyline, the Imp commits the ultimate action against his family by killing his own father, Tywin Lannister, in the privy. Its a terrific character arc that shows Tyrion crossing a line that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I mean, patricide is probably the worst thing he’s done, second only to murdering the love of his life a few seconds prior.
My only irk is probably the exclusion of Tysha story. She was the love of his life and it was ultimately Jaime’s revelation about her that made Tyrion seek out his father’s bedchamber for revenge(?). It absolutely seemed out of place when he suddenly sought Tywin without some sort of epiphany.
Nevertheless, it’s nice to finally get some retribution. The era of the golden lions is come to an end. Maybe. *wink 😀
Sidenote: Varys’ face when he heard the death bell toll at Kings Landing? Perfect. He was like, peace out, beyotch!
Dragons are slaves after all
One of the smaller scenes I loved in this episode is the scene with the Meereenese and his burnt dead baby girl. We don’t know him or his baby girl but it was such a poignant scene; we can definitely understand why Dany feels horrified that she has unleashed monsters into the world. Quoting verbatim from the book, “I am the mother of monsters.”
In the end, she chains up Rhaegal and Viserion (Drogon is probably training with Hiccup or something 😀 ) in the pyramid catacombs. The mother of dragons has chained up her children, and it doesn’t bode well for her. Anybody else thinking that the literal chaining of her dragons is a metaphorical allusion to Daenerys being enslaved by a throne and chaining up the dragon part of herself? Hmmm… 😀
Meanwhile, after Arya Stark coldly leaves the Hound to die a slow death, that’s after an EPIC battle between Brienne and Sandor where both were SO BADASS, Arya makes her way to the harbor, intending to board a ship to the Wall. I like that they didn’t omit this part, that Arya’s first option was still to seek her last remaining
known family, Jon Snow.
But through fortuitous circumstance, she leaves for Braavos instead, which she ultimately realizes is her destiny. Although she doesn’t understand the meaning of valar morghulis, her constant whispered chant after she remorselessly kills proves otherwise.
Wherever Arya goes, someone is definitely going to die.
What an intense season 4! I must applaud the writers and the directors for once again delivering a season full of tragic and epic character developments, gritty and out of this world battle sequences, terrific CGI, and an impressive script.
I’ll write my recap and review of the season soon. 😀