Monday, June 16, 2014

Game of Thrones 4x10 The Children

By s. Monday, June 16, 2014 ,

When last night a leak from Canadian fans of Thrones came through that they've got to see the episode early and there was no epilogue of book 3 in it, I thought to myself, well, that's it then. For the first time I didn't stay up all night to watch the episode. Maybe it's because I had the whole day to process the unbelievable decision of not ending the season with the best possible cliffhanger before I saw the episode, but to me it seems that The Children, as much as it is a slap across the face for us book readers at times, is one fine episode of the show.

But then again with the lack of that epilogue and somehow rushed big scene of Tyrion the glory, the 'holy shit', the 'oh, that was awesome' talk is reserved for the sequence which I feared won't get the love it deserves after it wasn't featured in episode 9 ending. For the sequence I have waited months for. For the sequence that finally makes people say 'Ok, Stannis is awesome'.
Another thing is that there is one thing in this whole God forsaken world that tames my anger.

And it's scruffy Stephen Dillane being badass and saving the day.

But before we get to that - the episode opens where the last one ended. Jon Snow is going on his big Ninja/James Bond let's assassinate Mance adventure. He walks into woods in some pretty awesomely shot sequence and he is captured by the wildlings. He tells Mance he wants to negotiate.
They go into the tent and talk a little, they also raise a toast to dearly departed Ygritte. Mance tells Jon he knows how weak the forces on the Wall are and that he will attack them again. Suddenly the trumpets are heard outside and my heart is about to fly from my chest.

Jon and Mance go outside. Nobody knows what the fuck is happening. We see amazing aerial shots and close shots of a massive army of riders approaching, that were easily more epic than this whole damn battle episode last week. That was the most epic thing I've seen on Thrones to date. The riders carry banners..banners of a stag and burning heart...
The army crashes into wildlings from two sides in an awesome aerial shot again, as the camera spins around confused Jon. The riders cut through wildlings and suddenly out of the smoke, as the music reaches the climax and - as I have reached mine - it is Stannis who emerges. Not just Stannis. Stannis on a horse. Stannis in an armor.Stannis with an almighty scruff going on.

Oh I prayed night and day for you to return, my King!
That was the sequence I was so pissed off about for not being featured in last episode. Especially that it was an opening to this one - it seems to me this could have easily been placed in last episode as a triumphant ending for Stannis at last.

I'm also stunned people didn't see it coming. I'm so glad. The element of surprise is huge here - I would have liked we got an explanation scene about what happened and what was his decision making process with Stannis famous, awesome and unintentionally hilarious 'If it wasn't for my Hand I might have not come at all' line, but there is still time for that next season, I guess.
Anyways, Stannis, who hauled ass to the Wall so bad to rescue the realm from the wildling foe (which earns him a name 'The King who still cared" in the books) and didn't even have the time to shave (inhuman fangirl noises) arrives looking like a freaking GQ model with Davos on one side and massive army on another - though it's still need to be pointed out that it's less than 100,000 men which wildlings had - he simply beat them because HE IS SO GOOD and his men fight fiercely for him. And so the Dragonstone and Wall storylines are merged.

Stannis and Davos get off their horses - in, I kid you not, synchronized move, and begin approaching Jon and Mance. Some random dude runs towards Stannis to hurt him but Stannis' rider just kills him. Stannis keeps walking unmoved and unimpressed. Oh, how I love you.
Davos introduces Stannis and Mance tells him that this isn't his land and he is underdressed for the weather. Can you believe he actually suggested Stannis should have more clothes on?

Stannis the Mannis asks Mance if he is the leader of wildlings and basically insists he kneels as he should surrender. Mance refuses. Stannis says he is not here to slaughter beaten dogs (I giggled like a lunatic while crying with joy, it's been 5 goddamn weeks since I saw him). Then attention goes to Jon, while Harington gets mad props from me for, you know, not exploding from being in his presence.

When asked what's the man of the Night's Watch is doing there Jon explains he came to negotiate. Davos throws his usual 'this is Stannis Baratheon the king' line and Jon says he knows who he is. He tells him he is Jon Snow, Ned Stark's son. He tells Stannis that his father died for him.
Stannis' eyes flicker and he tells Jon that his father was an honorable man. He asks Jon what would his father do with Mance and Jon says his father would show mercy and imprison him. Stannis agrees. Jon also tells Stannis to burn the dead.

And so one my favorite things in the books - Stannis and Jon bitchfest on the wall begins. Even if Stannis didn't kill anything in this scene and there was no chant (in the book Stannis' men chant his name), man did I love it. My number one scene in the show right now. Did you see how happy my King was? That he has his sass and confidence back on? Oh, yeeees.
Meanwhile, in King's Landing Pycelle and Qyburn argue how to treat The Mountain who has been poisoned, as Oberyn's spear was dipped in one, ensuring that even if Oberyn lost Mountain goes down too.

Pycelle leaves as Qyburn stats suggestion some weird ass stuff but Cersei stays. Qyburn suggests he is gonna do some controversial things but Cersei is game for that, sensing this dude is a psycho so she is finally getting a new best friend. Qyburn will do something that will make Mountain not only alive but also stronger. And so the set up for his gross experiments in season 5 is completed.
In the next scene which was a first major WTF of the episode for us book readers Cersei is talking to Tywin telling him that she will not marry ser Loras and she will not leave Tommen all by himself so that Margaery could have him. In a moment that never happened in the books Cersei tells Tywin that she has been sleeping with Jaime and Tywin goes to his happy place so that he wouldn't hear it.

Then in yet another risky and somewhat blasphemous scene Cersei goes to Jaime and seduces him. And Jaime, who at this point is supposed to be an honorable guy basically throws the White Book off the table and bangs her on that table. I don't what's going on and I don't want to know. But Lena Headey was fantastic.
In Meereen, Dany is having some more chats with her people. A man comes over telling her it was better for him when he was a a slave.Dany allows him to write a contract with his master and Barristan warns her it's a dangerous precedent. Another man comes over and reveals to her that Drogon killed his child - he unveils a cloth and there it is, human skeleton.

Daenerys is devastated. Apparently Drogon fled (correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't he part of that scene in the books and that's when he escaped?). Daenerys decides to lead her other two dragons to the catacombs. As they eat, in a wonderful change from the book where it was random Unsullied who did the deed, Daenerys herself puts chains on her children.
She turns and starts walking away as they roar in fear and heartbreak. That was a truly moving and saddening scene. I felt a I was watching some cute puppies being abandoned. I know I was complaining about Emilia Clarke a lot this year, and rightfully so, but this was really great acting from her. She conveyed a horrible heartbreak she felt, her, the Breaker of Chains, over imprisoning her own children.

Ramin Djawadi's wonderful track Breaker of Chains accompanied the scene and it was really powerful. I'm glad the show didn't try to stick to the pattern of having Dany's scenes near the end of the finale, though given what our final scene was this year this wouldn't be so bad.
At the Wall a funeral is held for those who have fallen. Stannis is there, posing for magazines watching respectfully and glancing at his wife Selyse and adorable daughter Shireen who came with him to the Wall. Prayer circle for another awkward family dinner next season this time involving Jon. And Sam. And Stannis annihilating them with his eyes declaring that meat is, yet again, off.

Maester Targaryen delivers a lovely speech about Wallers who died protecting the realm and people who will not even know their names. Jon sets the fire to the dead and we see that Melisandre is staring at him, clearly having found another one she likes to ride to salvation.
Jon visits Tormund who is now a prisoner. We find out Stannis ordered everyone to get help with the wounds and injuries, even the wildlings. Tormund tells Jon to bury Ygritte in the real North.

In a beautiful scene Jon does just that. We see a gorgeous shot of Ygritte's body and Jon throwing a torch on the pyre and walking away with tears in his eyes. Again, let me just say - Kit Harington was truly wonderful this whole season.
Now to the part of the episode where 1. thought I dropped acid 2. thought I'm actually hallucinating because my brain overheated when I saw Stannis, we arrive to Bran's storyline. Bran, Hodor, Summer, Meera and Jojen reach the mysterious tree we saw in Bran's vision. Suddenly, and I'm serious here, Pirates of the Caribbean looking skeletons rise from the snow and attack them.

I didn't know what the fuck was going on. I think in the books the characters are attacked by wights, like the ones in the very first scene of the series but what was happening here was just...madness.
Bran warges Hodor and he fights them off while Meera is really badass trying to fight them off sick Jojen. Summer wrecks havoc too. Unfortunately one of them stabs Jojen. Now this was a real WTF moment as Jojen may or may not be dead in the books and what was done (or not) to him in the books is very disturbing so it seems like an opportunity wasted at killing cute Love Actually kid like that.

Anyways, The Children of he Forest appear. It's a different species, kinda like humans but not really like them. They were described as smaller than men with nut-brown skin, dappled like a deer's with paler spots. They had large ears that could hear things that no man could hear.They usually had large eyes, great golden cat's eyes. They have vertical, slit-like pupils;. A few had green or red eyes; these had the gift of greensight and were known as greenseers.Their hands had only three fingers and a thumb, with sharp black claws instead of nails.
So imagine my surprise when they showed up, actually sorry, just one showed up and it's basically a regular child. But it gets worse. Leaf, as this is what this child is called leads them into a cave. And then Bran finally meets the dude who followed him around in the form of three-eyed raven - Bloodraven.

They hyped Bloodraven and Children of the Forest so much and man, was that underwhelming. A pale child and an old dude who looks like he was climbing the tree and got stuck in that. Anyways, there will be more visions in Bran's future. Raven tells Bran that he will never be able to walk...but he will fly.
Then it turns out the Hound and Arya just left the Gate of the Eyrie after finding out Lysa is dead. Brienne and Podrick run into Arya. Brienne and Arya have a short nice scene together where they talk about swords and their fathers teaching them how to fight. The Hound shows up and Podrick recognizes him.

Brienne tells Arya that she pledged to her mother she will keep her safe. She asks her to go with her. The Hound sees Brienne's sword and tthinks she is paid off by Lannisters. A crazy fight scene between Brienne and The Hound occurs.
That is something that never happened in the books. Brienne is truly invincible isn't she? There is no one who can beat her. After they fight for a while Brienne bites off Hound's ear and throws him off the cliff. When she finds Podrick it turns out that Arya escaped.

I'm torn on this scene - on one hand I always wanted two badass ladies Arya and Brienne to meet. But I wanted for them to stay together. Also it's now a bit odd that Brienne was face to face with two of Catelyn's daughters (she didn't meet any of them in the books so far) and just allowed them to run away. But the scene was really very well made and it was shot and choreographed in a fantastic way.
We find out Arya is merely hiding. She finds mortally injured Hound. He asks her to give him the gift of mercy, kill him to end his suffering. Arya is silent. He then starts to provoke her, saying things to get her mad and kill him but Arya walks away.

This is one of the reasons I don't really like Arya - I don't understand her. She sometimes seems more evil than she should be. The Hound took care of her and she abandoned him for no reason. And about Brienne - Arya could have joined her mother's knight, someone you can see from the first sight is a good person and she just run away.
We move to King's Landing. Jaime visits Tyrion and let's him out of his cell. He tells him that Varys is waiting for him to help him board the ship. The two hug and Jaime kisses Tyrion cheek. As lovely as it was in the show, there is something major that was changed but first I'll recap the scenes and then talk about changes.

Tyrion decides to take a little detour and ends up in the Tower of the Hand. He approaches the bed and sees there is a woman lying on it. As he walks closer and closer the woman moves and awakes, clearly joyful and well rested and says ' lion'. It's his love, his Shae who is clearly fucking his own father.
Tyrion gives her shocked, heartbroken, angry look. Shae grabs the knife, Tyrion jumps on top of her and twists a chain around her neck and begins strangling her. We are treated to fantastic shot from the far. Tyrion kills her and says 'sorry' in a detached, manic kind of way.

Tyrion notices a crossbow on the wall. He takes it and makes his way to the privy, where he finds his father. Tyrion, clearly in a shock, is set on killing Tywin. Tywin doesn't seem to appreciate the danger very much but unlike in the book he is kind to Tyrion. In a puzzling development Tyrion tells him he loved Shae and Tywin calls her a whore, causing Tyrion to shoot his own father and kill him.
Now, I think the scenes played well. As a fan fiction inspired by book events which really didn't need no changing. The key here? Tyrion's wife. Tysha. I'd understand not including any mentions about her if she wasn't mentioned in the show at all - but who can forget Tyrion's story about a whore whom he married which was later forced by Tywin to service entire garrison of Lannister men as Tyrion was forced to watch - again forced by Tywin, as a punishment for him marrying her? She was also mentioned in season 3 and referenced to by mere looks between Lannister brothers in season 4.

The thing is that Tysha is the catalyst for all three scenes - with Jaime, with Shae and with Tywin. In Jaime scene, in the book Jaime reveals his lie - Tywin forced Jaime to tell Tyrion Tysha was a whore, in reality she was just some girl that loved Tyrion that Tywin deemed unworthy of being married to a Lannister. Heartbroken Tyrion cuts all the ties with Jaime after he releases him from his cell, yelling that he did kill Joffrey and that Jaime is a fool who doesn't see what a whore Cersei is.
His entire relationship with Shae is basically possible because his emotional scars because of Tysha. That's why he is so hurt by Shae. The show made a puzzling decision of having them be in love but then having Shae do what she did in the books, where she was just a lying whore trying to survive. I was really hoping the show will shed some light on how and when did she started sleeping with Tywin.

There is a rumour in the books that one of the Hands build a special tunnel to smuggle whores in. People suspect it's Tywin. I suppose the whole point is that he was a hypocrite - who hated his son for indulging himself but he himself did that too. There are also some psychological implications of basically making your son's whore your own.

The Shae murder is essentially the same in the show except they had Shae go for a knife which is causing quite an outrage as in the books what Tyrion did was straight up murder and here she was going to fight back. Yes, the white washing of Tyrion is going on, but it never bothered me as I thought Dinklage completely nailed the darkness in his character in his scenes this episode.

And finally Tywin. In the book Tyrion asks Tywin about Tysha. He asks him what happened with her. Tywin responds he sent her away, Tyrion asks where and Tywin uses his iconic line, the final straw that causes Tyrion to kill him - 'Wherever whores go". In the book the trigger is not Shae, some lying slut, it's the woman Tyrion loved, his first love who loved him back and who suffered because of his father. The biggest symbol of his father's oppression on his life and his disapproval of Tyrion's every step and every breath.
As much as I liked the way the scenes played out I just don't understand why they would change that. Do showrunners really have so little faith in non book readers? A line of dialogue in a scene with Tywin and Jaime would refresh their memory as for who Tysha was. Another thing - and that is something that was left out of the scene - when Tywin gets shot he gets shot above groin and the impact causes his bowels to loosen and his shit goes everywhere.

Tyrion's last thought in the chapter is 'in the end Lord Tywin Lannister didn't shit gold".
Tyrion leaves his dead father and finds Varys who locks him in a crate that gets taken to a ship. In a change from book events Varys takes one last look at the Red Keep and decides to go with Tyrion.

Before I discuss the last scene - I always tought Charles Dance was the best chosen actor for the part. He WAS Tywin Lannister. It's amazing that he made this man seem admirable, when essentially Tywin was a mass murderer and war criminal. Who can forget his fatherly scenes with Arya in season 2, his delightful banter with lady Olenna or the way he always commanded the scene.

We ended the finale with Arya boarding the ship to Braavos. While it was not as bad as the last year's finale ending, it was still a disappointment. While I understand that including the epilogue of book 3 would be a shock so big all the other scenes in the episode would pale in comparison, not to throw a dynamite that will get people insanely hyped for next season is just a mistake especially since it was the best moment for that scene.
MASSIVE BOOK SPOILERS Lady Stoneheart. It's the single biggest plot twist in the books. Not only was she foreshadowed a great deal over the last two years - this year lady Catelyn was mentioned in 8 out of 10 episodes - but her character is connected to Jaime and Brienne in what seems to be a plot that could not be changed.

So far the excuses I've seen are - 1. She is not important in the books - how can she not be? Do we really think Martin would bring someone back from the dead if they weren't important 2. Having her resurrection cheapens Jon's inevitable resurrection - if she is merely pushed in time because of reason 3. that will be two resurrections closer to each other than they would be if she was featured now 3. there are not enough shocks for next season and they are saving her - problem is that 2 years after RW is just too long. Not to mention all the Unsullied that will continue to get spoiled.
As usual the director Alex Graves cannot seem to shut up and gives his opinions - not only is Graves, misinformed reducing her to a 'zombie' but also he just comes off straight up disrespectful towards all of us book readers who have been waiting to see her. It seems more and more evident to me that D&D seem to be writing for themselves - not for book readers and certainly not with respect for book readers.

While as scarce as his scenes were I did thought Stannis' scenes were major improvement this year but crap like this - trolling book readers with hints and then not showing the scene actually hurts the show (I'm convinced had they have her as final scene, the show would top 10mln with next year premiere), hurts he narrative and just makes D&D look like mad douche bags who don't seem to comprehend that people have certain expectations. Graves trying to turn the blame around on those who had expectations while him and show runners themselves hyped the episode to infinity deserves as hard of a kick in the balls as Brienne served to the Hound. END OF SPOILERS
Overall, I still consider season 1 to be my favorite and I don't think it's a coincidence that it is, since it followed the book so faithfully. While this episode and The Mountain and the Viper along with Mockingbird were wonderful and season 4 had a number of great sequences the straying from the books is catching up to the show.

Benioff and Weiss are not Martin, their bias and their insistence their way is the better way to show the events is slowly making everyone disappointed. I think they need to think really long about the flaws of the show because if they took the best book and turned it into anything less than best season (and season 3 and 4 are not on par with for example season 1 consistency), what on Earth will they do next year?



  1. So... enjoyed reading your reviews all season. Glad to hear you liked the episode. But I'm still a bit worried about your comments before it aired that if LS isn't in, you won't watch season 5 (save for Cersei and Stannis scenes). Is that still the case?

    1. Thanks! I pretty much watch it for these two now anyways, I didn't mean I won't watch the episodes just their scenes, I meant I'll watch the eps for their scenes.

    2. agree. Stannis is my favorite character and was upset when they reduced my favorite scene in the book to rushed episode filler

    3. I still cannot believe they didn't use it as ending for episode 9 :/

  2. Great recap Sati. I still don't feel anything but annoyance when Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke are on screen. In the scene when Mance, Jon and Stannis were talking-it was like sit down boy and watch the real actors act. After not seeing Ciaran Hinds for so long, it would have been easy to forget Mance but this is the best Mance has been on the show. Dillane does so much with so little as does Liam Cunningham.
    I wish there was more time devoted to Tyrion/Tywin/Jaime, they rushed that scene. I would have kept the wall stuff in episode 9, moved Dany and her dragons to episode 1 next season. No mentioning what really happened with Tysha really took the emotional impact out of Tyrion's murders and robbed Dinklage and Coster Waldau of a home run scene.
    I have not been a fan of the Brienne and Pod duo this season, I just do not know why Brienne treats him so bad. I did like the Hound/Brienne fight. Rory McCann is my MVP this season and I wish they kept some of Arya's book dialogue intact for that scene.
    As much as I hated Tywin, Charles Dance was excellent in that part and I wish we got to know Jojen a little better on the show.
    I just feel like the show has these great opportunities to be even better and doesn't take them. I do hope D &D will re-examine some of their story telling tricks but as long as critics fawn over the show and fans make excuses for them, they will see no reason to work on the flaws. And the lack of the epilogue was seriously disappointing.
    If I had to rank the seasons it would be 1,3,2 and 4.

    1. Thank you! Harington was good this season but yeah comparing to these guys.....:)

      I hope writers will address that change, it's honestly very weird since Tysha is in the show cannon.

      I think Bri is just annoyed, I'm sure she will warm up to him. Rory was just wonderful in every scene he had in the show.

      I rank them 1 - and the three others ones at number 2, each has different appeal for me. I'm just hoping for more Stannis next year :)

  3. This is now a crazy finale.
    Stannis's army seems bigger than in season 2 and that shot was awesome.
    It was about time Tyrion took it out. Although had it not been for you I wouldn't get the thing about the whore. It seems to me that in the show Tywin just never wanted Tyrion. Ever since he was born (he tried to have Tyrion killed in the battle of season 1). That storyline had a big payoff.
    I must say that Emilia was good here. As if she was expecting it the whole time, and denying it, secretly hoping that there wouldn't be any problems with the dragons. They'll probably save the Drogon scene for next season's premiere.
    That battle with skeletons was brutal. That kid died? Didn't see that coming. What happened to him in the books?
    Brienne/Hound fight was really the most brutal fight I've ever seen on TV. Not the most intense (The Mountain and the Viper!!!), but the level of brutality was high.
    I don't understand Arya as well. She should be thankful to the Hound for killing the Butcher's boy quickly. If it were Joffrey's way he'd die in agony. Although I don't blame her for hiding, she has been betrayed by pretty much everyone and the world to her seems super unfair.
    I read what the whole LS is and I am pissed off. Those morons are given that material, this budget and they piss on me and everyone else? Didn't they think that when they show it next year it won't really be a surprise anymore for most people. EVERYONE uses the Internet, which means that most of the Unsullied (I loved how you used that word to address the unspoiled) will hear about it sooner or later and they'll see that everyone is losing their shit about it. If they haven't showed her already then the only thing I can make of that is that they think that I am some sort of a vagabont who doesn't know what Internet is.
    Jon's resurrections? I'll try not to get myself spoiled about that. Unless, it is what it says. Yes?
    Overall, I liked the finale, as it had a payoff.
    Wonderful recap!

    1. Oh yeah, he got the gold from the Bank and bought soldiers :) But most of his army is his men, in the book he didn't go to Braavos and it was essentially just what was left from Blackwater battle that went with him as his host.

      I don't think he tried to have him killed but I think that if Tyrion died Tywin wouldn't lose sleep over it as he always though that Tyrion brought shame to Lannister name, while ironically it was Cersei and Jaime who doomed the house

      I think Drogon is now just flying away and we won't see him for a while, but he will be back :)

      In the books the Children of the Forest make a paste of weirwood for Bran to eat so that he would have better visions. The paste looks like it has blood in them. Since Jojen was missing in the cave for a while it's a theory he is dead and the Children made him into that paste. Blood sacrifice and cannibalism is very popular theme in terms of mysticism in the North.

      Unsuilled is what book readers often use to describe non book readers :) It's so lame that she wasn't featured - next year it will be too late to remember vividly the event that led to her being who she is and also that would have make a perfect cliffhanger this season.

      About Jon - wasn't supposed to be plural, typo :) It's a speculation at this point we don't know if he even dies but it's a popular theory that he will and he will come back, stronger etc. There is this prophecy in the books so people have all those theories about that.

    2. Well, I see why Stannis is awesome now. He really is the king who cares.
      And now, a nine-month wait. At least time passes sooo quickly. As if S3 ended yesterday .

    3. I have a tedious job and study even more tedious stuff so for me it's literally eternity. But I'm starting Vikings soon, heard it's pretty good show.

    4. I might check it out too, but I'll probably wait for your opinion if you ever start it.

    5. Yeah, even start it :) God I wish I had more time :/

  4. "I think they need to think really long about the flaws of the show because if they took the best book and turned it into anything less than best season (and season 3 and 4 are not on par with for example season 1 consistency), what on Earth will they do next year?" sums up everything I feel about this season. Even I think Season 1 was still the best one and for the same reason - because it followed the book closely. As good as this season has been, and it has been really good at times, us book readers have been left wondering about so many things. It says a lot when best things in your season finale(Hound and Brienne fight) is something that NEVER happened

    1. Season1 was just so consistent. And Cat had so much to do there so it's a big plus for me. I honestly feel like the writers don't respect the fandom - so many iconic lines and scenes changed and for what?

  5. My friend told me about the whole Tywin and Tyrion's first wife thing. It's definitely more emotionally impactful but I think I hated Shae and Tywin enough to go with Tyrion's decision. But yes, Dance as Tywin was fantastic as was Rory McCann as the Hound. Arya's basically a stone-cold bitch now, which is okay. I mean, if you're not fucked up in GoT then what's the point?
    LOVED the Brienne and Hound scene. I was actually super worried throughout because I cared about both these characters and while the less loved one died, it was still sad. And omg, I was half-afraid Arya had killed Podrick 'cuz she's all bloodthirsty now.

    Stannis was super cool in that scene. I still don't understand HOW he got there but it looked great and he looked pretty good too. Also Stannis the Mannis :')

    My favourite episode by far was Mockingbird. Between Sansa slapping that little shit, the Moon Door thing, Oberyn and Tyrion's scene and of course Daario stripping, there was really no competition :P

    1. There were some rumours before the ep that Arya may kill Podrick so I was worried too, thank God he is still alive him and Brienne are so great together.

      I'm so glad you liked Stannis' scene! :) Stannis sailed with the army he bought for gold from Bank (show only addition) and his army he had before to the North - he basically arrived from the North of the wall so in the books many people while they read them were scared it's White Walkers coming :) He realized he needs to rescue the realm instead of focusing on winning the Throne.

      Haha, Daario shall be back next year :)

  6. Sati, I'm kinda surprised that you've marked this episode so high but it must be Stannis-effect.:D haha

    Anyway, now that's more like it! I loved every second of the North scenes. The attack on the Wildlings was incredibly shot, epic! And the scene with Stannis aproaching Mance, must say now I beging to understand what your Stannis hype is all about, he looked so regal in that moment! Wow! But it should have been the ending to the episode 9, it would have much more impact. But it's not like it's the first time D&D fucked something up.
    I'm looking forward to the Wall scenes next year, especially Stannis/Jon bits. Hope they're bringing Val, she's quite a character and with Ygritte gone I think showrunners need a fierce Wildling woman.
    I agree about Kit Harrington, he's had an amazing season,Ygritte's funeral amost brought me to tears. Also Rose Leslie looked so beautiful in that shot.

    I've never been a fan of Bran's storyline and I'm glad I'm not because the whole sequence is so messed up that I can't find even one positive word about it. Skeletons? Really? Why not wights? Bloodraven sucks, Children of the Forest suck, Jojen's death sucks - sorry, I can't be more eloquent about that.

    Chaining dragons was not as badly acted as I feared it would be. It was far from great but was not that bad, giving the acting Emilia's been giving to us this season.

    Hound & Brienne - I feel it is somewhat unecessary, but what's done is done. I don't like Arya either and I certainly don't care about her.

    I was very puzzled about the changes they made during Tyrion's escape. There was absolutely no build up in the episode for what he did. Jamie and Tyrion should've talked like they did in the book even though I liked their sweet goodbye it didn't play well givingthe whole story. The point is Jamie is faithful to Cersei, it's like he said,the only vow he never broke and Cersei is a total slut and Tyrion knew about it (Lancel). Tysha reveal was so powerful in the book, it triggered the whole scene ans it became Tyrion's mantra so what will be the substitute for it? No idea.
    The killing scene itself was nicely done, altough it would've been so much better with Tysha.
    About Tyrion & Shae being in love - they've done it again. The same change was made in our dearly depared Robb's storyline. He married Talisa for love and that Westerling chic in book it was duty only.D&D are having a thing for lovestories.

    And for the ending. I want people like Alex Graves to stfu! The ending annoyed me so much, gosh, why,why,why! I'm officially done,I'm not waiting for her anymore, I just can't stand it and giving the speech that little fucker Graves gave she's not coming because like you said D&D are writing the show for themselves and they just love slapping book readers across our faces.

    All in all, I enjoyed this episode but not as much as I would with different ending and slightly different Tyrion scene.

    1. Stannis scene put me in such a good mood for that episode :) Not only was that so epic he looked GORGEOUS. I really hope he will be given more screentime next season, his scenes and chemistry with Jon is so great, I just hope they'll focus on that instead of that whole Melisandre sees shit in flames stuff, enough with her we've been seeing so much of her for 3 seasons while Stannis sat in a dark room, let him have fun in the snow! :)

      I'm pretty sure they'll cut Val, which is a damn shame, but they will most likely focus on Jon/Melisandre :/

      I really don't know what the hell was with that attack in front of the cave, that was....not good.

      I really hope the writers will say something about exluding Tysha. I mean without the mention of her what will Tyrion do exactly? Wander around drunk? We have Cersei for that :)

      Graves knows nothing. Apparantly he won't be directing next season so at least we won't be getting anymore of his comments. I don't think they can cut her out of the show, though - Brienne and Jaime's storylines are connected through her and it seems to me HBO executives should push for a twist like that, especially giving the fact that pretty much 90% of the book readers are extremely upset after that finale.

  7. Great recap, as always. I thought with the Jason and the Argonauts-style skeletons your rating might have dropped slightly, but your breakdown of highlights/low point actually made me appreciate the episode more.

    1. Thank you! Yeah it was a small glitch but if this is where they made budget cuts to make this Stannis scene so epic, I'm cool with that :)

  8. Yeah this made me think Stannis is awesome, you're totally right. That whole first scene with him was so badass.

    Loooved the Lannister scenes, Dinklage's acting was exceptionally good in this.

    For me there was barely a cliffhanger in that finale, but then that doesn't really matter -- I know I'll be watching the next season simply because this show is great. And so were your recaps throughout this season, awesome job!

    1. I'm so glad! I was hoping this will happen to people! :)

      Thank you so much, I'm probably gonna do those next year, hopefully there will be more Stannis :)

  9. "as the music reaches the climax and - as I have reached mine - it is Stannis who emerges." - LOL

    I seriously love the first gif of Stannis' army. It's perfect. (I was actually kind of hoping he'd ride right up to Jon and be like "You must be Ned Stark's bastard!")

    I was preparing myself for the Tysha letdown, but it still sucks. It would've made everything more powerful. Shae just didn't do it for me in that aspect. Then there's Stoneheart, I don't think I'll ever get over that. Wtf were they thinking?

    At least we got "fuck it" Varys.

    1. His 'what the fuck are you?' stare was even better :D OH I LOVE HIM :P

      Apparently they weren't - according to Graves she wasn't even mentioned when discussing what will be in s4. Are these people on ludes?

      Varys is always awesome, he literally never disappoints :P

  10. Glad to see Stannis aka the dashing Dillane in this episode Sati! I know how long you've been waiting for him. He looks really good here, as I've seen in your Tumblr posts ;-)

    Oh my, that scene w/ Dinklage looks really heart-wrenching. He probably is gonna sweep all the GoT awards eh?

    1. My entire tumblr is just his scenes, basically ^^

      He usually does, I think he won everything there was to win for season 1.

    2. Ahah yeah I noticed!

      Btw Anna and I are doing another recasting of Austen, this time it's on Mansfield Park. I think you'll like both of our picks for one of the characters ;-)

  11. I was quite shocked that they didn't use the LS cliffhanger, but the more I thought about it, it could be really cool and worth it if they take more time to build it up. I don't see what the point was of dropping hints and reminders through the season though. It's also weird to have it happen so long after certain events. If they had done it though, I'm certain 98% of viewers would have just looked it up to read what it all meant and there wouldn't really be a mystery going into it next season.

    Oh well. Besides that this episode was pretty great. Stannis could have totally been in the last episode, but it still was a well done scene. I'm glad Jon has been better this season because his storyline going forward is pretty interesting.

    Brienne & Hound scene was one of the best inventions the show has done. It made sense. Also, aren't they pretty close to the Quiet Isle? I'm still hoping that theory is right. Arya is one of my favorite characters. I felt that her refusing mercy was just showing that she really doesn't care anymore. She's like a hollow shell. She doesn't want to attached herself to anyone else because it always ends in misery.

    I did think that not including Jaime's reveal took a lot of punch out of that scene but it was sort of warm & fuzzy to see them leave on such good terms. The kills still worked for me without the reveal. It did seem like whitewashing to have Shae fight back, but she's physically much bigger than the tiny petite Shae in the book so it would look unrealistic for her to not attempt to overpower Tyrion.

    Overall, I actually really liked this season because it seemed like something exciting was happening in a majority of the episodes. In the last 2 seasons it felt like a lot of wheel spinning with a couple huge things happening. Maybe if I rewatched now that I read the books I'd feel differently, but I definitely liked season 4 over 2 & 3. I plan to rewatch season 1 though because I think I'll appreciate even more.

    1. But the thing is with next season the show is gonna accelerate the story and cover stuff that is probably not even in the books yet - they could easily have some added scenes with her. I just hope she is in next year's season. This is literally the one thing I'm dying to see and I do hope after such wait when she is on the show they are really gonna bring their A game, because right now there is quite an outrage among book readers going on.

      I cannot wait for Stannis and Jon working together next year, I just hope they will be given screentime and decent scenes, the Northern storyline is so amazing in ADWD.

      I get the intention behind Arya's decision but for me that's the thing about the Starks - they are good people, honorable people even if they were through so much. I'm not getting that from anyone besides Jon in the show.

      I don't really mind Shae thing but they really should have included the mention of Tysha in regards to Tywin.

      Oh for me season 1 is still the best one, it was just filled with things that were always pretty important, apart from brothel scenes while beginning with s2 the showrunners started getting creative in a bad sense.

  12. Amazing recap Sati! Your takedown of Alex Graves and those idiots D&D is the best thing I've seen all day. Graves' smug attitude in that article made me want to smack my computer screen. I'm wondering if they'll use LS as a big cliffhanger to episode one of the next season though, because it would be a good one to hook people in, at the same time as giving out a big apology to us long-suffering-with-high-expectations fans.

    Loved reading your reactions during the Stannis scene, pretty much me as well. I love the fact that they showed his army from above to contrast it with the disorganised mess of the wildlings and the NW, shows just how much of a boss he is. I had a LOL at the children as well, they looked like bad CGI elves. Also re: Tysha, I knew they wouldn't include it because they didn't foreshadow it enough throughout this season. Usually they bash that kind of stuff over our heads before they do something like that. To be sure the exclusion of that side of Tyrion's story is ridiculous because you're right, it provides the drive for Tyrion's next story, and what are they going to replace it with? We know if they invent something it's going to be really dumb like everything else they invented. I'm betting $10 on the fact that his new repetitive question is "Why did he smash all those beetles?". Redonkulous.

    Season 1 is still my favourite too, because they knew exactly what to do with the content they were given. These later seasons have been like a sawn-off shotgun approach to storytelling where they just spray everything onto the television screen and hope it hits a target somewhere. Sometimes it works, but when it doesn't work it is such a disappointment!

    1. Thank you! I just hate it when people just show off their incompetence when they have such big responsibility - these morons are supposed to adapt the show for us not for them. Graves' attitude is the worst it's like 'we don't know what to do and also you are idiots for expecting what was in the books - not only is he admitting they are lost but also they are so disrespectful blaming fans when they are the ones who hyped the episode and said and I quote 'everything form book 3 will be in season 3 and 4'.

      I want to see her as soon as I can on the other hand it would make such an explosive season end cliffhanger. I really hope the cave scene with Brienne will be the last of finale next year. The imagery in LS chapters is so beautiful and haunting, I really want to see that in TV series and I miss the actress so damn much.

      His army is so disciplined :) Stannis seriously, my God, I'm still floating with joy at his entrance and the fact the non book readers are starting to like him. All I want from season 5 is more screentime for my baby and LS reveal at last.

      As for Tyrion I honestly have no idea what they will do. Perhaps they will make his primary mission going to see Daenerys? As much as her storyline is lame I'd love to see her interact with Tyrion. He can teach her a lot.

      It's only gonna get worse next year and later, unless Martin writes them a step by step guidance.

  13. You don't like Ayra? Why???
    Liked the episode as a whole, although it was a little bloated.

    1. She doesn't seem to have Stark nature left in her except for survival mode and wildness. Eddard Stark's daughter should recognize true nobility and honor in Brienne instantly. Also what she did to Hound was just cruel.

  14. I thought it was a great episode. I haven't gotten nearly as far in the books, but as a semi-book reader, I can say that I appreciate creative discretion. In the 'Walking Dead' the writers frequently divert from the graphic novels, as the author is a producer on the show (similar to Martin). I think it keeps everyone on their toes. If the show followed the books all of the time, I don't think it would be as interesting b/c books and "moving pictures" are such different mediums and should be treated differently

    I do think that the showrunners unfairly abuse certain characters by not them showing enough (i.e. Stannis, Mance) and showing too much of minor characters (Greyworm). I also think a few of the showrunners need to be replaced. However, I do enjoy the (some of the) show's creative distinctions from the books. I liked that Brienne and the Hound fought and what a wonderful brutal fight it was. Although Arya's treatment of the hound was somewhat disconcerting. Is she a little sociopath or what? Or was it mercy? Perhaps someone can come along and help him. I don't know.

    Although the show has really disappointed me with Dany's storyline this year. I'm not sure if it was b/c Emilia was half asleep this year or what. Although her last scene where she locks up her dragons were heartbreaking.

    For me this season was a mixed bag, but the season finale was great. I'm looking fwd to (**SPOILER**) Lady Stoneheart next season.

    1. The problem is not them changing stuff it's them changing stuff for the worse.

      They definitely should be replaced because the way they treat the source material is just out of control. Arya's treatment of the Hound was just awful :/

      I'm really hoping Stoneheart is in the next season. I would never forgive or understand them cutting her from the series.

  15. I was surprised to see so much backlash about this episode. Glad to hear you still enjoyed it so much even though it left out some stuff.

    I knew Stannis was coming (damn spoilers) but I still enjoyed the scene. It was the first time I was impressed with Stannis during the whole series.

    Curious to see where this FrankenMountain business goes.

    I still don't know what to make of Bran's storyline. It's easily the least interesting of the show, but maybe it'll pick up now that he finally reached his destination.

    Loved the Hound/Brienne fight scene.

    I'm more gutted about the loss of Tywin than any other character, I think, simply because that means no more Charles Dance. His performances are among the highlights of every episode, and you're right -- he owned that role.

    Guess it's time for me to start the books!

    1. It's mostly disappointed book readers. I'd be screaming bloody murder too but I'm such a Stannis fangirl I cannot do that even though they essentially postponed my favorite thing in the books yet another year.

      I'm so glad you liked his big scene!

      FrankenMountain is such a silly storyline but Cersei and her new BFF Qyburn will be very entertaining in season 5.

      I think they may actually introduce some flashbacks now, as Bran is going to be getting more visions.

      Charles Dance was absolutely superb in the role, it will never be forgotten, terrific performance.

  16. I teared up quite a lot during this episode, when Jon walked away from Ygriette, Jojen's death as well as Hound provoking Arya to kill him. Now, having read your summary, I get a feeling that most of the stuff that happened in season4 won't even be in the books and that frustrates me a bit.. I loved season 1, like you said, it is the best one, and now it seems it's steering to the wrong direction with the show storylines.

    I liked this episode, I didn't like the end as well but I still got goose bumps because I'm aware what Arya's going to get herself into next season I think.

    Overall, this season had some great death moments, a few wow moments and while you were missing Stannis, I was missing Gendry and at the end, I actually missed Iwan Rheon's manic face a lot. Also, I feel like cutting Daenerys shouldn't be in almost every episode.. I felt like they repeated the scene in the finale with the burned skeleton and it would have been just fine if they hadn't had the burned sheep skeleton's some episodes back.. but that's just me.

    Now, let us bow our heads to some amazing actors and actresses who won't be with us the next season.. some really great performances by pretty much all of them.

    1. I think they had the sheep skeleton as the set up, to show dragons are becoming too much to control. It was unnecessary but not as unnecessary as random whores burping or the whole Missandai/Grey Worm sub plot.

      I won't miss Shae, her acting was he worst :/ But Dance, Leslie, Gleeson, Pascal and Mcann will be missed.

  17. I didn't expect you to like this after I saw LS wasn't in!! So glad you did, though!

    Both Shae and Tywin died in the exact ways I had hoped, only that Shae's suffering was a bit too short. Oh well, can't have everything.

    Brienne and Arya meeting was so cool, I can't believe it wasn't in the books! Or the Cersei/Jaime scene, for that matter. Maybe the showrunners wanted to make Tywin suffer even more. Good call, I'd say, and also... I think my brain is messed up, because my Lannister love is back and my Cersei/Jaime shipping too. It feels wrong.

    From your reply to Anna's comment -- aaahh! that would be so cool, Tyrion and Dany! Maybe she would get more interesting then, too. Oh, but Clarke was excellent in the finale, I'm so glad she pulled herself together!

    The good thing about the ending, though, is that I can sleep in peace, I'm not anxiously waiting for a season that's 8 months away. I like sleeping so much!

    Enjoyed your recaps so much, Sati, thank you for putting the time and effort into them! Looking forward to next season for your recaps already. ;)

    1. How could I not, DID YOU SEE MY KING?:D

      Cersei and Jaime scene was in the books but it ended with Jaime turning her down :)

      I'm so glad you liked them! Hopefully they will stop pissing me off with all the changes and give Stannis plenty of screentime next year so I can be one happy bunny while writing the recaps :)

  18. Great end to the season and I think this might be my favourite so far, although I've probably said that about the others too. I was really impressed with Dany's scenes. She's been pretty useless for the whole series and then absolutely nailed it here.

    I did love the scene when Stannis rides in, they filmed it perfectly and it really was a surprise to me. I think his relative lack of screen time over the series made that moment even better.

    1. Yes, her scene was very good in finale, good thing she managed to end with a strong scene in this season.

      I wish I could think the writers planned it this way and he will be featured much more in later seasons but my optimism is slowly dying with every book change and omission. Hopefully the next season will be a bit more consistent and fair to the characters.