Game Of Thrones Finale Recap: A Lannister Paying His Debts
Like the first episode of the season, the finale of Game of Thrones took us all over Westeros both to tie up loose ends and create new storylines for the fifth season. From The Wall to King’s Landing to across the Narrow Sea, the finale was a satisfying end to a satisfying season. Let’s get our recap on!
We begin where we left off last week — with Jon Snow walking north of The Wall to assassinate Mance Rayder. They drink to the passing of Ygritte, and to the fellow dead from the battle. Mance is tired of his people dying. And he admits that he doesn’t want to conquer — he just wants to hide behind the wall because, “We both know that winter is coming.” Jon hesitates when he has a chance to kill Mance, because Mance just offered peace.
As they are discussing how to move forward, a stampede of horses and riders appear out of nowhere. Thousands of mounted soldiers charge into the woods where Mance and his army are, killing wildlings left and right. And who should appear?
Stannis Baratheon! Along with Ser Davos! Wha?? How??? Stannis tells Mance that it is customary to kneel before the king you are surrendering to. Mance refuses to kneel. Stannis and Jon talk, and Jon convinces Stannis listen to Mance, rather than kill him outright.
Next, Cersei goes to her father, Lord Tywin, to discuss her betrothal to Loras Tyrell. Cersei is refusing, claiming that she is worried that Tywin and Margaery would fight over Tommen. Cersei threatens to tell the truth if she is forced to go through with it. What truth? Why, the truth that Jamie is the father of the current King, young Tommen.
Cersei walks out, and goes straight to Jamie. They discuss Tyrion for a bit before getting their incest on, with Cersei telling Jamie that their father knows. She doesn’t care that people will whisper, she only wants, “My brother. My lover.”
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys continues to realize that freeing slaves is much easier than being a ruler. A sobbing father comes in, holding the charred bones of his daughter. Daenerys’ large black dragon, Drogon, feasted upon the three-year-old girl.
In order to keep her people safe, she locks the other two dragons in the catacombs below the city, chaining them inside. A rather ironic twist of fate for the Breaker of Chains, and we see a lone tear roll down her cheek as she leaves her screaming babies behind.
Next, we finally catch up with Bran & company. After trekking through the snow to the point of exhaustion, they come upon a grand weirwood tree, and Bran announces that they are at the place of the three-eyed raven. Struggling to move forward, Jojen stumbles only to realize that a skeletal hand grabbed his ankle. All of a sudden, skeletons start popping out of the ice, attacking everyone. Bran does his warg thing to inhabit Hodor to help fight some off, but there are just too many. Jojen gets stabbed, and just as two skeletons are about to grab Bran, they explode in flames!
A young girl calls out, “Come with me, Brandon Stark.” Jojen is dying, so Meera must leave him behind. The mysterious young girl takes the rest of the party to a cave under the weirwood tree, where skeletons cannot follow. Bran asks who this person is. She replies, “The First Men called us The Children, but we were born long before them.” They travel through a cave lines with roots, into the center where an old mad sits among the roots. Bran identifies him as the three-eyed raven. The old man comforts Meera, telling her that Jojen knew of his fate, yet sacrificed himself to bring Brandon here. He says that he has waited a long time for Brandon Stark, and tells Bran that while he will never walk again, he will fly.
Moving south, Brienne wakes up and walks up on Arya practicing with her sword. The Hound walks up, and Pod identifies him. Then Brienne realizes that she is talking with Arya Stark. Brienne says that she is here to keep Arya safe. Arya doesn’t want to go, and The Hound is convinced that Brienne is either working for the Lannisters or trying to collect the bounty on his head. Brienne insists that she just wants to take Arya somewhere safe. The Hound shouts back:
Safety!? Where the fuck’s that? Her aunt in The Eyrie is dead. Her mother’s dead. Her father’s dead. Her brothers are dead. Winterfell is a pile of rubble. There’s no safety you dumb bitch. If you don’t know that by now, you’re the wrong one to watch over her.
They both draw blades and have one hell of a fight. Not with the acrobatics and grace of Prince Oberyn, but with brute force, kicking, punching and biting. Finally, Brienne bites off The Hound’s ear, and goes into a frenzy beating his head in with a rock. The Hound falls down a cliff, and Brienne stands up, immediately looking for Arya. They have lost her, and we see Arya hiding among the rocks.
Arya then makes her way down to where The Hound is lying. He’s alive, but badly hurt and knows that he will die soon. They talk for a bit, and The Hound asks Arya if she remembers where the heart is. Arya just stares at him blankly, watching him suffer. He talks about the terrible things he has done, and ends up begging Arya to kill him. She stands up, walks over to him, and takes his coin purse. Then, cold as The Wall on a winter’s night, Arya just walks away from The Hound as he is screaming, begging her to kill him. Doesn’t even glance back.
Finally, we catch up with Tyrion, who is lying in the dungeon. Jamie comes in and is helping him escape! Rather than running straight to where Jamie tells him, Tyrion sneaks into his father’s chambers. He spies a woman lying alone in his father’s bed. As the woman hears footsteps, she moans, “My lion.” As she rolls over, Shae looks right into the eyes of Tyrion! Eyes reflecting pain which can only be caused by such an awful betrayal.
Tyrion climbs up in the bed, fights with Shae, eventually choking her with a gold necklace. “I’m sorry,” he says, as he sits on the floor next to the bed. “I’m sorry.”
He spots a crossbow on the wall, and grabs it, walking through his father’s chambers until he reaches the privy. He pushes open the door to find his father on the toilet. His father suggests that they go and talk in his chambers. Tyrion just aims the crossbow at him. Tywin insists that he would never actually let Tyrion die.
Tyrion says that he loved her. He loved Shae, and that he just killed her with his own hands. Tywin responds that it doesn’t matter, that she’s just a whore. Tyrion raises the crossbow and dares Tywin to say that word again. Tywin insists that they go back into the chambers to discuss things. Tyrion notes that he can’t, because she’s in there. “What,” Tywin responds, “are you afraid of a dead whore?”
Crossbow bolt right into Tywin’s shoulder. Tyrion calmly reloads the crossbow. Tywin, somewhat in shock, says, “You shot me.” As he is looking at the bolt, he says, “You’re no son of mine.”
Tyrion responds, “I am your son. I have always been your son.” And to emphasize those last words, he fires another crossbow bolt into his father’s gut. Like a fucking badass.
Tyrion leaves, reaching Varys, who loads Tyrion into a box that is loaded on a ship. Varys starts to go back to the castle, then turns around to join Tyrion on the ship, sitting next to the box.
We end the season with Arya, who makes her way to a small dock where a ship is about to depart. She finds the captain, and asks for passage to The Wall. The captain says that he is not going north, but is going home to the free city of Braavos. Arya pulls out an iron coin, the one given to her by Jaquen H’gar, and hands it to the captain. “Valar Morgulis,” she says. The captain immediately responds in kind, and says that he will take her to Braavos. The scene ends with Arya looking forward as the ship sails into the sea.
As she looks forward to Braavos, we look forward to Season 5. As a reminder, Game of Thrones aired Sundays at 9 pm on HBO, and you can watch episodes online through HBOGO.
If you want a preview of what’s to come, you can always read the books. And you can catch up on the rest of season four here: