Game of Thrones 4.10 – The Children

Arya Stark, winner of the Most Grizzled Player award

Arya Stark, winner of the Most Grizzled Player award

[Previously.] I AM COMPLETELY SATISFIED. Hunnert percent. If you wanna complain about that season ender, you can go find elsewhere, because I am dancing around in my house with my hands on my cheeks, blown away. My husband has a bruise on his arm from me slapping it and saying, “Oh my god!” I can officially say that I had no frakkin’ idea that like, most of that would happen. EXCEPT. I totally called one thing, and I cannot believe I was right.

I know nothing about the books, as you all should know, so for me, an Unsullied, this was a great wrap up leaving me excited for Season Five. GAH, keeping spoilers from above the cut is making me crazy, let’s get to it.


Jon is making his death march to the Free Men with the hopes of assassinating Mance Rayder under the guise of brokering for peace. It’s pretty clear he expects to die. First, props to the FX department for the impressive Gate, the dead bodies strewn about the clearing, and the dead Giant making a home for some Nevermores.

Jon gets all the way to Mance’s tent (under heavy and suspicious guard) when Mance agrees to a parlay. Here’s the thing, guys. I like Mance. A lot. He’s honorable, he’s sticking to what he believes, he tough, and he’s fair. Basically he’s a three dollar bill in Westeros. Jon tells him the truth about Quorin and staying loyal to his vows. Well, all but that one.

Speaking of, Ygritte died, not by Jon’s hand, and that death hits Mance in the feels. They drink to her, to the giant Mag the Mighty, who was from one of the oldest bloodlines and the Giant’s king, and to Grenn, who was a farmer. (That was a great line of Jon’s.) And I assume they’re drinking straight up everclear filtered through skunk teats given the face Jon makes.

As they play a subtle game of dominance, there’s a lot of attention being paid to the knives in the room, one to cut meat, one on a table, another in someone’s hand. Mance knows Castle Black gave it all they had last night. And he sent 400 men further north to climb the Wall. They won’t all make it, but they won’t all need to, will they? He wants to be honest with Jon, let Jon know everything so he can make the right decision. Guys? I really like Mance. He has nothing to lose so he has no reason to lie.

“We’re here to hide behind your Wall. Just like you.” Winter is coming, and they both know what that means. Mance doesn’t want to conquer – open the Gate, let them through, or they’ll kill every last one of you mother truckers. This seems like a bad idea, Jon, because those Thenns are not going to be good citizens. They’re not going to join Junior League and keep their lawns mowed. And there are a lot of them.

But knives are drawn—I watched this three times and never saw Jon pull one, just that Mance thinks he will—and Mance wants to know if Jon’s that sort of person. Can he kill a man who just said he wanted peace?

WHO CARES BECAUSE RIDERS COME ALL OF A SUDDEN AND BREAK THIS UP. [Riccola horns] It’s not Jon’s men because he doesn’t have any, so who the hell is it?



IT’S A HUGE ASS BATTALION OF RIDERS in amazing formation (thank you arial shot) coming west along the wall, curving north into the woods, and HOLY SHEEP DUNG, there are more of them flanking from behind and cutting south, what?! They’re armed, they’re in armor, and they’re good. Who the hell do they belong to? Stannis mother-putting-aside-to-bone-Red-Crotch-Mage Baratheon, that’s who.

And Stannis just earned himself a place in my heart with that awesome move. Okay, Maxwell, I get it. Stannis is a gee dee KING. This was pretty awesome. That’s a leader for you, right there.

They kill loads, Mance throws his swords down because he doesn’t want more deaths on his hands, but it’s not like he’s going to bow before Stannis. He’s a Free Man, and they do not bend the knee. AHHH, MANCE!! His “watcha gonna do?” grin as he tells Stannis, “All the same, we do not kneel” makes me want to get into a bar fight or make love to a beautiful woman, I DON’T EVEN KNOW I just have a lot of feelings that I don’t know what to do with.

Now THAT'S a king.

Now THAT’S a king.

Jon watches in awe because he fully expected to die today. Looks like he’s been given a raincheck. Mance and his men are put in chains. Jon tells Stannis who he is. Stannis liked Ned, so he automatically trusts Jon. What would Jon do if he were Ned?

Respect the Mance. Chain him up and burn any bodies. ALL bodies. Okee dokee! (Ooh, especially the giant!! Don’t let that turn into a White Walker/ice zombie/Predefremen*, oh my gosh!)

* for n00bs: in the first episode, the first one we saw had blue eyes of Spice consumption, yet also resembled a Predator, hence, Predefremen. /nerd alert!

[check comments for more talk on why it’s important this all didn’t happen in last week’s episode!]

Down in King’s Landing, Grand Maester Pycelle, Cersei, and Qyburn look over the mangled body of the Mountain. And it appears that The Mountain isn’t quite dead yet?

The Mountain: I’m not dead yet…
Grand Maester Cat Piss: Yes, you are.
Cersei: What was that?
GMCP: Nothing. Here, let’s leave him to be buried.
Mountain: I’m not quite dead! Just mostly.
Cersei: Now see here, he says he’s not dead.
GMCP: Yes, he is.
Qyburn: No, he isn’t.
GMCP: Yes, he is.
Mountain: [faintly] I think I’ll go for a walk now…
Cersei: Is there anything you can do?
Qyburn: Send Cat Piss off and leave me to drain the Mountain of his humors?
Cersei: Seems legit. Off you go, Cat Piss.
GMCP: This is against regulation! [is shoved out]
Mountain: What was that about draining?
Qyburn: [conks Mountain on the head]
Cersei: Oh, cheers for that. I’ll leave you to it, then.
Qyburn: [unnecessarily walks with a limp, dragging his foot behind him as he gathers morbid looking medical supplies]

Gee dee, it, Oberyn. You couldn’t have used a poison that worked a little faster? But anything that gets Cat Piss in a foul mood is awesome by my thinking. Qyburn is skeevy, but you have to admire a morbid doctor with a penchant for unnecessary medical experiments. He tells Cersei that the Mountain will be… changed somewhat, so raise your hand if you think that means a Human Centipede? I mean, sorry, wrong genre, a White Walker? Can you imagine the Mountain as an undead ice zombie!?

Cersei then goes to her dad to say a) she is not marrying Loras Tyrell, b) she is keeping her word about protecting her family, c) her family does not include whatever Tywin has in store, d) Jaime and Tommen are her family, and e) yeah, it’s true: Jaime is her baby daddy. SUCK IT, POPS, YOUR LEGACY IS A LIE. Oh, you doubt she’ll stand up to you, Tywin? Because she was willing to poison her baby to keep him from the wrong hands, what the hell do you think she’ll do to keep him from the likes of Tywin Lannister and Margaery Tyrell? Why, tell the world her son is a bastard incest baby, that’s what. [“How You Like Me Now” plays on 11]

She leaves Tywin biting the inside of his mouth in his ineffectual rage in order to see Jaime. Jaime is looking at the slam book of Kingsguard (“Andy D’elissio, House D’elissio, made out with a hot dog.” “Loras Tyrell, House Tyrell, too gay to function.”). Jaime’s sad that they haven’t said anything about him yet when Cersei sweeps in all smiles, lust and promises to never stop hating Tyrion.

Jaime: You have got to let that go.
Cersei: I’ll let that go when you let me go.
Jaime: That doesn’t make any sense.
Cersei: Your face doesn’t make sense. Let’s screw. Forever.
Jaime: Well, if you insist… [grabs her lustily and proceeds to slow bone on the Kingsguard table]

Aww, these two crazy kids in love… Shame they’re so closely related and will burn in everlasting hellfire. Of love. It’s weird that I’m rooting for the incest couple, right? But I am, you guys. I am. I think it’s the passionate kiss Cersei placed on Jaime’s golden hand. (She totally had that commissioned with Special Features, gimmie a break.)

Daenerys is seeing her citizens again and has an awakening of how much work there is left to do (and how Jorah could have been of help—too bad he’s wandering the wastelands like Caine in Kung-Fu [whistles of loneliness] —or at least she could have set up some some community organizers). An old slave, Fennesz, who had a great life as a teacher wants to be allowed to go back to being a slave. The streets are run by hoodlums. It’s Cabrini Green out in the streets of Meereen, and old folks just tryna make a living aren’t able to because of Young Bucks runnin’ thangs.

She decides that he can sell himself back for a year, then, and he’s okay with that. Barristan isn’t into that plan, because it’s still slavery. But she didn’t think about what happens once the shackles fell, did she? Just a sign of her youth and inexperience, really. Speaking of not seeing things all the way through, a sad, sad man comes with a bundle in his arms. It’s his child, burned alive by her dragons. He’s weeping and devastated, and the fun thing is that no one knows where Drogon (the black dragon) is. And by fun I mean terrifying.

Well, shit. Dany has the town bullies as her kids and what is she gonna do about it?

She leads her babies into the catacombs below the city, and this is some awesome CGI, them walking and flapping downstairs. There is meat waiting for them… and some chains. The chains go off the people and onto her own children. [all my tears] She chains them around the neck while they’re distracted, then walks away, crying as her babies cry out to mama. WELL YOU SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU STARTED EATING THREE YEAR OLDS, BOYS. No supper until you think about what you’ve done.



(Ahhh, her crying and broken hearted as they cry to her and the big stone rolls back into place! Dragons, nooooo!)

Side note: can’t their fire go through that metal? And how pissed are they going to be when they ever get out? Do they need some goblins with clackers to train them? I’m just trying to Big Picture this, because it seems like no one does.

Maester Aemon has a funeral service for the Night’s Watch who died. We see Pyp and Grenn in the pile…and watching are Stannis, Davos, Newt, Crazy Mom and Melisandre as Jon and Samwell light the bodies on fire. There are a lot of bodies and not many Watchmen left. “And now their Watch has ended.” The smell of long-pig is thick in the air.

Melisandre looks in the fire and see the hotness that is Jon Snow. I have no idea what she sees, just that she catches an eyeful of our resident bastard. You better not try to Gendry Jon, Mel. (And where has Gendry been all season? I need some hot, guileless blacksmith, okay?) This makes me think Fire Crotch Mage can see a Big Picture Importance in Jon, which instantly has me worried.

Jon goes to Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër to see how he’s doing. Healed up, angry, and confused, that’s how. He wants to know first how he’s to be killed—Jon doesn’t know, or even if he will be. (OMG, the mutual and grudging respect they have for each other makes me so happy.) But let’s talk about the dead Wildlings and what should be said over their bodies? The Free Men don’t do funerals, btw, because “the dead can’t hear us, boy.” Love that. They’re too straightforward for that nonsense. Plus, they know what happens to people who die—and are clever enough to know that what lives again isn’t what once lived.

I’m thinking Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër saw himself as a sort of father figure (not like the George Michael’s song, it’s important I point that out) to Ygritte and wants to know if Jon actually cared for her. Jon doesn’t say anything, but his ManPain is strong on his stoic face, so we know. We know.

We also know because Jon drags her behind a horse to beyond the gate, builds a funeral pyre for her, and climbs on and dies with her as it’s set alight. WELL, HE SHOULD HAVE DONE SO, HE’S THE DAMN ROMANTIC LEAD NOW. Oh, what’s that? The one-handed sisterfucker is? Oh. Well, good thing you didn’t climb on with her, Jon, seeing as you’re not Dragonborn and wouldn’t have that Daenerys-ending of Season One, and I like you.

Hodor, Bran, Jojen and Sister whose name is too close to too many other names are somewhere North of the Wall as well, and Jojen ain’t looking too good. Looking mighty peaky, actually. But they’re close, he feels it, and remember how they have to go below the Weirwood tree? They found it! Can I just say how cool this image is? The tree and its red leaves look almost like an old drawing of a heart’s circulatory system, which means this thing is the heart of how to heal the world. My two cents.

There’s a wide expanse of open space in front of it and Jojen is lagging behind. Aaaaaaand a skeletal hand busts out of the ice and grabs him. And there are now loads of these ice skeleton warrior thingies busting out everywhere and they were so close! They could see a door under the tree, nooooo!

Bran Wargs into Hodor (m-o-o-n, that spells Hodor!) and starts attacking all the Draugr fighting them. (Seriously. Bethesda writers are total ASOIAF fans, I will never be convinced otherwise), but they’re tough! Jojen gets shower-shivved! Our guys have knives while the Draugr are rocking battleaxes, FFS, and let’s take a moment to slow clap for the AMAZING visual effects here.

GoT Dragur

AHHH!! I did NOT see this coming.

Sister slits Jojen’s throat, Creepy Kid blows him up with a fireball, the Draugr are hot on their heels, Mereen in particular (I’m just saying, couldn’t she be named Janice? Something easy and not quite so similar?), but there’s a magic barrier that prevents the skeletons from entering the secret entrance under the Whomping Willow, shattering them into dust. Awesome

Seriously, that was an awesome fight scene, especially considering how much CGI there was. Erm, except the rather silly shivving. Sorry. I know I’m supposed to be broken up, but it was pretty silly looking.

The kid says “The First Men called us The Children, but we were born long before them.” So they’re like elves, I guess? She leads them to “He [who] waits for you.”

Seriously: look at the intro picture of Arya. There are some similarities happening.

Seriously: look at the intro picture of Arya. There are some similarities happening.

Raise your hand if you got some True Detective season finale feels from that eerie root-strewn underground system of tunnels they all have to walk through? Hodor dumps Bran on the ground, and seriously? He couldn’t take two more steps, so we’re having to watch him crawl on his belly through a pile of bones to some ancient dude? Not cool, Hodor. The ancient dude is the Three Eyed Raven, and this isn’t even his final form! (He’s going to become Harold in Oasis, a village in Fallout!)

He kinda throws shade for them taking their sweet ass time to get there, says Bran will never walk again, but—and it’s a big but. [Oh, my god, Hodor, look at his but. It’s so big! Tchuh. He looks like one of those magic-guys’ ravens.] The big but: Bran will fly.

OKAY. GUYS. THIS IS MY GUESS. I have no idea if this is possible, but this is what I thought: Bran is going to freaking Warg into the DRAGONS and turn the tide of war.

I MEAN CAN YOU IMAGINE?! Don’t tell me if this is actually something in the books. But that would be a pretty sweet way to use Warg on Expert mode, right?!?

Brienne and Podrick wake up to no horses. Oh my god, Podrick is terrible at this squire-thing. Brienne makes him carry the saddlebags as they push on to the Eryie. And ho ho, Brienne spies Arya practicing her water dancing on a hillside as Sandor lays a deuce. Brienne doesn’t recognize her, but chats her up, amused and impressed by the little girl with a sword, talk about their father’s philosophy on girls fighting, and it’s so cute. I want everything to stop here, I want them to fall in sisterhood, I want Brienne to take Arya under her wing and train her up and for everything to be glorious.

Of course, none of that happens. Sandor comes over, Podrick recognizes them, Brienne automatically assumes Terrible Things are happening to this little girl, because as Cersei pointed out, “terrible things happen to little girls every day,” and Brienne is going to save Arya, not just because of duty and honor sworn to Catelyn, but to her personal duty and honor to little girls everywhere. Also, Sandor calls her a dumb bitch, and Brienne just talked about fighting the boys. What do you want to believe they called her a dumb bitch?

GoT Brienne jumps to conclusions

GoT Hounds response

Holy shit, she and the Hound are going to fight, mano a mano, real dueling, and it is HORRIBLE to watch. Fists to the face and gut, close shaves with heavy bastard swords (hand and a half hilts!), Sandor has the upper hand at first, but the tide changes with some sick-sounding punches and blows with their swords. She gets Sandor on his knees, knife at his throat. But here’s her mistake. “I have no wish to kill you, Ser,” she says. She just wants Arya. The Hound grabs the fucking Valyrian steel blade in his hands and squeezes, says “I’m not a knight,” and MEN? CAMERA THREE.

Do you know how many freaking nerve endings are in your hands? You know how important that delicate engineering wonder that is your hand IS? Don’t go grabbing swords barehanded to freak out your opponent, that is STUPID. NOW HOW DO YOU HOLD A WEAPON?

Brienne loses her sword, the Hound grabs her around the head and starts beating her. Brienne cock punches him, he gets some rib kicks in, she bites off the Hound’s ear, gains a rock and proceeds to bash the Hound about the face with it. It’s seriously brutal, this fight, but doesn’t get to Oberyn levels of brutal.

She gets him to fall off the cliff, rolling and bumping and crashing below with several good knocks to his head and a huge gash in his leg. BRIENNE OF TARTH JUST TOOK OUT THE FREAKING HOUND, YOU GUYS. Pack it up, the most awesome fighter has just been revealed.

Aaaaaand Podrick let Arya get away. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PODRICK. In his defense, he was watching Brienne, because she was awesome. Brienne, so good, so honest, so fucking loyal, she wanted to save the child, do ONE THING that could count towards the debt she owes Catelyn Stark (in her mind), not knowing that the Hound… god, he was doing the same thing. He’s tough, talks tough, is tough, but he actually cares about Arya. I don’t mean to say that if it came to his neck or hers that he’d let himself die (wait for it), but he never imagined Brienne could actually fight. (Did anyone notice that they’re the same height? So. Awesome.)

Also, I think Arya ran off right away, got to a hiding place so she could watch. Pick up tips on how lady warriors fight. Arya? You should pick up tips on how lady warriors ARE. Brienne sees a mangled giant of a man and smiles, says, “Seven blessings on you,” and means it. Then she (incorrectly) puts two and two together in order to protect a young girl, and has the skills to back it up. Brienne of Tarth is better than all of us, I’m just saying. PETITION FOR GWENDLYN TO BE PRINCESS DIANA OF THEMYSCIRA, a.k.a. WONDER WOMAN. Oh wait: she already is. [gross sobbing of love]

Brienne and Pod can’t find Arya—she’s got her elven cloak on, hiding on the rocks in plain sight, but blending in seamlessly. Once they’re gone, she gets down to where Sandor is clearly dying a slow, painful death. Sandor tries to goad her into killing him. “You remember where the heart is?”

Yes, she says, not moving. He eventually begs, but she does nothing. “You won’t make it a day out there,” he tells her.

“I’ll last longer than you.” She takes his sack of coins and leaves him there. Arya is officially The Most Grizzled. Also, anyone else notice that she looks like the weird Child who helped Bran? Has to be intentional. I can’t decide if she doesn’t kill Sandor because of a mutual respect thing—he kept her alive and safe, so he no longer needs to be on her list—or because she knows it’s the worst way to kill him: alone, in pain, and by the hand of a woman. Help me out on this one.

I actually feel terrible for Sandor. That’s how you do a redemption arc. And one that leaves the audience aching.

Jaime comes to free his brother under the cloak of night. He has Varys waiting for Tyrion and an escape route, but before Tyrion can leave, he holds out a hand. BROTHERS DON’T SHAKE HANDS. BROTHERS GOTTA HUG! I love that they really do care for each other, I really do. And guys, I need this moment because it’s about to get AWFUL (then it gets awesome. Then awful again). Tyrion escapes, sees how close he is to his father’s chambers, and of course he’s going to go exploring, and hears the worst thing ever. EVER. OH MY GOD. “Tywin…” a sexy, fucked-out voice moans, “My lion?”

It is SHAE and are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? SHE WAS IN CAHOOTS WITH TYWIN ALL ALONG?? Or was she bought after? Is Shae that good of an actress?? If so, she is forever Shitty Shae to me, because oh my GOD this is so painful to see the betrayal on his face. She’s dripping with necklaces and gold and before she can scream out, Tyrion gets a hold of one of the necklaces and chokes her with it. Killed the only woman he ever loved. Edit: Book readers have reminded me that Tyrion mentioned once that he’d been married before. Dear sweet merciful Dog, how can you keep breaking my heart?! (I love it, don’t worry.)

He whispers in the voice of a scared little boy, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” and spies Joffrey’s cumbersome crossbow on the wall. He drags it to the chamber pot where he finds Tywin sitting, dropping a deuce. (And we remember the conversation he had with Jaime about people dying on the shitter. NICE FORESHADOWING. At least the Hound got to pull up his pants.)



Tywin is surprised, but still believes the force of his personality can make Tyrion bend to his will. Yeah, that’s not happening. What, did Tyrion think Tywin would actually let anyone kill Tyrion? He’s a Lannister! Um, yes, actually Tyrion does think that. Also, there’s the whole fucking Shae thing.

Tywin: Doesn’t matter. She’s a whore.
Tyrion: [raises crossbow] SAY THAT AGAIN. /Jules voice from Pulp Fiction.
Tywin: Blah blah, you’re not going to do that. I admire you, I guess, and let’s talk in my chambers.
Tyrion: You’ve hated me since birth. And I won’t go there. She’s there.
Twyin: You afraid of a dead whore?


DON'T CALL HER THAT, DAD. Even if she was. [gross sobbing]

DON’T CALL HER THAT, DAD. Even if she was. [gross sobbing]

Yeah, Tyrion has nothing to live for, and he finally has the upper hand. And about two more bolts that he slowly loads into his father, who begins to die. (It’s a cool weapon. It’s just cumbersome.) Let’s slow clap for the use of Rains of Castamere here, also. (Bear and the Maiden Fair is more of a drinking/rape song, right?) Also, Tywin dying this episode was something I guessed at, but didn’t think would actually happen. TYWIN, YOU WILL BE GETTING AN ODE FROM ME.

Varys loads Tyrion into his Sewed-Mouth-Sorcerer box with promises that it’ll be okay in the end. (Did he know about Shae? DID SHAE LIE FROM THE START?? [still broken hearted over that one]) I do love that Varys did help Tyrion, that he never lied about that. They get him loaded on a ship to points unknown, and as Varys turns to go back to King’s Landing, hears the bells tolling for Tywin. Aaaaand turns back around and gets on the ship because that’s not a good place for him, he suspects. I hope he has gold/money somewhere safe to get.

Arya, on horseback, sees a port ahead. She asks the Captain to take her north, but the guy’s heading home to Braavos.

Maybe this will change his mind… [shows him the coin A Man gave her in Harrenhal] Valar Morghulis.

“Valar Dohaeris,” he says, awestruck. Cut to her on a ship heading north, because somehow that coin means something to this captain, enough to give her a cabin and a lift to The Wall. Edit: some of you think she just gained passage to Braavos, not got the Captain to change his plans for her. I do not know which way to think, because as a non-book reader, I don’t know enough about that Coin and what it signifies to know for certain.

I WANT MORE ABOUT THIS. Is he afraid she’ll ‘name’ him? Is he someone who knows Jo’quin whoziwhatsit A Man?



I will say that the final mat shot of the boat on the open water, headed for a storm was awesome.

I liked it. It wrapped up a lot of storylines, closure on many, setting the stage for the next part of some characters’ arcs, and left me satisfied. If you’re a book reader and you didn’t get something out of the books and you’re unhappy, let me remind you that there is a LOT of story left to tell and there is probably a reason why we didn’t get it.

So now what? The season’s over and we have ten months to pine. What you can expect from me:

  • We can keep talking (spoiler free) here, of course. Sign up for notifications to see when new discussions pop up.
  • I’m regularly posting about different topics on my Home Blog, if you want to see what might be of interest to you
  • and I’ll be returning to recap The Walking Dead this fall.

I’m going to miss our regular weeks here—this season led to some of the best discussions we’ve had on the site, and it made me so happy, I can’t begin to tell you. And I want to thank you all for helping me stay spoiler free, for sharing your thoughts and theories, and especially for sharing your passionate enjoyment of this show. I love you guys. :)