Recap / Game Of Thrones S 4 E 10 The Children
In the fallout of the Battle at Castle Black, Jon Snow marches through the tundra in the bright morning sunlight and into the Haunted Forest
where Mance Rayder and his wildling army have set up camp. As he walks into the settlement, armed tribesmen emerge from the trees. Jon raises his arms in supplication and they bring him to Mance, who steps out of his tent to meet him. He notes that Jon has turned his cloak again. Snow informs him he's here to negotiate and the King Beyond the Wall allows him to step inside. Jon and Mance reminisce about the good times they had when everyone was convinced, even Jon, despite himself, that he had actually broken his vows to the Night's Watch; all due to Ygritte's intense influence. But apparently it wasn't enough to sway Jon's loyalty, who tells Mance of his ultimate role as a double agent. They discuss the first attack from the day before and Jon reveals his love's death, to which Mance has his men pour them a "proper Northern drink"
and they toast her along with the other glorious dead like Mag and Grenn. Mance offers Jon some food and then gets down to business. He knows the Watch threw all they had at the wildling army last night and that they are woefully undermanned. Jon is blunt and to the point: the wildling army must turn back. Mance refutes him stolidly. They need
the Wall to hide from what's out there, they aren't here to conquer and they both know that "winter is coming,
" and it's in everyone's best interests not to allow a hundred thousand men, women and children to become undead slaves of the White Walkers. Mance gives Jon his ultimatum: allow them through the tunnel to settle on the Gift and no one else need die. Refuse, and he will kill every last one of them.
Jon glances at a nearby carving knife embedded in a stump... Rayder cottons on immediately and his generals move to butcher the bastard.
Ah! (Signals for them to stop)
why you're here... I reckon you could do it before any of them could stop ya. They'd kill you of course, they'd kill you slow, but, you knew
that when you came in here. Are you capable of that, Jon Snow? Killing a man in his own tent when he's just offered you peace?
is that what the Night's Watch is? Is that what you are?
Before they find out whether Jon had it in him, they hear horns and bugles and Rayder presses the knife against Jon's throat, asking if this was his plan all along. Jon reminds Mance that he doesn't have the numbers to pull a stunt like this. We see a wide shot of an army of cavalry, carrying banners of a crowned stag within a fiery heart, riding in a pincer movement. Their two-pronged attack routs the Free Folk, with those who can't or won't flee caught in a massacre with Mance's tent at the center. Jon and Mance are lost as the soldiers crisscross through the forest. Mance, in desperation, throws down his sword then tells everyone to stand down as well, saying that his people have bled enough. The mounted knights cease their offensive and through the smoke and mist two familiar shapes canter forth on horseback. It's King Stannis Baratheon
and Ser Davos Seaworth, fresh from Braavos.
Stannis dismounts and eyes Mance, both Kings having quite an epic stare-down
. Davos introduces Stannis as the "one true King of the Seven Kingdoms" but Mance, duly elected King Beyond the Wall, snarks that they are not in the Seven Kingdoms and they're aren't even dressed for this weather
. Stannis notes that a leader should make a physical show of surrender
when parleying with a King and that his behavior will impact the fates of his people. But Mance and indeed the wildlings as a whole kneel to no one. Stannis takes this rebuke in his stride and has most of Mance's men clapped in irons. Jon Snow reveals himself to be Ned Stark's son when Davos asks what a man of the Night's Watch is doing in the enemy's camp, much to Stannis' surprise. Stannis tells Jon that Ned was a honorable man, considering he died for his claim. What would he
have done with Mance? Jon considers this for a second. He tells Stannis that Mance neither executed nor tortured him when he
was the man's prisoner and that Eddard would have taken the wildlings' King hostage and heard him out. Stannis concurs and Davos escorts Mance away.
Jon: Your Grace, if my father had seen the things I'd seen, he'd also tell you to burn the dead before nightfall. All of them.
Cut to a lovely close-up of a hideous, stinking, festering, sizzling
wound. At the Red Keep in King's Landing
, Qyburn and Pycelle are examining the drugged and delirious Gregor Clegane's rather sickly, greenish-purple veined abdomen. Cersei hangs back with a perfumed handkerchief over her nose and mouth to block the stench of Gregor's bodily fluids putrifying in his veins, and she curses the Martells. It seems Oberyn's death was not in vain after all, since his spear was in fact coated with venom from the Death's Head Manticore
, thickened with Qartheen sorcery so as not to kill instantly but instead prolong
the Mountain's suffering. Pycelle regretfully admits that there's no hope of a cure, but Qyburn disagrees, stating that while no maester alive knows how to save him, he
does. Cersei is curious and while Qyburn busies himself with apparatus, Pycelle complains to to his Queen that such arrogance was the reason why the maesters of the Citadel threw Qyburn out to begin with. Cersei, however, is enthralled and dismisses the Grand Maester from his own laboratory. Pycelle leaves in disgust while Qyburn attaches a medieval IV into Clegane's arm and uses an equally crude syringe the size of a basket-ball pump to withdrew and drain his corrupted blood into a glass round-bottom flask.
Cersei: You can save him?
Cersei: Do everything you can. Come to me for anything you need.
Thank you, your Grace. You should know, the process may, change him.
Cersei: Will it weaken him?
Cersei: Very well, then.
In the chambers of the Hand of the King, Cersei and Tywin discuss her upcoming marriage to Loras which she tells him point blank is never going to happen. Tywin retorts that she'll do it because, basically, he always gets his way. He even flatters
her, reminding her that the future of the Lannister legacy now depends entirely on her and she's very important. When that doesn't fly, he goes for an anecdote about Cersei being stubborn in her childhood and Tywin setting her straight. Cersei cuts him off
and confirms to him what he refuses to believe: she and Jaime are indeed in a relationship and he is the father of her children. Having dropped this bombshell on him, Cersei strides off while Tywin can only stand in stupefied silence.
Cersei then interrupts Jaime flipping through the Book of Brothers. Jaime angrily tells her that she's won, Tyrion's head is going to roll. Is there really nothing she wouldn't do? For her family, she replies, no. But Tyrion is
her family, Jaime retorts. Cersei denies this, saying that we choose
our family and Tyrion was relegated to hated enemy as soon as he was born. Jaime objects that Tyrion had no control over killing their mother. "A disease doesn't decide
to kill you. All the same you cut it out before it does." The Kingslayer has had enough, he can't choose her, she abandoned h - "I choose you."
Cersei makes his mind up for him. "Those are words," Jaime groans. "Like the words I said to father?" She's admitted their incestual coupling to Tywin. While at first a little hesitant, Jaime eventually relents to her advances when Cersei accepts his mutilation and kisses his golden hand; they begin a tryst on what must surely be a very uncomfortable table
, Daenerys faces yet another challenge in her overthrow and adaption of the city's existing culture; an elderly former tutor, named Fennesz, wants to return to his previous life of servitude, but also relative comfort and respect. Though Dany has had communal shelters and mess halls built for those who lost their homes, many of the older patrons there are routinely attacked by the younger freedmen. Fennesz says he had a purpose as a teacher and feels lost and displaced in the new world she has built, mentioning there are many elders who desire the same thing. Dany tries to convince him otherwise, but hopeful dreams can't fill men's stomachs and she rather pitiably mourns that:
Daenerys: I did not take this city to preside over the injustice I fought to destroy. I took it to bring people freedom.
But her voice betrays doubt. She attempts to mitigate her policies and allows Fennesz to abide by his own choices and return to indentured-service for a period no longer than a year, much to his gratitude. Ser Barristan warns her that the Good Masters will take advantage of her benevolence
and may eventually reinstate slavery in all but name.
Things then take an even sharper downturn; a peasant carries a bundle into the throne room, sobbing and proclaiming that he doesn't understand what he has done to offend his Queen. He stutters that "I have brought you... He came from the sky... The black one... The winged shadow... He came from the sky and... My girl, my little girl..."
The bunch of blankets are pulled back to reveal the charred bones of his three-year-old daughter
. Dany's empathy overwhelms her
. She tries to take responsibility for Drogon's actions but Grey Worm informs her that he soars where he pleases. Powerless to stop her most violent child, she deals instead with the two that are still within her power. Daenerys lures her other two dragons, Rhaegal and Viserion, into the catacombs beneath the Great Pyramid with the smell of two fresh animal carcasses. Dany accompanies them to reveal two massive chains bolted securely to the floor
. In tears, she manacles them both at the neck with the huge shackles as they tuck in happily and tries to leave without a word, but not before they realize what's happening and cry out for their mother
; weeping openly now, Dany has her men seal them in the dark tomb as they try to follow, but they can only scream and struggle against their bonds.
We return briefly to Castle Black
, where Aemon Targaryen gives a eulogy for those who died defending those who will never even know their names. Several pyres are lit by Jon, Sam and Dolorous Edd, burning the corpses of their fallen Night's Watch brothers. As Team Stannis look on, silent, Melisandre stares meaningfully through the flames at Jon, who stares back.
Jon then visits a bound and bandaged Tormund Giantsbane; the latter wonders why the former had their wounds treated and put them in captivity rather than finishing the job. Jon says they'll burn the dead wildlings before working out what to do with the living. Tormund spits on funeral words and asks if Jon loved Ygritte and reveals that she loved him without end. He all but orders him to give her a proper funeral. "She belongs in the North. The real
North, do you understand me?" To that end, Jon takes her body beyond the wall, to the base of the Heart Tree where he said his vows; he builds her a pyre and sets it alight, at last being brought to mourning
.North of the Wall
, Team Bran have finally reached the weirwood Bran saw in his vision back in "The Lion and the Rose". As they make their way towards it, mummified wights, so old they are now almost animated skeletons, burst forth from the icy ground of the clearing and try to slay them. Meera, Warg!Hodor and Summer put up a stiff resistance but during the fight Jojen is stabbed repeatedly by one of the headless corpses his sister thought she had dispatched. They are about to be overrun and Bran's body cut to pieces when a bolt of light sends one of the lichs up in an exploding fireball, scattering the rest. The group turn to see what looks like a little girl at the cave entrance near the base of the weirwood. She knows who Bran is and tells them all to get inside before the wights regroup. After being urged by Jojen to go without him, Meera ends his suffering
and follows Bran, carried by Hodor, inside. As they leave, the mysterious waif stops the wights from reanimating Jojen's body with more of her magic and destroys another before following the group under the tree.
Within the cave, the powers that move the wights are ineffective, and three of the wights fly apart trying to pursue the party. Bran wonders who their rescuer is and she replies that she is one of the Children
of the Forest, a member of a fey race
that fought the First Men millennia ago and originally ruled the whole of Westeros. Team Bran move inward, reaching part of the cave covered in old vines and snaking rhizomes. A wizened old man is seated inside
and part of the nexus of winding roots: the Three-Eyed Raven. He welcomes Bran, and says Jojen knew of his fate even before he left with them. Bran asks if the old man can make him walk again. "You will never walk again," he tells him, "but you will fly."
Near the Bloody Gate
, Brienne wakes Podrick; their horses are missing, and it was his job last night to secure them. Pod swears he hitched them the way Brienne showed him, and maybe thieves took them, but she ain't buying it. After ordering him to carry the saddlebags the remaining distance to the Eyrie, Brienne catches sight of Arya doing her morning water dance routine a short distance off. The two ladies talk for a bit, highlighting their similarities growing up
, before the Hound arrives after conducting his morning dump. Pod recognizes him immediately and Brienne realizes who his ward is in turn. She tries to convince Arya she's here on her mother's orders, but Arya doubts it; her mother's dead. Brienne insists she swore a vow to get Lady Catelyn's daughters to safety but Sandor mocks the very concept and identifies the hilt of Oathkeeper as being of an alloy of Lannister gold; the lion-head shaped pommel doesn't help matters. Arya withdraws when Brienne admits association with Jaime Lannister and the Hound bares steel. Brienne draws her sword fully in turn.
They face off, with Brienne conducting the fight out of the pass and onto a rocky plateau. Sandor is slow from his infected shoulder but still manages to stagger her with his greater strength before drawing her in and knocking her down the hill. Brienne comes up in a roll and though the Hound bludgeons and kicks at her, she gives as good as she gets with a left hook of her own before her superior technique takes charge and she gets the measure of the younger Clegane's fighting style. With power and finesse, she drives Sandor back until the terrain disadvantages his stance and she disarms the Dog to hold him at sword-point.
Brienne: I have no wish to kill you, Ser.
Sandor's berserk button
is well and truly pressed and he grabs the length of Valyrian Steel with his bare hands
, squeezing the ever-sharp edges until blood trickles through his fingers and his grip is assured.
Sandor: I'm not a knight.
He sucker-punches Brienne in the noggin with colossal force, bringing her down and knocking away her sword. Sandor seizes her by the hair and tries to snap her neck, but she punches him in the gonads in retaliation and they go to the ground together, Sandor throws her aside, regains his feet and as she crawls for Oathkeeper, he runs and boots
her between the fork of her legs, causing her to wail in agony. Sandor subjects her to a another kick, this time to the face, pins, twin slugs and nuts her
before drawing his dirk to drive into her throat.
manages to divert his strike in time, reverses their positions, then bites into and tears most of Clegane's right ear clean off.
Sandor writhes in the dirt half mad with torment and fury and when Brienne spits the chunk of his own flesh at him, he comes at her with his dagger again. Brienne pounds him around the ears with a hefty stone pulled from the earth and tries to tackle him to the surface once more but Clegane bear hugs her, then drops his blade to beat her to a pulp. Incredibly, the Maid of Tarth gets a remarkable resurgence
after the second pummeling she endures and uppercuts
the Hound under the chin before wailing on his ass until the knuckles of her right hand are smashed, split and bleeding, shrieking all the while
. Sandor stumbles back, barely conscious, and falls over the ravine's edge for about twenty feet, crashing down the sheer slope all the way to the gully below while Brienne collapses atop the cliff with battle fatigue, floundering in adrenaline. Soon enough, she remembers the whole point of the arduous fight: where is Arya? She screams out for her as she and Pod blindly search the hillsides.
Arya, it turns out, hid among some boulders high up above. She comes down and finds the Hound bleeding profusely, his armour torn away, left shoulder skinned raw from the friction of his fall and tumble down the steppes, coughing up blood from mashed innards, face puffed up with bruises and his femur poking through
his right thigh.
Sandor: You still here? *Coughs* ... Big bitch saved you.
Arya: I don't need saving.
Sandor: (affectionately) No, not you. You're a real killer. With your water dancing, and your Needle.
He confirms to her that between his leg and the rest of his wounds, he's a complete goner. Unless, perchance, there's a maester hiding behind that rock
. He laughs weakly at the irony of being killed by a woman
and reflects that Arya must like that.
Sandor: Go on. Go after her. She'll help you.
Arya: (shakes her head)
Sandor: Going it alone? You won't last a day out there.
Arya: I'll last longer than you.
Joffrey's former bodyguard realizes his time is up and gamely readies himself for her revenge. He showed her how to kill a man cleanly after all. But Arya hesitates. Naked fear in his eyes, the Hound tries to goad her into finishing him by bringing up Mycah's unjust execution. How the ginger butcher's boy begged, how he pleaded. When Arya remains as impassive as ever he amps it up by wishing he'd raped Sansa before fleeing the Battle of Blackwater, claiming it would have been his only happy memory.
He's reduced to begging the girl to put an end to him. Arya goes by his lessons, mutely takes the bag of silver he stole from the farmer off him and then leaves him to die alone by the roadside. Sandor yells after her, adjuring her for the gift of mercy. Arya doesn't even break her stride.
Back in King's Landing
, Tyrion, awaiting execution in the Black Cells, receives an unexpected visitor: Jaime, who has killed the guards and swiftly breaks him out to put him on a path toward Varys, his co-conspirator. They've arranged for a ship to take Tyrion away to the Free Cities. After a bittersweet but loving goodbye between the two brothers, Tyrion changes paths and makes for a different destination.
He enters the Tower of the Hand through a secret trapdoor and walks into his father's bedroom. As he nears the fourposter he sees a woman underneath the covers. She stirs and mutters: "Tywin... My lion..."
She looks up from where she lies: it's Shae, still wearing the golden chain necklace Tyrion gave her last season. After a second's indecision Shae reaches for a cutting utensil on her plate of grapes and cheese, evidently prepared to kill him while Tyrion runs to stop her. He grapples with his former lover, managing to get her to relinquish the knife. Shae then tries to claw Tyrion's eyes out, scratching him on the cheeks, jaw and chest with her long nails but Tyrion gets the upper hand by snagging Shae by the chains around her neck and trying to throttle her into submission. She makes the fatal mistake of slapping him so hard he's sent clean off the mattress, pulling her with him. He sobs and cries as he garrotes her to death, then, lying beside her still form, he can only utter tearfully, "I'm sorry... I'm sorry."
Tyrion spies the instrument of his liberation among the mounted weapons on the wall. He takes down Joffrey's toy
crossbow and loads one quarrel, stalking down the corridor to the wash closet and dragging the lever with him. He cautiously nudges the door open with the bolt thrower, to find his father sitting on the lavatory, taking a number two.
Tywin: Tyrion. Put down the crossbow. Who released you? ... Ah, your brother, I expect. He always had a soft spot for you. No matter. We'll go talk in my chambers.
Tyrion: (levels the crossbow, stopping his father cold)
Tywin: Is this how you want to speak to me, hm? Shaming your father has always given you pleasure.
Tyrion: All my life. You've wanted me dead.
Tywin: ... It doesn't matter.
Tyrion: Doesn't, matter?
Tyrion: I am your son. And you sentenced me to die. You knew I didn't poison Joffrey - but you sentenced me all the same. Why?
Tywin: Enough. We'll go back to my chambers and speak with some dignity.
Tyrion: I can't go back there. She's in there.
What, are you afraid of a dead whore?
Tyrion shoots his father in the bowels, just as promised. Tywin is slammed back against the wall, unable to believe that his youngest child has mortally wounded him. Tyrion calmly and slowly recharges the crossbow.
Tyrion: I am your son. I have always been your son.
He finishes the deed with a second bolt to his sire's heart. So passes Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Shield of Lannisport, and Hand of the King to Aerys II Targaryen and Joffrey Baratheon. Tyrion leaves in a haze, dropping the weapon as he goes.
Varys opens the secret door and takes Tyrion aside, noting the state he's in and asking with some horror what he's done. He puts the dwarf in a box, asking him to trust him as he's led him this far. The crate is put on a ship sailing out of King's Landing. The spymaster moves to return to the Keep, but stops as the bells toll for Tywin's death. Varys gives the blood red castle one last lingering look then turns around and seats himself next to Tyrion.
We conclude Season Four at a harbor in the Saltpans
. Accompanied by a Triumphant Reprise
of the Stark theme mixed with the main, Arya rides over the meadows on her white steed she acquired in the season premiere and asks to see the captain of the docked ship. "You're seeing him,"
the foreign sailor says, paying little attention to her as she asks to be taken north to the Wall. The captain refuses, saying there's nothing there but ice and war and pirates. And he is sailing home anyway, to the Free City of Braavos. Arya remembers what Jaqen H'ghar told her to do two seasons ago and produces her iron coin. The very sight of it causes the captain's demeanor to change. His questions are silenced when Arya speaks the two words the Faceless assassin taught her to say to any man from Braavos upon showing him that same coin: Valar Morghulis.
. Of course, you shall have a cabin," the captain says solemnly, after having looked at Arya and the coin with a minor Oh Crap!
look on his face. The episode comes to a close with Arya aboard the ship, looking over the land of her birth one last time before running to the prow and fixing her sights to the east and Braavos.
- Absentee Actor: Alliser Thorne doesn't show up in the episode, either alive or in the funeral pyre; as he's still alive in Season 5, it's likely he was recovering from his injuries.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Relatively speaking. In the books, the Three-Eyed Raven, a.k.a. Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers, is an albino with one red eye and one wide-open eye socket, pierced through with the Weirwood roots that keep him alive; here he's an old but otherwise unremarkable Wizard Classic who seems to live in a tree trunk.
- Adaptational Badass:
- The Child of the Forest, presumably Leaf, can shoot fireballs, something never seen in the books.
- Brienne defeats Sandor in both the swordfighting and brawling portion of their duel. In the books, they never fight, and no one ever defeats Sandor (who instead dies of an infection after fighting some mooks).
- Adaptation Distillation:
- In the books, Brienne's quest is a great deal longer and she never gets anywhere close to finding Sansa or Arya. Here, she gets put in the right direction fairly quickly. This is likely an intentional choice on the writers' part, since in the book large portions of her journey turn out to be fruitless and don't serve to advance the plot much. Showing all of it just for the sake of some extra character development for her and Pod would be a waste of screentime.
- In the books, Melisandre takes an active role in the battle beyond the wall and Stannis has a third column that gets battered by the giants and their mammoths. The knights here don't chant "Stannis! Stannis! STANNIS!" during the charge.
- Adaptation Expansion:
- In the books Varys simply disappears after helping Jaime to get Tyrion out of prison, and it's left unclear where he goes; whether he went to Essos or whether he was just hiding in King's Landing. In the show - likely because they needed a reason to keep Conleth Hill on screen - he escapes alongside Tyrion.
- The duel between Brienne and the Hound isn't in the books.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- In the book, Jaime has to hold Varys at knifepoint to convince him to free Tyrion. With no mention of that incident, it seems more like Varys genuinely wants to save the man whose great potential and competence he recognized some time ago.
- In the books, Tyrion murders Shae in vengeance for her betrayal. In the show, she attacks him and he kills her in self defense. To boot, he seems to feel more guilty about it than in the books.
- Adaptational Modesty: In the book, Shae is only wearing a golden necklace when Tyrion finds her in Tywin's bedchamber. In the show, she's wearing a nightgown.
- Adaptational Wimp: Daenerys in the episode is able to chain up Viserion and Rhaegal with little resistance. In the books, the chaining of the dragons is a far longer and more difficult process. Viserion was the first dragon to be chained; he was allowed to gorge himself on meat until he became drowsy and lethargic, and was chained up while he slept. Rhaegal was second and more of a challenge; because he could hear Viserion struggling to break free of his chains, he would not come willingly, and in the end, Rhaegal was trapped in a net while he basked in the morning sun and dragged into captivity, a process that took three days and left six men injured. Drogon, however, chose to fight rather than submit; three unsuccessful attempts were made to capture him, in which four men died, after which Drogon fled north in the direction of the Dothraki Sea.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books, Shae tries to apologize and cries while she tells Tyrion that the Queen made her lie in the trial, but she ends up saying the wrong thing and Tyrion kills her. In the series she goes straight to the knife in an attempt to kill Tyrion, without any kind of conversation.
- Adapted Out:
- The Patricide is incredibly different. When freeing Tyrion, Jaime confesses that Tysha, the prostitute that he claimed to have hired to fake a Rescue Romance for Tyrion, was no such thing, but rather exactly what she said she was: a crofter's daughter who really did love him. When Lord Tywin found out, he ordered Jaime to lie, deeming the girl nothing but a Gold Digger. Tyrion brings this up when he confronts Tywin, and it's Tysha that Tywin refers to as a whore one too many times. This also has the added side effect of completely changing the brothers' parting words: in the books, Tyrion, headlong over the Despair Event Horizon, lies to Jaime that he did indeed kill Joffrey, hurting the one person who still loves him simply because he himself is in too much pain to be civil. He regrets it almost immediately, but it's clear the damage is done. ...Maybe it's just as well they cut this out.
- Dalla; Mance's wife, who is seen in the books giving birth to a son before dying, just flat-out doesn't exist on the show.
- In the books, Mance shows Jon a large and impressive horn and claims it's the legendary Horn of Joramun, which will cause the wall to collapse when it's blown, and threatens to use it in three days if his people aren't allowed through the wall. Jon is trying to decide whether to try to smash the horn when Stannis's attack arrives, not whether to try to kill Mance. In the show, the horn and the legend are never mentioned, and Mance simply threatens to kill all the Night's Watch if they don't let him through. Incidentally
- In the books, it is not Cersei who orders Gregor healed but Tywin, and it is only to get Gregor back to health enough so Ilyn Payne can execute him (given that Gregor roared his guilt in the murders of Elia and her children for everyone to hear during the trial by combat, Tywin fears that if he isn't seen to exact justice, a combination of that and Oberyn's death might be sufficient to tip Dorne and House Martell into backing Stannis).
- In the books, the girl Drogon devoured was called Hazzea, not Zalla.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: He's not happy about it, but the Hound does beg to be killed.
- All for Nothing:
- Cersei likely has to endure the knowledge that she risked her daughter's safety at the hands of the Martells, just so that she could have the chance to see Tyrion executed. When he escapes, not only does she lose the chance to do so, but she'll have to live with the fact that she will probably never see Myrcella again.
- On a larger scale, all of Tywin's plans to secure a Lannister legacy at the Iron Throne may be for naught, with Cersei threatening to reveal the truth about the king's incestuous lineage. Also, with his death, the Lannisters have a tenuous hold on the government, with the kingdom ruled by a child (Tommen), a bootlicker (Pycelle), and a sadist (Cersei), while their chief rivals the Tyrells are growing stronger every day.
- Both Brienne and Sandor end up badly injured after their vicious brawl over Arya, only for her to disappear and end up in no-one's custody.
- All There in the Manual: In the books, the Braavosi Captain is named Ternesio Terys.
- Ambiguous Situation:
- The Hound is left for dead by Arya, but we don't know whether he is dead or not by the end. The same thing goes for Alliser Thorne, who whilst being wounded last episode, is not seen here.
- On a meta-narrative level, the removal of Jaime confession re: Tysha has book fans wondering if it's just been moved to later on, or if she actually was just a prostitute in the show's continuity.
- Anti-Villain: Mance only wants to make sure his people can hide behind the Wall when the White Walkers show up, he does not care for fighting the Night's Watch or the Seven Kingdoms. Furthermore, he shares drinks with Jon not only for the deaths of his men, but also for the deaths of the men of the Night's Watch.
- Apologetic Attacker: After strangling Shae to death, a heartbroken Tyrion can only say "I'm sorry" for how he's screwed up everything.
- Awful Truth: Tywin Lannister is faced with this when Cersei taunts him about those supposed rumours they've been spreading about her children:
"Your legacy is a lie!"
- Badass Creed: Mance gives one for the wildlings. "We do not kneel."
- Bare-Handed Blade Block: Particularly impressive since it's Valyrian steel the Hound grabs.
- Berserk Button: Even though Shae is factually a whore, hearing Tywin call her that seriously enrages Tyrion. From the Books
- Big Brother Instinct: Jaime saves Tyrion.
- An example of Big Sister Instinct occurs when Meera tries to keep Jojen out of the fight with the ancient wights by pushing him onto the ground, but unfortunately this leaves him helpless on the ground to be killed by another wight.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Things are looking grim for the Night's Watch and Jon is about to be killed, then Stannis shows up out of nowhere and routs the Wildling army.
- The little girl who calls herself one of "The Children" arrives just in time to save most of Team Bran from the wight attack. With fire-bombs, no less!
- Jaime shows up in the dead of night to whisk his little brother away on a ship to safety the day before his execution.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Lannisters are at the height/depths of their decadence this episode. A mix of hypocrisy, contradictory destructive impulses and divided loyalties.
- Cersei boasts to her father about her incestuous relationship and rubs his blindness in his face.
- Tywin takes his son's whore to his bed (after threatening to hang the next whore he found in Tyrion's bed).
- Even Jaime gets easily seduced by his sister back into a relationship that he rationally knows is over but is too horny to accept otherwise. He still goes ahead to rescue his brother behind her back parting with him on good terms, good terms that are sure to be soured when said brother decides to commit patricide.
- Tywin first appears in Season Four as the "Rains of Castamere" is being played in the background. The song plays again as he dies.
- Additionally, in the Season Two finale, his horse took a dump right before he rode into the throne room after the victory at the Blackwater, which was one of the highlights of his career. Exactly two seasons later he dies while taking a shit.
- Seasons Three and Four, the adaptation of A Storm Of Swords, share one as well. Season Three started out with Daenerys at sea, and Season Four ends with Arya setting out on the ocean for Braavos.
- As in the first episode of the season, Tyrion walks into a room and finds Shae on the bed, saying "My lion".
- Both Sides Have a Point:
- Mance and the Wildlings just want the safety of the Wall when the White Walkers come and contend that they are only fighting the Night's Watch because they won't let them through and will kill any wildlings on sight. The Night's Watch isn't mistrustful without reason, as the wildlings were willing to launch a Rape, Pillage, and Burn campaign to try to draw the Watch outside Castle Black and have no guarantee beside Mance's words that they won't do the same to the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. Even with Mance being an honorable man himself, there's still 100,000 Wildlings to control, many who have their own prejudices against the people of the South.
- Mance himself accepts this viewpoint and Jon Snow agrees implicitly since the only terms he's allow to give Mance by his duties are absolutely ridiculous: go back to their homes and become zombies on the side of the White Walkers, which will give the Night's Watch an even more impossible battle.
- Broken Pedestal: Arya obviously sees Brienne as the embodiment of her dream of actually being a lady and warrior and is amazed that she was allowed to be a warrior by her father, which Ned was still reluctant to allow. This turns sour when The Hound forces her to reveal that she's carrying a sword with Lannister furnishings, and she's being sent by Jaime Lannister after initially swearing to protect her mother, which she obviously was not able to do.
- Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Tormund tells Jon to give Ygritte a proper burial in the "real North" - which Jon honors, by burning her body in the forest beyond the Wall, beneath a weirwood tree.
- Butt Monkey: Maester Pycelle gets expelled from his own laboratory by Cersei after he declares Gregor Clegane is lost, but Qyburn disagrees.
- Call Back: Several.
- It turns out (surprise, surprise) the Mountain was both wounded and poisoned by Oberyn Martell. Two episodes back, the Hound had stated steel was a man's weapon and poison a woman's one. Oberyn was quite open about his bisexuality, so it's unsurprising he used both methods.
- The Hound mentions murdering Mycah all the way back from season 1 in an attempt to piss off Arya enough for her to kill him. It does piss her off, but doesn't produce the desired result. He also mentions the Battle of the Blackwater and how he should have raped Sansa, again to piss off Arya, to the same effect.
- Speaking of the Blackwater, when Sandor decided to abandon that battle, he demanded a drink, saying "Fuck the water, bring me wine." Here, he mentions how much he wants some wine, and when Arya tries to offer her water skin to him, he repeats, "Fuck the water."
- Tyrion had studied King's Landing's tunnels with Varys back in Season Two, so it's not surprising how he knows his way around. He even gives the trap-door a Meaningful Look.
- Arya takes from Sandor the bag of silver he had robbed the peasant of in the first place.
- Arya uses the coin given to her by Jaqen H'ghar to gain passage on a ship out of Westeros.
- During her fight with Sandor, Brienne first beats him down with her sword using the same method she used to defeat Jaime in Season Three (giving ground, fighting defensively, and lashing out with punches and kicks at any opportunity to wear her opponent down before disarming him), only for Sandor to disarm her and engage in a vicious brawl... which she also wins using the same method she used to defeat Loras in Season Two (tackling him, using her weight to put him off balance, and weathering his multiple blows) though in both cases it was a much more brutal fight.
- In their very first meeting in "Baelor", Tyrion requested that Shae take no other man as long as they're together in return for his company and safety. Once Tyrion's trial ended, all bets were off as she winds up in Tywin's bed...and dead.
- Sandor ends up repeatedly screaming "Kill me!" at Arya, so very much like Theon requesting Ramsay the same exactly one season ago.
- Shae uses Tyrion's Affectionate Nickname "my lion"... for Tywin.
- Two episodes ago, Baelish told Robin "People die at their dinner tables, they die in their beds, they die...squatting over their chamber pots, everybody dies sooner or later." No dinner table, but the other 2 were pretty close to the mark.
- Though the dinner table could have been a reference to the previous episode, where the Nights Watch cooks kill several wildlings in the mess hall.
- The dinner table could also have been a Call Back to the Red Wedding.
- At the start of Season Three, Tywin tells Tyrion "The next whore I find in your bed, I'll hang." Tyrion now finds the very whore in question in Tywin's bed, and strangles her with the gold necklace he gave her, twisting it so it looks like a noose.
- Tormund dismisses saying his goodbyes to the fallen in the same words Robb Stark used to dismiss songs about the heroic dead in Season One, "The dead won't hear them".
- Back in Season 3 when Varys is showing Tyrion the captured sorcerer whom castrated the former, Varys urges Tyrion to be patient because his revenge will come to him in time. In the same scene the sorcerer was shipped to him in a crate; Varys uses the same method to smuggle Tyrion out of the harbour.
- Tyrion and Shae confirm what Oberyn said two episodes ago: Size doesn't matter when you're flat on your back.
- Jon Snow pointedly reminds Stannis that his father died to make him king, referring to how Ned Stark declared Stannis Baratheon the king instead of more pragmatic yet dishonorable options like supporting the Lannisters or Renly, a policy that cost Ned his head.
- In "Blackwater" Varys talks of how he always hates the bells as they always ring for horror, like the death of a king. Varys hears the bells and instantly realises their implication.
- Came Back Wrong: Qyburn warns Cersei that if even if his... experiments succeed in saving Gregor Clegane, he will likely be a much different man (implying this trope). Cersei doesn't care, as long as he's still strong.
- Barely averted with Jojen; we see his dead eyes turning blue, just before his body is roasted by a fireball to prevent him becoming a wight.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Both Cersei and Tyrion do this, and for once Tywin comes off the loser.
- The Can Kicked Him: Tywin gets shot while sitting on the privy.
- Captain Obvious: A surprised Tywin feels the need to point out that Tyrion has shot him From the books:
- Tyrion too when Jaime makes his unexpected visit in the middle of the night.
Tyrion: What are you doing?
Jaime: What do you think I'm doing?
- The Cavalry: King Stannis' surprise attack consists of two divisions of cavalry, who quickly dominate the Wildling's main camp.
- Chance Meeting Between Antagonists: Brienne and the Hound.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Shae is wearing the necklace that Tyrion bought her earlier last Season. He strangles her with it here.
- Tyrion uses Joffrey's personal crossbow from the third season to kill Tywin. Indeed, he uses it in nearly the same context as the Trope Maker, he takes down a crossbow placed on a wall to kill his father.
- The iron coin Jaqen gave to Arya in the Season 2 finale not only gives her passage to Braavos but also instant respect from the ship's captain.
- The Champion: Averted; Arya rejects the possibility of hooking up with Brienne and sets off on her own.
- Combat Breakdown: The fight between Brienne and the Hound quickly devolves from a toe-to-toe swordfight to a fierce struggle, with each party desperate to gain the upper hand. Brienne repeatedly beats Clegane with a rock, and neither opponent is above striking the other in the groin. Not to mention Brienne biting Clegane's ear off.
- Combat Pragmatist:
- Brienne and the Hound use every dirty trick in the book as their fight drags on and becomes a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on both ends.
- Retroactively, Oberyn Martell certainly wasn't a fair fighter either. He tips his spears in a particularly nasty venom to ensure that whether he wins the duel or not, the Mountain dies horribly.
- Condescending Compassion: Throughout his final scene, Tywin appears to be feeling a mixture of pity and disappointment towards his youngest son—both strange and infuriating when you consider that he is the main reason Tyrion is so flawed to begin with. Best seen when Tyrion admits to being in love with Shae—his father's response is to sigh and say "Oh, Tyrion..." before assuring him that it doesn't really matter that she's dead.
- Cool Ship: The Braavosi ship that Arya sails off has an awesome figurehead.From the Books
- Cruel Mercy: Arya refuses to finish off a dying Sandor, leaving him bleeding out with a broken leg in the wilderness.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Stannis' cavalry easily dominates the brawl. Unusually for the series, we only get to see two casualties on their side.
- Dark Reprise: The first notes of the Rains of Castamere play forlornly immediately after Tyrion kills Tywin, symbolising just how royally fucked Tywin's precious legacy and the Lannister regime is now.
- Dark Secret: Cersei threatens Tywin to reveal her incestuous relationship... and it turns out he had no idea about it, or as Cersei states, was deeply in denial.
- The Dead Have Names: Mance and Jon have a toast to honor the dead: first to Ygritte then to Mag the Mighty and Grenn.
- Death by Adaptation: Jojen dies after being attacked by Wights, put out of his misery via a Mercy Kill from Meera. In the books he survives long enough to meet the Three-Eyed Raven.
- Death by Irony: Tywin Lannister ruled King's Landing from behind the Iron Throne, and gets killed while sitting on a different iron throne.
- Declaration of Protection: This exchange:
The Hound: "Safety? Where the fuck's that? Her aunt in the Eyrie is dead. Her mother's dead. Her father's dead. Her brother's dead. Winterfell is a pile of rubble. There is no safety, you dumb bitch. You don't know that by now, you're the wrong one to watch over her."
Brienne: "And that's what you're doing? Watching over her?"
The Hound: "Aye, that's what I'm doing."
- Defiant to the End: Instead of pleading for his life or making some attempt to save himself, Tywin just seethes "You are no son of mine" after the first crossbow bolt pierces his chest.
- Dem Bones: Wights so old there's no flesh on them attack Bran's party. Although still invulnerable to stabbing, they prove much easier to put down.
- Disney Villain Death: Brienne doesn't bother to see what happened to the Hound after he's sent over the cliff. Either Brienne thought that the fall would be enough to finish him or she knew that his wounds wouldn't let him get up again and she instead focused on finding Arya.
- Do Wrong, Right: Lord Selwyn Tarth doesn't approve of Brienne fighting, but decided to have Brienne trained anyway, reasoning that if she's going to fight, she might as well do it right.
- The Dog Bites Back: After being abused for his entire life, barely acknowledged as his own son, Tyrion Lannister kills his father, Tywin, on the privy.
- Double Meaning Title: "The Children" not only pertains to the Children of the Forest that Bran encounters, but of those which the episode focused upon as a whole. The separate quests of Ned Stark's children (Jon, Bran, Arya,) all ended up in bittersweet new beginnings; Dany was forced to put her dragons in chains; each of the Lannister children fought back against Tywin, culminating in his death at the hands of Tyrion.
- Dramatic Irony: After two and a half Seasons of warning Shae that there are dangerous people who will hurt her in King's Landing, it is Tyrion who ends up killing her. Tyrion's words in Season Two are especially haunting:
- In "Valar Dohaeris", Tywin threatened to hang the next whore caught in Tyrion's bed. While not a lynching, Tyrion choked the next whore caught in Tywin's bed—the very same person.
- Tywin, patriarch of the powerful Lannister clan and ruler of King's Landing in all but name, is killed in the most embarrassing location possible.
- Jaime gave Oathkeeper to Brienne because he felt that it would be appropriate for Ned Stark's daughter to be protected by Ned Stark's Reforged Blade. Its Lannister-styled hilt makes Sandor interpret its intended symbolism the opposite way, and turn on Brienne.
- Drop Dead Gorgeous: Ygritte on the pyre and Shae after Tyrion strangles her.
- Due to the Dead:
- The Night's Watch have a funeral for their fallen comrades. Later, Jon Snow has his own personal funeral for Ygritte. One guess as to which makes him weep the most.
- Mance and Jon share toasts in honor of the deaths of Ygritte, and more notably, both Grenn and Mag the Mighty; despite them being on opposite sides of the Battle for Castle Black.
- Dungeon Bypass: Mance claims that having seen how meagre and concentrated the Night Watch's defenses are; he thus set just a few hundred climbers a little way down to wall to walk down, and avoid those defenses entirely.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Missing the bigger picture, Tywin can hardly fathom that Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion are successfully rebelling against the head of house Lannister. His line "You shot me" even shares the feeling of disbelief ("why, this is violence"); that Julius Caesar expressed during his own assassination.
- Likewise Tyrion with Shae.
- Even Evil Has Standards: For all his lecherousness and brown-nosing, Pycelle at least has the decency to insist on a less unpleasant death for The Mountain. He vocally makes known his open contempt for Qyburn's career as Mad Scientist who vivisected living men in the name of gaining knowledge. Pycelle may be willing to betray men to their deaths, but as a maester he has still taken vows as a physician, so he is still disgusted with what he sees as Qyburn's perversion of medicine and the search for knowledge.
- Face Death with Dignity: Only Tywin Lannister could be killed on the toilet, pants down, by his son, with his grandson's weapon, after having been caught with his son's lover in his bed, and die with utmost dignity and sophistication.
- For Science!: Or as near as it can be called is Qyburn's motivation. The ethics of keeping or curing a remorseless psychopathic killer who is Nigh Invulnerable doesn't enter into it at all. In Qyburn's defense; he's dedicated enough, that he doesn't let his own grudge with Clegane, who slashed his throat and left him to die in Harrenhal, affect that task at hand.
- Friendly Enemy: For being on the opposite side, Mance treats Jon with surprising amounts of real respect instead of just killing him or worse.
- From Bad to Worse: Tywin is dead, meaning the real political power behind the Iron Throne is in utter disarray, more than likely to be filled by Cersei. Even worse, the only other competent small council members are on a ship to Essos or playing at politics in the Vale.
- Godzilla Threshold: Cersei talks of how she was ready to poison Tommen when it looked like Stannis was winning in the Battle of Blackwater, and informs her father that if he tries to take Tommen away from her, she'll destroy their House by revealing the truth about her Twincest.
- Good Versus Good: The fight between Brienne and Sandor is this. Brienne is an honorable woman who wants to protect the Stark girls and fulfill her vow to Catelyn. Sandor, despite his flaws, also wants to protect Arya and has very good reasons not to trust Brienne. This makes the communication breakdown between them - and their ensuing violent fight - all the more tragic since both fighters are otherwise decent people.
- Gory Discretion Shot:
- As Tyrion strangles Shae to death, the camera moves to focus on Tyrion's face, showing us the suffering he is going through. It's only after Shae is dead the audience gets to see her face again.
- Averted when we get to see the charred remains of the supplicant's daughter.
- Zig-zagged with Jojen. The wight stabbing him is plain for all to see, but Meera slitting his throat keeps the focus on Meera's face.
- Groin Attack: During the fight between Brienne and Sandor, they both did this to each other. Notably, Sandor doing this to Brienne appears just as painful as the other way around, which is Truth in Television.
- Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: After being falsely accused of killing a king and his own nephew, repeatedly humiliated and scorned publicly and then hearing his own father sentence him to death, Tyrion snaps and murders his father and his former lover.
- Happiness in Slavery: A nuanced version. The slave who meets with Dany tells her that he doesn't particularly like slavery and he would have joined with the young generation of newly freed, but he's so old and worn that he does not know any other form of life, and can't handle the change in circumstances in his last years. He was once a teacher, loved and respected by his master's children, but that now he is a homeless old man, constantly abused by younger people.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Tyrion's response after killing a woman he loved - Shae - and the one man who'd made his life a living hell: his own father. When he returns to Varys to get smuggled out of King's Landing, Tyrion is silent and staring off into the distance.
- Heroic Sacrifice: According to the Three-Eyed Raven, Jojen knew what would happen to him when they reached the cave (we saw him in an earlier episode having a green vision of his hand in flames); making his entire story arc one of these. He also tells Meera to go with Bran and leave him with the wights, completely at peace, essentially telling her to Mercy Kill him, right before she does it.
- Hypocrite: Tywin has always condemned Tyrion's use of whores and expressed royal disgust upon learning that a whore was brought into his bed (back when it was still Tyrion's). So what does Tyrion find when he breaks into his father's bedchamber? Oh, only his former lover Shae. In Tywin's bed.
- He's Back: After spending nearly two seasons shut away in Dragonstone, Stannis jumps back into action.
- Holy Ground: The wights attacking Bran shatter when they enter the wierwood.
- How Much More Can He Take?: Both Brienne and Sandor beat the living crap out of each other and just keep going and going in spite of more and more nasty wounds, making it uncertain who is going to break first.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Sandor is unable to commit suicide, as he lost his dagger in the fight with Brienne, and has to beg Arya for a Mercy Kill. She just walks away and leaves him to die alone instead.
- I Have No Son: The gist of Tywin's Famous Last Words.
- Improvised Weapon: Brienne hits Sandor with a rock.
- Ironic Hell: The Mountain is kept alive by Qyburn, who is renowned as a doctor with rather... unorthodox methods of treatment. Not to mention that he tried to kill Qyburn back in Harrenhal. Ser Gregor's going to be in for a long, painful time.
- After Drogon roasts a little girl, Daenerys is forced to chain up her other two dragons and leave them in the catacombs. Whatever happened to "A dragon is not a slave;" not to mention being the "Breaker of Chains"?
- The episode where Tyrion commits Patricide was aired on Father's Day. Tywin had also instilled in his children not to make empty threats but still underestimated them, especially Tyrion.
- I Shall Taunt You: The Hound first tries convincing Arya to kill him, then begs her, then resorts to pressing her Berserk Buttons to get revenge-killed; (first about killing Mycah the butcher's boy, then about claiming he wanted to rape Sansa). Either Arya is hiding her anger well beneath a cold stare, or she just simply doesn't care anymore.
- It's All About Me: Cersei makes this clear to Tywin. She would burn down House Lannister as long as she remains in the Royal Court and remains Queen.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Sandor laments the fact that, of all the possible fates to befall him, he was ultimately killed by a woman.
- Jerkass Has a Point: For the dozenth time or so now, The Hound states the awful truth while being an arsehole about it. For one thing, he's right to point out the flaws in Brienne's plan, since she's fulfilling an oath to return Arya and Sansa to a now-dead woman and even taking Arya to "someplace safe" is looking really futile. He's also right in that Brienne can't really claim to be not paid by the Lannisters to capture the Stark girls if she's carrying around a literally priceless sword and an expensive suit of armor, both of which were given to her by a Lannister in exchange for a promise to retrieve the Starks.
- Karmic Death: Tywin, the powerful and proud lord of House Lannister, is killed by Tyrion, the son who he had mistreated and belittled all his life, in the most humiliating and undignified circumstances imaginable. He also gets shot by crossbow bolts, the same weapons used in the massacre of the Starks, that he had ordered and enabled. Furthermore that crossbow belonged to his vicious grandson Joffrey, being embossed with his Lion sigil at its center beneath the bolt. He is literally destroyed by the false legacy and values he's built through his descendants.
- As the first of the Red Wedding conspirators to die, his death echoes Grey Wind's: helplessly cornered and shot at point-blank range by crossbows.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Cersei, infuriated by her father forcing her to marry Ser Loras, finally snaps and tells him that all those rumors about her and Jaime he's so eager to squash? They're true. Tywin is left absolutely aghast that his golden children have been committing incest on a regular basis, and that the great Lannister legacy he's been so focused on is founded through lies.
- Kill It with Fire: The Child of the forest saves Bran and his friends by shooting fireballs at the wights attacking them. These also have the benefit of blowing up corpses and incinerating the remains so they can't come back as wights.
- Kill the Ones You Love: Tyrion killing Shae. Also on a less romantic and bitter note, Meera giving the Coup de Grâce to end her beloved little brother's suffering.
- Mance Rayder and Tormund Giantsbane suspect this of Jon and Ygritte, Jon tells them that he did not, in fact, kill her in battle but its clear he feels guilty about it all the same. His cremation of her body is treated in the same light.
- Kneel Before Zod: For Mance, this is what it feels like to kneel before Stannis Baratheon. Even if he accepted he's the king of all of Westeros south of the Wall, he's north of it.
Stannis: It is customary to kneel when you are surrendering to a King.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Mance orders the wildlings to yield when he sees that they're completely outmatched by Stannis' forces.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- Sandor's Kick the Dog moment of robbing the Riverlands farmer then "teaching" Arya that it's a dog-eat-dog world comes back to bite him hard. Instead of killing him properly, she just steals the silver that he himself stole and leaves him to die, since she is the strong one now that is leaving the weak one to his fate.
- Gregor's finally going to get his comeuppance for his heinous crimes (including Cold-Blooded Torture) when he lingers on in agony from manticore venom poisoning. Even better, he's under the care of Qyburn, whom he tried to kill at Harrenhal, a Mad Scientist who's going to ensure that he lives through his painful experiments instead of just killing him quickly.
- Last Words:
- Averted with Shae, who doesn't get to say proper last words. The last thing she does say is "My lion? Tywin?"
- Tywin, after Tyrion's first shot, disowns him.
"You are no son of mine."
- Left for Dead: Arya refuses to kill the Hound, even when he begs her.
- Let's You and Him Fight: The Hound and Brienne both want Arya's safety, but he and Arya assume she is an agent of the Lannisters sent to bring her to them and collect the bounty on Sandor's head.
- Little Miss Badass: The Child looks like a little girl, and can throw magical fireballs that explode on impact.
- Mad Scientist Laboratory: Ironically Pycelle's lab, before Cersei chucks him out; but the place where Qyburn is Playing with Syringes is clearly meant to invoke this trope.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Cersei has sex with her brother on the table in the White Sword Tower.
- Mama Bear: Cersei reveals that her main reason for defying her father about marrying Loras is because she'd have to leave King's Landing; she'd rather burn House Lannister to the ground than leave Tommen alone to be the the center of a tug-of-war for power between Tywin and Margaery. Though her real reason is implied to be a desire to keep hold of power and influence as Queen Regent.
- Manipulative Bastard: Averted; Tywin tries to play on Cersei's desire to be his chosen successor. She not only rejects both her father and his legacy, she gleefully throws her twincest in his face. Later when Tyrion catches Tywin with his pants down he tells Tyrion everything he wanted to hear at the beginning of Season 3; that he's his son and that he will always protect him, and that he's even developed a grudging respect for Tyrion's ability to survive. Both children are aware of their father's true indifference to them however, so he fails ignominiously.
- Cersei also tells her brother what he wants to hear, kissing the golden hand she hates and initiating sex with him. Her efforts are more successful (at least at this stage, though not enough for Jaime to abandon Tyrion).
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's unclear if the Child of the Forest is throwing magic talismans or some sort of chemical firebombs, but they cause some major fiery explosions either way.
- Meaningful Echo: Just before Jaime and Cersei have sex, he whispers "Someone might see" and she tells him "I don't care", the same three words he said to her before their controversial previous sex scene.
- Mercy Kill:
- Jojen's Death by Adaptation comes from Meera, who slits his throat as he lays dying to prevent the wights from getting him (however, he would have turned into one anyway, forcing the child to throw a... bomb... to his corpse to avoid this fate).
- Then averted when Arya refuses to kill the Hound.
- Meaningful Name: Oberyn wasn't called the Red Viper for nothing, for vipers have venom, and his was Manticore Venom that coated his spears, ensuring that Gregor suffers a long, slow and agonizing death.
- Mood Whiplash
- When Arya approaches the Braavosi captain, he initially dismisses her and wouldn't even take her as a free help. When she takes out Jaqen's coin and gives the Valyrian greeting he's suddenly much more respectful towards her, even providing her with a cabin she didn't ask for. Looks like these coins signify a standing in the Braavosi society Arya doesn't yet know about.
- Brienne and the girl she's seen practicing her swordplay are having a friendly discussion, appreciating each other's defiance of the Stay in the Kitchen role, when Pod recognises Sandor Clegane and Brienne realises she's talking to Arya Stark. Everyone tenses up, hands on their sword hilts.
- Mythology Gag: Several:
- Brienne bites off the Hound's ear during their fight, instead of her would-be rapist like she did in the books.
- The fight itself might be one to a different event in the books, where Brienne fights Rorge, who is wearing the Hound's helmet, and pretends to be him.
- Mance asks Jon if Ygritte is done by his doing. Jon says no. In the books, Jon initially fears he'd killed her in the heat of battle but discovers the fletchings on the arrow that killed her are different from what he used. However unlike the TV series he doesn't know which of his Nights Watch brothers killed her (and doesn't want to know).
- The complicated backstory of the Three-Eyed Raven is alluded to; when it states that he has had many names, and has been watching Bran, Jojen, and several others, with "A thousand eyes, and one." In the books
- Before Tyrion kills Shae, a shot of the Hand of the king brooch is shown. In the books, the Hand of the King badge is in the form of a necklace, which Tyrion used to strangle Shae.
- The Braavosi vessel is shown to be loading salt; in the novels Arya boarded the boat at Saltpans.
- In Mance's tent, Mance refers to the wildling pouring their drinks/getting their food as "Toregg", which is the name of Tormund Giantsbane's eldest son in the novels.
- As in the book, the Hound's death involved an infected wound and Worf Had the Flu. The difference is in the show the wound inhibits him during his fight, while in the books he gets in a fight while drunk, gets drunk and dies when the wound festers.
- Nerves of Steel: Tywin barely even bats an eye when a loaded crossbow is pointed at him and his voice never wavers as he talks to Tyrion. Even when he's actually shot, his countenance is still relatively calm.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Jaime retroactively did this in "Oathkeeper" when he outfitted Brienne with a fine suit of armor, a Valyrian steel sword bearing the mark of the lion, and had Podrick Payne act as her squire. Arya and Sandor distrust her and a fight breaks out because from all appearances, she looks like she's in league with the Lannisters.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
- Jaime Lannister broke a vow to save thousands from the Mad King's atrocities. He now breaks his vows to free an innocent man from prison and a death sentence and defending his beleaguered little brother. His reward; said brother decides to murder their father and a woman, only to hightail it out of there with the Master of Whispers.
- Varys helps Tyrion to escape for unstated reasons. This kind act ends up costing him, as he realizes he will likely be prosecuted for freeing a condemned man and abetting a traitor when the motive behind the bells tolling (the murder of the Hand of the King) gets investigated. As a result he hops on the boat with Tyrion and has to flee King's Landing.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Brienne and Hound beat the ever-loving shit out of each other.
- No Sell: After four seasons of Tywin cowing his children with a mere Death Glare and "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Cersei and Tyrion simply aren't taking their father's BS anymore.
- Not Helping Your Case: Brienne is carrying an expensive sword with a gold lion hilt given to her by the Kingslayer himself. Witness also Arya's change of expression when she hears the name "Podrick Payne" (Pod is a distant relative of Ser Ilyn Payne, one of the men on Arya's death list; the man who beheaded her father).
- Not So Different: Tyrion seems to have had an epiphany with this, when his father tells him he's not his son, Tyrion coldly disagrees:
- Oh Crap!: Tywin is less stoic than normal when Cersei confronts him about her incestuous relationship with Jaime.
- Patricide: The final fate of Tywin Lannister at the hands of his son, Tyrion.
- Playing with Fire: Apparently, the Children of the Forest can shoot fireballs with which to kill wights.
- Playing with Syringes: As bumbling and incompetent as Pycelle is, he's right in that the Mountain should just be allowed to die (or have the process sped up for him). Qyburn instead has some... different ideas for what to do with him and is implied to have a disturbing disregard for morality.
- Plot Coupon: The Iron Coin given to Arya by Jaqen H'ghar. It's immediately recognized by any Braavosi, and gets her safe passage in a cabin to the Free City of Braavos.
- Poor Communication Kills: The confusion between Sandor and Brienne shows how two characters more or less on the same page, as a result of mixed loyalties and shifts in alliances during war end up on each other's throats, fighting over who gets to be Arya's protector and guardian. Said girl then decides she'll take her chances on her own since Brienne, in her eyes, failed to protect her mother.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Sandor tries to invoke this to goad Arya into killing him by claiming he would've been happy to rape Sansa when he had the chance. It doesn't work on Arya, though, or at least not in the way he hoped.
- Reality Ensues:
- Daenerys continues to be confronted with the fallout of her actions in Meereen. While the Unsullied try to keep order, freedom for a lot of former slaves is far worse than being enslaved, since they don't have the skills to survive on their own, and it's turning into a very dog-eat-dog world. At least one old man confronts her with the request that he wants to return to being a slave (specifically, he was a tutor for his master's children), where he at least had security and respect, and tells her that there are many others like him.
- Bran and the Reeds and Hodor, despite seeming like a classic Free-Range Children on a quest arc, ends in horror when one of the kids dies and has to receive a Mercy Kill from his own sister. Bran and Meera find the Three-Eyed Raven's words that Jojen expected to die anyway, very hollow.
- For all their numbers, Jon's remark about the fatal lack of organisation within the Wildling army is proven right. They are easily routed by a relatively small force of cavalry with superior tactics. In the books Jon surmises that Mormont could have feasibly charged a few hundred men through their disorganised ranks and slain Mance, though surviving this victory would be unlikely.
- It's implied Sandor refusing to have his wound treated has left him able to only use his right arm in his fight with Brienne, with is an especially serious problem because he only carries a two-hand sword. He attempts to use it with one hand but it's ineffective.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Cersei to Tywin.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Mance is willing to peacefully negotiate with Jon and does not wish to spill any more blood, if it means he can get his people on the other side of the wall.
- Stannis is the only authority figure in the Seven Kingdoms who actually shows up to help the Night's Watch. When Mance surrenders, Stannis listens to Jon's request to allow Mance to negotiate.
- Right Under Their Noses: Cersei mocks Tywin by noting that if he had paid any real attention to his children, he would have noticed the Twincest going on.
- Rise from Your Grave: Team Bran have an apparently clean run to their goal, when skeleton hands thrust up from the snow, one grabbing Jojen in an Ankle Drag.
- Rule of Symbolism:
- Arya looks back at Westeros at the rear of the ship before stepping forward to the figurehead and looking ahead. Even better, the figurehead looks a lot like Queen Nymeria.
- During the funeral pyre at Castle Black, Melisandre stares meaningfully at Jon Snow through the flames.
- Sacred Hospitality: When Jon enters his tent, Mance offers him drink and food. This was a savvy move on his part as when he catches Jon looking at a butcher's knife, he reminds him of sacred hospitality in their culture. Jon, being the son of Honor Before Reason, whose own brother was murdered in a violation of the same ritual, would never be able to break hospitality to kill Mance. He later cites Mance's commitment to the same as reasons for sparing him to Stannis.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Jaime defies his father, his sister, and the law in order to break his beloved brother, who he knows to be innocent out of prison before his execution.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- Arya gladly takes the chance to travel to Braavos, now that there is nothing left for her in Westeros.
- After hearing the bells, Varys quickly decides to get on the ship with Tyrion himself, probably so as to avoid a possible trial of his own.
- Tyrion leaves Westeros by necessity after forsaking his loyalty to House Lannister.
- Secret Test of Character: Stannis gives Jon a fairly small one by asking him what Ned Stark, the man Jon claims to be his father, would have done with Mance to determine if his claim is true.
- Selective Obliviousness: Cersei insinuates that Tywin must have noticed her and Jaime's affair, being an intelligent man with Hyper Awareness, not to mention the family patriarch. If he somehow didn't, then he must have been in denial about it.
- Shaggy Dog Story: After all the crap that Sandor went through to secure Arya and try to get his ransom money, he ends up mortally wounded and with nothing to show for it.
- A Shared Suffering: Both Clegane brothers. Sandor is left to bleed to death with several bodily wounds, a bitten off ear and a broken leg with the bone protruding from the flesh, whilst his brother Gregor suffers from the wounds he sustained whilst fighting Oberyn along with slow acting Manticore Venom running through his veins and is left under the care of Qyburn (whose experiments are known as, whilst effective, monstrous).
- Some Kind of Force Field: It only keeps out wights, but the results are spectacular.
- Sword Drag: Tyrion lets his goats-foot-lever scrape against the stone floor as he goes to confront Tywin, as befits a man who has no more fucks to give.
- Taking You with Me
- This seems to have been Oberyn's Plan B, as his poisoned spear tips ensure (in theory) that Gregor Clegane will die sooner or later.
- Cersei threatens to destroy House Lannister if her father tries to take Tommen from her, by revealing her incest with Jaime.
- This Cannot Be!: A less pronounced version, but when Tywin refuses to believe Cersei's admission of incest with her brother, he's noticeably less calm than normal, probably because of the disastrous implications this has for the Lannister dynasty. It's also implied in his Captain Obvious response to being shot by Tyrion.
- Tranquil Fury: Tyrion doesn't raise his voice once, but he's at the end of his fuse.
- Triumphant Reprise:
- For the first time since Blackwater, we hear Stannis's badass battle theme as he rides into the Wildling camp.
- When Arya boards the ship to Braavos, for the first time in the series we're treated to a Triumphant Reprise of the Stark theme intertwined with a rendition of the main theme song.
- Undignified Death: Tywin Lannister, the Lord of Casterly Rock, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Hand to two Kings, Savior (and Sacker) of the City of King's Landing, architect of the Red Wedding, and the most feared man in Westeros... dies by getting shot by his abused and loathed son Tyrion with two crossbow bolts whilst he is in the privy with his pants down. He even lampshades it.
- Oddly, this is also averted at the same time: Tywin dies in a relatively quick and clean fashion (there's very little blood coming out of Tywin's wounds).
- The Unfettered: Cersei doesn't give a damn what it takes, she will stay in King's Landing and not be separated from Tommen.
- Unflinching Walk: Even with a Wildling charging at him (handily cleaned up by a passing knight), Stannis does not break stride towards Mance.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Qyburn wants to perform questionable experiments on the Mountain to see if he can save his body. It's implied that the process will change him monstrously, but will make him even more powerful than before.
- Wham Episode: Unlike the usual tradition of having the 9th episode as the most shocking one, most of the most surprising and important twist happened in the final episode. Stannis is back, the wildlings are defeated, the hound probably dies, and the biggest of them all is Tywin Lannister is dead...
- Woman Scorned: Tormund knows the intensity of Ygritte's feelings for Jon Snow because of her fervent desire to kill him. Shae also does her best to kill Tyrion, though that could also be called self-defense — she knows Tyrion hasn't turned up for any good reason.
- Worf Had the Flu: While specific attention isn't drawn to it, you might notice the Hound favoring his left arm during his fight with Brienne, not using it on his sword, despite the blade's two handed grip, showing that he's suffering the effects of his infected wound. Though he does use it for a few solid punches, Brienne hasn't won an even fight with another badass since her win against Loras in Season 2.
- Would Hurt a Child: Drogon kills and immolates a 3-year old Meereenese girl.
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Sandor tries taunting Arya about killing Mycah (the helpless butcher boy) so that she will kill him. She doesn't.
- Xanatos Gambit: We begin to see that Oberyn volunteering as Tyrion's champion is one. If he won, we would have gotten his revenge on The Mountain, and publicly embarrassed the Lannisters by setting Tyrion free. If he lost, however, his death would hurt his family's alliance with the Lannisters, weakening them at a critical time. He also coated his spears with manticore venom, meaning that, if he wounded The Mountain even once, it would kill him eventually. Win or lose, he had his revenge.
- You Can't Go Home Again:
- When Varys hears the bells, he realizes that he will be an immediate suspect in Tyrion's escape and, consequently, an accomplice to murder, so he gets on the ship with Tyrion.
- Arya finally got Sandor's message; after trying to book passage to the north, she chooses to go to Braavos instead.
- You Remind Me of X: Implied in Brienne's initial reaction to Arya, who is secretly practicing with swords and dreaming of being an Action Girl like she must have done back in Tarth.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Tywin doesn't believe that Tyrion would shoot his own father in the privy. He's wrong.