If I had one word to describe season 4 of Game of Thrones it would be satisfying. However, I don’t have to choose just one word, because this is my review. So I would also add awesome, thrilling and flabbergasting.
Since there were so many story lines and they were often taking place in many different locations throughout Westeros and Essos, I am breaking them down by each location as we start this analysis.
Let’s get to it!
Where do we even begin? Jon is now back at Castle Black, having survived his near death experience with Ygritte. I have rolled a million eyes at this character for the past two seasons. No matter how much I try, I can never like her. She hasn’t done anything wrong to make me dislike her at all, I just don’t. Sometimes you can’t explain it.
Bran is now over the wall with his companions and Summer, trekking through the North and has stopped at Craster’s Keep. Jon knows that Mance is planning an attack on the wall from the North and the South so he tries to get Ser Allister to listen to him. I wish you good fortune with Ser Allister, Jon. You are going to need it.
He gets permission to set out on a volunteer mission to make sure that Mance doesn’t have knowledge of the actual number of brothers at the wall, since he lied to him about it. To achieve this, he takes some of his brothers to Craster’s Keep to kill their traitors. Bran see’s Jon and is tempted to alert him them of their presence, but Jojen talks him out of it. I can see how desperate Bran is to reach out to Jon. After all he has been through, Jon is right there. The first family member, besides Rickon, that he has seen in years. Never mind the fact that Bran didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye to Jon before he left for the wall. It’s just heartbreaking to me. Bran has more strength in that moment that I would have.
The Wildlings finally attack the wall. The Night’s Watch wins the first battle, and Ygritte is killed by Olly. I only feel bad because I know how much Jon cared for her, and my child has already been through enough. How they edited this scene is something that stuck with me. They choose to use slow motion, while Jon holds a dead Ygritte in his arms. You can still see the fighting going on around him, but my focus was completely on Jon in that moment. I was going through this with him, and I felt like I was in his shared state of mind, where the world slowed completely.
Knowing that they mostly likely will lose another attack, Jon sets out to meet with Mance to discuss peace terms. Stannis suddenly shows up with his new army of sell swords and kills a lot of Wildlings and Mance surrenders to him.
Joffrey. Is. DEAD. I probably shouldn’t feel so much happiness from writing those words, but it brings me so much joy. I had no sympathy for him throughout the series and I am so glad he is gone. He was killed at his wedding reception after marrying Margery. He taunted Tyrion and was an ass like usual, so who is actually sad? During the chaos of him dying, Sansa fled the Capital with Joffrey’s fool. Cersei blamed his death on Tyrion, because of course she did. Really, Cersei? Be original. You might hate your brother, but he is way smarter than that.
Later we come to find that Lady Olenna poisoned him so Margery wouldn’t have to stay married to him, and she would be free to marry Tommen, who is much easier to control.
Oberyn Martell is in the Capital for Joffrey’s wedding and is invited to sit as the third judge for Tyrion’s trial. During the trial, it is obvious that everything is rigged against him. There are witnesses who have misleading testimony, and Tyrion isn’t allowed to ask questions or provide context. Near the end, after Shae whom he loved, lies on the stand, he demands a trial by combat. For someone who claims to love family legacy so much, you would think Tywin would value his actual family more. In the end, they are just tools in his war chest of power.
Cersei chooses the Mountain as her champion, and Tyrion has trouble finding one. Jaime can’t because his sword hand is gone and Bronn refuses too. Oberyn volunteers once he learns that it will be the Mountain. He wants revenge against the man who raped and killed his sister, Elia, and her children. During the fighting Oberyn manages to severely wound the Mountain and while he celebrates his win, the Mountain kills Oberyn to everyone’s horror. Shocker.
The Night before he is set to die, Jaime let’s Tyrion out of his cell, helping him to escape. Instead of meeting Varys, Tyrion takes a detour to the Tower of the Hand to confront his father. In his father’s chambers there he finds Shae, the women he loves, who betrayed him when she testified, clearly having slept with his father. Tyrion is set off and kills her. He finds Tywin and kills him too, with a cross bow. He escapes with Varys in a shipping box aboard a ship leaving King’s Landing.
Littlefinger and Sansa arrive in the Eyrie, which is the seat of House Arryn. Lysa Arryn is Sansa’s aunt by her mother Catelyn. She is introduced to Robin, her cousin, a sickly spoiled little boy, and told no one is to know she is a Stark. She will be known as Petyr’s niece Alyane. Lysa coddles her son way to much, which is evident with how he acts.
Lysa and Littlefinger quickly marry, making him Lord of the Vale until Robin comes of age. Lysa notices that Littlefinger has an attachment to Sansa, and suspects they are in a relationship. She is batshit crazy and tries to kill Sansa by trying to throw her through the moon door. Instead, Petyr pushes Lysa to her death.
The Lords and Ladies of the Vale question Littlefinger about her death. They don’t believe she simply committed suicide, like he is claiming. Sansa comes to his rescue, manipulating the situation as Littlefinger has taught her. When asked why she helped him, she says that she knows what Petyr is capable of, but not the Lords of the Vale. Sansa is in way over her head, and this will only end badly in the long run.
Arya is traveling with the Hound through the Riverland’s. He was going to sell her to her aunt Lysa, but when they arrive at the bloody gate they are told that she died three days previously. Arya laughs loudly at this while everyone just stares at her in confusion. I can understand why they would stare at her. Who laughs out loud when someone dies? If I were Arya, I would probably believe that I was cursed, since everyone I have gone to be with since leaving King’s Landing has died when I was there, or right before.
After leaving the Eyrie, Brienne of Tarth and Podrick come across Arya and the Hound. Brienne tries to get Arya to leave with her, but she says no and the Hound doesn’t believe that she is there to protect Arya. They end up in a sword fight with the Hound looking like he is about to die. Brienne can’t find Arya, so they leave to look for her. Arya comes around after Brienne has left and decides not to kill the Hound, even though she is on her list. I think Arya at this point has come to care for him in some odd way, they have a bond. However, she also can’t forgive him for everything he has done, so she won’t kill him when he asks. She won’t give him that mercy. After she leaves she gets on a boat and travels to Bravos.
Dany has taken Mereen with success. She is ruling against the Masters and doesn’t forgive the fact that they have taken slaves. Her advisers are trying to get her to see that she should also have some compassion for the Masters, as they are now her people as well. Dany learns that Ser Jorah has been spying on her for Robert and Tywin since they met. Feeling betrayed, she makes him leave Mereen.
While receiving people’s complaints, a man comes in with a bundle wrapped in a blanket. When he lays it at Dany’s feet, it is revealed to be the burnt body of his three year old little girl. Drogon has been roaming freely and burned her to death. Dany is obviously devastated and doesn’t want it to happen again. She decides to chain up Viserion and Rhaegal beneath the pyramid. I feel devastated for her. The dragons are her children, and she has to lock them away for the safety for everyone else. She is doing what must be done.
Season 4 blew me out of the water. I have said this about every season I have reviewed so far, but this was the best season. This season encompassed so many story lines and character development in just 10 episodes. Think back to the end of season 3 and compare it to now, there is a huge difference of where our characters are after 10 hours of television. The show-runners and writers need to write a master class for character development and plot lines.
Read my review for season 3 here.
Game of Thrones season 8 premiere’s April 14th on HBO.