The Game of Thrones Season 4 finale, The Children, had everything fans had been waiting for -- thrilling sequences, mind-blowing storylines and lots of action with surprisingly less gore.
As far as season finales are concerned, it's by far the best we have seen in the series so far. That's because it is not just building up towards one final 'fireworks moment' towards the end of the episode, but about exciting sequences interspersed throughout the 66 minutes of sheer brilliance.
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Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) in a scene.
The finale has remarkable writing and direction, coupled with equally outstanding screenplay and background score. In fact, there's probably nothing in the episode that fans would've wanted done differently.
(Minor spoilers ahead)
Six different storylines were played out in the episode, which ranged from The Wall to Meereen to King's Landing. And almost every character now looks poised for a new, exciting beginning. This is probably the best part of the episode as it gives fans a reason to look forward to Season 5, even sans cliffhangers in this episode.
Another good news for fans is that the finale is not the harbinger of any bad news. That's a surprise, right?
It starts off at The Wall where a big surprise awaits Jon Snow (who knows nothing, quite literally - fans will get this) and Mance Rayder. The episode starts off on such a thrilling note that the bar is set high for the rest of the 55 minutes. There's also a surprise emotional sequence where Snow bids farewell to Yigrette, who died in the last episode.
The other party heading North is Bran, Hodor, Jojen, Meera and Summer. And boy, are they in for some fun times. It's pertinent to mention here that GoT never ceases to surprise its fans.
This sequence marks the introduction of an element not seen this explicitly in GoT before - magic. And not Harry Potter kind of magic, instead this is more like Pirates of the Caribbean.
It's that part of the series where two characters who are very important to the theory of Westeros and the series are introduced - The Three-eyed Raven and The Children. The Children who? This video will help you understand.
Fans of this book series will agree that directors have given just the right treatment to these two eagerly awaited characters.
On the other side of the Narrow Sea, we visit Meereen for a brief sequence, where Khaleesi is learning lessons on what being a queen entails, everyday. Also, her fearful dragons are proving to be quite a pain for her realm.
Of the two major developments in the episode, one takes place between Arya, Sandor Clegane, Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne. It shows Westeros has become a place of mistrust as their lives are so warped in lies.
There's a fight sequence between Brienne and Mr Hound, and it is by far the most gripping one yet. Tough one for fans because both are the misguided good guys and you don't really know who to root for. Gwendoline Christie plays one of her strongest roles yet, in the series.
Also, viewers come to terms with the fact that Arya is not a kid anymore. She's going on to become the exact opposite of the 'soft' Stark family whose name she carries.
Finally, there's King's Landing where the king-sized firecrackers go off. Tywin Lannister finally gets a taste of Cersie's medicine, bitter one at that. The episode highlights how Cersei is becoming increasingly vicious (or maybe, she always was).
After a long wait, we meet Tyrion Lannister awaiting his execution. It's the stuff finales are made of, these goings on at King's Landing. What fate holds for Tyrion is something you will have to find out for yourself. What we can tell you is that you will not be disappointed.
Takeaways from Season 4 finale
There are two key takeaways from the finale – justice has been done to the themes. Case in point is The Children - an episode about the mythical creatures and about literally, the children - Jon, Cersei, Arya, Bran, Jaime, Tyrion and even the dragons.
And second, that after much gore and action, Game of Thrones is slowly treading down the emotional road with an array of scenes in this episode that will tug at your heartstrings. Got anything to say or add? Tweet to me @GypsyAndTonic!