Of all the ways I’d kill you, poison would be the last. – Mance
We pick up right where we left off in episode nine, with Jon Snow on his way to meet Mance Rayder. Jon walks into the forest and right into the ennemy lines. He surrenders immediately. Once inside Mance’s tent, Jon finally admits to Mance that his loyalty was always with the Night’s Watch. Well, if you except Ygritte. Jon announces her death to Mance, who immediately decides to drink to her. AND YOU SHOULD. YOU SHOULD BECAUSE YGRITTE WAS AWESOME. SHUT UP. I DON’T CARE.
Jon and Mance drink in Ygritte’s honour. It’s not wine, which means it’s probably the wildling equivalent of moonshine. They also drink to Grenn and to Mag, the giant who passed the gate. While they engage in bargaining, Jon Snow sets his eyes on a knife. Mance confesses that the reason he wants his people on the other side of the wall is because of the walkers. Mance promises Jon that if he simply opens the tunnel for the free folk, no more blood will be shed. Fair enough, but maybe not enough to convince Jon Snow, who gives an open look to the knife. The wildlings immediately draw their weapons. Mance understands Jon’s real motive but doubts that Jon would kill a man who just offered him peace.
We do not kneel. – Mance
The horns blow before Jon can take a decision. Mance thinks the Night’s Watch has taken arms against him. Jon reminds him, however, that they don’t have the men. Who is it then? An army carrying flags with a stag head inside a flaming heart. Yup. Stannis to the rescue, ladies and gentlemen. His army circles the wildlings, butchering them like they’re a bunch of hens. It probably helps that they have horses. Soon, Stannis himself arrives to face Mance, who decides to surrender for the good of his people but still refuses to kneel before Stannis. I wouldn’t either. Stannis is a douchebag. Either way, Stannis notices Jon’s presence and, once Jon has introduced himself as Ned’s son, asks him what he should do with Mance. Jon suggests to take him prisoner… and to burn the dead before nightfall.
Your legacy is a lie. – Cersei
Back in King’s Landing, Pycelle and Qyburn examine The Mountain under the critical eye of Cersei. The Mountain still hasn’t woken up. The reason? Poison. Weird, right? It’s not like his opponent was nicknamed the Red Viper or anything. Pycelle thinks he can’t be saved. Qyburn is willing to try something. Cersei dismisses Pycelle and leaves Qyburn free to experiment on Gregor Clegane.
While Qyburn starts pull all of Clegane’s blood out of his body, Cersei tries to convince her father to break her engagement to Loras Tyrell. Tywin is not impressed by her outburst, even when she promises to burn their house to the ground if he takes her away from Tommen. How? With a mad smile of content on her face, Cersei finally opens Tywin’s eyes to the truth about Jaime and her. A bold move if you ask me. That’s probably the one thing that Tywin will never be able to stomach.
When Cersei leaves her father, she immediately finds Jaime. He tries to reason with her about Tyrion but she shuts him up with a kiss. She confesses her love to him, confesses that she just revealed their secret to their father and they celebrate by having sex on a table. You know. Like they should have in episode 3.
I don’t understand. – Meereenese shepherd
In Meereen, Dany receives Fennesz, a former slave and erudite. Fennesz desires to be sold back to slavery, for he is too old, he says, to get used to freedom. He needs a purpose in life, that he had when he was a slave. Dany, because she is smart and badass, allows him to establish a contract with his former master. The next person to approach carries something wrapped in a blanket in his arms. Drogon struck again. This time, he killed a child.
Later that day, Dany asks for news from Drogon, who has not been seen since the last attack. She takes a decision. Her heart sunk in her chest, she leads Viserion and Rhaegal to the catacombs and chains them there herself, leaving them alone in the dark.
And now their watch has ended. – Master Aemon
Back at Castle Black, Maester Aemon preside the cremation of the fallen brothers of the Night’s Watch. There, Jon Snow notices Melissandre through the flames for the first time.
Jon visits Thormund Gianstbane, who is curious to know how the prisoners will be treated by Jon’s king. Jon replies that he has no king, showing once more that his time spent with the free folk did affect his view of the world. Thormund doesn’t feel the need to say farewell to the dead free folk but before Jon leaves, he asks him if he loved Ygritte. Because you know, the show has to keep salting the wound. According to Thormund’s will, Jon takes Ygritte’s corpse beyond the wall, prepares the pyre himself and walks away to mourn silently while the fire reduces her remains to ashes.
You’ll never walk again, but you will fly. – Three-Eyed Raven
Further north, we find Bran and his group painfully making their way through the snow. Jojen is exhausted but refuses to rest. Fortunately, they seem to have almost reached their destination. They stand at the top of a hill and see the majestic weirwood tree from Bran and Jojen’s visions. The group crosses the final yards separating them from the tree when skeletons burst out from under the snow and attack them. They do their best to resist the assault until Bran finally takes possession of Hodor’s body to help Myra and Jojen with the fighting. I call badass. Unfortunately, while Jojen tries to get Bran to run, one of the skeletons stabs him multiple times. A Child appears to save the rest of the group. Myra slits Jojen throat to end his misery and runs after them, chased by a fresh group of skeletons. The group finds refuge inside a cave. The skeletons explode when they try to follow them inside.
The Child guides Bran and his followers through a maze of tunnels and roots. They finally reach a bigger cave where Hodor puts Bran on the ground to let him crawl to his new master: the Three-Eyed Raven. Who only has two eyes and is not a raven. He is actually a very, very old dude tightly entwined in the weirwood tree’s roots. He promises Bran that Jojen’s death was not in vain and that he will help him fly.
Kill me. – The Hound
Brienne and Podrick wake up to find their horses vanished and as they resume their walk, Brienne spots Arya Stark accomplishing her daily waterdancing exercises. Arya notices Brienne and Pod. She briefly discusses her and Brienne’s common passion for fighting before The Hound joins them and Pod recognizes him. Folks, shit’s about to go down. Brienne identifies Arya and wants her to come with them but Arya won’t budge and The Hound will not let her go that easily. Talk about an unhealthy bond. Brienne bares her sword and insists on taking Arya to safety, which leads The Hound to sum up Arya’s situation in the world: everybody she used to know is dead or missing. She is safe nowhere.
Brienne and The Hound engage in a duel while Arya tries to escape, chased by Pod. Brienne fights properly for as long as she can, but the duel ends up becoming a brutal fist fight in the dirt. Brienne smashes the Hound’s head with the rock until she pushes him off a cliff. However, Arya has already found a way to escape. Hidden behind a boulder, she waits until Brienne and Pod walk away to join The Hound as he agonizes. He tries to get Arya to follow Brienne but Arya has already made up her mind. He then tries to get Arya to finish him, but she won’t do that either. Instead, she steals his pouch and leaves him to rot.
Say that word again. – Tyrion
Jaime enters Tyrion’s cell with the intention of getting his little brother out of Kind’s Landing. Tyrion can’t barely believe it. He follows Jaime anyway. Jaime leads his little brother to a secret passage. They bid farewell to each other with a hug before Jaime has to run. However, before escaping, Tyrion decides to pay a visit to his father’s chambers. There, laying in the Hand’s bed, Tyrion finds Shae. She reaches for a knife, they briefly struggle and Tyrion strangles her with her own necklace. Yikes. This scene was also in the book but it always made me uncomfortable. The next scene, however, is one of my favourite from the books.
Tyrion takes a crossbow with him and calmly walks to his father’s privy, where he finds him crouching on his chamber pot. Tywin tries to reason with Tyrion so he will put down the crossbow but Tywin’s disdain for Shae and, you know, everything related to Tyrion, wins him a quarrel through the chest. Tyrion reloads and shoots him a second time, coldly. He then finally presents himself before Varys. Varys hides him in a crate that he loads on a galley destined for the Free Cities.
Valar Morghulis. – Arya
Arya finds her way to a ship. She can’t convince the captain to take her North. Instead, when he speaks of Braavos, she shows him the coin that Jaqen H’ghar gave her. She says the words and the captain instantly gives her a cabin on board. This fourth season ends on Arya turning her back on Westeros as the ship sails away. She runs to the prow and looks ahead at the open sea with a glimmer of hope in her eyes, for the first time since she left King’s Landing.