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'Game of Thrones' season finale recap, 'The Children'

LiteratureArmed ForcesGame of Thrones (tv program)

Freud once said the greatest works in literature involved parricide: “Oedipus,” “Hamlet” and “The Brothers Karamazov."

I’m not arguing that George R.R. Martin’s “A Storm of Swords” should be placed in that canon. But I am arguing that when Tyrion kills Tywin in Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” the show is invoking some major literary themes.

Season 4 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” came to an end with a strong episode titled “The Children” that culminated with the murder of the Lannister family patriarch, who was killed (embarrassingly) while sitting on a chamber pot. (You have to love the dark humor of Mr. Martin.)

Fan-favorite Tyrion was able to kill his father only after his brother, Jaime Lannister, helped him escape from a King’s Landing cell. After slipping out of his cell, Tyrion paid a visit to his father’s room and found his lover Shae has been sleeping with his dad.

Enraged, Tyrion choked her to death. He then took a crossbow off his father’s wall and shot him twice.

“You’re no son of mine,” Tywin said before his death.

“I am your son. I have always been your son,” Tyrion replied.

(I’ve always wondered whether Tyrion is actually Tywin’s son. There have been enough references to make one wonder whether Mama Lannister didn’t have a different lover than Tywin before Tyrion was born. Maybe, just maybe, he has some Targaryen in him?)

Varys then helped Tyrion escape by smuggling him onto a ship.

Before his death, Tywin also learned a startling truth: Cersei told him she had been sleeping with her twin brother Jaime (essentially verifying that Stannis Baratheon is the true king of Westeros).

“Your legacy is a lie,” she said.

Also in King’s Landing, a weird scientist began performing Frankenstein-esque experiments on The Mountain, hoping to regain his strength. (That can’t be good.)

Essos

In the east, Daenerys learned her black dragon has been killing children – well, at least one child. She made a tough decision for The Mother of Dragons, taking her two of her dragons and putting them in chains.

A couple observations: One, I love it whenever they show the dragons on the show, because the CGI is so great. Two, I had no idea I could find a human-dragon moment touching.

The Wall

The episode opened with Jon Snow venturing into the wildling camp where he ended up face-to-face with Mance Rayder.

The two shared drinks and toasted the dead on each side, including Ygritte.

Jon was about to try to assassinate Mance when Stannis’ army (!) arrived. With military precision, they crushed the larger wilding force. While the wildlings had numbers, Stannis' troops had discipline, and it showed.

Mance was forced to surrender, but refused to kneel.  Jon convinced Stannis to take Mance prisoner.

As the Night’s Watch was burning their dead – to keep them from becoming wights – Jon saw Melisandre through the flames. (That, too, can't be good.)

North of The Wall

Bran and Co. were getting closer to finding the three-eyed crow, who they believed had a prophecy for them – and possibly could help Bran walk again.

They’re attacked by some Skeletor-looking guys (in the books, they’re attacked by wights) and Jojen was killed in the battle. (This is a big diversion from the books, and I’m not sure how I feel about this scene. Yes, it introduced more action into the story, but this is a major change from “A Song of Ice and Fire.”)

The party met a child of the forest – an ancient race that predates the first men – and eventually the three-eyed crow.

“You will never walk again, but you will fly,” he told Bran.

I’m glad the show’s writers included this exchange. It was true to the books, and keeps the element of prophecy (which has been largely missing from the show but so important to the books) on the minds of the TV audience.  

On the road from the Vale of Arryn

Arya and The Hound met up with Brienne and Pod, and a fight broke out between The Hound and Brienne. 

It was pretty even for a while, but eventually she bit off his ear and knocked him down a cliff, leaving The Hound to die.

Arya had an opportunity to deliver the coup de grace to The Hound, but chose to let him suffer.  (This scene was another big change from the books, in which The Hound dies from a festering wound. But I don’t mind this change as much. It still gets us to the same result.)

Arya rode to a nearby port, where she used Jaqen H’gher’s coin to get her aboard a ship. She wanted to sail to The Wall to meet her half-brother Jon Snow, but this ship was bound for Braavos, the land of assassins.

After her precise kills in Westeros, somehow I think Arya will fit in just fine in Braavos.

It was a good final episode: All four major characters (Tyrion, Dany, Jon and Arya) got their due, and the deaths of The Hound, Jojen and Tywin were shocking (especially Jojen’s for book readers). The creators of “Game of Thrones” should be proud of themselves. Unlike so many promising shows that weaken over time, this HBO series keeps getting better with age. 

Episode grade: A

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

 

 

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