'Game of Thrones' Season 4 Finale Recap: Who Sails Away and Who Dies?
'Game of Thrones' Season 4 Finale Recap: Who Sails Away and Who Dies?
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The Game of Thrones season 4 finale had absolutely everything you could ask for, and then some. Three people listed in the opening credits were killed (or at least close enough), and there was incest, fights, battles, skeletons, lightening balls, dragons and a crossbow. The greatest crossbow ever.

More importantly, we found out Tyrion Lannister's fate after he was sentenced to execution based on the trial by combat. Don't worry, if Tyrion died, my intro to this recap would've been filled with more curse words.

Tyrion's Great Escape

In King's Landing, Cersei tries to make sure the Mountain doesn't die from wounds he got during the fight with Oberyn Martell. If Oberyn did inflict mortal wounds, would that invalidate the execution?

Next on Cersei's to-do list is tell her father that she won't marry Loras. Tywin is quite insistent, which causes her to spill the beans about her incestuous relationship with Jaime. She then runs to Jaime for some sibling afternoon delight.

Later, Jaime sneaks into Tyrion's cell with a plan to save his brother. Jaime and Varys have teamed up to plot a prison break and all Tyrion has to do is run for freedom. He doesn't.

Instead, Tyrion goes to his father's bedroom, but what he finds is Shae. Naked. In bed. That's the last straw, and Tyrion jumps on top of her and chokes her to death. It's the saddest kind of tragedy, because he truly loved her and she betrayed him in the worst possible ways.

But Tyrion's one-man mission is far from over. He takes a crossbow off the wall and drags it down to the bathroom where he finds his dad, Tywin, sitting on the toilet. He points the crossbow at him and they talk about the execution and Tywin's general hatred for his dwarf son. When Tywin calls Shae a whore, Tyrion fires the crossbow into his stomach.

It's not a mortal shot, but then Tyrion slowly reloads, aims and shoots again. Tyrion may not have killed his nephew, but he definitely killed his father.

Now that his mission is over (I guess Cersei gets a reprieve for now), Tyrion finds Varys and gets put in a crate and onto a ship. Varys, at the last minute, decides that King's Landing is a lost cause and gets on the ship with Tyrion.

Brienne vs. The Hound

Brienne and Podrick near the Eyrie to look for the Stark girls when they run into Arya. Brienne and Arya share a great moment of feminist sword fighter bonding before the Hound arrives. He assumes they were sent by the Lannisters to get the bounty on his head, and Brienne's announcement that she was, in fact, sent by Jaime doesn't help that.

This leads to an extraordinary fight between Brienne and the Hound. It starts as a sword fight and then devolves into a groin-kicking, rock-smashing brawl. Brienne gets the upper hand and literally throws the Hound off a cliff.

During the fight, Arya escaped, so Brienne and Pod are left empty-handed. Arya then finds the Hound at the bottom of the cliff. He begs her to kill him, but she just takes his gold and walks away. I think it's safe to assume that the Hound is dead, but his fate is left uncertain.

Arya eventually finds a boat and asks the captain to take her North of the Wall. He refuses, but when he tells her that he's from Braavos, she takes out the coin Jaquen H'ghar gave her and he instantly changes his mind. Just like that, season 4 ends with both Tyrion and Arya on ships sailing for new adventures.

Stannis Saves the North

Jon Snow heads North and quickly finds Mance Rayder. They share a drink over the late Ygritte and others, but Mance has figured out that Jon was never loyal to him. Just as Jon considers going through with his suicidal plan to kill Mance, horns sound. An attack is underway.

But it's not the Night's Watch. It's Stannis Baratheon and thousands of soldiers who ride North and kill all of the wildlings. Stannis comes face-to-face with Mance and takes him hostage, at the request of Jon Snow. After almost four full seasons of Jon never interacting with characters who aren't wildlings or the Night's Watch, it's weird seeing him and Stannis have a conversation.

Now that Stannis has saved the North, the Night's Watch can burn their dead and Jon burns Ygritte.

Bran Meets the Children

Bran, Hodor and the Reeds are still walking North of the Wall and they find the Magic Tree. Unfortunately, that's when skeletons come out of the ground to fight them. It's perhaps the single coolest scene ever. Meera, Jojen and Hodor fight skeletons, and then Bran wargs out to take control of Hodor. Just when things can't get any cooler, a mysterious girl arrives and shoots lightning balls out of her hands! It sounds like I'm making it up, but I'm not.

Sadly, Jojen dies in the battle, but the mysterious girl, who identifies herself as one of "the Children" who have existed long before the First Men, takes Bran, Meera and Hodor into a cave. They find a really old man who, I guess, is the three-eyed raven and he tells them that he's been watching Bran forever. He explains that Bran will get something he lost, but it won't be the ability to walk. He will, however, fly.

I assume all of this is huge news for people who've read the books, but I wish the show did a better job explaining what the heck these "Children" were.

Dany's Dragon Problem

Daenerys is dealing with plenty of problems, especially now that some of the former slaves wish to return to slavery. Worse than that is the news that one of her dragons killed a 3-year-old girl. Those things are becoming a problem, so Dany takes two of them into the catacombs and chains them up. Of course that means one dragon is still loose.

Game of Thrones season 4 certainly ended with a lot of big events, most notably the deaths of Tywin (Happy Father's Day!), Shae, the Hound (I assume) and Jojen. But Tyrion survived, which is all that really mattered to me, and now it's a long wait until season 5.

(Image courtesy of HBO)