Game Of Thrones: Season 4 Episode 10, Season Finale “The Children” Review

Game Of Thrones Tyrion Kills Twyin Lannister

Hello Game Of Thrones fans! “The Children” is my favourite season finale of my favourite television show on air. I haven’t been recapping any episodes this season but I wanted to share some general thoughts on the finale. This write-up will be more of a conversation starter than a complete breakdown on everything that happened in this super sized episode. I’ll try to limit my thoughts to the show itself without direct comparisons to the books. If you’re looking for great reviews of each episode without any book spoilers, I’d recommend you also check out and follow The Triple Option blog. If you like book comparisons and full recaps, be sure to check out Cinematic Corner.

Everything after the break will contain spoiler filled thoughts for Game Of Thrones Season 4, Episode 10.

Previous season finales were focused on the aftermath of the big episode 9 event, checking in on characters and setting the stage for next season’s story lines. The Children certainly had those elements but with Stannis’ attack on the Wildlings, the death of three regular characters and the climatic, action-filled conclusion to some story arcs, it made for a stronger, satisfying way to cap off a season. Some of this is a by-product of the Battle At The Wall being a relatively isolated event up North whereas other finales needed to show many character reactions to Ned’s death and the Red Wedding. The finale covered a lot of ground while feeling focused which in part is due to a good decision by the show runners to wrap up Sansa/Littefinger ‘s and Theon/Bolton’s story in episode 8, even if it meant not seeing them again for the rest of the season.

The Wall

Game Of Thrones Season 4 Episode 10

Some fans felt that last episode’s ending with Jon walking through the gate was anti-climatic which I can’t argue with but I wanted to reserve judgement until watching the finale. There may be an early scene or two in episode 9 that could have been cut to make room for Stannis’ battle. But it could have felt rushed to tack on Stannis at the end of episode 9 when it would be better to give those scenes more time to play out in the finale.

And to wrap up Jon’s story in episode 9 would be premature since he still needed to pay respects to the fallen and check in with Tormund which would work better the episode after. Tormund had one of the best lines, “I knew she loved you because all she kept talking about is killing you.”

It’s easy to second guess Jon for walking into the enemy camp to negotiate so I liked that he also had an ulterior motive to cut off the snake’s head, ie. kill Mance Rayder. What I like about Mance is that’s he’s a man of principle and honor. His motivation isn’t to conquer, he simply wants a peaceful treaty for passage through the Wall to ensure the survival of his people.

Many fans aren’t as invested in The Wall and Stannis’ story compared to King’s Landing. Having all those characters together at The Wall should hopefully shake up the landscape with exciting new story possibilities instead of feeling that their scenes are stalling tactics. I’m more a fan of Ser Davos than I am of Stannis. I do give Stannis credit for helping out the Wall when they asked for help, even if it was Melisandre telling him to do it way back in Season 3’s finale. Stannis sees the bigger picture. He wants the Iron throne but he’s also protecting the realm. One of my favorite shots of the episode is Melisandre looking through the flames and what she sees is Jon.

Heart Tree

When the camera held on Bran’s group looking at the giant heart tree for a lengthy time, I got the feeling it would cut to another storyline. I’m glad I was wrong. I’m okay with only checking in on Bran when something significant happens, which wasn’t much this season. One issue with Bran’s storyline is that I never grew to care about Jojen over the last couple of seasons. This lessened the impact of his death and I did not sympathize at all for Meera’s loss. Meera was pretty bad-ass in this episode though. On the other hand, when Hodor got surrounded by the wights I felt worried for him.

I’m not sold on the look of the magical blast attack from the child of the forest. I suppose on a show with shadow creatures and White Walkers, it’s not visually out of the question. After building up the three eyed raven since season 1, it was a bit anti-climatic to find the old man/Bloodraven. “You’ll never walk again, but you will fly”… is that enough to get you excited about Bran’s story line next season?


Dany is at the pinnacle of her power. She’s has an army, conquered a few cities and she’s become the Queen Of Meereen, plus that long-winded intro of names that poor Missandei has to say. I’m glad Dany’s scene is placed in the middle of the episode due to its nature. This isn’t a moment of triumph or empowerment for her unlike other season finales. In principle, her belief in everyone’s freedom is a just cause but she had to come to terms with the consequences of what it means in practice. It’s heart breaking to have her chain up two of her dragons, the imagery is a nice way to sum up her story line without the need for words.

The Vale

Game Of Thrones Season 4 Episode 10 Arya

When Brienne and Arya’s story lines intersected I got nervously excited. I don’t watch the previews so I didn’t know it was going to happen. I like that they both immediately found common ground with each other and the idea that Arya could be Brienne’s apprentice would be a very cool pairing. At the same time, after everything Arya has experienced she has no reason to trust a stranger with a connection to Jamie Lannister. Going with Brienne as a possible option added to the weight of Arya’s decision to follow a path of her own choosing.

In the early part of the fight, it looked like Brienne was holding back but things quickly turned brutal. I loved that Brienne fights dirty; biting an ear off, going for the groin. Where do you rank Brienne among the best fighters in Game Of Thrones? The Hound’s farewell scene is my favorite dialogue of the episode and Arya had me guessing if she’d give the mercy killing or not.

King’s Landing

How I interpreted Cersei’s scenes is that she’s owning her power. Her champion, the Mountain, might just live and become even stronger, Tyrion is about to be executed or so she thinks, and she defiantly goes against Tywin’s order to marry Loras. Her scene with Jamie is like a reverse of that terrible scene in episode 3, this time she initiates. I wish Jamie would have rejected her. He’s been staring into his entry in the Kingsguard book but I don’t think banging his sister is considered a worthy, notable deed.

Let’s move on to the big ending. I liked it but I have some issues with how Shae has been portrayed. It goes back further but I’ll start with the scene early in the season when Tyrion says he doesn’t want to be with her so she’ll go away on the boat. This turned her trial scene into a woman scorned instead of coming across as being afraid for her life if she didn’t give damning testimony on Tyrion. And this in turn, changed the context of finding Shae in Tywin’s bed. It would have been a bigger dagger to Tyrion’s heart to learn that Shae never loved him from the beginning. In the season premiere, there was a line where Tywin tells Cersei to arrange to bring Shae to his chambers. So some time between then and before the trial, Shae got bought out. It’s a nitpick. Dinklage does a solid job with the scene and I liked the framing as the camera slowly moved from Tyrion to Shae’s strangled neck.

On to Tyrion’s next victim. Tywin is always poised and in control. That changed in this finale from Cersei refusing to leave Tommen against Tywin’s will, to confronting him about her incestuous relationship with Jamie and then getting caught with his pants down. Tywin did try to worm his way out of a compromising position “You’re my son, I’d never execute you”, of course Tyrion’s not one to be easily fooled. The dialogue could have been stronger here if the writers pulled lines directly from the book and let this scene play out a bit longer.

While I was writing this/rambling, I had 24: Live Another Day on in the background and was surprised to see Michelle Fairley on that show. It’s good to see her somewhere.

Season four is in my top two favorite seasons. How do you rank the seasons? What is your highlight from the finale?

Keep on Reading More Game Of Thrones Articles:

Game Of Thrones: House Stark’s Ten Biggest Mistakes

Game Of Thrones: King Joffrey’s Top Ten Worst Moments

About Sidekick Reviews

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Posted on June 17, 2014, in Game of Thrones and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. Great post! I can’t wait for season 5! Here’s my brief review of season 4 and finale …

  2. Great post! I loved this season finale, and think this season of GoT has perhaps been the strongest of them all. I think everything was wrapped up well and to my satisfaction, with enough deviations from the books to keep us readers on the line. I loved Tyrion’s scenes with Shae and Tywin. Stannis and Davos appearing was a great moment too. Everyone I know (those who haven’t read the books) were distraught and confused by Dany chaining up her dragons. I was dying to know what they’d do with Arya, if they’d follow her book storyline or take her down a different path. I’m glad to have that answered now.

    As for the Bran storyline, well, I had never been heavily invested in that. At all. At least now they’ve reached the tree.

    • I really liked the season finale too, I can’t wait to rewatch it. It’s very satisfying and a great way to end the season on a high note. I’m open minded towards the book deviations and I also like not knowing what’s exactly going to happen for example the Brienne and Arya scene was a great surprise. I’m glad Arya is following her book storyline which was set up in Season 2 and her evolution will probably be important for future events. I can totally understand those who were distraught with the dragon scene, I felt sorry for them and Dany. I liked Bran’s fight scene in the finale but like you there are other storylines and characters I’m more invested in. Great to discuss the show with you! Cheers!

      • Yes! When Brienne came across Arya I was quite surprised. I did note that both parties were travelling to the same place, and both actually reached the Eerie, which was new to me. GoT though, it has a way of showing us just how close so many characters come to each other without ever meeting, so having Brienne and Arya in the same scene was pretty cool. Great scene it was too. Brienne is hardcore. ;D

        • I adore Brienne. Yeah she’s hardcore, it’s totally believable how she went toe to toe with a hulking beast of a man in a dirty slug fest and won. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think some fans were speculating if Jon and Bran would meet at Crasters, so it is pretty cool to have Brienne and Arya cross paths. I wonder what Brienne will do next … hehe I’m already dying for the next season to come.

  3. Great review. The hound fight was brilliant ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Great review, really enjoyed this season of Game of Thrones, its been brilliant ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. I really enjoyed the season. My write up of the whole thing will probably go up on Thursday. But the Arya, Jon and Bran stuff on Sunday was just so incredibly powerful.

    I liked the Tyrion stuff, but it didn’t deliver the way that I thought it would, probably because I knew how everything was going to play out. Having been a book reader.

    • Cool, I’m looking forward to your write up! Yeah those scenes were powerful and really well done.

      I think I know how you feel about Tyrion’s stuff. Having read the books I had those scenes in my mind already.

  6. I cant believe Khaleesi chained her dragons and put them in a dungeon. I think its really going to stun their growth, just like a fish in a small pond. check out this music video of khaleesi

  7. Great recap! This was a great season and the finale held a lot of surprises for me. When Stannis was coming in I couldn’t figure out who it was and then they showed him and Stavos – totally surprised me.

    I agree about wishing Jamie would have rejected Cersei. Jamie is essentially a decent guy except for one thing: he loves his sister in such an inappropriate manner! Tyrion killing Tywin was shocking for me. How will Tyrion be able to hide? It’s not like he can blend very well. Also will be interested to see who leads the Lannister family now that Tywin is dead. The only capable one left and is responsible for Tywin’s death!

    The Hound/Brienne fight was great. Seemed as though she finally fought someone who was her equal and it was brutal as well. I was happy to see Arya not go with Brienne – would have just been more of Arya roaming the countryside to find someone to leave her with. Hope to see Arya in Bravvos and where that path takes her.

    Another long 10 months before the next season. I’ve read the first two books but have avoided reading the others thus far. I think I’ll have to give in so I can find out what happens. Waiting a year between seasons is just too much!

    • The Stannis fight scene was really well done. It looked expensive. Glad they saved some of the budget for the finale after the expensive episode 9. I liked how they kept the mystery of who they were until after the battle.

      Something about that Jamie / Cersei scene didn’t quite click for me. I would prefer their liaisons to stop. Cersei brings out the worst qualities in Jamie. We’ve seen with Brienne that Jamie can be a decent guy, saving her a couple of times when he didn’t have to. When reading the books, Tyrion killing Tywin was a shocker for me too, especially the way that he died on the privy. Tyrion’s been in King’s Landing for three seasons so it’ll be interesting to see him on new adventures. He is rather conspicuous. Things aren’t looking good for House Lannister, Tywin is a huge loss and like you said there’s no one capable left to take over.

      The brutality of those two big warriors fighting was awesome. I also liked that Arya went on her own to Bravoos, her storyline is probably my favorite from book 4.

      Season 3 & 4 has covered most of the major events in Book 3, which is my favorite book in the series . Reading the books ahead of the TV show changes how I experience the show. Sometimes I do miss being surprised. I think future seasons will veer away from the books more. It’s going to be a long 10 months! At least it’s better than the multi year wait in between books. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Nice to see you review this episode! Great stuff! And thank you for the link. I appreciate it!

    I really agree with you about Shae. I don’t think they handled her very well and I don’t like her as extra motivation for Tyrion killing Tywin. I feel the Tysha stuff in the book holds more weight because of how it all was set up.

    I am glad they finally got to this bit of Bran’s storyline, but I am not sure if it will ever grow into something I am excited for each week.

    Brienne and Arya meeting up was super cool and I loved the fight scene that ensued. Arya’s sections really surprised me this week as they were my favorite part of this episode.

    This might be my favorite season, but I am not sure. I will have to ponder it some. I thought it would be easily the best, but it doesn’t feel that way at the moment. It was great though for sure!

    • Thanks and I hope some readers will discover your blog!

      I think because Shae and Tyrion’s relationship is different on the show it caused the writers to make changes. I agree with you that the context and motivations for killing Tywin and Shae were altered. In the books, Tyrion wouldn’t have said, “I’m sorry” after killing Shae. I missed the “wherever whores go” line which referred to Tysha.

      Arya’s sections were great, I like how it ended with her sailing to Bravos. I liked how that scene felt and music worked well with it.

      This season is in my top two but I haven’t decided if it’s my favorite yet. I’m going to miss watching the show each Sunday night. It was fun anticipating each episode.

  9. Such a great episode and season loved it!

  10. Oh, so much to say! I wish I had found this post sooner – I think there were a few scenes in the last couple of episodes that were a little off – I haven’t read the books, but my boyfriend tells me it is because they haven’t developed some characters in the show the same way that they are in the books, so when they have a moment in the show sometimes it doesn’t come across the same way. Example: Tyrion’s scenes in the finale…I was confused as to the sudden animosity he felt towards his father and then killing Shae. The character of Shae we saw on the show was more gentle, loving than in the books. (Or so I’m told.) The whole death scene for her was hard for me to understand…considering I thought she was actually upset when Tyrion sent her away, but anyway…

    I loved the episode with Jon at the wall, and his meeting with Mance was so much more than just a meeting between foes, we haven’t seen the last of Mance. It’s good to see Stannis finally have a purpose…I haven’t been a great fan of his either throughout the series, but he certainly comes of as impressive to the Wildings and Jon.

    It broke my heart to watch Dany chain up her dragons, and I love the irony there. She can free other people from chains, and yet…not her own dragons.

    Arya’s story is my favorite and I love that she if finally on her own and in control of her own destiny, at least so far. Since her father was killed she’s been tossed around from one person to the next, and now we get to see her really shine! Brienne vs the Hound was amazing as well.
    Oh man, sorry for the book, and thanks for the recent likes on The Writer’s Hub! I hate that we have to wait a whole new year for the new season of GOTs now!

    • You know what? I can’t stop thinking about the show and what might happen next season haha. I also thought some of the scenes didn’t come across the same as the books.

      It’s a little convoluted but I’ll share my thoughts on those scenes. On the show, Shae had genuine feelings for Tyrion. It was out of character of her not to realize Tyrion was pushing her away for her own safety. This misunderstanding made Shae upset and she turned on Tyrion at the trial. When Shae picked up the knife, Tyrion quickly acted to put an end to her.

      The way I see it, Tyrion blamed his father for having to kill Shae. Tyrion was also disowned as a son all his life and sentenced to death by Tywin, even though Tywin knew Tyrion didn’t murder Joffrey.

      In the books, Shae was only using Tyrion but he didn’t realize that until seeing her in his father’s bed. Tyrion is enraged and strangles her in cold blood. The added motivation for pulling the trigger was due to a cruel deception Tywin played on Tyrion involving his first wife which Jamie confesses after freeing Tryion from the cell.

      I haven’t been invested in Stannis’ scenes either but I like how he’s up at the Wall now with Mance and Jon, it could get interesting.

      I also like that Arya is taking control of her own destiny. I love that final scene with her on the ship sailing to Bravos. I’m going to reread book 5 to hold me over until next season. ๐Ÿ™‚ It always lots of fun for me to hear what other fans of the show are thinking, especially those that haven’t read the books. Thanks!

      • I’m definitely thanking of reading the books now…I started with book one, but I couldn’t get through it – I usually read (and write) mostly young adult fiction, so epic fantasy, except for Lord of the Rings is hard for me to get through sometimes. But other people keep torturing me saying I know what happens! And I’m not sure I can wait until next year to find out what happens! lol :p

        • I found the prologue a bit tough to get through but once I got to the Tryion and Arya chapters it picked up for me. I was about 1/3 of the way through the first book before starting and finishing season 1. Once I was spoiled from the TV show, it made the rest of book 1 a little less exciting but still great and one of my faves. It’s so tempting looking up Game Of Thrones Wiki for a sneak peak isn’t it haha (I think it’ll be worth waiting for the show though). Once the TV show gets ahead of the books then both readers and non-readers will be “tortured” lol ;).

  11. “Heโ€™s been staring into his entry in the Kingsguard book but I donโ€™t think banging his sister is considered a worthy, notable deed.”

    Not for you maybe but I’d put it at the top of my list haha.

    And now answering your Brienne question, I think she’s the best hand to hand combatant in Westeros and here’s why. She’s a woman and everyone would underestimate her. It’s happened a few times she’s fought already and because of that it makes her dangerous.

    • Haha, I’d be interested to find out what else would be on your list. ๐Ÿ™‚ On second thought …

      That’s a good point, Brienne is always underestimated. She’s also undefeated. I can see her as the pound for pound champ or if not a strong contender. I also like how she’ll fight dirty. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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