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

Game of Thrones

What I like so much about Game of Thrones, and what this season really punctuated for me, is its repudiation of that old movie cliché where “all men need a code” to live by. I’ve never understood what that meant, and it seems like the type of thing that sounds true but has little bearing on actual life. The George R.R. Martin response to this would most likely be “all men must die” (followed closely by “words are wind”). Indeed, the people who fare the best in Westeros are those willing to abandon their code when necessary to ensure their survival or their social mobility. The Ygritte story strikes a chord because if were it not for Jon Snow temporarily abandoning his vows (Sam’s technical disputes notwithstanding) and being with the Wildling girl, he would in all likelihood not have survived the battle for Castle Black; it’s her hesitation caused by her feelings for him that spare his life. That modicum of adaptation he undergoes is his saving grace in this adapt-or-die world.

Then again, there’s so much to be said for pure luck, being in the right place at the right time, and so the beauty of this story remains the fact that no one is safe (“Safety? Where the fuck’s that?”), that nothing is determined by the gods or personal will or anything. That’s also the thrill of every episode, and what makes the wait for the next season of Game of Thrones even harder, but more exciting.

Additional notes:

  • Yes, literally everyone has made the Jojen and the Argonauts joke. We get it, you know things.
  • Other jokes everyone is making, which is appropriate: “Happy Father’s Day!” and “Won’t someone please think of The Children??” (Ok, that last one was just me)
  • I also assume that the combo of Bran inhabiting Hodor is being referred to as “Brodor.”
  • Jaime and Tyrion’s farewell was heart-wrenching, mostly because based on this show’s history, it will probably be the last thing they ever say to each other.
  • The Daenerys scene with her chaining up her own children was also a tearjerker. The irony of her arc this season is that it ends with her placing these chains on her own dragons after removing them from the people of Meereen. But the rationale is made beautifully, tragically clear in that scene with the devastatingly heartbroken father.
  • The show is really going to miss the presence of Charles Dance.
  • Melisandre and Jon’s fleeting glance was certainly a curious moment, wasn’t it?
  • It was nice when the Hound reminded Arya where the heart is, because this episode, after all that’s happened, was a nice reminder that the series’ heart rests with Arya. Stonehearts shmonehearts; this thing ended the right way.
  • Thanks for reading and watching along this season, folks!

For more on this epic finale, check out the latest episode of The Cast Beyond The Wall!