Well, I have now seen the finale of Season 4 twice and it was pretty awesome. No wonder it was longer, because there was a lot of stuff to cram in to tie up the storylines and lead us into Season 5.
Qyburn and Cersei are conspiring to “save” a heavily poisoned Gregor Clegane, but I have to admit I was hoping to see him suffer like he did in the books. There are a lot of characters I don’t like in the books, but the one character I dread whenever he appears is the Mountain That Rides. Sure, he is scary in the show, and quite intimidating, but in the book there is a lot more that you hear about him to show you what a true monster he is. You hear stories about the horror that is Clegane’s Keep. Rumors of how Gregor burned his brother, murdered his father (to become lord of the keep), and had several wives who died as well. Servants who disappear. Sure, there are a lot of people in the show who are brutal but none of them come close to Ser Gregor. But that is for another time, I guess. Suffice it to say we have not seen the last of him, although Qyburn hunts that the process of “saving” him will “change” him.
I think one of my favorite parts of the episode was the appearance of Stannis’ army in the North. The scene was pretty cool in the books, and I was looking forward to seeing how they were going to show it in the series. And the cavalry sweeping down in different columns is described pretty vividly in the books, but seeing it on-screen was awesome.
I was sort of expecting the scene with Daenarys and the man with the burned bones of his child. I just wasn’t sure about the timing, but it made sense to have it as a sort of cliffhanger the way they did. And I think they did a good job of showing how devastated Dany is by what her dragons have done.
The scene where Bran, Hodor and the Reeds arrive at the weirwood to find the three-eyed raven was even better than I imagined. They did it really, really well. The wights were pretty creepy. And as I suspected, they did not introduce the character of Coldhands. Too bad, he was an interesting minor character from the books. But they did finally bring in the Children of the Forest, and the character I can only assume is either Leaf or someone based on her.
Oh, Tyrion. I honestly was not sure if they would do things like they did in the books, but they sure did, and watching it on the screen was a lot more powerful than reading it now that Shae was a more developed character. But there is one thing that seems a bit strange. I still can’t figure out why Shae ended up in Tywin’s bed. But part of me wondered whether or not Tywin thought that he might have to sire a bastard son himself just so he could continue the Lannister family line, especially if Cersei followed through on her threat to reveal the true nature of her relationship with her brother. That sort of makes sense. But it is still a bit weird, even a little creepy, that he would take his son’s “ex”, for lack of a better term, into his own bed. Eww. But it also makes a lot more sense now, in terms of the show, when Tyrion kills Shae and then kills his father. And while Varys sort of just disappears in the books, you see him get on the ship with Tyrion’s crate in the show.
The scenes with Arya were probably the ones that were the biggest surprise, because I did not expect Brienne and Pod to run into Arya and the Hound, although I do remember reading about how some other people were making that prediction. But it was an interesting scene. And it also allowed them to separate the Hound from Arya in a fashion somewhat like the books, in which she essentially leaves him for dead, and finds a place on a ship to Braavos. Valar morgulis, valar dohaeris.
Man. Now we have to wait almost a year for season five. Sigh. Lots of time to obsess over it until then.
And so our watch begins.