Suffer the Children? Episode 10, Season 4 Recap


Arya (Maisie ) seeks her own path. © HBO.

Showrunners Weiss and Debioff have billed tonight’s season finale, “The Children” as the show’s finest hour. Does it live up to the hype? The twists – and deaths – keep coming there’s no doubt. Still, it is definitely the season’s act IV, a denouement and soft conclusion rather than an adrenaline filled time for the heroes. Despite all the characters who got axed, the show did not have the dark ending like Game of Thrones‘ ninth episodes — essentially an act III — have had traditionally.

The Wall



The morning after the Battle of Castle Black Jon Snow embarked on a suicide mission to negotiate with — or kill — Mance Rayder, the Wildling leader. The men at Castle Black can’t hold out much longer against Mance’s depleted yet still humongous army. The Crows are lucky they made it through the night.

Jon charges through the devastation, the smoldering fires, and the carnage into the woods. After the Wildling soldiers escort Jon into the camp, Mance brings Jon into his tent – and rues his bad judgment for ever trusting the crow.

Mance asks after Ygritte, and we see a brief flicker of remorse when he learns she’s dead. The men drink to her. We also learn that Mag the Mighty, the giant who fell in the tunnel, was the final king in a bloodline that stretched back before the First Men. Mance cares about his people.

The negotiations start. Winter is coming: Mance and his people want to be south of the Wall when it arrives. Mance wants Jon to open the gates and let them through. This is a tough spot for Jon because if they open the gates, the Wildling army could kill the remaining men of the Night’s Watch and anyone south of the Wall.

Mance figures out Jon is there to kill him, but before Jon can face any consequences, an enormous cavalry bears down on the Wildling camp. Horses speckle the landscape as far as the eye can see. The lightning attack charges in from all directions and slices down much of the camp.



Mance Rayder as portrayed by the marvellous Ciaran Hinds. © HBO

Mance commands his men to stand down – no more bloodshed. Then Stannis and Davos arrive in their pristine armor.

As Stannis approaches, Mance knows he’s beaten and throws his weapons on the ground. Stannis tries to make Mance kneel before he surrenders. Mance refuses to bend the knee – regardless of his people’s fate.

Davos admonishes Jon to kneel and address Stannis as your grace.

Jon replies his father died for Stannis. But, note: Jon does not kneel. He then saves Mance from Stannis’ iron justice.

When Stannis asks him how asked how his father would treat Mance, Jon calmly states Mance treated him well and did not torture him, so he would respond in kind – and warns Stannis to burn the dead before nightfall.


Stannis and Davos at Castle Black © HBO


Later, back at the camp, the Night’s Watch burn their dead and honor their fallen: now their watch has ended.

Afterward, Jon goes to see Tormund, and it comes out that Jon’s time with the Wildlings changed him.


Tormund © HBO

Tormund is now healed. Maester Aemon, who is sworn to heal friend or foe, treated him. Tormund wants to know his fate – torture, beheading? Jon can’t tell him but assumes Stannis will decide.

Is Stannis your king now? Tormund asks.

Jon replies, “I don’t have a king.”

“You spent too much time with us, Jon Snow. You can never be a kneeler again.”

Jon changes the subject and asks how the Free Folk honor their dead. They don’t: “The dead can’t hear us.”

Like Mance, Tormund asks if Jon ever really loved Ygritte. Ygritte loved Jon: all she ever spoke of was killing him, according to Tormund.

Jon doesn’t answer Tormund, but later on Jon incinerates Ygritte’s body in the “real north” like Tormund requested. The funeral pyre burns under the crimson leaves of a weirwood tree and Jon squeezes back tears as he walks away.

Daenerys: The Baby Birds Find a New Nest


Daenerys descends the steps into the catacombs, as portrayed by Emilia Clarke © HBO.

As the season ends, trouble is brewing in Meereen for Daenerys and her rule. Can the young queen truly be a good mother to her people and her dragons?

An old man named Fennesz gains an audience with Daenerys. He says he is now homeless and wants to sell himself back to his old master – he says he is too old to adapt to freedom and the young former slaves prey on the old in the shelters. Dany consents that Fennesz may sign a contract with his former master. Barristan Selmy, however, warns Dany this creates a precedent and will lead to abuses.

Next a peasant enters the throne room carrying a bundle. He begins to weep and tells Daenerys that a “black one” came from the sky, a winged shadow. When the man uncovers the bundle, he reveals the charred corpse of his three-year old daughter, Zala.

Nobody has seen Drogon, the black dragon.


The problem child in action. © HBO.

With the deepest sadness, Daenerys imprisons her other two dragons in the catacombs. Weeping, she clamps them to the floor.

This is a real problem for the queen in Meereen. Daenerys can’t invade Westeros without her dragons. They can’t fly while they’re chained to the floor of the catacombs. Until she can control her dragons, she’s stuck in Meereen – a city she may not be able to rule.

Bran: A child’s destiny


Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) being towed by Hodor (Kristian Nairn) © HBO.

Beyond the Wall, Bran, the Reeds, and Hodor continue to search for the Three-eyed Crow and find something equally mysterious and ancient: the Children of the Forest.

Finally, amidst a snow storm – almost when they can go no further — they see the heart tree glowing crimson on the horizon and bathing the grey sky in a golden light.

Before the party reach the heart tree, the armed dead erupt from beneath the snow and attack. These are not White Walkers as we know them but rag-covered skeletons. One skeleton nearly kills Bran until Summer charges out of nowhere and destroys it. Bran wargs into Hodor.

There are too many skeletons attacking though – and it is too late to save Jojen. A skeleton repeatedly stabs Jojen. Meera rushes to save her brother at the same time as two skeletons charge Bran.


Ellie Kendrick, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and Kristian Nairn © HBO.

A small child-like creature appears and she zaps the charging skeletons before they reach Bran. She commands Bran to come with her into a nearby cave. She also tells Meera it is too late to save Jojen – Meera must go with her or die with her brother.

Jojen tells Meera to go with Bran and the creature. While he says this, two more skeletons pop through the snow. Not wanting to see her brother fall into their hands, Meera slits his throat – and then races into the cave, narrowly escaping more skeleton soldiers.

The cave is a tangle of weirwood roots and bones. There, nestled in a throne amidst the roots, Bran meets the three-eyed raven, who has assumed the form of an ancient man with a flowing white beard.

The three-eyed raven/man tells them he has been watching them all of their lives with a thousand eyes in one. To console them over Jojen’s death, he tells them Jojen undertook the journey anyway despite knowing the outcome. He died so you could find what you lost, he tells Bran. He tells Bran that he will never walk again, but he will fly.

King’s Landing

A small measure of revenge for Prince Oberyn — maybe



This is the first time we’ve seen King’s Landing since the duel between The Mountain and Prince Oberyn. The Mountain is dying from Death’s Head manticore venom, which we learn coated Oberyn’s spear. Cersei, Grand Maester Pycelle, and Qyburn convene in Pycelle’s laboratory to try to save the Mountain.

Pycelle has no experience with the manticore poison, but his book learning tells him they should give up.

Qyburn refuses: it’s possible to save the Mountain. Qyburn is the crazed genius who healed Jaime’s hand. As Pycelle tells it, Qyburn was kicked out of the Citadel for a reason. “He’s not even a maester,” Pycelle sniffs before Cersei dismisses him.

Qyburn drains the Mountain’s blood to purge the poison. He warns Cersei that the process of saving the Mountain may change him, but Cersei doesn’t care if it won’t weaken him.


Qyburn, expelled from his maester training for his unorthodox experiments. © HBO

Tywin commands Cersei to marry Loras Tyrell

After Cersei leaves the convalescing Mountain, she visits her father. Tywin commands Cersei marry Loras Tyrell, which is even more pressing given he’s about to lose his heir, Tyrion. (Jaime cannot be his heir due to his Kingsguard oath never to marry.)

Cersei’s main concern is being around to protect Tommen from her father and Margaery. If she is shipped off to Highgarden, she threatens Tywin that she will “burn the house down” and reveal Jaime is Tommen’s father. This would shatter Tywin’s precious legacy. Tywin refuses to believe Cersei about the incest, but deep down he knows the truth. And, Cersei sees it in his eyes.

Cersei and Jaime fight over Tyrion, and then make up

Cersei and Jaime have a showdown over Tyrion’s imminent execution. Jaime can’t believe his sister still hates Tyrion for killing their mother and tells her that is absurd. Cersei then reveals that she told Tywin about their incest and she wants to be with Jaime publicly. To celebrate, they have sex on the table.

Tyrion’s Fate


Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) liveth yet. © HBO

You didn’t really think they’d kill him, did you? Come on, Peter Dinklage is the star of the show. But, then again, it’s Game of Thrones so anyone’s fair game. Go ahead and exhale: Tyrion lives. Here’s what happens.

At the trial bt combat, Tyrion’s chance for exoneration imploded when Oberyn’s head exploded; Tywin decreed the gods had spoken and Tyrion must die. As a result, at the beginning of this episode, he’s being held prisoner in dungeon.

The door rattles. Tyrion expects death. Instead, Jaime rescues Tyrion. There’s a galley waiting for Tyrion to board. Jaime runs Tyrion down the corridors, torch in hand. They hug warmly and Tyrion thanks him for his life – none of the nasty conflict in the books. This is a nice ending for the recent bromance.

Tyrion recognizes he is beneath the Tower of the Hand, and can’t resist sneaking into his father’s quarters through a trap door.

Who does he find in his father’s bed chamber? None other than Shae, his former lover. She grabs a cheese knife off a fruit plate. They struggle. Weeping, Tyrion chokes the life out of her by twisting the heavy gold chain around her neck until she suffocates. He regrets killing her. Tyrion even remains by her body with tears on his cheeks — until he remembers whose chamber he is in.

Tyrion picks up a cross-bow and searches for his father. He finds a very surprised Tywin on the toilet.


Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) takes aim at his father. © HBO.

Tywin agrees that he’s wanted Tyrion dead his whole life.

Tywin claims he’d never let Illyne Payne execute Tyrion, but Tyrion’s nobody’s fool. He’s not buying it.

Tyrion is still reeling from killing Shae. As a result, he says he’s crossed the point of no return. Tywin brushes her death off – “she’s a whore” – and that’s his big mistake.

Tyrion warns his father not to say “whore” again. Tyrion wants answers — why did his father want him dead, knowing he didn’t poison Joffrey. When Tywin suggests talking in his chamber, Tyrion refuses saying he can’t go back there.

“Why, are you afraid of a dead whore?” Tywin asks.

And, with that, Tyrion fires a cross bow bolt into Tywin’s chest.

Although Tywin can’t believe it, Tyrion coolly reloads.

Tywin’s last words to Tyrion are “You’re no son of mine.” A possible truth Tyrion (may have) misinterpreted as rejection. Tyrion shoots a last fatal bolt, which strikes Tywin in the upper chest, and flees the chamber. He finds Varys in the corridor.

Despite knowing Tyrion’s done something terrible, Varys smuggles Tyrion out of the castle in a crate with holes in it. After Varys hears the bells tolling to signal an escaped prisoner, he goes and sits by Tyrion’s crate, to ensure it gets loaded into the galley headed to the Free Cities. This is Varys, so it’s unclear why he does this. Loyalty? If so, to whom? The realm?

Brienne and Pod Find Arya and the Hound


Last time we saw them, Arya (Maisie Williams) and The Hound were thwarted once again when they got some unexpected news at the Vale. © HBO.

Brienne and Pod come across Arya and the Hound. It starts out as touching scene, but it ends tragically.

Brienne the lady not-a-knight fascinates Arya. In a way, Arya is seeing her future self and finally a woman she can admire. The two have great chemistry, so it’s too bad their touching moment won’t last.

The Hound refuses to let Arya go with Brienne. To the Hound, Brienne clearly has no idea how to keep Arya safe. “Safety, where the f— is that?” After all, Arya’s mother, father, brother, aunt, and everyone else who could protect her are dead.


Brienne (Gwendolyn Christie) and Pod, as Brienne draws her sword and faces The Hound. © HBO

Brienne refuses to yield. Brienne and the Hound face off. This is epic. They are worthy adversaries. The fight denigrates into a dirty slugfest – head butts, biting – it’s not pretty. In the midst of all of this pummeling, the Hound tumbles down a huge cliff.

Arya hides in the rocks and after Brienne leaves, she finds the Hound. He is mortally wounded: broken bones and a huge gash in of his leg.

The Hound laughs that a woman will be the one who killed him. He tells Arya to go after Brienne.

The Hound tries to goad Arya into killing him, but she won’t do it. He reminds her that he cut down her butcher’s boy. He begs Arya to do it. Arya merely takes his purse and abandons the Hound, who is shouting at her to kill him while she walks away.


Arya Cashes in Her Chip

After leaving the Hound, Arya arrives at a seaport. She begs the captain for passage north, but he refuses. She offers him the silver from the Hound’s purse, and he still refuses.

When she hears the captain isn’t going north, but is going home to Braavos, Arya tries one last time. She hands the captain the iron coin the enigmatic Jaqen H’ghar gave her and says “Valar Morghulis” as Jaqen H’ghar instructed to do if she ever needed help. Immediately, the captain agrees to give her not only passage but a cabin. This mysterious coin is an altogether different currency – and it has power. Arya is sailing to Braavos. A new adventure awaits her.

The Round Up

At the end of tonight’s episode, up to five characters may be dead. Shae, Tywin, Jojen, and maybe both brothers Clegane are gone. Possibly the most shocking death of all is Tywin played by the amazingly rich-voiced Charles Dance. Tywin seemed undefeatable: certainly, his children would never get the upper hand.

The theme of the episode is “children” – in their various forms. Brienne fails yet again in her attempt to protect Catelyn’s children. Jon, however, gains favor with Stannis because of who Jon’s father may be. And, Daenerys now has a problem child: Drogon.

At Tywin’s death, that family name he’s sacrificed everything for looks like it may be shattered. His children stomp on his legacy: Jaime refuses to leave the Kingsgaurd and be his heir, Cersei refuses to ensure the family legacy by leaving her own son and moving to Highgarden with Loras, and Tyrion, who may not actually be his son, kills him.

Jamie Adair is the editor of History Behind Game of Thrones, a website about the history behind George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels and the hit TV show, "Game of Thrones."


  • Reply June 16, 2014


    I’ve thought that some of the changes they made to the story for the show were practical, but they really stripped out the entire reason for his murder of Tywin? And no Stoneheart? And Jojen? And Varys, the guy who’s pretty important because of what we find out for his entire reason for being in Westeros?

    Well, so much for Tyrion seeing the truth about his situation.

    • Reply June 16, 2014


      I might be an outlier but I think the show is actually plotted a lot better than the books. Which is quite logical if you think about it because GRRM does not know what is happening in the book after the one he is writing while the show producers do, at least until now.

      Having Brienne meet the Hound and fight him is a lot better use of both than the end of the Hound in the book (the Hound certainly leaves but Cleggane might not).

      Killing Jojen was only a small surprise. There wasn’t going to be a lot of use for him once Bran meets the three eyed crow.

      The Tyrion/Tywin showdown was pretty good. Tywin is obviously lying when he says he would not let Tyrion be executed and about murdering Shae being OK. Everything he says is an obvious lie except when he says ‘you are my son’. I think this is a very heavy hint that he is telling the truth when he tells Tyrion that he isn’t.

      I’m not sure if Stoneheart is going to make a showing. Coldhands didn’t. It sounds like the whole Riverlands plot has been dropped for a season in favor of Dorne.

      One thing that is not clear to me is the timescale. For us as viewers the Red Wedding took place last year. But the time could be a lot shorter in the series. It is the time it takes Arya and the Hound to go from Riverrun to the Bloody Gate on horse and foot and a bit longer than the time than it takes Brienne to go from KL to the Erie on horse. Its a few weeks so Stoneheart might not have decomposed too badly yet.

    • Reply June 16, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      The Stoneheart thong could be a book spoiler – although it is every where on the web with the fan art so I think it would be hard not to know. Meaning they still might do it. But I think you’re right.
      I also think PHB might be right about people not being able to remember the story about what happened to Tyrion’s first wife back in Season 1. I read this morning that some people feel that Jojen has little to do dramatically after this season – as PHB points out, but it still is a big change. I guess Valar morghulis.

      • Reply June 16, 2014


        I have an idea that the Tysha plotline could still happen BUT without Jamie.

        Everything Tywin says to Tyrion when he is trying to save his life is a lie. Tyrion knows that Tywin is lying about everything except the one thing that Tywin then denies after he is shot.

        Remember that Tyrion is now traveling with Varys who is the lord of spies. So there are other ways to re-introduce the sub-plot. Why remind viewers of something they last heard about in season 1 in the last episode of season 4? If it matters, bring it up in season 5 when he is on a boat with little to do but talk to Varys (who is surely being brought along to give him someone we already know to talk to.)

        So I think Tyrion suspected all along that Tywin was lying about Tysha being a whore. I don’t buy the argument about the story being the motive for killing Tywin either: Tywin gave Tyrion plenty of motives without needing the Tysha story.

        === book spoiler ===

        The other character I think will be mentioned on the voyages of Tyrion is Gerion. We haven’t seen him in the books but he is mentioned as going to Valyria and we know that Euron has a horn that came from Valyria. So someone has gone to Valyria and returned. Simplest explanation would be that it was Gerion who came back and Euron got the horn later.

        If Tyrion comes across Gerrion he can find out about Tysha from him.

        • Reply June 17, 2014

          Jamie Adair

          That’s an interesting theory about Tyrion suspecting Tysha wasn’t a whore all along. Maybe the showrunners dropped the plot because Tywin gave him enough motive. It is interesting how in the TV version (I think) Tyrion’s feelings for Shae are more clearly mixed IMO.

  • Reply June 16, 2014


    I really enjoyed last nights episode. After watching it I had a very fascinating conversation with my friends about the nature of the fight between Brienne and the Hound – how, instead of getting bloody, it turns almost erotic in nature, getting intense and intimate without being vicious (as opposed to say, the Mountain and Prince Oberon). The struggle of the two of them really mimicked the frustration and anxiety that the two of them had about their situations through so much toil about the Stark girl(s).

    I cried during the Jon-Ygritte last scene. A fitting sendoff for an excellent character on the show.

    I kind of like that they’re straying from the books – it makes the show more unique and free to pull in influences that didn’t exist in the books – and help the story become more coherent. DH was upset like Grant about the changing of the Tywin death scene, but I think as a tv viewer it would have been very hard for most of the audience to remember something that Tyrion said back in season 1 (or 2?) about his former love.

    I’m rooting for Arya. She seems to be the one with the most promise out of all the characters left on the show, heading to Braavos with no one chasing her, no romantic entanglements, and the spirit of someone who could make it on her own, a very modern story for a young lady in the age GoT is portrayed in.

    • Reply August 8, 2014

      Brandon Butler

      I read that fight totally differently. Strange as it might sound, I read it as symbolic of the tragedy of human nature and society. That here were these two people, neither what you’d call evil, about to kill one another for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with anyone present, including Arya. They ALL had some sort of code, they ALL hated the Lannisters, they ALL — even the Hound — had some feelings of goodwill towards the Starks.

      Yet here they were about to go tooth and nail and potentially die because Lannisters, because Geoffrey, because Mad King. What a waste of money, waste of time, waste of human life.

  • Reply June 16, 2014

    Stan Mehaffey

    Why do they have to burn the bodies beyond the wall before nightfall? Did I miss something?

    • Reply June 16, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      To prevent them from coming back as white walkers. It has been a while since the show spoke about this though. And I don’t think they’ve ever given the reason for sundown. (Meaning, I can see why this is confusing.)

      • Reply June 16, 2014

        Fan in Starfall

        You mean wights. These are the zombies while the White Walkers are the creatures raising and controlling the zombies.

        Also, I see you’re one of the people who agrees with the theory that Tyrion is not Tywin’s biological son.

        • Reply June 17, 2014

          Jamie Adair

          Whoops, yes wights. And, yes, I do believe the theory that Tyrion is not Tywin’s son. But, lol, I probably shouldn’t speak of it as though it is likely fact.
          However, it really would explain Tywin’s hatred for Tyrion – a parallel with Cat and Jon Snow. (Except many people, including me, don’t think Jon is Ned’s son.)

      • Reply June 16, 2014


        I don’t think sundown is a specific criteria. But its basic management, you have an important order, you give a specific timeframe.

        Stannis could have interpreted ‘burn all the bodies as soon as possible’ to mean ‘sometime this week’. And that would obviously be too long. Given the number of dead is hundreds at least, burning the bodies is by far the most important thing to do at that time.

        Meanwhile, Ygritte’s body has been around how long? More than a day I think.

    • Reply June 16, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      Also, hi Stan, and welcome.

  • Reply June 17, 2014


    Tysha is the trigger of Tyrion’s murders. The foundation of his character is his belief that no one loves him (possibly correct). The moment at 13 when his father told him his wife is a whore is the moment that cemented this belief. So when Jaime made the confession, Tyrion’s whole world came crashing down. To discard this is to gut the character.

    • Reply June 17, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      Put like that, you’re right Jun. You know I hated that whole story line in the books – especially the part during the escape when Jaime confesses. But I think this will mean big changes to the TV show in a season or two. However, PHB is right – they could figure out ways to reintroduce Tysha. I think the fact that the show didn’t have Tyrion (falsely) confess to Jaime he killed Joffrey could really change things later.

      • Reply June 17, 2014


        I am curious why you hated that whole story line in the books (including whole hsitory of Tysha?). Perhaps Dave and Dan hate it too and therefore cut it.

        I think, at this time, there is sufficient difference between the book character and the TV character to regard them as different characters. Individuals may prefer the book Tyrion or the TV Tyrion. There is no rigt or wrong choice, just personal preference. The TV Tyrion is a good guy, if not a downright hero, who has been driven to do desperate things. The book Tyrion is a sinner, in the very specifically Catholic sense.

        • Reply June 17, 2014

          Jamie Adair

          For me, I found the scene between Jaime and Tyrion in the book like chewing on tinfoil. This is purely an emotional, not intellectual, response.

          I haven’t analyzed it, but there is probably nothing wrong with the scene dramatically. But I found it really unpleasant. I don’t mind – in fact I even respect – all the deaths GRRM puts in his stories. That scene between Jaime and Tyrion might be one of my least favorite non-violent parts of ASOIAF.

          I really didn’t like Jaime’s involvement with the Tysha affair. I didn’t like Tyrion lying to Jaime and telling him he killed Joffrey. The rescue was a rare sweet moment and then it gets turned to crap in the novels. I like the idea of somebody loving Tyrion – after all, we love him. 🙂

          But I worry that Dan and Dave wrote themselves into a corner. For sure GRRM created the scene for a major reason that he will pull out in book 6-8. Whoever said that Dan/Dave have enough time or ways to fix it is right. But still…

          —-book spoiler —

          I also don’t like what happens to Tyrion or Arya’s characters after this point – probably earlier. I respect GRRM giving them a downward character arc — all too often character arcs are only upward. Book Tyrion is (or becomes ?) very different than TV Tyrion – perhaps this is the turning point.

          • June 18, 2014


            I think I understand and sympathize with what you mean. The book Tyrion is not as likable or lovable as the TV Tyrion, and this divergence may have started in book/seaon 2. Martin is a cruel man and under his pen (keyboard) everyone has an ugly side, even his own favorite.

            Indeed both of his favorites, Tyrion and Arya, will continue to take on more psychological darkness that is pretty unpalatable for TV. I speculated that Arya is following a path like the Japanese manga and movie series called Lady Snowblood ( It will not be pretty.

            I am strangely attracted to the Catholic subtext and Martin’s naturalistic brutality and bleak view of humanity. I often wonder if the real Richard III was a good brother, good husband, good king, and child murderer. There was a legendary Emperor in Chinese history who was regarded as one of the best toward his people and created the most prosperous time ever. But he was a second son and sat on the throne only after murdering two of his brothers and locked up his own father.

      • Reply June 17, 2014

        Phillip Hallam-Baker

        The thing is that Tyrion does not need to know the truth about Tysha right now to motivate any of his actions. He doesn’t exactly need a motive to escape and already has more than enough motive to kill Shae.

        Killing Tywin makes perfect sense from a practical and moral point of view. His father has just tried to murder him and Tyrion is already a wanted man for the murder of King Joffrey because of him. Tywin killed Shae as far as Tyrion is concerned, he bribed/threatened her to testify against him and ridicule him and then he fucked her. Killing Tywin really does not need any additional explanation. To add more would detract, not add.

        It isn’t even clear that Tyrion knows he is going to kill Tywin till he actually does. Its not as if he has any real choice if he is going to escape. But he isn’t acting in a calculating fashion, he wants to make sure of his revenge.

        I thought the way the story was done in the books was rather clumsy. But GRRM was writing under some very peculiar constraints due to the book format. He had to close out the lose ends on Tyrion’s story before readers forgot them when he got put on the shelf for a very long time. Here the producers have all the closure they need till the start of the next season.

        Note also that Tyrion shut down the reveal to Shae fairly quickly. So the next time he raises the story it will be a sign he is opening up.

        The only loss is Tyrion’s line ‘where do whores go’ is gone.

  • Reply June 17, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    I’m kind of sorry they missed the Tysha reference – there was a poignancy in the fact there HAD been someone (other than Jaime) who cared for Tyrion for himself and not just because he was a rich lord’s son. I was saddened at that point in the (book) story that the one good relationship Tyrion had with his family, i.e. with his brother Jaime went awry. However, I have been going through my memories of book to screen/TV adaptations other than ASOIAF and cannot think of one where the story made it to the screen exactly as it was in the book. I had mixed feelings about the person who morphed into Lady Stonehart coming back with such a character change in the books. I discovered the books because of the show because it seemed so long to wait nearly a whole year to find out how matters progressed after one run of 10 episodes ended…but even the book series I discovered was unfinished. On the whole I am not a great reader of fantasy, (and that includes “Lord of the Rings” – tried but couldn’t stick with them, though I’ve seen some of the films – if I’m watching on the TV I can go and make a cup of tea while Galadriel is on). I do like some of the tales of yore, myths and so forth, though even those get tampered with in adaptations nowadays.

    This probably sounds like a whinge, but actually I enjoyed the episode though I was sorry about some of the deaths (though we didn’t actually see The Hound die, did we?) Even in my pre-book days, I thought it was very likely that Arya would go to Braavos at some time after Jaqen gave her the coin. I’m not one of those persons who is going to throw my toys out of the pram and declare a boycott on the show while it continues to interest me.

    • Reply June 17, 2014

      Phillip Hallam-Baker

      I don’t understand how Tyrion’s relationship to his brother is really changed by the Tysha story.

      ===book spoilers====
      Jamie saves Tyrion’s life at great risk to his own. Tyrion can hardly be that upset about something he was forced to do by his father and has asked to be forgiven for. And its almost certainly the last time they meet, certainly until the wall falls and the White Walkers invade. No that does not happen in the books but its a shotgun over the fireplace: it has to come down at the end of Book 6.

      So when was there time for Tyrion to be processing this and coming up with a new view of the world between finding out and giving dad a slotting?

  • Reply June 18, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    What Jun has to say comparing Arya to the Japanese manga series is interesting. I’m not at all knowledgeable about far Asian literature though I did read “The Tale of Genji” many years ago. Most of my reading about places like China/Japan has been from Western writers – whether it is a matter that not many writers from such places have their works translated into English or whether it is a case of their work not being publicised in the West, I am not sure. It has crossed my mind sometimes (and apologies if I already mentioned this on another thread) that there must be youngsters in countries like Syria, or some of the war-torn African countries that are living lives something like Arya’s, having to survive the best they can by the skin of their teeth. Would Arya have been different if Yoren hadn’t been “bumped off”? But then he was taking her to Winterfell and we know what happened there……..

    I had heard that GRRM had a Catholic upbringing though he didn’t practise any longer but I had not picked up on the Catholic sub-text though I’m from a Catholic background myself.

    I have noticed that some GRRM fans seem to believe that he is the only writer who has ever had characters that were neither wholly good nor wholly bad – or the only writer who has killed off a popular fictional character, neither of which is true. As for people who are “good” (like Ned) getting “shafted”, the pages of literature and real history are full of decent people being served ill. GRRM does have a tremendous imagination though – being able to take myriad events from different stages of world history and weaving them into the fictional world of ASOIAF is no small achievement. Also, if he is getting people in reading, especially a series of weighty novels, he deserves a thumbs-up.

    • Reply June 19, 2014


      Serious literature is filled with lead characters who cannot be classified as good by any standard. In fact, morally upstanding characters went out of fashion with Charles Dickens. But readers of genre fiction tend to be uninterested in serious lit, and genre fiction without likable and rootable main characters cannot sell. I have absolutely nothing against genre fiction as I am its consumer myself.

      The recent interview Martin gave EW specifically went into his rather viscious intention of the Tysha issue:

    • Reply June 19, 2014


      By the Catholic subtext I meant the self-hatred and assumption of inherent badness. See Graham Greene. Also the belief in the existence of evil.

  • Reply June 18, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    My previous post should have read “interested in reading”. While I’m here, I agree that book Tyrion is darker than TV Tyrion. Some of the most pernickety (British English spelling) of nit-pickers about the books to show adaptation have whinged and whined about show Tyrion keeping his nose. My understanding is that the choice to do so was because to make a prosthetic would have been prohibitively expensive. I do remember hearing of a Crusader who had himself fixed up with a steel nose after his real one was destroyed (though “Google” has not helped me find his identity – though I did find out about a knight who had an iron hand after losing his real one in an accident). Perhaps the show-runners could have given Tyrion a false nose in the show; however they didn’t and I’m not getting my smalls in a knot because of that. I’m not getting my undies in a twist about the omission of the tale of Tysha though (as previously stated) my reaction to the book version was sadness more than anything (because of the blight that was cast on book Jaime and book Tyrion’s relationship then).

    • Olga Hughes
      Reply June 22, 2014

      Olga Hughes

      Prosthetics are not particularly expensive Watcher, CGI is expensive. Prosthetics are time-consuming. But with several million dollars an episode if they had wanted to use a prosthetic nose I am sure the budget would allow it. They left that part out because it would have been distracting. Tyrion is a major character that appears in most of the episodes and looking at a disfigured face is unappealing and would have distracted from his performance.

      But in the end Peter Dinklage’s looks change the dynamics of Tyrion’s relationships with others and how outsiders view him.

  • Reply June 23, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    Considering Jun’s comment above – and I’m going to have to be careful because I don’t want to be spoilery concerning the TV programme – but I guess “Faith Militant” is not dissimilar to “Church Militant”. I hated the catechism but if I remember correctly (and I haven’t checked) the “Church Militant” meant people still alive on earth, the “Church Penitent” were those in Purgatory and “Church Triumphant” those in heaven.

  • Reply September 3, 2014


    All in all, I think the episode was pretty good. As someone who had long since finished reading the books by the time this season occurred, and given what I was expecting, I’d say the TV series delivered. I think the slight alteration of the Tyrion/Jaime storyline was the right path for the TV series to take since the two characters are not EXACTLY the same as they are in the books. This was certainly a time when I thought GRRM definitely could have taken some cues from the series writers.

    As for the Tyrion/Tywin finale, I am on the fence. I think the scene was well done but I’m not sure I feel as convinced at Tyrion’s motives as I did in the books. Shae also seemed much more blatantly vindictive in the TV series. But I think the characterization in the summary and some of the comments that Tywin was a) scared and b) lying aren’t necessarily fair. Tywin (kudos to Charles Dance’s masterful performance here) really did not seem that overly intimidated by Tyrion’s presence since up until he pulled the trigger he didn’t think Tyrion had it in him (and book Tywin certainly showed no fear, only shock AFTER being shot). And truthfully, under different circumstances, I think Tywin would have been absolutely correct about his son, as he knew his children well (having easily discerned Jaime’s involvement or his willingness to leave the Kingsguard for his brother’s life OR knowing that Cersei is “not as smart” as she thinks she is). I also think Tywin was telling the truth when he said a “dead whore” didn’t matter (again, not believing Tyrion to be an actual threat, just a nuisance and stain on his precious family legacy).

    Additionally, I genuinely believe that Tywin had fully intended not to kill Tyrion and just have him sent off and out of his hair for good. For all his hatred and belittling of Tyrion, Tywin would have wanted the least amount of spectacle. A trial was necessary to maintain the appearance of strength, but a public execution of one of his own children would be humiliating to his family. Tywin was generally a fairly calculating man and although ruthless and blinded by the idea of his “family,” was no intellectual slouch, I would guess that he would have thought to use Tyrion as a pawn (indirectly) at the Wall. Tywin also always had a double-standard when it came to his family, as we saw in Season 2 when his cousin “Reginald” got sent home to the West from Harrenhal instead of being executed for speaking out of turn at a War Council meeting.

    So do I think Tywin was being uncharacteristically nice to Tyrion due to feeling somewhat humiliated (as he stated) and not in control of the situation, yes, but I don’t think he was lying necessarily. All told, I think it will be interesting how the series interprets the aftermath of the events of the last few episodes of Season 4 and the chaos that the death of Lord Tywin causes throughout the Kingdom.

  • Reply July 17, 2016

    Emil Andersson

    Spoiler alert in this comment

    About tyrion being tywins son, I think he certainly is, even if tywin is denying it. Especially regarding his skulle as an administrator in season 2, tyrion is telling the truth when he says to his father in a storm of swords that he is tywin himself, only smaller.

    There is also that tyrions, jaimes and cerseis aunt genna says in a feast for crows that “tyrion is tywins son” White I definitely think is a clue about tyrions true parentage.

    Apologies if my enlighet semester a bit odd since it was a while I wrote in the language and are from and lives in sweden.

    • Reply July 27, 2016

      Jamie Adair

      I agree with you. I believe that Tyrion is the only son that Tywin has truly fathered. I may be wrong, but I believe that Aerys fathered Jaime and Cersei.

  • Reply July 17, 2016

    Emil Andersson

    Also some of the odd words you now see in my comment are due to my phones autocorrection program, such as enighet were it was supposed to say english and semester where it was supposed to say seems. I am sure that I have missed something, but those two are the ones I can see for now.

    In other matters I truly like the blog and gives my best wishes to it.

    • Reply July 27, 2016

      Jamie Adair

      Thank you — that’s very kind of you to say. I’m glad you enjoy it.

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