Game of Thrones: “The Children” (Season 4: Episode 10) Recap/Analysis | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Game of Thrones: “The Children” (Season 4: Episode 10) Recap/Analysis

HBO, Sundays 9 p.m.

Jun 16, 2014 Game of Thrones
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[Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Children,” then read no further.]

Game of Thrones closes out this season with a stellar episode, but like any good finale leaves some massive plots unresolved and teases us with whole new mysteries. “The Children” begins where last week’s “Watchers on the Wall” left off, with Jon Snow seeking to ‘negotiate’ with Mance Rayder—which is a name I’m not convinced George R. R. Martin didn’t lift from Star Wars—only to quickly be one upped by the arrival of Stannis Baratheon. Jon spares Rayder’s life, and returns to the Wall.

Back at King’s Landing, Cersei and Tywin have an awkward exchange that leads to Cersei confessing her incestuous relationship with Jaime to her father. Tywin is incredulous, but Cersei feels free of his control and immediately finds Jaime. They can now continue their affair without fear of Tywin’s retribution.

Outside Westeros, Daenerys is once again faced with the carnage of her dragons, only this time it claimed the life of a three-year-old girl. This comes after a former slave asks Dany if he can go back to his former master. Dany’s quest for power led her to Meereen, but this is where she’s stalled and where her quick rise to power seemingly burned out. Or, at least, started to become too much to manage.

Perhaps the biggest twist in this episode comes with Bran’s arrival at the Weirwood from his dreams. What unfolds is one of the best-looking visual effects scenes of the series, and a riveting fight between Bran’s rag-tag crew and a small army of walking skeletons. Bran wargs into Hodor again and kicks some bony ass, but Jojen is overtaken. It’s beautifully done—we see the skeletal hand rise, but then cut straight to Meera’s perspective, as she sees him repeatedly stabbed by a headless corpse.

Then it gets weird. A little girl starts blowing up skeletons, and Bran, Hodor, and Meera escape into a cave, where the skeletons shatter if they enter. In the cave, Bran meets an old wizardy man comfortably tangled among the branches, who tells them he’s been watching them all and that although Bran will never walk again, he will fly. Game of Thrones is scarce with its magic, but when it happens it’s convincing and mysterious, like magic should be. This whole sequence was relentlessly cool, creepy children shooting fireworks notwithstanding.

So obviously “The Children” refers to the mysterious girl in the cave, but I think there’s a few other children that this episode’s title might reference. For instance, there are the children that are now threatened by Daenerys’ loose dragon, and the children who lose their innocence far too young, like Arya does when she elects to not mercy-kill The Hound this episode after his fateful—and surprisingly violent—battle with Brienne. Either The Hound made his way off of Arya’s list, or she still hates him enough to let him suffer horribly. Either way, it was a cold move.

And, of course, there are the Lannister children, who finally confirm all of their father’s disappointments this episode. Cersei, by confirming the rumors of her love for Jaime, and Jaime by freeing Tyrion. And Tyrion by seeking out his father in the privy and sticking two arrows into him. Tywin’s death at the hands of Tyrion feels right, especially since he dies essentially at eye level with his killer. Finding Shea in Tyrion’s bed and murdering her was obviously the more heartbreaking task. Tyrion is safe, for now we presume, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost a little respect for the character since he demanded a trial by combat when he could have opted into the Night’s Watch. I understand the necessity of the drama, and that Oberyn would have faced off against The Mountain anyway, but the gall at expecting someone to stand in and fight for you to begin with is pretty arrogant. I can only hope that Tyrion’s next journey is a strengthening one.

And that leaves Arya alone on her way to Braavos. The main characters couldn’t be further apart now, and good villains are harder to count. In the tides of change that rocked Westeros this season, there’s no telling where this story will lead next. Unless you’ve read the books, in which case please don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

Until next season!

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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August 29th 2017