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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “The Children” (S4, E10)

GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “The Children” (S4, E10)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.

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Season 4, Episode 10: “The Children”

Original Air Date: June 15th, 2014
Director: Alex Graves
Written by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

One of the best parts of a show re-watch is you get to view the episodes without the burden of expectations. In the case of Game of Thrones, anticipation of a new episode usually includes wondering how they’ll adapt elements from the books (or whether they will omit them entirely). Which is why the season four finale, “The Children,” was much more enjoyable this time around than when it originally aired. At last, I didn’t have to deal with the disappointment of not getting Lady Stoneheart.

Heading into the episode way back in 2014, I would have bet all the Lannister gold in the world she’d be showing up in the last scene. When what I got instead was Arya on a boat (still an underwhelming final shot), I was so stunned it clouded my perspective on everything else that happened. That’s too bad, because this was actually a great episode otherwise.

children-forest

There’s the tremendous scene featuring Jon and Mance sharing a drink to the fallen before Stannis and his forces come to the rescue. Brienne and the Hound engage in one of the most brutal fights in the entire show’s history, followed by the Hound pitifully begging Arya to kill him (to no avail). Melisandre stares at Jon Snow for the first time while they cremate the fallen brothers at Castle Black, and then he burns Ygritte’s body north of the Wall. Daenerys even makes the difficult–and ultimately wrong–decision to lock up two of her dragons after Drogon killed a child.

hound-brienne

But there are three specific moments in the episode that might point to even bigger things to come.

The first involves Cersei and Jaime, and their soon-to-be-late father. Cersei stands up to Tywin for the first time ever, after he insists she will marry Loras Tyrell against her will, even if it requires force to make it happen. The two go back and forth, with her arguing she won’t leave King’s Landing and her son Tommen’s side, fearful for what Tywin and Margarey will do when they dig their claws into him.

cersei

“I will burn our house to the ground before I let that happen,” she says. (Of course it is her burning of the Sept of Baelor that results in the death of the very son she was trying to protect, her devotion and concern doing what she feared most of everyone else.)

When Tywin asks how she’ll do that to the family she tells him she will reveal the truth he’s been blind to for years about her and Jaime. He denies it, but she smugly tells him his “legacy is a lie” and goes off to speak with Jaime.

tywin

She finds her brother looking at the Kingsguard book, once again agonizing over his lack of notable accomplishments and deeds, and she tells him that she told their father the truth, and she wants to be with him. The two kiss, and Jaime literally pushes aside the book as he throws her on the table.

Considering the theory that Jaime might be the only one who can save King’s Landing from the Mad Queen Cersei, the ultimate act that will require him to put honor and duty over love, it’s quite the symbolic gesture here that he does the complete opposite when he tosses aside the Kingsguard book.

jaime-lannister

The second major moment is when Tyrion, freed from his prison by Jaime, decides to visit his father, the man who falsely sentenced him to death. First he finds Shae in his father’s bed, an incredible act of betrayal and hypocrisy after Tywin had long scolded him for shaming the family with whores, especially when Tyrion was acting Hand of the King. She attacks Tyrion, so he kills her before going off to point a crossbow at his father who is sitting on the privy.

tywin-lannister

Tywin does his absolute best to allay his son’s fears that he was really going to be executed, and tries to smooth talk his way out of the situation when Tyrion says he always wanted him dead. Tywin doesn’t try to deny it; he knows Tyrion is too upset and too smart for that. So he turns it around and says that while true, Tyrion’s perseverance made him admire and respect Tyrion. It doesn’t work, and Tywin grows more desperate, repeatedly telling Tyrion, “You’re my son.”

But this is the entire point for Tyrion. He was always treated this way by his own father, a man who did everything he could to kill him. Hearing, “You’re my son” only makes him angrier.

tyrion

And once Tyrion shoots him with the crossbow, and there’s nothing left to hide, Tywin’s final words to Tyrion suddenly change: “You’re no son of mine.” Those could be the bitter words of a dying man, but considering the amount of evidence pointing to one of our favorite theories, that Tyrion is really the son of the Mad King, it feels like a deathbed (death toilet?) confession from Tywin.

tywin-lannister-death

Which means Tyrion, who will be the one to free the dragons Daenerys locked up in this very episode, could be the third head of the dragon that makes up the House Targaryen sigil.

But it’s the third moment that might mean even more than anything that happens with House Lannister or House Targaryen in this episode. After the world’s longest hike through the snow, ending with a quick jaunt through a field of killer skeletons at the end, Bran, Meera, and Hodor (but not Jojen, dammit) meet the lost Children of the Forest and the three-eyed raven.

three-eyed-raven

We won’t see any of them again until season six, but the final words from (the bearded version) of the three-eyed raven might be the biggest clue of them all to how the great war with the White Walkers might be won, with him saying who might be the only person who can actually stop them.

He tells the warg Bran, who is so powerful he can enter not just animals but other humans, “You’ll never walk again, but you will fly.”

bran-stark

The Mother of Dragons can’t fully control her children, whose dragon flame would be the single greatest weapon against the army of the dead, and the tree man who can see through time says that crippled Bran Stark, who can enter the body of any living creature and control it, will one day fly. You don’t have to be a maester to see what that might mean. (Though we bet even the maesters expected Lady Stoneheart to show up at the end of this episode the first time around!)

But what do you think? Will Jaime be the hero Gotham needs? Is Tyrion really a Targaryen? And will a dragon-warging Bran be the one to save the day? Tell us your best theories in the comments below.

Images: HBO


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