After Sunday’s episode, there was a significant divide between viewers that night: people who were pleased with it and the book readers who were somewhat disappointed with it. All of the episodes were extremely jam-packed and were well-written , but the writers are definitely on different paths now than the books are and, to me, that is a good thing. While I was always ahead of the game and being able to see how people would react to certain scenes, it looks like I will now be a part of that group. It was almost refreshing to watch through this episode and see some character arcs being drastically changed for future seasons. But no matter what small things were changed, “The Children” overall was as dramatic as the rest of the season. While I don’t agree with the writers that it was the best finale ever, I certainly think that it’s one of the top episodes of the season.
The episode name, “The Children” was an overall theme throughout. Bran’s mission to get to the “Children of the forest” was complete; Jon’s shared lineage with Ned Stark saved him and Mance from Stance; Daenerys punishes her children for killing a three year old girl; and in the best scene of the episode, Tyrion murders his father on the toilet. Family and justice go hand in hand as each character experiences a certain event that will change their personality for the rest of the series. While Tyrion, certainly went through quite a change by murdering his mistress Shae, and then his father, I believe Arya is going went through the most amount of change. After Brienne finds her with Hound, she challenges him to a fight in order to take Arya with her. After a very gruesome fight (with genital hitting on both sides), Brienne barely defeats the Hound and desperately tries to find Arya; but she manages to dodge her and finds the Hound with a gaping wound in his leg barely breathing. After much begging on his side to kill him, she simply leaves him. She finds a ship about to leave and begs them to take her to the Wall; however, the ship is going to Braavos , not the Wall. This causes Arya to remember the coin that she had gotten from Jaqen back at Harrenhal that “would be helpful to her later”. It ended up helping her get on the ship. This is the first time in the whole series that Arya has traveled alone. Whether it had been with her father, Yoren or The Hound, she always had some sort of older male figure to look up to; but now, her new storyline will be her adapting to a brand new city all by herself. This alone is what makes her change more significant than the rest of the characters.
But while, she has the most significant character change, there have been other characters that are finally making some kind of appearance. After nine episodes of just moping around Dragonstone and the Iron Bank, Stannis Baretheon and Davos have made their way to the Wall. While Jon is negotiating with Mance Rayder, they hear horses coming toward; while Mance thinks that Jon ambushed him, they quickly find out that it’s a king’s army. Stannis rides up and asserts his dominance over the wildlings. I was very happy to finally see Stannis in action (even though it was only for one scene). Let’s hope we see him more next season.
But let’s talk about the man of the hour: Tyrion. Just hours away from his execution, he hears his door open and sees Jaimie in front of his door who has come to help him escape. He brings him outside to the hallways, so he can make his way out but Tyrion has other plans; he goes to his father’s room first. It’s not entirely clear why he went there beforehand but his motive becomes quite clear when he stumbles upon Shae in his father’s bed. After hearing her mutter, “My Lion?”, Tyrion angrily chokes her to death with his father’s lion chain and decides to deal with him with his own crossbow. Even with Tywin continually saying that he was never going to execute him because he was his own son, it wasn’t enough for Tyrion. I think the sarcastic, witty man we always loved is now completely gone after this season. With everything that he has witnessed and committed, from Oberyn to Joffery, who knows how his character will turn out next season. After seeing what he has done, Varys stows him away on a ship and joins him as well. Even he knows it’s not smart to be at King’s Landing.
Season Five is too far away but at least there aren’t any cliffhangers to die over. Everything seems to have ended smoothly and transitioned over to a new story. And while this episode was not my favorite, it did show that this series is going to steer clear from George R.R Martin a bit and I am more than okay with that.