6:00am PT by Aaron Couch
'Game of Thrones': Relive Season 4 Before the Finale
Game of Thrones' fourth season has been arguably its most eventful yet.
Before the curtain falls on the huge finale, revisit its most shocking moments (so far), and be sure to stay glued to THR.com/GoT following Sunday's episode for interviews with the showrunners, cast and the finale's director.
The Purple Wedding
Joffrey's death was met with joy from viewers, with the sadistic king poisoned at his own wedding feast. We later learn Littlefinger and Olenna were among the conspirators. Director Alex Graves tells THR that it was difficult saying goodbye to Joffrey actor Jack Gleeson, and the character's death would have big reverberations for the series: "Joffrey's death affects the show through to the climax."
No scene this season caused as big an uproar as Cersei's rape at Jaime's hands — a crime made more disturbing because their dead son's body was just inches away. Graves tells THR of the scene: "I'm never that excited about going to film forced sex. But the whole thing for me was about dead Joffrey lying there, watching the whole thing. (Showrunners) David (Benioff) and Dan (Weiss) loved that, and I was like, I wanted to make sure I had Jack in there as much as I could. Of course Lena (Headey) and Nickolaj (Coster-Waldau) laughed every time I would say, 'You grab her by the hair, and Jack is right there,' or 'You come around this way and Jack is right there.' "
Mutineers at Craster's Keep
The atrocities at Craster's Keep were among the worst crimes depicted in the series — with dozens of women brutalized by the Night's Watch mutineers. They eventually get what's coming to them when Jon Snow leads a band of men to attack them.
Writer Bryan Cogman tells THR the reintroduction of the mutineers was "the most difficult episode" he's written. The episode also marked the first time the series moved significantly beyond the books, with the reveal that the White Walkers have been turning Craster's babies into baby White Walkers. The scene was so surprising that even director Michelle MacLaren was "blown away" by it.
Tyrion nearly took a deal to go to The Wall, but the last-minute testimony of Shae led to this courtroom outburst: "I saved this city — and all of your worthless lives. I should have let Stannis kill you all."
Director Alik Sakharov tells THR Peter Dinklage was unbelievable in the 20-minute trial scene: "To be able to maintain one's performance and basically adhere to the arc is remarkable. He understands where he needs to go and how he needs to get there."
Littlefinger revealed the depths of his depravity when he kissed Sansa and then murdered his new wife: "I have only loved one woman, only one, my entire life … your sister."
Sakharov tells THR it took a little time to get that moon door effect right. "We do it in steps. We can't throw the actress in there. We have to create and extend that moon door," he says. "We have a greenscreen there, and then we shoot elements, and those elements are composited. We shot Lysa Arryn on an air mattress, and she was pushed from a platform. She's falling down onto the air mattress, which is green."
Theon betrays his father's men
Psychologically scarred Theon (or should we say Reek?) pretended to be Theon in order to deliver Moat Cailin to his master, Ramsay. What's worse, is by doing so he handed the North to his tormentor's father. Graves tells THR the Boltons being firmly in control of the North will have big implications for season five: "Ramsay and Roose — one of the things that really sets the tone for next year is they've really got some serious power going now."
Jorah is banished
Leave it to Thrones to bring back plotlines that are years old. In this case, Dany learned that Jorah initially came into her service as a spy. The trusty advisor was banished back to Westeros, a move we expect the Mother of Dragons will grow to regret.
"The moment I was most worried about in that hour was Dany and Jorah," says director Alex Graves. "I knew about that moment since I started the show. When you get into a scene with Emilia Clarke and Iain Glen, you get twice as worried that you make it in a way that they will be happy [with], because you just fall in love with them. I was stressed out, wanting to take it to a level of tension that was unusual, and hopefully we got it there."
Trial by combat
Oberyn got his revenge on The Mountain, but got himself killed in the process. Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, the Icelandic strongman who played The Mountain, tells THR there were no-holds barred while shooting: "We had to be careful during rehearsal, but during the fight itself, while filming, we had to go all in and that is where all the hard work paid off so no one got hurt, but we were able to create this amazing fight.
Adds Pedro Pascal, who played Oberyn: "It felt as epic as it is in the story."
The Jon Snow/Ygritte love story came to an end during a Lord of the Rings-esque attack on The Wall.
"I wanted to capture them in a little bubble. It's in the middle of a battle sequence, and you're going to have this strong emotional moment," director Neil Marshall tells THR. "It was the only slow-motion shot I put in the whole thing. It was to emphasize what was going on in their world versus what was going on around them."
Game of Thrones wraps up season four Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Email: [email protected]