9:11pm PT by Aaron Couch
'Game of Thrones' Finale: Where Did Everyone End Up?
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Sunday's Game of Thrones season finale, "The Children"]
Game of Thrones giveth and it taketh away.
In its season-four finale, Thrones took away four characters but also gave beloved Jon Snow (Kit Harington) a last-minute stay of execution.
TYWIN and SHEA: dead
Tyrion is freed from his imprisonment, thanks to help from Jaime and Varys. Tyrion soon learns that Shae has shacked up with Tywin, and in his rage murders, apologizing to her corpse afterward. This scene will likely be among the most controversial in a season full of controversy.
"For us the tragedy is watching these two people trying to kill each other when they love one another," showrunner David Benioff told THR of the complicated scene. (Read what Sibel Kekilli had this to say here.)
Tyrion moves on to find Tywin in the privy. (It turns out he doesn't shit gold.) His father tries to talk Tyrion out of killing him, but he puts a crossbow through Lord Lannister's heart. Tyrion ends the season hiding in a box, sailing off with Varys to a place unknown.
CERSEI and JAIME: The romance is back on
After the death of their son, a rape and the trial of their brother, these two are back in each other's good graces — so much so that Cersei reveals the truth of their incestuous relationship to her father to ensure she won't be shipped off as bride to Ser Loras. For his part, Jaime is also open with his affection, not worrying that someone will walk in on them having sex. Cersei's revelation to Tywin is particularly cruel, since he ends up dying knowing his legacy is a sham.
THE HOUND: Dead (?)
BRIENNE: Back to square one
Brienne crosses paths with the Hound and Arya, who apparently did not learn Sansa is at the Eyrie. She explains her oath to Lady Catelyn, but neither Arya nor the Hound quite trust her, so the two come to blows. The fight is brutal, but what's even worse is the sad aftermath. The Hound begs Arya for death, a wish she doesn't grant. We think the Hound deserved to die in peace. Like Jaime did in season three, he grew into a better man. By his end, he wants the best for Arya, even telling her to go with Brienne.
ARYA: Headed to Braavos
Arya finally gets to use that coin Jaqen H'ghar gave her, securing a cabin in a ship sailing to Braavos. The captain dismisses her at first but treats her with reverence upon seeing the coin and hearing the sacred words, "Valar Morghulis." Question: How long until she learns to shape-shift?
JON SNOW: In the best position in a long time
STANNIS: Defending the Wall
After last week's bleak Battle of the Wall, Jon goes out on a suicide mission to kill Mance Rayder. Mance shows Jon a surprising amount of decency, even after learning Jon planned to kill him. Jon shows Mance the same kindness when Stannis and his men make an eleventh-hour assist to the Night's Watch and asks Jon what Ned Stark would have done with the King Beyond the Wall. Jon suggests mercy.
Daenerys continues to learn that ruling is difficult, with many of the older slaves wishing to go back into slavery. But what's worse, her babies are growing up, and they are killing children. Dany chains two of her dragons up, but Drogon is still on the loose. Can these beasts be tamed? Too bad Jorah isn't around to offer his advice.
BRAN, MEERA, HODOR and SUMMER: Fulfilling their destinies
Poor Jojen is killed by some violent skeletons, but his comrades manage to meet the so-called three-eyed raven, who says he's been watching them their whole lives. We can't wait to see what he has in store for them next season. After years on the back burner, Bran's story is really picking up steam.
That's it for this year. What did you think of the finale? Where do you want the show to go in season five? Sound off in the comments, and stay tuned to THR.com/GoT Monday for an Q&A with finale director Alex Graves, as well as speculation about season five.