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‘All Men Must Die’: Let’s Talk About Tonight’s Game of Thrones Season Finale

We’ll be talking here about the events in tonight’s season finale episode of Game of Thrones. If you haven’t seen what happens yet, come back later. We’ll still be here.

And all over the land, the GIF-makers are fashioning Brienne GIFs by the millions, their worthy attempt to commemorate one of the greatest woman-on-man TV smackdowns since the heyday of The Jerry Springer Show. Yep, Brienne really stuck it to the Hound. Arya? Not so much. She knew that not offering him "the mercy" would hurt the Hound even more than a gauntlet to the nuts or Tysoning his ear.

I know that it isn’t very cool to care about the Emmys. But if this episode doesn’t win every single possible relevant award for the Brienne-Hound fight scene and subsequent Arya-Hound moment alone, then that shit is a joke.

Speaking of that, we got — count 'em — two shitting moments tonight, one involving the Hound (off-camera, thank heavens) and the other involving Tywin (on-screen, thank heavens?). Let’s discuss that second part, as well as these points:

How do we feel about Tyrion now?
On the one hand, Shae directly caused him to be sentenced to death, betraying him without any trace of emotion — and then he inadvertently overhears pillow talk that she used to reserve for him (“my lion”) being used as a coo for his own father. He had every right to be enraged! On the other hand: strangling a woman. The crossbow bolt to Tywin’s gut inspires much less debate. He says, “I am your son. I have always been your son” but what he forgot to add as the bolt sped toward Tywin’s heart was “Happy Father's Day!”

And yet another gift for daddy ...
Cersei’s decision to tell Tywin that the rumors about her relationship with Jaime are entirely true may have pierced Tywin’s impervious demeanor even more than Tyrion’s crossbow did later in the episode. Does that scene with Jaime absolve the showrunners of the Cersei rape outrage from earlier in the season? Or does it make their guidance of the show even more suspect?

The return of the (much-disputed) king
Stannis saves the day at the Wall. Sort of. There are zombies and crap all up in there and it’s still really freaking cold around those parts. This led to a choice line from the captured Mance Rayder, who reminds him, “You’re not in the Seven Kingdoms. And you’re not dressed for this weather.”

Breaker of Chains, indeed!
Just ask Daenerys. To me, that was the most heartbreaking moment of the episode. But kudos to Drogon! Drogon flies free! Fly away, mighty Drogon!

Whither Lady Stoneheart?
Some people really seem to have strong feelings about this still-missing character from the books. I am not one of these people.

About that snazzy tree ...
It’s probably just me, but did anyone else think the wondrous tree Bran and his snoozeworthy friends finally reach looked like the one from The Ring? And those skeleton warriors were straight out of Army of Darkness, no? (Or the 7th Voyage of Sinbad.) And that strange child (or childlike person) who appears out of nowhere hurling fire bombs like a faerie, as if it’s some unwanted crossover with True Blood — did he/she/it bring to mind Duran Duran’s “Wild Boyz” video for anyone else? Finally, Bran warged Hodor again. Bran really needs to quit warging Hodor. I would like to see Hodor go on strike in season five. Or maybe he can hop on a ship and meet up with Arya and Tyrion, wherever they are.

Photo: HBO