Lord Tywin Lannister on the throne.
And so, the fourth season of "Game of Thrones" comes to a close, and what a close. The best show on television left me wanting more, and now the long wait begins before season five premieres. Evenings like this just make me so happy, and remind me why we are, indeed, living in the Golden Age of television.
First of all, some of the story lines which were less interesting to me got some much needed shots in the arm. Now that Bran has reached his destination, I cannot wait to see what happens next. Likewise, while I enjoy the Wall, it never intrigued me the way the events down south did... as such, I think the arrival of Stannis Baratheon and his court will result in just the right amount of spice benefiting both story threads. I look forward to seeing how Jon Snow and Stannis play off each other, and likewise what Melisandre sees in the young bastard.
The penultimate episode of the season, "The Watchers On the Wall" was a terrific action sequence which felt to me very much like the Battle of Helm's Deep from "The Two Towers" but far more real. Yes, this is what a siege looks like... even if giants riding mammoths are involved. And while I knew Ygritte was done for, it was still a heart breaking moment. Shot through the heart, indeed.
The episode prior to that one was terrific, with the shocking end of Oberyn Martell at the hands of the Mountain. I should have blogged about that, but that was a fine example of a guy who could have won if he didn't need to showboat and be a complete asshole. But then I remember that he wasn't doing it for Tyrion. He wanted the Mountain's confession and he died getting it. What this means for the next season, I have no idea. But they did cast a lot of new Martell characters.
But tonight's episode, the season finale, was pure, bittersweet, cathartic bliss. It's the mark of a great series when I don't question how a character will escape a precarious situation, but will they escape the precarious situation. I honestly believed Tyrion was dead. After Ned Stark's beheading, all bets were off. Hell, last year ended with the Red Wedding, I could easily see Tyrion dying. So I was relieved when Jaime showed up to help his brother escape.
More shocking was when Tyrion went to the Tower of the Hand to confront his father, Tywin. I honestly don't know what was going through his mind as he did that, but I just about fell out of my chair when he discovered Shae in Tywin's bed. Of course, despite all his supposed hatred of whoring, Tywin hired whores.. and to think, a few weeks ago I was wondering if he had gotten laid since his wife died. But that makes perfect sense. To Tywin, appearances were everything, as long as he's not publicly seen with them. He wanted to be respected and feared. And perception was the key to his power, which was made obvious when we found out he was not as rich as we once thought. But that was the final stab in Tyrion's heart, I didn't think anything could top Shae testifying against him, but this did it... and what followed was heartbreaking.
Then came the scene, where Tyrion confronted his father one last time. The scene was bittersweet, cathartic, and wonderful all at once. Tywin Lannister. The Lion. The Warden of the West. Hand of the King. Most powerful man in the world. Died on the crapper. For personal reasons, given my relationship with my father, this was very cathartic. But it was also bittersweet since Charles Dance as Tywin was one of my favorite performances in the series, and I'm going to miss him. But I loved it because, well, how often do we see characters as dignified as Tywin always presented himself die such an undignified, inglorious death? It's just never done. He was, by many appearances, the Big Bad of the series up until now. Imagine, for a moment, Lex Luthor, or Norman Osborn, or Gus Fring, or Demona dying on the toilet. It's never done, and yet... it was perfect. The climax of four seasons worth of material... every scene led to this moment. Combine that with Cersei confessing to Tywin that the rumors of all her children being conceived by incest with Jaime were true, and I am so happy this episode aired on Father's Day.
Lord Tywin Lannister on the throne.
I am relieved Tyrion survived, as a character I've identified with since Day One, I'm glad he had this moment. But I don't think it will come as a relief to him. His entire support network (yes, he did have one) is now gone and he is a fugitive. What this means for him in the fifth season, we don't know yet. But I imagine all of the Lannisters are in peril now that the father of the pride is now gone.
It was a beautiful ending for a beautiful season of a beautiful TV show. I look forward to the Emmy nominations, because while I know it will not win, I believe the show deserves the recognition of being nominated. Likewise, I think both Peter Dinklage and Charles Dance have more than earned their nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series. Their last scene together alone is worth the price of admission for the whole series. Wonderful, just wonderful.
My final grade for the season finale is an A+
What am I doing now? Well, I need a new TV show to obsess over now that season four of "Game of Thrones" is over. I've been watching "Mad Men", "The Walking Dead", and I plan to give "Dr. Who" a second chance as well as check out season three of "Sherlock" and the debut season of "True Detective". But, honestly, "Mad Men" is winning right now, and I have A LOT of that to watch.