Game of Thrones season 4 recap: Deaths, shocks and game-changers in Westeros

Prepare for season 5 by mugging up on the last series

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So, what happened in the last series of Game of Thrones? You’ll be forgiven if the answer to that question is “Erm…”

Season 4 was a relentless rollercoaster of shocks and game-changers so jam-packed with detail that you might not have kept up.

Major characters, both beloved and despised, died in battle, at their dinner tables, in their beds, and even squatting over their chamber pots. With special effects and performances to match, the season lived up to the hype. 

Brush up on the goings-on in Westeros ahead of series 5, which starts next week, with our handy recap of season four.

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Fans rejoiced at the death of the show's most hated character

Ding dong the King is dead

The bratty-boy king Joffrey Lannister finally got a taste of his own medicine at the Purple Wedding and died of poison served up in an elaborate pie. The psychopath monarch’s tormenting accomplishments included threatening to rape Sansa, killing a prostitute with a crossbow, and ordering the execution of Ned Stark. Only his mother Cersei seemed truly upset at his demise. Good riddance.

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Cersei tries to stop Jaime while they mourn for Joffrey in the Sept

Incest rape

The most controversial scene of the season was Jamie Lannister raping his twin sister, Cersei, by the sept of their dead son. The Lannisters take the cake for most dysfunctional family and HBO was hit with criticism for adding the violent episode – the siblings’ tryst is reciprocal in George RR Martin’s book.


Failed rescue mission

Castrated and psychologically tortured at the hands of the Bastard of Bolton, Theon Greyjoy is a shadow of the arrogant man who led a rebellion to claim Winterfell. His kickass sister Yara mounts a rescue mission on his behest, but Theon – who is so broken he believes himself to be Snow’s servant “Reek” – refuses to leave with her and screams to be left at Dreadfort.

Sansa Stark and Littlefinger : Winter is Coming

Death by moon door

Sansa fled King’s Landing with Lord Baelish (Littlefinger) to seek refuge with her aunt, Lysa Arryn. Jealous of her new husband Baelish’s obvious attraction to Sansa, Lysa attempts to kill her niece by throwing her through the Moon Door, a circular trapdoor in which opens to a drop of thousands of feet into mountains below. Baelish, has other ideas, however, stepping in to hurl Lysa to her death instead.

Emilia Clarke as the dragon-mother Daenerys Targaryen


Untrustworthy advisor

With a claim to the iron throne, Daenerys Targaryen can only have trusted advisors in her company. Ser Jorah, a close confidant to the Queen of Dragons for years, is found guilty of spying for King's Landing and is promptly exiled from Meereen as the Khaleesi becomes increasingly ruthless.

Trial by combat

Tyrion Lannister, known as “the Imp”, stands wrongly accused of killing his nephew Joffrey. He makes an impassioned defence at his hearing – during which he is betrayed by the woman he loves, Shae – before demanding a trial by combat. His champion, Oberlyn Martell, otherwise known as the Red Viper, is graphically defeated—his eyes are gouged out and his skull is crushed by The Mountain.

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Ygritte played by Rose Leslie

No regrets Ygritte?

Ned Stark’s illegitimate son Jon Snow was horrified when his estranged love Ygritte dies in his arms. The wildling girl won the Nightwatchman’s heart when he was behind the Wall. They had a bit of a tiff when Snow decided to switch sides away from Mans Rayder (the Wildling leader) and go back to his pals at the Wall and Ygritte shot him several times as he tried to ride away. But all seems forgotten as her life slips away.

Arya and the Hound meet an unwelcome visitor

Custody battle

What code of knightly conduct? Brienne of Tarth and The Hound entered into a breathtakingly gritty fight to the death over custody of Arya Stark. Brienne may have been victorious (not very lady like shoving The Hound off a cliff), but Arya escaped her clutches onto a ship to Braavos.

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Tywin Lannister (played by Charles Dance) final moments

Daddy dearest

Tyrion might have been wrongly found guilty of killing Joffrey Lannister, but the beleaguered prince decided regicide wasn’t totally beyond him. Before escaping King’s Landing the Imp made a quick pitstop to his father’s privy chamber. Poor old Tywin has not a shred of dignity left as his son’s crossbow leaves him dead on the toilet with his trousers around his ankles.


Game of Thrones season 5 starts on 13 April at 9pm on Sky Atlantic