Game of Thrones season 4 finale review: 'The Children' is a fitting end to the most tumultuous season to date

3.00

It may not have lived up to its hyped billing by the show's producers, but the finale proved a sterling close to a brilliant series

It was billed as the “finest hour” of Game of Thrones to date, the mother of all finales, but while "The Children" was a sterling close to a season that has been filled with more twists than the staircases of the Red Keep, it didn’t quite live up to the hype or Emmy submissions.

As season conclusions go, "The Children" was more dramatic than previous years. Tyrion escaped King’s Landing but not before slaying his father and his former lover. Never before has an act of patricide been more justified. After orchestrating last year's Red Wedding, dying while on the toilet was an apt death for such a vile man.

Then there was Bran, who finally reached the three-eyed crow but lost Jojen Reed to a White Walker with a penchant for stabbing. The battle between the rag-tag gang and the undead was an impressive sequence that kept viewers on tenterhooks. Bran’s storyline requires a lot of patience but the waiting finally paid off.

Those expecting a last-minute Red Wedding would have been left disappointed. Yes, the makers have upped the ante but "The Children" was still a more understated and contemplative affair that is characteristic of episode 10.

It was more emotionally involving than last week’s action-driven instalment. Daenerys made the difficult decision of locking up her dragons. Her last glance over one shoulder before shutting the catacombs was heart-breaking. But the tears were not just reserved for the dragons; watching Jon Snow cremating Ygritte was equally as sad. It was a fitting send off for such a feisty and well-loved character.

Meanwhile, fans witnessed the dissolution of the Game of Thrones comedy duo that was Arya and the Hound. They have been entertaining fans week-in week-out with their sweary exchanges but all good things must come to end. Perhaps Brienne and Pod can take up the mantle?

Speaking of which - Brienne and Arya’s encounter was wonderful. Yes, it never happened in the novels, but it was a delicious digression and compelling. These characters are only miles apart, so their meeting is entirely possible and the makers have taken advantage of this to great effect.

"The Children" served its purpose by whetting the audience’s appetite for season five. It only has a slight edge over other Game of Thrones finales – season one’s "Fire and Blood" was arguably as powerful and dramatic.

Overall, season four has best of the best of them, even if "The Children" failed to deliver. The season has also deviated more from the novels compared to previous years, but in most cases these changes have benefited the show and condensed the substantial source text admirably well.

The only question is, how season five can possibly top this year?

Read more: Game of Thrones season 4, episode 9 review
George RR Martin to kill off Facebook employee
HBO makes season 4 available to download in UK
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair