With the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, here is a quick-ish summary of all 7 seasons and 67 hours of the greatest ever spectacle on TV. This is a recap of Season 4.
Season 4 is roughly based on the second half of A Storm of Swords, which happens to be the best book in the entire series and is packed with so many game-changing twists and turns. So, strap in for a rollercoaster season that captures every epic scene from the book, but omits a major WTF scene. It initially annoyed a lot of book fans (including yours truly), but HBO’s decision makes a lot of sense now.
With the Stark army comprehensively defeated, the capital prepares for a royal wedding that will seal the alliance between the victorious Lannisters and Tyrells. The ‘Purple Wedding’ throws up some great conversations between key characters, including Oberyn Martell, who seeks revenge for his sister’s death at the hands of the Mountain during the sack of King’s Landing. Joffrey makes the most of his last day, by being a jerk all through the 77-course meal and offending more or less every single guest, before he dies of poisoning in a satisfyingly violent manner. The assassination is masterminded by Olenna and Littlefinger, through an elaborate ploy involving Sansa’s necklace, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. Cersei suspects Tyrion and Sansa, and has Tyrion thrown into the dungeons, while Sansa flees the city. Joffrey’s death paves the way for young Tommen to sit on the Iron Throne. Margaery promptly gets herself engaged to Tommen in her third bid to become Queen. After handling Joffrey, this is child’s play for her.
In Joffrey’s murder trial, Cersei presents overwhelming evidence against Tyrion. She needn’t have bothered since Tywin was going to mete out a death sentence anyway. Tyrion demands a trial by combat after a stirring, Emmy-worthy speech, and in a huge twist, Oberyn offers to be his champion after discovering Cersei’s champion to be the Mountain. In an epic duel, Oberyn gains the upper hand over the hulking Gregor Clegane, but when he gets momentarily distracted, the Mountain knocks the Viper down and gouges his eyes in one of the show’s most sickening deaths. Tyrion gets a death sentence, but Jaime and Varys, who had testified against Tyrion during the trial, help smuggle Tyrion out of King’s Landing. Before escaping, Tyrion unloads a couple of crossbow bolts and kills his father.
After Astapor and Yunkhai, it’s the same at Mereen as well, where Daenerys overthrows the masters and frees the slaves. After taking over the city, she realizes that she’s never done any ruling herself and finds that it’s a lot harder than razing cities to the ground. She is forced to banish Jorah for spying on her early during the first season and puts her dragons on house arrest after Drogon burns a child alive.
Bran’s wanderings finally take him to the Three-Eyed Raven, who declares that Bran will never walk again, but will fly, whatever that means. Jon’s intel on the wildling army falls on deaf ears, until a blast is heard announcing a wildling attack. Led by Jon Snow, the brothers of the Night’s Watch hold off the wildlings in a thrilling battle, in which Ygritter dies in Jon’s arms. When Jon is negotiating with Mance, Stannis arrives, and the Baratheon forces rout the untrained wildling army in a swift battle.
Jaime, who has been training with Bronn, gives his Valyrian sword, a gift from his father, to Brienne, with instructions to keep Sansa and/or Arya safe. Sansa has been smuggled out of King’s Landing by Littlefinger, who masterminded Joffrey’s death, and is taken to the Vale, where Littlefinger has married Sansa’s aunt Lysa and taken control of the Eyrie. When Lysa tries to kill Sansa over perceived jealousy, he pushed her off the Moon Door.
Arya and the Hound have their own adventures, riding ponies, eating chickens and killing Lannister henchmen until they run into Brienne and Podrick. Brienne bests the Hound in a brutal fight, but Arya slips away and heads for Braavos, her passage sealed with the iron coin gifted by Jaqen H’ghar. Valar Morghulis!