‘Game of Thrones’ Showrunners Discuss the Season 4 Finale

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Tyrion Game of Thrones season 4 finale Game of Thrones Showrunners Discuss the Season 4 Finale

[Warning: The following article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the Game of Thrones season 4 finale.]

The fourth season of Game of Thrones has taken plenty of dramatic turns and become the most-watched show in HBO’s history, but season finale ‘The Children’ effectively picked up the characters and scattered them, carrying some to their respective destinations, killing off others and shaking things up in a way that will leave a lot of consequences to come in season 5.

Of the major events in this finale, probably the most memorable was Tyrion’s jailbreak and subsequent murder of his treacherous lover Shae and his uncaring father, Tywin, who died in a rather undignified position. This developments were to be expected by those familiar with the books, but ‘The Children’ also deviated from the source material by killing off another character who is still alive in George R.R. Martin’s saga.

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss discussed the events of season 4′s concluding chapter and how the episode came together in an interview with THR. Weiss acknowledges that this finale was quite different from previous ones, in the sense that it was more dedicated to opening up new plot threads for season 5 than wrapping up those of season 4.

“In past seasons, our final episodes have often been clean-up  — exciting in their own right, but primarily concerned with addressing the aftermath of the momentous events of the episode before. This isn’t one of those. The finale of the fourth season is more blow-up than clean-up. In real life, blowing things up is usually a lot easier than cleaning them up, but on TV it’s a lot more difficult.”

“Blowing up” is certainly an apt way of describing Tyrion’s exit from King’s Landing. A fan favorite character, Tyrion’s framing for the murder of Joffrey and his subsequent imprisonment and trials were very much at the center of the fourth season’s arc. After being pushed around and bullied his entire life, with his father and sister plotting his execution, Weiss explains that Tyrion was “mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore.”

Maisie Williams and Rory McCann in Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 10 Game of Thrones Showrunners Discuss the Season 4 Finale

Game of Thrones‘ deviations from the books include not only plot points but also characterization, and Martin himself has said that the cumulation of these differences ends up having a “snowball effect.” One such difference was the characterization of Shae, and Benioff says that the strengthened relationship between Shae and Tyrion deeply affects the way in which her murder was portrayed on screen.

The murder of Shae, in particular, is emotionally much different than in the book. In the book Shae is a gold-digging prostitute from the beginning. She never loved Tyrion and betraying him came easily for her. But we knew our Shae would diverge from book Shae the moment we saw Sibel Kekilli audition. Sibel brought such life and intelligence to the part; her intensity inspired us to make the character more complex. Our Shae loves Tyrion, and Tyrion loves her. For us the tragedy is watching these two people trying to kill each other when they love one another. If only Tyrion had taken Shae up on her offer at the end of season two, they could be living a wonderful life in exile right now.”

The showrunners were understandably hesitant to give details regarding what’s to come in season 5, and warned that even a show with a relatively lavish budget like Game of Thrones has its limitations when it comes to portraying epic fantasy scenes. “We’re still figuring out how we can afford everything we want to do,” Benioff admits. “There are a few sequences that are absolutely terrifying from a production standpoint.”

As for how closely season 5 will cleave to the books, Weiss articulates their approach by describing the books as the “road map” that shows the destinations that they have to reach, but teasingly adds that, “There are many ways to get to each destination.”

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Game of Thrones will return for season 5 in 2015 on HBO.

Source: THR

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  1. “For us the tragedy is watching these two people trying to kill each other when they love one another.”

    But did she ever love Tyrion? I’m not convinced of that, especially when she reaches for a knife before her end.

    • That`s something not even Book Shae did, and she didn`t love him in the books. It made absolutely NO SENSE for her character to react like that on the show.

  2. Should`ve been (and could have been) an absolute masterpiece, the “Ozymandias” of Game of Thrones, and instead we got a bunch of rushed scenes that had nowhere near the emotional impact they should`ve had, with changes that dumbed down the story for the gullible audience now that the show has become so immensely popular. GoT is on the edge of turning into The Walking Dead and losing it’s brilliance. I wanted to come out of the episode dying to see season 5, but now i’m not even excited as i felt utterly disappointed after this finale.

    • No offense but you sound like one of those people that wasn’t going to be happy regardless. Changes are inevitable, and it’s tough to compare to the source material since Martin is the originator and this is their take. But you have to give them some room to operate. This season rocked and you’d be hard pressed to name another show that was this strong through 4 seasons. Ozymandias was super overrated btw.

      • In fairness he’s absolutely right and you seem to be a bit in denial here if you’re a book reader. All it would have taken were a few mintutes extra dialog between Jamie and Tyrion and Tryion and Tywin. Not a whole lot. Nothing that would have eaten into the CG budget. Frank is completely right in his annoyance of this because its something they easily could have worked in but they chose not too. I would have much prefered they cut down the hound and Brienne fight for that dialogue

    • There’s no pleasing Frank.

    • Stop. On the edge of turning into Walking Dead? Please. Walking Dead has been going downhill since season 2. GoT is an entirely different monster, and a powerful one at that. This season may have seemed rushed, but it in no way compromised the overall story. People were expecting so much to happen this season that didn’t, and I’m sure we will get that stuff eventually. Patience is a virtue. Let it play out.

    • Get over it.

  3. I have not read the books. I like the show too much to have it spoiled for me. Who died in this episode that is still alive in the books?

    • Thanks,wanted to ask the same !
      Can anybody tell us ?

      • Jojen

        • True that!
          Jojen…I forgot him….Nice scene, by the way

        • Actually, there’s a bit of a fan theory that Jojen is dead at the end of A Dance With Dragons… but it’s true that there is neither confirmation nor did it happen “on screen”. In the event that he is dead, it certainly didn’t happen like it did in the show.

      • Nobody.
        Who died in the episode, died in the book as well…
        But the way they died, although pretty similar, was not as emotional as in the book.
        And also, some arguments (between Tyrion and Jaimie, or Tyrion and Shae) were left behind, which was not that great…

        • Actually, in the book the Mountain dies but in last night’s episode it was pretty unclear if he did or not. In the book it said he dies of his wounds but as we all watched, the guy wanted to “change” him.

          • I doubt the Mountain will survive a compound fracture to his leg in the middle of nowhere besides the other wounds from the fight and the fall.

            • You’re referring to The Hound, not The Mountain. And I wouldn’t presume anyone dead unless it’s been explicitly confirmed. :)

          • The Mountain did not die in the book. The show’s treatment of the character is in keeping with the book(s).

      • ^This
        Was it the hound?

  4. **SPOILERS (POTENTIALLY**


    One big change from the source material was the way in which Jaime and Tyrion left on good terms. Those that have read the books know that is not the case whatsoever, due to some mitigating plot points that have been left out. But frankly, I’m okay with the change.

    I think that killing Jojen in this episode was a necessary move. It’s going to be tough enough to get people to really dig Bran’s storyline from here-on-out, so I think keeping Jojen in the picture would have been too much. It was a wonderfully handled by Weiss and Benioff.

    Can’t wait for Lady Stoneheart and Arya’s upcoming storyline!

    • Does anybody else wonder where or when Arya would have had time to get that horse she rode on in the last scene? Was that Brienne’s horse from the night before(if so when would she have had the opportunity to grab it and where would she have stored it)? It makes me wonder if somehow the Hound will survive seeings as we didn’t see him die, could she have found Brienne and requested that she aid him? I know in the books she leaves him to die and some readers believe he survived that, just makes wonder. It is all very ambiguous(as all things ASoIaF are), and if not for her riding that horse out of nowhere in the end I probably wouldn’t question it.

      • fgvdfgdfgdfgd

        • Arya becomes an assassin

      • Maybe it was one of the horses that Brienne and Podrick lost.

      • That’s the horse she got from early in Season 4. At the inn where The Hound killed all those Lannister men. Granted there have been many scenes since then where they are traveling without the horses. My guess is they just weren’t available for certain film days?

  5. I really, really liked the finale but didn’t love it. The Hound/Brienne fight was awesome, as was Tyrion finally finding out whether his dad truly did crap gold. Cersei & Jaime? Meh, which also goes for Dany’s storyline. Arya ditching the Hound seemed appropriate for the mind frame of her character. Jojen biting it was no issue as well as he would’ve been redundant now that they’ve reached their destination.
    Some of my issues: where in the seven hells did Stannis’ army come from??? Even in the books I had a major issue with this. U either come through the tunnel or you climb the Wall. If he had a fleet you could sail around the Wall but how in the hell do you unload that much cavalry & soldiers, which would’ve have been a huge time consuming exercise, without alerting a single soul, especially the NightsWatch patrolling the top of the Wall???
    No StoneHeart. Biggest letdown of the season. That’s what I was counting on the final shot to be. It would’ve made people go apesh*t to see that character pop back up & the implied amount of whoop ass that was coming with them.

    • As I said in the episode review comments, Lady Stoneheart was filming another show starring Kiefer Sutherland during the same time they filmed GOT last year.

    • Maybe, JUST maybe, they could have a girl, any girl, dress up with Lady Stoneheart’s garb and we’d never see her face. Maybe just her hands. One of the Freys would turn to her at one moment and we’d see his face go white with fear and say : “No, that’s not possible! We killed you… We killed you!” (as Clarence did in the original Robocop?) This could have given a mistery to the fans who didn’t read the book until next season, as long as they kept the wardrobe for that next episode when we do see Stoneheart’s face and reveal her identity.
      Just an idea.

  6. Can someone explain to me what Arya gave to that ship captain at the end and why he immediately did as she wished? I must have missed something or forgot something…

    • That was the coin from the assassin she met that was from Braavos. I had to binge watch seasons 7&8 to catch up so that arc is still fresh in my mind.

    • Slayer is correct. The coin was given to Arya by the assassin Jaqen H’ghar in Season 2. She saved his life, and in return he promises to murder three men for her. He also helps her escape the castle called Harrenhal. As they are leaving Harrenhal, he offers to take her across the Narrow Sea to the Free City of Braavos. She declines, and he gives her the coin and says that if she decides to travel to Braavos she should give the coin to a Braavosi and say the words “Valar Morghulis.”

      • Ah, yes, it’s been a long while since that happened. How do they really expect people to remember that? I understand in the novel they could kind of remind you where she got it, but on the show, it’s like more than two years ago and we’re supposed to remember? :-P

        Anyway, good thing you guys were around to answer that question for me. Thanks.

        • Yes, I think all audiences are supposed to remember, as every book reader (not of Game of Thrones – any movie goer, any TV watcher and every book reader). If you remember events of your life from 10 years ago, so does the characters of books, movies and TV series, and they should act accordingly.

          There are many mystery murder movies where the killer is a dude you got a glimpse of in the first 2 minutes of the film, or the Sherlock-like protagonist remembers a very tiny and unimportant detail that everyone glossed over… and these things are the entire premise of the “whodidit” movies, so I think we all should remember what has been written 600 pages ago, or shown in TV 2 years ago, once the moment to remember pops up.

          I did not read the books but I stumbled upon some spoilers of what Jaimie says to Tyrion when freeing him, a big secret about something Tyrion discussed with Shae and Bronn back in season 2… I think they should have really included that as it was the main motivation for Tyrion to off his father, and the audience should have damn well remembered! ;)

          • Well, unfortunately my entire life doesn’t revolve around Game of Thrones. And in the 2+ years since that episode aired, I’ve gone through a ton of things, watched a ton of other shows, memorized a ton of other things. There’s no way I will remember every little detail about this show or any other individual show…

            And the thing with Tyrion, are you talking about his story about how he thought he rescued a woman from being raped, and he fell in love with her, but she turned out to be a wh0re?

  7. It’s a testament to Martin’s writing that even after season 4 finale, not all of the important plot points in the third book have been properly adapted.

  8. I thought it was ok, far too little Bran for me(especially in the episodes leading up).
    The main fight was ok but a bit long, also why didn’t Pod show Arya the bread from the kidney pie kid?
    Thought the Mountain scene was unnecesary.

  9. I would like to call out the moderators for this site to finally IP-ban each and every single person posting spoilers from the books.

    This has gone way to far now.

    We are discussing the damn TV-show. Take your effing book-spoilers and jump off a cliff with them. Thank you very much.

    • Agreed

      People actually name dropping characters that have yet to appear in the show.
      Take that to a book forum.

    • I agree as well. I can hardly come to this blog because I don’t want to accidently read spoilers. Not everyone has read the books and nobody should be apologizing for not having done so.

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