5 Surprising Things We Learned from the “Game of Thrones” Season 4 Finale

Wee man, large crossbow.

Last night’s Game of Thrones finale tied up a series of loose ends while also introducing enough new plotlines to make the wait for season five completely unbearable. While some of the episode’s outcomes were seemingly predictable – Tyrion Lannister avoids execution – others gave us a lot to think about. Spoilers are coming!

The dragons may turn on their mother.

Khaleesi’s dragon babies are misbehaving and, following a hysterical visit from a grieving father who’s child was killed by their breath, she is forced to chain them up in the catacombs. While earlier scenes hinted at her dwindling ability to control them, Daenerys’ reaction suggests increasing desperation. It’s also an act that is likely to have dramatic repercussions. Will they turn against her? Will the third and most powerful dragon (who has gone AWOL, but is presumably off on a scorched earth campaign somewhere) return and allow himself to be subjugated? Not bloody likely. 

Arya really is a killer.

Just when it seemed like she might be coming around to her unlikely companion – and he to her – Arya’s unwillingness to put the badly wounded Hound out of his misery in his final moments reminded us that she is, after all, Ned Stark’s daughter. She doesn’t forget the past. Equally surprising is her reluctance to trust Brienne of Tarth, who has thus far proven herself to be one of the few truly noble and trustworthy characters. Their powerful scene was a reminder that more than any of her surviving siblings, Arya trusts no one – and will bend to no one.  

Tyrion is a Lannister after all.

No, not because he killed his hateful, tyrannical father. Because before he did that, he killed his former lover, Shae, with his bare hands. It doesn’t matter that she betrayed him by lying at his trial (an act we assume was fueled by her own resentment at the way the relationship ended) or that he seems to feel immediate remorse. We saw a different side of the imp last night. There’s no telling whether the more lighthearted Tyrion, who was once the only redeeming member in a family of wretched beasts, has gone permanently over to the dark side.

Mance Rayder is going to be a force for good.

Jon Snow already knew he was a man of honor based his experiences north of the wall, but last night reinforced the idea that Mance is far from being some wild barbarian leading an army of savages. He is going to be integral to the show – possibly as Jon Snow’s ally, and maybe even as a rival to Stannis Baratheon.

The Red Woman has her eye on Jon Snow.

She sees something in Ned Stark’s evermore heroic son, which is probably bad news for Jon Snow. While the mysterious Melisandre had no lines in the finale, it only took one shot of her looking at Snow over a sea of burning Night’s Watchmen’s bodies to establish the connection. It wasn’t exactly a subtle hint.

Photos by Helen Sloan / HBO