It's been a fantastic season of Game Of Thrones, more packed with incident than a Dothraki wedding.
Game Of Thrones airs on HBO on Sunday in the US, and Sky Atlantic on Monday on the UK.
It was all going so well. Oberyn's spinning-around-as-fast-as-Yoda technique was stronger than Gregor's LUMBER-AROUND-AND-SMASH-STUFF style, and the big man was on his back. All the Viper had to do was pull out his spear and shove it into the big lug's gob (or wherever), but, no, he had to peacock first. "You could at least have worn a helmet," Tyrion told him. Probably should've listened.
Let's face it, Robin is a spoilt little twat.Sansa, on the other hand, is probably the most patient person in Westeros. She's put up with a lot of nonsense on her way to the Eyrie, giving back not much more than a smile and a nod. But when Robin knocks down her snow-castle representation of Winterfell in a misguided attempt to install a moon door in a tower that wasn't tall enough to kill Bran, she basically loses her shit and smacks the creepy little Arryn across the chops. It's almost as satisfying as the time Tyrion hit Joffrey, and had us happier than a king on his 16th Nameday.
What is it about the Arryns? We're almost glad we never met Jon Arryn if this is what his family's like. After seeing her husband Littlefinger forcefully kissing Sansa - which was SUPER WEIRD - Lysa decides to blame A CHILD, threatening to toss her from a great height. But, like so many supervillains before her, Lysa ends up taking the topple. That's after she's endured an incredible cutting love poem from her BFF. "Oh my sweet wife, my sweet silly wife, I have only loved one woman, only one, my entire life. Your sister." Bye Lysa.
After being threatened by a bunch of Kingsmen, The Hound gets hungry. Downing the leader's beer, he demands chicken to cover the cost of his annoyance before delivering arguably the best line on the show.
"You don't seem to understand the situation."
"I understand that if any more words come pouring out of your cunt mouth, I'm going to have to eat every fucking chicken in this room."
"You lived your life for the king, you're going to die for some chickens?"
We had a hard time hearing Ygritte's final delivery of her famous catchphrase. Not because she performed it badly, but because it was hard to hear anything over the SOUNDS OF OUR SOBBING. A quiet moment in an episode packed with ACTION, but it had as much impact as a hammer to the head when Ygritte met her maker. We still tear up when we think of the sad little smile Jon gave her when he first saw her again. Later, when Snow lit her funeral pyre, she truly was kissed by fire. LEAVE US ALONE WE'RE NOT CRYING WE HAVE SMOKE IN OUR EYES.
Giant effing arrow
There's only one thing cooler than a massive giant taking part in a big battle, and that's a massive giant firing an enormous arrow into the belly of one of his foes, sending him flying straight into the sky. And there's only one thing cooler than that; following the body's trajectory until it crashes to the ground with a splat. Take a bow Neil Marshall. But make sure you duck first, goodness knows what's about to drop down onto your head.
Littlefinger, big plans
It was information delivered in such a throwaway manner, we had to rewind our Sky Plus to make sure we'd heard it right. But, sure enough, Littlefinger had indeed been revealed as the mastermind of pretty much every single event in the Game Of Thrones universe. He flicked the first domino (by murdering Jon Arryn) that put all the subsequent events into action. We're not sure if he planned every single key moment that spiraled out of his conspiracy, but he's certainly made the most of the mess. "Chaos is a ladder," indeed.
"Father, I wish to confess. I wish to confess" So begins, arguably, the most powerful speech in the show's history (and there's been more than a few) as Tyrion Lannister tells the population of King's Landing exactly what he thinks of them. It's a masterclass by Peter Dinklage, and if he doesn't win the Emmy for it, he should be allowed to direct a similar speech at his peers. Astonishing.
Stupid Joffrey's painful death
Oh, how we'd waited for this moment. Incredibly, the little shit didn't even get the dignity of the traditional Episode 9 showstopper - he went in Episode 2, which was a huge subversion of expectations for show-watchers and book fans alike. Nothing in the Game Of Thrones universe would ever be the same again. Obviously we would have preferred to see him flayed, burned, shot, stabbed, decapitated, then come back as a White Walker so his body could be set on fire, but what we got was still pretty gruesome, we can't complain too much.
This season Sansa has really found herself. Unfortunately for her enemies, she's found herself as Littlefinger's favourite person, whilst also discovering a tube of hair dye and a goth girl's wardrobe. What does this mean for Season 5? We can't wait to find out, but we won't forget the first glimpse we got of her new look any time soon.
Road to Braavos
Season 4 has seen Arya grow darker, and more cruel.From her first kill in episode one, to the winter-cold way she left the Hound to die slowly in episode 10, it's been a fairly bleak arc for the youngest Stark (that appeared) this season. Still, she was the star of the show's final shot, which seemed to end her journey on an optimistic note. Let's hope she has some more fun next year.
Oberyn and Tyrion chat
Try to forget how it ultimately turned out, and just remember how much you cried out in giddy glee when Prince Oberyn offered to be Tyrion's champion. This particular moment also featured some clever adaptation work from Weiss and Benioff, shifting a profoundly moving conversation about the first time Oberyn saw Tyrion as a baby (in the book, Oberyn tells this story the first time he meets Tyrion, so it's not quite as powerful), giving it the room and focus it deserved. If it had happened in episode one, it would have been too much to take in. Here, it solidifies our love for the character.
Hodor is probably the last true innocent in Westeros. Arguably, Bran is pretty close behind him. So when Bran is forced to Warg into Hodor, controlling the gentle giant's mind and forcing him to kill Locke, it's a truly shocking sequence. Lives were in danger, sure. But all you need to know about the impact of this moment is the look on poor Hodor's face when he regains his senses, looks down at his hands, and realises what he's done.
White Walkers babysitting club
OH GOD. OH GOD NO. Not the words of a character, but the utterances of book-readers across the land when they realised Weiss and Benioff were going AHEAD OF GEORGE RR MARTIN'S BOOKS. This wasn't just them adding new stuff to old scenes, this was a moment that hasn't even been written yet, making it absolutely jaw-dropping for those of us who have followed the series for years via our local library. Everyone else just muttered to themselves: "Ooooh, cool." Because, to be fair, it totally was.
Epic battle plan
Arguably the coolest moment in Game Of Thrones season 4 lasts for 45-seconds and - as far as we can tell - is completely uncut. The panning shot of individual battles during the Wildlings' Castle Black siege is astonishing television. We follow all of the key characters taking part in the scrap in one flowing camera-move that wouldn't look out of place on a cinema screen. In fact, the move it reminded us of most comes in the battle of Manhattan in Joss Whedon's massive blockbuster The Avengers. In fact, some people in the office preferred this shot to that one - high praise indeed.
With hindsight, arguably this season's greatest triumph was to - in a very short space of time - make us care so passionately about Oberyn Martell that we howled with anguish the moment his head popped. And a lot of that hard work was done in a five minute period during his opening episode. Swanning into a room full of Lannister men, drifting his hand over a lit candle, he almost immediately insults them, asking "Do you know why all the world hates a Lannister?" before sticking a blade into the nearest hand. Then, he strolled outside for a quiet chat with Tyrion, outlining his honour code in the process. Effortlessly awesome.
Vicious killer Arya Stark has just recognised a former tormentor. Unfortunately, he hasn't made her kill list, because she didn't know his name.Easy way to fix that - ask. Rorge has barely answered the question before Needle's been buried deep into his heart. He drops, and The Hound congratulates his protege: "You're learning."
Aw, these guys - one of them is never going to leave the other one to die slowly in agonising pain without so much as a water pouch for company, no ruddy way.
What a winker
Seven hells, Daario Naharis is a charming bastard. After convincing Daenerys to let him fight for her he faces off against The Champion of Meereen, without so much as a horse to carry him. The fight begins, and it immediately looks like the odds are stacked against him. But just as Daenerys starts to look worried, he turns and winks, looking for all the world like Indiana Jones taking part in a LARP. A million hearts instantly melted. Not least the Khaleesi's.
Reek gets a lovely bath
Theon, sorry, Reek, has proved his loyalty to the BALLS-OUT EVIL Ramsay Snow, by not going with his sister when she tried to rescue him. As a reward, Snow forces Reek to strip, and we see a body covered completely in scars. It's a reminder of the atrocities Theon has suffered. So, when he clambers into the bath we fully expect it to be full of acid or unicorn tears or something else similarly painful. When it turns out to just be a lovely soak - complete with a good sponging from Snow - it's probably more shocking than if the skin had fizzed from Reek's body. What rhymes with Reek? Oh yeah, bleak.
Tyrion vs Tywin in the toilet
Let's face it, this is easily the most shocking season of Game Of Thrones. Practically every episode seemed to have a Red Wedding moment, and the finale was no different. Seeing Charles Dances on the privy was surprising enough, then Tyrion only went and bloody shot him with a crossbow - killing him (almost) instantly. Since his very first elk-skinning scene, Dance has commanded the screen. Seeing him go out with so little dignity was unnerving. The fact that he - very hypocritically, considering all the stuff he's said to his son about his whoring - had clearly just shagged Shae added a surreal air to proceedings. Tywin took great pleasure (and a certain amount of pain) from towering over Tyrion, both literally and figuratively. So it was satisfying that the two men were on the same level, both literally and figuratively, at the end.