So, season 3 ended on a bit of a… sour note, so to speak. And while season 4 can get really mean and gruesome when it wants to be (just you wait) there are at least some moments where redemption finally starts to appear, where the most reviled and despised characters finally get their comeuppance. Read on to catch up on the most memorable moments of season 4, and prepare yourself for season 6 of Game of Thrones, premiering April 24 (or a day later if you live in the UK).
Joffrey's getting married! Yaaaaaaaaaaaa-
Is it wrong I'm enjoying this so much? It's wrong, right? Well, whatever. It's been a long time coming, and I'm surprised the brat lasted this long, to be honest.
So, Joffrey's dead, and since Tyrion Lannister's wife Sansa Stark has secretly left the city with Petyr Baelish, everyone thinks Tyrion is responsible for Joffrey's death. We eventually learn that Joffrey's death was the result of a plot carried out by Lady Olenna Tyrell (mother of Joffrey's betrothed, Margaery) and Baelish - but because no one knows this, Tyrion is put on trial.
At the trial, his lover, Shae, lies to the court, telling everyone that Tyrion and Sansa were plotting Joffrey's death for months. Tyrion responds in a rage, demanding a trial by combat. Cersei, believing Tyrion to be responsible for Joffrey's death, chooses Ser Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane as her champion. Oberyn Martell, in an effort to get revenge on Gregor for raping and killing his sister twenty years prior, chooses to be Tyrion's champion. It… ends badly for Oberyn.
GEEZ. Gregor then collapses from his wounds, and Tywin sentences Tyrion to death.
Over in Essos, Daenerys' dragons are getting increasingly restless as they grow larger, and it's hard to rule over a kingdom when your subjects keep getting charred to a crisp. One of her dragons remains missing, while she locks the other two away.
She also learns that her long-trusted advisor, Ser Jorah Mormont, used to be a Baratheon spy, and sends him away into exile as punishment.
Back in Westeros, Petyr Baelish and Sansa arrive at the Eyrie. Baelish marries Lady Lysa Arryn (who reveals that Baelish was also responsible for her husband Jon Arryn's death)…
...who then shoves her into the Moon Door, where she plummets to her deaaaaaaaaaaaa...
...aaaaaaath. Now he gets to be really creepy with Sansa again (who's, like, 15 at this point).
During this time, Ramsay Snow has been tormenting poor Theon Greyjoy (now known only as Reek), and uses him to infiltrate the Ironborn lands to negotiate a ‘surrender’. When the Ironborn open the gates, however, Ramsay's troops pour in and murder them all. Lord Roose Bolton then acknowledges Ramsay as a true member of the family (replacing his last name Snow with the family name), and Roose, Ramsay, and Reek head for Winterfell.
Far to the north, the Wildlings begin their assault on the Wall. Jon Snow and his friends do well to stave off the assault, until Jon finds himself face-to-face with Ygritte, the Wildling woman he met beyond the Wall. She has a clear shot to kill him, but hesitates, and as a result, gets shot in the back.
Ygritte dies. Dammit, Jon.
Jon Snow goes north beyond the Wall to find the Wildling leader and assassinate him, but before he's able to do so, Stannis Baratheon arrives with a massive force and overruns the Wildling army.
Further north, Bran eventually finds the place they've been searching for in Jojen's dreams: the Heart Tree.
They are attacked by undead walkers, and Jojen dies, but Bran, Hodor, and Meera are saved by a Child of the Forest.
Ok, now things are getting a bit silly. After the battle, Bran meets an old man near the tree who tells him that while he may never walk again, he will fly - which seems like a pretty good trade off.
Anyway, back in King's Landing. As Tyrion awaits his execution, he's surprised to find that Jaime has freed him from his cell. He sneaks into his father Tywin's bedchambers where he finds Shae, who attacks him with a knife…
...but Tyrion chokes her to death out of revenge for selling him out and shagging his father. He then finds Tywin, enjoying a private moment in the john…
...and kills him too. Tyrion then boards a ship and sets sail for Essos.
Ok, I think that's everyone…
Wait! We can't forget about Arya Stark. She's been hanging out with The Hound (Gregor Clegane's brother, as a matter of fact), who intends to ransom her to Lady Arryn. They run into Brienne of Tarth, who has been trying to find Arya to make good on the oath she made to Arya's mother, Catelyn, back in season 2. The Hound doesn't believe her, due to the Lannister sword she carries (given to her by Jaime, as a token of their friendship). The two duel.
The Hound is badly wounded, and lays dying after falling from a cliff. Arya doesn't want anything to do with Brienne, so she hides until Brienne leaves. Arya emerges to find the Hound begging for death. She takes his money instead and bails, using it (along with the coin she got from Jaqen H'ghar back in season 2) to buy passage to Braavos.
And that's it for season 4! Tune in next time for season 5, when we brush up against the border where series creator George R.R. Martin's written work ends, and fan-fiction begins.