‘Game of Thrones’: Top 10 Moments of Season 4

By June 16, 2014
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“Game of Thrones” Season 4 just aired its finale last night and I have a feeling we won’t stop talking about it anytime soon. There were some major deaths (as there always are – valar morghulis), including one that may just change your feelings about a fan favorite character. Needless to say, there are going to be major spoilers in this list. You’ve been warned.

It was really hard to pick just ten moments from Season 4. It is arguably the most intense season so far, and that’s saying something after the events of the Red Wedding in Season 3. I’d love to hear what you agree and disagree with in the comments. Only 42 weeks until Season 5, you guys!

1. Arya meets Brienne

Game of Thrones Arya Stark
 
There were so many great Arya (Maisie Williams) moments this season. If you listen to the GeekNation Game of Thrones recap & review, you know she’s a favorite of mine. There was her first real kill. There were amazing moments with The Hound (Rory McCann). There was the time she finally got the pony she wanted. (That’s such a normal little girl thing to want. I think that made it even better.) The conversation between Arya and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), however, was my personal favorite. As a book reader, it was even more powerful to watch something I didn’t see coming. Watching Arya drop her hard exterior for a moment and marvel at a woman who is doing what she’s always wanted to do was both beautiful and heartbreaking in its brevity. In the finale, it was second only to her obvious decision not to kill The Hound because he was no longer on her list.
 
2. Daenerys and Drogon
 
Game of Thrones Drogon
 
I’m too heartbroken to list Dany (Emilia Clarke) chaining Raegal and Viserion in the catacombs as one of the top moments. (I wasn’t crying. I have terrible allergies.) Instead, I offer the moment Drogon snaps at her early in the season. I know Dany’s story was a bit slow this time around, but the shot of this powerful, beautiful monster snapping at his mama was as shocking to the audience as it was to Dany herself.
 
3. Tyrion requests trial by combat

Game of Thrones Tyrion Lannister

If Peter Dinklage doesn’t get an Emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister this season, I’ll eat my hat. Well, I don’t have a hat, but I’ll eat a hat. Tyrion has always been the cool one. He’s sarcastic. He sees things as they are. He’s an observer of the chaos around him. However, even he has a breaking point. During his trial for the death of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), he watches everyone he cared for betray him. He may have expected it from his father Tywin (Charles Dance) and his sister and accuser Cersei (Lena Headey). He may even have expected it from Varys (Conleth Hill) who told him that he could only be his friend in secret. However, when his love Shae (Sibel Kekilli) does it, he snaps. His roaring request for trial by combat is even more powerful than the combat itself. (Feel free to debate that one in the comments.)

4. Oberyn Martell’s head squish

Game of Thrones Oberyn Martell and Sandor Clegane

I’d say I’m sorry for making you look at smooshed Oberyn (Pedro Pascal), but I’m really not. Oberyn is one of my favorite characters and it hurt me to read about his death in the books. It hurt even more to keep quiet about it all season as everyone else talked about their love for him. Here’s the thing though: if you’re going to kill off such a powerful character, you might as well do it in a big way. Oberyn was punished for his hubris. He couldn’t just end it. He had to get the confession about who destroyed his family. Sigh. The truth is, almost every Oberyn moment could have made this list. His frank and non-judgmental questioning of Varys’ sexuality and admission that he just wants who he wants. His questions during the trial. His irreverent comments to Tywin about how he’d been out late and didn’t feel like having a meeting so early. His line about how they don’t hurt little girls in Dorne. Every single moment of Oberyn in a brothel. Oh, Viper, how I’ll miss you.

5. Petyr makes Lysa fly

Game of Thrones Lysa

Lysa Arryn (Katie Dickie) is a creeper. She nurses her ten-year-old son. (I can never un-see that.) She murders her husband and lies to her sister. She is ready to marry Petyr (Aidan Gillen) within 30 seconds. She tells everyone how she’s going to scream during sex. She screams during sex, so loud that poor Sansa (Sophie Turner) hears it in another part of the Eyrie. The funny thing is, her untimely death was all because of the one legitimate and honest thing in her life. Petyr, her husband, was kissing Sansa. Still, she grossed us out so much (and threatened Sansa, though I may be the only one who felt bad for her) that it was incredibly satisfying when Petyr shoves her out the Moon Door.

6. Ygritte’s funeral pyre

Game of Thrones Ygritte

Ygritte’s (Rose Leslie) death is heartbreaking in the books, even more so than in the show. Though this was one of the only two slow motion shots in the entire history of “Game of Thrones,” it just didn’t ring true to me. We’d missed her most of the season, and when she was actually there, she was killing the parents of small children. The funeral pyre, however, broke me down. Maybe it was the fact that he had to burn her to keep her from returning as a walker. Maybe it was the shot of her face. Maybe it was Tormund’s (Kristofer Hivju) admission that she really loved Jon Snow (Kit Harington). I know his tears broke my heart and I’m not a huge Jon Snow fan. Non-book readers (a.k.a. Unsullied), do you agree?

7. Hot Pie’s direwolf bread

Game of Thrones Hot Pie

Finding Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) again this season was an unexpected joy. His musings on the importance of gravy made me giggle. His offering of a better bread direwolf than he gave Arya last time made me sniffle. Why? Because sometimes you just want to know that someone in Westeros is happy. Please, please don’t kill Hot Pie, George R.R. Martin! Please!

8. Sansa goes all Dark Lily from Legend

Game of Thrones Sansa Stark

If you listen to the podcast, you know I’m a Sansa apologist. Remember how young she is! She has grown up with fairy tales of Princes and Princesses, love and duty, and unlike her sister Arya, she wants this type of life. She wants is to marry the Prince. She does the wrong thing to make her dream come true and her father dies. While dealing with the guilt, she’s tortured by a mad Prince Joffrey and his cruel mother, she’s married to Tyrion, she’s almost raped in an alley, she’s used as a pawn in a murder plot and kidnapped — what else do you do but retreat into yourself until you find the right moment to break free? She’s a survivor, as Tyrion tells her. Well, she certainly found her moment. Sansa may be the only one who has something on Petyr. She knows he loved her mother (Michelle Fairley) and has an unnatural lust for her as well. She saves him (since she has no idea what will be done with her now that her family is dead) and sews her own Dark Lily costume to seduce him. It was so satisfying to see her finally have a look of triumph on her face. Finally!

9. Tyrion gets his revenge

Game of Thrones Tywin Lannister

Okay, non-book readers. I want to know if Tyrion’s killing of Shae after finding her in his father’s bed (and calling him “my lion,” no less) changed your opinion of him. A specific book revelation that might have affected feelings on the matter was left out of the show, so I’m curious. Please let me know in the comments. She did fight him. She did betray him. But death? Personally, I’m fine with it, but I’d like to get a wider view. And I don’t think anyone would dispute the rightness of Tywin dying on the crapper. It’s kind of perfect, don’t you think?

10. Joffrey dies…finally

Game of Thrones Joffrey Baratheon

My only quarrel with the death of the monster known as Joffrey Baratheon was that it didn’t last longer. Everyone wanted to see him go. (Kudos to Jack Gleeson for such a wonderful performance!) Even better than the moment of his death was the mystery that surrounded it. For weeks we discussed who did it, how they did it and watched the show over and over again to see the moment Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) removes the stone from Sansa’s necklace. A death that large so early in the season was shocking. The final shot of purple Joffrey was pure poetry. Evil beast!

Well, there you have it. My top 10 moments from the fourth season of “Game of Thrones.” Leave yours below and we’ll debate! Valar morghulis.

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Jenna Busch
Jenna Busch is the co-host of 'Cocktails With Stan' with the legendary Stan Lee. She's a host and writer who's passionate about Star Wars, fantasy and geek culture. Jenna is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and a board member of the Broadcast Television Critics Association (BTJA). She has appeared on G4's "Attack of the Show," and "Fresh Ink," as well as appearing with Wil Wheaton on the premiere episode of "Tabletop." She's got two stories published in the comic anthology "Womanthology" and has done a series of terrifyingly perky voice overs. She also owns far too many swords and lightsabers.
  • Rusty Patti

    Great list. And I agree on #1. One I’d have included is the sequence of the forging of the Two Swords in the 1st episode. Can swords be characters?

    • Swords can TOTALLY be characters! (Incidentally, I love the sword name thing between Brienne and Arya!) I have Needle in my house at the moment, which you can see in the pic from the podcast. That was a FANTASTIC sequence!!!

  • Ditolus

    Did you cry when the Hound was asking Arya to kill him?

    • I didn’t, but I loved the scene. Everything about it, including Arya leaving. I think she didn’t kill him because he was finally off her list. Did you?

      • Ditolus

        I didn’t cry. However I think the reason Arya didn’t kill him was cuz she’s pretty much gone. She doesn’t care and isbasically giving the big FU to westeros and leaving to become what she’s always wanted to be. I’m interested to see what “damaged” Arya has in store for us.

        • If it’s anything like the book, it’s going to be very cool. 🙂

  • Sean K

    I absolutely loved the fight between Brienne and the Hound. I love it even more after having read an interview with Gwendolyn Christie about it. Apparently, when they shot her fight with Jaime, Nikolai Coster-Waldau kept asking her to tone it down a bit, because she was beating him up pretty good.

    Well, Rory McCann could, of course, take everything she could throw at him and then some. So she and Rory spent three days in Iceland beating the ever-loving (expletive deleted) out of each other. Battered each other blue and raw.

    That story makes me unbelievably happy, and happy for and proud of Ms. Christie.