The Battle of Castle Black may have been the biggest action set-piece in Game of Thrones history (and probably TV history, too), but next Sunday’s hour of the HBO hit could be the show’s best episode ever.
Titled “The Children,” the 10th episode of the fourth season will break a narrative pattern that’s been set by the show in previous years. Usually the ninth episode contains a major character death or battle, and the finale is a quieter hour (by Thrones standards, at least) that wraps some storylines while launching other threads for next season. Expect “The Children” to check in with all the key characters and for some major drama to unfold.
“It’s the best finale we’ve ever done, bar none,” Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss said in a statement. “The performances from our cast, the direction from Alex Graves, the VFX work, the new [music] cues from Ramin Djawadi—all of it came together in perhaps the finest hour we’ve produced. We’re immensely proud of ‘The Children.’ And a little intimidated by the episode, because now we have to get back to the business of season five and figure out a way to top it.”
Of key interest is the fate of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who was sentenced to death at the conclusion of the eighth episode. But there’s also Jon Snow (Kit Harington) marching off to assassinate Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds), Arya (Maisie Williams) setting a new course, and you cannot have a Thrones finale without at least one surprise involving the dragon queen (Emilia Clarke). Expect “The Children” to be a longer-than-usual episode, too — HBO’s schedule says the finale is 66 minutes.