The last episode of this great season picks up immediately following the Battle of Castle Black, with Jon Snow entering the wildling camp to speak with Mance Rayder. He is granted an audience with the wildling leader. The two drink to Ygritte, Mag the Mighty and Grenn, honoring their sacrifice. Mance knows that Jon lied about the 1,000 men manning the castle, and has sent 400 climbers over an unguarded stretch of Wall. If Jon lets the wildlings pass through to the south, no more blood will be spilt. Otherwise, every Night's Watchmen will be killed.
A horn suddenly sounds outside, and Mance and Jon go out to see seemingly endless columns of cavalry descending upon the camp. The riders slaughter the wildlings before surrounding Mance, who surrenders. When the smoke clears, Stannis emerges from the woods. Mance refuses to kneel to Stannis, and Jon is able to convince him to take the defeated king prisoner, as well as burn the bodies of the dead.
Later, the Night's Watch say goodbye to their fallen brothers and burn the bodies en masse. Jon looks through the flames and his eyes meet Melisandre's. He then goes to the captured Tormund. He tells him that Tormund won't be tortured and Stannis will decide what to do with the prisoners. Tormund thinks Jon won't be able to kneel to Stannis after he spent so much time with the wildlings. As Jon leaves, Tormund tells him Ygritte loved him and she deserves to be returned to the North. Jon takes her body beyond the Wall and build a pyre beneath a weirwood tree, where he says his final goodbye to the woman he loved.
In Meereen, Daenerys is listening to more peasant problems. First up is a former slave who lives on the streets and wants to become a slave again in order to serve a purpose. Begrudgingly, Dany agrees. Next, a hysterical man bring a bundle to Daenerys, which is revealed to hold the bones of a child. Drogon has been roasting people without his mother knowing, it seems. Dany, shocked by the death, locks up Viserion and Rhaegal in the catacombs, and Drogon has not been seen for a while. The two dragons cry out for her as she watches the stone door shut on them.
Far beyond the Wall, Bran and company are trudging their way through the snow when Jojen collapses. He says they have arrived, and Bran spots the weirwood tree from his vision. The group makes their way to it, but are ambushes by a bunch of ancient wights from beneath the snow. Bran wargs into Hodor and helps Meera fight them off. One of them stabs Jojen repeatedly in the chest. Suddenly, a series of fireballs wipe out the remaining wights, and a young child beckons them to a cave. Meera puts her brother out of his misery and they escape into the cave, where the wights aren't able to go. The child takes them to the an old man entwined in the roots of the weirwood tree. This is the three-eyed raven, and he tells Bran that he will never walk again, but he will fly.
In King's Landing, Cersei, Grand Maester Pycelle and Qyburn are examining the dying Gregor Clegane. It seems Oberyn coated his spear with manticore venom before the fight, and the Mountain is beyond saving according to Pycelle. Qyburn disagrees, and says he thinks he knows how to save him. However, Gregor may be changed by the process.
Cersei goes to see her father to protest her marriage arrangement to Loras yet again. Tywin refuses, saying the matter is closed and her role is crucial. She wants to stay with Tommen rather than let him be manipulated by Tywin and Margaery. She threatens to confess to her infidelity with Jaime, but Tywin is in denial about it. Cersei leaves to find Jaime. She seduces him, not caring if anyone walks in on them.
In his cell, Tyrion hears someone coming. Thinking it's finally time, he prepares to meet his fate. Instead of the headsman, however, it's Jaime who has come for him. He reveals that Varys is helping him set Tyrion free, and shows him the way out. The brothers embrace, as it's probably the last time they'll see each other. Jaime leaves, and Tyrion heads for the exit. However, he turns around and finds the passage to his old chamber: the Tower of the Hand. He enters the bedroom and finds none other than Shae in his father's bed. She grabs a knife, but Tyrion overpowers her and strangles her with the very necklace he gifted her.
Grabbing a crossbow, Tyrion goes to find his father. His search ends in the privy, where he holds Tywin at crossbow-point. His father tries to convince Tyrion that he never would have let them execute him, but he isn't buying it. Tyrion tells him he loved Shae, and Tywin says it doesn't matter that he killed her, as she's just a whore. When Tywin calls her a whore for the second time, Tyrion looses a crossbow bolt into his chest. He reloads and fires a second time, finishing Tywin off. He continues on to Varys, who provides a crate for Tyrion to hide in as he's smuggled out of the city.
Near the Eyrie, Brienne awakes to find the horses gone. She and Pod are forced to walk the rest of the way to the Eyrie, and they stumble upon Arya. Brienne and her trade backstory until the Hound finishes relieving himself. Podrick recognizes him, and Brienne realizes that she's been talking with Arya Stark. The Hound gets defensive, thinking she's there for the bounty on him. Brienne confesses that Jaime Lannister sent her after the Stark girls, and both her and the Hound draw their swords.
The two duel, with the Hound getting the better of most of the exchanges. Brienne gets him on his knees and levels her sword at his throat, but he merely grabs the blade and punches her. They then begin to brawl with their fist and Brienne grabs a rock. She bludgeons his head repeatedly and knocks him off a cliff. Victorious, her and Pod look for Arya, who has disappeared, but they are unsuccessful.
Arya waits for them to leave, and goes to the beaten Hound. His face a bloody mess and his leg broke, he knows he will die very soon. He asks her to finish him, even reminding her of Mycah and saying he should have raped Sansa during the Battle of the Blackwater. Instead, Arya takes his silver and leaves him to die. She makes her way to the Saltpans, a small port town. After being refused passage North, Arya finds out the captain of one of the ships is a Braavosi who is going home, She gives him her iron coin and says, "Valar morghulis." The captain is shocked that she has the coin, and immediately gives her a cabin aboard the Braavos-bound ship.
Well, there you have it. Another successful season in the books. I think this was the best season finale so far, although they left out two huge events from the book. It was still a very good episode and it was so great to see Tywin get what was coming to him.
Next week: someone suggested I do a book four and five discussion thread for those who have read them, so I think I will. I want to hear everyone's thoughts on the story so far and all the popular fan theories out there.