It was alright. Though I'll admit, I have some mixed feelings about some parts.
There were things that were good of course, like Stannis arriving at the Wall, which I'm happy about because finally certain characters are coming together that have never crossed paths before and it will lead into some great things for next season. Dany facing the harsh realities of what her liberation has led to, and the consequences of allowing her dragons to roam free amongst the city. Bran and Co. finally arriving at the Weirwood tree, meeting the Children of the Forest and the last greenseer, also known as the Three-Eyed Crow from Bran's dreams. The Hound getting fatally wounded and Arya leaving him there to die alone while she goes off on her own and sailing to Braavos, thus beginning the next part of her journey that will be leading into the next season. And finally, Tywin getting killed by Tyrion.
But there were other things that I'm uncertain about, or just plain didn't like.
First and foremost, I'm incredibly angry with the way they handled the whole Tyrion killing Shae moment. Due to how developed they made her character on the show over the course of the seasons, it seemed out of place to just have her merely there only to die without giving her more to do or even say. Never mind how, after killing her, they seemed made Tyrion sympathetic while she will be seen as the "evil whore" who betrayed him, thus others might take away that him killing her, while regretful, was justified. This was the moment where even book fans of Tyrion were to not see him in a positive light because he killed her. And outright killed her too, not in a "self-defense because of a fight" way, but basically snapped and murdered her. There is no justification for it and she didn't deserve it, no matter what happened between them. Granted, I knew they had to do things differently because they way they setup that relationship on the show, but here it was just horrible in the sense that they obviously didn't think it through and had to go with the book route for Shae, but the sympathetic show route for Tyrion. Despite the fact that it was Tyrion who intentionally called her a whore and sent her away in order to "protect" her, didn't he even bother to think that perhaps, somehow, she hadn't been on the boat (thanks to Bronn, who, as he said himself, is only looking out for himself) and was possibly blackmailed by his family to testify against him and to be in Tywin's bed because of her occupation. Like, seriously?
It's a travesty and disappointing, really. I can only imagine the actress hated it just as much because she was adamant on giving Shae a voice and have more control over her storyline, and even argued with D&D about certain things. Just. Ugh. Farewell Shae, I'm sorry your character was mistreated by the show because you were way more than what they painted you to be in this season. They should have paid attention to their own continuity.
Also, why wasn't Tyrion's first wife brought up when he and Jaime were parting ways? That would have made more sense, given what happens with Shae. It was mentioned before in a previous season, but it would have been important to bring it up here when Tyrion was confronting his father.
Furthermore, while I know that Jaime and Tyrion have a nice relationship with each other, there was supposed to be important reveal of things; Jaime telling Tyrion the truth about his first wife (leading to the incidents with Shae and Tywin), and Tyrion telling Jaime that Cersei had been unfaithful to him while he had been away in captivity. Plus, the fact that they have Cersei and Jaime still on good terms (despite what happened earlier this season) left me confused more than anything. It would have made sense to leave them having these revelations, especially having them confess it to each other in the heat of the moment. I don't know why they didn't have it.
Also, I think the biggest thing that I'm deeply disappointed in was there was no [book character spoiler]Lady Stoneheart; I felt that would have been perfect for a great finale cliffhanger, leaving the audience, especially non-book fans, something to look forward to for next season. Considering that the finale was fifteen minutes longer than usual, I would have figured they made that extra time to have the last moment of the episode for it to happen. Apparently not.
Other things about the episode:
++ Dany making the hard decision to lock up her dragons to prevent further killings of innocent children. It's sad because it was Drogon that did it, not the other two, but for her she doesn't want to take that chance and reluctantly decides to lock them away. Furthermore, she has to deal with the repercussions about former slaves wanting to be enslaved again. This is something she has to deal with because those who have only been slaves all their lives don't know what to do with their freedom; some will get out of control and do whatever they want while others seem to have a lost sense of self. As a slave, they had purpose. Being freed, they have nothing. No stability. Dany is now in a position where she must face this reality of these slaves, along with the other masters who might take advantage of this, and let's not forget the other slaver cities she has sacked and looking to revolt against her. While this season has been lacking in certain things with Dany, I'm hoping next season will bring more, and that we'll get to see more internalizing and vulnerable moments with her.
++ I'm confused on Jojen dying, because he clearly didn't in the books. It has made me realize, though, that there seems to be a pattern with the show's decision of killing off these characters that haven't died in the books. They seem to kill them off because they don't really do much else in the books thus far, although GRRM has commented on this saying that the show is shooting themselves in the foot because of this.
++ Is it just me, or was anyone else disappointed that the Three-Eyed Crow/Greenseer was just an old man sitting within a tree rather than being an almost-skeletal man basically having tree roots going around/through him? I was hoping for such a visual that it seemed rather...underwhelming?
++ Also, why no Coldhands though?
++ While it was nice seeing Brienne and Arya conversing with each other, especially about being girls fighting alongside men even though they were told otherwise, Brienne never met up with Arya and never fought The Hound. Her entire mission was to search for Sansa and finding clues as to her whereabouts. I mean, I didn't dislike it because it was a nice little moment (while it lasted) and I liked that it gave Arya a chance to speak with another woman, and that her decision to not join her was because of her trust issues. But honestly, it was quite weird nonetheless.
++ Regardless though, Arya not reacting to The Hound as he was begging for her to kill him was a great moment. She was so indifferent, impassive towards him. She just looked on at him for a long, long moment, took his money and left. She wanted him to die, but she wanted him to suffer.
++ I liked that they showed what happened to The Mountain, the aftermath of him being poisoned by Oberyn's spear during the fight. I also liked that it's a parallel between both the brothers, both of them are slowly dying. Of course, the man who treated Jaime's hand will be experimenting on The Mountain, and I'm hoping we get to see that process later. Should be interesting.
++ I'm further confused with what they're doing with Jaime and Cersei anymore. I don't think they know. Bah.
++ I'm going to miss Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. He had such presence as the character, his performance was magnificent throughout the show.
Overall: I liked it well enough, though it was a bit underwhelming as far as season finales go. I think the majority of that was due to getting my hopes high for certain things only to be letdown. Which is partially my own fault, I feel. I should know by now that, because of how much the show is changing things from the books as the seasons go on, I should keep my expectations low.
Season Four Overview: It was a good season, there were several high points, though I'll be honest I think the pacing wasn't as great. As always, I feel like they need to cease with the unnecessary things like nudity/rape scenes, have less fillers and more plot. They did keep hyping up this season to be more fast and action-packed that previous ones, but I felt it was just the same, just with certain scenes rearranged. Overall, the season was good, just not spectacular as I had originally thought it was going to be.