(Note: to help clear up the discussion thread congestion, we’re publishing two Game of Thrones recaps this season, one for book readers and one for non-book readers. Doing it this way means those who have read A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows don’t have to begin every conversation with “SPOILER,” or those who haven’t won’t need to worry about learning something they shouldn’t.)
“The Children” was as packed as any Game of Thrones episode to date. Every main character, save Reek and Dark Sansa/Littlefinger, was checked in on, and that extra six minutes of running time could easily have been another 15. But it never felt too stuffed, because unlike last year’s finale, which was a mini-letdown from the preceding episode, “The Rains of Castamere,” “The Children” was a tasty desert after the bland-ish meal that was “The Watchers on the Wall.” It zipped along, and although it wasn’t flawless, it was a high point to go out on until the next new episode, sometime in April 2015.
(I don’t know how we’re going to make it until then.)
There’s a lot to get into, so let’s break this episode down, character-by-character…