After last night's finale, there's no question that this season of "Game of Thrones" was the biggest yet. With huge plot twists, deaths galore, enormous intrigues, and giant... um, giants, the fourth season of the HBO fantasy delivered beyond viewers' wildest dreams.
But after saying goodbye to "Game of Thrones" until its return sometime in 2015, we're also left with so many burning questions to ponder in its absence. Things like...
1. Can Brienne and Podrick still be friends?
The lady warrior and her loyal squire were so close to forging the sort of reluctant odd-couple friendship that would have been a joy to watch — until Podrick managed to lose both their horses and Arya Stark within a single five-minute period. (Podrick! You've got some 'splaining to do!)
Brienne had previously showed signs of softening toward her doofy companion, but being good natured about a screw-up of this magnitude might take more generosity than she can manage, especially considering how much she must be hurting from getting kicked in the V by the Hound.
2. And speaking of the Hound: Is he? Or isn't he?
Admittedly, things were not looking good for Sandor Clegane as Arya robbed him and then left him bleeding, broken, and with something that may or may not have been spleen showing through a big hole in his epidermis. But following the TV maxim that nobody's dead until you see a body, it's not too much to hope that the Hound might maybe, somehow survive. Personally, we shant believe it until or unless a cadre of singing munchkins shows up to pronounce the man "really, most sincerely dead."
3. What's in store for Meera and Hodor now that Bran has reached the weirwood tree?
It's not giving too much away to note that we basically know what's next for Bran: namely, that he's going to make like this old Three-Eyed Raven fellow and fuse his physical being with a tree. Which is very exciting. For Bran. For the friends who brought him this far, on the other hand... well, let's just say that after the third week of being trapped under a tree with nobody but Hodor to talk to, Meera might be wishing she'd stayed behind to be murdered by wights along with her brother.
4. Will the remaining Stark kids ever see each other again?
Those hoping for a reunion between the wayward Starks have suffered through a host of agonizing near misses since the end of Season 1— and now, it seems less likely than ever that the kids will find each other. The setup for Season 5 has them scattered to the winds: Bran is pow-wowing with the underground tree people; Arya is sailing for Braavos; Jon Snow is firmly ensconced at the Wall; Sansa is the Eyrie's best-kept secret. At this point, the only Stark who might find his way into another Stark's orbit is Rickon, and let's be honest, he doesn't really count. Admit it: You'd forgotten he even existed, didn't you.
5. How dumb did Tywin Lannister feel during the last moments of his life?
The answer: Pretty dumb! Hoodwinked and betrayed by all three of your children in a single 24-hour span? That's got to be some kind of record.
6. And how peeved is Cersei going to be when she realizes that Tyrion escaped, and how?
We hope Jaime enjoyed that tabletop romp with his sister/lover while it lasted, because once she figures out his role in Tyrion's escape, we're guessing that romance is dunzo.
7. AND! Can Tyrion possibly get away with this?
Exciting as it is to see everyone's favorite Lannister hidden in Varys's hidey-box and bound for ports unknown, there's still the part where he's a famously small, famously scarred, famously criminal dude in a country full of traitors and spies. Is there anyplace in the seven kingdoms where he could safely hide?
8. And wait, what about those white walkers?
After giving us the biggest shock of our lives with that scene featuring the white walkers' horned King and his magic baby-freezing fingers, the show left audiences hanging without so much as a word of explanation. Who was that triceratops-headed snowman, and what was he doing? Let the wild theorizing begin.
9. And finally, was Lena Headey just messing with us?
Those who want to avoid spoilers should click away now... because we've got to talk about how much Lady Stoneheart wasn't in this episode, despite what seemed like the world's most obvious hint dropped by Lena Headey via Instagram. Where is our vengeful zombie queen of the great white North?! Could leaving her out of the finale be the showrunners' way of ensuring that we'd all tune in for Season 5?