Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) asks Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) for proof that Queen Cersei Lannister tried to have him killed during the Battle of the Blackwater. Varys replies that he has none, and explains the story of how he was made a eunuch by a sorcerer in Myr. Once his story concludes, Varys opens a large crate to reveal that the sorcerer is inside and that Varys intends to exact his revenge upon him. Later, Varys gathers information from Ros (Esme Bianco), who reveals that Lord Petyr Baelish may take Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) with him when he leaves for the Eyrie to wed Lysa Arryn. Continuing his investigations, Varys meets with Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) to discuss her interest in Sansa. He warns her that Baelish could become dangerous if he could obtain more power by controlling the heir to the North.
King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) takes Lady Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) on a tour of the Great Sept of Baelor, where Cersei (Lena Headey) and Lady Olenna are discussing the wedding. Margaery encourages Joffrey to give love to the people, and takes him outside to wave to the crowd, which angers Cersei. Later, Cersei meets with her father, Tywin (Charles Dance), to discuss the importance of getting Jaime back, as well as the Tyrell presence in King's Landing. Cersei distrusts Margaery for her ability to manipulate Joffrey. Margaery and Sansa get to know one another when Margaery finds Sansa at prayer in the godswood. Margaery expresses her hope that Sansa will come to see the Tyrell seat of Highgarden, but Sansa says Cersei will not allow her to leave King's Landing. Margaery replies that once she is queen, she would see Sansa wed to her brother, Ser Loras.
Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) has another dream where he is running through the woods with Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie Sangster), chasing the three-eyed raven. Bran climbs a tree in pursuit of the raven, but falls when he sees his mother, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), who commands him not to climb.
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and the boy who freed him (Iwan Rheon) ride for Deepwood Motte, where the boy claims Theon's sister Yara is waiting. While in the castle's underground entrance tunnel, Theon explains that he never found or killed the Stark boys, instead having Dagmer Cleftjaw kill two orphans to pose as the children. He also reveals his remorse for his actions and claims that Eddard Stark was his true father all along. When they enter the castle, the boy lights a torch to reveal that he has taken Theon back to the dungeon from which he helped him escape. He calls out to the guards that Theon killed his captors and escaped, but that he brought Theon back. The guards subdue Theon and restrain him again, while the boy watches in delight.
Locke (Noah Taylor) and his men taunt Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) for their removal of his sword hand. When Jaime falls from his horse, he steals a sword from one of Locke's men and attacks them, but, due to his weakened condition and having to use his left hand, he is quickly beaten. At camp, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) talks with Jaime, who refuses to eat, saying he wants to die. She chastises him for "quitting", claiming that he has had a taste of real life and losing something important, and tells him to live so that he can take revenge on Locke.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) are being transported to the hideout of the Brotherhood Without Banners by Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) and his men. Once inside, they are introduced to the Brotherhood's leader, Lord Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer). Dondarrion calls Clegane a murderer, a fact he denies since all his killings were to protect the king. Arya tells the Brotherhood about Mycah, the butcher's boy whom Clegane killed, though Clegane defends his actions since he believed Joffrey's lie about Mycah attacking him first and it was not his place to question his prince. Dondarrion sentences Clegane to fight him in a trial by combat.
Grenn (Mark Stanley), Edd Tollett (Ben Crompton) and Rast (Luke Barnes) have been forced to work at Craster's Keep, caring for the pigs; Rast declares that they cannot trust Craster. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) discuss her newborn son and his fate if Craster (Robert Pugh) were to discover the baby's existence. The men of the Night's Watch hold a funeral for a fallen brother and soon return to Craster's Keep for dinner. Brother Karl Tanner (Burn Gorman) challenges Craster, complaining about the poor food they have been given. Rast then enrages Craster by mentioning his bastard parentage. Craster grabs his hatchet and orders the Night's Watch out of his keep, threatening to mutilate the next one who calls him a bastard. After a moment of silence, Karl calls Craster a list of vulgar insults ending with the word bastard; Craster lunges at Karl, who stabs Craster in the throat. When Lord Commander Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo) attempts to fight Karl, Rast stabs him in the back, and, after the commander falls, stabs him repeatedly in the chest. As a fight breaks out amongst the Night's Watch brothers, Sam flees with Gilly and her infant son.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her followers arrive to complete the trade of one of her dragons to the slaver Kraznys (Dan Hildebrand) for the 8,000-strong Unsullied army. During the exchange, Kraznys repeatedly insults her in Valyrian yet again. After completing the exchange, Daenerys – in fluent Valyrian, claiming it as her mother tongue due to her Targaryen ancestry – orders her new army of Unsullied to sack Astapor, kill all the slavers and free every slave they find. When a horrified Kraznys tries to order the Unsullied to turn on their new mistress, Daenerys reclaims her dragon by ordering it to kill Kraznys. After the battle ends, she frees the Unsullied and tells them they may remain with her as free men or leave if they choose. None choose to leave her, and show their support by pounding their spears in unison, and she and her army depart Astapor.
"And Now His Watch Is Ended" was written by showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It was based on George Martin's novels, chapters Tyrion X from A Clash of Kings and Jaime IV, Tyrion II, Samwell II, the first part of Arya VI, and the second half of Daenerys III from A Storm of Swords.
Benioff and Weiss considered this episode one of the "big ones" and a turning point of the series. Weiss said that when he was reading the books he was swept away by Daenerys' final scene, and remembered thinking how he'd be able to put it on screen if he could ever get to film it.
This final scene includes the first instance of the High Valyrian language in the series, apart from short stock phrases, spoken by Daenerys. Up to this point only the Astapori dialect of Low Valyrian, a creolized form of the ancient language of the old Valyrian Empire, had been heard, spoken by the slaver Kraznys. David J. Peterson, the language creator hired by the series, designed both versions of the tongue.
The episode reintroduces Lord Beric Dondarrion, now played by Richard Dormer. Dondarrion had previously been portrayed by David Michael Scott in his brief appearance in the first season episode "A Golden Crown", where he was entrusted by Lord Eddard Stark with the task of capturing Ser Gregor Clegane.
The episode was helmed by director Alex Graves, a newcomer to the production. The producers praised his work, in particular in the handling of the final scene at Astapor: "He took a scene that had us quite nervous – the number of people on set, the size of the action, the amount of the effects work – and had it all done in a few days. A scene that might take a feature eight days; for us it was two or three."
The interiors of the episode were shot at Belfast's The Paint Hall, including a new set representing the colossal Great Sept of Baelor at King's Landing. For the exteriors, the episode filmed extensively at the forests of Clandeboye Estate, where the sets of Craster's Keep and the encampment of Locke's band were built. The gardens where Olenna and Varys plot are parts of the Trsteno Arboretum, in Croatia.
The scenes with Daenerys were filmed in Morocco. While during the first three episodes the city of Astapor had been represented by the coastal ramparts of Essaouira, the plaza and the walls seen in this episode were sets from Atlas Studios, located 5 kilometres west of the city of Ouarzazate. The walls had been built to stand in for the city of Jerusalem in the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven.
The ratings of the episode raised to a new record for the series, with a viewership of 4.87 million viewers and a 2.6 share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. The encore was watched by another 1.03 million, totaling 5.90 million viewers for the night. In the United Kingdom, the episode was seen by 0.992 million viewers on Sky Atlantic, being the channel's second highest-rated broadcast that week.
The episode received critical acclaim, being consistently rated as the best of the season at the time of its airing. Review aggregator surveyed 21 reviews of the episode and judged 100% of them to be positive. The website's critical consensus reads, "'And Now His Watch is Ended' is an enthralling meditation on betrayal and revenge, bolstered by a mind-blowing surprise for those who would underestimate Daenerys Targarean [sic]." IGN's Matt Fowler rated it with a 9.3/10, highlighting "shocking deaths, brutal double-crosses and a Kingslayer undone made for some mighty fine Thrones". David Simms, writing for The A.V. Club, considered it "an insanely satisfying, shocking episode" and gave it an "A" grade. His colleague Todd VanDerWerff agreed on the score.
The final scene with Daenerys was unanimously praised. At Cultural Learnings, Myles McNutt found that the scene was one of the series' best sequences and considered it an impressive feat to have achieved a climax so satisfying for the viewer with only a relatively small number of scenes building up to it in the first three episodes. VanDerWerff considered that Emilia Clarke's acting was Emmy worthy. HitFix's Alan Sepinwall also praised her performance, remarking that "her big moment comes in a (fictional) foreign language, and the subtitles are barely necessary. That's how good she is."
Due to her nomination, Emilia Clarke submitted this episode for consideration for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. At the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Diana Rigg was nominated for the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in this episode, and the episode itself received two nominations for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (One Hour).