Game of Thrones is one of the most involved shows on TV, and now that we are half way through the series, The Edge thought it would be the time to look back over the last four episodes. Beware, though, spoilers ahead!
After the devastation of ‘The Red Wedding’ it seems season 4 simply had to begin by filling Westeros with new characters, and most interestingly they seem to have a great feud with the Lannisters! Our favourite imp Tyrion is sent as a welcoming party for the guests of King Joffrey’s upcoming nuptials but upon meeting the Dornish party he is soon told that the Prince is already within the city grounds.
Seamless cut to Prince Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) and his paramour Elleria (Indira Varma) hanging out at Littlefinger’s brothel. They’re perusing the wares and indulging in a little sexposition, which tells us pretty much all we need to know about Oberyn and Elleria: they’re pan-sexual, always on the prowl, they get what they want. After they hear a couple of Lannister guards singing The Rains Of Castamere a few rooms down in the brothel, we find out they really, really hate Lannisters (Oberyn goes into greater depth there when talking to Tyrion shortly after stabbing one of the Lannister men in the wrist, showing that he’s great at both being a lover and a fighter). It turns out his sister Elia was the wife of Rhaegar Targaryen, the last dragon, and she was raped and killed alongside her children by everyone’s favorite “Mountain That Rides”, Gregor Clegane.
In this episode it’s Pascal who quickly steals the show as the intimidating Prince Oberyn, second son of the King of Dorn. Blood thirsty for revenge yet constantly oozing a kind of bad boy sex appeal he soon places himself as lead rival against the Lannisters. Although the episode is filled with plotting and action this is focused on a few characters though we do witness Daenerys slowly losing control over her ‘children’, that’s dragons to you and me, and our beloved Jon Snow returns to the wall arrows and all. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B.Weiss execute the CGI perfectly here when we witness the three fighting over a sheep’s carcus, but soon after Khalessi tries to intervene one turns on their mother, though doesn’t attack. And so the rebellious teenage dragons fly off, I presume to sulk after being told off by mum.
However, another key focus settles on the most fearless Stark, (one of the few remaining) Arya. The episode ends with an impressively-staged sword fight between the Hound, Arya, and a collection of Lannister men, including Polliver (Andy Kellegher), the man who took Needle and put the spear to Lommy Greenhands. Remember that? It manages to be frantic, tightly-shot, and well-executed all at the same time. Arya and the Hound together make a great odd couple for most of the episode, but it was the execution of the combat – the slow burn of Rory McCann as The Hound slowly loses his temper, the sound of the drinking and clattering cups, the screaming and squealing of servant girls being threatened, the way Arya takes her time as she slides Needle into Polliver’s throat, repeating back to him word for word the things he said to Lommy before sticking him with a spear – that really pulls it all together and creates a satisfying moment, capped off with the little satisfied smile Arya has on her face as she rides onward with the Hound. It seems our little Arya is falling into dangerous territory, does she still hold onto her high-born conscious? Or has she lost all morals?
‘The Lion and The Rose’
Clearly in this episode if you haven’t heard yet you’re about to receive possibly the biggest spoiler yet for Season 4. But we’ll get to that.
Bran is still wondering aimlessly north of the wall though we soon find out that he can now slip into his Wolf’s (Summer) body at will. Now that’s a neat little trick! Theon GreyJoy is now simply know as Reek, and his mind has been warped by torture. So much so that when shaving his captor and torturer he cannot muster the courage to kill him, even when learning of Rob Stark’s death. A move that is completely opposite to the book, originally Greyjoy disappears and then Reek appears later with a very small link being revealed later in the book. Though we do find out his captor is the bastard of the new warden of the North and that they’re hell bent on removing all remaining starks who wish to overthrow they’re new placement. Sansa back in king’s landing is given a necklace by the fool who saved her. And Stannis is still burning those who don’t believe in the Lord of Light and being broody.
I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that this episode was actually written by George R. R. Martin himself! But of course the biggest event of the episode is what is now dubbed as the ‘Purple Wedding’ Joffrey and Margery happily marry but after trying to humiliate his uncle at the wedding feast with a play of the claimants played by dwarves he then moves on and even pours wine over Tyrion. Petulant King. Though soon Margery diverts attention towards the wedding pie with dovers flying out, though Joffrey kills one when slicing said pie. Soon however Joffrey is suddenly choking to death seemingly after drinking wine from Tyrion and slowly turns purple as blood and wine pours out of his mouth. Of course cracy queen Cersei is the first one on the scene followed closely by real father Jamie!
So who did it? well the answer…? We don’t know yet! But of course crazy cersei accuses her hated brother and Tyrion ends the episode in chains with his wife Sansa fleeing.
‘Breaker of Chains’
This episode in continually interesting and I must admit I was a little worried after the explosive turn ‘The Lion and the Rose’ took that this wouldn’t hold up. But it does.
Undoubtedly the most interesting scenes take place in Kings Landing this week as Tywin Lannister, the patriarch of the family counsels and questions little Tommen, future king, on what makes a good king…over the corpse of his dead brother. How lovely. With each attribute young Tommen names Tywin bats back a counterpoint represented by old kings, although interesting each one could be labelled to one of the surviving and even previous claimants. Eventually we fall on Wisdom, and of course Tywin’s advice? Listen to your elder advisors. A.K.A listen to grandpa.
Later however after Cersei demands some time alone we witness possibly the most uncomfortable rape scene in the history of game of thrones. And between none other the brother and sister Cersei and Jamie Lannister. And all played out by their son’s dead corpse. Charming. But moving on to a more heart-warming scene we witness Tyrion in captivity who is visited by his trusty squire Pod. Tyrion of course asks to know about the situation but soon questions who the possibly murdered could have been and why they would frame him ranging from Sansa all the way back to his own father Tywin. Who’s your money on?
Daniel Portman is absolutely perfect as Pod and soon has us almost in tears with a quiet saddened smile when Tyrion tries to protect him and orders him to actually plead against the imp! Fearing for his safety if he does not. *I will not crym I will NOT cry* although an emerging theme for Tyrion playing the protector, once before with Sansa and Shae and now with Pod.
Aside from the main drama we witness Khalessi about to sack another city with a newly re-cast Darios, Bran is still north of the wall and Arya and the Hound get taken in by a nice farmer and his daughter and the Hound repays them by….stealing from him and knocking the farmed round the head. Though with this Arya gains a valuable lesson that survival is the only path though it’s nice to witness she still has her Stark honour!
Finally, finally! We found out who killed Joffrey. And surprisingly it’s Lord Balish! Remember that necklace given to Sansa? Did you notice Olenna Tyrell admiring it? Did you then also notice a crystal missing from the necklace? No? Well don’t fret too much but cast your minds back to season 1/2 and you might remember a discussion on various poisons and how one can be made by a chemical made into a crystal and then formed when the crystal reacts with wine. Well if not don’t fret too much but it seems our Littlefinger really is the most untrustworthy man in Westeros. He has now since betraryed both the Stark’s and the Lannisters. Although now he has a partnership with the Tyrells, a wedding to Liza, the lady of the veil (the one who breast-feed her son) and of course the daughter of his dead beloved in his possession.
Daenerys unsullied infiltrate and take over a city. Yay for free’d slaves! Though she then nails masters to the posts the way children were….hmm…not sure how we feel about that one. Perhaps mercy would have been wise? Jon Snow is sent out to capture Caster’s keep north of the wall with a band of men that holds Locke, a man sent to kill Snow, and Bran is captured by said Caster’s keep’s new Lord, Karl who drinks from skulls. Nice.
Possibly most interesting about the episode, aside from Jamie and Brienne’s relationship and both of them keeping their vow to the late Catelyn Stark, is that we witness the White-Walkers. And not just for two seconds. It seems the boys that are sacrificed to Caster are later taken to the WhiteWalker’s hide-out and turned into White-Walkers! So they’re not baby eaters! Which is always nice to know I suppose.
All in all perhaps it can be said that so far Season 4 of Game of Thrones is possibly the most well executed, exciting and interesting of all the seasons so far. The timeline of the books has been changed, the effects get ever more interesting and the whole game has been changed. Now, even the Lannister’s are facing real danger, and from within. So what will become of Tyrion? Will Brienne save Sansa and reunite her with Arya? Will Mansrader and the other wildlings take the wall? I don’t know…I haven’t read that far ahead.
But I can’t wait to find out!