Season four of Game of Thrones started as many of us knew it would, Filled with complex dissertations on the subject of morality in a monarchic society, and what it means to wield absolute power… Wait, who am I kidding? We got what we always want. Blood, incest, enough sword plunging sound effects to keep the Foley artists in melons for years, and of course… Boobs. More after the break.
Our season opens with Tywin Lannister handing the Stark greatsword, Ice, to a blacksmith to be melted down. The Starks are an endangered species on Westeros, and nothing shows this more than the somber sight of this ancient weapon, a symbol of the honor and duty of the Starks for generations, being reduced to molten metal. The symbolism is carried further, since Tywin considered the sword too cumbersome (sort of like honor and duty are traits too cumbersome for the crafty Lannister clain). Tywin has the sword reformed into two blades, a small sword for the brat king, and a long-sword for his recently returned eldest son. Jamie is less than thrilled with the gift, and less than thrilled with his father’s demands that he abandon his post as Kingsguard and return to Casterly Rock to rule. Seems the new and improved Jamie is starting to think about his legacy, and doesn’t like the idea of breaking another oath. He refuses Tywin’s demands, and gets himself disowned in the process. Something tells me the Lannister children never gave their reptilian paterfamilias one of those #1 Dad mugs.
Jamie doesn’t find much love from his Sister-Wife either. Seems she’s a little upset about his capture and ‘abandonment” during the war and the siege of Kings Landing, Apparently a little thing like being a prisoner of war and getting your hand chopped off doesn’t hold too much water with these Lannisters, a fact cemented later when the psychotic Joffrey mocks his Uncle Father. I’m trying to figure out if there is anyone in Kings Landing who won’t want to kill the Brat King by the time this series is done.
Elsewhere in Kings Landing, Tyrion is faced with a series of impossible tasks. First to greet the Dornish party in Kings Landing for the upcoming royal nuptials, then to stop the Dornish prince, Oberyn Martell from cutting Lannister throats (looks like there’s some history between the Lions and their Southern neighbors – more on that later.) This actually proves easier than consoling his new bride Sansa, who is still reeling from Red Wedding. I guess it does make for some tense dinners when your in-laws are responsible for the deaths of your father, mother, and brother. Things don’t get any easier for our favorite imp, when he’s forced to spurn the advances of the feeling-neglected Shae. Somehow, I don’t think things are going to work out well for these two.
And speaking of couples with issues, up North, Ygritte is still a bit put out by Jon Snow’s desertion and return to the Night’s Watch. She and Tormund are joined by the Thenn, just your average, seven-foot-tall, scarred cannibals with a hankering for Crow flesh. I’m thinking Thormund and Ygritte may want to keep one eye open for the next few weeks. Up at Castle Black, Jon has to speak before the Night’s Watch council to answer the charges for killing The Halfhand. Since he’s a Stark, he’s compelled to tell everything, including his bedding of the fiery wildling. Breaking of the vows is punishable by death, but luckily the old, blind Targaeryn (and walking lie detector) Maester Aemon is around to keep things from getting out of hand, and the mopiest Stark lives to fight another day.
And speaking of Targaeryns, the lovely Mother of Dragons isn’t resting on her scales. The capture of Yunkai behind her, it’s time to march on the biggest slave city yet – the grand Meeren. She’s got an army, dragons that are now the size of horses, and a new admirer in the face transplanted (and recently recast) Daario Naharis. Looks like the crafty sell sword can handle the ladies even without the long hair and pretty face he had in season 3, as he presents Dany with a bouquet of wildflowers (all in the name of getting her to know the culture). I wonder what Ser “Friend-zone” Jorah Mormont will think about that?
Seems like the Meerenese don’t think too highly of our approaching army, and decided to leave one hundred miles of crucified slave-children on the road leading to the city. Obviously, that is one war committee that doesn’t do it’s homework, since the site only gives our little Myhsa (Mother) more motive to kick some slave-owner ass.
And speaking of kicking ass, no one does it better than the Hound, who is wandering the war torn Riverlands when they happen across a band of Lannister men causing trouble in a tavern. Their ring-leader, a case study of what happens when you give little people a little power named Polliver, who also has the unfortunate luck to be on Arya’s kill list. After some small talk involving the joys and tribulations of rapine plunder, the Hound commences to beat the crap out of the band of Lions, with an assist by Arya who ended the episode by plunging Needle into the neck of the murderous little man. Any sense of satisfaction at Arya’s revenge was quickly offset by the creepy, beaming smile that plastered itself to Arya’s face during the kill. Methinks young Miss Stark is going to need a lot of therapy later.
New Characters – New Plot Point
We get to meet Oberyn Martell, a deadly Dornish prince who swings a sword both ways, along with his lover, Ellaria Sand. We find out that Oberyn’s sister, Elia, had been married to the former crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen. During Robert’s war, the Targaryean children were killed and Elia was raped and slain by the Hound’s older, crazier, and even bigger brother, The Mountain (You know, the guy that decapitated the horse with one strike way back in season 1). Looks like Oberyn isn’t the sort to forgive and forget, and since the Mountain is on this season’s cast list, looks like we may be served some nice, cold revenge pie later.