Tuesday, April 08, 2014

In Between Weddings

Game Of Thrones starts its fourth season with a lull.  The episode is "Two Swords," suggesting violence, but there's less tension than usual.  Robb is dead, Stannis is licking his wounds, Jon Snow's back with the Night's Watch, Jaime Lannister is back in King's Landing, Daenerys is gathering her forces, nothing too threatening just yet. But we know something is coming, and not just winter. We're still recovering from the Red Wedding, and soon there'll be Joffrey and Margaery's nuptials--we know these big events never go quite as planned.

We start in King's Landing, where Tywin has a new sword forged (along with a second for some reason--a wedding present?) for Jaime from the Valyrian steel of Ned Stark's old head-slicer.  You'd think Tywin would be thrilled to have his number one son back, but they're already at odds.  Jaime doesn't want to marry and return to Casterly Rock, he wants to remain as part of the King's Guard, even if he's missing his right hand.  I'm a little surprised.  I thought last season knocked the swagger out of him, but now he seems to be a lot like the old Jaime, parrying his father's demands.

Meanwhile, a new character's in town, Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne. We've heard a lot about Dorne but I think this is the first character we've seen from there. It's the southern spot in Westeros, and seems to be the Game Of Thrones version of something like Spain.  Oberyn is a tough customer and, as he tells Tyrion, he'd like to avenge the death of his sister and her children at the hands of the Lannisters.  As the Lannisters run the town, I'm not sure how he'll do it, but this is certainly something to watch for.

Out east, Dany's dragons are a lot bigger, and harder than ever to manage.  Her company marches on Meereen to free yet more slaves.  Oh Dany, when are you coming home to Westeros?

At King's Landing poor Sansa is still digesting the news of the Red Wedding.  Just as well, since she's not digesting anything else.  Tyrion tries to ease her pain, but there's not much he, or anyone, can do.  Meanwhile, Shae, Tyrion's true love, is still whining about their relationship.  Happily, one of Cersei's sources seems to overhear the argument, so maybe there'll finally be some action on this front, rather than endless spats.

Qyburn, who's becoming a favorite of Cersei, fits Jaime with a golden hand, even if a hook would be more useful.  I was surprised to see Jaime make his move with Cersei. I thought he'd grown past that during his tough travels with Brienne, but instead it's Cersei who petulantly pulls back.  She's unhappy her brother wasn't there for her when she needed him.

Just south of the Wall, Ygritte and Tormund await orders.  They meet a bunch of man-eating Thenns sent over by Mance.  The attack on Castle Black can't be too far away.  Meanwhile, Jon Snow explains himself to a council.  He's rather cocky, actually, considering breaking his vows means death.  I guess he's confident that no one supports Janos Slynt and Masester Aemon's got his back.  (I was shocked to learn how casually those who take the Black betray their vows at local brothels--I got the impression they took them more seriously.) The council lets him go back to duty, but not before he warns them of Mance's attack from both sides.

Lady Olenna is helping Margaery prepare for the wedding when Lady Brienne drops in.  (I guess the lady warrior has been accepted in King's Landing due to Jaime's word--no one even talks about it, but she was a supporter of Renly and Lady Stark, both enemies of King Joffrey.)  She tells Margaery about the dark shadow that looked like Stannis and killed Renly.

Meanwhile, Jaime is preparing security for the wedding while Joffrey is giving him lip.  That Joffrey, he never changes.  Jaime takes it (Joffrey thinks he's his uncle, and doesn't know he's his dad, though Jaime does), but really, do you want to piss off the guy in charge of making sure your throat isn't slit?

Miles from Mereen, Dany discusses strategy with Daario, now played by a different actor (unless he's one of those face-changers).  He flirts with her and she likes it.  I guess she's still just a teenage girl turned by a pretty face.  Pretty disappointing, actually.

Jaime and Brienne discuss what's to be done about Sansa. I agree with Jaime--he has no duty left now that Catelyn's dead.  I'm also disappointed that the spark between the, seems to be gone--maybe they need danger to keep it alive.  (She's even nagging him--has she forgotten how he risked his life to save hers?)

Sansa is followed into the woods by a guy who used to be a drunkard knight but is now just a drunkard.  Her mercy saved his life and he's grateful.  He gives her a necklace, the only thing he has of value.  There must be more to this necklace than he's letting on, or otherwise why have the scene?  If it were a modern-day show, I'd guess there'd a bug in the necklace to keep track of her.  But this being a Middle Ages fantasy, maybe there's a bug that crawls out and kills people.

Then we cut to Arya and The Hound, and I smiled. These two are now my favorite part of the show. With her family gone, he's taking her to the Vale where her crazy, rich aunt should pay a nice ransom.  They take turns insulting each other and come to an inn.  The Hound would just as well pass it by, as there are too many men there to fight on an empty stomach, but Arya recognizes Polliver--who's on her death list!  Lady Brienne talks tough, but when it comes to vengeance, little Arya is a lot more effective.  Polliver stole her sword, Needle, and killed a boy before her eyes, so she marches in. (The original two swords were a fakeout--this is the second sword of the title.)  Plenty of tension at the inn when The Hound is recognized, and he won't play their games. Before too long, he's busy killing everyone. Well, not everyone.  Arya, who's become a stone-dead killer, helps out.  They eat some chickens and leave with a new pony for Arya--just what they were arguing about at the beginning.

End of show.

Pretty good, even if we're mostly touching base with the characters. Missing?  I guess there was no Bran and gang, and that's okay.  No Theon or his torturer, which is a good thing--unless that story is going somewhere, no need.  No Littlefinger, no Varys, no Stannis, no Davos, no Melisandre, no Mance, but they'll all be back in good time.

By the way, the opening credits showed us Dreadfort, part of the North, but I didn't notice any action there.  I assume we'll get something soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Men have historically honored vows of chastity in the breach. Since the men in Black are there largely through circumstance not devotion, the brother safety valves don't seem very surprising

3:53 AM, April 08, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The first thing that ever happened on the show was a Night's Watch guy leaving his post and getting executed. Later, Jon Snow has to learn how seriously to take his vows when he's lectured by Maester Aemon about how you don't leave no matter how serious you think it is. I just thought their vows were taken more seriously, so to find in the fourth year of the series that their vows, in part, are a joke, was a shock to me.

8:24 AM, April 08, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sex vows were a joke (as they are in our society). The important ones, like standing at your post, weren't. Rules are tools that serve men.

9:42 AM, April 08, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tools That Serve Men.

Good title.

3:48 PM, April 08, 2014  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter