On April 6, the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones” premiered its fourth season. (Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t seen it.) The episode opened with Tywin Lannister melting down Ice, the ancestral sword of the Starks.
As if this weren’t enough salt rubbed into the wounds, Tywin also burns the headless carcass of Grey Wind, Robb Stark’s direwolf. All of this was wordlessly, but wonderfully, acted to the song “The Rains of Castamere” in the background.
The sword is melted down into two smaller swords. Tywin gives one of them to his eldest son, Jaime Lannister, who has recently returned to King’s Landing. This is the first interaction we’ve seen between Jaime and Tywin since season one.
Those who were expecting a happy family reunion will be disappointed because Tywin then demands Jaime do the one thing he will not do: return to Casterly Rock and rule as Warden of the West.
Tyrion Lannister is also being asked to do job he has little desire for. He, Bronn, and Podrick Payne wait for the arrival of Doran Martell, only to be told Doran could not come due to health reasons. Instead, Doran’s younger brother Oberyn Martell was sent in his place. Audiences will soon discover that Oberyn doesn’t care for pleasantries or formalities.
He arrived the previous morning and was currently in a brothel where he displays to the audience his hatred of anything Lannister when he attacks a man for singing “The Rains of Castamere.” Tyrion greets him after the fight where Oberyn tells him, “The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”
The episode then cuts to Essos, where Daenerys Targaryen is sitting with her dragons. Her dragons have gotten bigger which, while desired, is proving to be problematic as they are showing signs of disobeying her. While the CGI for the dragons was expertly done, Daenerys’ part of the story starts to slow at certain points such as when Daario Naharis starts to hit on her and when she discovers the executed slave used as a sign for directions.
The executed slave would probably be shocking to those who have yet to see the show but to those who watched the previous season where Daenerys began to champion slaves and saw Theon Greyjoy tortured at the hands of Ramsay Snow, it won’t be anything out of the ordinary.
Sansa Stark, like many fans, is still depressed about the Red Wedding which is where her mother,Catelyn Stark and oldest brother Robb Stark were killed. Of all the characters who have made it this long in the series,Sansa has gone through the most character development.
She went from a naïve little girl in season one to a depressed adult. To the concern of Shae and Tyrion she has refused to eat and spends most of her time in the godswood.
One of the more tense scenes of the show was between Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Jaime has finally returned to her but it is not the welcome home he expected.
As he gets fitted for a prosthetic, Jaime notices Cersei is drinking more. Actress Lena Headey portrays Cersei’s irrationality very well by blaming Jaime for his long absence, getting captured, and not apologizing.
We then go to Ygritte, who is still angry with Jon Snow. She and Tormund Giantsbane are ambushed by a group of cannibal wildlings called the Thenns who eat the arm of a member from the Night’s Watch; a scene that was disappointingly not as disgusting as when Daenerys ate the horse heart in season one.
At Castle Black Jon mourns the death of his brother Robb but then must answer for his actions of the past two seasons. He convinces Aemon Targaryen he did everything he’s done for duty and that they have to prepare for an invasion of wildlings lead by Mance Rayder.
What was great about this scene is we get to hear more from Jon about life growing up with the Starks, other than Catelyn mistreating him, which is what we’ve been treated to for the past three seasons.
Another one of the slower scenes was Margaery Tyrell and her grandmother Lady Olenna Tyrell, who are planning for the Royal Wedding. Lady Olenna is usually hilarious to watch but in this episode she didn’t seems to make fun of anyone relevant short of her grandson Loras Tyrell.
Brienne of Tarth then arrives to explain to Margaery how her first husband King Renly really died.
We then move to what was probably the best scene in the episode. Joffrey Baratheon is probably the most hated character in the series but to achieve that level of hatred he has to be played by one of the best actors is the series, Jack Gleeson. This the first scene in the whole series we see Joffrey interact with his real father Jaime.
If you thought everyone was done mocking Jaime, then you have truly underestimated Joffrey. When Jaime mentions protecting the king’s life, Joffrey mockingly questions how he can when he is forty and is missing a hand.
To further annoy Jaime, he and Brienne begin to argue while watching Sansa Stark and discussing her future and how to fulfill the promise they made to her dead mother: to save her. While they bicker, Sansa walks away and is confronted by Ser Dontos Hollard who wants to thank her for saving his life in the first episode of season two. He gives her his mother’s necklace and thus begins a plotline that began in book two but is put off until season four.
The final and most violent story line shown in this episode was between Arya Stark and The Hound, also known as Sandor Clegane. Arya witnessed the Red Wedding and has become withdrawn as she is forced to travel to the Vale with The Hound.
She sees a Lannister man named Polliver who stole her sword and killed her friend Lommy. Desperate to reclaim the stolen sword forces The Hound to follow herArya into the inn where they found them. A brawl ensues which results in Arya slicing Polliver’s legs, then repeating the words he said to Lommy before he killed him.
She then takes and stabs Polliver in the throat and rides away with The Hound on her own horse. Arya reclaiming another Stark sword brings the episode full circle.