After ending season 3 with the events and fallout of the oft-discussed “Red Wedding”, Game of Thrones has begun its eagerly anticipated 4th season. The first two episodes of the season are entitled “Two Swords” and “The Lion and the Rose”. The first episode is really doesn’t amount to much more than the re-introduction to the story, but not the 2nd episode. Oh that 2nd episode! One of the most anticipated events in the story happens at the end of season 2 so, obviously, if you don’t want spoilers stop reading now. If you’re already caught up, then read on for discussion on the current story lines.
As the season begins, things are looking up for the Lannisters….kind of. Tywin has all but wiped out the Starks and the was is going their way; Joffrey is to be married; Jamie is back, minus a hand; and Tyrion and Cersei have been married off to strengthen the families ties. But as you would expect the family still has enemies. Word of the detestable way that the Starks were slain has spread through the kingdoms. Not only that, but the wedding has allowed an opportunity for Prince Oberyn Martell, The Red Viper of Dorne to come to Kings Landing. Oberyn clearly has a bone to pick with Tywin because of the rape and murder of his older sister and her children. When he is met by Tyrion he instructs him, “Tell your father I’m here – and tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who repay their debts”.
Daenyrs and her dragons (who are now much bigger) are still marching around with her army of Unsullied. It looks like her dragons may be getting a little unwieldy but for the time being she’s still making her way through Slavers Bay. Eventually she’s gonna actually head toward Westeros right?
Speaking of things heading toward Westeros, Jon and Sam are back on the wall after dealing with the Wildlings and White Walkers. Jon is brought up for his many crimes against the Night’s Watch but manages to escape punishment when he reveals the plans and movements of the Wildlings to the council. This whole trial scene is great, you’ve gotta love seeing Jon Snow go into IDGAF mode when his life is on the line. Thanks to him, the Night’s Watch is now preparing for the amassing forces coming from beyond the wall.
Arya Stark is still with the Hound. While he’s on his way to sell her back to a family member she runs across the men who killed her friend and stole her sword, “needle”. The Hound reluctantly goes into the inn where the men are pillaging and attempts to have a regular conversation with them. They end up insulting him and he ends up massacring most of them. Arya finishes off the last one by cutting his leg out from under him and, after maliciously monologuing over him, slowing piercing his throat with her reclaimed sword. At the same time Bran is continuing his search for the 3 eyed raven north of the wall. I gotta say that I’m really not completely sure how Bran fits into everything other than that he is currently the heir to the throne in the north.
This is briefly discussed in King’s Landing as the Lannisters continue to plot their next move. All of that is put on hold for a time so that they can celebrate Joffrey’s wedding. The wedding really just highlights the pitiful situation of the Lannister children. At one point Tyrion says, “here’s to the Lannister children! The dwarf, the cripple, and the mother of madness”. Cersei and Jamie can’t even rekindle their old relationship. Because, according to Cersei, Jamie was gone too long. You know, because there’s a timetable for how long you can be kidnapped before Cersei stops loving you. In general, Cersei seems to be out to make everyone’s life just as miserable as her own during this episode. No matter how hard she tries though, she can’t hold a candle to her son in this episode.
Joffrey is just in full on raging dick mode in the beginning of this season. He insults and belittles everyone and everything in his path. The whole wedding banquet is just a master class in how to be a dick. As an aside, hearing the “Rains of Castemere” is one of my favorite things about Game of Thrones. It is everywhere in these first two episodes. It plays during the first scene of episode 1, in a brothel, during the wedding, several times in the background. It is a little ironic that it’s usually used to foreshadow the triumph of the Lannisters, when the beginning of this season has been anything but triumphant for them.
Episode 2 ends with the low point for the Lannisters and a high point for the audience. While firmly in the middle of his tirade and embarrassing Tyrion, Joffrey is poisoned. He proceeds to die a particularly gruesome death with blood and bile pouring out of his orifices. It says something about how terrible Joffrey was that even with how gruesome his death was, I still got a great deal of joy out of watching it. The show now seems to be entering into a flimsy who-done-it set up with the obviously innocent Tyrion set to take the fall for Joffrey’s murder. So who really killed Joffrey and, more importantly, who will be the next to sit upon the Iron Throne.