May 19, 2014
Game Of Thrones Recap: So Much Blood And Boobs, Never Enough Blood And Boobs
And we’re back with this season’s Game of Thrones. Did you miss Westeros? Were you pining after dragons, or perhaps badly missing gazing upon the Mother of Dragons? Did you miss the wit and wisdom of Tyrion Lannister, and were you wondering if the incestuous, star-crossed love between Jamie and Cersei would now be able to bloom in King’s Landing? And will Jon Snow ever move beyond knowing nothing? Well, HBO brought back its fourth season of Game of Thrones in a slow, methodical fashion, introduced a few newcomers, and ended leaving us wanting both more action and a hankering for a chicken wing. Let’s recap!
We begin with a dramatic scene of Tywin Lannister ordering Ned Stark’s greatsword melted down and forging two new swords. Suck it, Starks. Lannisters rule; Starks drool. In the opening credits thingy, we were happy to see that Winterfell is smoldering, just to remind us that the Starks are in disarray and their home was burned last season. Nice job, guys.
Tywin gives one of the new Valyrian swords to Jamie and tries to get Jamie to move back to Casterly Rock while Tywin stays as the King’s Hand. Before we get into anything more, holy crap, Jamie Lannister has cleaned up! Seriously, last season we had Rugged Jamie, and now we have Preppy Jamie! Do you have a favorite? Personally, we prefer the rugged look, but he’s pretty hot either way.
Anyway, Jamie tells his dad to suck on his stump (not a direct quote) and that he wants to stay a part of the Kingsguard (and in close proximity to his sister, wink wink).
From there, we move on to our favorite little person, Tyrion, who is awaiting the Prince of Dorne to show up for the royal wedding between Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell. Banter banter banter with Bronn until a royal procession shows up and we have our first royal snubbing. Instead of sending Prince Doran, the Dornish have sent Prince Oberyn, the SECOND SON! Tyrion is almost walked over by a horse as the procession notes that Oberyn is already in Kings Landing. Tyrion, knowing that most men think with their pecker, decided to visit the whorehouses, where a man would be finding relief after a two-week journey.
Lo and behold, we find Prince Oberyn checking out the selection at Ye Olde Whorehouse & Bait Shop accompanied by a lady that we assume he brought with him from Dorne. Except we find out that he is
gay bi and wants himself a nice piece of manflesh, too. Just as they are all about get their Ye Olde Freaky on, Oberyn hears men in the other room singing a Lannister song. Did we mention that Oberyn hates the Lannisters? Well, he does. Cue argument and blood.
Yep, Prince Oberyn draws a dirk and impales one of the Lannister’s hands to the table as the Lannister was reaching for a longsword. At that moment, Tyrion walks in and asks to speak in private with Oberyn. As the blade is removed, there is the requisite spurting of blood, because this is Game of Thrones, after all.
Tyrion and Oberyn talk, and Oberyn admits that he is in King’s Landing because his sister, Elia, was married to
the Mad King the Mad King’s son and killed by Gregor Clegane. Well, not only killed. “The rumor I keep hearing,” Oberyn says, “is that Gregor Clegane, The Mountain, raped Elia and split her in half with his greatsword.” He then reminds Tyrion that it’s not only the Lannisters that pay their debts. Looks like there could be more trouble in King’s Landing this season!
We finally check in with Daenerys, Mother of Dragons. The story with her doesn’t move forward much – we are pretty much reminded that she has dragons, which have grown up quite a bit and seem to be getting into that adolescent, unruly stage. Nobody likes an unruly dragon.
Later, we are re-introduced to Daario (now played by Michiel Huisman), who seems to be trying to woo Daenerys. Could someone ever replace Khal Drogo in her heart? Is there space for love, or just a desire for justice? It looks like justice, as she heads towards Meereen and is greeted by a dead child slave mounted on the road 163 miles away from the city, with one dead slave child marking each mile to the city. This seems to make Daenerys only more determined. Has no one learned that it does no good to antagonize a woman leading a skilled army who also happens to have three dragons?
Back to King’s Landing, where Tyrion continues to fail miserably at making Sansa Stark (now Lannister) feel comfortable. Despite Tyrion’s best efforts, his family did murder or help murder Sansa’s father, mother, and brother, so we can see why she is being so cold to him.
When Sansa retires to the Godswood, Tyrion heads to his chambers to be met by a randy Shae, who Tyrion swiftly rejects. Shae raises her voice and storms out, as we see another of Sansa’s maids eavesdropping nearby, who then reports to Cersei. More problems for Tyrion — first an angry vengeful prince, and now a spurned lover. Plus, who knows what tantrum Joffrey may throw.
We check in with Jamie (now fitted with a golden hand over his stump) and Cersei, where Cersei rejects her brother’s sexual advances. They fight and Cersei tells Jamie that he is too late, that he was gone too long. If you had a hankering for incestuous sexytimes, no such luck. Poor preppy Jamie. Also, Cersei is becoming a drunk.
We next head north to see how Ygritte is doing. She and her band of free folk are interrupted by the Thenns, a group of cannibals who soon start roasting a human arm, presumably from a crow of the Night’s Watch. Looks like Mance Rayder has lots of allies, not a good sign for Castle Black.
Next, Jon Snow, he who knows nothing, has returned to the Wall and is interrogated by other Night Watchmen who accuse him of killing Qhorin Halfhand and joining the wildlings. Jon decides to add fuel to the fire by admitting he boned Ygritte, although he said is so much more properly, noting that he also “laid with a wildling girl.” Tsk, tsk, Jon Snow. However, we learn that Jon will not die this day, after he tries to warn others about the threat of the free folk, both on this side of the Wall and north of the Wall.
We check in on Joffrey, who is more concerned with striking a kingly pose than the details about his protection. He goes on to overinflate his role in saving King’s Landing, playing the perfect villain we have all come to love to hate. Oh, and he insults Jamie’s lack of hand, because he is a little prick.
For a brief moment, we see someone who Sansa doesn’t hate show her a bit of kindness. Ser Dontos, who Sansa saved back in Season 2, finds her in the Godswood. While drunk, he does offer Sansa a necklace as a thank you gift, which Sansa eventually accepts. Awww, how sweet. At least we get to see Sansa smile, which doesn’t happen often, what with her whole family murdered and all.
And the episode ends by checking in with Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane, The Hound. They are riding through the woods together, with Arya wanting her own horse to get away from the Hound’s stench. Clegane continues to treat her like a little girl, protecting her despite a barrage of insults. We learn that The Hound is taking her to The Vale, to Arya’s aunt.
They come across an Inn in the woods where Arya recognizes Polliver, the man who stole her sword (Needle) and killed her friend Lommy. The Hound notes that there are five men, all Kings men, too many to fight on an empty stomach. Arya forces his hand when she bolts up to the door. Polliver doesn’t recognize Arya, but who wouldn’t recognize The Hound? So Clegane and Arya sit at a table and are joined by Polliver. After refusing to join Polliver in raping and pillaging throughout countryside, Clegane drinks Polliver’s ale and demands that Polliver bring him a chicken, making it a tense situation. After demanding two chickens, the barroom brawl ensues. Tables are overturned, swords are drawn, and The Hound takes on all five men.
Except he was right in that he couldn’t quite handle five men, which is where we see the true badassness of Arya begin to surface. At first, she stands by watching Clegane pounding some men with all the gory goodness you have come to expect. As Clegane is struggling, Arya notices one of the men get up and begin to make his way back to the brawl. Arya smashes him over the head with a pot, grabs a sword and stabs the guy right in the heart, remembering
Robb’s Jon’s advice to “stick them with the pointy end.” She then uses the same sword to hamstring Polliver, who somehow was not dead.
Arya then grabs Needle and stands over Polliver, using the same words he spoke before he stole Needle. She talks as she holds Needle to his throat, and then waits. Right when his eyes widen in recognition, she plunges Needle through his throat, then stands back watching him spit up blood and slowly die. Have we seen a better revenge scene? Probably not. Seriously, go watch it again — it’s worth it.
The episode ends with Arya on her own horse, following The Hound. And we remember why we love Arya the best.
While this episode didn’t check in on Bran or Stannis, it touched on most of the major characters. However, it felt more like an appetizer for Game of Thrones when we were expecting a full meal. Appetizers can be good, but we are hoping that the rest of the season steps up and leaves us satiated rather than wanting more.
Check out Game of Thrones Sundays at 9 pm on HBO. Or read the books.
Edited Monday evening for accuracy, thanks to readers.