Game of Thrones. S04 E01 Two Swords
by Nikole Gunn
We’ve been spoiled for choice with our TV viewing this summer. There have been some excellent shows like House of Cards, the Walking Dead and True Detectives. But winter is literally coming and that can mean only one thing. It’s once again time to play The Game of Thrones.
As a book reader, I’ll admit to mixed feelings about the show. I love it, but miss the complexity of the plotlines as laid out in George RR Martin’s novels. At times, the show has felt rushed and two-dimensional. Knowing what had been left out was aggravating.
And you only have to read the tweets of @AngryGotFan (#NOONEUNDERSTANDS) to gauge how deep the passion runs among Martin’s legion of devoted fans.
But the infamous “Red Wedding” of season 3 was the game changer. As the blood ran freely, GoT established itself as the pop culture benchmark against which other shows are measured. It restored the faith of many “book purists”. Me included.
So, its no coincidence that season 4 begins with a ‘stark’ reminder of events of the previous season. As The Red Wedding’s “Rains of Castamere” plays, the episode opens with a wolf’s pelt and a broad sword. Both belonged to the dearly departed Robb Stark.
The sword is being melted down and Tywin Lannister casually throws the wolf fur onto the fire. And that’s how the Lannisters dispose of their enemies: they’re effectively wiped from the face of the earth.
The episode quickly moves past the events of the Red Wedding, although the loss of family runs through the episode in various ways. Tywin disowns Jamie for not giving up his life as a member of the King’s Guard, Sansa is mourning the loss of her mother and brother and Jon Snow reveals he wanted to hate Robb, but couldn’t.
We’re introduced to Prince Oberyn of House Martell, who has a very good reason to detest the Lannisters. His sister was married to the last Targareyn king and murdered on the orders of Lord Tywin.
That he’s travelled to King’s Landing for Joffrey’s wedding doesn’t bode well. This could end in tears. Or death. Things usually in death on the Games of Throne.
Meantime, the mother of dragons finds out her dragons can never be tamed and certainly not on the road to Mereen. Its another slaver’s city standing in Daenerys’ way and just like Astapor in season 3, it doesn’t stand a chance.
And then there’s Arya. Poor Arya, who very nearly became another victim of the Red Wedding. Until the Hound intervened, whacked her over the head and hoisted her onto his shoulder. She’s still travelling with her unlikely protector. And becoming more hardened to the world around her.
She’s learned a hard lesson of life in the Seven Kingdoms, where it’s kill or be killed. And she’s becoming very good at killing casually cleaning off her blade as she helps the Hound dispatch five soldiers. She’s gone from playing at sword fighting to become coolly efficient, with the detached manner of a trained killer.
Episode one of season 4 doesn’t set the world on fire, but it does set the stage for some very interesting story arcs. It doesn’t matter that I’ve read the books. The TV series is evolving into a very different beast and I’m happy to go along for the ride. Just don’t tell @AngryGotFan