Previously, in Game Of Thrones season 3: the Red Wedding. Let’s be honest here, a lot of other stuff happened, like people realizing how fucked up Joffrey is (and this, kids, is why WE DON’T HAVE KIDS WITH OUR OWN SIBLINGS), Sansa getting married to Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow betraying the Night Watch, got laid, and came back to the Wall, Jaime losing his right hand, Arya teaming up with the Hound, and Daenaerys being a badass. But you probably only remember the Red Wedding.
Now, for the first episode of season four.
Tywin Lannister is evil – everybody knows that. He is so evil that the first thing he does in the teaser of this season 4 premiere is to give Ice (remember, the sword Ned Stark used to behead someone in the very first episode of Game of Thrones?) to a blacksmith to melt and forge two swords out of it, while himself burns the wolf pelt that was protecting the great sword. All of this to the instrumental version of The Rains Of Castamere. Because Tywin Lannister wants you to remember that he enjoys reducing entire families to nothing.
Credits! King’s Landing, Dragonstone, The Dreadfort, Winterfell, The Wall, and Meereen.
“Go. If serving as a glorified bodyguard is the sum of your ambition, go serve.” – Tywin
Tywin also loves his son Jaime. He immediately gives him one of the two swords. It seems that for once, Tywin Lannister is going to have some quality time with one of his children – the only one that has not disobeyed him since last season. But when Tywin commands Jaime to break his vows as a knight of the Kingsguard to become Lord of Casterly Rock in his stead, Jaime stops him dead in his tracks. And Jaime’s expression when his father asks him what he wants… Oh Jaime. You may be a bloody killer, but you’re such a sweet thing. Anyway, it seems like Tywin won’t get any kind of satisfaction from his children. This pleases me.
“No need for cynicism, I happen to be an accomplished diplomat.” – Tyrion
Meanwhile, Tyrion waits for the prince of Dorne in a flow of cynical observations from Bronn. Pod proves his knowledge of the houses of Dorne while the Dornish delegation finally arrives. But is the prince of Dorne, Doran Martell, among the travelers? No, say the Dornish lords, prince Doran remained at Sunspear. Prince Oberyn came in his place. Tyrion tries not to show his annoyance. Like he said, there is history between the Martells and the Lannisters. But where is Prince Oberyn?
“My way.” – Oberyn
At a brothel, Oberyn “Sexy As Hell” Martell and his paramour, Ellaria Sand, are about to have a little party that gives us our first few pairs of boobs and our first hot scene of this season, mainly between Oberyn and a male whore. One of the many, many things I love about this show is that ladies and gay guys also get their load of fan service. Oh Prince Oberyn, you can command me to do things your way any time.
This until, of course, a Lannister starts singing The Rains Of Castamere (the Let It Go of TV shows) somewhere in the brothel. Things quickly get heated in a -mostly- unsexy way until Oberyn joyfully stabs one of the Lannister boys right through his wrist. There goes our first blood shed of the season!
Tyrion arrives short after to welcome the prince – a moment when we quickly understand that our venomous Oberyn is not only here for our delight. He is out for blood.
“The last man holding his sword can find a new queen to fight for.” – Daenaerys
Oh hi Dany, Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion! While his brothers play in the sky of the Slaver’s Bay, Drogon enjoys a petting session with his mommy. But not for long. Rhageal and Viserion arrive with a dead sheep, leading the three of them -especially Drogon, to demonstrate their bestiality, even to Dany. While the beasts fly away, Ser Jorah arrives. Back with Dany’s people, Dany searches for Grey Worm and Daario Naharis (remember the dude with the blue beard in season 3?). She interrupts their gambling and- oh, Dany, we saw your smile. We all think Daario is charming. Especially since they replaced the actor. Goodbye, creepy metalhead and hello sexy man-child!
“I don’t pray anymore. It (the godswood) is the only place I can go where people don’t talk to me.” – Sansa
Back at King’s Landing, Sansa Stark-Lannister is not hungry. Not even for the fucking lemon cakes she’s been eating since season 1. Well, volume 1, I guess. Pretty sure that was a food reference for the readers, because only Game Of Thrones – a Song of Pies and Bacon, would have those. Tyrion comes in to try to get her to talk about her feelings, to which Sansa reminds him that the Red Wedding happened. What does Tyrion have to say to that? Obviously, nothing really helpful. For once, I do understand Sansa’s need to flee. After Sansa leaves, we briefly follow Tyrion as he and Shae quarrel one more time about their love affair. Alas, none of them (especially Shae) realizes that they are being watched…
“I murdered people so I could be here with you.” – Jaime
… And it turns out that Shae is not the only person in King’s Landing frustrated by her lover. In another part of the Red Keep, Jaime Lannister has himself installed a gorgeous but very impractical prosthetic gold hand by Maester Qyburn. This, under the watch of the now ever-drinking Cersei. Turns out that the Queen Regent has a lot of grief against her brother-lover. Notably that he didn’t come to save her fast enough because he was a prisoner. Can you sense Cersei progressively making her way to the « crazy drunken bitch » end of the scale? Because I certainly can. And let’s not forget that she is still plotting against her other brother, as proven by Sansa’s maid coming to talk to her about Tyrion and Shae.
“I know we’ve had our differences, Tormund, but just one time, before you die, you really ought to try Crow.” – The Magnar Of Thenn
Somewhere in The Gift, Ygritte prepares arrows for the coming battles. Tormund Giantsbane comes in to chat about their future attack on Castle Black. While Ygritte is impatient to murder Crows, but Tormund wants to wait for Mance Rayder’s orders. With Ygritte doing all she could to not kill Jon Snow, he is not so sure that the Night Watch won’t be waiting for them to kick their ass.
Also, the Thenns show up, looking like tribal skinheads, and man, are they hungry. Can you guess what their favourite kind of meat is?
“Aye, I talk like a wildling. I ate with the wildlings, I climbed the Wall with the wildlings… I lay with a wildling girl.” – Jon
Speaking of crows, our next stop is Castle Black, where a grieving Jon Snow remembers his half-brother Robb with emotion, telling us how much he envied the late King Of The North. « He was better than me at everything » He says. « You’re better than me at everything » answers Sam, « We’d take Jon over Robb any day », think all the girls around the globe. But Sam is also there to remind Jon he has to be judged by the heads of the Night Watch. Will Jon Snow be the first killed of this season?
No, it turns out. The others may want to shorten Jon by one head, but Maester Aemon takes the decision. He believes Jon when he says Mance Rayder and the wildlings are coming. And when Alliser Thorne asks him how he always knows if a man is lying or not, Maester Aemon answers « I grew up in King’s Landing ». Fair enough.
“Perhaps I should just let Joffrey choose it for me. End up with a string of dead sparrow heads around my neck.” – Margaery
The Lady Olenna searches for the perfect necklace for Margaery’s wedding, to Margaery’s greatest amusement. While they converse jewelery and dead birds, Brienne arrives, asking to speak with the future queen. As Brienne walks with Margaery, she reveals how Renly was really killed. Margaery reminds her of their new loyalty to Joffrey, but what is she really thinking? I think we can at least all agree that we want her to plot his assassination as she gently guides Brienne away, leaving us to admire the statue of the king.
“I use my left hand now, your Grace. Makes me more of a contest.” – Jaime
Speaking of inbred jerks, we find Joffrey posing around while Jaime plans the organization of the Kingsguard during the wedding with Ser Meryn. Joffrey is, however, not interested. He thinks his people love him, the king who broke Stannis and won the war. He is not ready to hear anything that would undermine his sentiment of glory, which is why when Jaime reminds him that the war is far from being over, he takes a real pleasure from reminding him that he is a 40 year-old member of the kingsguard who’s never accomplished anything grandiose. Yup. Not a good day for Jaime.
I will see each and every one of their faces. – Daenaerys
Dany and Missandei discuss Meereen, and how Dany intends on ending slavery in the city with her army of freed men. Daario joins them, pretending to have serious things to discuss important mater with her queen. When Missandei leaves, Daario reveals his real intentions with a few flowers, engaging with Daenaerys in the Targaryen version of flirt. Daario then leaves Dany to some sweet daydreaming. Not for long, though, as she soon discovers what paves their road to Meereen: crucified little girls, rotting under the sun, one marking each of the 163 miles of the way to the city.
“Are you sure we’re not related?” – Jaime
Back at King’s Landing, Jaime gets some more reproaches, this time, from Brienne, who reproves him for not keeping his promise to the late Catelyn Stark. Jaime snaps, cheaply attacking Brienne on her looks before leaving. A scene that does not seem useful plot wise, but admit it, we all love getting some Jaime-Brienne time.
“I may be a fool, but I’m a living fool, thanks to you.” – Ser Dontos
Sansa is disturbed in her prayer. As she tries to walk back to the castle, she encounters Ser Dontos, the drunken knight she saved from Joffrey’s cruelty. He offers her his only treasure: his mother’s necklace. Remember Sansa: there are way to please people and get them to do things for you that do not involve your looks.
“Fuck the king.” – The Hound
The Hound reveals his plan of selling Arya to her aunt Lysa (remember Catelyn’s crazy sister?) while they travel through a land where corpses seem more numerous than flies. Later, as they observe an inn from afar, Arya recognizes Polliver. The Hound tries to prevent her from getting in trouble, but ends up leading them both inside the inn, where they find themselves circled by Lannister men. The tension grows and grows as Polliver offers The Hound terrorrize the population, while The Hound reminds us why he is one of our favourite characters… which may or may not be related to the number of times he says the word « cunt ». Of course, it ends up in a pool of blood. Five men get killed, but you know what? The only one that really counts here, is Polliver. Killed by Arya. While she reminds him of his own words as he killed her friend, and Polliver realizes who she is before dying in a gurgle of blood. Awesome. The first important kill of the season goes to the wolf girl.
We end on Arya following The Hound around on her own horse. Because she fucking deserved it.