*Spoilers for season 4*
Well this was a fun season, let’s get right to it…
Okay totally remiss of me, but I’ve not spoken about Tywin on his own- FOR SHAME! Because he is one of my favourite characters. Plus he has some of the best symbolic moments- like in this season, he has Ned Stark’s sword reforged and he burns the wolf fur. All the while in the background the Stark song blends into Rains of Castamere. So yeah, Tywin’s awesome. And this series has a lot to do with him, and his very, very dysfunctional children…
Jaime’s back in King’s Landing and it looks like there’s trouble in paradise, since Cersei’s not as psyched to see him as he hoped. I mean, even after he murdered to be there… like I said they’re very dysfunctional. Anyway, it’s not quite the homecoming he’d been hoping for, especially with Joffrey being a dick to him. But he doesn’t have nearly as bad a season as…
Ah Cersei, smugly smirking… all the way up until her beloved Joffrey is killed at his own wedding. Ding dong the bastard’s dead! (as you can probably tell it twists my insides to think of it… with glee 😉 ) And weirdly enough, seeing Joffrey cough his guts up isn’t the grossest thing in the series, it’s Jaime raping Cersei beside her son’s body… just why?! Understand, that’s not in the books and I genuinely have no idea why they put that in. It’s the one of those times in the show where I think they put a scene in for pure shock value, because to this day I don’t get it (if someone has some insight, please enlighten me). We do get some really good scenes after that point with her tussling with Tywin and telling him his legacy was a lie aka about the twincest (I’ve always wondered how Tywin’s mind computed that level of eww). Of course, because it’s Cersei she doesn’t decide to investigate who actually murdered her son, but figures it must have been Tyrion, because her mother died giving birth to him and #CerseiLogic, which brings me onto…
Ahh Tyrion has a great and terrible season. Because obviously Tyrion gets set up and put on trial for murder BUT that trial is a bit like his greatest hits, so it’s hard to feel entirely bad about it. Obviously, it’s gut-wrenching seeing Shae betray him- even though he tried so desperately to protect her and GAHHH SO SAD! Still, who doesn’t love this speech:
“I saved you. I saved this city and all your worthless lives.”
“I’m guilty of being a dwarf.”
“I wish I was the monster you think I am.”
Now the downside of that AWESOME speech is that Tyrion has just about alienated everyone in King’s Landing and has no one to fight the Mountain in the trial by combat, sooo *cue the Viper*. Oberyn Martell arrives in King’s Landing to avenge his sister… sadly, as everyone that’s watched this series knows, it doesn’t exactly go to plan. I will admit, I couldn’t rewatch the moment *it* happens– it was a bit much the first time round- but I did notice Oberyn being told “You should have at least worn a helmet”- ouch, that hurts like the mountain crushing a skull like a watermelon…
Anyhoo, Tyrion gets aided and abetted by Jaime and Varys…. But he takes a little detour upto Tywin’s bedchamber, where he finds Shae. Naturally he does what any enraged son would do and murders his ex-lover… okay maybe just what anyone would do in *this* universe. He then rounds on his father on the bog with a crossbow. They have a nice heart to heart- and by that I mean Tyrion gets in a few more awesome lines…
“All my life you’ve wanted me dead.”
“I am your son, I have always been your son.”
…before killing him too. Honestly, I know there are some theories regarding the books that Tyrion’s not really Tywin’s son- personally I sincerely hope he is a Lannister because it’s so much more powerful and ghastly that way.
Let’s talk about the other prime suspect in Joffrey’s murder case: Sansa Stark. Although as Tyrion says: “Sansa’s not a killer, not yet” *hint hint nudge nudge*. Sansa’s getting a much needed injection of attitude this season and sure, she gets used as a pawn *so much*, but in the end, I can hardly blame her. I mean she gets treated like absolute shit and has to deal with them making fun of Robb to her face. The only consolation she gets is from Olenna: “Killing a man at a wedding, horrid”- of course, that’s more of a coded moment for the audience’s benefit.
By the end of this season, we do know who orchestrated Joffrey’s murder aka dear old Littlefinger and Olenna and sort of Lysa Arryn… who’s so weird. I mean, aside from all her feeding her son “from her own teats when he was ten” *(creepy oedipal mother symbol, just sayin’), but because she’s in love with this moustache twirling villain:
Really Lysa?! And as Littlefinger is more into Sansa, she gets pretty jealous… and then gets thrown through the moon door for her trouble. Now this is the point when I really started to like Sansa– because she uses her wits! Sure, she uses those wits to get Littlefinger off the hook, however, it’s still interesting because she gets to start playing an actual role and becoming Dark Sansa. Shame it takes a bit of a diversion in the next series (oh we’ll get to that).
Wow Arya takes a *step into the dark side* this season– just take a look at that scene when she kills Polliver! Honestly, it’s not just that she does it, but how- it’s very chilling! Anyway, as always, Arya’s story had me gripped- and mostly all she does in season 4 is wander round the Riverlands with the Hound. They’re such good value together though, with Arya winding up the Hound by explicitly telling him he’s on her list, and the Hound hardening her up with a few home truths:
“You’re friend’s dead… because Trant had armour and a big fucking sword.”
Arya also comes *so close* to being reunited with her family again (oh my goodness she’s so close to seeing Sansa!) and I especially loved her laughing when she finds out Lysa Arryn is dead. Of course, the TV show does change things up so Brienne finds out Arya’s alive and we get the Hound vs Brienne WWF style. Spoilers for Season 6, it’s all fake anyway, cos apparently the Hound was wearing plot armour and his “I’m done” means nothing. Anyway, Arya leaves him to die and we get a stunning scene of her heading off to Braavos dun dun dunnnn…
To say Reek (nee Theon) is a bit of a fish out of water this season would be a massive understatement. There’s a great moment when Ramsay describes the kraken as being strong as long as it’s in the sea, yet once it’s taken out of the water they collapse under their own weight… and that about sums it up (I mean, aside from the fact that Ramsay’s literally tortured him into submission). So even when the Ironborn go after Theon, he refuses to go with them. Plus he also helps Ramsay take a northern fort from the Ironborn (saying “He will be just and fair with you as he has been with me”- yikes!) and ergo helping Ramsay become a Bolton- FFS!
Loosely linking this to the Boltons, I completely missed the first time round that Locke infiltrated the Night’s Watch to get at Jon and I got really overexcited over that for some reason (even though I knew in the back of my mind it had no plot expedient relevancy) but he ended up dying at Craster’s Keep anyway- too bad he didn’t stick around for season 5 and get in on some of the action then 😉 Anyhoo, Jon does make the decision to go up to Craster’s Keep and kill the mutineers. The two best things about this plotline is that we get to see Jon fight dirty and he gets reunited with Ghost! (briefly though, he’s always disappearing for TV budget reasons)
The story does builds steadily with Mole’s Town being attacked and finally the big battle at Castle Black. The focus zooms in as we get an entire episode for it, which works really well. We get to see how much Sam has grown as a character, launching himself into battle and leaving his shedding his cowardly skin. Unfortunately some of Jon’s mates aren’t so lucky- poor Pyp! Poor Grenn! And worst of all, Ygritte dies in Jon’s arms. I’ll admit I teared up there– it’s emotional even in the midst of such carnage. Since no one’s listened to Jon (because he knows nothing) they haven’t sealed the tunnels and very nearly lose. It’s only thanks to his command and quick thinking that they survive at all. Of course, being the good old fashioned hero that he is, he decides to try and treat with Mance and then-
YAY STANNIS! Believe me, I’m as surprised to type that as you probably are to read it! I can’t deny I simply love those moments when extra forces suddenly turn up and save the day. Sure, it’s not as good as the charge of the Rohirrim in LOTR, but I’ll take what I can get! Also, there’s a nice scene when Jon gets to tell him his father died for him. So it’s sort of an aww-bonding moment… even if the Red Woman’s watching him creepily through the flames as they burn the bodies.
Anyhow, I did think it was a beautiful scene when he builds Ygritte’s funeral pyre after Tormund says “She belongs in the North, the real North”. I did love the relationships he developed with the Wildlings and it’s super relevant for later series. I always thought it was telling when Mance said: “You spent too much time with us Jon, you can never be a kneeler again.” And spoilers for season 7 it’s things like this that make me kind of peeved that they disregarded this significant part of his character and a) put his unwillingness to bend the knee down to Stark obstinacy and b) decide to make him bend the knee anyway- I still don’t know why they couldn’t have just pledged to each other grr.
Speaking of Jon, Bran comes so close to seeing him again… and yet so far. Because Bran makes the decision not to be reunited with him after they nearly run into each other at Craster’s keep. Still it was a more interesting season for him, with his expanding powers (warging into Summer and poor Hodor!) And Jojan becomes fairly interesting as he predicts his death… which means he doesn’t get to be interesting for long. There is a fair amount of action at Craster’s Keep and we get to see the Night King turning a baby. Plus there’s that scene with the skeleton zombies, which is alright in a campy video game kind of way. And I did like that line from the Three Eyed Raven: “You’ll never walk again, but you will fly.”
I’m sorry, it’s probably pretty obvious that I have very little interest in Bran as a character, though a lot of his stuff is plot expedient, let’s cast our gaze elsewhere, shall we?
I liked Dany in this season *a lot*, but at the same time I found her story started to feel disconnected from the main plot. I guess because in earlier seasons, her existence had at least a tangential link with Westeros… in this season, not so much. One reason for that is as she says: “I will do what queens do- I will rule”- which is perfectly admirable, yet also distances her from the Iron Throne. That said, I absolutely LOVED all the smoking hot dragons and the symbolism of the broken chains being fired at the slavers. Dany really is an excellent propagandist (and also a hero, but c’mon, this show is often about being a politician, and that’s some powerful messaging).
I also really liked Selmy as an advisor in this season, especially this snippet of dialogue:
Selmy: “Sometimes it’s better to answer injustice with Mercy.”
Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt… (you get the idea)“I will answer injustice with justice.”
On the other end of the spectrum, she loses some really important support– and no I’m not talking about Jorah (though yeah, he’s found out and exiled)- I’m talking about the DRAGONS! I mean, Drogon did kill a child, which kinda shows that the dragons aren’t some fun pets and speaks a little of them as dangerous weapons of war… BUT C’MON you can’t lock them up! That’s bad for them! Dragons have rights too!
And I’ll leave it there- I’m going to be offline for the next couple of days, so please forgive me for taking a bit to get to any comments (again, so sorry about the backlog! 😳 )
What did you think of this season? Was Dany a little disconnected or were you cool with her story? Any thoughts on how ridiculously dysfunctional the Lannisters are? Let me know in the comments!