Monday, April 7, 2014

Game of Thrones 4x01 Two Swords

By s. Monday, April 7, 2014 ,
There's Thrones...and then there is everything else.

After nearly 10 months of waiting the series is finally back. I can't find the words to describe just how happy I was to finally hear that opening credits music again. But before the opening credits there was a very skillfully put together 'previously on' clip that included all the information that Unsullied needed to understand the episode as well as absolutely chilling cold open.

In that opening we see Ned Stark's great sword, Ice, being pulled from the wolf pelt. It's Tywin's hand that is holding the sword. He gives it to the blacksmith who reforges the sword into two new ones - Oathkeeper, for Jaime and Widow's Wail for Joffrey.
The opening has no lines except for somber, sad Stark theme turning into Rains of Castamere as Tywin symbolically indicates that House Stark was defeated by the Lannisters. Ned Stark's sword is now remade into Lannister swords and once this is done Tywin throws the wolf pelt into the fire and watches it burn with a chilling look on his face.

About opening credits that followed - we now have Dreadfort (held by Boltons) and Meereen added to it, as well as finally featuring Gwendoline Christie's name. One thing that surprised me was the lack of Pedro Pascal, who is only mentioned in the end credits.
Enter Jaime. Tywin gives him Oathkeeper, which Jaime is thankful for. Tywin intends for Jaime to return to Casterly Rock and inherit the place. Jaime refuses - he always wanted to be in the Kinsguard. Tywin tells him it's impossible now that Jaime lost his sword hand. Jaime is insisting and Tywin is furious. Jaime leaves with a smile on his face. I should note this was the first time Dance and Waldau shared the screen since season 1.

In the next scene we see Tyrion, Bronn and all grown up Podrick (that was him, right?) awaiting the guests from Dorne. Bronn attempts to make jokes but Tyrion is all stressed out as there was always bad blood between the Lannisters and the Dornishmen. Tyrion brags about being a skilled diplomat while Pod impresses them with his sigil knowledge.
The arrivals are only the members of houses sworn to the House Martell. Prince Doran who was supposed to arrive did not. Tyrion is informed that instead prince Oberyn Martell arrived to attend the Royal Wedding. Tyrion and his companions set on finding him.

Oberyn is in Littlefinger's brothel. While his lover, Ellaria Sand, lies on the bed he is choosing a girl for them to enjoy. Once they settle on the one who is not timid Oberyn makes his move on the guy who is now managing the brothel. After little resistance the guy is convinced. Suddenly Oberyn hears Rains of Castamere being sang in another room. Ellaria urges him to stay with her but he goes to inspect.
He finds Lannisters soldiers who make fun of him being Dornish. Then Ellaria comes by and they comment on her beauty and say she is too good for Oberyn, taking her for one of the whores. Oberyn is acting all cool during this and tells the Lannisters that the entire world hates their house because their money and lions cannot change the fact they are weak men. After the soldier goes for the sword Oberyn pins his hand to the table by stabbing him through the wrist.

At that point Tyrion and Bronn arrive and after quick jokes and introductions Tyrion asks Oberyn to talk outside. Very quickly Oberyn reveals his real reason for being in King's Landing. Years ago his sister Elia Martell was married to Rheagar Targaryen (Daenerys' brother). Rheagar left her for another woman (that would be Lyanna Stark, mentioned in season 1, the sister of Ned and great love of Robert Baratheon's life, called 'a blue rose'). After the sack of King's Landing Elia's two children were butchered and wrapped in Lannister cloaks and lied before Tywin in throne room.
As for Elia, Gregor Clegane, the Mountain (brother of the Hound, someone you probably remember from the charming scene in which he beheaded a horse in season 1) raped Elia and split her in half with his sword. The details in the books were even more gruesome, so those not familiar with the novels - you got lucky the story was vague in the show. It's very clear Oberyn wants vengeance. He tells Tyrion to tell his father he is here because 'The Lannisters aren't the only ones who pay their debts". That line was met with loud cheers and deafening applause from the audience of 7,000 gathered at the fan screening a few weeks back.

Meanwhile, our Khaleesi is spending some time with her dragons.Rhaegal and Viserion (the dragons were actually still not named in the show) are flying above the sea as Drogon's head lies on her lap and she pets him. When Rhaegal and Viserion drop sheep's corpse Drogon turns aggressive - he wants it for himself. When Daenerys tries to stop him he turns her way and roars at her. That frightens her.
Jorah sees the whole thing and assumes the role of Captain Obvious right from his friendzone - 'they are dragons, Khaleesi. They cannot be tamed. Not even by their mother'. Wow, Jorah, thanks. Then we get a cute, albeit pointless scene in which Daenerys sees Daario and Grey Worm gamble - the person who holds the sword in his two outstretched arms the longest gets the honor of riding next to the Queen. Dany informs them since they wasted her time neither of them gets that honor. We also see Missandai exchange a look with Grey Worm and Daario taunts him that he likes her, which has to be frustrating since Grey Worm was castrated.

We see Sansa during breakfast in King's Landing. She is so depressed about the events of Red Wedding she refuses to eat. Tyrion joins her and takes her hand, which Shae notices. Tyrion tells Sansa he wants to help her but Sansa is reluctant. She asks Tyrion is he knows what happened to the bodies of her brother and mother. She tells him about the sewing of direwolf's head on Robb's body and - new information for TV audience - the fact that after lady Catelyn's throat was cut to the bone her body was thrown into the river. Tyrion remarks that he admired her family but Sansa leaves the table and heads for Godswood because 'that's the only place where people don't try to talk to her'.
We also get a terrible scene in which Tyrion finds Shae in his room, eager to have sex with him,. Tyrion doesn't have time nor strength for that with all that's happening and Shae throws a bitchy hissy fit. I know Kekili won some awards in Germany but hey, she was in porn flicks too. I think everyone has that right but don't expect my respect especially since you deliver an outrageous performance like whatever the fuck it was she did in this scene. Shae storms out which is observed by one of Cersei's spies.

Meanwhile, Cersei gives Jaime a gift - a golden hand that is being placed on his stump by Qyburn. Before Qyburn leaves Cersei thanks him for aiding her with her 'symptoms' .Cersei is furious with Jaime for leaving her for so long and rejects him. She tells him he took too long to come back to her which clearly confuses and devastates Jaime.
Ygritte and Tormund also got a scene this week. In it Tormund gives her shit for not killing Jon, just wounding him instead. He knows if she wanted to kill him, he would be dead. They encounter a group of Thenns - creepy free folk - led by Styr. Thenns are joining the wildings for the big upcoming battle. They are also cannibals. So to sum up I get to see Shae suck Tyrion's finger and Styr calling Ygritte 'scrawny' but I didn't even see a glimpse of Stannis? That's bullshit.

Meanwhile in Castle Black Jon talks to Sam about how he was always jealous of Robb. I'm still pissed off we didn't get to see a scene in which Jon finds out about the Red Wedding. Anyways Jon is preparing to talk to the commander of the Watch Alliser and the others about what happened when he was with the wildlings.
Can we just give it up for Kit Harington for showing some charisma for the very first time in the series? He was awesome here. He explains to Alliser, maester Aemon and Janos Slynt (the piece of shit who helped kill Ned's men in throne room and the target of Tyrion's legendary 'I'm not questioning your honor, I'm denying its existence' line) that the wildings are going to attack the Wall from North and South and they have 100,000 (!) men in their command. Doesn't the Watch have 1,000 men?

Jon also confesses to breaking his vows and sleeping with the wildling girl. Slynt is eager to have him killed, you know, since he actively partook in the events that led to the killing of Ned. But maester Aemon remarks how if they killed every watcher who slept with a girl the Wall would be watched by headless men. Jon is free to go as Aemon remarks it's because he said the truth. He later says that he knows how to distinguish the truth and the lies because he grew up in King's Landing. Basically maester Aemon rocks.
Back in King's Landing Olenna and Magaery are choosing the necklaces for the Royal Wedding. Olenna hates all of them and tells Margaery that since she is becoming the new queen she needs to look flawless during her wedding. Margaery remarks that perhaps she should let Joffrey choose a necklace for her and knowing him it's going to be a string of dead sparrow heads.

Brienne arrives and Olenna is mesmerized by her size. She compliments Brienne for defeating ser Loras. Brienne asks for a word with Margaery. She tells her that Renly was killed by the shadow who looked like Stannis. Margaery seems to believe her. Or more accurately, she doesn't give a shit about what or who killed Renly.
They pass the ridiculous statue of Joffrey which leads to the funniest moment of the episode - the transition from this statue to showing Joffrey in equally douchy pose.Ser Merryn and Jaime talk about the guards for the wedding and Joffrey remarks how no one will dare to do anything since people love him. He says he broke Stannis to which Jaime says that war is not over as long as Stannis lives.

The great book of the guard is there and Joffrey look at several pages mentioning several book characters which no doubt gave some of the book readers...a rise. Joffrey makes fun of Jaime since he barely has half of page written about him and he is a 40-year old knight with one hand. Worth noting - first scene ever shared by Gleeson and Waldau.
Back to Daenerys, Daario shows her how charming he is again (did we really need two scenes of this?!) and brings her flowers one of which is a blue rose. Dany is all charmed and smiling until she hears shouts. Turns out her army stumbled onto a crucified slave girl. Dany is informed there is a body like this at every mile leading to Meereen and 163 miles are left. Dany orders the men to remove the slaves' collars before they are buried.

Back in King's Landing Sansa is in the Godswood and she is being watched by Jaime and Brienne. Brienne reminds Jaime of his promise to keep the Stark girls safe. Jaime responds that Arya is most likely dead and Sansa is now his sister in law. This whole scene was as pointless as it was unnecessary and harmful to Jaime's character - they made it look like he will be all about the honor now and this is going backwards.
I also wish there was a scene in which Brienne finds out about Red Wedding. In the book Brienne was absolutely devastated, not speaking, not eating, just like Sansa, because of her admiration and her vow to protect lady Catelyn. That would be far more important than the scene with Brienne and Jaime where all that was accomplished was Jaime's humorous line about her being a pain in his ass.

Meanwhile Sansa hears steps behind her and starts running. It turns out it's ser Dontos, a drunk whom she saved during Joffrey's name day. Dontos wants to repay Sansa and he gives her a necklace, something he says is the last sign of the greatness of his house. Sansa promises to wear it with pride.
The last sequence we see this episode is Arya and The Hound on the road. Arya remarks she has nothing left with her family being gone and the Hound being the only keeping her alive. Hound now plans to deliver Arya to Eyrie to her aunt Lysa (crazy lady who breastfeeds all the time). They stop outside the inn and Arya notices Polliver, Lannister soldier.

He is the one who took Arya's sword and killed her friend, Lommy (The Hound's line "what the fuck is a Lommy?" was hands down the funniest one this week). Arya tells him her brother gave her that sword (awww!) and she sets on going inside. Before the Hound stops her, the door opens. They sit down and watch as the Lannister soldiers abuse tavern girl - there is a tavern girl episode in the books that is easily one of the most disturbing things in the series. I'm hoping that poor girl won't make a reappearance. Although, given how episode 4 or 5 this season reportedly has something so awful they had to trim it down, who knows.
Anyways, Polliver recognizes the Hound and joins them. Arya sits quietly as The Hound delivers golden lines like 'fuck the king' and saying Polliver has 'cunt mouth'. Pretty soon the brawl starts with the Hound kicking ass and Arya standing oddly by (perhaps a bit too long?). The fight was fucking brutal too, with one guy getting stabbed in the dick and another getting his eyes impaled on the knife.

Soon Arya joins in, kills a guy, hurts Polliver's leg, reclaims the Needle and kills him the exact same way he killed Lommy, with a smile on her face. Then she gets her own horse and her and the Hound drive away and we see they are right in the middle of war destruction, fire and ruins.
Overall I really enjoyed the episode. While there was some needless nudity, the needless scenes like the one with Margaery and Brienne or Brienne and Jaime that took screen time from actual important things that could have been shown, it was just a minor glitch. Another thing to cherish is that we finally get longer episodes this season with this being a whole hour long.

It was also the first episode loaded with this many book references. I'm thrilled that the characters from the past are being brought into conversations since they are hugely important to what will most likely be the series' end game. The most impressive thing for me was most definitely Kit Harington's acting - I really hope he keeps it up.
This episode was the calm before the storm. Starting next week it will be hard to catch a breath. Next episode entitled The Lion and the Rose features Stannis which is a wonderful news for me but the wonderful news for everyone - it's written by Martin himself, it features Sigur Ros and it also features the Royal Wedding.

I'll be surprised if the next episode doesn't end up being one of the best in the series.


  1. Agreed - it was a solid, if stoic, start to what's probably going to be a batshit crazy season. The Hound and Arya at the end owned it. Great scene from them both.

    1. I really like how he is going to stick around longer than in the books. They have great chemistry.

  2. "assumes the role of Captain Obvious right from his friendzone " - LOL. Poor Jorah.

    You're right, Kit did give one of his best performances in that scene. I loved it, but I too wish we would've saw him and Brienne finding out about the Red Wedding.

    I hope we don't see the tavern girl again either, I really don't need to see that on my screen.

    I guess I can stop bitching about Sansa's hair net now. The necklace will have to do. lol

    1. I was almost hoping he sees Daario doing the flower thing just so they could show us his 'this cannot be!' face.

      I keep hearing there is something gruesome involving the Mountain, I just hope it's simply killing :)

      I heard the way the whole thing is handled is very swift and the end result is basically the same as in the book.

  3. I remember you saying that the scene that went with Shae lying on the bed was going to be one of the best scenes ever. I kept looking for greatness, but I didn't really get anything. As I understand, it didn't live up to expectations?

    I felt so, so sorry for Jaime. Fucking Cersei.

    But are we sure Jon even knows about RW? I was very sleepy and only watched the episode once, but I didn't really get the vibe that he knew, I would've expected a bigger reaction. Did he even say the "while I've been gone, the world's fallen apart" line?

    "Basically maester Aemon rocks." - YES.

    I really liked Jaime's and Brienne's scene together, and I kinda think it was necessary for us, non-book readers. I was so relieved to see they still talk to each other even after Jaime's got a whole new hand and gotten his hair cut and well, generally -- that things are back where they had to be, but Jaime's changed, in terms of Brienne. But I do get where you're coming from -- apparently, it had a lot more potential, that scene, if it had been another scene with Brienne.

    Awesome, awesome recap, and holy shit, I can't wait for next week's! I hope that episode's going to be as amazing as it can be. I've been waiting for that ever since Ned's death.

    1. I thought it was from different scene that also features these two and begins in similar way :)

      He knows, hence the sadness on Sam's face. Why else would he even talk about Robb? But yeah that line is very powerful, I think maybe it's about the news of mutiny in Craster's Keep or something that happens during the battle.

      Well, they still have scenes together soon, so you'll see she definitely cares about him :)

      Thanks! I think there is no way the next ep will disappoint :)

  4. Hi Sati, my colleague who sits next to me is now binge-ing on GoT ahah, so we talk about the show sometimes and I felt like I have seen the show thanks to you :D

    Man, that fourth pic above is why I can't watch this as much as I wanted to, I'm just too chicken. I probably have to fast forward so much and hide under my blanket, ahah. Love that Oberyn guy tho, keep 'em coming! :D

    1. Oh my God really? This is probably the tamest thing Oberyn will do this season :) How did you get through Rome? It was quite gruesome, from what I remember.

    2. I've only seen the first season and there's a lot of hiding under blanket whilst watching that, ahah. Some people have said that GoT have taken the violence and graphic stuff a few notches, I don't think I could handle any more gruesome stuff than ROME.

    3. I'm not sure they did. I'd say they are on the same level, perhaps a bit more frequent but it's a show set during war time so it's simply wouldn't be plausible without a certain amount of violence, whereas Rome usually included torture scenes.

  5. So much going on in this episode but overall it was a really good start. I think this might be the best season of the show. It's totally different watching the show having read the books (I am halfway through Feast for Crows now!).

    There would be so much to comment on but I am mostly very excited to see how they show scenes that are not in the books, like seeing more of Oberyn. He was so interesting but you're only ever getting Tyrion's view of him. I loved how they included the look at the book that in the books Jamie is just contemplating on, but having Joffrey read it. Gets the same point across but is Gleeson makes it so entertaining. You can totally see Jamie thinking in his mind about what a little shit he has spawned. He's definitely not as clued in to how terrible Joffrey can be if he thinks that was bad.

    1. It ism isn't it? Still as exciting as we never know which scenes will make it into the show but also frustrating when they waste time.

      For me this whole episode Jaime was discovering just how shit most of his family is. Selfish father, cold sister and...Joffrey :)

    2. That's so true about Jaime. He really breaks my heart at this point. I would have never thought watching the first (or second) season that he would become one of my favorite characters.

    3. It's truly amazing how complex his journey is, I think he is the most fascinating character in the series.

  6. This is easily my favourite season premiere so far!
    Yesterday I checked at least 5 times for your weekly recaps, I guess I miss your writing, especially when it comes to my favourite TV show.
    But that ending scene? And the soundtrack at the end...awesome.
    Jesus, the details on the dragons are stunning.
    Purple wedding please!

    1. Ow, thanks! It takes me 2 viewings of the episode, browsing through the novel, making graphics and writing the post to publish those, so yeah it usually gets posted in the evening :)

      I cannot wait for Sunday!

  7. Sati-- Great recap. You covered all the highlights. I thought the scene between Sansa and Donos was quite touching, but admittedly there were quite a few scenes that were completely pointless or far too long. The scene with Shae could have been removed completely or her frustration could have been handled with one line, not a full scene.

    There was also one too many scenes of Daenerys this week and not enough of Stannis? The crucified slave girl scene and untame dragons could have been handled in one scene. I don't remember the wildling cannibals being prominent in the book, so I'm not sure why they got a scene either. Seriously we've been waiting for 10 months and no Stannis!!

    I don't have an issue w/ nudity but I do have an issue w/ nudity on HBO (and GoTs), just b/c it's so prevalent and so unnecessary. There must a MUST DO NUDITY clause in the contract for most actresses on GoTs, especially for the brothel scenes. Like was that scene with Pod in the brothel last season really necessary?

    1. Thank you! I think with Shae they should have just stick to showing her jealous gaze at Tyrion and Sansa. Would have worked much better and gets the point across.

      I just want to see Stannis. That's all I want :) Thankfully he at least was mentioned a whole bunch of times.

      I would be fine with nudity if it was equal but showing naked chicks and guys only rarely half naked is sexist. Ladies would enjoy seeing more, I think :)

      That was a pointless scene but at least Tyrion's Meereenese knot joke was funny ^^

  8. I was also surprised with Pedro Pascal not being on the main titles. I loved his scenes, the line about the Lannisters was great. And loved to see him with Indira Varma, great chemistry there. And I was happy to watch a new scene with Dance and Waldau, same with Gleeson. Now I want to see more of Waldau and Dinklage.

    I also noticed that Podrick looks more grown-up! And loved your “Wow, Jorah, thanks” LOL I didn’t like the Shae’s scene either… so pointless, like the two scenes of Dany and Daario. Wasting time for other good stuff like team Dragonstone ^^

    Cersei being again bitchy to Jaime… that terrible love, as terrible as the Jaime/Brienne pointless scene and his new haircut haha. It’s not that bad but the long hair was like part of the character for me. Thank god at least it’s not dirty anymore.

    Totally agree with the Jon Snow part. Aemon rocks and I didn’t remember that Slynt was that guy! I need to watch the previous season again, I’ve forgotten some faces.

    The funniest moment was that with Joffrey and the statue, great screencaps! And the "what the fuck is a Lommy?” line, priceless. So, totally agree with your pros and cons. The nudity on HBO, it seems it’s like a must on every show.

    And can’t wait to the Royal Wedding. And I love Sigur Ros, this makes me as happy as The National's contribution.

    1. I think Waldau and Dinklage share a scene in next episode :)

      Exactly, they could have at least shown Stannis staring at the sea or something. Just as pointless but at least it would be visually pleasing :)

      I bet Waldau is overwhelmed with joy he doesn't get hosed with mud every day on the set :)

      I'm sure their version of Rains will be amazing, it will probably play during end credits.

  9. i've been looking forward to these posts almost as much as the actual show itself!

    I thought it was a solid if unspectacular start to the season, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how it evolves. I already like Oberyn and I though Jon Snow's scene with the Night's Watch council was excellent.

    I also thought it was rather amusing how many of the scenes were essentially just explaining stuff that's already happened in previous series. Obviously just helping people catch up.

    1. Owww! Thank you!

      Snow was so surprisingly awesome I actually gasped when he raised his voice!

      Yeah with a vast amount of characters they kinda need to do that, but the majority of scenes did bring in new stuff so that's good. Starting with 4x02 the time for explaining will be over, because there will be so much to show :)

  10. Hooray! I love these posts, Lady Sati. I come to them each week after watching and I am almost as excited for these posts as I am for the episodes themselves as the insight you give to those of us who haven't read is so helpful but also non-spoilerly.

    I can't agree more about your sentiment with Brienne and her learning of the Red Wedding. I expected to see something about that given her loyalty to Lady Stark. And I didn't realize they had replaced the actor for Daario and that threw me off for a little bit.

    Looking forward to next week.

    1. Oh this is such a high praise, thank you! I love writing those and I always try to explain some stuff non-book readers may be confused by, regardless of writers' efforts. This is just such a vast universe it's easy to forget smaller stuff.

      Yep they did recast him, I think the other dude got a lead in Transporter series.

  11. I'm really liking this bolder version of Jon Snow, yeah I also noticed Kit Harrington brought some charisma for a change.

    Arya's "You're not too smart are you? and the Hounds' "what's the f's a Lommy" had me cracking up. They stole the episode hands down.

    Can't wait for the next episode ... another wedding uh oh! ;P

    1. I'm really hoping he keeps it up!

      I'm so glad they are sticking together longer than in the books. McCann and Williams have lovely chemistry together.

      Yey, the wedding! :)

  12. Great recap, Sati. I was literally clapping with glee when the opening credits started. Whoop! I really loved the scenes with the Hound and Arya, they're really great together. I loved those chapters in the books, too! I've been really eager to get back into reading the books but book 4 is practically impossible to get through - what a drag, lol. Nothing like the rest :S. I'll just have to force myself into finishing it!

    1. Thank you! Book 4 is quite challenging, I mostly got through it thanks to Cersei's chapters, they are always so entertaining. Book 5 is more interesting although Daenerys' storyline is quite awful.

  13. Like you, I thought this was a solid opener for the season. I agree that the "What the fuck's a Lommy?" line was hilarious and I loved the shot of them looking through the bushes because of the discrepancy in their heights.

    My take on the Shae scene is that this is how the show is going to get her to a similar point as that in the books because in the books she never loved Tyrion, but the show changed that. And Kekilli's film Head-On (aka Gegen die Wand) is well worth seeking out if you've never seen it.

    Finally, I predict there will be people filming reactions to next week's episode and posting them online.

    1. Yeah unfotunetly that route will probably bring annoying Shae in each episode yelling and throwing hissy fits. I quite enjoyed her scenes with Sansa but the scenes where she is acting jealous and mad at Tyrion are seriously hard to watch.

  14. Yes! Loved this episode. Arya's outburst at the end was a hell of a way to end it, too. I was surprised that Stannis didn't get mentioned, but I suspect he'll have his moments later. Really curious to see how all this plays out... I can only imagine how much of a spectacle the wedding will be.

    1. Well, he was mentioned plenty - they just pushed his scenes to second episode :) The shit really hit the fan last night.