There be spoilers ahead.
HBO starts a fourth season of Game of Thrones. As far as Two Swords goes, it’s well built first episode in which much foreboding is casted but we get some retribution as well. It is smallish in context but we’ve been famished for vengeance so we’ll take what we can get.
The first titular sword from title is none other than Ice, the sword that Ned Stark used to dispense justice in the north. Tywin Lannister has it melted down to forge two new ones out of its rare Valyrian steel. We get to see the destiny of one of the blades as Tywin hands it over to his son Jaime Lannister.
Tyrion Lannister has had better days. He’s been tasked with greeting Prince Doran Martell. But the Martells have no love lost for the Lannisters and instead they’ve sent Prince Oberyn, the Red Viper of Dorne. Worse even, he’s already secretly arrived in King’s Landing before he’s even expected. Oberyn and his paramour Ellaria are shown choosing concubines when they hear singing. Apparently the song had some harsh words for Dornians because Oberyn quickly finds the offenders, two Lannister guards and stabs one through his wrist. This is the time Tyrion finally finds him.
Here’s where we get some exposition on House Martell. Elia Martell was married to Rhaegar Targaryen. She was raped and killed by Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain, who served Tywin. Her children were also put to the sword. Oberyn has not forgotten nor forgiven neither House Clegane nor House Lannister, and he makes that clear to Tyrion.
Tyrion can’t catch a break. He tries to get Sansa to eat, but the girl is still grieving over the events of the Red Wedding. Can you really blame her? But Tyrion can’t be nice to another girl without Shae becoming insanely jealous. Tyrion turns her away, but Shae is seen by one of Cersei’s handmaidens as she leaves his room. Trouble.
Jaime is not doing too well either. Brienne wants him to keep his oath and protect Sansa and the vanished Arya but Jaime is trying not to lose any more parts of his anatomy. His sister has gotten him a new golden hand. I can’t help but agree with Jaime: a hook would be more practical. Strangely enough, Cersei doesn’t seem to want his incestuous advances. We don’t get to see what transpires, but the same handmaiden from scene 24 – sorry, I mean from the one that saw Shae leaving Tyrion’s room then requests an audience with her. Jaime, of course, gets even less respect from Joffrey.
Meanwhile, Brienne searches out Margaery. Olenna Tyrell has almost a childlike reaction at seeing Brienne, something that confuses her completely. Brienne fulfills her obligation of letting Margaery know how Renly Baratheon died at the hands of an apparition that had the face of Stannis on it.
Sansa is being followed. Turns out to be Ser Dontos, who wants to give her a gift for saving his life when Sansa convinced Joffrey not to kill him. Instead, he’s now the King’s Fool, constantly humiliated but alive. The gift is a piece of jewelry with amethysts on it. Book readers, hush…
Daenerys Targaryen might be the Mother of Dragons, but her children are a bit hard to discipline. The largest of them almost attacks her at some point. Her army is headed towards Meereen, another city of slaves. Their only delay is a child like competition between Grey Worm and Daario Naharis, now played by Nashville‘s Michiel Huisman. It’s a strange light moment, followed by Daario’s attempt to woo Dany, but the lightness soon passes. Down the road, they encounter a dead child set as a marker for the city of Meereen, and Daenerys steels her resolve to free the slaves.
Jon Snow faces the war council equivalent of the Night’s Watch as he is judged by their leaders for breaking his oath and joining the wildlings. But Jon is not scared, and after confessing on his transgressions he tells them of the intended attack on Castle Black. Only Maester Aemon (a Targaryen) is quick to dismiss all the rules that Jon has broken. The wildlings have already start gathering south of the wall, including a very troubled Ygritte, who busies herself fletching arrows. They are soon joined by the Thenns, a tall tribe of cannibals.
The other sword from the episode’s title is Needle. Arya finds it in the hands of Pollyver, the guy who took it and killed one of her friends. She urges the Hound to storm the inn where they see members of the King’s forces eating and drinking up a storm. Sandor Clegane is not keen on the idea. However, Arya steals herself to the door forcing the Hound to go in. Pollyver doesn’t recognize her but he does walk up to the Hound and tries to talk him up into joining them. We already know it’s not going to take long for a fight to break out. Arya hangs back initially but eventually she steps in, and coldly takes out one of the dazed guys with his own blade. She then claims her sword back from Pollyver and delivering the same speech the soon-to-be departed used to kill a child, she executes him in cold blood.
One episode, and we’re hooked into this TV show again.
Highs: Olenna Tyrell’s reaction at meeting Brienne. There’s a cheesy/funny transition of a statue of Joffrey in a fountain to the very same Joffrey standing in the same ridiculous pose. The Hound’s opinion about people who name their swords. Every scene with Arya. Every scene with the Hound. Every scene with Brienne. Oberyn Martell’s speech to Tyrion. Jon Snow’s report to the Night’s Watch leaders.
Lows: Looking up the spelling of the names of the characters. You try to spell “Daenerys Targaryen” without looking it up. Ok, seriously nothing major.
That will do for now.