Spoilers are coming.
After the controversy surrounding their last episode, Game of Thrones 4×04: Oathkeeper started in the most endearing way. We get the commander of the Sullen, Grey Worm, getting a reading lesson in common tongue from Missandei. The fact that there is something between these two is a mystery only to them. The liberation of Meereen deviates from the usual formula and this time focuses on the slaves themselves being visited by Grey Worm who urges them to take up arms against their masters. He’s brought some for convenience.
Daenerys Targaryen does make a triumphal entrance and to exact justice upon the surviving masters of Meereen who are nailed to markers of the same number than the ones where they put slaves before. It’s a nice scene, but one we’ve seen before. Overdue is the time for Dany to face a real challenge, and experience loss again. Pain is never far, even across the Narrow Sea.
Littlefinger reveals himself- you know what, he’s creepy enough. Let me rephrase that. Sansa learns that Petyr is to be married to Lysa Arryn, Regent of the Vale. That’s their destination. Petyr also tells her about the murder plot against Joffrey, and all but confesses to be one of the schemers. He also remarks on the amethyst necklace and how she never noticed one of the stones missing.
A similar scene happens a moment later with Margaery and Olenna Tyrell, as the Queen of Thorns lets her know that she never intended to have her married to Joffrey. Later, based on advice received from Olenna, Margaery visits Tommen secretly. Enter Ser Pounce, Tommen’s cat. And now we know why Tommen was recasted much older before this scene. There’s nothing in it except a kiss on the cheek, but a younger Tommen would have made it cringeworthy.
After a sparring session with Bronn, Jaime Lannister decides to visit Tyrion. No good news, but Jaime is assured of Tyrion’s innocence. Unfortunately, Tyrion also realizes Jaime is not willing to openly defend him either. Apparently, Jaime doesn’t want to end up in Cersei’s crosshairs.
Of course this contradicts the last episode in which Jaime forced himself upon his sister and more in line with the book, where it was a consensual act. When Jaime visits Cersei again, it may seem that scene has been all but forgotten. Jaime makes a bland attempt at defending Tyrion’s innocence and Cersei wants nothing but his head as she drowns herself in wine. Listen, if it was supposed to be angry but consensual sex and not rape, at some point you have clear it up.
Cersei’s conversation has given Jaime one idea. At some point, someone is going to end up finding Sansa Stark. Doing what seems to be summing everything he has left into one brave act of redemption, he calls upon Brienne. Handing her the sword made of Valyrian steel that once was Ice, she begs her to suit up (literally has a suit of armor made for her) and go rescue Sansa. Brienne swears to do this for Catelyn and for him too. She also gains one companion, Tyrion’s former squire, Podrick Payne. It’s a heartbreaking goodbye, but Brienne’s (and Podrick’s) chances with the road ahead do look better than in King’s Landing. Brienne chooses to name the sword Oathkeeper, a counter to Jaime’s Kingslayer ill-gained monicker.
At the wall, Jon Snow can’t seem to do anything right in the eyes of acting Lord Commander Alliser Thorne. Co-conspirator Janos Slynt suggests letting Jon go North to face the mutineers at Craster’s increasing the chance of getting killed… Instead of staying here and getting more popular in the eyes of the other Men in Black (no, they are not called that…). The Man Who Knows Nothing however ends up getting a fans to follow along after a rousing speech. Among them, hired hitman Locke sent to Castle Black to take him down. Locke has already heard from Sam and Jon that Bran might be at Craster’s. No, he’s not there, Jon. You know nothing, ha!
Meanwhile, at Craster’s the mutineers are eating and having their way with Craster’s women. We already have Karl drinking from Lord Mormont’s skull… We get it, they’re not good guys. This return to Craster’s was never in the books at all so let’s not claim this scene was necessary either. Anyway, one of the older women comes out with a baby which Karl doesn’t hesitate in sending one of his hesitant men to put outside for the White Walkers.
Unfortunately, that calls the attention of Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen Reed. Bran instantly worgs into Summer and goes to the rescue but is soon distracted to find Ghost in a cage. Summer falls into a trap, and now Bran wants to go rescue them both. Of course, they all up getting caught by the mutineers. After Karl threatens to rape (yeah, again) Meera and Jojen goes into shock, Bran gaves up his identity. So now, Bran is a prisoner at Craster’s. Damnit, Jon Snow. You were on to something after all. You better show up soon.
Finally we get a strange scene with a lone white walker rider taking the baby to what seems to be an altar. Another white walker, this one clothed in armor, advances and takes the child. As soon as his finger pokes his face, the infant’s eyes turn cobalt blue. A new white walker is born.
Highs: Grey Worm rousing the slaves of Meeren to arms. Jaime sending Brienne with his own sword is a great redeeming move. He’s sending the only good person he knows, Brienne, to carry out the one good act he’s not capable to do himself. It’s almost like he puts together all that he has left that is not ruined of himself and sends it out into the world in the only true quest he’s ever been given. It was nice to see that Jon Snow got some support from the Night’s Watch. He might become a leader after all.
Lows: Craster’s. Really unnecessary to highlight more violence against women any further after the last episode. Also, I don’t remember Bran at Craster’s in the book, so this feels like an exclusive sidequest for Jon Snow. However, Jon and Bran have yet to meet in the books so I have no clue where this is going, but I’m hoping Bran’s party manages to flee his captors. Dany’s conquests are becoming a bit repetitive, so although she’s a favorite, she can’t have all things her way soon.
I’m on the fence with the closing scene with the Others – the White Walkers. They could have done without it, but I guess we want to build some anticipation for when the frost hits the fan.
That will do for now.