Thursday, May 8, 2014

Game of Thrones 4.04: "Oathkeeper"

“I will answer injustice with justice.”

“Oathkeeper” was a pretty typical middle-of-season episode of “Game of Thrones.” What distinguishes it from the previous episode is that in this one, the primary action is split between King’s Landing and the North. It was nice to take a little break from the intense focus on King’s Landing and spend a little time elsewhere for an episode. It’s interesting to see the huge battle brewing in the North that nobody in power wants to acknowledge. The Lannisters think that since they “won” the “War of the Five Kings,” they’re sitting pretty. Instead, they’ve got a rather savage army on their Northern doorstep, and the Night’s Watch is woefully unequipped to deal with it. I have a sneaking suspicion that before all is done, the Lannisters are going to wish they still had the strength of House Stark in the North.

While, like I said, most of the action in this episode takes place either in King’s Landing or the North, we start things off across the Narrow Sea in Meereen. The way Dany takes control of the city is really quite ingenious. She sends Grey Worm, leader of the Unsullied, and a few of his men into the city to rally the slaves. Grey Worm gives a big speech in support of Dany, and he also leaves the Meereen slaves with bags and bags of weapons. The next morning, the Masters of Meereen are in for a pretty nasty surprise when they find themselves surrounded by armed, angry slaves. Danny takes the city easily and appears to rally the Meereen slaves to her cause. She’s building herself quite the empire across the Narrow Sea.

Now that we’ve covered the one minor diversion in this episode, let’s get to the King’s Landing drama. Thanks to some prompting from Bronn, Jaime finally visits Tyrion in the dungeon. There’s some good-natured ribbing between the brothers where they compare Tyrion’s current imprisonment to Jaime’s being chained to a pole outside when he was with the Starks. Through this conversation, Tyrion manages to convince Jaime of his innocence, although interestingly, Jaime still won’t quite admit that Joffrey was his biological son. I never really got the impression that Jaime and Tyrion were all that close before, although Bronn did make an interesting observation early in the episode. Back in season 1 when Tyrion was on trial at the Eyrie for the murder of Jon Arryn, the first person he asked for as his champion was Jaime. Tyrion only chose Bronn because Lysa said the trial had to happen that day.

Jaime decides to try and convince Cersei that she should give up her vengeance against Tyrion, but she is having none of it. Jaime is clearly the sane one in this discussion, but given the events of the previous episode, I kind of don’t blame Cersei at all for not listening to him in this case. She’s kind of pissed off at the world right now, and she wasn’t exactly the most emotionally sound person to begin with. Cersei questioned Jaime on his allegiance to Cat Stark given the circumstances of his release (he was to be traded for the Stark daughters). This gives Jaime another idea for how he can at least save Sansa from this mess. For that, he approaches Brienne. He reminds Brienne of her oath to Lady Stark, and he also gives her one of the two swords that were forged out of Ice. Brienne names the sword “Oathkeeper” (hence the name of the episode), and she’s going to use it in her quest to find Sansa and make sure she is safe. After all, she did take an oath to serve Cat.

Speaking of Sansa, she’s still on the boat with Littlefinger. They are on their way to the Eyrie, where LIttlefinger is supposed to marry Lisa. Littlefinger is still uncomfortably close with Sansa. He’s just gross, really. In their conversation, Littlefinger admits to Sansa that he is behind Joffrey’s murder. The necklace Ser Dontos gave Sansa was a fake, and one of the stones in it contained the poison. Sansa didn’t even realize that one of the stones had been taken, but her necklace was the murder weapon, essentially. Petyr says that he murdered Joffrey because the murder was important to his “new friends.” From the subsequent scene cut, we can assume that the “new friends” are the Tyrells. Lady Olenna and Margaery have a chat out in the garden about the steps Margaery should take to ensure she’s married to Tommen. The Tyrells certainly do have social climber ambition, that’s for sure. Taking her gradmother’s advice (sort of), Margaery sneaks into Tommen’s room at night, telling him that it’s okay if they have secrets. For now, they just talk about his cat, Ser Pounce. Which is possibly the best cat name ever. If I liked cats (I’m a dog person through and through).

Up in the North, it feels like political scheming is taking place in the Night’s Watch at King’s Landing levels. With Lord Commander Mormont dead, there’s some jockeying for leadership positions going on. Alliser Thorne, who has always been kind of an ass, is Acting Lord Commander, but he feels threatened by such simple things as Jon Snow trying to help train the newest recruits. One of Alliser’s advisors suggests that he give Jon permission to take a team to Craster’s Keep. The idea being that the mutineers may solve the Jon problem nicely. While Jon is being emo about not being allowed to train the recruits, he befriends a new recruit named Locke. He’s a great fighter, so Jon likes him, but he seems pretty shady to me.

Alliser takes the advice and makes a show of allowing Jon to raid Craster’s Keep. The only catch is that the team has to be all volunteer. Jon makes a big speech at dinner and gets many, many volunteers. Probably more than makes Alliser comfortable. Jon’s got his work cut out for him, though. Bran and his crew are near Craster’s Keep, and they hear the cry of the last Craster baby to be offered to the White Walkers. Hearing the cry is soon followed by being discovered by the mutineers. Bran, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor are all captured by the mutineers who are pretty cruel and gross. Now both Ghost and Summer are being held captive, which makes me sad. At the very end of the episode, we learn what happens to the sacrificed babies. They are turned into White Walkers themselves.

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