Game of Thrones S04E01 “Two Swords” Review
Here’s my review of “Two Swords”. I’m going to hit on the scenes that best stood out from each episode and try to go in detail in what happens in those scenes and how I feel about them.
Season 4 of Game of Thrones opens with a poetically powerful scene. Tywin Lannister, almost ceremoniously has Eddard Stark’s sword “Ice” melted down and reforged into 2 new swords. The entire scene had the heft of a funeral, it’s a grim reminder of what has happened to the Starks.
Tywin gives one of the two newly forged swords to Jaime Lannister who we finally see back in the familiar Kings Guard armor, sporting a short hair cut and gold casted right hand. After being amazed by the material and craftsmanship of the sword, Tywin informs Jaime that matter of factly, he will be leaving his duty in the Kings Guard to rule over Casterly Rock. Jaime makes it clear that his honor is pretty much irreparable and has no intentions on breaking the vow of serving in the Kings Guard for life. Tywin tries to make it painless and reasonable for Jaime to leave for Casterly Rock but still staunchly refuses to do so. After the tit for tat Jaime clarifies if he should take the new sword in which Tywin says “Take it, a one handed man with no family and no wife needs all the protection he can get.” Ouch!
Enter Prince Oberyn Martell, we first see this new character in Little Fingers brothel trying to select among a line-up of 3 prostitutes to sleep with him and his wife. After choosing, Oberyn sends the rest of the women out of the room telling the “Procurer” aka the Handler to stay, which he insists he’s not among the selection. Oberyn reminds him that anyone that works for Little Finger is among the selection. They have a heavy moment when all of the sudden Oberyn hears the singing of Lannister soldiers in a near by room. This is when Oberyn shows his bad ass side. He finds the room and slowly walks in passing his hand directly over a low standing candle, letting the flame bend around his hand. The soldiers are taken back by his intrusion. Clearly there’s a distain for Dornes and Lannisters. Oberyn excuses himself saying that he doesn’t see many Lannisters where he’s from, one of the soldiers replies saying he doesn’t see many Dornish men in the capital. Oberyn quick to respond, “We don’t like the smell.”. Enter Obreyn’s wife trying to pull him from the room, when the pudgier soldier see’s her says, why waste a woman like that on a Dornish man, just give him a shaved goat and a bottle of olive oil. The soldier immediately starts to laugh. Oberyn makes his way towards the laughing soldier saying “You now why all the world hates a Lannister?” “You think your gold and lions and Golden Lions make you better than everyone.” “may i tell you a secrete, you’re not a golden lion, you’re just a pink little man who’s too slow on the draw.” After a tense pause, the soldier reaches for his sword and Oberyn immediately lands on the soldiers wrist with his dagger, pinning it to table top. He warns the other soldier that his friend is going to bleed quite a bit due to the amount of veins in the wrist and he can either draw his sword or save his friends life by fetching help. Tyrion walks in asking forgiveness when Oberyn yanks out the knife, causing a small but thick eruption of bright blood, definitely one of the more memorable introductions to a character in the series so far.
Tyrion asks for a moment in private to talk with Prince Oberyn, here’s where some juicy tidbits of information are divulged.
Tyrion asked Oberyn why was he there. Oberyn gives the expected answer, that he was invited to the wedding. Tyrion looks at him and says I thought we were speaking truth. The mood changes. Oberyn says that the last time he was in the capital he was there for another wedding. His sister Elia’s wedding to Rhaegar Targaryen, the Last Dragon. It’s at that moment Tyrion swallows as 2 Kings Guards walk pass them. Oberyn paying no mind keeps going about his sister’s wedding. How she bore Rhaegar’s children and how she was so dedicated to raising there kids. Ultimately the noble Rhaegar Targaryen left Elia for another woman which ignited a war and that the war ended right here (Kings Landing), after Tywin took the city. Oberyn’s demeanor continues to darken. Tyrion tries to interject by saying he wasn’t present but before he can finish saying it Oberyn kept on speaking. Saying Elia’s children were butchered. That they were carved up and wrapped in Lannister cloaks. After a brief pause, he asks “and my sister. You know what they did to her?” Tyrion with his head bowed doesn’t reply, Oberyn brings his finger underneath Tyrion’s chin and moves his face up towards him and reinforces that he’s asking him a question. Tyrion moves Oberyn’s hand away saying that he’s heard rumors. Oberyn chuckles and goes on to say that rumor he’s heard is that his sister was raped by Gregor Clegane “The Mountain” and that he split her in half with his great sword. Tyrion softly says, that he wasn’t there he doesn’t know what happened. Oberyn presses Tyrion and explains that if The Mountain killed Elia, then Tyrion’s father gave the order. Oberyn ends the conversation by saying to Tyrion, almost gleefully to tell Tywin that he’s here in the city and that the Lannisters aren’t the only ones that pay their debts. So now we know that Oberyn is the Uncle to Daenerys Targaryen, who he believes to have been killed off. As they say… the plot thickens.
Speaking of Daenerys, in a seemingly serene scene, Daenerys is petting her Dragon who she has purring like a kitten across her lap. The dragon looks spectacular. HBO doesn’t cut corners when it comes to these animals. Out in the distance you can see the other 2 dragons fighting over a lamb, they drop the carcass at Daenerys feet. The dragon she was petting turns it’s attention to the carcass and approaches it along with the other 2 dragons. For whatever reason, Daenerys moves or touches the dragon that moments ago was purring like a kitten when all of the sudden it terrifyingly turns to Daenerys with lightening speed and grows at her. She practically shits herself. After that the dragons fly off and Jorah Mormont approaches the mother of dragons to remind her that they are dragons and that they will never be tamed. A real duh moment on the part of Daenerys. Her rayne would’ve ended a-la Siegfried and Roy.
It’s in this episode that we see the newly casted Daario Naharis which in my opinion was a very big and drastic change. The actor to play Daario in the last season had a boyish, Fabio look to him. This new guy resembles a younger Bronn almost. Either way I’m hearing from people that read the books that the new actor is a better fit for the character. Be that as it may, it’s still very distracting and I had to inform my close circle of friends that watch the show about the change, almost none of them caught it.
Poor Tyrion seems to have gotten all the depressing scenes in this one. Sansa sits out in the garden where Shae is trying to get her to eat and due to her depressed state, Sansa is unable to bring her self to eating any food after hearing about the Red Wedding. Tyrion asks to talk to Sansa alone and encourages her to eat, Sansa goes into the disturbing details as to what they did with the bodies of her Brother and Mother. She eventually excuses herself to the Godswood because it’s the only place people will leave her alone. Sansa’s character has definitely changed through the last 3 seasons, she’s become more serious and mature. You can feel the anger that she’s been holding back in each scene. I fell like she’s going to be a force to reckon with once she come into her own.
Jaime finally has a moment alone (Gross) with Cersei after getting his gold casted prosthetic hand fitted on. Cersei couldn’t be more distant both in demeanor and in action. She barely looks at Jaime and when he gets close, she moves away. Essentially she tells Jaime he took too long, regardless of all the mess he had to go through to get back to Kings Landing, and simply put, every things changed. Leaving Jaime shocked as one of Cersei’s spies interrupts the moment by letting her know that she’s got some dirt on Tyrion… poor guy lol. I’m glad Jaime’s got a rude awakening. I feel his character has a real opportunity for redemption from all the wrong he’s done. And being that a lot of the reason why he’s been such a bad guy is because he’s been banging his sister. So hopefully this is the last nail in the old Jaime Lannister coffin.
So dare we go back beyond the wall, Ygritte sits putting the finishing touches on a crap ton of new arrows. Tormound walks up on her and gives her grief over deliberately not putting John Snow out of his misery. She puts on a tough face when one of the Wildlings whistles at Tormound to alert him that a small band of Thenns are coming. These guys are gross looking. They look like shaved Vikings covered in ceremonial scares that look more like permanent war paint. After catching up with the leader of the Thenns, he suggests to Tormound that he should really try “Crow” before he dies, no sooner that he says that, the camera lowers to reveal a human arm, skewered and placed over a fire pit. Yummy.
On the road to Meereen Jorah halts Daenerys army. Daenerys goes to see why everyone has stopped marching. Theres a mile marker on the road with a dead slave-child pointing towards the direction of Meereen. Daenerys orders the men to burry the slave-child and remove the child’s collar. She vows to see the face of every single slave hung on the mile markers towards Meereen.
Here’s my problem with Daenerys, she has a lot of annoying moments that I don’t care for and then she has amazing moments like this that make up for all those annoying moments. I can’t wait to see what happens when she marches into Meereen “with an army of former slaves” as she puts it.
The episode ends with a bang. The Hound and Arya are on horse back. They come across a tavern or a Inn on the side of the road. There’s 5 of Lannisters men inside. The Hound is wary about engaging the men. Arya notices one of the guys is Polliver, the guy who killed Arya’s friend “Lommy” with her sword needle. You can see a hint revenge in Arya’s face, she then takes off towards the Tavern, the Hound goes chasing. By the time he catches her they’re at the footstep of the entrance and they’re noticed by one of the men. Awkwardly the Hound walks in with Arya. He sits down and Polliver notices them, there’s a scare when Polliver notices Arya but it turns out it’s the Hound he recognizes. Polliver goes over to chat with the Hound, after throwing around what they could do now that the king’s won the war and they can practically do whatever they want the Hound get’s tired of him running his mouth and stops him with “Fuck the King.” And then the Hound follows up with telling Polliver to get him a chicken. Polliver refuses to pay for it. The Hound finishes his Ale and then responds with some of the best lines in show.
“You’re a talker. Listening to Talkers makes me thirsty.”
(Reaches over and picks up Polliver’s cup and drinks it all down)
“And hungry. I think I’ll take two chickens.”
“You don’t seem to understand the situation.”
“I understand that if any more words come pouring out your cunt mouth I’m going to have to eat every chicken in this room.”
And with that, the Hound sends the table flying and gets busy killing these guys. Not without assistance from Arya who sees an opportunity to jump in on the action when one of the 5 men falls to the floor grunting after getting stabbed in the genitals. She walks over to him, takes his sword and slowly drives it into his chest. Slowly out of inexperience not out of malice. Then with the sword she took from her first kill she sneaks up on Polliver fillets both calves, he falls to his knees and that is when Arya grabs needle out of his belt. Polliver now on his back, Arya’s walks up to him repeating the same words, Polliver said to her friend Lommy. And with that, she drives Needle right under his chin straight through and pulls all the way out, letting the blood flow freely and Polliver meets his demise with a few heavy gargles of blood. Very gruesome but very satisfying for Arya’s character. The scene quickly cuts to the Hound eating his well deserved chicken and Arya riding behind him on her own horse. Guess she earned the Hounds trust after their first bar brawl.
Great cap to the first episode. The show is off to a great start and I can’t wait for next sunday.