Welcome back to the world of Game of Thrones! Oh how we’ve missed you! As usual, the opening episode of the new season tends to hold back on the dramatic plot movements, instead serving as a launching pad for the myriad plot threads that will ultimately weave into a complex tapestry of loves, lusts, betrayals, bloodshed, and dragons. Which is to say, don’t expect a whole lot of movement this first installment. Instead, what we get is a brief reintroduction to most of our main players, as well as an opening scene farewell to everyone’s favorite grimly doomed father figure, Ned Stark (Sean Bean), as Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) melts down Ned’s unreasonably huge sword to make two more feasible-sized swords he can keep in the family. And speaking of keeping it in the family, Jaime’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) back and fitted with an awesome (and, I would imagine, heavy) new golden hand. It’s not fully functional, though, and relations are strained between he and Cersei (Lena Headey). Similarly, his relations with Father of the Year, Tywin, are stretched to the breaking point. Seems all the Kingslayer wants to do is get things back to the way they’d always been, nestled in next to his sister and protecting the world’s worst king. Alas, tis not to be. Not only is Cersei not having it, neither is the Royal Pain in the Ass, Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). I keep having to remind myself that Gleeson is a remarkable actor, otherwise I’d want to kick his ass all up and down the road if I ever happened across him. He makes Joffrey such a horrible prick that I can’t believe people aren’t lining up to assassinate him (the character!!). The last Lannister to check in with is everybody’s favorite, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), and things are not looking up for the cleverest man in the kingdom. He’s getting no respect from anyone, not even his favorite sell-sword, Bronn (Jerome Flynn) – and when this guy isn’t respecting you, things are looking bleak. But he’s not only getting dissed by his best friends, his new wife Sansa (Sophie Turner) can’t stand his touch, and the love of his life, Shae (Sibel Kekilli) is being written as the most shrewish bitch on the show – which is saying something. On the plus side, there is at least one (maybe two) strong women on this show who aren’t just bitches, whores, or bloodthirsty. The always delightful Dame Emma Peel – I mean Diana Rigg – is a splash of sunshine in every scene she’s in. There’s something especially satisfying about watching her say whatever she wants to whomever she pleases in this tightly-wound, coiled spring of a society. And I’m truly hoping that Margaery (Natalie Dormer) lives up to her grandmother’s expectations. Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah. The Wildlings are still nursing their wounds and meeting up with some allies from beyond the Wall – nasty buggers with a taste for human flesh. The Night’s Watch have some stern slaps on the wrist for Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) for killing allies and sleeping with the enemy. And across the ocean, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) keeps marching her liberated slave army onward, growing as they go. And those dragons are growing, too. In fact, Drogon is getting a bit too big for his britches, and is noticeably larger than his siblings, Rhaegal and Viserion. That’s something to keep an eye on. But with all of this going on, the two most interesting elements of the Season Four premiere are the introduction of a new character, and the repositioning of two old ones. Prince Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper, (Pedro Pascal) is an intriguing new wild card character that introduces and element of chaos and danger to the capital. He’s got old grudges and, according to his reputation, the inclination to act on those urges. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s got Indira Varma at his side as Ellaria Sand. With a veteran of Torchwood, Rome, and Luther in the mix, you can expect quality work. The real heart of the show (at least for this first episode), however, is Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann). I know, I know. Nothing good can come from this. But clearly Arya brings out the best in the Hound, and he’s teaching her some things about survival in a brutal world. And in a CLEARLY if I’m wrong I don’t want to be right moment, I was cheering when Arya pulled Needle out, said a few choice – if somewhat psychotic – lines and then killed the bastard who’d killed her friend a season or two ago. But hey, one Stark sword was lost, and another was found. Nice balance there. It’s going to be a dark path these two travel, and I can’t wait to see what happens. I’d almost go so far as to say that theirs is the story I care about the most – almost to the exclusion of most of the others. Give me an hour each week of a big, badass murdering bastard teaching a young girl to survive by any bloodthirsty means necessary and I’m a happy man. Shut up! This is my therapy! Game of Thrones 4.01 "Two Swords"4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.