Game of Thrones: So Much for Those Redemption Arcs

Game-of-Thrones-S4.jpgPreviously on Game of Thrones: Joffrey was murdered at his own wedding, and Tyrion was blamed for it. Gillie was granted permission to remain at Castle Black, Dany marched on Meereen, and Arya and the Hound continued their trek to the Eyrie.

We start right where we left off, with Cersei screaming for Tyrion to be arrested and then screaming for Sansa to be brought to her. Tywin orders the gates of the city barred, as Sansa and Dontos flee through the streets (she somehow manages to grab a cloak along the way). He gets her into a boat and rows her out to a ship, where she’s greeted by Petyr. Has he been just sitting around waiting in that ship off the coast for weeks now? How long has it been since he supposedly set out for the Eyrie?

Petyr reassures her the worst has passed, as Dontos reminds Petyr that he was promised 10,000 to bring Sansa to him safely. Instead, Dontos gets an arrow to the face. Nice. Sansa screams and Petyr warns her to be quiet, because people will be out looking for her, certain she had a hand in murdering Joffrey for killing her father. She asks why he killed Dontos and he explains that he doesn’t trust drunk fools. Not a bad rule to live by. Dontos was Petyr’s tool; even that necklace was just a worthless prop Petyr supplied. Petyr leads her belowdecks, promising she’s safe with him. But he says it in a really, really creepy way, so we’ll just have to see.

Margaery relaxes with her grandmother and wonders if she’s cursed, having now lost two husbands. Her grandmother says that’s nonsense, since Joffrey was a little prick, and Margaery will probably get to marry young King Tommen next, who’ll be a breeze by comparison.

Joffrey’s laid out in the sept as Tommen and Cersei stand by. Tywin starts quizzing his younger grandson on what it is that makes a good king. Tommen’s first three guesses are wrong, and the last one, strength, gives Tywin a chance to crap all over King Robert, which is kind of awful of him considering Robert’s the only father this boy knows about. Apparently, wisdom is the most important thing for a king to have, and according to Tywin, it’s wisest to follow the advice of good advisors. Translation: do what I say, kid, and you’ll be fine. He also starts explaining the importance of getting married and furthering the family line. Tywin escorts the boy out as Jaime comes in. Jaime takes a moment to ask the boy how he is, which is sweet but won’t even come close to making up for what comes next.

Jaime dismisses the others in the sept so Cersei can have some time alone with her son. Once the doors are closed, she tells Jaime that Tyrion killed their son and he now needs to kill Tyrion in return. Jaime is utterly unwilling to kill his own brother, because even he has to draw the line somewhere. She begs him and bursts into tears, so he holds her in comfort. That eventually turns to kissing, which she’s initially into, but then she pushes him away, because this is so not the time. Not getting it, and completely frustrated with how things have gone for him lately, Jaime calls her a hateful woman, then grabs her and rapes her right up against their dead son’s catafalque. CREEPY, even by this show’s standards! Also, so much for his redemption arc.

Arya and the Hound are taking a bathroom/water the horses break. They’re discovered by a passing farmer and his daughter. The farmer, politely enough, tells them they’re on his land, and the Hound rudely tells him that the land he’s standing on is his land now. Arya intervenes, lying that the Hound is her father and was wounded in the war and never recovered from that or the death of her mother. The farmer asks what house he fought for and Arya further lies that he fought for the Tulleys. Farmer invites them to stay at his place that night.

They take him up on the invitation, but unsurprisingly prove to be the worst houseguests ever, starting at dinner, when the Hound interrupts prayers and starts bogarting the stew. He and Arya eat like they haven’t had anything in weeks. Did they not get the chickens he ordered at that inn? Farmer brings up the Red Wedding and how outrageous it was. For the record, he holds Guest Rites sacred but the Hound doesn’t. Farmer tells them about all the thieving raiders that wander their lands nowadays. And yet he’s inviting perfect strangers into the home he shares with his young daughter. This man’s kind of a fool. He ends up offering the Hound a job helping with the harvest, mostly as security against these raiders. He offers payment, furthering his stupidity by informing the Hound that he’s got some silver hidden away. The Hound agrees to stay, surprising Arya.

The next morning, Arya’s woken by the sound of a tussle and the Farmer’s daughter screaming. She hurries outside and finds the daughter tending her father, who’s wincing in pain and bleeding from a wound on his forehead. Arya falls into step behind the Hound, yelling at him for stealing the man’s silver after the farmer invited them into his home. Hound tells her the man’s weak and he and his daughter will probably be dead by winter, so they won’t need the silver. Still pretty douchy, Hound. Arya screams that he’s the worst shit in the seven kingdoms, which might be the stupidest thing anyone’s ever said on this show. Arya, you know for a fact that that is categorically untrue. He tells her he just understands how things are and asks how many Starks need to be beheaded before she figures it out.

Sam goes to see Gillie, at work in the kitchens, and stresses that everyone thinks he’s lying about killing the White Walker. He also worries about the men eventually getting too handsy with her, if not worse. After all, this place is packed to the walls with criminals and she’s the only woman there. She’s unconcerned but thanks him for thinking of her. He suggests she’d be safer in the town. She thinks he’s trying to get rid of her but he says he just wants to protect her.

At Dragonstone, Stannis shows Davos the message bearing the news that Joffrey’s dead. Stannis thinks this is all down to those leeches he tossed into the fire last season and is freshly pissed off that Davos let Renly go, so now Stannis can’t use him to press his advantage. Davos promises they’ll get an army together, but he’s only managed to rally some seriously fourth-rate houses to Stannis’s cause. Davos suggests getting sellswords but Stannis won’t have it, because that’s beneath him. Plus, they don’t have the money to hire an army. He warns Davos that they’re both running out of time to get this done.

Davos goes for his reading lesson and gets an earful from Shireen for being late and for moving his lips while reading. She hands him a large book about the First Sword of Braavos and she and Davos talk about his past as a smuggler. While talking to her, he gets an idea and asks her to write a letter while he dictates. It’s to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and he’s writing pretending to be Stannis.

Sam takes a reluctant Gillie and little Sam to the local inn/whorehouse. Gillie looks horrified, and well she should, because the place is clearly a hellhole. The woman in charge offers to pimp Gillie out for Sam but he firmly tells her that’s not going to happen. He shows Gillie to a horrible room, promising to come back and visit whenever he can. He tries to reassure her by saying she’s safer there and that she needs to trust him. She turns her back on him and concentrates on tending to the wailing baby.

From there, we cut to a much fancier whorehouse down south. It’s Petyr’s place, and Oberyn and Ilyria are having an orgy with a few of the girls and the young male procurer, who, unlike Oberyn, is strictly same sex oriented. He and Oberyn flirt and talk a little about bisexuality vs homosexuality until Tywin comes in to ruin everyone’s fun. This couldn’t have waited a little while, Tywin? And what’s up with the Lannister family constantly interrupting Oberyn at the brothel? Oberyn offers some sympathy on the loss of Joffrey and Tywin feels him out a bit to see if he knows who poisoned the young king. Oberyn knows what’s up and says he had nothing to do with it. Tywin asks what Oberyn discussed with Tyrion the day he arrived in the city and Oberyn says they talked about the death of his sister, which he blames Tywin for, as she was killed by the Mountain Clegane, who only answers to Tywin. Tywin claims he never gave the order. He’s come now to extend an olive branch of sorts, offering to arrange a meeting between the Mountain and Oberyn if Oberyn serves as one of the three judges in Tyrion’s upcoming trial. The other two are Tywin and Mace Tyrell, so we’re likely looking at a kangaroo court. He sweetens the offer by inviting Oberyn to sit on the Small Council. Truth is, they need the Martells to help protect the throne from the Greyjoys and Dany and her dragons. Tywin’s smart enough to know Dany will soon turn her eyes on King’s Landing, and historically the Martells were the only family to stand against the Targaryens and their dragons.

Podrick goes to see Tyrion, who’s being held in a particularly awful cell. Podrick has smuggled some luxuries in for him, but he has no word of Shae, which Tyrion hopes is a good thing. He tells Tyrion the trial’s been fixed for a fortnight hence. Tyrion gets caught up on the judges and smirks when he hears Oberyn’s name, realizing what his father’s up to. Podrick says Tyrion’s been asked to provide names of witnesses to appear on his behalf. Tyrion suggests Sansa, only to learn that she’s fled. He clearly wonders for a moment if she had something to do with this, but then concludes that she’s no assassin. He adds that whomever did this clearly wanted to frame Tyrion, but I don’t really see how that’s possible, since nobody could have anticipated that Joffrey would have ordered Tyrion to serve him wine at the feast. If Tyrion hadn’t, then there would have been no reason to immediately suspect he was the poisoner, right? Tyrion warns Podrick that whomever did this will probably be following him now. He goes back to the witnesses and proposes Varys, but he’s already been called as  a witness for Cersei. He can’t be a witness for both sides? Guess not. Tyrion tells Podrick to fetch Bronn, but Bronn’s not permitted into the dungeon since he’s a known cutthroat and is now under investigation himself. Podrick adds that someone’s approached him and asked him to testify against Tyrion, in return for a knighthood. He turned the man down, because he’s a loyal kid. Tyrion warns him to leave the city as soon as possible, but first, tell Jaime Tyrion wants to see him. Seeming sad, Podrick bids him farewell. As he goes, Tyrion tells him he was the most loyal squire he’s ever known.

At some nice little village, a boy chats with his dad about domestic matters, until the poor dad gets an arrow to his back, courtesy of Ygritte. Wildlings and their tattoo-faced allies flood in, killing everyone while the boy hides. Tattoo Chief finds the boy and asks if he knows how to get to Castle Black. The terrified child nods. TC shows him his dead parents, informs him he’s going to eat them both, and orders the kid to tell the crows at Castle Black all about it. The boy runs.

He manages to get there in one piece, and the men are all ready to do some serious revenge killing. The guy in charge, whose name I should probably remember but can’t because it’s hard enough to keep track of the characters we see every week, let alone the ones we haven’t seen for about a season, says venturing forth will give this unholy alliance just what they want. Aemon reminds them that they only have about a hundred men, and that includes non-combatants so they can’t afford to lose anyone. Their first responsibility is to hold the Wall, not protect locals. Jon’s asked for his opinion and he tells them that Mance is on his way, and if the Wildlings breach the Wall they’ll destroy everything for a thousand miles before they meet an army that can defeat them. Leader says they need to shore up Castle Black and protect the Wall.

Their attention is diverted by the sound of rangers returning. They go to meet them and one of them is a buddy of Jon’s, whose name also escapes me (sorry!). The two men were, until recently, prisoners at Crestor’s . They tell everyone that the Night’s Watch rebels who took over Crestor’s keep are a pretty awful bunch. Jon says they need to go defeat them now (so much for holding the Wall) but Leader says that’s not happening anytime soon. Jon tells them he lied about there being a thousand men at Castle Black, but the men at Crestor’s will know the truth, so if they’re overrun by the Wildlings, everyone’s screwed.

Dany has finally made it to Meereen, which looks a bit like a stand in for any number of ancient Egyptian cities. All the citizens and slaves have lined up at the city walls to watch the forthcoming show. The gates open and a single rider—the Champion of Meereen—rides out. These people must be really confident of this guy’s abilities to let the future of their entire city rest on his shoulders. He proceeds to be a complete dick, in more ways than one, by dismounting and pissing on the ground in full view of Dany while saying (according to Missy) that Dany’s is an army of men without man parts and Dany is not a woman at all but a man who hides his manhood in his own bum. Honestly, I’m not sure that’s a huge insult. Dany, of course, is not going to be drawn in by this jerk, and she turns back to her men and asks for a champion. They all offer their services, but she can’t bear to be without any of them. Except Daario. He willingly steps into the hot seat.

The champion takes a lance and charges. Dany asks Daario if he wants a horse, but he turns her down. As the horse bears down on him, he takes out a knife, kisses it, lines up his shot, and throws it directly into the oncoming horse’s eye. The champion is thrown and, before he can recover, is sliced down by Daario’s scimitar. Well, that wasn’t too hard. The people of Meereen are like WTF just happened? A group of archers on the walls unleashes a volley of arrows that stop just short of Daario, who gives them a taste of their own medicine by whipping it out and peeing on the ground. Thank god no one’s taken a bathroom break recently.

Dany addresses the slaves of Meereen, telling them about all the slaves she’s freed recently. She says she’s not the enemy, their masters are. Those masters start to get ‘oh, shit’ looks on their faces. That’s the problem with these kinds of civilizations: eventually, you get too complacent, and if the enslaved start outnumbering the masters and realize that that’s the case, the masters are pretty much screwed. Dany’s army drags forth a bunch of trebuchets and fire barrels over the city walls. They burst on impact with the buildings inside and we see they’re full of collars from the now former slaves marching with her. Some of Meereen’s slaves pick them up and start to give their masters murderous looks.

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