Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep. 3 – Breaker of Chains

Sorry everyone, I was on vacation and didn’t get a chance to do my regular Sunday night viewing. Let’s hack away at this one even though it’s two days late, shall we? (Insert standard spoiler warning).

First things first (I can’t even go in order here) – this was one of the more upsetting deviations I have seen from the book. This is the second time we have had the show writers throw a rape at us that wasn’t in the books – first Khal Drogo, now Jamie Lannister. What gives? I mean, Drogo’s was more upsetting because he was never, ever cruel to Danerys in the book – that was such a total deviation from his character that I almost didn’t keep watching the show.

Now the show (and books) have spent all this time developing Jamie’s character, turning him from child-murderer (I KNOW we can’t forget that he tried to kill Bran), into misunderstood family loyalist. That’s the key here, folks: Jamie is loyal to his family and his job. Why would he rape Cersei  – he loves her. Is there some kind of creepy sex-play they were hinting at – that that’s just how they roll together? I don’t think so.

Now that the cat is officially out of the bag (and, er, dead), here’s what’s been bugging me since season 3 ended: in the book, Jamie doesn’t arrive in King’s Landing until after Joffrey’s dead. He and Cersei have a creepy grief-stricken reunion in the sept, which, despite being gross (um, really gross, if you’ve read the literally gory details), at least makes slightly more sense than “You’re hateful. I’m gonna rape you.”  I’m scratching my head at what exactly the writers are going for here. Perhaps they’re toying with our emotions in a way that will come into play during the trial. I guess we’ll see.

Speaking of trial – isn’t Tyrion in some hot water now! Sansa’s gone, so Tyrion looks guilty as hell and he’s got all sorts of powerful and cunning people on his bad side. At least our dear Podrick Payne (who I maintain is one of my favorite characters) is still loyal, but Bronn and Shae are nowhere to be found.

Sansa isn’t saved by Ser Dontos after all. Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, was working behind the scenes all along. Anyone notice that Littlefinger had been conveniently missing from the set for a little while? The mystery of the necklace is somewhat explained (well, more implied, really – SPOILER: it had poison in it) – but how exactly did the murder occur? I watched episode 2 on repeat a couple times to see if I could spot a missing jewel on Sansa’s neck. And even if you watch for it, there’s still some plot left to unravel. Why Petyr – what does he want with Sansa? Did he work alone? If you’re careful, you can trace it backwards a bit and figure most of it out.

Now who will rule the Iron Throne? It’s Tommen, the kitten king (Margaery famously bribes his affection in the book with cats). I love the exchange between Tywin and Tommen – it shows how passive Tommen is. He’s kind of a sweet, dumb kid. That’s ok. We want sweet and dumb after Joffrey. But what will that mean for Westeros with a king who is dumb, sweet, and possibly easily manipulated by his grandfather?

While we are still on grandfatherly manipulation, HBO gives us an unnecessary orgy and some further tension between Oberyn and Tywin, all in one scene! You’ve got to hand it to Tywin – he keeps his politics all carefully in line. Despite Oberyn’s open hatred of the Lannister family, Tywin makes him an offer that would be incredibly hard to refuse – he can take revenge on his sister’s actual rapist/murderer (the other Clegane – the Mountain) and sit on the Small Council. All Oberyn has to do is play nice and judge Tyrion.

I think the scenes between the Hound and Arya are a little gratuitous, but the fans (me included) love their dynamic. Their story baaaaarely moves – which is precisely why I think this is gratuitous – but if you listen, you’ll catch a glimpse of what might be in store for Arya’s future.

What’s going on at Castle Black? Oh, let’s keep the rape theme going and point out how many former rapists are in the Night’s Watch. Ok, really, men were sent to the Night’s Watch as punishment for being rapists and thieves. This isn’t a secret, just a really terrible place, as Sam points out, for Gilly and her baby. That baby sure is cute too. I hope nothing happens to them………….

Meanwhile, Stannis is having a hard time with his army, and Davos is having a hard time keeping Stannis from going crazy black magic bananas. Blink and you’ll miss Stannis’s revelation – this involves minute details from past episodes, like the fact that the Crown (Joffrey and co.) is in debt to the Iron Bank. Basically, folks, Davos remembers that you don’t want to owe the Iron Bank anything.

Oh, and in other “I wish I hadn’t seen that today” scenes, the Wildlings advance their attack on Castle Black by pillaging a nearby town. Creepy cannibal Thenns are creepy, angry Ygritte is angry. No surprises there. The surprise, if you haven’t been paying attention, is that Castle Black is dangerously undermanned for a battle with the Wildlings. Also – surprise! Dolorous Ed and Grenn are back from Craster’s. Bad news there folks – it’s risk men to go and kill the deserters, or risk the deserters ousting information to the Wildlings. What to do?

And finally, is anyone else bored with “breaker of chains” Danerys yet? They even made this scene more boring – where’s Strong Belwas to kill his opponent and wipe his ass with the dead man’s cape? At least we get some more extreme friend-zoning of Ser Jorah. Brother, you ain’t ever getting near that. Not while Danerys is all goo-goo eyed over Ser Boring, Daario Naharis. Someone, please make this man more interesting.

I warrant a guess that next week we’ll see some more unraveling of details before the plot starts to get more exciting – between the trial and the Wall alone, there’s a lot about to go down in Westeros. Hold on to your butts, it’s going to get violent.

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