Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep. 4 – Oathkeeper

Hello everyone! Caitlin is on vacation so I’m filling in for her Game of Thrones weekly episode recap. Come back next week to find out some of Caitlin’s own thoughts on this episode, in which things finally start to progress toward some action!

Last week Caitlin predicted that this week would probably have a bit more setup before things with Tyrion’s trial and what happens up at the wall and everything else really start moving, and she was totally right, but overall I think this episode was much more entertaining than last week. Finally we’re getting ominous glimpses of what’s to come for many characters, as well as a scene that has new information for both book readers and show watchers alike (I think. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering what exactly happened in the books, and previous seasons, so please correct me if I’m wrong!)

Here’s a recap of some stuff that happened this week (many spoilers if you haven’t watched the episode, of course):

“Oathkeeper” starts right where last week left off – Daenerys convinces the slaves of Meereen to revolt and now controls the city. Good for her, right? Um, no, I don’t think so. That last shot of her checking out her new city while standing in front of her crudely made Targaryen sigil, having recently meted out some “justice” by crucifying her enemies –  it looks like things are about to get complicated for our intrepid Breaker of Chains as she discovers what it is really like to rule. This is great, because Dany’s storyline was definitely ready for some progression.

Over in King’s Landing, it seems like everyone is going to pretend that a certain horrific scene from last week never happened. I saw a lot of online discussions about whether or not Jaime’s actions in the sept with Cersei constituted rape (and my firm opinion here is that yes, it was clearly rape and that scene was awful and gratuitous for so many reasons). After this week’s episode I can conclude that the writers messed this up big time. In this episode the entire incident is ignored, and Cersei continues to be an ugly bitch while Jaime is the conflicted and sympathetic character. After some revealing heart-to-hearts with Bronn, Cersei and Tyrion, Jaime gives his new sword, forged from the steel of Ned Stark’s blade, to Brienne and tells her to go find Sansa as she originally vowed to do. Brienne dubs the sword Oathkeeper, and lo and behold, Jaime is finding some redemption while his sister-lover continues to be toxic.

I’m not saying Cersei also has to develop into some conflicted antihero, but I do think her characterization is getting sloppy. Viewers and readers know enough about her history, especially her relationships with the men in her family (including her late husband), to see her as a complex character. But with last week’s rape scene that apparently wasn’t really a rape scene, and now the continued portrayal we’re getting of Cersei as a paranoid wino who’s turning away from the people she loves most – it doesn’t seem like a natural progression for her character.

Moving on – at sea, Petyr Baelish finally spells out the details of Joffrey’s murder: Sansa’s necklace hid poison that was slipped into Joffrey’s cup with the help of the Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell. No shit! We knew this already, right? Petyr is really upping his creeper-with-delusions-of-grandeur game here and it looks like Sansa’s not exactly buying it, in which case, good for her. She spent too much time in Joffrey’s court to not have picked up on some political savvy by now.

By the way, I was surprised to learn that Margaery was completely unaware of Olenna’s plot to kill Joffrey, and I was glad to see that she was a bit horrified to learn the full truth of the matter. Margaery then takes her grandmother’s court intrigue pep talk to heart by slipping into Tommen’s room late that night – and so our new boy king is now being not-so-subtly manipulated by both his grandfather and his future queen. Wonderful. That scene was unsettling for a number of reasons, but I do like how the writers are giving Margaery a little more depth by showing her more complicated motives. In the books I remember her as being merely another scheming wanna be queen and Cersei’s foil, but here I also see her more vulnerable side as a very young woman who is being used by her family for political gain.

Up at the Wall, Ser Alliser Thorne is not pleased with the popularity of Jon Snow and orders him to go north to deal with the mutineers at Craster’s Keep. Locke, that lovely guy that cut off Jaime’s hand and tortured Brienne multiple times last season, volunteers for the mission too. There’s a swell of ominous music when this happens, of course, because viewers know that he is Roose Bolton’s inside guy, bent on eliminating all Stark heirs of Winterfell.

Meanwhile, Bran and co. are captured by the supreme asshole mutineers (does anyone else think that extended scene of depravity and baby sacrificing at Craster’s was a bit over the top?) and it looks like some main characters might be reuniting! Of course this might just be a teaser for another closely missed encounter, and I have a feeling Bran will somehow slip away without meeting up with Jon.

And finally, in a scene that readers will recognize as jumping ahead of what information has so far been revealed in the books, the last poor little Craster son is taken to what may be the white walker headquarters, and turned into a walker, which brings up all sorts of questions: Can the walkers not procreate? If they’re turning human babies to increase their ranks, does that mean they age? At any rate, the walkers seem to be organized and intelligent, and not just a mindlessly evil group of scary monsters. We kind of knew that already, but I’m excited to see where the show takes this storyline.

4 comments

  1. I totally hear you about the rape in the Sept and the kind of non-reaction afterward on the show. At least there’s this emotional distance between Cersei and Jaime now, Michelle MacLaren filmed them with a lot of air between them, like a wall, and they were unusually formal. Your Grace. Lord Commander. If they had been acting like “wow, that was crazy sex we had, woot!” it would have been cringe-worthy and a huge problem, no matter what the director from last episode said.

    Right on with your concern about Dany’s rule. Her first act maybe seems like a balancing of the scales, but to me it played off more like Cersei’s insistence that Tyrion was the murderer. I mean, why those 163 guys? What if they had nothing to do with it? For all we know, those dudes were part of a secret emancipation society. It seems like justice, but not really.

    Although Jaime’s now an uncomfortable guy to be invested in, his parting with Brienne was pretty powerful as he’s keeping his promise to Cat. Brienne named the sword oathkeeper but she was also referring to Jaime.

    I get where you are coming from that Jaime seems to get all the redemptive arc break moments, and Cersei’s getting no love. (And now she has Margaery stealing Tommen away just like Tywin was doing last episode.) At least she has creepy ex-Maester Qyburn. Wow, she has hit bottom.

    Thumbs up on seeing the White Walkers and White Walkerville icehenge at the end. The child being converted was a nice echo to the beginning of the episode when Grey Worm admits that he can’t remember his pre-Unsullied time.

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    • Thanks for the great comments! White Walkerville is now a part of my Game of Thrones vocabulary!

      I agree that despite that awful scene in the sept, Jaime still has one of the best character arcs in this series, and the scene with him and Brienne and the naming of the sword was very well done. I think the rape scene bothered me so much because it doesn’t make sense in the context of Jaime’s characterization – I really, really wish the show just hadn’t gone there. The toxic nature of Jaime and Cersei’s relationship has always been clear, but that kind of gratuitous physical attack was not necessary to show that they are now falling apart.

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      • Thanks for your response!

        I’m glad you like White Walkerville – since the White Walkers are called “The Others” in the books, I also call that place we saw last night Otherton.

        And we share similar opinions on Jaime/Cersei, I wish the scene from the last episode had been handled differently.

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  2. Pingback: Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep. 5 – First of His Name | Ladies On The Shelf

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