Good. Very good. This week’s installment of Game of Thrones was just that. While not fraught with action, Episode 4 contained many of the story lines which have increasingly drawn me in. And this started with the opening shot: a severed hand dangling around the neck of Jaime Lannister. As touched on in my review last week, his character arc is becoming increasingly meaningful. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually feel empathy for him (so yes, I admit, I do have a heart, albeit severely charred). Jaime has shed his arrogance and pomp. “A taste of the real world,” as Brienne puts it, has unearthed something lying underneath. He has been toyed with in the mud by his captors, given horse urine to drink instead of water. He has lost a great part of his man-hood, his ability to fight. I can’t imagine the Jaime of old having lied to help save Brienne from a horrible fate at the end of last week. An action that likely cost him his hand. There is a deeper connection building between the two. Romantic? I think not. I believe it has more to do with respect. Dare I say, Jaime is starting to respect a woman, which is possibly leading him to respecting life in general.
Another story line gaining momentum is between King Joffrey and Margarey Tyrell, his soon to be Queen. Although Joffrey remains a jerk, Margarey’s influence on him is to be watched with great interest. A subtle byproduct is how that relationship is creating a wedge between Joffrey and his mother, Cersei, who is losing her already loose hold on her son. I’m being generous here – Cersei’s hold is really only holding on by used dental floss. Margarey is turning out to be quite the foe for Cersei. In a poignant scene, Margarey persuades Joffrey with her eloquent tongue to walk out and greet his people, with Cersei looking on, left behind. Margarey has done an expert job snaring him. Her claws are in so deep, she’d make Lady Macbeth proud.
By surprise, the Night’s Watch made a dent in a wee little brain this week. Still at Craster’s taking lodging and snippets of food, the Night’s Watch turn on one another. With Craster being his usual repugnant self, bellowing about slitting the throats of the Night’s Watch who are too weak to continue, he is challenged by one of its members. Craster has been hiding food on them. When Jeor Mormont steps in to get hold of his men, both Craster and Mormont are killed and a fight breaks out amongst the one time fellowship. Within the melee, Tarly fetches the woman he pines for (and her new born boy) and runs. A character that creates great sympathy ever since Jon Snow saving his bacon in Season 1, Tarly has lasted longer than I thought, and actually become interesting to follow, even if now he’s frolicking through the White Walker infested woods.
The end of “And Now His Watch Has Ended” heated up, literally. Dany unveiled her dragon to trade for the 8,000 man army, called the Unsullied. Once the deal had been completed and she had the Unsullied within her command, she showed she’s more than just a pretty face. There is an emerging chess master raging beneath. Speaking in Valyrian, the native tongue of Astapor and something she kept hidden, Dany tells her new army to kill their masters, as well as her dragon, which burns its momentary slave owner alive. This is a fantastic scene, as we witness the fiery attack from the dragon’s point of view, staring down at its unsuspecting, cowering prey. As I felt last week, how could Dany give up one of her baby’s? Well, she couldn’t. Furthering cementing her leadership, in a show of good faith to the Unsullied, she announced them to be free men, each with the choice to leave or follow her. All 8,000 chose the latter, now free, pledging their life (and likely death) to her and not the whip of any master. Dany is now armed to her dragon’s teeth, ready to make a big push for her place on the Iron Throne.