Monday, 28 April 2014

Game of Thrones: Season 4, Episode 4 "Oathkeeper" Review

Game  of  Thrones

Season 4,  Episode 4  “ Oathkeeper
Positives this week included... Everything and anything Jaime related, Daenerys' taking of Meereen, The Wall's confrontations and tribulations, Bran's warging, White Walkers! 

Negatives this week included... The over dramatic scenes beyond the wall with Burn Gorman's character (Only their introduction)

Hodor get's some Hodoring this week!
Despite last week's come downs, being that the episode prior turned out to be one of the best episodes of Thrones so far, Thrones never fails to disappoint majorly, and last week's episode was still thoroughly enjoyable. Fortunately, for any who may have been enraged by a certain rape scene, and a lack of anything really major happening, this week's episode has some incredibly emotional, touching moments, as well as some utterly shocking reveals that deviate from the book in some quite major ways. So sit back, relax, and lets go in depth on this week's return to form for Game of Thrones!

We begin over at Meereen, with Grey Worm learning the common tongue from Missandei, and we get to see their relationship growing. It's cute, and we also get a little bit of back story towards mainly Missandei, and how she was taken from her family at the age of 5. It's great to see both of these characters getting more of a spotlight than they ever do in the books; I certainly can't fault this scene. Daenerys comes in with Barristan, informing Grey Worm that "it's time," and Grey Worm takes a few Unsullied with him, as he sneaks in to Meereen through the sewers, and rallies the slaves inside, urging them to take up the swords they've brought (Grey Worm and his buddies), and kill the slavers. This is an incredibly well executed scene in pacing, dialogue, and performances. Jacob Anderson gives a refrained speech, which doesn't require volume to come across as powerful and effecting. Seriously, if I'd been a slave for many years, and Grey Worm came in and delivered that speech, I'd most certainly take up arms and kill a few damned slavers! We get a scene with a slaver getting killed by newly freed slaves, and before long, Daenerys is standing in the Great Pyramid, after successfully taking Meereen, thanks to the efforts of the slaves, as well as her Unsullied. She sentences 163 slavers to death, to make up for the 163 slave children who were crucified on the path to Meereen. Her scene with Barristan, where she boldly responds to his suggestion of mercy by telling him that she wants justice for the wrongs the slavers have committed is handled perfectly. It also shows her growth in character; do you recall her in season 1 trying to save all the women of a village the Dothraki had sacked from being raped? How she was afraid to see women crying from rape and murder? Well, look at Dany now! She doesn't give a shit if these slavers are crying out to the heavens, as loud as they can; they are most certainly getting nailed to a cross and dying. Fantastic locations, brilliant use of CGI, wonderful performances; this portion of the episode was 100% perfect.

Nice to see Daenerys finally brandishing her Targaryen flag!

In King's Landing, Jaime is finally making ground with his left hand, and it makes for an enjoyable scene between him and Bronn; they're still sparing! Most fans were scared that after the information that Bronn was under investigation got out, that no more sparring scenes between Jaime and Bronn would be undertaken, but fortunately, we were wrong. They trade blows for a bit, before Bronn takes Jaime's golden hand, and hits him over the head with it. Bronn deals Jaime the golden question "Do you want to fight pretty, or do you want to win," after Jaime becomes irritated with Bronn's questionable tactics. Watching these two men go up against each other is a wonderful sight; one, trained to fight with pretty, clean strokes, the other trained to fight to win. Bronn's style is no doubt more effective, and watching Jaime having to adapt to a different sword play pace makes for some fun scenes. Bronn guilt trips Jaime into seeing his brother, down in the dungeons, which allows us the opportunity to see the two brothers talk for the first time since the morning of the wedding. Dinklage and Coster-Waldau both interact with each other perfectly, and their chemistry is clear; these two guys obviously enjoy hanging out with each other. They certainly seem like two brothers conversing with each other, no doubt about it. The lighting in this sequence is also fantastic, so credit is due to that department. Moving on, Jaime is later on called to his sister's solar; this is the scene that many people were anticipating most out of this episode, and for me at least, it did somewhat acknowledge the rape that occured last episode. Whilst neither talk about it directly, Cersei is fuming with him all the same, and is drinking heavily. She certainly isn't happy with him, and that's all I can really ask from the show. I don't want this ordeal turning into another crazy subplot, so having the distaste between the two siblings quite visible is all I really want from this whole situation. And then the most emotional point in the episode; Jaime's farewell of Brienne. Brienne is going off to find and protect Sansa, and for that job, Jaime not only entrusts her with some fine-ass armour, but also gifts her his Valyrian Steel sword, which she names Oathkeeper. That was a truly beautiful moment, her naming of the sword, and Gwendolyn Christie acts it out perfectly, as she does the rest of her scenes with Coster-Waldau. And she's teamed up with Podrick now!!! We have a new epic duo, that will undoubtedly become a fan favourite! As she rides off with Pod, to go look for Sansa, she looks back at Jaime, and gives him one final look. I thought I'd been dealt enough feels for an entire season after Pod and Tyrion's final scene, but damn... this tore me up. We have a bunch more emotional high points to come this season, but this one, for the time being, takes the cake.     
"Is it feels you want? Then we shall give you them in bucket loads!" says David Bennioff and Dan Weiss
Up North, Jon is trying to train farmers and other common folk, preparing them for a battle to come in episode 9. And guess who's hanging out with the Night's Watch? None other than scumbag Locke, who you may remember from episode 2, who greeted Ramsay Snow at the Dreadfort. This is one of the biggest book deviations I've seen in a long time; Locke is actually Vargo Hoat in A Song of Ice and Fire, and he is killed in A Storm of Swords by The Mountain. But, well, he's actually at the Wall now! Being that the man serves the Boltons, who want to take the North, and can't have any Starks around to do that, he most likely wants to kill Jon, and report back to Roose Bolton afterwards to receive a reward. I can genuinely say I don't know what's going to happen between Locke and Snow, but one thing I know for sure, is that Locke isn't nearly as nice and friendly as he's playing up to be.  Alliser Thorne sanctions a mission that has Jon heading North to kill those who took Craster's Keep, and Jon receives volunteers who wish to help. The scenes that took place on the Wall this week actually felt like they contributed to the overall plot, instead of people just walking around sulking, as they've done during the prior episodes. This leads into my only negative of the episode, and that's Burn Gorman's character and his introduction, as well as the other Night's Watch mutineers. It's a little over dramatic, but fortunately, it settles itself out when one of Craster's wives comes in with a male baby and has Rast, one of the mutineers, take it out as a sacrifice to the White Walkers. When she leaves it out in the snow for the Walkers, Bran and co happen to be close enough to hear it's cries. We get a bit of warging with Bran and Summer, and Bran is walking around in the wolves body, looking for the baby, when he stumbles upon Ghost, who's been locked up by the mutineers. Summer gets injured, Bran and co go to help him, but get captured by the mutineers.  Meera is threatened with death in an intense scene, before Bran reveals his identity to the men, a possibly fatal mistake. The men hate Jon, and now they have his brother; not looking good for either of the Stark's, being that one of them has Locke on his unassuming back, and one of them is captured by murdering mutineers North of the Wall. Then comes one of the best scenes in the episode; the baby is picked up by a White Walker, and is carried to a fortress of sorts, and then... well, the picture below describes everything! And so now we know how they grow in numbers; the White Walkers find human babes and touch them! That sounds ridiculously wrong!
Yeah, vampire-like White Walkers? Game of Thrones just got 100 times better.
To summarise a few other scenes, Lord Baelish revealed key parts within the conspiracy to kill Joffrey to Sansa, and she appears to be learning the way of the game. Previously, Sansa was hopeless in the way of playing the game of thrones, but now, she seems to be getting a grasp in politics and strategy. She'll be getting some more master classes from Lord Baelish, so all those who enjoyed this scene can expect a few more to come! Following straight on from that, Margery and Olenna had a scene, and Olenna pretty much revealed that she was the one behind Joffrey's death; more though she had a part in it. It is apparent that Baelish was the one that orchestrated the whole plot, though Olenna certainly took part. She wasn't all witty and funny this week, Olenna; she seemed almost cold hearted and even dangerous. She also urges Margery to start working Tommen to her cause, and so Margery comes to talk to Tommen whilst he's sleeping. The scene almost turns a little rapey, being that she's quite a bit older than the kid, and he's in his bed, but fortunately, it stays politically centred, and you can obviously see the intention behind the visit is to wind in the boy King so that she has his trust, and can manipulate him. Strangely brilliant scene, and both Dean Charles Chapman and Natalie Dormer nail this out of the park.

Whilst there was no Arya and The Hound, and no Stannis, Oathkeeper is one of the best episodes of the season so far. Brilliant performances, plot lines that advanced the centre story line, CGI that is worthy of mention, and an ending that left me shaking, this is a satisfying episode that leaves me anticipating next week heavily. Big things are to come people, but it'll be a few weeks until they take effect; until then, let Stannis memes entertain you! See you next week!

Check out next week's episode's promo!


Junkie Score: 9.5

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