As we reach the half-way point in Game of Thrones’ forth season most of our favorite characters have reached a point in their season’s quest where major decisions have to be made. Many of these decisions have been a long time in the making, but, assuming their deaths aren’t handed to them prematurely, must be made in the coming Westeros hours.
Tommen is now king. He may even be a good king–for once. Realistically, he can’t be any worse than the last few. Now with this boy as the country’s figure head, the question of who will take on the role of his queen is the obvious next question. Cersei presents Margaery with the option of the role, who plays it off as if she hasn’t thought about it. The underlying Cersei apology and blatant recognition of a smooth transition are dynamite in this sequence. In her discussion with Tywin, she has to commit to her place in the Lanister history. Whatever that may be. Will she strengthen the family dynasty by going along with her marriage to Margaery’s ‘closeted’ brother to help pay off the debts of her family to the bank? I mean, a Lanister always pays their debts. Even as the most seemingly powerful woman in all of Westeros, she is still helpless within the context of her family dealings. She is being pawned off again, just as she had to do to her daughter–brought out in a wonderful scene with Oberyn. I’d
also ask how will Jaime’s betrayal of her effect this decision, but the show has poorly dealt with that fall out. Also, Tywin will eventually need to make a decision on Tyrion (always dearly missed from any episode), if he hasn’t already.
Arya must decide what kind of hatred she wants to carry and how to act on it. Is she the ‘sword dancer’ that she was briefly trained to be or a vicious killer that The Hound shows her day after day? She wants to be the elegant fighter, but with her sword, there’s very little she can do without both physical and mental armor. The Hound may be on her kill list, one she recites daily, but for now he may be the teacher she needs to carry out her deeds–not just a convenient traveling partner. How much of her will survive her hatred of the world and the people in it? We can all agree that Arya will be very disappointed to learn that Joffery is already dead.
In Dany’s corner of the world, her council actually presents her with a decision to make. Her work in Slaver’s Bay is semi-obsolete, as the masters have retained their power across the land. Should she re-claim those cities in the name of Targaryen or sail to King’s Landing to finally attempt to take the throne? Regardless of if her fleet is ready; she recognizes her reputation and leadership skills would come under massive scurrility if she can’t control this simple region. Dany must prove to herself and others that she can be a powerful leader. At least something is happening west of Westeros that pertains to all of our other characters at the moment.
After ‘warging’ Hodor and saving the day, Bran must come to terms what he believes to be his destiny. The anguish in his face as he decides to prolong his reunion with Jon is beautifully played by Isaac Helpstead-Wright. His decision is based on the good of mankind. Spring must come as soon as possible. Can we also just mention how bad-ass Hodor was? Hodor. (Plus we got a sword through the head. Some nice gore this week.)
In what I believe to be the most interesting aspect of the episode was the revelation that Littlefinger and Lysa Arryn killed Jon Arynn–the original hand of the King (which is why Ned goes to King’s Landing, so on and so forth). We were all led to believe that a Lanister had done the deed (cough*Jaime*cough) to stop the answering of all questions pertaining to ‘royal’ children. Clearly Lysa is deeply in love (obsessed) with Littlefinger in terms of her reasoning, but what is Littlefinger’s motive? Settling for Catelyn Stark’s sister, a secret power move, or just Joker-scale chaos could be the cause of his murderous ways. Through all of this, Sansa believes for one second she is safe, but this may be a worse scenario for her overall. She even defends Tyrion to her cousins–that’s when you know things are bad. Now she has to marry her cousin? Too much. Hopefully somebody will show up to rescue her–her sister or Brienne.
A quick character scene featuring Podrick and Brienne featured some nice moments, but when it comes down to it, any episode with no Stannis and Theon is a good one. It’s not that those story lines are bad, they’re just not nearly as good as everything else. What will the second half of this season bring? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to see what goes down. This has been an incredibly solid season, in which the director, writers, and editors are very much on their game (of thrones).
Keep on Watchin’!