Joffrey Baratheorn (Jack Gleeson) is set to marry Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). The guests start to arrive for the extravagant affair, and Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) is one of them. His mission is clear – to find and kill the man that raped and murdered his sister Elia.
Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton)is Warden of the North, a title he was awarded for the successful assassination of Robb Stark. Bolton returns to Dreadfort and to his bastard son, Ramsay Snow. There he sees what Ramsay (Iwan Rheon)has done to TheonGreyjoy. Theon (Alfie Allen) is now convinced his name is Reek, and after months of torture he is enslaved to Ramsay. Bolton plans to kill the remaining Stark children to ensure his family rules the North for generations. He promises Ramsay a proper family title should he have a significant part with this project, as well as reclaiming lands the Iron Born hold.
The lame Bran Stark is still on his way to find the three eyed raven with his friends, Jojen and Meera Reed, as well as the giant Hodor. Despite their impending starvation, they persist and travel further and further into unknown territory.
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) is still sulking over his defeat at Blackwater Bay, while Sir Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is trying to rebuild Stannis’s army. The Baratheon army has funding problems, and Stannis and Davos go to the Bank of Bravos for funding. They are initially unsuccessful, but later Davos saves the day yet again when he manages to convince their potential financers to invest. Melisandre (Carice Von Houten) burns several people alive as sacrifice, and her staunch supporter Queen Selyse is delighted with Melisandre’s antics, even after knowing that Melisandre slept with her husband Stannis.
Things are not going well for Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). After being forced into marriage to Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), he eventually breaks off his relationship with his mistress Shae, specifically to protect her from his family. She is furious with him, but he is relieved that she has left for safety. Jaime Lannister (NikolajWaldau-Coster) is relearning the art of sword fighting after he lost his sword hand, aided by his brother’s right hand man, Bronn (Jerome Flynn).
The Royal Wedding arrives and tension keeps building between Tyrion and Joffrey. Joffrey is taunting his uncle in every way he can find. He is poisoned and dies, and points to Tyrion as he falls, who is arrested on the spot. Sansa Stark flees the scene immediately, and arouses suspicion that she may have been involved. She is taken to a mysterious boat where PetyrBaelish (Aiden Gillen) is waiting for her, and promises to take her to her aunt, Lady Lysa Arryn, Lady of The Vale, for protection.
Cersei (Lena Headey) is maddened by the grief of her son’s death and will do anything to have Tyrion executed, sure he is the guilty party. Tommen Baratheon, Cersei’s youngest son, becomes the imminent King, and Tywin (Charles Dance) begins to educate him in matters of the throne. Tommen seems much kinder than his deceased brother, although still very young. Margaery is soon betrothed to Tommen, and visits him in his chamber on the orders of her grandmother. Instead of seducing him, they have a nice conversation, and she leaves.
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) is very worried about Gilly’s safety as the only woman at the Wall. He devises a plan, to take Gilly into Mole’s Town to work and stay there. She isn’t very happy about it all, but agrees at the end. The Wildlings are getting closer to Castle Black, led by Mance Ryder (Ciarán Hinds). With them is Ygritte (Rose Leslie), Jon Snow’s slighted lover who is wants revenge on him for deserting her. Jon (Kit Harrington) has to deal with being disliked by the temporary Lord Commander, his contradicting feelings about Ygritte and the worries about the Watchmen who rebelled and is still living at Craster’s Keep. They decide to attack the rebels to protect any information their former friends could give to the Wildlings, and afterwards Jon agrees that the women who were still at Craster’s old home can go their own way, understanding that they might be tired of men after all they’ve been through.
Daenerys Targyren is still laying siege to every city she approaches, and when she reaches Meeren she once again plan to attack the city when they laugh at her demands to free their slaves. Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) the leader of a sell sword army under Daenerys’ employ, volunteers to fight the warrior Meeren sends out. He is victorious, and the slaves are soon set free to meet out punishment on the cruel masters.
On her way to her aunt, Sansa Stark begins to realise how far Petyr Baelish would go for power and the love he had for her mother, and maybe herself. He admits to being the one of the conspirators that helped with the murder at King’s Landing, and admits that his allegiance with the Lannisters ended as soon as it no longer benefited him.
Tyrion is still in prison and his situation continues to worsen. Although Podrick (Daniel Portman) is willing to continue serving him, Tyrion knows that it will mean his loyal friend’s death. Bronn admits to being brought out by Cercei and doesn’t seem too worried that he is deserting the man who helped him become something. Only Jaime still regularly goes to visit his brother in prison, and he devises a plan to help his brother’s friends. He tasks Lady Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) with finding Sansa Stark and protecting her, and they send Podrick with her.
Petyr and Sansa arrive in the Eyrie, where they are welcomed by Lysa, Sansa’s mad aunt who is deeply in love with Petyr. Sansa is welcomed into the palace, but she is under constant watch still – her aunt wants her to marry her cousin Robbin, and she watches Petyr and Sansa like hawks for any sign of affection. Petyr marries Lysa.
Daenerys realises she is making a mess of managing her new cities when Jorah Mormont informs her that slavery has returned in Astapor and Yunkai. She realises that she needs to govern what she rules, and decides to postpone her invasion of Westeros. A lot of her problems are trying to control her now massive dragons – if they are not frying goats they are killing children. Before Daario leaves to control the resurgence of slavery in Yunkai he and Daenerys sleep together, irritating Jorah.
When everyone, including Shae, gives false testimony against Tyrion, he is angered and hurt. He demands trial by combat, but there are few volunteers when it becomes known that Gregor Clegane is the opponent Cersei hired. Oberyn Martell comes to Tyrion’s rescue because he knows that Gregor is the man that raped and killed his sister, and sees his chance for revenge.
In the Vale, Sansa finds pleasure in building Winter Fell with some snow. Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli) damages this and after he throws a tantrum she slaps him. Petyr sees this, and after calming her down he kisses her, and they don’t know that Lysa is watching. She has a fit of rage later and threatens to throw Sansa through the sky roof, and after Petyr saves Sansa he pushes Lysa through to her death.
The Wildlings reach Mole’s Town and murders everyone in sight. Gilly hides with baby Sam and is discovered by Ygritte, who leaves them alive and leads the Wildlings away. Sam is maddened by the realization that Gilly may not have lived, and blames himself. Jon needs to deal with the fact that he will most likely have to see Ygritte die, or die himself. Gilly reaches Castle Black and Sam is overjoyed, promising to never part ways with her again.
Ser Barristan receives a letter intended to Ser Jorah Mormont, a letter of pardon for giving information on Daenerys. He tells Jorah of his plans to inform Daenerys, and she sends him away, ignoring his pleas for forgiveness.
Sansa lies to the council in the Vale, confirming the lie Petyr told about Lysa’s “suicide”. Later, she tells him that he is someone she knows and doesn’t wish to be at the mercy of anyone she doesn’t know. Robbin is sent to learn some battle skills to honour his father’s legacy, and something strange seems to be developing between Sansa and Petyr. Arya is outside the gate of the Vale when they learn that Lysa is dead. She finds this hilarious and she and the Hound leave, where they meet Brienne and Podrick. Brienne battles Sandor, and he is defeated. Brienne is furious when they learn that Arya got away.
“I am the brother of Elia Martell. And do you know why I’ve come all the way to this stinking shitpile of a city? For you. I am going to hear you confess before you die: You raped my sister. You murdered her. You killed her children. Say it now, and we can make this quick.”
Back at King’s landing, Oberyn is betrayed by his need for revenge when he defeats Clegane but takes too long to actually kill him. Oberyn dies, and Tyrion is sentenced to death. However, Tyrion realises that there are people who are loyal to him when Jaime and Lord Varys help him escape prison. Before sneaking away, Tyrion heads to his father’s room, where he finds Shae in Tywin’s bed. Tyrion, finally driven mad by betrayal, kills Tywin and Shae before leaving, hidden on a boat. When Varys realises that Tywin has been murdered, he climbs onto the ship as well.
Castle Black is now fully under siege. Ygritte dies moments before she reconciles with Jon Snow, and he is heartbroken. Grenn and five others die defending the tunnel against a mammoth. The wildlings retreat, but Jon knows that they will return and he alone heads into the woods to negotiate with Mance. Stannis Baratheon rocks up and Jon saves Mance’s life by revealing his lineage to Stannis and telling him that Mance saved his life, and that his father would have locked Mance up but not kill him. Jon takes Ygritte’s body beyond the Wall to honour Mance’s wish that she be laid to rest where she came from, and Jon burns her body to prevent her from turning into a White Walker, and at Castle Black they do the same with the bodies of their friends and their enemies.
After months of travelling, Bran arrives at the Heart Tree, where they meet a child of the forest. They are attacked by wights, and Jojen is killed. They all head into the tree where they meet the three eyed raven and a very old man that tells Bran that he will now be able to fulfil his destiny.
Season four was once again as entertaining as a show can possibly be. I am so happy I started with Game of Thrones this year, it is a fantastic story with so many layers and events and characters. There will always be moments that are dull and stretched or unnecessary, but GoT has always kept that to a minimum. I have learnt to not become overly attached to any character, because of the Russian roulette that is always being played with every Stark’s life has specifically become to heart wrenching to endure if you are too attached. #Ned #Robb. I am absolutely addicted to the GoT theme song and I get so cheered up when I hear it. It is epic and fitting and just grand as hell.
I have to say that I suspected one plot development and that was completely a first for me for this show. I wasn’t even overly worried at the siege of Castle Black. I was worried for Jon Snow’s life, because he is after all of Stark blood (OR the grand question I’ve been wondering since day one – IS HE?) and George Martin isn’t overly fond of them Starks. I’ve always been mildly irritated with Ygritte and her overly attached girlfriend manoeuvres, and Season four was a long journey of tolerance varying with severe irritation. I am glad Jon Snow finally got laid – he is too fine to waste away on the Wall without any nookie.
I enjoyed Oberyn Martell, his need for vengeance and his open disgust with the Lannisters. He is so undiscriminating against everyone EXCEPT the Lannisters. He has no problem with making known who and what he is and why he is at King’s Landing. I really admire how ballsy he is and that he just does not give a shit what anyone thinks about his sexual preferences, his lifestyle or his ideals.
So, let’s talk about the death that everyone was hoping would happen. Was it justice for the little prick? I personally think he should have been pecked to death by geese with rabies after enduring a week’s torture from Ramsay Snow, but you really can’t get everything you want in life. The eventual instigators in his death were surprising but not altogether strange because the more I thought about it the more it seemed likely. I was outraged at how Tyrion’s own family turned against him for something he clearly didn’t do; how Cersei’s blind hatred of him clouded her already shady judgement of truth and lies and how excited she became at the mere thought of Tyrion’s death.
I really like Ser Barristan and Podrick. Podrick is so sweet and genuinely loyal to Tyrion, and it broke me to see Tyrion send him away for his safety. I have liked Barristan from season one – he is such a warrior. I respected that he told Jorah first – it showed a decency few of the characters have. I felt so sorry for Jorah at the end because he made such a huge mistake and would pay for it forever. I get why Daenerys got so mad but still pitied him.
My only problem with the series is that the fighting on the Wall seemed very drawn out. I did enjoy it and how everything came to be, but it still felt like hours of watching. I LOVED that Gilly and Sam were in one place again – they are now my favourite couple. Sam is so adorably sweet and intelligent and he deserves happiness.
I am very agitated that I have to wait for Season 5. I am at the point where I might just start reading the books to not be bored, and as they are quite lengthy I hope that by the time I am at the latest one (whichever that is) the new series is out. Zoë mentioned that the books aren’t scholarly in this post and I will therefore try reading it as well.
Have you seen this? What did you think?
EPIC post!! Great job!!
I loved this season 🙂
I really enjoy the books – I’ve read the first four and about a quarter of the fifth – and while not a particularly great writer, Martin is a good storyteller. I think.
I also have enjoyed the HBO series; I’ve seen all four seasons. I think the project of adapting must be really difficult because you are working with literature which not only so richly allows its characters to evolve but also you are working with an incomplete project. My fear would be, through my adaptation, enshrining a particular character in such a way that I could not recover him or her if, down the road, Martin decided to take him or her in a different direction.
I wonder if the following will be something of a misstep: In Book III, Jamie tells something to Tyrion, while rescuing him, which makes Tyrion hate him. Season IV eliminated that dynamic, and while I have not finished Book V, Tyrion and Jamie seem to be on a collision course. The opportunity to place those characters on that trajectory would have been by following the book in that one regard; in allowing Tyrion to leave Jamie hating him.
Great season! Bravo for taking on this post, it must have been a lot to sit down and write everything because good God so much happened in this season. I am reading the books right now, love them, I am so hooked and Z woman is right they are not scholarly at all. You will fall so much more in love with the characters. You have been warned! You will be addicted if you read them. And I swear George RR Martin does not judge. 🙂
Thanks! I am actually switching over to a shorter format soon, these enormous ones are taking so much time! I am definitely planning to read the books. I need a fix because I have a GoT hangover now that I’ve finally caught up in the series 😦