by Andy Lyons
A slave insurrection in Meereen, more details on Joffrey’s murder, and White Walker’s taking a baby in the night. Game of Thrones brings it in episode four, “Oathkeeper.”
The episode opens with Daenerys’ handmaiden Missandei teaching Grey Worm, leader of the Unsullied, the common tongue. This was probably one of the most touching scenes, and sure to play out later in the series – especially if they ever make it to Westeros. They are interrupted by Dany, who comes to tell Grey Worm “it is time.” Grey Worm leads a small group into the sewers of Meereen where they talk to a gathering of slaves about taking their freedom and give them plenty of weapons.
Soon after, one of the slavers sees “kill the masters” written on a wall in red and then the flag/sigil of House Targaryen flying above the highest pyramid in the city over the symbol of the Meereen slavers. He is promptly bombarded by armed slaves from three alleyways. Dany ignores Ser Barristan’s plead to meet injustice with mercy and nails up the masters in similar fashion to the children that marked the mile markers on the way to the city.
We’ve seen a definite pattern of Dany and her army “liberating” city after city with ease. I was a bit disappointed we haven’t seen any dragons since the season premiere. That’s the symbol of Dany’s power, and her unique ability to sway people to fight for her.
As the storyline bounces all across Westeros, we finally get to the truth about who killed Joffrey. Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish admits to Sansa that Joffrey wasn’t a reliable ally, and alludes to new friends who are much more predictable. As he concludes his monologue the scene transitions to Margaery and Olenna Tyrell walking in the gardens of King’s Landing. Olenna tells her granddaughter about how she wasn’t supposed to marry the girl’s grandfather, but after she saw who she was to be wed to she went to her future husband in the night and made sure he’d long for her. Olenna tells her of a tryst she had with the man and how she had him wanting her. It was kind of creepy hearing all of that from a grandmother, but she says things like this to emphasize a point – in this case it’s to ensure her granddaughter has Tommen’s ear before Cersei can interfere.
Olenna also admits she played a role in Joffrey’s death; when Margaery questions it the elder Tyrell says “You don’t think I’d let you marry that beast did you?” She also warns her granddaughter about not allowing the Queen Regent Cersei to turn Tommen, who is replacing Joffrey as king, against her.
Later in the episode, Margaery takes Olenna’s lesson literally and sneaks into Tommen’s room in the middle of the night and bids him to keep her visit and any subsequent visits their “little secret” and not tell his mother.
The amount of intrigue amongst these characters is intoxicating. It’s always interesting to see what characters like Littlefinger and Olenna will do next. Clearly it’s next to anything in order to be in a better position, but to what end?
In one of the most tension filled scenes, Jaime Lannister goes to visit Cersei and the two use a really awkward sense of formality. It could be that the vicious Queen Regent is still festering some hatred for her brother after the rape scene in last week’s episode. She bids Jaime to go find the “murderous bitch” Sansa Stark and return with her head.
In a later scene, Jaime gives Brienne his Valyrian Steel sword and a suite of armor and bids her to find and defend Sansa. He also offers Tyrion’s squire Podrick to her. He then tells her that the best swords have names, and she names the sword “Oathkeeper.” After a few tense moments he bids her goodbye with an odd sense of finality, like he knows he’ll never see her again. As Brienne and Podrick ride away he watches them until Brienne turns back.
With Cersei previously tossing the question to Brienne if she loved Jaime and the tension in this sequence, it’s clear that Jaime has feelings for Brienne of some sort. It almost seemed like he was trying to force her to leave the city to protect her from his sister. He appealed to her sense of duty to Catelyn Stark in finding and protecting Sansa. I’m curious if she’ll even find Sansa, who’s still aboard a ship headed to the Eyrie or if she’ll come across the Hound and Arya who are headed there as well.
As the story takes us to Castle Black and north of the Wall, it gets crazy. We see Locke, one of Roose Bolton’s men, among the new recruits at the castle. He’s the same guy who tossed Brienne into the bear pit and cut off Jaime’s hand. Bolton offered him 1,000 acres in the Holdfast to find the two younger Stark boys. Jon Snow is gearing up to attack the mutineers at Craster’s Keep which is now led by Karl, the guy who stabbed Lord Commander Jeor Mormont in the neck.
At the keep, the mutineers are having a great time drinking and raping Craster’s girls. One of the girls enters with a baby boy and all the girls chant “gift to the gods.” After the women explain that Craster didn’t kill the babies, but rather he offered them to the gods, one of the men brings the baby out to the woods. On his way back he is teasing Snow’s wolf Ghost by pouring water on the ground just outside the cage. The water freezes and a murder of crows can be heard squawking, similar to when the White Walker approached Sam and Gilly last season, and the man runs for the camp.
Bran and company can hear the baby and Bran wargs into his wolf, Summer, to go find out what’s going on. As Summer approaches Ghost he falls into a trap. The next morning the group is captured. As the mutineers beat and threaten to kill them, Bran admits who he is and Karl talks about having high born hostages.
In one of the most outraging scenes in all of GoT, the mutineers chain Hodor to a post and are teasing him with weapons. One ends up prodding him in the leg with a spear, sending the gentle giant to the ground. He looks at the blood on his hands and sorrowfully calls out “Hodor.”
The closing scene of the episode is one to make viewers cringe. In the most concurrent screen time for White Walkers, one takes the recent offering to some sort of icy ritual site and lays it on a pedestal in the middle. Another White Walker, Darth Maul’s albino cousin, taps a fingernail to the baby’s face, its eyes turn an icy blue and the credits roll. It seems like we’ve found out how the White Walkers are replenishing their ranks.