Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 4 “Oathkeeper”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Meereen: Apparently the slaves of Meereen don’t immediately rebel and overwhelm their masters, because the episode opens in the night, so several hours must have passed since Daenerys catapulted the broken slave collars of Astapor and Yunkai into Meereen. The opening scene is Grey Worm and Daenerys’s translator Missandei inside a tent. She is teaching him to read and speak the Westeros language. During this, their hands almost touch, but she draws away shyly. Clearly this is setting up either romance or rejection between these two.

Daenerys interrupts and says “It’s time”. Grey Worm exits to lead an infiltration of Meereen via a sewer, with several troops dressed as slaves, complete with collars, lifting the sewer gates and spreading throughout the city. They come across a meeting of slaves, where one of the Meereen slaves is urging the others to rise up in revolt, but most of the other slaves are unconvinced, saying they can’t fight, or that they’ve already seen too many failed uprisings, and they’d rather live a slave than die. Grey Worm says he has come to help them revolt. The naysayers complain they have no weapons or fighting skill. Grey Worm’s followers dump sacks of swords and knives and other weapons on the ground.

This does the trick. Next thing we see hordes of armed slaves attacking masters in the streets of the city. The scene then cuts to the next day, when the slaves are freed and chanting “Mhysa” (“mother”) as Daenerys walks through them to a position on the walls where she can speak. She asks how many children the masters nailed to mile posts along the way to Meereen. The answer is 163. Knowing what she is thinking, Ser Barristan advises Daenerys that sometimes injustice is best answered with mercy. Daenerys says that she will answer injustice with justice, and orders 163 of the former masters nailed to posts to die in agony.

Well. She’s conquered Astapor, Yunkai, and now Meereen without encountering any real obstacle, and now has a vast army of loyal followers. What’s the next step? Following the Rule of Three, it seems she should now be ready to launch her assault on Westeros. We haven’t seen the dragons for a while – I’m guessing this is so that next time we see them they will have grown impressively large. Can anything stop her?

Heading to The Eyrie: Sansa is in a cabin on Petyr Baelish’s ship. At first I think she’s looking a bit seasick. But this is nothing compared to the revelations from Petyr. First though she asks where he is taking her. He says to The Eyrie, where he is betrothed to Lysa, Sansa’s aunt. Well this is a bit of good news (if true), since that’s where Arya is headed too. So perhaps a reunion of the sisters is on the horizon. But Petyr’s conversation takes a disturbing turn, as he confesses to having other motives. He reaches out to take Sansa’s arm, and it seems like my prediction that he may want to take Sansa as a substitute for the dead Catlin who he loved might be on the money.

But then they discuss Joffrey’s poisoning, and Sansa says she doesn’t think Tyrion did it. Petyr confirms this as though he knows who did do it. Sansa, for once, manages to pick up the hints and stares wide-eyed at him. She says that so many other people hated Joffrey and had motive to kill him, but she didn’t think Petyr did. He replies that you should always do the unexpected, to stay one step ahead of everyone. The implication is that he killed Joffrey, but his reasons are either well disguised, or he has no reason at all and is simply insane.

All of a sudden the relatively innocuous seeming Baelish comes across as a sinister, scheming force behind the scenes. Has he been plotting some grand scheme of his own in front of our noses this whole time, without us noticing? He explains a few more things to the shocked Sansa. The necklace that the drunk fool gave her – did she notice one of the “gems” went missing? That was where the poison was hidden. But who used it?, she wonders. Petyr hints that he has powerful allies…

King’s Landing: The scene cuts straight to the gardens in King’s Landing, where Margaery is walking with her grandmother, Lady Tyrell. The conversation they have echoes that of Petyr and Sansa. Lady Tyrell says she is glad Joffrey is dead, as he would have been a nightmare husband for Margaery, but now that’s he’s nicely out of the way, Margaery should work on Tommen as her next line to becoming Queen. Margaery catches the hint and is shocked that her grandmother might have been involved in Joffrey’s murder, and Lady Tyrell just smiles sweetly. Well well well, this is quite the revelation. So what are Petyr and Lady Tyrell up to together??

In another scene we see Bronn training Jaime to fight with his left hand. Bronn doesn’t spare Jaime’s dignity as he rips off his false hand and smacks him with it. But this is the dirty fighting sort of training Jaime needs, and he recognises it. Bronn suggests that Jaime should visit Tyrion, which Jaime has apparently been reluctant to do. He does so, and Tyrion says he didn’t kill Joffrey, and Jaime believes him. The problem is their sister Cersei won’t be swayed by logic, and wants Tyrion dead, preferably before the trial. Jaime also tells him that Cersei is hunting Sansa, who she also believes is guilty. Tyrion asks Jaime to protect Sansa.

Jaime tries to talk to Cersei, but she is drinking a lot of wine and dismisses him from her presence. Jaime is stuck between a rock and a hard place here. But we see which way he turns later when he charges Brienne with the task of going out to find Sansa and protect her. He gives her a Valyrian steel sword – now it’s not clear to me which sword this is. As far as I know there are only two such swords in King’s Landing, both forged from Ned Stark’s old sword: the one Tywin gave to Jaime, and the one he gave to Joffrey. Now I must presume that the sword visible at Jaime’s side in this very scene is the one Tywin gave him, so the only possible conclusion is that Jaime is giving Brienne Joffrey’s sword. This seems like a dangerous thing to do, since no doubt Tywin will have plans for that sword now that Joffrey is dead. Jaime says all good swords need a name. Brienne christens it Oathkeeper.

Jaime also gives Brienne a suit of armour. And a squire: Podrick. Since Podrick is no longer safe in King’s Landing now that his master Tyrion is in the dungeons, Jaime urges Brienne to take him away. She resists at first, but accedes, and then rides off. Well, this is a fool’s errand. I don’t know how they’ll ever manage to track down Sansa. I suppose they could think of going to visit her relatives, and Lysa is one of those. I guess we’ll see.

Cersei has ordered multiple guards on Tommen’s bedroom, fearful that he may be targeted next after Joffrey. But Margaery somehow sneaks into his room at night and begins the plan pf action recommended by Lady Tyrell. Lady Tyrell warned Margaery that Cersei would try to turn Tommen against her, so Margaery needs to act quickly to get into Tommen’s good books first. She has a whispered conversation with Tommen as he lies in bed, looking at her with wide adolescent eyes. She says her visits will be “their little secret” and he shouldn’t tell anyone. She says now that Joffrey is dead, the two of them will likely be married so they should get to know one another, and would he like that? He nods. She kisses him on the forehead and sneaks off, promising to return for more nocturnal visits.

Welcome to the real world, Tommen. Your life just went from simple to convoluted. The question I have here though is how did Margaery sneak past the guards? Does she have a secret way into Tommen’s room, or did she bribe/distract/sweet-talk her way past the guards? Neither of these seem particularly likely. I guess we’ll see later. Probably when Cersei finds out and goes ballistic.

Castle Black: Jon is training recruits to fight the Wildlings, showing how they fight with two weapons and advising that they need to be disarmed. One of the new recruits is named Locke, who I’m sure we’ve seen before somewhere. (Yes, searching back through my own notes, Locke was the guy who captured Jaime and Brienne and took them to Harrenhal. What the hell is he doing here in Castle Black?? Either I’ve forgotten something along the way, or this is a mystery to be explained later. While watching, I also had the vague feeling that he might have been at Edmure’s wedding, and responsible for killing Rob Stark, but I can’t find his name there in my notes, so I’m not sure if my memory is right there or not.)

Sam complains to Jon that he doesn’t think Gilly is safe in the village either, and he wants to go get her. But Jon tells him he’d be a deserter if he left Castle Black now, which seems to dampen Sam’s plans for now. Ser Alliser, the new commander after the death of Commander Mormont at the hands of the mutineers, doesn’t like Jon anywhere near as much as Mormont did. Another guy suggests Alliser send Jon north to attack the mutineers at Craster’s Keep like he wants to do, to get him out of the way. Jon appeals for volunteers to join him, and a handful do, including Locke. But Locke is a new recruit and hasn’t taken his vow yet, so asks for permission to do so, and Alliser consents. I don’t know what’s going on here. Maybe Locke is planning to kill Jon, and Alliser is in on it.

Craster’s Keep: Meanwhile, the mutineers are living it up at Craster’s place. The leader, Karl Tanner, is drinking from Commander Mormont’s skull. A woman walks in, holding a newborn baby, the last of Craster’s children. Karl wants to just kill him, but the local women all say he needs to be sacrificed “to the gods”. This involves abandoning the kid out in the snow, so probably has something to do with White Walkers. Karl agrees, in the hopes of keeping his band safe, and someone takes the kid and dumps him far from the keep.

The baby cries, and not far away we see Bran, Hodor, Jojen, and Meera at a campsite in the snow, hearing the noise. Bran investigates by going into his wolf Summer’s mind and Summer trots off to have a look. But Summer falls into a trap near Craster’s Keep. The others race to help, but get captured by Karl’s men. He interrogates them, noting Bran’s high-born leather clothes. After slapping Meera and threatening to kill them Bran admits he’s Brandon Stark of Winterfell. One of Karl’s men points out that he’s Jon Snow’s brother. Karl says, “And I thought today wasn’t going to be very interesting….”

In the final scene, the baby is taken by a White Walker, who carries it on a skeletal horse to a sort of temple thing made out of pillars of ice. The White Walker pulls out a dagger and presses it into the skin of the baby’s face… and the baby’s eyes crystallise and go icy blue. Looks like they just made another White Walker.

OKay, so, Bran is now captive at Craster’s Keep. Jon is headed right there, so we could potentially see a reunion of members of the Stark family – finally. Although we also know Mance Rayder may show up at the Keep as well, since this is what Jon is afraid of – that Mance will learn the true strength of Castle Black from the mutineers. And then there are White Walkers in the mix. So who will show up at Craster’s first? Who knows? Maybe it’ll be Petyr Baelish!

One Response to “Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 4 “Oathkeeper””

  1. Glen Barnett says:

    Good writeup, thanks. A couple of typos you may want to correct: San, slaping, pints, Rance Mayder
    -> Sam, slapping, points, Mance Rayder

Leave a Reply