TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 4 (Oathkeeper)

Oathkeeper by Bryan Cogman

Warning: Spoilers!

Oathkeeper keeps up the momentum that Breaker of Chains had for Daenerys’ story, with her takeover of slaver-run Meereen nicely summarised in barely 10 minutes of screen-time. It also gives Grey Worm and Missandei a bit more screen time than normal, trying to flesh out two characters who help make up the core of Daenerys’ supporters. Dany’s ruthlessness is again shown as (despite Barristan’s advice) she ‘answers injustice with justice’ and crucifies 163 slave masters in vengeance for the children they had killed as a warning to her.

Meanwhile at the wall, Janos Slynt advises Alliser Thorne to try and get rid of Jon Snow by sending him against the mutineers, as the Night’s Watch are starting to recognise Jon’s qualities for leadership over the unpopular Thorne’s. Jon is joined on this quest by his friends Grenn and Edd, but also treacherous new recruit Locke (who was ordered by Ramsay Snow to assassinate Bran, Rickon and Jon). Bran’s storyline diverges from the books as he is captured by the mutineers, setting his story to once again converge with Jon’s (a wise move in my opinion, as Bran’s story is by far the dullest strand of the books).

Meanwhile we get the reveal of who killed Joffrey, as Littlefinger explains to Sansa his reasoning (if he has no motive, no one will suspect him) and the next scene smoothly cuts to his allies in the murder. This episode also marked the (hopefully temporary) departure of Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell, who has been one of the best characters in seasons 3 and 4. Her parting advice to Margaery? To get to know Tommen before Cersei can get her claws into him. This led to Margaery sneaking into Tommen’s room for a late-night visit, where you could tell the young heir was captivated by her (friend of mine: ‘he’s definitely nursing a semi right now!’) in a scene that sets up their future interactions nicely.

The bulk of this episode focused on events in King’s Landing and in particular those of Jaime Lannister, who finally went to visit his brother Tyrion (at Bronn’s urging) and quickly gauged his innocence. Cersei wanted to hear nothing of it and tried convincing Jaime that he should instead be trying to recapture Sansa. The scene between the two siblings/lovers was undeniably cold and tense after the rape scene last episode, which throws a new dynamic on their relationship. Jaime then bid farewell to Brienne, giving her new armour, his Valyrian steel sword named ‘Oathkeeper’ and Pod (Jaz: i can write so much fan-fiction about those two!) and sent her out to find Sansa (to save her, directly going against what Cersei ordered). You could tell Jaime was visibly pained by her departure too, in one of the more emotional moments of the episode.

The major talking point (for book-readers and tv-watchers alike) will be the ending to this episode, as we got a glimpse of the mysterious white-walkers and a hint at how they are created as they abduct Craster’s last son. It’s something not explicitly shown in the books (although it might be part of the forthcoming book 6) and an indication that the show is starting to move beyond the constraints of the novels.

Overall another strong episode, again more intriguing than action-packed, but that isn’t always a bad thing.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Next Time: Tommen ascends to the throne and Jon and Bran’s stories intersect once more…


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