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The Leftovers Series Premiere Recap – Am I Awake?

The Leftovers Poster Justin Theroux

So I realize that my opinion is not a popular one, but I really enjoyed HBO’s new series The Leftovers. While somewhat confusing, I thought it was a great pilot. There were several twists and turns, unanswered questions, and a small reveal that easily set the landscape for an interesting new show.

At the start of the hour, a distracted mother is at the laundromat with her crying baby. While on the phone, she straps her screaming child into the car-seat. The camera slowly zooms in on the baby, there’s a quick moment of peace like he sees something in the sky. He screams again and then silence. The mother turns around and her baby is gone, just gone. She gets out, looks around the car, searches the parking lot, then panicked, she starts screaming. A young boy nearby is yelling for his father while an abandoned shopping cart aimlessly rolls into a parked car. A speeding car, now driverless, slams into another car in the intersection down the street. Where did everybody go?

The show then jumps three years to Mapleton, New York where we learn that 2% of the world’s population, 140 million people, vanished on October 14th. The rest of the world is in this frightening purgatory, unsure of what happened or what it all means. On a similar note, I found myself asking throughout the episode, “what if it happens again?” Because of that paranoia, the pilot reminded me of ABC’s short lived (and greatly missed) series FlashForward, only if it was darker and sexier. FlashForward follows a global blackout in which the entire world loses consciousness for 137 seconds. During those seconds, people see what appears to be a vision of their own life approximately six months in the future. The similarities lie in the pandemonium the blackouts cause and the global uncertainty and confusion.  However unlike FlashForward, The Leftovers isn’t trying to explain why those people vanished. It’s more like a character study on grief.

Backing up to this purgatory situation… I found the religious undertones extremely interesting throughout the episode. Several times, characters asked why God did this or why He chose the people He chose. For example, Gary Busey? Really? The Book of Matthew describes a similar event in which “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Recent Christian theology believes that this is the Rapture. It’s the first real occasion that the believers on Earth will rise to meet Jesus in the sky. It’s also the beginning of the Second Coming, which is a seven-year period where the “leftovers” are stuck in a type of purgatory. During this time there are wars, plagues, then the emergence of the anti-Christ before 1,000 years of peace under Christ’s renewed rule. If this is the case, things are just getting interesting in the fictional world of The Leftovers.

The viewers are immersed into this world through the eyes of one family. Let’s meet the Garveys.

The Leftovers  Justin Theroux Kevin Garvey

Papa Kevin Garvey, played by Justin Theroux (Jennifer Aniston, you are one lucky woman), is all kinds of messed up. As the police chief, he’s trying to find order in the chaos while dealing with the town’s most complicated citizens. He’s very apprehensive and hostile towards the town cult, Guilty Remnants (or GR). He’s trying his best with his teenage daughter but they both seem so plagued by grief and anger they can barely function. To make matters worse, it seems like Garvey has several hidden issues of his own.

In the beginning of the episode, Garvey is out for a run when he crosses paths with a dog. As he beckons the dog to come closer, the dog is shot by a neighbor who then speeds away. Garvey puts the dead dog in his trunk and gets ready for the day ahead. On his way to work, he stops by the address on the dog’s collar. While walking up the sidewalk he sees a buck stoically standing in the garden. The owner doesn’t want the dog, she says it disappeared with her husband three years ago. Garvey throws the collar in the trunk with the dog’s corpse and gets a call informing him he’s late for the meeting with the mayor to discuss Heroes Day. Later, Garvey is obviously dreaming (I say obviously because he’s driving in the dream and his daughter was last seen with his car) when he hits the buck. When he awakes, it is to a phone call saying that he’s late for the Heroes Day parade. As he’s leaving for the parade he finds that his kitchen is destroyed. Garvey doesn’t mention it to anyone at the parade. (Side note: The kitchen is traditionally perceived as the mother’s area within the home.) At the end of the episode, he once again almost runs over the buck but is able to stop. He gets out and they share a moment. “Were you in my house last night?” he asks the buck. A pack of dogs come running and begin tearing the buck to pieces. The shooter from earlier in the episode arrives, “Am I awake?” Garvey asks him. “You are now, aren’t you?” and they both empty their guns into the pack of wild dogs.

I’ve gone back and forth on this quite a bit. I think the dog was real. I think anything with the buck was a dream. Whenever he saw the buck, there was some type of lapse in time or miscommunication about when he needed to be somewhere. A few of my friends took the episode as all real but I feel like whenever a character has to ask “Am I awake?” he’s probably not. There’s really nothing I love more than an unreliable narrator (see Hannibal or Homeland). It adds an extra layer to the show’s complexity. Furthermore, towards the end of the episode when asked “where were you when it happened?” Garvey has a quick flashback to hot-and-heavy sex with someone who may or may not be his wife. If it isn’t his wife, who at this point we assume is one of the millions that have vanished, is his relentless guilt leading him on a dangerous downward spiral? Is the buck a symbol of his failed marriage?

The Leftovers Chris Zylka Tom Garvey

I’ll be honest, The Leftovers had me at “From the creator of Friday Night Lights” but I never thought I’d see Dillon-alum Buddy Garrity (Brad Leland) as a congressman in the premiere episode. Congressman Witten pays Tom Garvey (Kevin Garney’s son, we learn this after he repeatedly ignores his father’s phone calls) to drive him to an undisclosed location to meet a mysterious holy-man named Wayne. When Tom (Chris Zylka) drops the politician off at a ranch (where FNL creator himself, Peter Berg, is one of the guards) it’s clear that they’re not in Mapleton, New York. The pool at the ranch is surrounded by young, bikini-clad Asian girls. We meet one of them, Christine, who seems to have a small crush on Tom. It’s clear that Wayne’s not a huge fan of their friendship and requests that Tom stay the night so he and Wayne can have a special meeting. Later, Wayne enters Tom’s room carrying a knife. He warns Tom to keep his hands off Christine and then shares his own dream in which he believes something bad is coming. “The grace period is over, Tom,” says Wayne. “Time to go to work.”

The Leftovers Jill Garvey Margaret Qualley

The teenage daughter Jill (Margaret Qualley) is angry. During field hockey practice, she responds to basic rough play with a hard elbow throw, inevitably breaking the girl’s nose. Her coach let’s her off with a warning but not before asking if things are okay at home after what happened to her mother. Later, Jill and her friend Aimee convince Garvey to give them his car so they can go to a party. This is where things get interesting. At the party, they play a sadistic game of Spin the Bottle that includes options like Hug, Burn, Choke, and F—. Teenagers in a normal circumstance have little regard for their own mortality, post-October 14th they have even less. Why should they be concerned about consequences if God has supposedly already made His decisions? Jill gets stuck with Choke. She lays in bed with her partner, choking him as he masturbates while subtle tears fall down her face and Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” plays over the scene.

Later, Jill is trying to leave the party when she discovers the dead dog in the trunk (leading me to believe that this one part is real). With the help of some guys from earlier in the episode, she buries the dog. We learn that most pets have lost it, they don’t know how to deal with this type of disruption and have gone wild. One of the guys points out that the “same thing is going to happen to us. It’s just taking longer.”

Amy Brenneman The Leftovers Laurie

Throughout the episode we are allowed to assume that the mother vanished on October 14th. It’s revealed towards the end of the episode that the matriarch of the Garvey family is actually Laurie (Amy Brenneman), an active member of GR. This means that she chose to leave her family and let’s face it, that’s so much worse. The GR aim to serve as living reminders of God’s power and that His judgement is upon us. They have taken a vow of silence, smoke a lot of cigarettes, and wear all white. They watch silently from a distance and protest any attempts to move past the events of October 14th. They are openly resented by the rest of the population.

We see Laurie in action as she stalks Meg (Liv Tyler) until Meg eventually retreats to the GR house like it’s a safe haven. I’ve gathered that Meg is a major character in the books, which I intend to read after Bittersweet, but she wasn’t very important for the pilot.

What did you think of The Leftovers? Was it too confusing? Were there not enough answers? Say we don’t find out why those people vanished, would you still watch? In other words, are the chaotic lives of these characters enough to bring you back every week? Let us know because we’ll be watching (but not in a creepy way like the GR).


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True Blood Season 7 Premiere React – The Beginning of the End

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It’s hard to imagine that True Blood has been a part of our lives for only the past seven years.  It feels like a decade ago that we watched Sookie Stackhouse, a part-human part-fairy waitress from Bon Temps, Louisiana, meet her very first vampire.  Lately, we can hardly even remember the days when Bill was thought of with giddy girl-crushing love and admiration.  It’s difficult to even say his name anymore. (“Do you think Sookie will end up with Bilith?  I mean, Bill…”)

For Jenn O’Mara and Ashley Foster, the final season of True Blood is bittersweet.  They’ve been with the show for it all – through the good, the bad, and the ugly of seven seasons.  They witnessed every True Death, every True Blood drink order, every Sookie Stackhouse sex scene, all of it.  Saying good bye to the weirdos citizens of Bon Temps who manage to survive Season 7 isn’t going to be easy.  So in order to get the most of the season, they’re hashing out every possible theory, question, and mystery that the season has to offer.   Below is their Q&A discussion of their burning questions left after Sunday’s season premiere of True Blood.

 


 

1. Do we miss Tara already?

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Ashley: Sorry, no. Pam was the only thing that made her interesting. Good-bye.

Jenn: Nope!  I’ve always preferred Book Tara over TV Tara.  TV Tara’s place on True Blood always felt forced and out of place.  Her death, though mildly rushed and severely disappointing, started off the final season with the feeling that no one is safe, ever, even in the first 30 seconds of an episode!  It really is the beginning of the end…


2. What/who drew away the crazed vamps from Merlotte’s?

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Ashley:  Sarah Newlin. Crazy I know…but let’s think about this for a second.  She is a freaking can of crazy.  She’s ALWAYS hated vampires and certainly despises the ground Jason Stackhouse walks on.  Add that up and what’s stopping her from tearing him and his town apart?  Think of it this way, she has the motive and if she can control the Hep V vamps, she certainly has the ammo. Who better to destroy a whole species along with her enemies than the one person we would never suspect?  Sarah Newlin is a weed and she keeps coming back stronger in some weird way in every season. I mean, hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.

Jenn:  I think Ashley is onto something seriously intriguing with Sarah Newlin.  If it is her, I bet Jason Stackhouse will really regret sparing her life.  But what if it’s something even crazier, like a king or queen from another state poised to rock Louisiana for a gigantic takeover?  Or it could be the Fae.  The only thing vampires love more than our half-fairy heroine are full-blown fairies.  The vamps have massacred their fair share of fairies and we’ve yet to see the show take on the book version of the Fae.  This theory has some  potential.  But I still think it’s probably the Fellowship and Sarah.


3. Where the hell is Eric Northman?

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A: I’d like to think he is waiting on me at home with a bubble bath and some champagne….but that’s just me. But in all seriousness, my imagination isn’t taking me anywhere on this one. I just feel like he’s actually dead, dead. It’s almost as if he’s had his moment in the sun (literally). But, then again, why would they be leading Pam on a rat race?

J:  He’s alive, somewhere.  (I only say this confidently because of season previews.  Without the Internet, I’d still be crying over his death…)  My King..I mean…Eric…probably buried himself in the snow when the fire started and is alive, laying majestically naked, somewhere near a body of water.  Pam will find him soon, remind him he’s acting crazy and needs to be home, and bring him back to Bon Temps just in time to fight Bill for our girl, Sookie.

Side note – Just at the point I started realizing the episode felt empty without Eric, we cut to Pam.  It’s as if the writers can feel it, too.  I bet when they aren’t writing (and thinking) about Alexander and his naked bod every 10 minutes, they start to become sweaty and distracted.  On a serious note – I hope there aren’t many more episodes without Eric Northman.  He’s by far my favorite character (show and book) and this is the last season.  I want all the Eric I can get.


4. Is Jessica going to kill all these fairies?

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A: I think Jessica is going to take a note from her maker and protect Adelaide like Bill did with Sookie. Jessica is definitely the one character who has had a ton of growing pains since her characters introduction to the series and it seems like she’s one of the few who has learned from her mistakes. So definitely not, Jessica is a good girl all the way.

J:  As much as I think Jessica shouldn’t in order to show that her character has indeed learned to become a civil and humane vampire (much quicker than any of the older vamps, I might add. Bill was a couple hundo years old for Pete’s sake),  I kind  of want her to for one reason – bad ass factor.  One of the things I love most about True Blood is it’s intense gore, violence, and high number of ‘WTF EWMYGOSH’ moments.  Jessica killing the only fairy that survived her the first time has potential to be freakin’ awesome.


5. Will Sookie really end up with Alcide?

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A: I hope not. I mean, that’s like asking if Bella is going to end up with Jacob. #sorrynotsorry (Spoiler Alert!) I know Sookie ends up with Sam in the books, but honestly I’m Team Bill. It seems like the show is getting back to the basics in the first episode this season. I mean, hello, did you see those season one-esque glances Bill and Sookie were exchanging back and forth? Unfortunately, I don’t think Alcide will ever fully accept Sookie for her past and her faults. Bill has never had that issue….

J:  Only when Lafayette ends up with Holly aka NEVER.  Alcide is on his way out the door and I hope last night was the only episode where they are together.  (Spoiler!) I also hope she doesn’t end up with Sam.   I get how and why the book ended in that way.  It worked for the books and for the story within the books.  But this isn’t that story.  Sookie and everything else about Bon Temps is different so please, please give us the fan-ending we’ve wanted since Season 1 Episode 1 before any of us even read the books.

Sookie + Bill = Forever ❤
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Top 7 OMG Did That Just Happen?! Moments from GOT 4×8

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Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Mountain and the Viper,” could have easily been the penultimate episode of the season.  But alas, we were treated to a jaw-dropping eighth episode that had more ‘OHMYGOD’ moments than I could count.  In honor of the Seven Kingdoms and the Seven New Gods, here are my top seven favorite ‘DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!’ moments from Sunday’s action-packed episode.

7. Reek becomes Theon Greyjoy (again) and helps Ramsay Snow become Ramsay Bolton.

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Everyone’s least favorite character, Ramsay Snow, finally got what he wanted and became Ramsay Bolton, thanks to his pet dog human, Reek.  Reek pretended to be his former self, Theon Greyjoy, and coaxed the Iron Islanders holding Moat Cailin into opening up their doors to earn “freedom” from the Northerners.  Instead, much to our dismay, they were flayed and killed by the Boltons and the creepy duo of Ramsay and Reek just became much more powerful (and much more disturbing).  Pleased with his bastard, Roose Bolton granted Ramsay his biggest wish and gave him the family last name and all that comes with it.

6. Ygritte shows mercy for Gilly and Baby Sam.

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I don’t know about you, but Ygritte is the worst scorned woman I’ve ever seen.  She’s taken to killing innocent men, women, and children of the North to get back at her former lover, Jon Snow.   So when she came face to face with Gilly, and showed her mercy, I literally cried and clapped at the same time.  I knew that the Ygritte that Jon (and the audience) fell in love with in Season 3 was still in there somewhere.  Now I wonder, will Ygritte show Jon the same mercy if she comes face to face with him in the Battle of Castle Black?  Tune in next week to find out.

5. Arya finds out everyone in her family is dead and laughs it off, hysterically.

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When Arya and The Hound learned that Lysa Arryn had died just three days before their arrival, and The Hound was stripped of yet another bounty, what else was Arya to do but laugh?  It almost felt like she was laughing at the viewers for thinking a Stark reunion was going to happen.  Haven’t we learned by now that the Starks will never run into each other no matter how close they get?

4. Sansa becomes Dark Sansa & lies and dyes for Petyr Baelish.

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When Petyr was questioned about the mysterious “suicide” of Lysa Arryn, Sansa was called in to witness.  As she stood giving her testimony, Petyr watched on silently and in awe.  Here stood this young, naïve girl, whom he once told was a terrible liar, spinning a brilliant and intricate web of truth and lies.  Sansa painted a picture of Petyr as a saint who was motivated by his burning desire to rescue Sansa.  Later, in an attempt to cover her famous Tully-red hair, Sansa steps out as Dark Sansa, with dyed dark locks to help her look more like her “uncle” Petyr.  The weird thing?  She almost appears to be flirting with Baelish.  It is clear that Sansa doesn’t know the extent of Petyr’s hand in the destruction of her family, but she knows he is dangerous.  Has she fallen under his twisted spell or is Sansa playing a long con?

3. Tywin sentences Tyrion to death.

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The moment we’ve all been waiting for – the verdict from the Trial by Combat.  As you’ll find out in our top moment, Tyrion Lannister lost the trial in the most head-splitting way.  In the final moments of the episode, Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King and father of Tyrion, stands and sentences his son to death.  Dun dun dunnnn.

2. Dany permanently dismisses Jorah Mormont.

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Tywin was a part of more than one verdict this week.  In a twist from the book storyline, Tywin Lannister sent Daenerys’ Queen’s Guard, Barristan Selmy, a letter, which was a copy of the Royal Pardon that was granted to Jorah Mormont in Season 1. (Remember, Jorah was leaking confidential secrets to Robert and his Council and assisted with an assassination attempt on Dany’s life). Despite his deep admiration and love for Dany, and his change of loyalty (he ultimately prevented the assassination), the Mother of Dragons showed no mercy and exiled Jorah from her Council and from Meereen.  Poor Jorah. The old bear looked heartbroken as he rode on horse-back out of the city.  While I normally stand 100% behind the Breaker of Chains, I had trouble supporting this decision because of the way the TV show played it out.  It comes off like Dany is another puppet being manipulated at the hands of  Tywin Lannister.  Is this the beginning of her downfall?

1. Oberyn’s Headsplosion.

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Thank you to Game of Thrones for creating yet another scene that I couldn’t bear to watch – the epic trial by combat between the Mountain and the Red Viper of Dorne, Oberyn Martell.  (Who knew anything could be worse than the Red Wedding?)

Oberyn, who was fighting as Tyrion’s champion to gain revenge for his sister, bopped around like Inigo Montoya waving a spear.  The Rep Viper repeated over and over again, “Elia Martell of Dorne.  You raped her, you murdered her.  You killed her children,” as he fought and stabbed the Mountain.  Oberyn was quick with his spear and took down the Mountain with apparent ease.  But he was too cocky and too confident and wouldn’t kill Gregor Clegane until he got his confession.  Before Oberyn could realize what was happening, Clegane punched Oberyn’s teeth out of his face.  The Mountain then climbed on top of The Viper, held his head in between his gigantic hands, and squashed it like one of the beetles Tyrion’s cousin squashed, all while confessing to his heinous crimes.  The worst part of this entire scene was knowing Oberyn was warned to wear a helmet and his Paramour stood completely helpless as she watched the worst moment of Game of Thrones – Oberyn’s Headsplosion.

And this perfectly sums up how we all feel. 

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Game of Thrones 4×4 Recap – Oathkeeper

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House Targaryen

We open with our favorite translator, Missandei, tutoring Grey Worm in the Common Tongue (GOT version of English).  We learn that Grey Worm comes from the Summer Isles but doesn’t remember that life.  “Unsullied.  Always Unsullied.  Before Unsullied, nothing,” he says.  Missandei can relate – she was taken as a 5-year-old child.  It’s no wonder these two, along with the hundreds of thousands of freed slaves, love and worship Dany.  She’s their liberator and the first person that has been nice to them and treated them with an ounce of respect in decades.  Their loyalty is unyielding, unlike the armies of Westeros, who appear to be loyal to gold and that’s about it.

Dany enters and with two words (“It’s time”) her plan to sack Meereen is set in motion.  Grey Worm and a small group of Unsullied, disguised as slaves, infiltrate the castle from a secret gate near the water.  They climb through the tunnels of the city at night while the Masters are resting and head to the slave headquarters.  The slaves are already meeting, discussing Dany and her horde and what it could potentially mean for them, but they are afraid to rise against the Masters.  There have been many unsuccessful slave rebellions and they have no weapons to fight.  Even chains are better than death.

Cue Grey Worm and Co.

“Valar morghulis,” Grey Worm says.  He tells the slaves of his enslavement, his life as Unsullied, and finally, his freedom thanks to Dany.  “Now I fight for Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains.”  He then surprises the slaves with bags of weapons and continues, “No on can give you your freedom, brothers.  If you want it, you must take it.”  You go, Grey Worm.  I’d fight with you.

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We cut to a Master and two soldiers stumbling upon “Kill the Masters” scrawled in blood on a wall.  In the sky, they spot something black and red – a flag with a red dragon – hanging over their statue and then armed slaves surround and trap them.  We cut again to Dany walking in a shower of broken slave chains with hundreds of thousands of newly freed slaves lining the roads shouting “Meesa, Meesa!” and raising their arms toward her. (Sound familiar?)  Beneath Dany, the Unsullied surround the Masters of the city.  Dany asks Ser Jorah how many children were nailed to mile posts.  One hundred and sixty three.  Dany signals.  Barristan asks for a word and warns her that it is best to answer injustice with mercy.  “I will answer injustice with justice,” proclaims Dany and then stares Barristan down.  Stop questioning her, Barristan.  She’ll breathe fire on you eventually.

Dany has the masters crucified in the same fashion as the slave children and stands watch over the city, underneath the dragon flag hoisted on the top monument, and listens to the moans and screams of the Masters.

House Stark

Sansa – As we saw last week, Sansa was “rescued” (I use rescued lightly) by Littlefinger. He informs Sansa that they’re en route to her crazy Aunt Lysa Tully’s castle. You may remember crazy Aunt Lysa from Season 1. She’s most memorable for breastfeeding her child, NOT infant, but child and setting the stage for the lovable bromance between Tyrion and Bronn. I’d also like to point out this is the same place Arya is going (fingers crossed!).

Now, it’s time for some answers. Littlefinger admits he killed Joffrey, “A man with no motive is a man no one suspects,” eck. “If they don’t know who you are or what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next,” he says while looking seductively at Sansa. You can see Sansa taking a scared gulp before asking what he does want. Littlefinger responds, “Everything,” while creepily running his hands down her arms while I physically shudder.

Can we pause for a second? We all know that Littlefinger was a bit obsessed with Catelyn. And Littlefinger has always treated Sansa like the next best thing. And Littlefinger is a spiteful bitch. Remember last season when Sansa chose her potential nuptials to Loras over escaping King’s Landing with Littlefinger? Something tells me that Sansa is NOT safe right now. End pause.

But there is no way Littlefinger acted alone. He tells Sansa that he has a new, top-secret, powerful alliance. Ser Dontos was too easily swayed and not smart enough to pull this off. Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?! As we find out in the next scene it was the very powerful House Tyrell. More on that later.

Jon Snow – Seriously Castle Black, you NEED to prepare for the Wildings. And hey, one of your men has been with them for the past couple of “months” (I don’t know time is weird in Westeros). Why don’t you use his insider knowledge to prepare? Yea. No? Okay.
Jon Snow is training the men on how to fight Wildlings. Ser Alliser Thorne interrupts him because his rank doesn’t allow him that kind of superiority. Janos Slynt suggests sending Jon on the mission to Craster’s Keep to get rid of Jon Snow. That’s smart, let’s get rid of our biggest asset against the Wildlings before they attack (rolls eyes).
So Jon is off to Craster’s but only if he can gather enough volunteers to take down the Night’s Watch rebels that have taken over the Keep. He delivers a big speech and slowly, one by one, the volunteers stand up.

Wait a second, who’s that guy hanging around Castle Black? It’s Locke, the guy that chopped off Jaime’s hand. After episode two, we can also think of him as Ramsey Snow’s sadistic BFF. You may remember, Locke was asked by Roose Bolton to travel north and find Bran and Rickon. Speaking of…

Bran – Meanwhile, at Craster’s Keep it is a shit show (pardon my French, but really). We catch up with Karl Tanner (portrayed by Burn Gorman, I bring this up because the guy’s real name is SO MUCH cooler than his GOT name and that NEVER happens), as he’s drinking wine from a HUMAN SKULL and wallowing in his surroundings, which include rape and brutality. The wives and daughters of Craster have gone from being abused by one horrible man to several, awful, no good men.

Karl is rambling on and on about his glory days as a hired killer in King’s Landing. I honestly can’t pay attention to any of this because the surroundings are too disturbing.

And if this couldn’t get any worst, they have Jon Snow’s direwolf, Ghost, outside in a cage.

Bran, Hodor, and the Reeds make their way to Craster’s Keep, only to be quickly captured by the mutineers.

(side note – I ran a Tough Mudder two weeks ago. There is an obstacle called the Warrior Carry where you have to carry another participate. The guy next to me who was doing the carrying kept saying ‘Hodor! Hodor!’ – end note)

Karl torments his new prisoners and threatens to rape Meera. It’s then that Brad finally declares, “I’m Brandon Stark of Winterfell!” I’m not going to lie when he did this I was sitting on my couch going “YES! YES, YOU ARE BRAN!” It’s been a while since we’ve heard pride in declaring the name Stark. Shortly after Jojen starts seizing, no idea why. Stay tuned.

We have Jon Snow on his way to Bran. Will he get there in time? We have Arya and Sansa also potentially going to the same place. ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A STARK REUNION? For the love of god, please give us a Stark reunion. I can’t handle anymore Stark deaths. Don’t tease us like this!

White Walkers – Also at Craster’s keep, a baby boy is born and at the urging of the wives/daughters a mutineer leaves the baby outside in the snow for the “gods.” It’s not long before a White Walker comes along and picks the baby up. Is this what Jon witnessed in Season 1?

The White Walker carries the no longer crying baby to the White Walker circle of doom and lays it down as if an offering. The White Walker “king” makes his way to the child. The whole time I’m clinching my blanket hoping I’m not about to witness the king eat the poor sweet baby. He picks up the baby and with one touch of his finger he turns the child into a White Walker. So wait, is that where White Walker’s come from? They’re transitioned by the king when touched? So wait, are there a lot of infant White Walkers crawling around? Do they grow at superhuman speed? I have so many questions.

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Okay, so now I want to talk about the White Walkers for a second. I pretty much hate them, and not because they’re ominous villains, just because they exist. First of all, I’ve never been able to jump on the zombie train. When we got to the big reveal at the end of season two my reaction was, “ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? ZOMBIES? REALLY?!” Secondly, I just don’t understand where they fit in the story and I don’t really care to know. I’m too involved in everyone else and their storylines to care about White Walkers. And it pisses me off to think about those compelling stories will eventually have to stop so the focus can be on the White Walkers. And then I find it even more annoying that eventually each of these characters might have to unite to fight a common threat. I love the conflict as it is. Can we just not? Can winter just not come? Ugh.

House Lannister

Jaime Lannister trains with Bronn, who is clearly enjoying kicking the Kingslayer’s ass.  He even slaps Jaime across the face with Jamie’s own golden hand.  After last week, Jaime deserved that, just saying.

After Bronn informs Jaime that he disrespects Tyrion with the same crude tone he uses with him, the pair discuss Tyrion’s implication in Joffrey’s death. Neither think Tyrion is guilty and Bronn finally calls Jaime out on failing to visit his brother. Bronn reminds Jaime that Tyrion called for him to stand in his trial by combat at the Eyrie; Tyrion is Jaime’s brother and he loves and adores him.  How dare Jaime turn his back on him in his time of need.  Jaime appears to leave like he doesnt care what Bronn has to say but…

He immediately goes to visit Tyrion Lannister in his jail cell.  The two brothers compare their different prison circumstances and Tyrion calls Jaime out for being Cersei’s bitch.  They discuss the dreaded trial and the fact that most people think Tyrion really did kill Joffrey.  Tyrion knows Cersei doesn’t care about the outcome of the trial and will kill him no matter what.  Tyrion asks if Jaime will do it himself. Jaime rebuttles by asking if Tyrion has joined him as a Kingslayer.  “Are you really asking if I killed your son?” Thank you, Tyrion, for addressing the elephant in the room and acknowledging that Joffrey was Jaime’s son, too.

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Jaime offers to help Tyrion but the only thing Tyrion wants is freedom.  Jaime can’t give him that.  It’s treason to help a Kingslayer.  Jaime then clues Tyrion in to Cersei’s threat on Sansa’s life but Tyrion assures Jaime it couldn’t have been her.  “Sansa’s not a killer.  Not yet, anyway.”

We catch up with Olenna and Margaery Tyrell during what appears to be their last stroll through the gardens because Olenna reveals she is leaving King’s Landing.  The Tyrells have proposed a match between Tommen and Margaery but the Lannisters haven’t answered yet.  Olenna tells Margaery to be patient and then tells her a story about her first love. He was originally supposed to marry Olenna’s sister but he fell victim to Olenna’s seduction since she was apparently very, very good.  But Olenna claims Margaery is even better and needs to move in on Tommen fast before Cersei turns him against her.  Luckily, Cersei is distracted and wrongfully accusing Tyiron of murder.  Margaery wonders how she knows Tyrion is innocent.  “You don’t think I’d let you marry that beast, do you?” Olenna responds.  Margaery is confused but Olenna tells her not to worry while she FIDDLES WITH HER NECKLACE. (ASIDE: Did Olenna seriously just admit to murdering the King?! END OF ASIDE)

Jaime visits his sister-lover Cersei on official business as Lord Commander of the Night’s Guard. Cersei questions the number of guards stationed outfront of Tommen’s room and also is curious about why Catelyn would set him free.  Was he telling the truth when he made the sacred vow to the enemy? Of course not.  Jaime claims he was lying and saying whatever he needed to get back to Cersei. Not convinced, Cersei wonders what would happen if she told Jaime to leave the capital, go find Sansa and bring Cersei her head?  She also wonders why Jaime would visit the creature that murdered their son.  Cersei mocks Jaime for pitying Tyrion and then orders him to increase the number of guards for Tommen.  She dismisses the Lord Commander as she drowns herself in wine and misery.

Tommen stirs and looks frightened when he hears a noise in the dark. Don’t worry King Tommen, it’s just Margaery popping in for a (secret) midnight visit.  She emerges from the dark and Tommen wonders why he’s there since mother doesn’t allow evening visits. Margaery assures him it’s okay since she’s going to be his new bride.  Margaery tells Tommen how lucky they are to know each other prior to an arranged marriage and they should take advantage and get to know one another.  Suddenly, Ser Pounce jumps up and interrupts the intense moment.  Tommen starts to confide in her and tell her about Joffrey’s sick plans for his poor cat.  Margaery lets him know that she thinks Joffrey is awful and asks him if he knows what happens when they marry.  “I become yours, forever,” she says.  Poor Tommen. He looks terrified of what that means but also intrigued and excited as Margaery bids him farewell and promises to visit again.  “Remember, our little secret,” she whispers before disappearing into the dark.

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Jaime gives Brienne a new suit of armor and his new Valyerian steel sword, claiming that since the sword is made from Ned Stark’s sword and she will be using it to defend Sansa, she has to take it.  Brienne promises to find Sansa and take her somewhere safe, for Catelyn and for Jaime.   Jaime also gives her Pod as a squire.  Poor Pod.  He’s such a good, innocent lad; he can’t figure out how to properly address Brienne.  Jaime also gives Pod Tyrion’s axe from the Battle of Blackwater, per Tyrion’s request.  Hooray for Pod!  Another nice guy who seems to have survived the Game.  Now if only we could find Gendry….

So Jaime disobeyed Cersei and did everything he could to help Sansa, not kill her.  What does this mean about Jaime?  What does he feel for Brienne, if anything?  Is he a Lannister or an Oathkeeper, as Brienne so aptly named the sword?

House Baratheon

No news here. Where. Is. Gendry.

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 4×4:

Jenn’s Pick – “Kill the Masters.”  – Grey Worm to the slaves of Meereen 

Elizabeth’s Pick – “There’s nothing more tedious than a trial. Except perhaps these gardens. If I have to take one more leisurely stroll through these gardens I’ll fling myself from the cliffs.” – Lady Olenna (like viewers) is also annoyed that she’s only allowed to hang out in the Gardens

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark and Baratheon).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.


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‘Game of Thrones’ Mystery – Who Killed [SPOILER]?

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS from Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. DO NOT READ if you haven’t watched “The Lion and the Rose.”

Let’s go over what we know. King Joffrey Baratheon [finally] met his maker during his wedding to Margaery Tyrell aka the Purple Wedding on Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. After consuming some wine, courtesy of his Cupbearer, and indulging on the Pigeon Pie, Joffrey began to choke. His choking quickly escalated until he suffocated and died. But Joffrey didn’t just choke to death – it was too quick, too painful, too brutal. Joffrey was poisoned, and Cersei knows it. Now the big question is who killed the King? We break down our list of suspects below.

Olenna Tyrell

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Lady Olenna has the means, the motive, and the opportunity. She despises Tywin; she wants to protect her granddaughter from the twisted Joffrey; she provided all of the food and drink for the wedding, making the pie and/or wine all the easier to poison. During the Purple Wedding, she flitted around the High Table and fiddled with Sansa’s hair and necklace; the same peculiar necklace that was given to Sansa by Ser Dantos, the fool from GOT 4×1. One of our RPW writers noticed an interesting fact – when Sansa first wore the necklace, it sported seven purple jewels. After Lady Olenna played with her hair, there were only six crystals hanging from the necklace. Did Olenna swipe a crystal filled with poison? Is she in cahoots with Dantos?

Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?

Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?

It doesn’t help Olenna’s case that she also gave sage advice to Sansa during their chat. “War is war, but killing a man at a wedding, horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing?” In the GOT world, things aren’t usually spelled out so clearly but when murdering a king, what better way to avoid suspicion? Killed Joffrey: Highly Likely

Oberyn Martell

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“The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts,” said Oberyn to Tyrion during our Season 4 opener. We know that Oberyn isn’t in Kings Landing for a friendly hello. He’s here for revenge. Oberyn’s sister was Elia Martell, wife to Rhagaer Targaryen. During the war, the Lannisters sacked King’s Landing killing Elia and her children. Rumor has it, Elia was raped by the Mountain and then split in half. If this is the case, Oberyn holds the Lannister’s, specifically Tywin, directly responsible for the death of his family members.

Wouldn’t killing Joffrey be an eye for an eye? Killed Joffrey: Highly likely

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion-Lannister

Cersei’s #1 suspect is her baby brother, but did Tyrion really poison his nephew? We all know Tyrion hates Joffrey and that all Lannisters pay their debts. And Tyrion definitely owes Cersei quite a few debts at this point (Shae, his wedding to Sansa, just to name a couple). But is Tyrion stupid enough to poison his nephew at a public gathering, especially after he made numerous threats [including the most recent one in GOT 3×10] on Joffrey’s life in front of the Small Council? I doubt it. Many can argue that Tyrion was the last person to give Joffrey his wine cup, but Tyrion had no way to anticipate being made a fool of by his uncle in such fashion. If Tyrion is the culprit, he must’ve been carrying poison around for weeks waiting for an ideal moment. But to me, that’s still too far-fetched. Killed Joffrey: Not Likely

Tywin Lannister

Charles Dance is a man for austere seasons in Game of Thrones

Let’s face it, Joffrey was like a wild dog that Tywin was trying to keep on a leash. With him out of the picture, the Iron Throne passes to Joffrey’s younger (and easier to control) brother. This means that Tywin is back in charge. And we know he fancies killing people at weddings. But, is the man cold blooded enough to kill his own (horrible) grandson? From a war perspective, it’s not a very smart move since it makes the Throne seem weak. Killed Joffrey: Sort of likely

Sansa Stark

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If having reasons to kill Joffrey was a contest, Sansa would win. He was responsible for killing her direwolf. He killed her father. He repeatedly humiliated her in public. He tortured her endlessly. His family was responsible for the death of her mother and brother. Then he pushes her off to his uncle. If the poison was in the cup, Sansa was indeed the last to hand it to Tyrion. But would Sansa have the guts to kill Joffrey? It’s not likely. She’s always been too terrified of him to act. Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Margaery Tyrell

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Sure she’s marrying a psychopath and may want to protect her own skin. Yes, she did feed the pie to Joffrey but Margaery is such a public relations expert that I doubt she would willingly kill off her second husband. I mean, the girl is now two for two. She’s got two dead husbands and is officially damaged goods. Who’s going to want to marry her now? Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Cersei Lannister

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Bottom line, Cersei hates Tyrion. She so quickly pointed the finger at Tyrion, some would assume she orchestrated the death of Joffrey to take Tyrion out herself. You can even argue that Cersei so self-motivated, she saw married-Joffrey as a threat whom she could no longer control.  She could have orchestrated his death just to retain her own power.  But wouldn’t it have been easier to kill Sansa? I mean, two birds with one stone. Also, the Lannisters aren’t ones to act impulsively and killing your own son would be pretty impulsive. And as much as Cersei hates Tyrion, she loved Joffrey more. Throughout his reign, she was constantly trying to steer him in the right direction and make him a good leader (not possible). Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Melisandre

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While the Red Priestess was not present at the Purple Wedding, we can’t write her off as a suspect just yet. Recall in Game of Thrones Season 3×8 “Second Sons,” Melisandre tossed leeches filled with Gendry’s blood into a fire calling for the Lord of Light to kill Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, and Baelon Greyjoy as usurpers. Two of those men have now met their end. Can we give Melisandre credit for these deaths, or is it mere coincidence? If I were Baelon Greyjoy, I’d be very careful. Killed Joffrey: Not Likely

On a similar note, WHERE IS GENDRY? gendrymoving

 


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Game of Thrones 4×1 Recap – One episode, two swords

We’re baaacccckkkk and we are so thrilled for a brand new season of Game of Thrones. With a new House in town and the taste of vengeance in the air, this season guarantees to be fantastic. Let’s dive in. First and foremost, we have a credits update! Meet Dreadfort, the keep of House Bolton and the current location of poor Theon. Also, Meerean makes an appearance, the slave city with a giant pyramid. Dany’s on her way there but more on that later.

House Lannister

We kick off the episode with a scene symbolizing the complete destruction of House Stark with a true song of fire and Ice. Tywin Lannister stands watch as Ice, Ned Stark’s gigantic Valyrian steel blade, is welded down in fire, forging two new swords for House Lannister. Tywin completes the destruction by tossing Ned’s wolf-skin scabbard into the fire as the Rains of Castamere plays eerily in the background. The Red Wedding may have happened ten months ago for us, but in the GOT world, it was mere weeks ago, and it continues to be the wound that keeps bleeding.

[ASIDE: This entire scene was painful to watch, and served as a terse reminder of the events of Season 3. Just like the Red Wedding, Tywin stands in the shadows, unwilling to reveal himself and his role. Tywin constantly takes what isn’t his and remolds it into something new, giving the appearance of power and bold courage. But is Tywin really that courageous? Isn’t he known for hiding under Casterly Rock during Robert’s Rebellion, only daring to step forth into King’s Landing when he knew the city was starving, ripe for sacking? Does he ever take responsibility for what he does? Was the Red Wedding not a cowardly move in itself? Tywin feared the Young Wolf and thus found a way to defeat him without facing him in battle. I think Tywin Lannister is a façade – a man who thinks he has all the power in the world but is really living in a house of cards, with children who are sleeping together and a grandson who holds a false claim to the throne. Every empire burns to the ground, and I can’t wait until Tywin Lannisters’ does just that. END OF ASIDE]

Tywin presents one of the new Valyrian blades to his one-handed son, Jaime Lannister, who clumsily receives his new sword. Tywin questions Jaime’s intentions for his future, imploring Jaime to leave the King’s Guard (since he can’t really fight with a sword anymore) and return to Casterly Rock and rule in his place. Jaime refuses. His honor, his word, his reputation are already spoiled and he refuses to abandon yet another post at the whims of another. Tywin is shocked that his 40 year old son still doesn’t get it and dismisses Jaime, but allows him to keep his present. “A one handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.” As Jaime leaves his fathers’ chamber, we see a sly [sexy] smile spread across his face. Wonder what that’s about.

Next, we catch up with everyone’s favorite imp, Tyrion Lannister, Master of Coin, accompanied by Bron and Pod. They are waiting to receive the party from Dorne, which sailed to King’s Landing for Joffrey’s wedding. In brilliant GOT fashion, Tyrion proceeds to discuss the Dornish sigils and the “bad blood” between House Martell and House Lannister, clueing the audience to the significance of the new characters and providing us with a Westerosi history lesson.

Much to Tyrion’s dismay, the Dornish reveal that Prince Doran did not sail to the capital due to illness. His brother, Prince Oberyn of House Martell, came instead and snuck into the city in the wee morning hours. Tyion has an idea where he may find him.

Enter stage left – the one and only Oberyn Martell aka The Red Viper of Dorne. Oberyn is with his great paramour, Ellaria Sand (Sand because she’s a Dornish bastard; like Snow for our beloved Jon), and the pair are inspecting Baylish’s whores. After Prince Oberyn picks a boy who can he can have his way with, he suddenly becomes distracted as the tune of Rains of Castamere float through the brothel.   Oberyn ventures off to find the cause of the disturbance, despite Ellaria’s pleas.

Oberyn stumbles upon two couples whistling the Lannister tune. “Forgive me for staring, I don’t see many Lannisters where I come from.”

[ASIDE: The way those words ooze out of his mouth, and the way he burns his fingers on the candle as he walks, oh la la. I am already in love with Oberyn. END OF ASIDE]

The tension between the Lannister couples and Oberyn seeps out of the TV. The men make jabs at each other until the Red Viper stings. “May I tell you a secret? You’re not a golden lion. You’re just a pink little man whose far too slow on the draw.” Then, BAM, knife in one of the Lannisters wrists.

Tyrion enters just in time to disrupt the argument. Oberyn already knows the “King’s Imp Uncle” and the two men go for a stroll, talking truths to one another. Oberyn thinks Joffrey is offended since he is the second son, not the ruling Prince of Dorne. Tyrion questions Oberyn’s intentions, knowing there is more to the visit than attending a wedding. Then, in another genius dialogue-driven history lesson, we find out the true reason for the Martell/Lannister hatred. The last time Oberyn was in the capital was for his sister, Elia Martell’s, wedding to Rhagaer Targaryen. Elia had his children and cared for them until Rhagaer left her for another woman, the “kidnapped” Lyanna Stark, which caused Robert to wage war. After Rhagaer was killed, the Lannisters sacked King’s Landing, killing all remaining Targaryens, including Elia and her children. It is said that Elia was raped by the Mountain and then split in half. If this is the case, Oberyn holds Tywin directly responsible for her death and the deaths of his nephew and niece. “Tell your father I’m here. Tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”

Whoa. These two actors were phenomenal together. The tension, the conflict, the dialogue, the accent. All fantastic. The chemistry between them is fantastic. GIMME MORE, PLEASE!

After Tyrion’s depressing conversation with his new wife, Sansa Stark, he goes back to his room to find Shae draped over his bed. She knows it’s a dangerous place but insisted on seeing him, since she hasn’t gotten any in weeks. Tyrion turns her down and makes her leave. In a fit of rage, she reveals she knows he tried to dismiss her from the city and she wants him to be a man and say it to her himself. Tyrion reveals he has no idea about Varys’ visit last season, as we correctly assumed. Then, Shae storms out of the room….and the audience sees that one of Cersei’s little birds was outside chirping. Uh oh.

Speaking of the Golden Queen, we catch up with Cersei Lannister as she presents her brother with a golden hand, with the help of the Un-Maester Qyburn. Cersei reveals that Maester Qyburn helped to relieve her of some symptoms. (Pregnancy symptoms? Or no longer able to get pregnant symptoms? Is this her way out of her marriage to Loras?) The twins talk about the events that got them here and Jaime’s plans for the future. He reveals he wants to stay in King’s Landing so he can be with her. He tries to seduce his sister (EW) but she denies him, making it so both Lannister boys aren’t getting any. Cersei then breaks his heart – she tells him he was gone for too long and it took too long to get back to her. The incestual scene is disrupted when Cersei’s bird flies into the room to tattle on Tyrion.

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We get a glimpse of the Royal Wedding plans when we catch up with Olenna and Margaery Tyrell and Jaime and Joffrey. Olenna, determined to make a fashion statement at the wedding, is displeased with the necklace options for Margaery and sends her little doves out to find the most beautiful one in King’s Landing. Margaery has a different idea but Olenna warns her to be careful because even the walls have ears.

Jaime and King Joff discuss security for the wedding, and the fact that the war isn’t over as long as Stannis lives. Joffrey isn’t interested and would rather squabble with his uncle, blaming him for his imprisonment and poking fun at Jaime for being a 40 year old knight with no hand who has done “no good deeds.” Did anyone else think Jaime must’ve been thinking, “How did I create that,” as he watched Joffrey walk away?

House Targaryen

We get our first glimpse of the Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, being just that, mother of dragons. She’s sitting with a dragon in her lap, stroking Rhaego as if he is a puppy. The dragons are gigantic and have almost doubled in size. Suddenly, the other two dragons return with a dead sheep and the dragons begin to fight. Rhaego even snaps as Dany before the three fly off. Holy. Shit. The dragons are scary and on their way to becoming massive and uncontrollable. Ser Jorah Mormont so wisely states, “They are dragons, Khaleesi. They can never be tamed, not even by their mother.” Why thank you Jorah, I shall call you Captain Obvious.

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Dany heads back to camp to discover Daario Naharis and Greyworm are missing – gambling. After she walks through her gigantic camp, she discovers the two men holding weapons to determine who has the right to ride beside Dany on road to Meereen. Dany quickly reins the boys in and we discover that Daario and Greyworm have a cute bro-competition going on. This scene felt kind of pointless and more like a chance to showcase the immense size of Dany’s horde and the new actor playing Daario Naharis but I’ll take any Dany time I can get.

Later, Dany and Missandei talk about Meereen and Missandei lets her know that she thinks the slave masters should fear Dany before Daario interrupts the women to talk strategy. He brings Dany three flowers, the flowers of Meereen, which are used for tea and poison, telling her if she wants to win over the peoples affections, she must become one with their lands. Dany is smitten, as are we, but seems to recognize Daario’s ploy for her heart.

Suddenly, the horde comes to a halt. There are dead children, mutilated and strung up, on every mile marker between there and Meereen – 163 in total. Barristan Selmy offers to ride ahead and bury the children but she refuses. She wants to see them all, and wants them to remove their collars before they are buried. Dany is going to liberate the enslaved and conquer the slavers. I’m afraid already for the masters of Meereen.

House Stark

The length of the Stark section is dwindling, you know, since they’re almost all dead.

Sansa – Sansa is in mourning. During the Season 3 finale we saw her immediate reaction to her brother and mother’s deaths. Now knows the details. She stays awake at night thinking about how the Lannisters (via Bolton and Frey) mutilated her family members. They chopped off Robb’s head and sewed his direwolf’s there in its place. They sliced her mother’s neck to the bone and then threw her body into the river, discarded like trash. There’s no cheering up Sansa, not even with lemon cakes (um, can I have Sansa’s lemon cake? My mouth is practically watering). Don’t worry Sansa, misery loves company and she’s got plenty of company in the legion of GOT fans.

It takes a fool to cheer Sansa up, literally. After creepily following her through the garden, Ser Dontos — the former knight she rescued from Joffrey in Season 2 — gives her a charming necklace as a gift. The family heirloom is all he has left and wants her to have it and wear it proudly.

Later, Brienne of Tarth tries to convince Jaime that he has to honor his pledge to rescue Catelyn Stark’s daughters. With Arya presumed dead and Sansa married to his brother, that makes things a bit difficult for Jaime. With Jaime’s previous speech to Tywin about breaking his word, is it wrong of me to have hope that he’ll follow through? Also, don’t you love that Brienne and Jaime are still besties?

Jon Snow – Man, Ygritte is a woman scorned. To be honest, I can’t say I blame her. If my man left me for a 600-some guys that wear only black, I’d be a little peeved too. We check-in with Ygritte as she’s making arrows, surely thinking about firing more of them at Jon Snow. Her angry arrow making is short-lived as Tormund Giantsbane approaches.

Is it just me or does Giantsbane remind you of Rumpelstiltskin in his angry wig? No, maybe try upside down? I don’t know, I can’t take him seriously whenever he’s on my TV.

Tormund Giantsbane rumpelstiltskin shrek angry wig

In case you forgot (and missed Jon Snow’s recap to the council), last season a few of the Wildlings, led by Tormund Giantsbane, scaled The Wall and now intend to attack Castle Black from the south. Once they have control of the castle, they will open the gates to The Wall so Mance Rayder’s army can invade the southern lands. Right now they are waiting for Mance Rayder’s signal and it will be a big signal, says Jon Snow.

Anyway, back to Giantsbane and Ygritte. He’s giving her a hard time about Jon Snow, questioning whether or not she actually killed him. If she didn’t, their entire plan is at risk. Their conversation is interrupted when some weirdos show up. A group of tall pale bald men with creepy scars start talking about body types in a way that says, “I’m not a personal trainer, I’m just hungry and you seem like a delectable piece of meat.” Now, I’ve been binge watching NBC’s Hannibal lately and I just don’t know if I can handle another cannibal in my life right now. This group is called the Thenns and they are here to help with the Castle Black attack.

Speaking of Castle Black, let’s catch up with Jon Snow. He’s hanging out with Samwell, reacting to the Red Wedding news. He explains to Sam that he was always jealous of his brother Robb, but never wished harm upon him. Samwell knows the feeling since he feels that way about Jon Snow. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed in this whole scene. Like, that’s it, Jon Snow? You aren’t a little bit angry? Did Samwell tell him about seeing Bran? Are you at least going to try to save Bran? Maybe try to track down Arya? I NEED ANSWERS.

Well, at least he’s going to give the Night’s Watch council some answers. Members of the council want to end Jon Snow for breaking his vow (“You know nothing, Jon Snow”) and killing Qhorin Halfhand. Jon Snow begs the council to stop stressing about the little details and start preparing for the Wildlings. Can the Night’s Watch ready themselves in time for the attack?

Arya – Arya is still with The Hound. The Hound is obviously just looking for somewhere to drop Arya and not feel bad about it. Now they’re on their way to her crazy Aunt Lysa in the Vale of Arryn. The dynamic between these actors is really growing (see Jaime and Brienne from last season). Their banter is perfect and I love seeing hints of The Hound’s personality.

During their road trip, they decide to stop at a local tavern where several of The Mountain’s men are pissing outside, harassing the barkeep, etc. Arya immediately recognizes the pisser as Polliver, who in Season 2 captured Arya and her buddies after killing a bunch of people in the prison camp. Polliver steals Arya’s sword Needle and kills her friend Lommy because he cannot walk. Conveniently, Polliver still carries Needle.

Upon entering the tavern, Polliver recognizes The Hound and starts trying to impress him with his torturous ways. The Hound teases Polliver and it’s obvious that The Hound has decided to kill all of these people but is just waiting for them to make the first move. “You’re a talker,” he says, taking Polliver’s drink. “Listening to talkers makes me thirsty.” The fight starts.

Arya retreats to the corner. This fight seems really tough; The Hound does not seem to be winning. Also, there’s no backtrack. The quiet mixed with the clangs and the grunts is making me really anxious. Finally, Arya makes her move and the music kicks in. She gets her sword. Once Polliver is without a weapon, she stands over him and repeats the words he once said to Lommy, “Something wrong with your leg, boy? Can you walk? I’ve got to carry you. Fine little blade. Maybe I’ll pick my teeth with it.” She then slowly drives the blade into his throat, just like he did to Lommy. Meet the darker Arya of season four.

No news from Theon, Bran, or Rickon this week.

House Baratheon

There’s a brief chat between Brienne and Margaery where Brienne tells her what she remembers of Renly’s death. She saw a black fog with Stannis’ face murder Renly and vows to avenge “their king.” Quietly Margaery reminds her “Joffrey is their king now.” No update from Stannis but he should watch his back.

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 4×1:

Jenn’s Pick – “Perhaps I should just let Joffrey choose it for me, end up with a string of dead sparrow heads around my neck.” – Margaery Tyrell to Olenna.Elizabeth’s Pick – “Are you sure we’re not related? Ever since I’ve returned, every Lannister I’ve seen has been a miserable pain in my ass. Maybe you’re a Lannister too. You’ve got the hair for it. You’ve got the looks.” – Jaime to Brienne

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark and Baratheon).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.  


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Countdown to Game of Thrones, Season 4 – An Update on the Houses

houseall

To say that the writers of Rock Paper Watch are excited for the Game of Thrones Season 4 premiere would be a gigantic understatement.  Overjoyed, thrilled, elated. They would be much better choices.  In preparation for the premiere, I even rewatched Season 3.  Okay, okay, really Seasons 1-3.  What I realized was quite a lot has happened and I kind of forgot some of it.  So, below you will find an update on the main Houses in Westeros, and a few other key players, as developed after a month of binge watching GOT on my iPhone during my commute to and from work.  

Thank the Old Gods and the New that we only have two more sleeps until premiere day, and I can watch it on a real TV. 

House-Baratheon1

Stannis – At the end of Season 3, Ser Davos Seaworth, Stannis’ Hand of the King, revealed a letter from Maester Aemon detailing the imminent threat of White Walkers beyond the Wall. Alongside the Red Priestess, Stannis peered into the fire yet again. Realizing that the real war lies to the North, Melisandre advised Stannis to spare Ser Davos from death even though he sprung Gendry from the dungeons, sans Stannis’ permission, because Stannis will need him in the future.  Stannis made the decision to ride to the Wall and save the Seven Kingdoms, with Davos and Melisandre by his side. Maybe Stannis is the true king, after all.  Will he arrive in time to aid the Night’s Watch in the Wildling Rebellion?  Will Gendry figure out how to use the boat and make it to dry land? 

House-Lannister
Cersei – Engaged to Loras Tyrell; enraged against her father; envious of Margaery’s control over Joffrey; seemingly not excited to have her lover back, which brings us to her twin brother;

Jaime – Finally arrived safely back in King’s Landing, minus his sword hand but plus his sword lady, Brienne of Tarth. Remember, Brienne and Jaime both swore an oath to Lady Catelyn that they would return Sansa and Arya to Winterfell.  This season, will Jaime prove to be loyal to his word, or loyal to his lover and family?;

Joffrey – The last time we saw Joffrey, he was celebrating the Red Wedding before he was threatened with death by his uncle and sent to bed by his grandfather. Poor Joffrey. Nevertheless, the Cruel & Stupid King is engaged to the careful manipulator, Margaery Tyrell, and the royal wedding will probably happen in the beginning episodes of Season 4. Oh, what a wedding it will be!;

Tyrion – Now celibate thanks to his marriage to Lady Sansa (not really though since his mistress, Shae, is his wife’s handmaiden), and serving as Master of Coin, it is Tyrion’s job to fund the Royal Wedding for the nephew he loathes so much. Will Tyrion succeed and prove his worth to his father, or fail miserably and continue his decline in power?;

Tywin – As Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister proved he is the Grandest Schemer in the Land when he orchestrated the Red Wedding last season. Remember all those mysterious letters he was writing?  With those letters, he singlehandedly stole the North out from under the Starks, killed a majority of their House, and rewarded Lord Bolton as Warden of the North, with full intention to strip the Boltons of the North when Sansa and Tyrion’s “heir” comes of age. Tywin is playing the game of thrones to win, no matter what the cost. At this rate, can anyone stop him?

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Arya – Thanks to the Hound, who captured Arya after she escaped from the Brotherhood Without Banners, she was not massacred in the Red Wedding along with most of her House. Unfortunately, she did witness most of it. This poor girl has no only seen her father’s headless body, but also her brother’s headless body with Greywind’s head fixed upon it. What will the Hound do with Arya now that no one can pay him for her? Will she ever use the coin given to her by ‎Jaqen H’ghar and speak the words “Valar Morghulis (All men must die)?”;

Bran – At the end of Season 3, Bran came this close to reuniting with his half-brother, Jon Snow. Instead of a joyous reunion, we got Bran warging into Summer and Grey Wind to rescue Jon from the Wildlings, who turned on Jon right after they figured out Jon’s true identity. After rescuing his brother, Bran decided to split his group sending Rickon and Osha somewhere South (and safe) while Bran, Jojen, and Meera continued North. In an abandoned castle near the Wall, Bran’s group came face-to-face with Samwell Tarly and Gilly as that pair headed back to Castle Black. Despite Sam’s wishes to protect his “brother’s brother,” Sam showed Bran and the Reeds a secret passage through the Wall, sending Bran right in to the thick of danger;

Jon Snow – Jon was a very busy man last season, deceiving Mance Rayder and the Wildlings into believing he was one of them and falling in love with a Wildling, only to reveal at the end of Season 3 that he was, in fact, still loyal to the Night’s Watch and working as a double agent. In the season finale, Jon finally revealed his true colors and left the Wildlings to return to Castle Black and warn the Night’s Watch of the pending attack, thusly breaking Ygritte’s heart. Ygritte doesn’t go down easy, though, and lands three arrows in Jon.  Jon returns to the Castle but collapses before he can speak with Sam and his bros.  Will Jon survive Ygritte’s revenge and warn his fellow Crows before Mance lights the biggest fire the North has ever seen?;

Sansa – Poor Sansa, she is the living Stark that continuously gets the shit end of the stick. She’s stuck in King’s Landing as Joffrey’s puppet, forced into marrying Tyrion Lannister, and missed yet another opportunity to leave King’s Landing (this one was with Petyr Baelish). While it seems like Sansa does have some powerful people in her corner (Olenna and Varys to name a few), at the conclusion of Season 3, Sansa’s life seemed in even more jeopardy. Her family is dead, Jaime is back in King’s Landing, and the Lannisters no longer need Sansa as a bargaining chip. Will her marriage to Tyrion keep her safe?  Will she ever be smart enough to leave King’s Landing when given a chance?

House-Targaryen-

Season 1 tells the story of Daenerys Stormborn and her transformation from innocent young girl to strong, confident Khaleesi and Mother of Dragons. Season 2 tells the story of Dany realizing she can trust no one and must embrace violence in order to gain power. By Season 3, we finally see Dany coming into her own as a true Queen with a gentle heart and a ruthless hand, working to find a balance between what her heart desires and what fulfilling her fate requires.  

Dany moved from slave-city to slave-city, sacking the Masters and freeing their slaves, with the help of her Unsullied, Ser Barristan Selmy, Ser Jorah Mormont, Daario Naharis, and, of course, her three dragons. At the conclusion of the season, Dany waits at the gates of Yunkai, unsure of how the newly freed slaves would respond to her and her horde.  When the gates finally open, they pour out in droves, stopping just short of Dany.  Missandei introduces Dany’s with full titles – proof of her unyielding growth.  “This is Daenerys Targaryen, the Stormborn, the Unburnt, the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the Mother of Dragons.” Dany interrupts Missandei to tell the people they are now free.  In a visually powerful scene, hundreds and thousands of the citizens of Yunkai raise their hands, shouting “Mhysa” in unison, lifting Dany over their head, praising her as their “Mother.” 

Dany now has the three things her brother always wanted – love, power, and fear. Is she finally ready to cross the Narrow Sea and take back her kingdom? Can she balance the line between conquerer and liberator?  Thank the Gods we only have a few more days to find out!

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Westerosi Key Players

Petyr Baelish – As a reward for his support of All Things Lannister, Petyr was titled the Lord of Harrenhal and left King’s Landing to pursue Lady Lysa Arryn’s (Catelyn’s crazy sister that still breastfeeds her 9 year old) hand in marriage. The last time we saw him, he was on a ship headed to the Vale. We’ll probably catch up with him sometime this season following his arrival.

Theon Greyjoy – It was finally revealed at the conclusion of Season 3 that Theon was being held by Roose Bolton’s bastard, Ramsey Snow, as a means of removing the Iron Islanders from the North.  Ramsey was also the same person that set Winterfell ablaze, finally turning it into Hot Pie’s Winterhell.  Did you figure this big secret out before the big reveal?

Yara Greyjoy – After receiving her brothers’ penis in a box, courtesy Ramsay Snow, Yara decided to take her strongest men on her fastest ship and sail North to rescue her baby brother.  Touching.  Meanwhile, her father did nothing and was quite content to continue receiving “more Theon.” 

Olenna Tyrell – Olenna may just be the only person brave and smart enough to match Tywin Lannister both in wit and manipulation (their scene last season was uh-maze-ing). Something tells me she won’t send her granddaughter and grandson into the Lion’s Den without putting up a fight.

The Tulleys – In the finale, a gitty Walter Frey reveals that Edmure Tully survived the Red Wedding, locked up in a jail cell, and The Blackfish managed to escape.  What does this mean for the future of the Tully clan?  Will Edmure make it out alive?  Will anyone seek revenge for the massacre?

Lord Varys – The Spider continues to be one of my favorite characters as he proves over and over again to truly care about the good of the Realm. He recognizes the evil players and makes quiet moves to assist the good ones. In the season finale, he even tried to remove Shae from the picture, encouraging her to take his diamonds and leave the city so Tyrion can focus on what needs to be done.  But I want to know – what is his end game?  Who is Varys really working for, or what is he working towards?  

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Take a mouse-scroll down RPW’s Game of Thrones archive page to feed your addiction while you wait for the Game of Thrones premiere this Sunday, April 6th at 9pm on HBO, and be sure to catch our weekly recaps once the action commences!