Game of Thrones recap: Two Swords

Game of Thrones recap: Two Swords

The Westerosi posse is back, thank goodness. This premiere of the fourth season of Game of Thrones was really more of a "let's catch up with everybody" episode instead of a focused hour of television, but I'm okay with that. It has been a year since we've seen these people on our TV screens, and it's helpful to get a little reminder before we start getting into the meat of the season. And it looks like the meat is coming next week.

Speaking of meat...cannibals! They're so hot right now. Every show needs cannibals. It's like how vampires were five years ago.

Anyway, let's check in with who's who and what's what and where's where.

King's Landing: All the Lannisters are back in King's Landing now, safe and happy and only down an appendage or two. The episode begins with Tywin, who makes John Locke's dad look like Cliff Huxtable, melting down Ned Stark's old sword, Ice, and forging it (or, rather, commissioning it to be forged; Tywin's not much for getting his own hands dirty) into two new swords made of rare, tricky Valeryian steel. That done, he tosses the hide of poor, dead Grey Wind on the fire, because the memories of Ned and his son Robb dying were not tragic enough. We had to also be reminded that an animal died as well.

Tywin, the Hand of the King, presents one sword to his son, Jaime, who is sporting a new hairdo and one fewer hand than the last time he'd been around the Red Keep. Jaime thinks the sword is the tits and can't wait to use it, but Tywin, who's never met a family moment he didn't choose to shit all over, tells his son, "But, yeah, you're kind of not totally worthy of this sword, right? Because of the whole hand situation? You're pretty much worthless at this point, but we're so glad to have you back. Why don't you quit the King's Guard, head on back to Casterly Rock, and get out of my face, you handless bastard, you."

Jaime, however, refuses to leave. He doesn't want Casterly Rock. He doesn't want another broken vow to go on his resume. He doesn't want to get married. What he wants is his sister Cersei. He has been dreaming of her, trying to get home to her, for a very long time. While he was losing his hand and rotting in the Riverrun dungeons, the thing that kept him going was the thought of his loving twin sister. Except, Cersei wasn't sitting around waiting for him, and she's kind of only into guys with two hands. Ouch.

Tyrion sort of won this episode, Lannister-wise, because he didn't have to talk to either his father or his sister. He was charged with waiting on the outskirts of town for the Prince of Dorne, who was expected to arrive for Joffrey's wedding. The Prince never showed up, but his brother Oberyn Martell did (well, he showed up at Littlefinger's whorehouse, which is basically the King's Landing Welcome Wagon, so same difference). Tyrion and Oberyn exchange words, and Tyrion somehow gets the impression that Oberyn wants to kill a lot of Lannisters, probably because Oberyn basically said that very thing. He's especially upset at Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, who raped and murdered Oberyn's sister, and Tywin Lannister, who gave the command for him to do so.

The rest of Tyrion's problems are all of the female variety. Sansa, his wife, whom he has vowed to protect, won't eat and won't talk to him. And his whore/Sansa's lady's maid, Shae, is pissed at Tyrion for being so concerned about his wife's well-being. Shae wants him to, well, do that thing to her that people generally do with prostitutes, despite the fact that Tyrion has told her repeatedly that they no longer have that kind of relationship. Shae needs to get a clue.

What else in King's Landing? Ah, wedding plans are afoot. Jaime, who is taking a very active role in leading the King's Guard (and who really wants to step up his game now in order to fill his pages in the Book of Brothers will all kinds of heroic acts), is preparing security. Joffrey is being a dick wad (shocking). And Margaery and her grandmother are picking out necklaces while gaping at the sight of Brienne, who is hell bent on avenging Renly's death (remember Renly?)

Outside Mereen: Daenery's has dragon troubles. Her babies are getting too big and she can no longer control them. They even growl at her. Has she tried rapping them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper? I hear that works. Jorah warns her that these dragons will kill someone someday, but she's not quite hearing it. They're her children! She's the mother of dragons, you see?

Also, Daario has changed faces. That's real. I think I like the new Daario better, but that's not saying much. I was completely not feeling the old Daario at all. Daario is trying to woo the queen, and this time he's saying it with flowers (and also some really sage advice about how she should probably get to know a city inside and out before she tries to conquer it).

The Wall: Jon is sad about the death of his brother Robb, who was always so good at everything. Jon should've hated him, but he didn't. He really didn't, he insists. Maybe he wanted to, like, punch him sometimes and maybe he thought about stabbing him in the stomach, but he never would've done it. Probably. And then Sam's all, "Sometimes I'm jealous of you, Jon Snow." Jon Snow should sleep with one eye open.

And he should do so not just because of Sam, mind you. Janos Slynt is out to get him as well. The former commander of the city guard is now in charge of the Night's Watch and he is not a big fan of Ned Stark's bastard. He thinks they should just go ahead and hang him for A) killing Qhorin Halfhand and B) sexing Ygritte, but wise Maester Aemon tells Janos to shove it. Jon Snow lives to die another day.

Off the Wall, Mance Rayder's folks are still plotting their attack. Mance will come from the north and the wildlings on the south side will launch a counter attack. Somehow Mance has managed to unite the clans of the free people, which no one has ever done before. He's even convinced the giants to come aboard the S.S. King Beyond the Wall. Oh, and the Thenns, who like to eat people. They're delightful.

On the Road: The buddy comedy that is Arya and the Hound continues. She wants a pony. He doesn't want to give her one. He wants to take her to the Vale, because he thinks maybe Lysa Arryn might give him top dollar for the safe return of her niece (he apparently doesn't not know Lysa Arryn very well). The two of them wind up outside an inn and Arya sees Polliver, the man who killed her friend Lommy and took her sword, which she had named Needle.

The Hound and Arya stop in for a bite, and Polliver recognizes the Hound. They chat. Polliver attempts to get the Hound to join their group, but the Hound balks. And then he ends up fighting and killing every guy in the room. Arya gets in on it as well, shoving Needle (which Polliver happened to have on him) up through his chin. All men must die, I suppose.

Because of her badassery and the fact that she fought on his side, the Hound lets Arya have her pony, and the two of them ride off into the sunset.

Other Stuff:

  • Some great lines, including: "I've grown rather used to being the family insult." -- Tyrion on being a second son
  • Arya, "Lots of people name their swords." To which the Hound replies, "Lots of cunts." I don't normally like that word, but, for some reason, I'll allow it if it comes out of Sandor Clegane's mouth.
  • Not only is Podrick Payne hung like a horse, he's also very familiar with the Dornish house sigils. The boy is a revelation.
  • Olenna Tyrell continues to be the character I most want to have a drink with.
  • Cersei remains squarely at the bottom of that list. She's a nasty drunk.

What did you think of the first episode of the season?

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