Game of Thrones is back for its fourth season, and it’s questionable as to whether any of us have truly recovered from the events of The Red Wedding. Nevertheless, the epic fantasy television series based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin returns to our screens, and offers up Two Swords as its opening episode. The episode, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, sees the return of beloved characters who are now trying to re-focus after the events of the last season.
Bringing it home for the girls in the episode is Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), and Daenerys (Dany for short) Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), the former who is more bold and slightly demented than ever as she seeks vengeance for the deaths of various family members. Along for the ride is The Hound (Rory McCane) who seems to double up as a babysitter/companion/frenemy for Arya in the episode. Also battling it out for the throne is Dany, who marches her army towards Meereen, the last of three slave cities. Dany and Arya have grown stronger and become more forceful over the last season, and this is clearly present in the Season 4 opener, as the two powerful ladies seek to avenge injustice; Arya for her family and Dany, not only for her own family, but also for the slaves of Meereen.
Meanwhile in King’s Landing, Tywin Lannister, (Charles Dance) is melting down swords, and Jaime is back, albeit minus a hand. The two incestuous twins – Jaime and Cersei – reunite, but given all that has happened over the last seasons, it seems that their relationship will never be what it was (which is perhaps a good thing). On the other side of the family, the loveable and witty imp tries to comfort Sansa but she refuses to eat and even Shae can’t help. You can’t exactly blame her.
Concurrently, in the North, we see that Jon Snow is awake after his attack; whilst Ygritte is left to sharpen her arrows after having let him go (with 3 arrows in him). New to the episode is a group of cannibal thenns, lead by Styr, and Prince Oberyn, who seeks to avenge his sister’s death at the hands of the Lannisters.
The episode is a firm addition for a Game of Thrones premiere, and it was entertaining to see how various characters reacted to what happened, given that in the last season it was difficult to fully understand how any of them felt; and this opener gave more clarity and resolution to the situation, in that respect. Game of Thrones has amassed a large following since its debut in 2011 and you need only to watch a few episodes to understand why; it builds its foundations on the popular book series, and has everything – the characters you love, the characters you hate, the characters you want to get together and the characters you want to suffer (in the best possible way).It has nobility, adventure, deception, power; showcasing struggle in so many different lights, due to the excellent performances from its ensemble cast.
Whatever your take on the series, it is clear that Season 4 will be unlike any other season and with the next episode entitled The Lion and The Rose, it’s curious to see what turn the series will take, considering its flair for the dramatic (that is, of course, unless you’ve already read the books!).