One character newly embraced the dark side, a dangerous and sexy prince came to King’s Landing, there was flirting going on across the Narrow Sea with the Mother of Dragons, and the Lannisters exchanged insults with each other in the “Game of Thrones” Season 4 premiere, titled “Two Swords.”
Here’s how it all happened:
King’s Landing: A man hands a large sword (Ned Stark’s) to an armorer. The man — Tywin Lannister — watches as one sword becomes two new ones.
Jaime & Tywin Lannister, King’s Landing: “Magnificent. Looks fresh forged,” Jaime Lannister tells his father Tywin, asking where the Valyrian steel came from. “From someone who no longer had need of it,” Tywin replies. Watching his one-handed son struggle to put the weapon down prompts Tywin to advise Jaime to train his left hand, noting he’ll, “never be as good.” Moments later, the other insult drops – Tywin wants Jaime to leave the Kingsguard and rule at Lannister home Casterly Rock. Jaime refuses.
Tyrion Lannister, Bronn & Podrick, The Entrance To King’s Landing: Waiting on Prince Doran Martell of Dorne proves fruitless for the trio of Tyrion, Bronn and Podrick. He isn’t coming. Prince Oberyn Martell, the second son, has been sent instead to attend King Joffrey’s wedding – and he arrived early unbeknownst to the group. “We must find Prince Oberyn before he kills somebody,” Tyrion says.
Prince Oberyn, King’s Landing: Prince Oberyn makes his “GoT” debut eyeing up the brothel women on offer. His lover, Ellaria Sand, helps survey the merchandise and they select a woman who isn’t “timid,” as well as the blond gent running the establishment.
Before they all can get down to “business,” Oberyn hears a song coming from the other room — “The Rains of Castamere” — and it sets him off. Ellaria rushes after her Prince, trying to distract him. “Why are you wasting a woman like this on a Dornishman? Bring him a shaved goat and a bottle of olive oil,” one of the Lannister men tells the brothel blond, after spotting Ellaria. Things quickly escalate as Oberyn jabs his knife into one of the Lannister’s wrists.
“Prince Oberyn, forgive the intrusion, we heard there might be…” Tyrion says, as he walks in on the bloody scene. Oberyn removes his dagger and the two men scurry away.
Outside, Tyrion asks Oberyn why he’s really in King’s Landing. “The last time I was in the capitol was many years ago, another wedding – my sister Elia and Rhaegar Targaryen, the last dragon. My sister loved him. She bore his children… and beautiful, noble Rhaegar Targaryen left her for another woman,” Oberyn explains, referring to Lyanna Stark (Ned’s sister). The war ended when Tywin’s forces took the city, but his niece and nephew were killed, and his sister brutalized and murdered. “If The Mountain killed my sister, your father gave the order. Tell your father, I’m here and tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts,” Oberyn adds.
Daenerys, Somewhere In Essos: “Shhh!” Dany says as she watches her adolescent dragons fight over meat, only to see one of them roar back at her. “They’re dragons, Khaleesi. They can never be tamed, even by their mother,” Ser Jorah Mormont tells her.
Daario Naharis and Grey Worm are nowhere to be found when Dany meets up with Ser Barristan Selmy, Missandei and the Unsullied. They’re “gambling.” Who can hold their sword up the longest is the game they are playing (Note: Daario, who had long hair last season, was recast. In Season 4 he is being played by Michiel Huisman). The two drop their swords when they learn their contest won’t win them any favors with Dany. Grey Worm looks at Missandei, and Daario teases him about having a crush (and being a eunuch).
Shae, Sansa & Tyrion/King’s Landing: Neither Shae or Tyrion can get Sansa to eat. “Do you know what they did to my brother?” Sansa asks Tyrion. “They sewed his direwolf’s head onto his body. And my mother, they say they cut her throat to the bone and threw her body in the river.” Unable to talk about it any longer, Sansa heads off to the Godswood to be alone.
Inside Tyrion’s bedroom, Shae tries to seduce Tyrion. “It’s not a good time,” he tells her. “If you want me to leave, just say it. Say it,” Shae screams. Then, she asks him if he wants her to stay. She storms out (walking past a spy) when Tyrion doesn’t reply.
Jaime & Cersei, King’s Landing: Qyburn straps a gold hand on Jaime, who is less than impressed. “A hook would be more practical,” he quips. As Qyburn heads out, Cersei thanks him for his recent help with another matter. Jaime wonders if the help Qyburn gave his twin was the result of carnal activity. “You think I’d let that old letch put his hands on me? He smells like a dead cat,” Cersei says.
As Cersei takes another sip of wine, Jaime suggests she’s drinking more than usual. The remark sets her off, and she tells Jaime about everything bad that has happened since he left King’s Landing in Season 1, including her betrothal to Ser Loras.
Jaime reveals he will be staying in the Kingsguard to stay close to her and then makes an unsuccessful attempt at twincest. “I murdered people so I could be here with you,” he tells her. “You took too long,” Cersei says, coldly. Things stop right there as the woman who saw Shae and Tyrion together comes in with news for Cersei.
The Wildlings, Beyond The Wall: As Ygritte makes arrows, she exchanges insults with Tormund Giantsbane. He says they’re waiting for Mance Rayder’s orders before making their next move. Talk then turns to Jon Snow. “If that boy’s still walking, it’s because you let him go,” he says.
A whistle from a fellow Wildling warns that someone is approaching.
Bald and scarred, Styr leads the Thenns into the Wildling camp. “Took a detour,” Styr says as his men take down meat Tormund’s group is cooking, and string up something they brought in a bag. “Just one time, before you die, you really ought to try Crow,” Styr says, looking at a human arm, now roasting over the fire.
Jon Snow, Castle Black: As he gets ready to face a council of the Night’s Watch, Jon reminisces about his late brother Robb.
“So you admit you murdered Qhorin Halfhand,” Ser Alliser Thorne says, as Jon faces the council. “The Halfhand believed our only chance to stop Mance was to get a man inside his army,” Jon replies, trying to explain why he was with the Wildings (during Season 3). Janos Slynt (who was sent to the Night’s Watch by Tyrion) is enraged when he hears Jon slept with a Wildling girl and demands death as punishment.
“While we sit here debating which rules I broke, Mance Rayder marches on The Wall with an army of 100,000,” Jon says. “We won’t be taking your head today, Jon Snow,” Maester Aemon says, before anyone else can condemn Jon, a move that angers Ser Alliser (who had it out for Jon in Season 1). “You always know when a man is telling a lie. How did you acquire this magical power?” Ser Alliser asks the Maester. “I grew up in King’s Landing,” the old blind man (who is Targaryen by birth) replies.
Margaery Tyrell & Lady Olenna, King’s Landing: Grandma Olenna wants the best for her granddaughter’s wedding, and tosses out necklaces she deems unsuitable. “Perhaps I should just let Joffrey choose it for me. [I’ll] end up with a string of dead sparrow heads around my neck,” Margaery says. “Watch that. Even here. Even with me,” her grandmother warns.
Dressed in a blue, floor length trouser/skirt, Brienne of Tarth asks to speak with Margaery. As they walk, Brienne insists it was Stannis’ shadow (in Season 2) that killed Margaery’s former husband, King Renly Baratheon. The female knight promises to avenge their king, but Margaery sets Brienne straight. “Joffrey is our king now,” she says.
Jaime & Joffrey, King’s Landing: Jaime instructs Ser Meryn on tactical plans for the upcoming wedding. “I don’t expect any trouble,” Joffrey tells his uncle (dad). “They know I saved the city! They know I won the war,” Joffrey says of why there is peace inside the city walls. “The war’s not won, while Stannis lives,” Jaime corrects the King.
Spotting a book on the table – the Book of Brothers, which documents the great deeds of the Kingsguard – Joffrey points out his uncle has blank pages next to his name. “There’s still time,” Jaime says. “Is there? For a 40-year-old knight with one hand? How can you protect me with that?” Joffrey replies.
Daenerys, On The Road To Meereen: Gearing up to march on Meereen, Daario approaches Dany to talk “strategy.” He hands her one flower after the other, using them as metaphors, and then, as a bouquet, for his queen.
Her Unsullied army stops as they see the body of a young girl strung up, her arm pointing in the direction of Meereen. “There’s one on every mile marker between here and Meereen,” Ser Jorah says – 163 in total. Ser Barristan offers to send someone to bury them so Dany doesn’t have to see them. “You will do no such thing. I will see each and every one of their faces,” Dany replies.
Jaime & Brienne, King’s Landing: As they watch Sansa below, Brienne reminds Jaime of his promise to Catelyn to keep the Stark girls safe. Jaime tells her Arya is likely dead and grows sour. “Are you sure we’re not related? Ever since I returned, every Lannister I’ve seen has been a miserable pain in my arse. Maybe you’re a Lannister too. You’ve got the hair for it, not the looks,” Jaime says.
Sansa, King’s Landing: Fearful she’s being followed, Sansa hurries up the road, when a hand reaches out from behind and stops her. No enemy, it’s Ser Dontos, the drunk she saved on King Joffrey’s name day (Season 2) by suggesting he be made the new fool. Thanking her, Ser Dontos offers Sansa his mother’s necklace. “Wear it. Let my name have one more moment in the sun before it disappears from the world,” he asks of her. She agrees.
Arya Stark & The Hound, Somewhere In Westeros: “When am I going to get a horse of my own,” Arya asks The Hound as they wander through the countryside. Even if he could find one, he has no plans to let her ride on her own. He hopes to sell her to Catelyn’s sister – Lysa (child-nursing woman from Season 1).
Hungry, the two stop near an inn/barn and survey the situation. Just as The Hound decides they should leave, Arya spots Polliver, the man who killed her friend Lommy (Season 2). Needle, the sword Jon Snow gave her (Season 1), is strapped to his belt. She rushes toward the door and they end up going inside.
“I know you! You’re The Hound,” Polliver says, heading over to their table and making small talk. Realizing The Hound has no love for the King, but a hunger for his chicken dinner, things sour, even more so when Polliver suggest they trade his food for “a go at your friend” (Arya).
“You lived your life for the King. You gonna die for some chickens,” Polliver asks. “Someone is,” The Hound answers, flipping up the table and taking on man after man as Arya watches. The Hound knocks one on the ground. He fights another with his sword. Still a third he spears with the man’s own weapon, as Arya looks on.
And then, she seizes her moment. Arya breaks a bowl over one man’s head and runs his own sword through his guts, before attacking Polliver from the back. Removing Needle from his waistband, she begins to speak — reciting the same words Polliver spoke before killing Lommy. “Something wrong with your leg, boy?” she asks, as he lies on the ground bleeding. “Can you walk? [Have I] got to carry you? Fine little blade. Maybe I’ll pick my teeth with it.” With a hint of a smile, Arya runs Needle through Polliver’s head just after he recognizes his own words.
Atop a white horse of her own, Arya and The Hound head off into the countryside.
“Game of Thrones” Season 4 continues Sunday nights at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.
-- Jolie Lash