In the immortal words of Salt-N-Pepa, I’m gonna “Push it… Push it Good…” and recap the season four premiere of Game of Thrones, “Two Swords,” as best as possible. For those who want a review of what’s happened so far and where we left all the main characters, go here, here, and here.
The Game of Thrones is always in flux. Winners become losers, players learn harsh lessons from the game while other players stumble, question their motives, or lose spirit over overarching goal: the Iron Throne.
Forged in fire and magic, swords of Valyrian steel represent a house’s legacy just as much as their motto. House Lannister lost their greatsword, Brightroar, long ago and never found it. The act of destroying one family’s treasure and creating something new is the ultimate act of denigration by the Lannisters on House Stark (other than killing all living Starks).
On the surface, it seems like the Lannisters are still on top, political marriages cemented in place, the North seemingly defeated and a continual flow of capital from House Tyrell. In this episode, viewers see Tywin as a father with an vice-like grip over his three children but those kids are bristling for the chance to escape or usurp him. Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion are barely keeping it together.
Jaime is dealing with the loss of his hand and adjusting to life back in the Kingsguard. A bigger loss than the physical function of his hand is Cersei’s change of affection for him. Is she repulsed by his disability?
Is he suddenly useless to her? Her alienation of Jaime forces him to question his raison d’être. If you remove Cersei’s love, what’s left for Jaime?
Cersei is boiling under the surface with rage and resentment. Her loss of status as the Mother-of-the-King to Mother-In-Law to Margaery Tyrell, the Queen-to-Be, is a humiliation second to her forced marriage to Margeary’s brother, Loras.
With her father’s presence in court, all the political mojo she possessed went down the drain. Now she’s just a pawn, another chess piece for her father to play with rather than the grandmaster herself [insert my feminist rage here].
Tyrion, recently injured and disfigured like his brother, still has some advantages over Jaime. Tyrion’s experience of being born a dwarf at birth gave him enough mental armor to deal with the jokes, mistreatment and disrespect. It’ll be interesting to see how Jaime, the golden son, transitions into his new demoted ‘crippled’ status.
Thanks to his daddy, Tyrion is married to Sansa Stark and has to figure out how to support her without raising the ire of Shae, his so-called true love. Both Cersei and Tyrion had power taken away from them by their father after the Battle of Blackwater. As Master of Coin, Tyrion’s position in court is far more vulnerable and he’ll have to navigate this constantly changing political landscape and develop alliances all over again. At least he still has Bronn!
He looks out a window, as emo as ever reflecting to his best bud Samwell Tarly about how he used to be so jealous of his older brother Robb. Robb Stark, heir to Winterfell, King of the North, loved by his men, is now dead. Leadership and duty has its risks. Clearly, Jon is going to be a leader among the Night’s Watch and I imagine he must wonder why is he alive while his brother is dead.
Arya is someone whose fortunes have risen and fallen. If fortune includes coming into your own, I would say Arya’s fortune is on the rise. She lost her family and her identity after the war, but she’s a survivor. Her smarts and skills have kept her alive so far. The most pivotal moment for me is when Arya reclaims Needle, the sword made for her by Jon.
How does she do it? By avenging the death of her friend Lommy and killing the man in the same cruel manner. As one of the last remaining Starks, I’d like to think Arya’s Needle is the new Ice.
The world is not black and white and one must rely on your enemies temporarily if it 1) keeps you alive and 2) serves your immediate purposes. We see this Arya and the Hound, the man holding her hostage. The Hound, a feared and reviled man who served King Joffrey, (to echo the Hound, “F*ck the King!”) is now on the run. Arya is his only bargaining chip as he flees King’s Landing.
When Arya and the Hound enter a tavern to retrieve Needle, Arya quickly sees how she’s rather fortunate to be with a fighter who has a code. While Arya doesn’t like the Hound, she still travels with him because he can help her reach her goal (reuniting with relatives) and he can fight like a mofo.
With Arya and Jon, there is hope that House Stark will rise from the ashes. Like the Targaryens before them, the Lannisters’ (Baratheon in name only) time is running out. Every great family will rise and fall. Don’t forget: “The North Remembers.”
Other Random Thoughts:
I can only dream of seeing some of her bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes, this season.Like Papa Tywin, looks like Daenarys, the Mother of Dragons is having a tough time controlling her brood of dragons. Did I see a flash of fear on her face when her not-so-baby dragon snarled at her?
Sad face for the absence of Littlefinger, Varys, Hodor, Bran, any of the direwolves and my boo, Gendry Waters.
Nice to see King Joffrey still as much of a sadistic prick as ever.
Adieu for now, my pretties!