Episode 4 of Season 4 (S4E04) of Game of Thrones is titled "Oathkeeper." It aired last Sunday and even though I was able to see it live unfortunately it has taken me almost a full week to find the time to blog my thoughts about it, similar to what happened with the previous episode, S4E03's"Breaker of Chains."
Oathkeeper ostensibly refers to the name of the new sword given to Ser Jaime Lannister by his father, which was created out of part of the Valyrian steel supplied when the Stark family sword "Ice" was melted down by Tywin Lannister at the very beginning of S4E01's "Two Swords."
S4E04 contains some very important scenes that are important turning points in the overall story that Game of Thrones is telling. First, it is revealed almost immediately that Petyr Baelish, a.k.a Littlefinger was involved in the assassination of King Joffrey Barratheon. He basically confirms this fact when he is lecherously boasting to Sansa Stark about his new friends that will protect him from Lannister wrath. Cut immediately to the Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell speaking with her granddaughter Margaery, tacitly confirming her complicity in regicide by saying how she would not have let Margaery "marry that little beast" and then adjusted the necklaces around Margaery's neck. A clue to those in the know that it was the necklace worn by Sansa to the Royal Wedding procured for her by Littlefinger that carried the poison that killed Joffrey.
But, since this is Game of Thrones, finding out who killed the King is not the most important moment in the episode. That would have tp be the capture of Bran Stark by the odious mutineers now raping and pillaging their brains out at Craster's Keep. The same location where Bran's half-brother Jon Snow is on his way to intercept his former colleagues in the Night's Watch before they can let the secret out about how understaffed and unprepared the Wall is for an attack by Mance Ryder's Wildling army. The fact that Jon and Bran might meet North of the Wall, something that does NOT happen in the books is a very interesting development, indicating the television adaptation is diverging from its source material in surprising (and important) ways.
There were many highlights of this episode
- Promise Keepers? One of the little-noticed moments in (S4E02) "The Lion and the Rose" due to other more shocking events was the meeting between Brienne and Cersei that led to Brienne realizing she is in love with Jaime. Jaime is the most famous example of an Oathbreaker in the seven kingdoms, because as a member of the Kingsguard as a teenager, he killed the Mad King in order to prevent the slaughter of King's Landing. After Jaime is reminded of the oath that he made to Catelyn Stark to find and return her daughters in exchange for her saving his life and releasing him from captivity, he gives Brienne the sword his father gave him as well as his brother's squire, Podrick Payne and tasks her with fulfilling his oath to find and save Arya and Sansa. Brienne names the sword "Oathkeeper," which is how she sees Jaime and she would like him to see himself. It's a momentous scene and after all the time they spent together in Season 3, you get the impression these two do not expect to see each other again.
- Slaves Are People Too! The episode began with a scene between Grey Worm and Missandei, two former slaves talking about their pasts, as Daenerys' erstwhile translator tried to teach the head of Daeners' army of former slave soldiers, the Unsullied. Later in the episode we see a conversation between actual slaves of the City of Mereen as they consider whether the "Breaker of Chains" can really be the means to the end of their servitude, or is she just the catalyst for another failed slave revolt.
- Pussy Galore. The scene where Margaery enters soon-to-be-king Tommen's bedroom and seduces/befriends the pre-pubescent boy with her feminine wiles was spellbinding. And we found out Tommen has a cat named Ser Pounce!
- WTF? The final scene of the episode was one of the most controversial for people who have read the books like me. We discovered that the White Walkers have the ability to convert the human baby children that have been abandoned in the snow by the evil Craster into more un-dead, glowing-eyed zombies with the touch of a finger! This was quite an astonishing reveal.
The only flaw in this episode I can think of worth mentioning is:
- Enough Already! Did we really need to see that the former Night's Watch guys who mutinied and slit Lord Commander Mormont's throat raping Craster's wives? We know that they are bad bad guys. The gratuitous nudity and sexuality in the show is becoming ludicrous.
Overall, S4E04 was quite an important episode. We are almost half-way through Season 4, and the events told in Books 3, 4 and 5 are starting to show up. In fact, some people are speculating that the final scene was something from Book 6. Only time will tell!