tv review – HBO’s Game Of Thrones, episode 4.3

The king’s dead, long live the king. After last week’s wedding, a wedding that was not yet consummated, the crown went from the one Lannister to the next. After Joffrey’s demise Tommen’s now the Lannister who will sit on the Iron Throne, and fortunately he’s a far cry from his half-brother: Tommen seems like a kind boy, one who heads advice and is aware of the fact that with great power comes great responsibility. Tywin’s speech to him about the one quality a king should possess was great, wonderfully delivered by Charles Dance. He took the boy under his wing, wants to tutor him and mold him into a great ruler, one who rules as Tywin sees fit, no doubt. Another wonderful moment was Jaime’s comment, who, unlike his father, was more concerned with the boy’s health than with his future role. That he proceeded to give his own meaning to funeral sex, wasn’t as wonderful: he basically raped his sister Cersei next to their dead child, his love for her seemingly destroyed by her hatred and cruelty, this act a signifier of Jaime’s changed attitude toward her and a telling sign of where his allegiances lie: with himself and, I suspect, his brother Tyrion, who’s awaiting trial in a King’s Landing dungeon. We know he didn’t kill Joffrey though, that Littlefinger is at least in part responsible. He whisked Sansa away, but that’s all we learned so far. Another thing we learned is that Aidan Gillen’s acting seems to get hammier with each season: he makes Baelish a pantomime villain, which is starting to make hard to buy into the fact he keeps getting away with all sorts of devious schemes.

While the most interesting developments take place in King’s Landing (apart from what I described above, Tywin has also struck a deal with Oberyn Martell, an unlikely ally), Daenerys’ journey remains another plot that keeps me on the edge of my seat. Foremost because she’s a character with an agenda that’s easy to root for: she’s now arrived at Meereen, where her goal is freeing its slaves again and taking over the city. Sometimes there’s the creeping feeling that sometimes it’s too easy for viewers to root for her though: every city ruler she encounters is a power-hungry and boorish sadist, and Meereen’s monarch was no different. He sent his champion to insult her and defeat Daenerys’ chosen, but that didn’t go as planned: Michiel Huisman’s Daario Naharis efficiently killed the man, after which he returned the insult. Despite Daario’s efficiency and ruthlessness Huisman makes his character one who exudes warmth and confidence, one who’s willing to work for Daenerys’ affections. It makes Daario more than a skilled killer and cool badass; it makes him human and relatable, a character instead of a type. The episode ended with the Mother of Dragons launching barrels filled with opened slave collars at the city, which will likely help spark a rebellion among Meereen’s slaves next week. A curveball would be nice though: as Daenerys herself mentioned, this will be the third city she overtakes, and as much as I’m rooting for her, things could get repetitive rather fast.

Something I discussed last week is still at play now: I don’t feel particularly invested in some of the other strands the show’s got going on. We got a bit of Arya and the Hound this week, of Sam and Gilly, of Jon Snow and the men of the Night’s Watch, of the wildlings ransacking a town and slaughtering its townsfolk, and of Stannis and Davos. Nothing much is happening as of yet though, and because of it the scenes feel like small and insignificant steps to move the plot forward until we get to the juicy bits. While that’s entirely understandable, the problem with it is that elsewhere there are very interesting twists and turns taking place, and, as a viewer, I’d rather get more of that, than Sam putting Gilly in a town brothel because he’s afraid he can’t protect her at Castle Black. These developments will undoubtedly prove significant to the overall plot later on, but right now they’re just rather dull compared to the bigger events.

‘Breaker Of Chains’ was a decent episode but, after ‘Two Swords’ and most notably ‘The Lion And The Rose’, Game Of Thrones latest outing just wasn’t as exciting or significant. 7/10

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