tv review – HBO’s Game Of Thrones, episode 4.4

While the final few minutes of ‘Oathkeeper’ were extremely intriguing and fulfilling, the episode itself had little to offer. Most of it was just setup, necessary steps that will hopefully lead to more thrilling and satisfying story moments. The title referred to the second Valyrian Steel blade forged from Ned Stark’s sword. This one was handed over to Brienne by Jaime, to aid her on her quest to find Sansa and keep her safe, an oath passed down by Jaime to his trusted companion because he’s torn between his loyalty to the late Catelyn Stark and his sister. By sending out Brienne he found a way to both honor the promise he made to Catelyn and to appear to be there for his sister, a woman he’s at odds with most of the time since his return, it seems. Jaime for example also doesn’t believe Tyrion killed Joffrey, but his sister does and wants him to make sure Tyrion pays for his crime. The Lannister family ties keep providing intrigue and interesting turns, once again solidifying King’s Landing as the core of season 4’s story.

The rest of the episode felt haphazard to me. ‘Oathkeeper’ answered who was behind the Joffrey assassination, but the way it went about it was very rushed. Suddenly both Littlefinger and Olenna Tyrell outright admitted they did it and that was that, on with the next scene. There’s was no gravitas to it, no subtlety. In many ways it felt like these two characters were nothing more than two cardboard mustache-twirling villains and, well, admittedly Aidan Gillen is playing Baelish like one: his overacting undermined a wonderfully written speech he was given, such a shame. What fared better was Margaery’s scene with Tommen. Now Joffrey’s dead no time must be wasted to get the new king under her influence and the way she goes about it is partly bedazzling and partly chilling. I’m really enjoying Natalie Dormer’s performance, which is seductive, mysterious and at the same time quite perverse. There are many layers there, something I think Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys is lacking, which didn’t have me particularly invested in her successful takeover of Meereen.

Lastly there were two Stark-centric story lines taking place in the North. Jon Snow was moving beyond the Wall to confront the mutineers at Craster’s Keep, who at the meantime stumbled upon Bran and his group. It seems the two Starks are on a collision course, but I’m dreading a forced near miss. Bran sure could he use his brother’s help, since he’s being held captive now, but unfortunately Jon’s party can not be trusted entirely: Locke, a skilled fighter and the man tasked with hunting down the last remaining Starks is with him, which doesn’t bode well. The most interesting part however had to do with the White Walkers and the babies offered up to them. We saw one take a baby, take it far north, where it was left in some sore of ritualistic circle and turned into… a White Walker. This raised a lot of questions I hope the show will be answering soon, because it seems there’s a whole lot more to the White Walkers than we and Westeros’ inhabitants know about.

‘Oathkeeper’ mainly got new story lines going and grew quite dull, but fortunately it ended on a high note. 7/10


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