Game of Thrones S4x01 “Two Swords”
Expect Major Spoilers for the series! It’s good to be back. Having recently caught up on Game of Thrones I was able to watch this episode shortly after it aired and ended up like always, really enjoying it. Right now, along with Supernatural, Arrow, Orphan Black and Person of Interest, it’s among my Top 5 Favourite ongoing shows on TV right now and Two Swords gave us another stellar series opener that kept up the high level of consistency that the show was maintaining throughout its third season.
The first season Post-Red Wedding started off in a throwback to the past in a very good way. The reappearance of the same sword that Eddard used to cut off a Night’s Watch deserter’s head in Season 1 that was later used to behead him in Season 2 was melded into a sword before being given to Jamie upon his return to King’s Landing. It was a sombre way to start the premiere and really sets the tone for the rest of the series, signifying how much has changed. Gone are both Eddard and Robb, with the show being incredibly different from the few early episodes in the first season.
The absence of any adult, alive Starks wanting to topple the Lannisters guarantees a certain degree of safety from the outside, with the war over as far as everyone can tell. What direction does the show go in now that the major opponents to the Lannisters are either dead (Starks), powerless (Arya/Sansa) or have other priorities (Jon & Dany)? This show answers that question perfectly, giving us plenty of plot and action to satisfy us in the 60 minute running time.
There are several new threats that the series introduces for the Lannisters to deal with however, so it’s not easy for them. Prince Obyeron Martell (played very well by Pedro Pascal), is our first introduction to the Southern Dornish realm, having paid a visit instead of his brother, who blames Tywin for the murder of his sister. He’s the major threat that the Lannisters have to deal with for now, even if he may not have brought an army with him.
Tyrion is back to his usual self and as always, he steals the show, with some witty one-liners and fun banter with Bronn. The relationship between Jamie and Cersei is changing heavily in this episode and Cersei is no longer welcoming of him as she was at the beginning of the show. Everybody has changed, and not one character is the same as they were.
In the North, Jon Snow’s storyline was pulled off very well as the aftermath of his journey in Season 3 was dealt with strongly. We got to see
how the surviving Starks deal with the death of Robb and Catelyn in their different ways, Jon, Sansa and Arya, all characters who have gone down very different paths. It was good to see that we didn’t have to wait until the following week to see any of these characters like Season 3 – Season 4 manages to cram an already large cast without losing momentum. However, it does spring up a few potential problems for the future, and the storyline could begin to meander now that we’ve lost the Stark/Lannister conflict for the time being.
The weakest parts of the episode unfortunately belongs to Daenerys. Whilst it was great to see the dragons growing with a good use of the special effects budget and it looks like we’ll see her army in action sooner rather than later, her parts lacked the engaging factor that the others had – with her exchanges with Daario Naharis having the distinctive feeling of a soap opera, rather than an epic fantasy show. However, whilst Dany’s section may not have been as good, it was the only weak spot in the show – with everything else being just as engrossing as per normal.
Game of Thrones’ return then, has been another exceptional installment of one of the best shows on TV. It’s captivating, highly developed and highly enthralling, with some well-rounded characters that are handled very well – we get a lot crammed into this episode and with lesser writers this would have backfired, but the creative team of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss more than live up to the task, making the wait for next week seem longer than ever.