GAME OF THRONES – Season Four (2014)

Game of Thrones: Season 4 has one of the most satisfying if not good episodes of the series yet. The one that I am talking about is episode 2 wherein Joffrey finally dies. I hated this character from the beginning of the show and finally in this series he pays for all that he had done with a gruesome death. Sadly enough one of my favorite characters of the series, Tyrion Lannister is convicted of the crime which interestingly leads to one of the most smashing sequences of the whole series. Tyrion’s trial is one of the highest points of this season.

Jamie Lannister is back and he takes back his position as the King’s guard. Joffrey is getting married and that leads to the invitation of representatives from all seven kingdoms. One of the representatives is Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), the prince of Dorne. He has unmatched hatred for the Lannisters and holds them responsible for the death and rape of his sister. The one who did the heinous act was “The Mountain”. Oberyn gets a chance to off “The Mountain” when Tyrion in his trial demands a trial by combat and Cersei chooses “The Mountain” to be her champion and Oberyn volunteers for Tyrion. Cersei, on the other hand, is trying her best to ensure that Tyrion is dead even before the trial.

After the assassination of Joffrey, Sansa is taken by Petyr Baelish to her Aunt, Lysa. Later Baelish pushes Lysa to her death when she threatens Sansa’s safety. Khaleesi finally captures the town of Meereen after aiding the uprising of the slaves but she is growing increasingly tense by the manner in which her dragons are growing un-tame. Roose Bolton rewards his son Ramsay for capturing a strategic place held by his father’s men. Ramsay is also given the title of Bolton. Bran continues on his journey towards the north of the wall to find the three eyed Raven. He crosses path with Jon but slips past him without letting him know of his presence.

In the North, John Snow recovers from his wounds and prepares for a fight with Manse’s men as they lay siege to the wall in the hope of finding shelter behind the wall before winter sets in and brings the marauding White Walkers with it. Arya Stark is making her way through the wilderness with “The Hound” chipping away at her enemies one by one. Brienne, who has been relieved and sent from King’s Landing, is now looking for Arya whom she wishes to rescue. Stannis Baratheon and his hand Davos Seaworth make it to the Iron Bank in Bravos and are able to convince them to fund his war against the Lannisters.

This season hinges primarily on number brilliant episodes.

The Watchers on The Wall: This episode has some of the most breathtaking war sequences ever to have appeared on the small screen. The war between the wildlings led by Mance and the Night Watch is grueling, exciting and filmed on a large scale. It’s no surprise that between January 30 and February 5, 2015, the last two episodes of season four were shown in 205 IMAX theaters in the U.S. Game of Thrones is the first TV series released in this format and a lot of its credit has to go to these gigantic war sequences.

The Lion and The Rose: I love this episode primarily for the manner in which tension is built up between Joffrey and Tyrion culminating in the death of Joffrey. The tension is so palpable and so very well acted that it is bound to give anyone and everyone a kick. Just look at Dinklage’s reaction when his character Tyrion is insulted and the manner in which he hits back at Joffrey.

The Laws of God and Men: This could well be the best episode of the season primarily because of the trial that Tyrion faces and the manner in which he lashes out after being wrongly accused, humiliated and stripped off the woman that he began to love. What was affecting and haunting about the episode was the performances by each and every one of the characters. They all went in to make it believable. The manner in which Tyrion finally calls for a trial by combat is bound to inspire even the most insipid of the viewer.

The Mountain and the Viper: This was a smashing episode owing to the scintillating combat between “the Mountain” and Oberyn to decide Tyrion’s fate. This combat ends with such a shock that I was really taken aback by it. I was really not expecting what happened in this case and I would not spoil the fun for all those who haven’t watched it yet giving away the plot points here. Best you enjoy it firsthand.

Speaking of the performances, this is a Peter Dinklage and Kit Harrington season. While Peter makes the most impact on his trail sequence and the last one that he shares with his father in his room, Harrington is gradually shaping up to be the leader of the Night Watch. Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish is assuming importance here. He is an intelligently written character and that shows in the manner that he plays the people around him. He never forces anyone to his will but molds them to his with his wit and intellect.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister has come a long way from being absolutely hateful in season one to an almost likable character in this season. His scenes with Dinklage are warm and full of tragedy. He is a brother who cannot save his brother from his own father in this season. Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell is terrific. His act is both charismatic and inspiring. For a while there I thought that he would go on to become an important character but what happens to him left me speechless. Therein, I believe, lies the strength of Game of Thrones. It surprises you every now and then.

I am into the fourth season and all I can do is ask for more. I don’t remember being transfixed to a series as much as I have got transfixed to this. The rumors were right and the Game of Thrones Fans lobby has its heart in the right place.

Rating: 3.75/5 (3.75 out of 5 Stars)  

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