Season Four, Episode Four: Oathkeeper
Lots of important stuff happens in surprisingly understated fashion this week in Game Of Thrones land with episode four driving the story forward on multiple fronts with lean efficiency while tossing in a bit of underage sexual manipulation humor (yay!) and the return of some chilly old friends (double yay!) by whom I very definitely do not mean Mance Rayder and his ever-so-scary because clearly the thing to do after assembling a massive army to assault one very particular castle is to sit around on your collective asses for months on end without ever attacking anything, never mind the castle in question. So, no, no Mance. I'm beginning to think he will never, ever reappear at all and his existence in previous seasons was nothing but a cruel ruse. If you count the number of times other characters - who all have to move slowly and stealthily - have made it to and from the north (hell, to and from Mance, before getting home all shot up with arrows and spending further weeks returning to full health) with Mance seemingly not advancing at all and it's just ridiculous. Here ends pet rant.
That rant over, shall I begin another about the troubling pro-colonial politics of the entire Danaerys storyline in its current configuration, with the cultured, intelligent white woman roaming the countryside to liberate the poor, ignorant brown people? Nah, but only because I don't know what the end point of this particular story is going to be - meaning what appears pro-colonial now may very well not be at the end. And, of course, because the main problem is that Danaerys has gotten bloody well boring. Enough with the posturing and speechifying. Send a dragon to eat someone, already. Nobody cares about the fact that you're taking control of cities that we didn't know a thing about before you arrived to take control of them and you're just repeating yourself ad nauseam. Enough of that. Dragon. Eat. Now.
Meanwhile, the Lannister Brothers of King's Landing are conspiring to make Todd feel clever. By which I mean of course, that the splinter faction of Jaime and Tyrion that I guessed would start to form last week has indeed started to form with Jaime reaching out to his imprisoned brother, defying Cersei and taking steps both to ensure Pod gets out of the city safely and to find and secure Sansa. Cersei doesn't know all of it but she certainly knows enough to be pissed off - you can tell by the particularly forceful way she guzzles her wine, angry drunk that she is increasingly becoming - and you know she's just going to get angrier. Tywin will probably be pissed to, when he learns that Jaime has given away his sword. Also, though Margaery makes it close later, Bronn wins the episode.
And where is Sansa? Still on a boat with Littlefinger, who also continues speechifying in a manner equally as tedious as Danaerys, confirming what we already knew about his involvement in Joffrey's murder while further expanding that he did it to appease some powerful new ally. The really important bit here? Word that Littlefinger is taking Sansa to her aunt - who he is marrying - where, if we're very lucky we may again witness a teenage boy breastfeeding. Also, it should be noted, this is where The Hound is taking Arya, hoping for a reward. Stark reunion? Could be coming.
Oh, Littlefinger's new ally is Gramma Tyrell who is apparently not at all worried about spies as she just tells Margaery flat out that she had Joffrey killed and now, dear, why don't you go get his pubescent younger brother all hot and bothered to swing his allegiance to you instead of his mother? Right-o. Tommen has no idea what's just happened to him, really, though with the sorts of dreams he's likely to have I doubt very much he cares, either.
And then off to the North where the interesting (but non-Mancy) stuff happens. Stuff that should soon lead to yet another Stark reunion. Moving quickly:
1. Bolton's man Locke arrives at Castle Black to keep an eye on Jon and see if he plans retribution for Robb's murder. Jon, surprisingly, does not with his attention on more pressing matters and Locke may actually prove useful as a skilled fighter. Unless he stabs Jon in the back, of course.
2. Asshole Commander continues being an Asshole but agree to let Jon take a volunteer force against the mutineers at Craster's Keep, hoping that the mutineers will kill Jon off because this is the sort of thing that Assholes hope for when guarding a radically under-manned castle against a vastly superior force. Yes, kill that guy off. That'll help.
3. Bran stumbles into Craster's Keep where he interrupts a spate of raping and is captured.
Two important notes here: First, Bran is where Jon is going. Reunion impending! Two, there are now two very large wolves at Craster's along with two young men who can control animals with their minds. Bets on how many mutineers have their faces bitten off before Jon arrives? I say six.
And then there's the end. White Walkers! Yay! Walking! And riding horses! And taking a baby but not eating it, which is kind of what I thought they were going to do! Does this mean much for the story? Not as such at the moment, no, but good lord it's nice to finally see some of the core mythology that drove the show early on and that was at the center of the original crisis return and be fleshed out a bit. They're the ice bit of 'fire and ice', after all, and they've scarcely been present at all. Happy to see you, Chilly Man, stick around.