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The third episode of the fourth season picks up right where the previous episode ended. Joffrey, his head still in his mother’s lap, is still dead and Cersei is both grieving her son’s death as well as ordering her little brother arrested for his murder. Arya and the Hound are still wandering the countryside. Dany is still speaking multiple languages and freeing slaves. Stanis is looking more crazytown than ever. The Wildlings are rampaging. The Rangers are staying put (or maybe not). You know what, a lot of stuff happened in this episode so why don’t you go ahead a read my 5 Random Thoughts On Game of Thrones “Breaker of Chains.”
As always spoilers the size of a five-person Dorne orgy below.
1. Sooo did Littlefinger kill Joffrey?
When Dontos was whisking Sansa through the city and rowing her out to sea, I thought “Okay, he did it.” Then former Baltimore Mayor Littlefinger showed up and shot poor Dontos in the face, and I was like “OKAY, HE DID IT!” But it turns out Littlefinger only wanted Sansa. Was it a coincidence that someone poisoned Joffrey and Dontos saw his opportunity to snatch Sansa? Or did Littlefinger also poison Joffrey?
I’ve updated my suspect list from last week:
Out of the running
Tyrian – As I wrote last week it’s not like Tyrian didn’t want Joffrey dead but if he were going to kill him he’d be sure to make sure he didn’t end up the prime suspect. Tyrian pretty much echoed those thoughts this week so we can officially rule him out.
Sansa – This poor girl has no idea what’s going on let alone the wherewithal to poison anyone. The look on her face reminds me of my dog’s whenever we go for a car ride. “ARE WE GOING TO THE PARK? ARE WE GOING TO THE PARK? ARE WE GOING TO THE PARK? Crap, it’s the vet again isn’t it?”
Dontos – It’s looking like he just seized an opportunity to snatch Sana for a bunch of gold that turned out to be a crossbow to the face. RIP Dontos.
Margaery Tyrell – She’s out for the simple reason that since Joffrey didn’t have the opportunity to make sweet, sweet psycho sexy time with her. She can’t be Queen if she never consummated her marriage. It wouldn’t make sense for her to kill Joffrey before that.
Ehh I’m 50/50
Cersei Lannister – I moved her from the top of my list of suspects to almost acquitting her. She put on a good show of grief, and everyone keeps mentioning that “you can say what you want about Cersei, but she does love her children.” Even the person she blames, Tyrian, is convinced it wasn’t her so unless this is all just a slight of hand trick I think we have to look elsewhere.
In contention still
Tywin Lannister – Grandpa Tywin is not a sentimental man. He quickly moved from one dead grandson to the much less psychotic grandson without batting an eye. He seems intent on putting his son on trial for Joffrey’s murder, but he is also putting together an impressive panel of judges. Is he creating an out for Tyrian? Was his whole plan to kill his grandson, blame his son, put his more stable grandson on the throne, then rig the trial to have his son found not guilty?
Melisandre (the red witch) – Well, Stanis thinks it was her, so she’s got that going for her.
Shae – Never say never. She was pretty upset at Tyrian.
Littlefinger – He kidnaps Sansai but is she worth the headache that killing a king gets you? Mayor Littlefinger seems to have reached a new level of creepiness which I’m sure bodes well for Sansai.
2. The Hound understands the world
The last time we saw the Hound and Arya Stark they were riding off with a couple of horses. The Hound got some chickens and Arya got some revenge after killing that prick that killed Lommey. They were continuing to head in the general direction of Arya’s aunt so the Hound could sell her when they ran across a farmer and his daughter. After some quick talking by Arya, they end up taking shelter for the night with them and enjoying some rabbit stew. The kind farmer offers the Hound a trade “some honest pay for some honest work.” The Hound agrees to the surprise of Arya. At first, I was expecting the Hound to rob these lovely people, but then I remembered that the Hound isn’t a thief. Sure he’d kill a kid if ordered to but he’s not a thief. He said so himself when, oh wait, he’s robbing these people.
The Hound is a jerk. But that doesn’t make him wrong about the world. His rationale for robbing the farmer was simple. He was weak. Someone was going to rob him and take his silver. It minds as well be him. Not robbing the farmer wasn’t going to make him any less dead come winter. Taking the silver will make him and Arya more likely not to starve to death before reaching Arya’s aunt.
Situations like these that occurs a lot in The Walking Dead and let’s face it wandering around Westeros isn’t much safer than rural Georgia during the zombie apocalypse. Characters that seem to survive the longest on both shows are those that understand the world they live in now. Not the one that it used to be or wish it to be.
If the farmer didn’t have the common sense to:
A) Avoid stopping and talking to the Hound, hint, when you see a 6′ 6″ man with half a face keep moving.
B) Invite said half faced man home with you and your young daughter for rabbit stew.
C) Tell this menacing looking, short-tempered, ungodly half faced man that you have a bunch of silver hidden somewhere.
Then the Hound was right. He wasn’t going to make it in this world. Arya disagrees with him of course and sets him up beautifully to deliver the line of the night.
3. Sam is not making good choices
I don’t think I’ve written much about the Sam/Gilly storyline, mainly because the site is 5 Random Thoughts On and they never interested me enough to crack the top 5. But there was a lot of Sam tonight. He was fretting about the safety of Gilly among 100 Crows, so he had the idea to take her to somewhere safe. A brothel. Outside the walls of Castle Black. She went from a place full of men who swore off the temptation of women to a place where they go specifically to pay for that temptation.
Sam is overwhelmed. He’s torn between his oath to the Night’s Watch, his feelings for Gilly (and baby Sam), and his fear of all the horrible things surrounding them both (Whitewalkers, Wildings, horny Crows, and creepy brothel workers that look like they want to eat her baby).
With so many terrible people in the GoT’s world, it’s easy to root for someone like Sam. But since we are in the GoT world it’s also important to not get our hopes up. Pull your head out of your ass Sam!
4. Westeros is a terrible place
I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to pull for Dany and her dragons to burn Westeros to the ground so they can rebuild it. Everyone outside of a city or castle is just waiting for some other group to stroll by, and rob/rape/murder them. Perhaps this is because of all the factions that popped up trying to claim the throne after King Robert died caused chaos and there isn’t anyone in charge outside the main cities. Maybe before these rebellions, people could live a quiet life as a farmer and raised a family. It doesn’t seem possible at the moment. One minute you’re just a tavern owner living a simple life when a handful of the king’s men walk in start threatening your daughter and eating your food. The only thing that saves you is an even bigger bastard walks in with his plucky sidekick and proceeds to kill them all.
Or perhaps you’re just a villager talking to your son about potatoes. It’s a beautiful day, and you begin to reflect on your quiet existence only you don’t get to finish because some love scorned redheaded wildling just put an arrow through the back of your head. Then the rest of the wildlings massacre then eat your village for no other reason than to send a message.
5. So, about that scene…
Leave it to GoT’s to find a way to make the forbidden love between a brother and sister even grosser. The scene has been the most talked about of the episode. Not only because of it is horrible to watch but also because it diverged significantly from the book. So much, so that author George R.R. Martin took a moment to address the topic on his blog.
As for your question… I think the “butterfly effect” that I have spoken of so often was at work here. In the novels, Jaime is not present at Joffrey’s death, and indeed, Cersei has been fearful that he is dead himself, that she has lost both the son and the father/ lover/ brother. And then suddenly Jaime is there before her. Maimed and changed, but Jaime nonetheless. Though the time and place is wildly inappropriate and Cersei is fearful of discovery, she is as hungry for him as he is for her.
The whole dynamic is different in the show, where Jaime has been back for weeks at the least, maybe longer, and he and Cersei have been in each other’s company on numerous occasions, often quarreling. The setting is the same, but neither character is in the same place as in the books, which may be why Dan & David played the sept out differently. But that’s just my surmise; we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection.
Also, I was writing the scene from Jaime’s POV, so the reader is inside his head, hearing his thoughts. On the TV show, the camera is necessarily external. You don’t know what anyone is thinking or feeling, just what they are saying and doing. If the show had retained some of Cersei’s dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression — but that dialogue was very much shaped by the circumstances of the books, delivered by a woman who is seeing her lover again for the first time after a long while apart during which she feared he was dead. I am not sure it would have worked with the new timeline.
That’s really all I can say on this issue. The scene was always intended to be disturbing… but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.
For me, the biggest issue was that I spent the past couple of seasons starting to like Jamie Lannister. I couldn’t help but pull for him. I love his relationship with Brienne of Tarth. He saved her from being raped only to lose his hand, and their back-and-forth has been a sweet relief from the constant death and suffering I mentioned in my 4th thought above. After being disowned by his father and rejected by Cersei, I thought the show was setting him up for a major “good guy” push. Perhaps he would save Tyrian, and the two of them would go up against their father? Maybe not.
But now, I don’t know what to think. It’s hard to root for a guy that turned Cersei into a sympathetic character.
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Mr. Fenske is a professor at VCU Brandcenter in Richmond VA. The site is an extension of his efforts in the classroom, except for the cartoons, which seem to grow out of some disaffection he feels with the world. Thank you for visiting. © Mark Fenske
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