Game of Thrones – Episode 4.4 “Oathkeeper”

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Synopsis: For a series with so much action, it’s kind of crazy there are two separate storylines dealing with illiteracy. First Shireen with Davos, now we get Missandei helping Grey Worm learn the common tongue. In doing so, they share a little bit about their histories as slaves. Daenerys and Selmy interrupt, lessons will have to wait. It’s time. Grey Worm and a group of unsullied infiltrate Mereen, and find their way into a meeting of slaves. The slaves weigh the pros and cons of revolution. Grey Worm brings them weapons to help them in their cause. He says no one can give them their freedom, they have to take it. The next morning, they do. A group of masters are chased down and killed. Later, when the rest of the masters are rounded up, Dany orders that 163 of them be crucified, in exchange for the 163 slaves that were crucified as a warning for her on the way to city. Selmy cautions against it, but Dany is firm. The men are crucified. At the pyramid-like tower of Mereen Dany stands above the city, her flag hanging behind her. In King’s Landing, Bronn and Jaime continue their training. Jaime asks Bronn if he thinks Tyrion was behind Joffrey’s murder. He doesn’t. Poison isn’t his style. Nor murder. Bronn chides Jaime for not visiting Tyrion. So, he does. Jaime apologizes for not visiting sooner, but Tyrion understands it’s complicated. He asks if Cersei asked Jaime to kill him, and he says she did. Tyrion wonders if that’s why he came, but Jaime knows he didn’t do it. He thinks Sansa was involved, why else would she disappear, but Tyrion knows his wife is not a killer, not yet, he says. On the ship, Sansa asks Littlefinger where they are headed. Baelish says they are going to her aunt Lysa’s, where is to be married to her. Sansa asks him if he killed Joffrey. He says he’s been in the Vale, but Sansa says he was obviously working with someone. He doesn’t name his accomplice, but admits that her necklace housed the poison that was used. He admits that he had other friends that wanted Joffrey gone.

Margaery says goodbye to her grandmother, though she’s not happy she’s leaving. Olenna says it’s time to get back, and she has no interest in the trial. Margaery wonders if Tyrion is guilty, but Olenna knows that he’s not. She says she was not about to let her granddaughter marry that monster. She tells Margaery she needs to connect with Tommen before Cersei fills him with hatred against her. Once she has her hooks in him, she can be queen by his side. Jon Snow trains the other Crows (men of the Night’s Watch), how to fight against the Wildlings. Apparently, Locke has joined the fold as he is one of Snow’s students. Alliser Thorne, now acting commander, stops them and tells Snow that he should return to his duties as steward. He also calls him a traitorous bastard for good measure and dares him to take a swing with Mormont not around to protect him. Jon stares him down but walks off. Janos Slynt talks to Thorne and suggests he send Snow back to Craster’s to deal with the mutineers.  They can take care of him so he’s no longer their problem. This fluffy puppy version of Locke (obviously a spy for Bolton) befriends Snow. Cersei has sent for Jaime. She questions why there is only one guard posted outside Tommen’s room, but Jaime promises he’s safe. Cersei questions Jaime’s oath to Catelyn and wonders if he would bring her Sansa’s head if she asked for it. Jaime doesn’t answer. She says she knows he visited Tyrion, and Jaime says he did but swears that Tyrion isn’t guilty. Cersei says he’s always had a soft spot for their brother. She tells him to place more guards on Tommen and then dismisses him.

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Tommen tosses and turns in his bed when he hears a noise. He is startled to see Margaery enter. He is worried his mother will not like it, but Margaery just wants to get to know her intended better. It’s okay to have a few secrets between them, she says. He introduces her to Ser Pounce, his cat. Jaime visits Brienne, he has a mission for her. He gives her his sword, the Valyrian steel one made from Ned’s sword and given to him by Tywin. He says she will use the sword when she finds Sansa and gets her somewhere safe. He also had a suit of armor made for her. Brienne agrees. Jaime has one more gift, Podrick. Her new squire. Jaime says he has to go because he’s not safe in King’s Landing. Bronn gifts Podrick with Tyrion’s Axe from the battle of Blackwater. Brienne dubs her sword “Oathkeeper.” Sam laments to Jon about Gilly not being safe. He wants to go back for her, but Jon says he can’t. Snow is worried about Bran going north beyond the wall, especially if he goes near Craster’s keep. Thorne tells Snow that he can march on Craster’s keep, to capture or kill the mutineers, but won’t order anyone to go with him, volunteers only. Jon gives a rousing speech and asks for volunteers, Grenn is first to stand. Tollett as well, and soon others agree, including Locke. Back at the keep, Karl drinks wine from the skull of Mormont as his men rape Craster’s daughters. A woman enters with a baby, Craster’s last child, a boy. She says Craster offered them to the gods, so Karl hands the baby to Rast. Rast heads into the woods and leaves the baby behind. Rast passes Ghost, whom they have caged outside. Nearby, Bran, Hodor, Jojen and Meera hear the baby crying. Bran wargs into Summer and follows the sound of the baby. He sees Ghost, but Summer is trapped and Bran wakes up. In the morning, they spy on the camp but are captured. The men abuse Hodor while Karl questions who Bran is. After a bit of slapping, and a knife at Meera’s throat, Bran confesses his identity. A White Walker has the baby. On a dead horse he rides, to a structure in the middle of the ice, where he sets the baby in the center of a structure surrounded by crystals. Another walker approaches, touches the baby’s face as his eyes go blue, becoming one of them.

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Comments: The first real step forward in the evolution of the White Walkers. This is the first on-screen understanding of exactly what they were doing with Craster’s offerings. They were growing their army. We finally learn what happened to Ghost as he was left behind a couple times and no one on screen has asked about him. We get the reveal on who killed Joffrey. Not explicitly, but obviously. Thankfully, it wasn’t a mystery they dragged out for the whole season, and it ups the stakes for Tyrion’s trial when the audience knows for sure he’s innocent, since there’s always been a small notion that he could do it. The action at the wall and north of it heats up as Jon and Bran are once again close to reuniting. Dany’s takeover of Mereen is complete, and it gives her a new base of operations, but it’s not as quick and easy as it first appears. After his rape of Cersei last episode, Jaime is back to being noble with his attempt to salvage his promise to Catelyn. And another unlikely pairing-Brienne and Podrick-begins.

Quotes:
Dany: I will answer injustice with justice.

Baelish: A man with no motive is a man no one suspects. Always keep your foes confused.

Tyrion: The kingslayer brothers. You like it? I like it.

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Foreshadowing: Sansa’s not a killer, not yet, Tyrion says. Maergery, thanks to a push from her grandmother, figures out the best way to get Tommen on her side. Cersei, blinded by rage, fails to see the big picture. Baelish says he’s willing to risk everything to get what he wants. 

Title: The name Brienne gives her sword, in honor of Jaime who gave her the weapon but also because he is upholding his promise to Catelyn Stark in charging her to find Sansa. It stands in juxtaposition to his other moniker of oathbreaker, which he earned by killing the king he had sworn to protect.

Deaths: Well, there’s a bunch of nameless masters that are crucified. That can’t be good for their continued living.

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