2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Game of Thrones season 4 preview (spoiler free)

Published: April 1, 2014, 1:20 pm, by Terry Terrones

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Cast: Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) and about 50 others

Air-date, time: Season four premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday April 6 on HBO

The last two episodes of season three of “Game of Thrones” were some of the most action packed in this series. I’ve never read any of the books upon which this show are based but just like so many other people, my jaw dropped during the Red Wedding episode (which is actually called “The Rains of Castamere” but no one calls it that). I’m just glad no one was around to film my reaction on their smart phone and posted it to Youtube. Readers of the novels probably have a good idea of what to expect from season four but since the books and TV show are different mediums, there are differences. Here’s what I learned after watching the first three episodes of the new season.

Synopsis: Encouraged by the Red Wedding slaughter that wiped out the Starks, the Lannisters’ hold on the Iron Throne remains intact. Stannis Baratheon continues to rebuild his army in Dragonstone but a more immediate danger comes from the south as Oberyn Martell, the Lannister hating “Red Viper of Dorne,” arrives at King’s Landing to attend Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell. In the north, a depleted Night’s Watch is dealing with the army of wildlings and the advancing White Walkers. Meanwhile Dany Targaryen, accompanied by her growing trio of dragons and army of Unsullied, is getting ready to liberate Meereen, the largest city in Slaver’s Bay, which could finally provide her with enough ships to sail to Westeros and reclaim the Iron Throne.

What you can expect in the first three episodes (spoiler free):

-       A big splash from Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal). He’s a new character added to the series and he makes an impact immediately. The fact that he hates the Lannisters makes for yet another enemy for the family to deal with. This one seemingly much more dangerous than anything they’ve dealt with before.

-       Bigger dragons. Dany’s three “pets” have grown considerably since season three and she’s having a hard time controlling them. Could they run amok at some point?

-       Joffrey is an even bigger jerk than before. He remains as insolent and arrogant as ever to everybody, especially his uncles. Actor Jack Gleeson has elevated the character from spoiled kid to dangerous, almost homicidal king. He’s fun to hate watch.

-       Jaime and Cersei reunited. Viewers saw this briefly at the end of season three but the siblings/lovers (Ewww!) lives have been complicated since they separated.  They don’t pick up where they left off from before.

-       The emergence of The Hound (Rory McCann) as an anti-hero and Anya Stark (Maisie Williams) as a badass. The two continue their road trip north and form an unlikely duo. They’re the Westeros version of Crockett and Tubbs.

-       A shocking death, not nearly Red Wedding level but still out of left field. If you’ve read the novels you probably know what I’m referring to but as someone who’s never dived into the books the show is based on, this character’s death (and how it happened) really caught me by surprise.

-       Meatier roles for Bran Stark, Tyrion and Cersei. I’m only basing this on the first three episodes so take that with a grain of salt. However, these three characters loom large early in the season. I’ve never been a fan of the Bran story arc but it finally starts to get interesting.

-       Dany Targaryen becomes more queen-like. The Mother of Dragons has freed more slaves than Abraham Lincoln and that continues. After several seasons of relying on others for advice, we really start to see her come into her own in season four.

That’s about all I can spill without giving too many secrets away and I refuse to play spoiler. Season four started off strong and after I finished what I was sent, I was eager for more. I’m sure fans of the show will be too.