For months we have waited for the return of arguably the greatest spectacle in the history of television. HBO’s Game of Thrones (GOT) has gained such a rabid fan base in part because of the unpredictable nature of the show. Promoting the new season with billboards plastered everywhere reading, “All Men Must Die,” is an ominous statement that falls in line with what we have come to expect from GOT. With death being a constant theme and a driving motivator, it’s made the season four premiere one where half expected for something outlandish to happen. But the writers are so wonderful at setting up storylines perfectly, never rushing, and making sure every word uttered by the characters is for a purpose not always seen in the present. They continually leave us wanting more. “There’s a fuck load of death,” said star Kit Harington (Jon Snow) in a recent interview with The Shadow League. “It’s the most expensive season of TV ever done. One of the most expensive episodes of TV ever done. It’s the most action packed, the most fights, the most deaths, than any of the other seasons.”
RELATED: SCREEN TIME: Kit Harington
With the premiere episode titled "Two Swords", the opening credits finished wrapping with two blacksmiths toiling away over a hot furnace. We see them removing the handle of a broadsword that fans with an eye for detail could identify right away. The ancestral sword is called Ice and was owned by Ned Stark, the former head of the House of Stark who lost his head during the first season. The oversized blade is thrown in the furnace and melted down to form two swords as Tywin Lannister looks on with a rare look of satisfaction plastered on his self-righteous face. He grabbed the wolf’s pelt that once sat upon the shoulders of Ned and Rob Stark and threw it in the fire. Tywin then gives one of the two newly forged blades to his son Jaime, who is being fitted with a prosthetic to replace his severed hand. His father wishes for him to return to Casterly Rock to watch over their family’s legacy. Forty-year-old Jaime, who rarely stands up to his dad, declines and says he wishes to never marry or have children, and will instead remain one of the King’s Guards. Tywin’s comical response? “A one handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.”
The following scenes show the incestuously disturbing “love” relationship between Cersei and Jaime has been strained with his absence. Cersei declines his sexual advances, thinking he is less the man he was because of his lost hand.
But of course no one is ever safe. And now a new enemy to the House of Lannister emerges in the form of Prince Oberyn, who attends the royal wedding, outspoken in seeking revenge for his sister's gruesome death at the hands of Tywin's men.
In what seemed like an episode fully focused on the Lannisters, we see Tyrion toiling away in bureaucracy, still attempting to win his father’s favor, while feigning as if he really doesn’t care. Dealing with comforting his new young wife over the death of her family, he does his best to smooth things over with Shae, his true love still posing as a handmaiden to Sansa. As Shae flees the chambers of Tyrion, a spy for his sister Cersei lurks nearby noticing all.
Across the land, Jon Snow returns to Castle Black and the Night’s Watch to stand before a group of elders deciding his fate over breaking his oath. Meanwhile, we find that Daenerys, the mother of dragons, continues on a perpetual mission to liberate every slave-owning city state she encounters. The dragons are growing, pulling away from her control, with the largest of the “babies” snapping at her while attempting to feed.
The most memorable violence of the premiere were the scenes with Young Arya Stark and The Hound, as they stumble across Polliver and the band of soldiers responsible for stealing her sword and killing her friend. Against the wishes of The Hound, Arya enters the pub and a murderous altercation ensues which ends as Arya again cements herself as a young killer. She slowly pushed a blade through the bottom of her enemy’s chin, piercing the brain, and smiling as she sadistically rides away.
Sunday’s premiere showed that the stage has been set and dangers to the land of Westeros are as typical as usual. The questions: Will Sansa Stark finally grow a backbone? Will Jaime Lannister honor his debt to move Sansa to safety? Will Daenerys lose control of her dragons and a chance to claim the thrown? Will someone finally kill the annoying King Joffrey?
“Two Swords” set the table for what will likely be a feast of mayhem and revenge this season. Hope you’re hungry for chaos and intrigue.