Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 3 Recap: Breaker of Chains

In yet another wonderful Sunday night of great dramatic TV, Game of Thrones was about power moves, alliances, and maneuvering oneself to places that will bring them to the ultimate advantage over all others.

Last night’s episode opened in a delightful way, immediately answering the question that’s lingered over fans for the past 7 days: Who killed King Joffrey?

Turns out it was the shady Lord Petyr "Littlefish" Baelish. The one who aligns himself with the highest bidder. The one who lies through slivering snake like lips. Whisking Sansa onto a canoe and through dark tunnels, he reminds her of his most honest warning and words to date about the kingdom being filled with nothing but “liars.” He does this before ironically assuring her of being the only one she should trust. But can we believe that Littlefish is the true brains behind killing the king? Hmmm…

Moving forward, Lady Tyrell soothes her granddaughter, Margaret. In the wake of Joffrey’s untimely death, his new widowed wife questions her place in Westeros. She wonders about her claim to the throne, thinking that perhaps she is cursed after her first husband died at a phantom shadow’s sword. And now her second has apparently choked to death by poison. But grandma Tyrell is experienced in these matter. Knowing the game well, she’s keen and confident in her family’s strength and alliance with the Lannisters and the Tyrell power to eventual take the throne. “You did wonderful work on Joffrey,” she says, sipping from a goblet, gazing at her granddaughter. “The next one should be easier.”

While inside the castle, Cersai mourns Joffrey as her father Tywin Lannister immediately begins preparing the youngest Barathian heir for the throne. Peppering the child with questions, grooming him for power, he’s already manipulating strings teaching the naïve boy to give power to him and his counsel, coding it as what a “wise” king would do. “Your brother was not a good king. You brother was not a wise king," Tywin says with a smirk, looking back at Joffrey’s dead, pale body laid out on a table. "If he had been, perhaps he’d still be alive.” Later meeting with Prince Oberyn, Tywin asks him to join the counsel set to precede over the murder trial of Tyrion. He sweetens the offer by wooing Oberyn with a chance to become a part of the new King’s counsel in exchange for information on who killed his sister.

Upon her father’s exit, Cersai is comforted by Jamie. Pleading for him to kill Tyrion, crying over Joffrey’s body, for the first time we hear her speak truth to what had only been rumored in the kingdom – that Joffrey was indeed the product of their crazy incestuous love affair. Resisting Jamie’s advances when he balks at her pleas to murder Tyrion and bypass the trial, he curses her for being so evil, grabs Cersai forcefully, and despite her fight, rapes Cersai inches from Joffrey’s stiff body. Gross.

Next we find Tyrion locked in a cold dungeon, meeting with his loyal squire to find out the multiple plots against his life. Despite his dire situation, Tyrion still hasn’t lost his sense of humor saying, “I would like to think that if I planned a royal assassination, that I wouldn’t be standing their gawking when the king died.”

And to the East, the great Mother of Dragons continues to steal scenes and storylines with her ongoing power moves and army growth in the name of the throne and freedom of the downtrodden. She marches onto yet another city, kills their greatest defender, and then gives a rousing MLK like speech to rally the slaves to free themselves and fight by her side. In what seems like an order to catapult boulders upon the walls of the city, we see instead that she’s thrown the broken former neck chains of her now free army proving with colorfully loud actions that she intends to free every slave in the East.

Although this week’s episode of Game of Thrones seemed milder and less bloody than the past two to date (sans the incestuous love scene), we think we know who killed the king while seeing a series of chess-like plays preparing those involved, viewers alike, for what’s yet to come. And we’re loving every moment.

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