The Ninjabot

Not Much of An “Oathkeeper” – Game of Thrones Review

Posted on April 28, 2014 at 11:07 am by Amanda Andonian

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Although it probably goes without saying, there are show spoilers (but not book spoilers) ahead in the following review. Since the cast of characters grows larger and larger every season, I’ve also provided some handy links to background on some of the newest major players if you need a refresher on who’s who, but be aware that those links might include spoilers. For those who have read A Song of Ice and Fire and know what’s coming next, please don’t jump the gun in the comments or pick apart this review based on knowledge of the books. It’s purposely written for those who have not read the books.

The theme of this week’s episode of Game of Thrones seems to be the making and keeping of oaths, something which certain characters have historically had a big problem with. While Daenerys makes good on her oath to bleed the slave masters of Meereen, Jon tries to uphold his oath as a man of the Night’s Watch, and Jaime attempts to keep his oath to Catelyn Stark by protecting Sansa. In the meantime, lots of secrets and machinations happen behind the scenes. So much plotting, so little time!

Final Spoiler Warning!

Now that Daenerys has taken Meereen (well, the slaves took it. She just sent Grey Worm in to give them some weapons), we’re finally going to see her do some real ruling. Unfortunately, her first order of business is to crucify the same number of slave masters as dead children she saw on the road to Meereen. While Ser Barriston tries to counsel mercy, she ignores him and nails the bastards up anyway. Although her lack of mercy is troubling, it’s hard to imagine what else she could have done in order to truly cement her control. Unless she demonstrates strength in the face of her enemies, there’s no way Daenerys can even hope to take King’s Landing.

Speaking of King’s Landing, the Lannisters are having a hard time trusting each other. It finally takes Bronn’s mocking to shame Jaime into seeing Tyrion, although neither brother is immediately ready to believe in the other. Tyrion wants Jaime’s help, but there’s not much that the Lord Commander can do without being charged with treason himself. It’s sad to see Tyrion so disillusioned with Jaime since he’s always loved and looked up to his older brother. However, the fact that Jaime thinks Tyrion could be capable of killing Jofferey (and Tyrion’s suspicion that Jaime might kill him if Cersei really wanted it) leaves the two of them at something of an impasse.

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It’s probably because of this impasse that Jaime ultimately decides to give his sword to Brienne, urging her to go and find Sansa Stark in order to protect her, thus keeping their promise to Lady Catelyn in the only way they can. If not for the terrible decision last week to have Jaime rape Cersei, we could look at this scene and feel all warm and fuzzy about how honorable Jaime is and how much he’s changed. Despite the fact that Brienne tends to bring the best out of Jaime, he’s now stuck with Cersei, who only brings out the worst. Now that she’s effectively rejected him, Jaime doesn’t have much to cling to, so it looks like he’s attempting to hold on to what shreds of honor he has left.

Back at Castle Black, the Night’s Watch is gearing up to face the wildlings, but of course they’re not a completely unified front. Alliser Thorne hates Jon as much as always, and is determined to grind Lord Snow under his boot heel. Meanwhile, Jon makes an unlikely friend in Locke (the guy who cut off Jaime’s hand), but he doesn’t know that the man is not to be trusted. Of course, Jon has bigger problems, namely trying to convince Thorne to send a group of men to Craster’s Keep and take care of the defectors who killed Lord Commander Mormont. While he does end up getting his way, it’s only because Thorne and Janos Slynt hope he’ll die beyond the wall, saving them the trouble of killing Jon themselves.

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The real surprise of the episode, however, was the revelation of who actually poisoned Jofferey, and what happens to the children that are left for the white walkers at Craster’s Keep. The past couple of episodes have been dropping hints as to how exactly Jofferey died, and Petyr Baelish’s eagerness to impress Sansa finally gives us the details we needed. While it was apparent that he had something to do with it, there was still the question of how the poison actually got into Jofferey’s cup. Now we know that Olenna Tyrell was more than eager to get rid of Jofferey herself, thus protecting her granddaughter and gaining a powerful ally in Little Finger (shout out to Natalie Dormer’s inspired performance as the surprisingly naive Margaery. That girl is in way over her head!). It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Of course, just because Petyr gives a reason for his actions, doesn’t mean that’s actually what he’s up to. Ultimately, what is Petyr’s goal? Power for the sake of power? Or does he have something else up his sleeve?

Finally, fans of both the books and the show got something they’ve never seen before: a hint at what the white walkers really are. No doubt most people assumed that the white walkers were eating Craster’s unwanted sons, but we see that perhaps he’s unwittingly been swelling their ranks with new recruits, suggesting that there are different types of white walkers. Not only are there the zombie-ish ones who rise from the dead, but also the blue-eyed white walkers who apparently don’t need to come from dead bodies? Do the white walkers have their own hierarchy of men? Are the blue-eyed ones the leaders, and the zombie ones just the foot soldiers? How sentient are these guys, and what do they want? So many questions!

Overall, “Oathkeeper” gives us a great deal to think about, although the pace is still moving rather glacially. Of course, that’s going to be a consistent problem with Game of Thrones since there are so many characters to keep track of. Speaking of which, I sincerely hope that the capture of Bran, Jojen, and Meera means that Jon will run into his little brother in next week’s episode. Since Jon’s on his way to Craster’s, it’ll annoy the hell out of me if the two of them narrowly miss each other. I sincerely hate narrow misses. What did you think of last night? Tell us in the comments!

“Oathkeeper” – B

Game of Thrones: Season 4 Episode 4, “Oathkeeper” aired April 27th, 2014 on HBO.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 for more geek news.

Please Note – Due the nature of this show being inconsistent with the books’ timeline in terms of plot, we want to remind everyone that there is a zero tolerance policy regarding spoilers in the comments. Keep discussions relevant to the show only!

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