This Week’s Blog Covers:
S4 Ep 1: “Two Swords”
S4 Ep 2: “The Lion and the Rose”
S4 Ep 3:”Breaker of Chains”
S4 Ep 4: “Oathkeeper”
This Week’s Highlight(s):
Hands down, the absolute number one highlight of this week’s episode is the Purple Wedding and the entire episode, “The Lion and the Rose.” This marks the final episode that George R.R. Martin has written for the series, choosing to focus on the 6th installment of the novel series from then on. Joffrey’s terrorizing of Tyrion reaches new heights throughout breakfast and the wedding.
As Joffrey humiliates Tyrion during the wedding, by forcing him to act as Joffrey’s cupbearer, Joffrey drinks wine poisoned with the strangler. His airways close and he begins choking and dies in the arms of his mother, Cersei. An article on vanityfair.com looks to how many of the iconic sounds of season four were created. I will post the link, once our class has finished the season, as it contains major spoilers. This scene, according to Game of Thrones sound editor, Tim Kimmel, took around 6 to 8 hours to create the 30 second choking scene. Kimmel explains that the sounds were created using recordings of animals and a woman impersonating a baby choking. He notes that even the last gasp for breath is actually producer’s Greg Spence’s, because it fit the scene so well.
While watching the series the first time around, I wished for this since I met Joffrey. This scene stands as the only spoiler I have ever exposed on social media during the original run of any of the episodes. It resulted in a lot of backlash from my friends who did not get to see the episode live, but no, I do not regret it. Ding dong, the King is dead!
A highlight must be dedicated to the ethereal Icelandic band, Sigur Rós, seen making a cameo performance at the Purple Wedding. As Margaery listens intently, King Joffrey doesn’t have the patience for beautiful things. He ends up throwing golden coins at them, just so they stop. During the shooting of this scene, a member of the band was struck on the forehead, causing an injury, despite rubber coins being used. The credits for this episode even feature a cover of “The Rains of Castamere” by Sigur Rós. Check out the haunting rendition below.
In my previous blog, Not Today, I discussed the series use of the Dothraki language created by David Peterson. I find these created languages fascinating. Within these later episodes we meet many new characters and languages through Dany’s narrative. We are introduced to forms of Low Valyrian, including Astapori Valyrian and Meereenese Valyrian. These are used in the cities of Slaver’s Bay in Essos. In an interview on makinggameofthrones.com, David Peterson reveals that “Breaker of Chains” features a major easter egg, which is a hidden item placed in a movie, television show, or otherwise visual media for close watchers. In the final scene of episode 3, we see a Meereenese rider challenge Dany and a champion of her choosing. The rider shouts at Dany and her army. Missandei translates the despicable things he is saying, but in all actuality the rider is shouting things like,
Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!
Peterson explains that he’s actually saying a Low Valyrian translation of the French guy’s insults in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Series creator, Dan Weiss, came up with this idea and Peterson couldn’t resist. If you are not familiar with this scene, check it out below.
This Week’s Lowlife(s):
Again the lowlife section belongs to those who betrayed the Night’s Watch. We return to Craster’s Keep in “Oathkeeper” when Bran happens upon Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, locked in a cage. We find that Karl Tanner, Rast, and the other oathbreakers have been raping Craster’s wives and daughters, as if they haven’t suffered enough. Staff writer, Bryan Cogman, states that this was an incredibly difficult scene to write. He explains that
We’ve paid a lot of lip service to idea that Night’s Watch is made up of shady characters, rapists and thieves, but we never saw much of that. The mutiny was the beginning. This is the worst of the worst finally free of the shackles of society.
After Bran, Meera, Jojen, and Hodor are captured, Hodor gets bear-baited and beat up by the men at Craster’s Keep. Bran and Hodor being two of the most endearing characters of the show, it is very difficult to watch this scene. These men represent humanity at its worst.
Thought Provoking Theme(s):
These episodes clearly play around with the theme of justice. In “Oathkeeper,”Dany makes it her mission to provide justice for the 163 children that were nailed to mileposts outside Meereen. She refuses Ser Barristan’s call for mercy with, “I shall answer injustice with justice.” She has her men nail the Grand Masters of Meereen to the mileposts after the slaves rebel.
Jon Snow calls for justice when he rallies men from the Night’s Watch to avenge Jeor Mormont’s death. He reminds them that Mormont was betrayed by his own men that swore the Night’s Watch oath. Arya Stark also claims justice when she kills Polliver in “Two Swords.” She avenges her friend Lommy’s death who was murdered by Polliver in season two’s “What is Dead May Never Die.” Arya cleverly repeats what Polliver said to Lommy before he gruesomely stabbed him in the throat. This brilliant justice allows Arya to retrieve her sword, Needle, and indicates that the Starks aren’t quite out of the game yet.