Somehow, we’re already half way through season four already. But this isn’t just a bad thing, because this is the time when things really start going crazy. So much is going to happen in the remainder of the season, and it’s going to amazing. Spoilers to come.
After two episodes without them, Stannis and Davos returned, and they arrived at one of the most interesting places in the world of ASOIAF – Braavos, with the Titan guarding the entrance to the bay. They were going to the Iron Bank to appeal for some of their gold. After declining the offer at first, an impassioned and well-argued speech from Davos managed to sway the bankers. If Stannis had all the awesome lines in the book’s version of this storyline, Davos is getting them in the show. Salladhor Saan also made his first appearance since season three, and he is always entertaining.
Another returning face was Asha (or if you prefer, Yara) Greyjoy. Her mission to rescue Theon from Ramsay Snow was a big change from the book and spawned many theories about how it would tie in to the Ironborn storyline, but in the end it fell a bit flat. After fighting their way through the Dreadfort, the islanders beat a hasty retreat when Ramsay released his dogs. Really, the world’s bravest and best warriors frightened by a dog, and a lunatic with his shirt off? On a better note, Asha stating that Theon was ‘dead’ means the Ironborn storyline is on track to follow the books exactly next season. Theon and Ramsay then had another disturbing scene together, with Ramsay asking ‘Reek’ to pretend to be someone he isn’t – Theon Greyjoy. Alfie Allen is still doing an amazing job at showing Reek’s physical and pyschological torment.
It was then time for some long-overdue proper dragon action. Drogon roasted some goats, and the farmer laid them at the feet of Daenerys in her throne room. Some fans were surprised that the farmer wasn’t bringing something else, but there is still time for that to come – it’s too important a detail to be left out. Then we were introduced to Hizdahr, one of many Meereneese nobles in Dany’s storyline. It was far easier to empathise with him than it was in the books, and his exchange with Dany was very emotive.
Then it was time for a meeting of the new-look Small Council, with new members Oberyn and Mace. They did a good job at showing Mace Tyrell to be the spineless suck-up he is, and Oberyn was once again the star of the show. The Red Viper – can they just call him that once on the show, please? – then had a conversation with Varys, that gave some interesting insight into the eunuch’s apparent asexuality.
Finally, it was time for a long-awaited scene that took up most of this episode – Tyrion’s trial. Witness after witness came up to give ludicrous testimonies against him. Jaime rightly points out the farcical nature of what is going on to Tywin. He then offers to give up his white cloak if Tywin will spare Tyrion. It is debatable whether he would do that – he would hate to be an oathbreaker again, but he does love his little brother. After Jaime tells Tyrion what he must do, the next witness steps up…
… and it’s Shae, Tyrion’s former whore-turned-girlfriend that he sent away in episode two. After telling a totally made up story that seems to put it in no doubt that Tyrion killed Joffrey, Tyrion stops her – and gives in my opinion the best speech this show has seen so far. Absolutely amazing acting from Peter Dinklage, with some brilliant writing too, and it was undoubtedly the best moment so far this season. That by itself makes this the best episode of the season so far.