GAME OF THRONES: S4E4 Review – “Oathkeeper”
If there was ever a badass name for an episode, it’s “Oathkeeper”, the 4th episode of the 4th Season of the hit HBO Series GAME OF THRONES. The episode starts with Danaerys Targaeryn’s taking of yet another city in her march to reclaim her throne in King’s Landing. As has become the irritating trend, Danearys’ involvement in this episode is another one liner showcasing how dangerous she is, and then she’s missing for the rest of the episode. That’s it. It’s truly frustrating at what a snail’s pace her storyline is progressing. She has taken a complete backseat in terms of significance in the show, after Season 1. Her involvement is relegated to very brief, punctuated yet dramatically hyperbolic scenes of intensity, which are supposed to make up for her lack of doing anything but walking and amassing an army to take over the throne, but never actually making any significant progress of doing so.
And the evolution of Jamie Lannister continues as he is on the way to becoming GAME OF THRONES’ new hero. After making significant progress with Bronn and learning how to fight with his other hand, Jamie is reminded, by Bronn of all people, of Tyrion’s loyalty to his brother. This compels Jamie to visit Tyrion in prison, sharing a very sweet moment of brotherly love as the hopeless-ness and bias of Tyrion’s situation is properly spelled out to us. The judges are against him. His own sister Cersei wants to kill him. He’s already been branded a traitor, and Jamie is in no position to help him escape. After a witty back and forth Jamie is convinced of his innocence, while still being spurned by Cersei when he tries to convince her of the same. Getting pushed away by his love (also sister), gaining humility after a traumatic injury, spending time with a rogue who can’t hold his tongue, and being given a responsibility he does not want… are all factors that are molding Jamie into the hero that he shall become this season.
Anyone notice, how the ‘good guys’ of these major story arcs always involve someone in King’s Landing being reluctantly given a position that they do not want, which ends up ripening them for hero hood as they become the lead and most influential character of that Season? It happened in Season 1 with Ned Stark. It happened in Season 2 with Tyrion. And now it’s happening all over again with Jamie in Season 4. Jamie’s goodness is further solidified as he entrusts Brienn with a special mission of finding Sansa Stark and protecting her, as a way of keeping his oath to Catelynn Stark, after finding out that Cersei is desperately looking to kill her. Passing on his special sword to her, reforged from the sword of Ned Stark, Jamie’s symbolic gesture and his obvious intentions to keep his word to a Stark, causes Brienn to dub the sword, Oathkeeper.
We also get some major answers in this episode regarding the death of Joffrey. While being taken to her Aunt’s kingdom, who Baelish is apparently set to marry, Sansa and him have a great conversation where he confirms that he was involved with the death of the King, but it was more due to his ‘new Friends’. Through the use of nice editing, it’s implied that his new friends may indeed be the Tyrells, whose daughter Margaery was set to marry Joffrey. And, as I predicted here, the Grandmother all but confirms this as she plainly states that she knows that Tyrion was not the murderer. She knows. And even though Arya was missing this episodes, it seems both Stark sisters are heading to the same location, although, if prior episodes are any indication… this means nothing. The Starks will never meet and it will be a constant tease to us as the audience.
While the Stark sisters may be reuniting, the Stark Brothers may also be coming together. Jon snow finally got approval to ride past the Wall to meet the mutineers that killed a Lord and have taken over his Keep, abusing and using his daughters. He needs to get to them before the Wildling army, as they know the true numbers at the Wall, and not the inflated estimation Jon gave them during his time with them. While Jon Snow rides out to attack this party, they have also captured Bran and the others as his Wolf was trapped by them, along with Jon’s dire wolf, Ghost. So Jon is unknowingly coming to rescue his little brother, and it should be amazing!
The best thing about this Episode is the ending. It’s not a cliffhanger, yet its blows your mind in terms of what is implied of another grand threat. The White Walkers have been shown in the past as being mindless and mystical brutes that attack randomly, almost resembling another well-known creature from prime time Television… Winter Zombies if you will. However “Oathkeeper” completely changes this. After one of the men at the keep past the Wall serve up another baby as a sacrifice to the White Walkers, as we’ve seen happen in episodes of Season 3 (apparently that’s how they survived, by giving them babies so they were left alone), we finally get to see a White Walker up close, and it’s not what we thought thus far. A lone White Walker is seen, atop a horse, carrying the newborn, right away raising questions about why a White Walker is riding horseback with a baby carefully held in his arms, hardly the actions of a mindless Zombie. Yet it continues as he places the baby in between what looks to be a ceremonial structure, as a group of White Walkers approach. One White Walker steps out from the pack, and takes the baby in his arms, looking down upon it with its icy blue eyes. One touch of the baby’s face, and the baby’s too streak ice blue.
Why is the White Walker dressed all regally and like a highborn human? Are they not Zombies, but rather intellectual and sentient beings with a culture and society of their own?
Does the touching of the baby and its eyes going Blue indicate that anyone can become a White Walker if so chosen by one? Like an infection?? If so, then the babies haven’t been sacrifices to them, but rather recruits. Given how many years the Lord at the Keep was doing this, he probably supplied them with many a recruit.
What do you think? Chime in below on what you thought about this episode and what it will mean for the rest of the Season.