Game of Thrones – Season 4 – Episode 4 – Review

Paige Southall

Fellow book readers: we are officially on notice. For three seasons, we have been smug. We have known what was going to happen in Game of Thrones. We set up cameras to catch the reactions of our unsuspecting friends during the Red Wedding. We grew impatient for the moment during the Purple Wedding when Joffrey finally breathed his last. We still have plenty more big moments to come. Yet Oathkeeper marks a turning point. From now on, we will not know everything.

After last week’s controversial episode, there was a distinct sense of hesitancy about ‘Oathkeeper’. In one scene, a lot of damage was done. So this better be good. The good news is, it isn’t bad. The major scene – which I’ll come to shortly – is going to have people talking in the best possible way. This is your standard filler episode, with highs and lows.

The main strength of this episode was the events at the Wall and beyond. We know by now that a huge battle is coming. All the chess pieces are slowly moving into place. Locke, last seen with the Boltons, is now at the Wall for some made up offence. I smell a spy – and it’s thrilling. Lest we forget, Locke is the one who cut off Jaime Lannister’s hand. He’s being set up for an absolutely massive fall, and I cannot wait to see it.

Speaking of Jaime Lannister, I have something awful to say. His scenes with Brienne the Badass are absolutely heart breaking. For just a moment, I forgot about That Scene. He was the man who we saw in Season 3, slowly trying to redeem himself. He presents Brienne with the sword his father gave him in the season premiere – now named Oathkeeper. This man wants to keep the oath he made to Lady Catelyn Stark back in Season 2. He wants to save her daughters. He wants to be good. As a result, I am so incredibly conflicted. I wrote a lot on That Scene. Part of me wants to forget it, pretend it wasn’t real, that it was a hallucination Jaime had. Another part of me wants to do what our other Badass, Bronn, does and slap the taste from his mouth. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, being torn between the character we grew to love for 3 seasons, and the one that was created in the last episode. All we can do is wait and see how this season progresses.

On a side note, I want to be Olenna Tyrell when I grow up. That woman is a marvel of wit, and brains. She rightly earns her place as my favourite character on this show.

Ser Pounce is an absolute scene stealer. Ser Pounce is Tommen’s cat, and in just a few seconds of screen time, he makes all of the [non cat hating] viewers fall completely in love with him.

Step away from Lady Sansa, Captain Creepy.

Daenerys Targaryen should write a book – ‘How to Win Cities and Alienate People’.

Now for the Big Scene. No matter how filler the episode is, Game of Thrones will always guarantee one thing – there will be a big scene that everyone talks about. For Oathkeeper, this scene is the last scene. We are at Craster’s Keep. The last time we were here, there was a mutiny which resulted in the death of Jeor Mormont. After Joffrey’s death, I questioned who would take his place as the biggest villain on the show. I now present to you Karl Tanner. One of the iconic images of this episode is sure to be this evil little weasel drinking from Mormont’s skull. Craster’s Keep is straight out of a horror story. Craster’s daughter-wives are now terrorised, tortured and raped by the mutineers. Yes, rape again. If we didn’t know these guys were evil before, we sure do now. Rape is not a plot device. How many times must I say that? Enough already. Rape should not be background footage.

Wait a minute. These guys are about to get more evil. They imprison our little band of wargs and direwolves. Then they have to just go and make it worse. Who tortures Hodor? Our sweet, harmless little Hodor who can cheer every viewer up with just one sparkly eyed ‘Hodor’. If the Night’s Watch want to destroy the mutineers, they should just recruit the army of angry Hodor fans. They’d surrender faster than you could say ‘Hodor’.

Then it happens. The scene that fired the warning shot to all book fans. Karl Tanner is keeping with the Craster tradition of sacrificing babies to the White Walkers. Charming of him, I must say. No one has known what they want the babies for. Even book fans were in the dark about this. All we have ever known is that the White Walkers are pretty much ice zombies, readying themselves to attack the Wall. Why? We have no idea. We’ve all been a little bit preoccupied with dragons, regicide, bad ass women, and everyone dying.

Until now. In the final scene of ‘Oathkeeper’, we see the White Walkers on their home turf. We watch in absolute horror and fascination as the sacrificed baby is transformed into… a baby White Walker. This is done by an ice zombie that resembles the love child of something from Buffy, and Darth Maul. But that isn’t just any ice zombie.  That ice zombie, as the recently edited HBO Viewer’s Guide told us, is the Night’s King. What does that mean? These ice zombies aren’t just the brainless things we thought they were. They have a hierarchy, they’re building their own army, and they’re getting ready to attack.

I’ll be honest with you, reader. I haven’t been this excited since the Red Wedding. We have known for some time that Game of Thrones will almost certainly bypass the books. This is the first example of that. Yet, even more than that, this scene has huge consequences. The Game of Thrones is about to get even bigger, and even more deadly. While the Seven Kingdoms has been squabbling and killing each other, the White Walkers have been getting stronger. That can mean just one thing.

Winter is coming.

About Paige Southall

In 1953, Paige Southall was scooped up by the TARDIS and dumped into 2005. Since then. she has lived life like a wino Mary Poppins. At present, she's working on her first novel, and becoming Queen of Westeros. @PaigeAndInk