Episode: 33
Airdate: April 20, 2014
Directed by: Alex Graves
Written by: George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire” by), David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator), David Benioff (written for television by), D.B. Weiss (written for television by)

One week after the GRRM scripted “The Lion and the Rose,” Benioff and Weiss again take the creative helm, and they have a heck of a show to follow. Without getting into any details here (I’ll save those for after the spoiler warning and the break), how do you top the events of last week’s episode? Of course, even after last season’s “The Rains of Castamere” episode, the show had to go on. And so it goes (my thanks to Vonnegut). Click through after the break to get my breakdown of this week’s Promotional video, and some thoughts on what “Breaker of Chains” will bring us.

<<Spoiler Alert: This preview of Game of Thrones S04E03 – “Breaker of Chains” – will discuss major plot points and events suggested by previous events and the events shown in the Promo video; read further at your own risk!>>

This week’s episode synopsis: In the frenzied aftermath of the royal wedding, Tyrion gets a visit from a loyal subject, but wonders if anyone in his family will help him out of his current predicament. Meanwhile, Tywin offers to work for the common good with a presumed enemy; Sam takes stock of the personnel at Castle Black; the Hound gives another life lesson to Arya; and Daenerys makes a decision outside the walls of Meereen.

Let’s take each clause on its own, and try to parse out what will happen. Who might Tyrion’s loyal subject be? I can think of three possibilities (and none of them can be family, as we see from the synopsis that he’ll have no help there): Bronn, who is as close to a subject that he has; Varys, as he has a soft spot for Tyrion; or Shae, who has possibly not left the city after all. It won’t be Sansa (she left with Ser Dontos after the assassination), it won’t be Littlefinger (Baelish has neither love for Tyrion, nor for those that cannot give him more power), and it won’t be anyone from the Tyrells. Can whomever it is aid him, when Cersei apparently believes he murdered his nephew?

Tywin – his presumed enemy is likely going to be Oberyn Martell. We saw in “Two Swords” (recap and review here) that there is no love lost when it comes to relations between Oberyn and the Lannisters, something reiterated last week in the wonderful scene between Tywin and Cersei on one hand, and Oberyn and Ellaria Sand on the other (you can read my recap and review here). While they obviously have a mutual hatred, there is much to recommend an alliance between House Martell and House Lannister – and it isn’t ultimately Oberyn’s decision, in any case: his older brother Prince Doran Martell is the head of the family.

Sam taking stock is something of a loaded comment (aren’t they all in plot synopses?). We have the two meanings of taking stock to begin with: listing, and judging. Here, with the trouble Sam’s friend Jon Snow has been in, I suspect it is a combination: Sam judging who will be loyal to and/or help Jon Snow, and those that Sam considers to be enemies. This could be terribly important information to have, with Mance Rayder’s huge wildling army approaching.

Isn’t it time the Hound stopped giving Arya life lessons, and started learning from her instead? He’s running from his past and his fears, whereas Arya is learning new ways to cope and confront. While he might help to keep her alive long enough for her to become entirely self-sufficient (I mean, the character is only supposed to be about twelve at this point), I think that ultimately he might end up benefiting more from her lessons than she from his.

Daenerys’s decision will hopefully be “take out the scum-sucking slavers with as much malice aforethought as possible.” I’d like to see Dany’s storyline move more briskly than it does in the books (fellow readers know exactly what I’m talking about), and Benioff and Weiss’s public declaration that the series will only go seven seasons suggests that this will be the case. In addition, an attack on Meereen would be a nice way of maintaining momentum after last week’s massive climax.

Now let’s take a look at the thirty second Promo video released by HBO earlier today:


We begin with the ending of last week’s episode, with Cersei sputtering, “Take him! You…did this!” as she shakes, holding her dead son in her arms. Tyrion simply looks resigned as several of the King’s Guard lay hands on him. We cut to Tyrion, speaking with someone (his “loyal subject” perhaps?), saying, “Whoever killed the king wanted me to lose my head for it.” I can’t tell who it is, but it looks like a woman’s face in profile. As he speaks, we cut to Sansa, cloaked, being led at speed down an alleyway by Ser Dontos. This is, of course, a sort of confirmation that he was part of the plot to kill Joffrey (although the fact that he showed up to take her was already a clear enough indicator). Next, we see Joffrey’s hands clutching his Valyrian blade, while Cersei breaks down over him and Jaime comforts her. Olenna Tyrell’s voice begins, and we cut to her speaking with Margaery: “Your circumstances have improved markedly,” to which Margaery replies, tears in her eyes, “I would have been the Queen.” Cut to a close-up of the lead Thenn’s face, as it appears he and his men are raiding a farmhouse south of the Wall. Jump to Jon Snow, speaking to the men of the Night’s Watch, saying, “Mance has all he needs to crush us, he just doesn’t know it yet.” We pull out and see two men holding their arms around themselves, surrounded by a group of men along with two of Jon’s enemies within the Watch, Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne. Close up on Sam, looking worried, and then a full shot of him speaking with someone (possibly Gilly), saying, “Who’s going to protect you at Castle Black?” We then see a shot of him and Gilly riding in a wagon, Gilly holding her son close to her breast. Next we see Ser Davos, reading a book (yay for Shireen and literacy!), and then cut to him speaking with Stannis: “I’ve never heard of visions and prophecies winning a war.” Stannis replies, “I’m running out of time.” A bit cryptic, but his reaction seems to suggest that my theory – that he’s not a believer of R’hllor at all, but is using Melisandre as much as she’s using him – might be true. We cut to Daenerys on horseback, Unsullied marching by as she says, “I have something to say to the people of Meereen.” Cut to her riding in the long train, Meereen in the near distance, and then to her standing in front of Ser Barristan, looking back over her shoulder, and then speaking an order in High Valyrian. Arrows fly, and trebuchets unleash their deadly missiles.

So, this seems to confirm that Meereen will be attacked this week, thus moving Daenerys’s story one step further in the right direction. The pyramids of Meereen look intimidating, but Dany seems nigh unstoppable at this point.

We’re going to get some more movement in the North, and Stannis seems to be taking more advice from Ser Davos, which can only be a good thing. Tyrion looks as though he may not be imprisoned, but we’ll have to wait to see.

I’m not changing my mind over how I think Joffrey was poisoned last week – the evidence is there to be seen if one looks closely. Despite Margaery’s anger (“I would have been the Queen”), this doesn’t mean that she didn’t poison Joffrey on her grandmother’s orders. She knows who the power is in House Tyrell, and she’s been her grandmother’s creature from the start. She may not understand Olenna’s actions, and may even question why they are taken, but she won’t disobey her grandmother. I still say she put the poison in the cup, despite her objections.

This next week’s episode should be a slight respite in the active pace of the last two weeks, although the attack on Meereen may serve to heighten the pace again – watch for it to happen late in the episode. One question: where do you think Ser Dontos is taking Sansa? I’m pretty sure we’re about to see a familiar face that’s been strangely absent through the first two episodes this season. Be sure to check back after Sunday’s airing to see my recap and review of “Breaker of Chains.”

On a personal note, I’m going to be in Hawaii for the next two episodes, so my recap/reviews will likely take a little bit longer to get put up. Thanks for reading!

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