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‘Game of Thrones': Catch up Before Sunday’s Season Four Premiere

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I have seen this Sunday’s Game of Thrones premiere. Although I’ll have much more to say about it in my review later in the week, I can only say that in my opinion, the strongest premiere of the series run. Part of me thinks that in the aftermath of the Red Wedding last season, the stage is so much more well defined as we move into the run of episodes on HBO. Here’s a bit of a rundown so you might be able to see the chess board that is Game of Thrones a bit more clearly:

Jaime Lannister Game of Thrones

House Lannister

Tywin is right where he wants to be–in control of what he thinks is the puppet king Joffrey, ready to do his grandfather’s bidding. He’s placed his pieces exactly where he wants them, but is Tywin, at the start of season four, too smart for his own good? Now that Jaime has returned from his weary travels both broken and maimed will Tywin allow him to stay in King’s Landing? Or exile him to Casterly Rock? And has Jaime anything to say about this at all?

Then there’s Cersei, a powerful, strong woman, now betrothed to a man in whom she has no interest. Will she please Tywin and do her duty–or will she rebel? And what of her illicit relationship with Jaime now that he’s back? What does she make of her very changed brother, especially missing his right hand? Tyrion (who’s really the smartest man in King’s Landing) is being pushed, and pushed, and pushed more. Forced into a marriage with Sansa Stark, Tyrion is trying his best to be noble, while not forgetting the true love of his life.

But when he’s finally pushed too far by Tywin’s perpetual humiliation will Tyrion use his beautiful brain to mount a mutiny? He of all the Lannisters understands the potential fallout of Joffrey’s cruel hold on such power as he wields. Jaime’s return complicates Cersei’s life and Tywin’s plans, but what of his promise to Lady Brienne to return Arya to her family? I really enjoyed the exploration of Brienne and Jaime’s relationship in season three; I hope it continues the thrust and parry is has established for the series.

And of course there is the  brat-king Joffrey.  About to wed Margery Tyrell,  he realizes that Margery will be far more popular among the people that he can ever be. Where will that leave Margery, especially as Joffrey  has now shifted from being under Cersei’s control to being under Tywin’s control. Those who have read the novel upon which the HBO series is based know what is ahead for Joffrey, but I won’t spoil it here.

House Stark

There is little left of House Stark. Catelyn and Robb both perished in the Red Wedding last season, leaving the girls, John Snow and the youngun’s Bran and Rickon. Sansa, chained to King’s Landing, and now bound by marriage to Tryion is a tragic figure. Frightened of “the imp,” she does not yet understand that of all matches she might have made in her situation under the Lannister thumb, Tyrion is a gift from the gods. Arya, hoping to play the hero and avenge what has happened to family finds herself bound to the Hound Clegane. A murderous Lannister ally, Clegane has, perhaps, changed, weary of the mantle he has borne. jon snowWill he prove himself a man of honor? Has he at last found a friend in the young, rebellious Arya?

Separated from their sisters, Bran and Rickon wander the forests under the protection of the Reeds, who understand Bran’s special gifts. Brandon is a warg, able to see through other eyes and bestowed with the gift of prophecy. He and Rickon have separated, and now Bran is at the wall. What his role will be in season four, we shall soon learn.

Speaking of the Wall, Jon Snow has murdered Orell, a wildling warg, and has trekked back to Castle Black. But what is to come of him after killing his comrades, and perhaps worse, breaking his code of celibacy?

House Baratheon

Stannis, under the control of the Red Priestess has little of the nobility and fortitude of his reputation. To eager to be led by the witch, he nearly executes his good friend (and true ally) Davos. At the end of last season, Stannis and his allies were on march to the wall to aid the Night’s Watch in holding off the White Walkers.

(Note: Although technically  Joffrey is a Baratheon,  I consider him more of a Lannister.)

Jack Gleeson and Natalie Dormer as King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell

 House Targaryen

The Mother of Dragons Daenerys has her hands full as her children are growing up. Can she control  them? Or will they get to big and cause an awful lot of  trouble for her and everyone around her. Mother of Dragons she may be,  but  dragons tend to have minds of their own, the chief, and breathe fire. But she has much going for her which two advisors, and a loyal army of  freed slave warriors. But is she in a good position to take on King’s Landing and Tywin Lannister?

To help fans of the series get ready for the season premiere on April 6, HBO2 will be airing  a 60-hour Game of Thrones marathon this weekend. Beginning Friday, April 4 at 9:00 a.m. ET, HBO2 will play all 30 episodes back-to-back, twice. Ending right before season four commences on HBO’s flagship. In addition, HBO is launching an interactive Game of Thrones Viewer’s Guide, calling it “the ultimate online companion – delivering exclusive content for every episode of the series, now on every platform including tablet and mobile.” The guide explores the episodes, characters, locations, and storylines in depth, helping even newbie viewers catch up and comprehend the complex weave of families, realms, battles and feuds.

And for a peek at what’s to be in season four, enjoy the trailer, courtesy of HBO.

 

 

 

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.