“The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”
– Oberyn Martell
The season 4 premiere Two Swords sees King’s Landing preparing for the extravagant wedding of Joffrey and Margaery while to the north Mance Rayder and his army prepare for attack. Jaime Lannister banks some early points, a notable departure from the last two seasons. Arya Stark and Sandor “The Hound”Clegane prove a surprisingly effective team as Arya continues to reap bloody vengeance for the wrongs done to her and House Stark. While the episode is light on scores, it was by no means slow, setting up the conflicts we can expect to play out over the course of the season.
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The season opens with Tywin melting down Ned’s valyrian steel sword Ice. Due to it’s size he is able to make two blades. He presents one to his son Jaime, assuming Jaime will now leave the Kingsguard to take his place as Tywin’s heir. Jaime is offended by the suggestion noting that members serve for life. The two argue and when Jaime makes it clear he has no interest in following his father as Lord of Casterly Rock Tywin disowns him. Jaime moves to return the sword, but Tywin states that he should keep it as “a one handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.”
Jaime Lannister earns 3 Honors points for receiving a Valyrian Steel sword.
Elsewhere in King’s Landing Tyrion, Pod, and Bronn await Prince Doran of Dorne and his traveling party arriving for Joffrey’s wedding. Tyrion explains that there’s bad blood between the Martells, a result of Tywin’s sack of King’s Landing during which Doran’s sister Elia, wife to Rhaegar Targaryen, was murdered along with her two young children. When he meets the party he is confused to not see Prince Doran. A guardsman explain that Doran’s health would not permit him to travel, but has sent his brother Oberyn in his stead, who arrived ahead of them. Tyrion is concerned as Oberyn, also known as The Red Viper, has a notorious reputation.
Oberyn and his paramour Ellaria take in the sights at Littlefinger’s brothel. Oberyn reveals his pan-sexual nature insisting Olyvar join them. Oberyn becomes distracted when he hears Lannister guards singing The Rains of Castamere leading to violent confrontation where Oberyn stabs one man through the hand. The appearance of Tyrion defuses the situation. Oberyn wastes no time in degrading Tyrion and expressing the true purpose of his visit, to avenge the murder of his sister and her children. He wants to not only unmask the murderers, but the Lord who ordered the action, widely rumored to be Gregor Clegane and Lord Tywin Lannister.
Oberyn Martell earns 1 Wound point for injuring the Lannister guard.
In Essos Daenerys’ dragons continue to grow and she seems to be growing nervous of their untamed nature. She is annoyed when their march is delayed for Daario and Grey Worm to “gamble.” She finds the two competing to ride by her side, but she bluntly states with a smile that the honor will go to Jorah and Barristan as they did not keep her waiting.
Back in King’s Landing Sansa is still devastated by the death of the only remaining family she knows to be alive and finds herself dwelling on the gruesome rumors as to how their corpses were treated. Shae and Tyrion both try convincing her that her mother would want her to go on. Sansa takes no heed, preferring to spend her time in the godswood, as it the only place she can be alone and unbothered. Later Tyrion comes to Shae’s chambers revealing the two have not been together in some time. Hurt by his rejection, she accuses him of getting Varys to bribe her into leaving and storms from the room. However, not without being spotted by handmaiden.
Qyburn fits Jaime for a golden hand commissioned by Cersei to replace his sword hand. He notes that a hook might have been more practical. Before taking his leave Qyburn is thanked by Cersei saying her symptoms are gone. When alone Jaime questions these “symptoms” to which Cersei is evasive. He is surprised she trusts such the man as she had always held such deep contempt for Grand Maester Pycelle. Jaime points out that she drinks more than she used to, she doesn’t appreciate the rebuke, listing off her many trials and troubles. Jaime responds that their father disowned him. He confesses that by staying in the Kingsguard he can be closer to her, but is surprised when she rejects his affections. She reveals a bitterness towards Jaime for abandoning her and taking so long to return. They are interrupted by the handmaiden who had seen Shae, Cersei jumps on the excuse to end the conversation.
In the North Ygritte still broods over her betrayal by Jon as she prepares enough arrows for the entire Night’s Watch. Tormund calls her out for failing to kill Jon as he knows she is an excellent marksmen. Their attention is drawn to an approaching group Tormund identifies as Thenns, a wildling clan from beyond the wall. Their leader, Styr, is quick to comment on the loss of their warg and Jon’s defection. Tormund warns that he’ll answer to Mance, not Styr. The two put their differences aside and form an uneasy alliance.
Tormund Giantsbane earns 3 Alliance for accepting Styr’s aide.
Styr earns 3 Alliance points for bringing aide to Tormund.
At Castle Black Jon learns of his half-brother’s fate. He confesses to Sam that he was always jealous of Robb, “I wanted to hate him, but I never could.” Sam admits he sometimes feel the same way about Jon. Jon then faces a tribunal headed by Alliser Thorne, Maester Aemon, and new edition to the Watch, Janos Slynt, to answer for his crimes of desertion and murdering the Halfhand. Jon tells the truth, that he was ordered by the Halfhand to infiltrate the Wildling Army and does not deny that he broke his vows by sleeping with Ygritte. Janos and Alliser are all too willing to convict him as a traitor, but are thwarted by Aemon. Alliser questions the Maester’s judgement to which he responds that Jon told the truth, he can spot a lie because he grew up in King’s Landing.
Janos Slynt earns 3 Alliance points for joining the Night’s Watch.
In King’s Landing Olenna impresses upon her granddaughter the importance of making a regal entrance on her wedding day. Margaery remarks dryly that Joffrey would prefer her in a necklace of sparrow heads. Olenna warns that she should not speak that way even here with her alone. Brienne approaches and Olenna is thrilled to receive the woman who “knocked my grandson into the dirt like the silly little boy he is,” making Brienne smile. She speaks with Margaery and explains the manner of Renly’s death. Brienne promises she will avenge their King, Margaery reminds her they have a new King now, but makes it clear she took no offense to the remark. We then see a statue erected in the garden showing Joffrey standing over a dead direwolf.
Jaime discusses security at the upcoming wedding with Joffrey and fellow Kingsguard knight Meryn Trant. He is annoyed by Joffrey’s arrogance and Meryn’s boot licking. Joffrey is dismissive of his “Uncle” and questions his ability to serve in the Kingsguard with one hand. Jaime defensively remarks that using his left hand makes for more of a challenge.
On the road to Meereen Daenerys speaks with Missandei about the Great Masters of Meereen. She asks if Missandei believes they are worried to which Missandei replies , “If they’re smart.” Daario continues his flirtation with Daenerys, however the mood is soured by the discovery of a crucified save child pointing the way to Meereen. Jorah explains that there is one at each mile marker. Barristan offers to send riders ahead to bury them, but Daenerys refuses vowing to look upon each face.
Back in King’s Landing Brienne and Jaime observer Sansa from afar. She reminds him of their vow to Cat, but Jaime says there is nothing they can do as she is now married to his brother. Sansa meanwhile is frightened by the approach of someone in the godswood. It is Dontos Hollard, the knight Sansa saved from execution on Joffrey’s name day. He offers his thanks for saving his life gifting her a necklace he claims is all that remains of his once great house. She promises to wear it with pride.
Her sister meanwhile is still traveling with Sandor Clegane. She asks when she will get a horse of her own, Sandor says she would only try to escape, but Arya points out that she has no one and nowhere to go. Sandor seems to soften and tells her he plans to ransom her to her Aunt Lysa in the Eyrie. They spot an inn an Arya suggests attacking the men inside to get a free meal. Sandor is hesitant seeing that he’s be outnumbered 5 to 1. Arya then recognizes the men from Harrenhal and spots Polliver who still carries her sword needle. She leaves their hiding spot storming towards the tavern, Sandor tries to stop her, but they are seen by Polliver. They enter the inn and it’s soon obvious that the men are up to no good as they harass and abuse the owner’s daughter. Polliver tries to tempt Sandor into joining them claiming there is no one to stop them as they are King’s men. “Fuck the King,” Sandor responds giving Arya a smile.
A fight erupts, Arya moves to a corner as Sandor faces all 5 men on his own. He easily dispatches 2, and struggles with a third finally succeeding in stabbing him with his own dagger. Seeing Sandor tired with 2 foes approaching, Arya jumps into action. She smashes a pot over one’s head and stabs him with his sword. She then slices at Polliver’s legs sending him to the ground. She reclaims Needle stands over him repeating the words he said when killed Lommy and stole her sword, then stabs him through the throat as he had done to Lommy. Arya and Sandor leave the tavern with Arya now riding her own horse.
Sandor Clegane earns 3 Victory points for defeating Polliver and his men and 1 Morghulis for killing in the attack.
Arya Stark earns 3 Victory points for helping Sandor defeat Polliver, 1 Morghulis point for killing in the fight, 3 Morghulis points for killing Polliver, and 3 Revenge points for crossing a name off her list.