And so the three-eyed crow said unto Brandon of House Stark, ‘Let there be spoilers in this review’, and behold there were.
Having almost revealed something about the penultimate episode of the recent season to my housemate I thought I’d begin with a warning. If you’ve not watched this season yet – or indeed read the books – then this blog will spoil it all. You have been warned.
So, season four eh? How was it for you? From the point of view of the show’s writers it looked tough. Reason being is that, if you think back to the first season, practically all the characters were in two or three locations. Excluding a handful of main players, most of the rest of them didn’t have a great deal to do. Fast forward four seasons and there’s hardly any character that isn’t off on a quest of their own. And each has grown massively, not only in terms of their status in the show, but as characters they’ve developed and changed, matured and hardened as the world around them has been thrown into chaos.
The Hound and Arya Stark have stood out this season as unlikely travelling companions. Their relationship far more complex if you look beneath the surface. Jon Snow has become more ‘Jon Snow’ like: brooding, intense, yet there’s a vulnerability and fear that flickers behind his eyes. He IS the wall, the North and the winter. His relationship with wildling Ygritte is incredibly touching, despite the fact that they only share a few scenes towards the season finale.
As usual the Lannisters tend to steal most of the headlines, but – yet again – you have to hand it to Peter Dinklage for his portrayal of Tyrion, a dwarf who finds himself going through the corrupt legal system of King’s Landing throughout most of the season. He gets two or three standout scenes, including an emotional standoff with his father Tywin – another finale treat.
Prince Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper of Dorne (played with panache by Chilean actor Pedro Pascal) was a great addition to the GoT world. A man who clearly knew how to play the game, seducing his way into King’s Landing with an agenda of his own which culminated in an impressive – and somehow still shocking, despite what fans are used to – one-on-one battle scene with The Mountain.
Ultimately, as George R. R. Martin expands his Seven Kingdoms in print, so too does it expand on the small screen. Lovingly brought to life by the brilliant team behind the show. And in creating Martin’s world on screen they’ve drawn from a number of influences, both in terms of tone and visuals. The Lord Of The Rings and Star Wars both sprung to mind, particularly in the closing episodes of the season. It’s not just a nod or copycat tactics, they’ve taken these influences and forged them into their own design – as all good creative types do.
Rumour has it that the show’s creators have seven (or maybe eight) seasons planned, so we’ve got three (or four) left. The books will give us another season, then we’re in uncharted territory till Martin brings the world together in the last few books (something he has yet to do).
Infuriatingly for most, Daenerys and her dragons are dragging their heels and have yet to cross the Narrow Sea. With the white walkers soon to assault the North, hopefully it will all come together in an epic two-season finale. Or maybe Martin has let the whole thing get away from him and has no idea how to finish the story. Let’s hope he goes the way of Breaking Bad rather than Lost and ties it up in a satisfying fashion. Or he could just say to hell with it and have the dragons and white walkers kill off everyone. That would be just his style, darn him.
Roll on season five…