Game of Thrones “Oathkeeper”

Game of Thrones S4E4 “Oathkeeper”

Up to this point, season four of Game of Thrones has been moving at a torrent pace, you know, the murder of a king can do that. That pace had to slow down eventually though and “Oathkeeper” is one of those vintage “transition” episodes you find often enough in the middle section of a season of Game of Thrones. With Tyrion still awaiting trial, Brienne receiving a new mission, Jon getting approval for his mission, Dany gaining control of Meereen, and Bran getting captured, a lot of things are happening but we don’t get to see much payoff of these moments in “Oathkeeper”. It’s far from a bad episode though, it’s actually quite good at being a transition episode so let’s have a closer look.

In the capital is where we start and Jaime is continuing his sword lessons with Bronn and he doesn’t seem to be improving much. The two of them take a break and Bronn is surprised to learn that Jaime hasn’t visited his brother yet. Bronn tells Jaime the story of how Tyrion initially wanted Jaime as his champion at his trial by combat in The Eyrie but didn’t get his way because Lysa Arryn demanded the trial take place the same day. Now that nothing’s stopping you, why don’t you visit him, Bronn asks Jaime. Jaime decides he’s put off seeing his brother long enough and pays him a visit in his cell. After the two bond over their prisoner experiences, Jaime admits to Tyrion that Cersei wants him dead and she personally asked him to do the deed. Jaime was never going to do it anyway but nevertheless, Tyrion convinces him he didn’t kill Joffrey while also conceding even if they found the perpetrator, Cersei would want Tyrion dead anyway. Jaime concedes that point to Tyrion and then tells his brother that Cersei is offering a knighthood to whoever finds his wife, quickly thereafter asking Tyrion if he thinks Sansa did it. Despite having all the motives, Tyrion is sure that Sansa didn’t do it.

Later that night, Cersei summons Jaime to her chamber and asks who is guarding Tommen’s chambers. She is visibly upset when Jaime says that only one kingsguard is on duty and demands four of them be stationed outside his room. She then chastises him for “siding with Tyrion”. Jaime is adamant he’s doing nothing wrong because Tyrion himself did nothing wrong but Cersei’s not having any of that and she dismisses him.

Jaime is confident that his brother is telling the truth that neither he nor his wife took part in the murder. Tyrion is at least in King’s Landing so Jaime has some power to keep him safe but that’s not the case at all with Sansa Stark. Brienne gave him her oath of keeping Sansa safe and the season premiere made it look like Jaime wasn’t going to do anything about it, but he gets around to it here. He summons Brienne to the Kingsguard chamber where he gives her back the oath to protect Sansa and makes sure she’s well equipped for the task. Jaime gives Brienne food, supplies, a horse, freshly forged armor and his own Valyrian steel sword. Brienne wants to refuse that last gift but Jaime reasons that the original steel came from Ned Stark’s sword so the reforged sword should have the duty of protecting Ned Stark’s daughters. Brienne accepts all of his gifts after that and the two share what is likely their final scene together. Watching them say goodbye was tough because Jaime and Brienne’s relationship was one of the most interesting and well made things that the show has ever done. They’re both bound by an oath to do their duty, Brienne to the one she swore Cat Stark and Jaime to the Kingsguard. They were bound to go their separate ways eventually but it’s sad to see it happen.

We’ll tie together the Sansa and House Tyrell story lines together because they go hand in hand in the episode. Still at sea, Sansa asks Littlefinger if he was behind the murder of Joffrey. Littlefinger initially denies it but when Sansa plays along well enough, he admits his role, Sansa’s role (the necklace) and those of his new friends, stating that Joffrey dying has helped his relationship with his new friends “grow strong”, the words of House Tyrell. We then cut back to the capital where Margaery and Olena discuss the latter leaving to Highgarden. Olena then implicitly tells her granddaughter that she played a role in the poisoning. Before heading home, she tells Margaery she will likely marry Tommen and that she should get to work on him before Cersei can turn him against her. Later that night, Margaery sneaks past those three extra kingsguard that Cersei wanted stationed and plays the same manipulation game with Tommen that she did with Joffrey. Luckily for her, Tommen seems a lot nicer than Joffrey and using him shouldn’t be too hard. Margaery may have finally caught a break.

Outside of Meereen, Grey Worm is learning the common tongue from Missandei when Dany interrupts with something important, “It’s time” she says. If you guessed “it’s time” meant the capture of Meereen, you’d be correct. Grey Worm and a group of other Unsullied sneak into the city and work their way into a slave pen, where the slaves are already discussing whether or not they should rebel. Grey Worm tells the slaves that freedom is more worth it than they could ever imagine and arms the slaves with the weapons he and his Unsullied brought. The next day, the slave revolt is a success and Dany has Meereen, the king of the slave cities. She orders that 163 “great masters” be crucified to mile posts, in retribution for the masters doing the same to those slave children. Ser Barristan urges Dany to show restraint and says that sometimes the best answer for injustice is mercy. He’s unsuccessful in convincing her though, she answers that she will answer injustice with justice and watches the crucifixions from the top of her new seat of power, the great pyramid of Meereen.

At Castle Black, Jon is conducting sparring lessons with fellow brothers and new recruits (including Roose’s man, Locke) when Thorne comes by and tells him to stop, reminding him that he’s a steward. When Jon leaves, Janos Slynt tells Thorne that Jon is much more liked than he is and when an election for Lord Commander is held, he is unlikely to keep the position. If Jon were to die however, nobody would likely pose a threat to Thorne. Slynt suggests to Thorne that he allow Jon to go to Craster’s Keep and Throne is convinced. He allows Jon to send a party up there but tells Jon that it will be a volunteer mission only. Turns out Slynt was right, Jon has plenty of support and after giving a riveting speech, he gets a rather large volunteer group to go with him, including Grenn, Dolorous Edd, and Locke (who’s only here to find Bran and Rickon). Next stop, Craster’s Keep.

Now Karl, Rast, and the rest of the mutineers were obviously bad guys, anyone who betrays guest right and also kills their Lord Commander is, but you see just how evil these guys are. They sit comfortably at Craster’s Keep all day, raping his daughter wives and drinking wine out of the late Lord Commander Mormont’s skull. One of Craster’s wives gives birth to the last of Craster’s children and it’s a boy. At the insistence of Craster’s daughters, Karl orders Rast to take the baby to the woods to leave as a sacrifice.

As it turns out, the spot that Rast leaves the baby is isn’t that far away from where Bran and his crew have made camp for the night. It’s close enough that they can even hear the baby crying. Bran insists on warging into Summer to investigate and the Reeds can do little to convince him otherwise. Bran as Summer runs towards Craster’s Keep and when he sees Ghost caged, he tries to help but is caught in a trap. Bran returns to his human body to tell the Reeds about what happened. Bran insists that they go to the keep to help the direwolves and this turns out to be not so great as the mutineers capture them. They are brought inside and do a good job of not revealing their identities but Bran gives in and reveals his identity when Meera is being held back while Jojen is suffering a seizure. I don’t very much like the idea of these mutineers having Bran and friends as hostages so hopefully Jon and his party are coming as fast as possible.

Other Thoughts

How about that end scene though? It is confirmed that Craster’s sons are sacrifices to the white walkers but we got some more details as well. A white walker takes the boy and brings him to The Land of Always Winter and with a single touch, turns him into a White Walker. Interesting.

Littlefinger and Sansa are en route to the Eyrie, where Littlefinger will marry Lysa Arryn, Sansa’s aunt. Can’t say I’m too eager to see that crazy woman again.

Jaime and Brienne’s goodbye reverses their goodbye from “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”. In “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”, Brienne said goodbye and Jaime nodded and then left. In “Oathkeeper”, Jaime says goodbye and Brienne nods before leaving.

Unless Olena becomes a main character, her return to Highgarden means we won’t be seeing her for a while, possibly ever. I sure hope that isn’t the case, she’s such a joy to watch.

Podrick is going with Brienne as her squire. Brienne seems hesitant at first and I wouldn’t blame her. Pod can barely ride a horse and squiring for Tyrion probably didn’t give him any experience for practical things that a knight would require of a squire. He’s a good kid though, he’ll learn.

Hopefully Grey Worm can continue his lessons with Missandei for the common tongue. He seems like a quick learner but his syntax could use some work.

We met Tommen’s pet cat, Ser Pounce in this episode. Can you believe Joffrey threatened to kill Ser Pounce and sneak his flesh into one of Tommen’s meals? Actually, Joffrey probably would do that. At least he’s not around anymore.

Bronn taking Jaime’s golden hand off and beating Jaime with it was a badass move. Bronn is right though, If Jaime wants to win any more fights, he going to have to be willing to play dirty.

The way they showed the slave revolt in Meereen was pretty cool but just a small thing. “Kill the Masters” was graffiti’d in the common tongue, when they speak Valyrian in Meereen. Having to subtitle graffiti would take away from the impact I suppose.

“Oathkeeper” gives many characters new objectives to carry the season as we move further away from the lasting impact of Joffrey’s murder. 

Grade B+

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