Game of Thrones: “Two Swords”

Dany cuddling with Drogon (NBD)

Dany cuddling with Drogon (NBD)

OMG. Game of Thrones is finally back!

Admittedly, whenever a new season of any show starts up again, I find it difficult to remember what the hell actually happened. Luckily, for the past few weeks, HBO has been rerunning three episodes per night to catch viewers up. Then they marathoned all three seasons a few times over this past weekend.

Basically, I’ve been watching a LOT of Game of Thrones. Plus I’ve been rereading the books. I was so g.d. excited for season premiere “Two Swords,” which may has well been titled “Everybody Hates the Lannisters.”

Jaime realizes the obvious: His family is full of assholes

Things starts well enough for Jaime, who returned to Kings Landing at the very end of the third season: Tywin is overseeing the production of two swords of Valyrian steel, which the Lannisters (despite their wealth) have never owned, including one for his preferred son. They discuss the rarity of the metal, which Tywin only procured because, as he stated cryptically, he came into some from a man who did not need his any longer. (Poor ol’ Ned! Did anyone else kind of forget about him until the “Previously on…” montage? His beheading feels like ages ago.)

Unfortunately, the father-son reunion quickly takes a nosedive, with Jaime insisting that he will continue to serve on the Kingsguard (a lifelong commitment, until Joff fired Ser Barristan Selmy: DUMB MOVE) rather than carry out his father’s wishes to take Casterly Rock, marry, and start a family. Tywin—in his typical DGAF fashion—declares that it was not a request but Jaime refuses anyway. He figures that his dad will want the new sword back, until but Tywin advises him to keep it: “A one-handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.” Burn, Tywin.

Cersei and Joffrey are still whiny little bitches

Okay, so Tywin is a cold guy, but did Jaime expect anything less? You’d think that he would get some comfort from his twin/lover, Cersei, whom he reminds he wanted to see so badly that he murdered a lot of people (not to mention, drank horse piss). But Cersei’s all like, “Whatever, YOU TOOK TOO LONG,” probably forgetting that she just had her brother’s stump fitted to a golden hand to replace the actual one that Vargo Hoat chopped off. Give him a pass, Cers! And listen to your bro and put down the bottle! He’s one of the only people who care about you!

Later, while Ser Meryn (a.k.a. the guy that Joffrey uses to beat Sansa) and Jaime are discussing plans for the Kingsguard, Joffrey brings out the Book of the Brothers, the white tome that holds entries for all of the deeds of the Kingsguard. Joffrey, who at this point still does not know his true parentage, mocks Jaime about his one-page entry and casts doubt on what a “40-year-old knight with one hand” can further accomplish.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first real interaction in the series between Joffrey and Jaime. No wonder, since if there had been more, it’d be kind of impossible to believe that Jaime wouldn’t smack Joff upside the head each time he ever encountered this inbred sadist.

Dornishpeople love sex, hate the Lannisters

But if Jaime’s hating on his family, he may have some new friends! Oberyn Martell (not to be confused with the Tyrells, which sadly took me to forever to realize was an entirely different family) is here for the royal wedding, accompanied by Ellaria Sand, his lowborn, fellow bisexual sexytime enthusiast. They’re in Littlefinger’s brothel trying to pick a girl to join them in the sack, which they do before Oberyn recruits that blond kid who seduced Loras at the behest of Littlefinger, who wound up telling the Lannisters about the Tyrells’ intent to marry Sansa to Loras, which resulted in her union with Tyrion. (Got that?)

So even though most of Westeros hate Dornishmen (they’re like the Quebecois of the Seven Kingdoms), I’m all for anybody who wants revenge at the Lannisters. Oberyn reminds Tyrion, who was tasked with welcoming the Martells to Kings Landing, that Elia Martell—his sister, who was married to Rhaegar Targaryen—was raped and murdered by the Mountain at what Oberyn believes was the order of Tywin Lannister, as were Elia’s children (OR SO HE THINKS). Anyway, I’d be wary of anyone nicknamed “The Red Viper” who parades his bastard-born “paramour” around the royal family in the capital.

Sansa continues hating her life

I hope Oberyn doesn’t take his rage out on the newest Lannister. Poor thing is married to now to Tyrion, who Varys told Shae last season was one of the only decent people able to rule the Seven Kingdoms, before trying to buy her out of the capital. She refuses to eat despite Shae’s best attempts, telling her lord husband that Grey Wind’s head was sewn on her brother Robb’s body and that her mother was thrown into the river. Courtesy of her in-laws. Boo.

Anyway, Sansa goes to the godswood—not to pray, she says, but to go somewhere where people won’t talk to her. Drunken ex-knight Ser Dontos, absent since the second season when Sansa convinced Joffrey to spare his life and have him serve as a fool instead, follows her and presents her with an heirloom necklace, his only item of value, in thanks for his life.

(CHEKHOV’S GUN: When will it go off?)

Luckily, Brienne (whom Lady Olenna deemed “marvelous” and “absolutely singular” for knocking Loras to the ground, in a too-short scene) is still watching out for Sansa, even if Lady Catelyn is dead. She reminds Jaime about their co-vow, but he’s in no mood to hear it since he hasn’t exactly had the nicest welcome back.

And when is Sansa going to figure out the funny business between her handmaiden and Tyrion, who insists he has no idea what Shae is talking about when she blasts him for trying to ship her away? Well, that annoying other handmaiden overheard their entire conversation and ran off to tell the queen. (Snitch. I think this is the same girl who tried to tell Cersei about Sansa’s first period.)

Watch out: Dany is going after Meereen

If the Martells want to bring down the Lannisters, could they be allies for Dany? Hell, I’d side with her: Her dragons are bigger than ever, and Drogon alternately snuggles with and snaps his teeth at her. Ser Jorah reminds her, “They’re dragons, Khaleesi. They can never be tamed, not even by their mother.”

Anyway, her kids ought to be protective since Daario Naharis is wooing their mommy with pretty flowers and decent strategy advice to get to know the land. (But honestly I find this so distracting because Daario has been recast from Ed Skrein to Liam from freakin’ Nashville, wtf.) Dany accepts the flowers, but her intrigue about Daario is short-lived when her people see a young girl’s corpse pointing the way to Meereen. Ser Barristan quickly tells her that they will remove all 163 bodies, one for each mile to the slave city, but Dany declares that she will look upon each face, before ordering her soldiers to properly bury the bodies after removing their slave collars. Okay we get it: Dany frees slaves!

Jon and Ygritte are SO not over each other

Thousands of miles away, Ygritte is supposedly angry that she never had the time to slice off Jon’s cock (like she promised), but Tormund Giantsbane points out that she’s a great aim and probably let him go. Ygritte doesn’t have much time to argue, though, before they’re interrupted by the arrival of the alien-looking Thenns, who are revealed to be cannibals. Gross. (I could swear I’ve seen this same makeup on some sci-fi film.)

Meanwhile, Jon is back with the Night’s Watch and he’s just heard about Robb’s death. He admits to Sam, “I wanted to hate him but I never could,” but Sam confesses that he sometimes feels that way about Jon. He has to go, though, to report to the rest of Castle Black about his time with the wildlings, and Jon “confesses” that he broke his vows by laying with a wildling girl, but he probably just wanted to tell the rest of the crows:

Honestly, I wish I cared more about this Jon-and-Ygritte arc. Fans seem to like them (don’t they?), but how can I, considering the most popular theory about the end of the series?

Arya is as badass as ever

But here is one of my most favorite story lines: After leaving the Twins, Arya and the Hound are riding atop his horse when she complains that she wants one of her own and insists wouldn’t run away because she has nowhere to go (sadly, true!). The Hound replies that he plans to go to the Vale and ransom her to her wealthy aunt Lysa.

Soon, they stumble upon a tavern where Arya recognizes Polliver, the guy who stole Needle, killed her friend Lommy, and brought Arya and her friends to Harrenhal. Naturally, Arya runs off while the Hound isn’t looking and they’re forced to enter the tavern, where Polliver recognizes…the Hound. He invites him to join their gang, but after arguing about whether the Hound needs to pay for chicken, it all winds up in a big brawl where Arya manages to steal back Needle and kill a few dudes, including Polliver, who finally recognizes Arya as she repeats the words that he said to Lommy (“Fine little blade; maybe I’ll pick my teeth with it”) before she slides Needle into Polliver’s throat, as he did to her friend.

The two ride away from the tavern with the Hound munching on some chicken and Arya with Needle tucked into her belt, smiling as she rides away on her own horse. She’s not a mouse anymore, and she’s going to kill all the names she recites each night!

Seriously, I love these random throwbacks to previous seasons: I just remember that scene between Arya and Tywin at Harrenhal, when the Lannister patriarch asks this random Northern girl if she believes the rumors that the “Young Wolf” could not be killed. Arya was like, “Anybody can be killed.” I mean…yeah.

But speaking of the Hound, was it just me, or was his face not as…burnt-looking?

His face looks weirdly symmetrical!

Did HBO lay off some makeup artists?

His face looks weirdly symmetrical. Usually his eye is a lot more…squashed.

If you didn’t manage to catch up…

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