Justice was the buzzword this week among critics recapping Episode 4 of Game of Thrones. While some examined the ripple effect (or lack thereof) of Jaime Lannister’s actions of the previous episodes, others pointed out how the episode may have served as a bridge to future episodes’ plot developments.
Despite its provenance with two of the GoT creative team’s finest talents, loremaster turned writer Bryan Cogman and veteran Breaking Bad director Michelle MacLaren, “Oathkeeper” felt at times like flipping through your Netflix queue at random and watching one scene at a time. Thrilling? Dizzying? Upsetting? When it comes to rendering a verdict on that question, I know nothing (#jonsnow).
Last night’s Game of Thrones had a lot of scenes where people tried to consolidate their power. Some people make alliances, others bully their followers, and still others try to send their enemies on suicide missions. When your hold on power isn’t secure, you have to be crafty and ruthless…
For the previous three years, watching “Game of Thrones” as a reader of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels has been like attending an incredibly traumatic family reunion after years away…The things that are different, or not quite as we pictured them, only serve to deepen our sense of the familiar. This is the same story about the poison of patriarchy and the toxins of inequality, only a whole lot worse.
Ultimately, I feel safe in saying that A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thronesare telling the same story, but they’re following two different narrative paths to get there, as evidenced by an episode that does a lot of labor in the interest of condensing a sprawling narrative into something more manageable for a television series. The result at times feels like pieces on a chessboard being awkwardly pushed together in ways that break the rules, but they’re rules only some of the show’s audience will even know exist, and rules that—unlike oaths—are made to be broken in the interest of a new set of rules that have developed over the course of this new narrative.
More book readers review and Unsullied react under the cut:
B; “Oathkeeper” is a beautifully directed—by Michelle MacLaren—episode and an intelligently scripted—by Bryan Cogman—hour, but it’s also one of those episodes that tend to plague the midsections of seasons of this show, where everybody just kind of stands around and nothing much happens because the producers realize they advanced events far too quickly in previous episodes and need to save something for later episodes. It’s not a bad episode by any means, but after the headlong rush that was those first three hours, this one feels a bit more like a wait-and-see approach, wanting to make sure we’re reminded of a bunch of characters and potential conflicts before we move on to other stuff.
Quests, rousing speeches, White Walkers, conquests, direwolves, dragons and a pyramid to top it all off. This week’s episode was such a full-fledged fantasy show I half expected elves and orcs to battle in Mirkwood for a ring of power. And yeah, I know we didn’t actually see the dragons, but we got everything else, and I’m sure they were around there somewhere.
King’s Landing is in flux, the plot heats up in the icy North, and last week’s controversial scene looms over a story of conflicted loyalties.
At its worst, the Game of Thrones show is exploitative, adding gratuitous “mature viewers” content in ways that add nothing to the story and occasionally distract from it. The latest episode, “Oathkeeper,” is a bit of both, and feels kind of like reaching into a grab bag of jewels and broken glass. There’s some really good stuff in there, but you probably aren’t going to get through it without wincing a little.
Power ranking (Shocker! Dany’s in the top spot)
Recap: As HBO’s Game of Thrones starts moving along, it marches inexorably closer towards overreaching George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. And while this may cause concern for diehard book fans, this looks like a big problem for the smartest show fans, too, especially as they add things like – SPOILER ALERT! – white walker babies.
With so many characters making so many complex moral decisions, how does Game of Thrones define justice? These are intriguing, layered questions, and Game of Thrones handles them with characteristic depth and intelligence.
8.8/10; or those who’ve read the books, “Oathkeeper” sure kept you on your toes. It was a much more satisfying and eventful (and certainly less controversial) episode than last week’s, throwing out a bunch of curveballs that, honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my gourd around.
In last night’s episode, the Game of Thrones creators revealed the answers to two mysteries that lingered from last week:Who killed Joffrey? And was the show going to take Jaime to task for that rape-that-wasn’t-really-a-rape-but-yeah-it-really-was-a-rape?
The real monsters in this world – as this episode reminded us – are not White Walkers or dragons but other people
An episode written by Bryan Cogman has generally been an episode to expect good things from, as he’s often artfully conveyed details from the novels that are present but not necessarily apparent in the TV adaptation; there are those who consider him a better writer than his bosses, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, for this reason alone. But those bosses loom large, and at the end of the day all decisions—and all scripts—pass through them and receive their approval (or, at least, acceptance). Which means—just as we’ve noted with George R.R. Martin before him this season, and as we expect to note for both of them as well as new writing addition Dave Hill—that the break down of the seasons, the decisions about how plot lines should go (especially invented plot-lines ) are chiefly their responsibility in the end, and it’s for writers like Cogman or GRRM to do the best they can. Some of these decisions have been inspired, leading to fantastic moments such as Theon Greyjoy’s burning letter or his beheading of Ser Rodrik Cassel in the 2nd season. Others… have been less inspired, and unfortunately there’s a significant portion of the back half of this episode devoted to one of those decisions.
B; “Oathkeeper” isn’t a particularly entertaining hour of television. It’s a bridge to forthcoming passages in Game Of Thrones’ fourth season, composed of storylines that are either well under way…or just getting started. Well before the White Walkers throw to the credits with the episode’s big gasp of a conclusion, this is an episode of cliffhangers. Its main storytelling aim is the enticement to check back next week, one of the less appealing attributes serialized TV inherited from its literary forebears.
Justice. The word can be defined in many ways, but in the latest “Game of Thrones” episode, “Oathkeeper,” it seems that justice correlates directly to a body count. Both Daenerys and Jon Snow claim to want justice but that might just be a more polite way of saying vengeance. Cersei doesn’t even pretend to take the high road; she just wants revenge. We also get reacquainted with yet another Worst Character candidate and get a first peek into the mysterious ways of the White Walkers.
After the dark twists of last week’s episode and the resulting hue and cry that unfolded online, “Game of Thrones” returned on Sunday with an episode titled “Oathkeeper.” That turned out to be pretty on the nose, as the various subplots revolved around promises kept, challenged and utterly despoiled.
“Oathkeeper” gave us scenes that were absolutely horrific (Hodor!) and a couple that were surprisingly sweet…Justice was our big theme last night, which is a bit surprising considering how unjust the world of Game of Thrones usually is.
There’s always a certain level of role play going on in “Game of Thrones,” as various characters try to fake it until they make it — whether that’s to safer territory or greater power…But we get an especially strong dose of the idea in “Oath-Keeper,” in which an abundance of characters choose to pose in new guises, or have these identities thrust upon them.
THE BABIES ARE THE SPICE! THE SPICE IS THE BABIES!
Peter Counter – Dork Shelf (Note: I do not know if this is an Unsullied review)
This week’s Game of Thrones has a lot to say about the promises we make in order to prove ourselves. Oaths are simple strings of words that at first seem noble, but when brought fully into practice they inevitably collide with the tacit commitments of family, the powerful bonds of friendship, and the cold, chaotic ambivalence of history. This is most prominently seen in the tragedy of Jaime Lannister’s reputation and is the prevailing theme of “Oathkeeper.”
So much of Game of Thrones, particularly as we hunker down into the murky middle of the story, involves waiting for other shoes (or heads) to drop. At times, the stately pace and relentless grimness can make a viewer feel less like a fan of a television show and more like some sort of mute witness, cataloguing unspeakable horrors in pursuit of an unknowable goal. Grey Worm’s clean argument — and Daenerys’s spotless win-loss record — offered an uncommonly easy victory for the unambiguous good guys.
“Kill the Masters” was a running theme throughout episode four.
All right, HBO – you’re not playing fair. You get us all excited by promising us AC/AL/V/N/ – YAAAAY! – and then give us an episode of Game of Thrones that boasts multiple rapes and some light child molestation. Can you come up with some new letters for that?
Never fear, video fans. Your patience shall be rewarded.