HBO – Game of Thrones Recap – 4.4 ‘Breaker of Chains’

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So yes, after the third episode in the fourth season of Game of Thrones, the elephant in the room is Jaime’s rape (because that was what it was) of Cersei. An action that didn’t exactly happen in the books, and seriously complicates the redemption story that the show was developing so well. Aside from saying that I’m disappointed in this development, I won’t delve too much into this controversy because plenty of other folks have done it this week. But as despicable as Jaime’s actions were, I can’t help but wonder why people were expecting much better from Game of Thrones.

Many people in the series (and books) do horrible, monstrous things to each other. Just because we sometimes learn about extenuating circumstances that make them look like better people, and just because it looks like they’re acting slightly more ethical for a short period of time, doesn’t mean that they’re suddenly redeemed and noble people and that they won’t commit horrible actions again. People can be complicated; they can do repugnant things and honorable things at the same time, so I’m not entirely sure why this action seems so shocking, especially considering his gender, social status, and upbringing. He’s the first born son of the most powerful family in a feudal patriarchy who is used to getting (or taking) what he wants no matter the moral/societal prohibitions.

And I said I wasn’t going to talk about it too much.

Anyway, the rest of the episode was good, but not quite the barn burner of last week. We got a nice survey of everything happening around Westeros and Essos. Arya learns another harsh lesson as the Hound takes advantage of a farmer’s hospitality and robs him blind; Sam, afraid his “brother” rangers will take advantage of Gilly, sends her south to be a maid for prostitutes, just as Ygritte and her group of wildings begin to carve a cannibalistic path of destruction north into the Night’s Watch rear; Tyrion sends away his “loyal” squire, in a scene that nearly had me in tears; and Dany bombards the walls of the newest slave city with the broken chains of the slaves that she’s liberated. I’m not sure why Stannis and Davos haven’t acted on the very urgent letter they received from the Night’s Watch at the end of last season, but I expect we’ll see something on that front soon. Lots of ground was covered in this episode of Game of Thrones, and there was plenty of set-up, but I liked it.