TV Recap: Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 1

The Overthinkers recap Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 1, “Two Swords.”

Ben, Pete, Ryan Shana and Matt recap Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 1, “Two Swords.”


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11 Comments on “TV Recap: Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 1”

  1. Grim_ungainly #

    Great recap you guys.
    On satisfaction vs. blue-balls:
    The characters who got satisfaction (e.g. Arya+hound, Sam+Jon, dragons) are looking to obtain direct personal needs: safety, food, etc. They are being acted upon by the events of the story, without having particular leverage themselves. Characters who go without satisfaction (Tyrion, Oberyn, Cersei) have higher order objectives: power, vengeance, and advancement. They want to have larger scale impacts on the events of this world. It seems to come at the cost of their more basic needs, which go unfulfilled.

    On Arya:
    It seems as though the stabbing of Polliver was not nearly as dark as the homologous killing in ASOS. Honestly, I think both the discomfort and the catharsis of that moment in the book are important. It sets up some moral dilemmas for Arya, and shows the not entirely healthy way she deals with the loss of her family. Would you really be that happy about getting yourself a horse after you’ve watched your mother and brother brutally murdered?


    • Shana Mlawski OTI Staff #

      Yeah, what I didn’t discuss on the podcast was the interesting fact that Sansa got the whole “What would your mother think?” speech from Tyrion, but Arya got no such thing. What *would* her mother think of her killing Polliver? We know Cat wanted her children to survive, but like this? I share Wrather’s discomfort with Arya’s developing psychopathy.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      I didn’t want to bring this up on the recap because it would take things a bit off-track, but the Arya killing of Polliver is based on a chapter George R.R. Martin wrote years ago for _The Winds of Winter_.

      We know this because George released the chapter last week. It’s awesome, and takes place in a different place with a different target.

      But the way George wrote it, it shows a much more complete sort of transformation than where Arya is in this part of the story. I agree that it would have been better for her to still be more uncomfortable with what she is doing. It skips three books ahead.


  2. Corwin #

    I wonder if some the sting is taken out of Arya’s vengeance by the fact that revenge killing is so commonplace in action movies. It is so, so often the hero’s reward at the end of the movie (along with maybe rescuing his family or whoever, provided they weren’t all killed in the setup) that maybe on a screen it just reads like “Yeah, that’s what happens”, whereas a book can provide more detail as to the characters’ state of mind. (I have not read the books.)

    Also, Arya lives in a world where people are casually murdered all the time for a couple of coins or a chicken or political gain or sheer caprice. Surely this would moderate her worldview vis a vis killing.

    Finally, I’m a little disappointed that nobody made note of the Hound telling Arya that “A man’s got to have a code”. Oh, indeed.


    • Shana Mlawski OTI Staff #

      It’s funny, because on Friday there was a line in Hannibal, “Anybody who gets close gets got.” Lots of Wire-esque dialogue in places you wouldn’t expect this week. I expect on Sunday we’ll have Pete Campbell saying, “Draper comin’ yo!” or “You come at the Drapes, you best not miss.”


    • sheely OTI Staff #

      “A man’s got to have a code” was in my notes (in addition to being seared into my heart), and I just got caught up in everything else we were discussing in the episode! I actually remembered it as soon as we stopped recording. I have a feeling that this won’t be the last opportunity to connect this season of GoT to the Wire, so we can revisit this then, hopefully.


    • Ben Adams OTI Staff #

      This episode was just lousy (in a good way) with TV-show references. The make-you-reach-for-your-sword-so-I-can-stab-you-in-the-hand trick is straight out of the Justified Season 3 premiere – as was my crack in the podcast about “Maybe YOU’RE the pain in the ass.”

      The entire Arya/Hound scene in the Inn had a very Western/Justified feeling to it- they’re talking about one thing (chickens) but really you know that both sides are just waiting to draw down on the other.


      • fenzel OTI Staff #

        It looks like my spoiler-free review of the trailer (where I talked about how similar it was to a recent trailer for Justified) was more prophetic than I thought!


    • Jesse #

      The problem is that Arya’s character isn’t interesting when she is all about revenge and homicide. I’m uncertain if that is solely because people are burnt out on revenge killers (although that’s probably part of it). I think it has more to do with her being very one-dimensional at the moment.

      She used to be a more interesting character. She used to be afraid. Now she just has cold, steely eyes that only seem to want death.

      Part of this is probably because this was the first episode of the season and therefore full of exposition to remind people who the character is.

      Someone else suggested to me that the adventures of Arya and the Hound would make a good weekly TV show. Each week, the main characters of “Wolf and Hound” would head over to a new city, have adventures, probably kill some people, and then hit the road again like David Banner in the Incredible Hulk. The weekly gimmick would have to be the Hound demanding an increasingly strange array of foodstuffs.


      • An Inside Joke #

        I wonder if that’s somewhat intentional, though (to make Arya less likeable, not to make her boring.) Given GOT’s tendency to subvert expectations, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if George R. R. Martin created Arya to be a plucky, likeable heroine, just to send her on a dark path until she becomes monstrous to readers.

        If you read the book, you know that by the end of Book 3/Start of Book 4 Arya starts on a journey that threatens her identity in a literal way – and without getting spoilery or more detailed, I always suspected that the end of that arc would be having her ultimately lose the last vestiges of what made her the character we fell in love with and become someone unrecognizable.


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