Game of Thrones Season 4 – Season Review
I’ve whinged a lot about Game of Thrones’ soap operatics before.
But I had an epiphany this season: Game of Thrones is exactly that. It’s a soap opera.
Yes, it’s a soap opera with a fabulous budget and the occasional decapitation.
But watching GoT and expecting a soap opera, as opposed to expecting it to be this epic, magical experience that so many fans seem to believe, makes everything much more satisfying.
It’s like Revenge. If Revenge only had 10 episodes per season, 30 more characters, and no clear direction.
So I guess not much like Revenge, then.
TL;DR This season is yet another exercise in time wasting. The only significant event is Joffrey’s death, and that wad gets blown in episode 2. Checking in with all these characters is still a good time, but it’d be nice if they actually did something from time to time, wouldn’t it?
That’s what happens when you get early renewal for 2 seasons in advance.
The plot this season seems to be, in true GoT style, an unfocused mess. Joffrey’s coronation and surprise assassination take up the early third, but it’s all “let’s see what X character is up to” for the remaining 7 episodes. Tyrion and newcomer Oberyn, an enemy of the Lannisters, take centre stage at King’s Landing in the wake of the assassination (Tyrion is accused and convicted of it; Oberyn is a shady bloke who is out for revenge, but makes the right alliances at the right times), but the rest of the world is unaffected by the king’s death. Subplots include: Daenerys not only still (still!) being sequestered away from Westeros, but actually doing reruns on her slave liberation bullshit (with bonus bureaucracy); Jon and the Night’s Watch fighting off a Wildling assault on the Wall; the White Walkers still having no impact on anything; Bran doing sweet FA until the final episode (and even then, like, not much); Sansa moping around the Vale after fleeing King’s Landing (finally); Arya and the Hound playing Odd Couple; Brienne and Podrick playing Odd Couple; Stannis twiddling his thumbs; Jamie kind of redeeming himself, but still getting into Cersei’s pants; Cersei being a cunt for no reason; Theon being even more pathetic and irrelevant; and Tyrion being essentially Jesus, what with all the ridiculous favouritism GoT shows him.
If he could turn water into wine, then he’d be set for life.
While season 4 (and GoT as a whole) was a lot more enjoyable once I’d had my soap opera epiphany, there’s still a stark lack of any actual plot going on. There’s an endless torrent of character development, but that’s pretty useless when your characters aren’t actually doing anything with it.
Why I hate this season:
Tyrion gets the most action, but anything that happens to him is spoiled by the obvious protective barrier the show always throws around him. He gets accused of murdering Joffrey and given a sham trial? That’s okay, Oberyn will throw himself into mortal danger (and temporarily eschew his Lannister blood feud) to help him. Oberyn fucks up the trial by combat and gets killed and Tyrion is sure to be executed? That’s okay, Jamie and an uncharacteristically proactive Varys will bust him outta jail the night before. All Tyrion has to do is flee to his freedom and not waste time risking his life in the castle? That’s okay, he’ll just bump into Shae so he can kill her for selling him out, then find a conveniently handy crossbow so he can go kill his father, and none of this will get in the way of him making a perfect escape anyway. Cute.
Speaking of Oberyn failing his trial by combat, what an idiot. Grandstanding for your own ego is a wonderful idea when a man who can crack skulls with his bare hands is still in reach of you.
Cersei is a dipshit. She used to be cool, but now she’s just dumb. Any number of people could have killed Joffrey, but she goes relentlessly after her own brother just because. And not half-heartedly, either. She goes the extra mile to off Tyrion. And now she’s trying to pick up martyr points because “my son is dead wah.” Shut up.
Why didn’t Arya and Sansa meet up at the Vale? Yeah, Arya and the Hound were told her aunt was dead, but surely the arrival of Arya Stark would have been announced to Sansa, Baelish, and Little Boy Breastfed. Did Arya and the Hound just toddle off, and the gatekeepers didn’t think it relevant to mention to anyone?
Arya denies the Hound a mercy killing after he is mortally wounded by Brienne. Rude.
Who gives a shit about Theon?
Likewise, Ramsay’s crazy torturer schtick is getting old.
Jon is just straight-up dull. Episode 9 is entirely devoted to the Wildling assault on the Wall, and although the battle scenes are nice, is there anyone at all who cares about Jon and Downton at this point? And again, the White Walkers are beyond the wall, but all we keep getting is this Wildling garbage. Over it.
Daenerys has to re-liberate one of the cities she already liberated. What a fucking wank. Even when she finds out that Joffrey is dead, she still makes no move on Westeros. She’s too busy still letting her heart bleed all over her precious little slaves. And she spends most of her time handling complaints. Game of Thrones: The Public Servant Years.
She also tells Sir Richard Carlisle to fuck off after randomly finding out he used to spy on her 3 seasons ago. Bitch.
The cannibals were dull.
Stannis doesn’t do anything until bizarrely arriving beyond the wall to rout the Wildlings in the season finale. Unless Melisandre’s pumping out smoke babies for you, I’m not interested, Stannis.
Oh, and the fact that Grandma Tyrell is the one who arranged Joffrey’s assassination is kind of just tossed in, and then never mentioned again.
But it’s not all bad:
If you think GoT isn’t a soap opera, just look at the frequency of dramatic weddings. Case closed.
Joffrey’s death was almost too good to be true. And it was messy, and gross, and undignified. It was nice.
He also gets to chew the scenery with his wedding antics before getting put out of his misery. His ungodly level of jerkiness to Tyrion was a delight to endure.
Arya and the Hound make a surprisingly appealing Odd Couple. And while the Hound’s finale duel with Brienne was based mainly on poor communication, it was nice to see Brienne smacking down such a fierce opponent, as well as the Hound sincerely fighting for Arya’s safety. It’s a shame she’s so ungrateful.
Tyrion’s one unheroic moment is when he arbitrarily murders Shae when he finds her in Tyrion’s bed during his finale escape from prison. I lol’d.
Varys isn’t gay, actually. He’s just not very interested in sex at all. Okay, that’s cool.
Bran and co get attacked by skeletons (White Walkers, I guess?) and are saved by some child fire sorceress, who then takes them to meet a super wizard who lives under a dream tree. I won’t complain about more magic.
Daenerys has misplaced one of her dragons. I had begun to miss her “where are my dragons” screeching.
Burn Gorman’s character dies.
That psychic boy (not Bran) dies.
Tywin dies. On the toilet.
Oberyn getting his head squeezed open was sublime.
Baelish pushes crazy Vale bitch through her trap door. I lol’d.
Oh, and the great thing about Game of Thrones is that I don’t really miss it when it’s over. It’s only on for 10 weeks of the year. I don’t long for any more than that.