Game of Thrones recap: Enter the Dragon

The dragon is unleashed as Daenerys seizes control of her destiny in a stunning game-changing episode
Ep. 04 | Aired Apr 21, 2013

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON SNAFU Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is here to kick ass and speak High Valyrian. And she's all out of High Valyrian. 

Now we fade-jump ahead. You're bummed here. I know. You wanted to see city-wide Unsullied and dragon mayhem. So did I. Send the producers a check for $10 million and maybe they will add it to the DVD.

Ser Jorah gazes up at Dany like he's never wanted to jump her bones more than at this moment. She ignores him and gets on a white horse to address her army, which is back in neat CGI-rows. Now if Dany hadn't already taken enough of a risk, she takes another big one. She doubles down. She wants it both ways. She wants the skilled army AND free men instead of slaves.

Notice she's rejecting the diametrically opposed options presented by Jorah and Barristan, who were divided last week on whether to buy the robotic Unsullied. In the new bestselling book Decisive, the authors say one of the first questions leaders should ask when presented with a tough decision that has seemingly only two options is: Is there a way I can have both? Dany decided, Yes, and the same was true when facing her other impossible choice: Does she want to gain an army OR to keep all three of her dragons? Again, she chose both. She wants it all: The entire army, all three dragons, the slave masters dead and the slaves freed. The world, Chico, and everything in it.

Also, I should point out: She totally broke her promise and screwed the masters over. Yet we don't mind, mainly because Kraznys was such a horrible person. Still, a part of me wonders: What about the nice guy who gets a job as a slave manager and doesn't even particularly like slavery but this is the only job he could get? Or what about the slave owner's wife? It's sort of like wondering about Luke Skywalker's broke farm-boy friends who enlisted with the Imperials and were working in the cafeteria on the Death Star when it blew up. Wrong side of history, bitches.

In a way, freeing the slaves is also is a callback to Dany helping the witch whose village was sacked by the Dothraki in season 1. That act of kindness cost Dany the life of her husband and child. Now she's far more wary about trusting strangers. But having fate smack her for being merciful did not break her values and change the kind of leader she wants to be.

So yeah. Dany asks the Unsullied to join her as free men. They stomp their spears in agreement. And why not? If you've got insane military training, no home, no food and no d--k, what else are you gonna do with your freedom other than follow the hot girl with the dragons? (But while this was a heroic move for Dany, it could turn into a real headache if these guys start stomping their spears for universal health care and a retirement plan).

Dany marches her army out of Astapor like she owns the place. And she does.

Best Scene: Hello.

Best Line: Loved Vary's line about Littlefinger. But must give it to: "A dragon is not a slave."

Read our exclusive interview with Game of Thrones producers Dan Weiss and David Benioff along with actress Emilia Clarke discussing the dragon unleashing scene.

Recap post time update! For episodes 5-8, the EW Thrones recap will likely go up a little later than usual. If you typically read these recaps right after the East Coast telecast, check my Twitter feed @james_hibberd for a post-time update on Sunday.

UPDATE: Here's a great piece of fan art from Mandi Grant depicting the sacking of Astapor. It's titled "Dracarys." Click here to see a full-size version.


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