Game of Thrones season premiere recap: A Storm of Swords and Swingers

Our recap of HBO's fantasy hit returns!
Ep. 01 | Aired Apr 6, 2014

Swinging for Vengeance: "My name is Prince Oberyn Martell. You killed my sister. Prepare to die."

"No."

"No?"

"No."

Jaime notes the last time his dad asked him to break an oath to a king it got him branded "kingslayer" and everybody teases him for it. So he rather not break his oath again, even if it's with an honorable discharge. His father asks what he wants and Jaime makes a joke about wanting supper because replying "I want to stay here so I can screw my sister morning, noon and night" would not be a wise response.

Road: Tyrion, his sex savant squire Podrick, and sword/friend-for-hire Bronn have some fun banter while waiting for the prince of Dorne to show up.

"Wait-wait-wait!" you cry, unfolding a map of Westeros on your couch. "What and where is a Dorne?"

Dorne is the southern-most kingdom in the continent of Westeros, another land under the rule of King Joffrey, only we haven't been there yet. It's really hot there. Exports include wine, citrus fruit, and swingers.

So a Dorne rep disrespectfully informs Tyrion that Prince Doran, stricken with gout, did not come. This Dorne rep isn't listed in the credits as "Smarmy Dornishman," but he should be. He says the younger Prince Oberyn has come instead.

Brothel: In a terrific few scenes, we meet a fan favorite from the books: Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal). Nearly every Thrones character has a nickname and Oberyn has one of the coolest -- The Red Viper. Think of him as the Sonny Corleone of the Martell family. He's here with his paramour Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), who is a bastard (bastress?). The surname "Sand" is to Dorne what "Snow" (as in Jon Snow) is to the North.

So Oberyn and Ellaria check out the brothel lineup and both like what they see, the men and women alike. Ellaria dismisses the model-esque first girl as too timid, and the majority of male Thrones viewers disagree with her. When the brothel manager calls Ellaria a "lady," she gets annoyed at the b.s. courtesy title. You will find this couple is very big on candor in a city where everybody else is very careful about what they say.

Oberyn overhears a soldier singing the Lannister anthem "The Rains of Castamere" to the hooker on his lap (this is a super dorky move, like serenading your date with "The Star-Spangled Banner"). Oberyn goes to confront him, doing a hand-on-candle-flame maneuver along the way that looks cooler than it should have. They have a confrontation and Oberyn quickly gets the upper hand, so to speak, then passionately makes out with Ellaria. They're interrupted by Tyrion who pulls the prince aside.

Tyrion wants to know why Oberyn is in King's Landing. What comes next is total exposition, but is pretty key, so I'll recount it here with a tad more detail so it's hopefully even more clear (skip down to Dany if you don't care): Oberyn's beloved sister Elia was the wife of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the son of Aerys "Mad King" TargaryenAerys is the most important character in the show that we never saw -- the king overthrown by Tywin Lannister, Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark, the one Jaime betrayed and killed. So Aerys' son Rhaegar had two kids with Elia and when Tywin sacked the city, his huge evil knight Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegan brutally killed her and the children, presumably on Tywin's orders. Oberyn is here for revenge against Tywin and is pretty fearless about letting people know it. Got it? "The Lannisters aren't the only ones who pay their debts," Oberyn says.

Near Meereen: Dany is having a relaxing moment at the dragon park, where she's letting her trio of pets go off leash. The dragons are a lot bigger this season, and more independent too. She doesn't have to feed them and hopefully doesn't have to pick up dragon poop. She foolishly tries to touch Drogon while he's feeding and he snaps back, shocking her. Since Dany's pets are scary dragons, at least there's no annoying men lingering around trying to hit on her while--

Oh hi, Ser Jorah...

"They're dragons, they can never be tamed," her adviser intones. Ser Jorah intones everything.

NEXT: Where are my Daarios?! 

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