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."

Near The Wall: Ygritte bitterly makes arrows, surely thinking of firing them into ex-bf Jon Snow. To recap: Ygritte and ginger-bearded Tormund Giantsbane and the rest of this advance party scaled The Wall last season and they plan to attack Castle Black from the south. The idea is to take control of the castle and open its gated tunnel through The Wall so Mance Rayder's Wildling armies can invade the southern lands. They've been holding back waiting for Mance's orders before they proceed.

Now even if you've watched Game of Thrones from the beginning, and seen all the surprising twists and turns, I bet you weren't expecting the Engineers from Prometheus to show up. The tall pale bald muscular crew that comes into their camp are a Wildling tribe called the Thenns, and they're here to help with the Castle Black attack. Their leader is Styr, who chats with Tormund and Ygritte. Styr keeps obsessively making comments about how much people weigh, like a personal trainer at your gym trying to get you to buy more sessions. Then we get the reveal: The Thenns want well-fed opponents because they're cannibals. It's actually sort of surprising that it's season 4 and we don't already have cannibals on this show.

Castle Black: Jon Snow reacts, a little, to the Red Wedding news. He says he was always totally jealous of Robb, but it's not like he wanted him to get murdered at a wedding or anything like that. Samwell Tarly can relate, having been jealous of Jon. Given the previous scene, we can't help but wonder how Styr will react to seeing Samwell.

Jon has to account for his actions last season to Night's Watch command. Among his judges are two characters we haven't seen in awhile: There’s the weaselly Janos Slynt (the former King’s Landing commander of the City Watch who Tyrion demoted for his role in Ned Stark’s execution in season 2) and Ser Alliser Thorne (the master-at-arms of Castle Black who mockingly dubbed Jon “Lord Snow”).

They want to hang Jon for having cave-jacuzzi-sex and killing the Halfhand last season, while Jon is warning that they're facing a massive invasion. You want him to paraphrase that great speech by Ripley in Aliens: "If just one of those Wildlings gets that gate open, then all this, all this bulls--t that you think is so important, then you can just kiss all that goodbye!" But that would involve Jon Snow getting really passionate about something.

King's Landing: Joffrey is trying on outfits for upcoming wedding while Jaime goes over his protection plan. The king rejects the idea anybody in the city would try to harm him -- "They know I saved the city, I won the war." I wonder if Joffrey actually believes this. Joffrey then peruses The White Book, which is like the Kingsguard Wikipedia. He notes Jaime only has one paragraph and now he only has one hand.

Seriously, everybody is giving Jaime grief about his hand, like he chopped it off himself just to annoy them. "How can you protect me with that?" Joffrey sneers. Jaime looks at his secret son and demonstrates a lot of restraint, noting there's still time for accomplishments. Joffrey is exactly the reason you don't have sex with your sister. One of the reasons, anyway.

NEXT: A game of chicken


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