Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode3 Recap & Review
Breaker of Chains
“Breaker of Chains” begins on the heels of “The Lion and the Rose” with King Joffrey’s assured poisoning at the Purple Wedding. No Roose Bolton to see over his destruction like the Red Wedding aftermath in “Mhysa” last year. Joffrey dies, Tyrion dons chains once again, and Sansa bails with Dontos the fool on an end run around the wedding feast to a row boat. Dontos rows out to sea only to be visited in the fog by a ship. Sansa climbs aboard to be visited by who appears to be the grand architect of the Purple Wedding—Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen). Lord Baelish declares that the worst is over for Sansa Stark. Do we believe him? If recalling his quote to Sansa about King’s Landing was any indication, she shouldn’t. He presents himself as her liberator, a breaker of chains if you will.
After Littlefinger orders Dontos’ execution and justifies it to Sansa, the camera then takes us to Littlefinger’s cohort in the Purple Wedding—Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns (Dame Diana Rigg). Margaery expresses trepidation with her grandmother about her most recent widowing. Olenna indicates that a marriage with the new King Tommen Baratheon will fare much better for her granddaughter than one with Joffrey. Who could disagree?
Cut to Cersei, Tywin, and Tommen mourning over the dead king’s corpse in the Great Sept. Tywin plays mind and war games with Tommen when Jaime enters for his shot at mourning. Charles Dance’s strict, manipulative performance weekly proves how perfect casting and performance of HBO’s flagship is from page to television. The entire Lannister family certainly seems to be the most accurately portrayed—a real testament to the cast. Tywin exits with Tommen, who seems to have struck a certain chord with his grandfather.
Jaime stops Tommen to assure him that he’s got the new king’s back. It’s clear that Jaime feels prouder of Tommen as a son and general human being than his oldest. Once the twin Lannisters are left to themselves in the Great Sept, Cersei demands Jaime kill their brother Tyrion, whom she believes to be guilty following his threat in Season Two. It looks pretty damning for Tyrion. After requesting Jaime become a kinslayer of their own brother, Cersei breaks down and Jaime’s libido overtakes him in front of their dead son as Cersei resists. “Why have the gods made me love a hateful woman?!”
Arya then learns a lot more about The Hound and, subsequently, life after the unlikely pair encounter a measure of kindness near Riverrun. The Hound foils and spoils this for Arya as he later beats and mugs the father who invited them inside and fed them. The younger, more pleasant Clegane brother justifies stealing when he declares the man is already dead because one killer or another will take advantage of him again later and kill him before winter. Arya doesn’t respond well to The Hound’s actions per usual.
Up at the Wall, Sam takes a seat next to Gilly in the mess hall. He voices his concerns about her involvement at Castle Black with all the lonely, desperate men who have taken the black and sworn their oaths. He suggests she leave, and they, indeed, leave in their next scene for Mole Town. It doesn’t appear to be the superior alternative for Gilly that Sam described, especially since he had to define for the innkeeper that she definitely wasn’t down for the world’s oldest profession.
We then cut to an extended Davos sequence as he reads about Joffrey the Usuper’s death to Stannis, who seems convinced that his slug blood magic with Melisandre is truly behind the king’s death. Davos directly disagrees and insists that Stannis develop an army of soldiers, especially sellswords from Essos. When Stannis breaks the bad news about the empty bank account to Davos, the Onion Knight then meets with Shireen when sudden inspiration strikes and a letter is drafted to the First Bank of Braavos.
After this bit of pleasantness between developing literate and child teacher, a stark contrast is displayed in the form of Oberyn’s orgy. Tywin appears and at first seems to accuse the Martells for some part in a conspiracy to kill Joffrey, but then offers the Red Viper a seat on the jury at Tyrion’s trial and a seat on the Royal Council. Mace Tyrell is listed as the other juror and will almost certainly vote with Tywin. Ugh. Tywin points out the need for Dorne following the wake of the news about Daenerys’ dragons.
Tyrion then ponders his predicament with Podrick in his cell, jailed after the Purple Wedding. They more or less settle on Sansa due to her hatred for Joffrey and because she hasn’t been seen since the king’s assassination. Podrick reveals that he passed on becoming a “Ser” where all he had to do was lie and claim he witnessed his master purchasing the poison.
The wildlings with Ygritte in tow and Thenn raid a village with mayhem abound and certain cannibalism to follow. A young child is chosen to serve as the voice of warning to the Night’s Watch after learning a Thenn is about to dine on his parents. The boy seems to have arrived safely in the next shot, because he sits next to Jon Snow and Ghost at Castle Black where Alliser Thorne defers to “Lord” Snow on all matters of the King Beyond the Wall. Jon predicts the brothers at the Night’s Watch will be the very first force of opposition to meet Mance Rayder’s raiding reconnaissance party for hundreds of miles of pillaging after learning news of Craster’s Keep falling. Thorne then indicates that fortifying Castle Black is paramount.
The episode ends as all episodes have ended in season four so far: on an extended sequence as if each episode is penultimate. Our star this week is the Mother of Dragons. Littlefinger may have liberated Sansa, but his scale is so small and personal. Tyrion again sits chained in a cell yearning for his chains to be broken. The titular hero is Daenerys this week as she rolls up into Meereen with her enormous dragons (did anyone see that Aegon concept art last week?), 8,000 strong Unsullied and four champions in Grey Worm, Ser Barriston, Ser Jorah, and Daario Naharis. The Meereenians choose a champion to fight a champion of hers to decide the fate of the city. Their hot shot then urinates to prompt the Khaleesi into choosing a champion.
Daario volunteers after everyone else gets to and the rest is history. After needlessly describing his backstory, Daario quickly takes care of business in an efficient manner reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dany’s top general then mocks the Meereenian champion by urinating before the city’s rulers and is met with a storm of arrows all falling short of him. Daenerys declares her intention to liberate the city’s slaves and punish the slavers. Catapults toss barrels full of broken chains all throughout Meereen to prove her words to the people. She proves that sometimes making a statement is all it takes in war and politics.
Bran, Reek, and Varys unfortunately do not appear this week which should draw attention to interpreting his dream in “The Lion and The Rose” next week in “Oathkeeper” which hopefully boasts Brienne, also not present this week.