Game of Thrones season 4, episode 4, review: 'Hopefully it will be all upwards after this low point'

Far too sweary and a little bit weird, this week was one to watch with a grimace followed by an expression of bemusement

In the weakest instalment of season 4 so far, viewers got an episode that wildly diverged from the novels (in a bad way) and served more as padding than anything of real substance.

Where to start with this horror show? Firstly, there was no reference to Jaime raping Cersei, the pair continued in their usual frosty love/hate relationship. It was as if it had been a bad dream è la Dallas. It was an infuriating as a viewer, not once was there any hint of what had passed. Such a significant moment deserved a little bit of time spent over it.

But the frustration did not end there. In possibly the most cringe-worthy scene in Game of Thrones to date, that even tops Gilly’s "You’re a wizard, Sam" comment from Season 3, Margaery Tyrell attempted to 'win over' Tommen.

The boy has barely hit puberty and it was horrendously awkward watching the Kate Middleton of Westeros seduce or befriend the youngest Lannister - it wasn’t entirely clear what she was trying to do but either way it was creepy.

Thank the seven gods Ser Pounce appeared just in time to cut the tension, otherwise the torture of watching Margaery trying to work her magic on a child would have become unbearable. What were the writers thinking when they concocted this?

 

Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys proceeded on her mission to free the slaves of Essos. The problem is though, once you’ve seen one city of slaves being freed, you’ve seen them all. Although these scenes have been condensed, it has all started to blur into one orgy of mass invasion and liberation. Rinse, repeat and yawn.

It’s disappointing to see that her strand has practically ground to a halt. Daenerys was once the most compelling character on Game of Thrones. She developed so much in the first season from a timid girl to the all-powerful Khaleesi with a trio of dragons. But since emerging from the fires, she hasn’t done much.

The torment of Oathkeeper continued North of the Wall at Craster’s Keep. There was casual rape in the background in the background while Karl, the renegade brother of The Night’s Watch, repeatedly growled the c-word and drank from the skull of slain commander, Jeor Mormont. It was utterly grim and gratuitous. Has the show now gone beyond the boundaries and become too shocking for the sake of filling a - let’s be honest - dull episode? If Oathbreaker gets people talking, it will be for the wrong reasons.

The sequence at Craster’s Keep and Bran’s capture were deviations from the novel and added nothing to the plot. In the past, changes from the novel have been to the benefit of the television series, often fleshing out characters or working out better dramatically for a visual medium, but this was not the case here.

Wait – there was even more. Things then got even weirder when the White Walker’s took Craster’s last born son to an icicle version of Stonehenge and turned the child into one of their own after leaving it on an ice slab first. We learnt nothing more about this race of zombie ice warriors and it was all just pointless.

Hopefully, this is the lowest point of the show and it is upwards all the way from here on out.

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