Game of Thrones is back Sunday evening with a new season, a new tagline, and a new lease on life for several of its characters – those that survived the brutal final two episodes of season 3, that is.
Yes, it seems, “All Men Must Die,” as the new tagline states, which for any other show would be grim and ominous. For Game of Thrones, though, it’s par for the course.
After watching the first episode of Season 4 thanks to a screener from HBO, I had a few immediate thoughts. Rather than a traditional review (let’s face it, this is one of my top two or three shows on TV, and a review would mostly be “yup, this was awesome”), here are some Thoughts and Things to watch for, as spoiler-free as humanly possible.
Holy Crap, Arya is AWESOME
If you weren’t already a major Arya fan from the first three seasons of the precocious girl who, at this point, is practically the heir to Winterfell (She has a dead brother, a crippled brother, and a sister who’s been married off, after all), it will be hard to resist falling for her this time around.
Arya and the Hound seem an unlikely pairing when you look at early seasons, but they are natural in this episode. Arya has been through so much, but still seems to be on a path she stepped down when she loosed that first arrow, with surprisingly little deviation.
But oh boy, the next steps she takes. Yup, there will be a whole bunch of new Arya fans in a couple of days.
Don’t forget, Dragons are DRAGONS
There’s a short scene that sure seems like it’s massive foreshadowing, and it features Daenerys and her Dragons. They’re considerably grown since we first saw them birthed in fire, and there may be a forthcoming issue of control. It’s a good reminder that these are large, unpredictable beasts – something that will almost undoubtedly payoff this season.
The Jamie-Brienne Pairing Isn’t Quite Gone
Best part of last season? Finding out that despite all the terrible things he has done, Jamie Lannister is still a character it’s possible to cheer for – and a big part of that was his pairing with Brienne of Tarth, someone who actually helped him find who he is at his core. While it would seem that their arrival at King’s Landing would end their blossoming friendship, thankfully that is not the case. It’s amazing how much screen chemistry these two have, and refreshing to see some unpredictable humanity shining through in the least likely of characters.
You’ll hate Tywin even more
Tywin Lannister is just the worst, and one particular thing he does in the opening scenes of this episode is just spiteful. Stark fans will not be happy.
Tyrion Seems Broken – The Fall Before the Rise?
And rounding out the Lannister men, Tyrion’s situation seems to have really gotten to him. We’ve never seen Tyrion quite like this – it’s hard to see him without that shine in his eye, without that plan buried in his mind that you can only see if you look really closely. In this first episode, the fan-favorite character sure seems defeated, but hopefully this is just the latest obstacle that he will eventually overcome.
Jon Snow Certainly Knows Something
The viral line of “You know nothing, Jon Snow” may be catchy, but it’s clear Jon knows something – the question is, what does he think of all this knowledge? Jon Snow is definitely the biggest question mark of the new season – I just cannot tell where he’s going, or more importantly, where precisely his loyalties lie.
Ultimately, the episode is full of setup for all these characters and a few more, but what it lacks in “holy crap” moments for some, it makes up for with others, and certainly has me eagerly anticipating the rest of the season. Oh, and we didn’t even mention the newest character… Check out the crazy 15 minute preview featurette below, and tune in Sunday nights on HBO.