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So much table setting, so much more story to go. That has been my response to the fourth season of Game of Thrones. I am enjoying the show for sure, but episodes like Mockingbird (which I enjoyed, mind you) could, for the most part, use a bit more forward momentum. When we last left Tyrion, he was demanding a trial by combat. Tired of being seen as a joke and a monster by the public and his own family (sans Jaime), Tyrion believes a trial by combat is necessary to avoid a farce of a judgment in his murder trial. Considering Tyrion is innocent of the crime he faces, this may well be his best option to clear his name.
Tyrion first summons Jaime, who berates him for not accepting a deal that would have sent him to the Wall. Jaime refuses to fight for his brother on account of being one-handed and still in combat training. Jaime knows he would lose, especially considering that Cersei has tasked Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane to champion her cause. Clegane, the Hound’s older brother, is a rampaging psychopath, one of the largest men in Westeros, and a vicious and brutal soldier. Jaime can’t win, especially without his sword hand. Bronn won’t fight for Tyrion either, largely considering Bronn knows how dangerous the Mountain is as well as the fact that Bronn is about to marry into a very rich family and become a respected man. Tyrion is left wondering who will champion for him when Oberyn Martell surprisingly takes up his cause, seeking revenge against the Mountain. I’ve never seen Tyrion look so relieved.
At Castle Black Jon Snow continues to urge his superiors into action against the incoming wildling army. Snow knows the wildlings move closer to the Wall everyday. He saw their fires from Craster’s Keep, for instance. Alliser Thorne, acting commander of the Night’s Watch, however is dead set against Snow, seeing him as either a traitor or a coddled highborn or whatever. It’s not really clear what motivates Alliser. Snow’s plan would involve filling the Wall’s main passageway/entrance with boulders and debris and then flooding it to freeze it over, keeping Mance Rayder’s armies from easily attacking the castle. It is clear that some of the men really believe in Jon Snow, but it appears he won’t get his way just yet.
In Meereen, Daario and Daenerys become closer and closer until they finally make love. This draws the suspicions of Ser Jorah, who questions Khaleesi on her judgment. Khaleesi sends Daario and his men on a mission to retake Yunkai, and Jorah will go with them to make sure her will is done. Daenerys is not doing so well at ruling Meereen, and so far it seems, at least to Jorah, that she is killing one group of bad leaders only for another group to pop up and take their place. The new plan is to give the leaders a chance to recant their ways and join her. I’m not sure how successful Daenerys will be, but her storyline is thus far reminding me of the table setting she went through in season two. We need some momentum here, and splitting her away from Jorah and Daario probably won’t get us any.
Back in Westeros, Podrick Payne and Brienne of Tarth continue their journey to find Sansa Stark. Stopping in a tavern for dinner, they come across Hot Pie, Arya Stark’s companion from her days of captivity in Harrenhal. Through circumstance, Brienne and Pod learn that Arya is alive and well, and possibly in the captivity of Sandor Clegane, which is true. Brienne and Pod decide to head to the Eyrie, hoping to meet up with the Stark children at their aunt’s castle. Arya and the Hound, meanwhile, unintentionally grow a bit closer, as she tends to wounds he received from a bite fighting off two ne’er-do-wells out for the bounty on his head. I’m not sure where the Arya/Sandor Clegane story is going, but I’m digging their interplay. Arya’s scenes with the various powerful men in Westeros (Tywinn Lannister, Sandor Clegane, Thoros of Myr) have all been pretty good stuff.
At the Eyrie, we learn just how childish and immature Robyn Arryn is, as he kicks over Sansa’s snow recreation of Winterfell. She slaps him for it and he runs off to summon his mother. Petyr Baelish appears, surprisingly kissing Sansa Stark (against her will, it should be noted) while Lysa Arryn secretly watches. This leads to the best part of the episode, as a confrontation between Lysa, Petyr, and Sansa turns into hilarious murder, as Petyr pushes the mentally unbalanced Lysa out of the Eyrie’s “moon door” to her horrible death. I’m not sure if it was so funny because of Lysa’s reaction, or because it was so unexpected. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Baelish in control of the Eyrie, as he is always scheming and up to something.