Holy smokes or unholy smokes, what a scorching hot episode!!! It’s difficult to discuss episode 4 without only thinking of Dany’s dragon turning Lannister and Tarly forces into ash and melted skin, but we must! The episode was packed with interesting little tidbits and food for thought. Let’s discuss in the order the episode took place, Bronn complaining to Jaime that he hadn’t fulfilled his promise of a castle and Bronn doesn’t mince words, as usual. To be clear, Bronn doesn’t buy Cersei’s rule, he too thinks she’s crazy and though Jaime reassures him, the fact that Bronn’s in his ear questioning Cersei’s rule is perhaps a hint of things to come. For now, the Iron Bank must be paid and Lannisters always pay their debts, in more ways than one of course.
This is where things get interesting, the viewer already knows something terrible is coming to Cersei’s forces. Her hot streak has lasted too long, ha, hot streak! The Iron Bank doesn’t care about any of this, they only wish to make money and their emissary even shows displeasure with the single lump sum payment, preferring interest instead. Damn central bankers, audit the Iron Bank! It made me wonder, does the Iron Bank have something coming to it? They supposedly don’t take sides, but will the Bank be able to stay fully out of Cersei or Euron’s corner? It’s likely they’re playing both those cards. As for the North and Dany, they don’t seem to be receiving any ‘central bank’ monies. Nevertheless, Cersei wishes to control the continent and all its peoples in some sort of Stalinesque monarchy, fun!
In Winterfell, things are more interesting than ever. Littlefinger gives to Bran the Valyrian steel dagger, the one the one he ‘lost’ long ago that he accused Tyrion of possessing so long ago. A few things here, Bran asked if Littlefinger knew who owned the dagger. Then Littlefinger rants about it being part of the start of the War of The 5 Kingdoms, but was Bran referring to that? It’s doubtful. Bran also shares little with Petyr, interesting because he doesn’t seem to dislike him and he’s seemed pretty open to creeping his siblings out about what he’s seen. This makes me wonder if Littlefinger is a useful idiot to Bran. It also makes me wonder if Littlefinger knows a lot more than than he’s led on. The longer Littlefinger survives the more he reminds me of Star Wars’ Emperor, dark, sinister, and somehow all-knowing. Is his past shielded from Bran, I wonder? Think about that for a while, let me know your thoughts, all peculiar, right? Lastly, Meera leaves and realizes Bran died in ‘that cave’. Bran, like the rest of the Stark family, is hollowed out and changed, he’s now the 3-Eyed Raven, something that’s consumed his being entirely.
Adding to all the Winterfell drama, Arya ‘No One’ Stark arrives in Winterfell and is greeted poorly, at first. After bypassing the guards, Sansa senses where she might be and meets her in the crypt. They don’t share much, each preferring to keep their journeys to themselves. I don’t blame them. You have to wonder how strange this all is for Arya. Then, things get stranger when she meets Bran at the godswood. He knows of her whereabouts. Was he the wolf that set upon her at camp? He also knows of her list, the list Arya and Sansa have a laugh about in the crypt. The look on Sansa’s face is priceless when Bran brings it up again, like ‘Holy shit, she wasn’t joking’. What’s REALLY interesting now is, you have the 3-Eyed Raven and a faceless assassin in Winterfell now. The BIG QUESTION, can Arya borrow a Whitewalker’s face??? We now know she has the tool to kill one, all very interesting. You saw Arya spar with Brienne, a girl is a ninja now, her Braavosi swordsmanship is stellar, even matching Brienne’s skill. I was rubbing my hands together like Brett Favre after that. Of course Littlefinger likes what he’s seeing, but again, why? I can’t stand that sneaky little prick.
Before getting to the barbecue, more maneuvering is needed at Dragonstone. Jon takes Dany into the ancient obsidian mine, where he shows Dany the pictographs drawn by The Children and the First Men. An important reminder, Starks are said to be of the First Men, as opposed to the rest of the Westeros inhabitants. Dany realizes Jon’s stories are true, after seeing the drawings, including those of the Whitewalkers (Others). This is all very interesting, as the audience knows the Children created the Whitewalkers with the use of dragonglass and magic. Then, something happened, their weapon turned against them. A question no one has been able to answer is, what does The Night King want? I digress, what’s important is that Dany believes, but demands Jon bend the knee. Do you think he does and if so, on what conditions? Leaving Dragonstone, Theon makes it ashore and his life is spared by Jon. Lastly, a point mentioned last week, note the planted messaging about a different socio-political world, one of consent, hence Jon, Davos, and Misandei’s conversation. How do you envision an end to the saga, one with a more republican political landscape? Meanwhile…
This is where the episode takes off. Jaime doesn’t seem to listen to anyone, not even the land’s best general who recommends they flog the stragglers to make haste. The gold has reached King’s Landing and General Tarly is concerned about, guess what, an ambush! Though it’s likely that the ambush was unavoidable, the point Tarly was making was that it would be less costly. The Old Western style scene sets up incredibly, as Bronn hears the approaching stampede. Seriously, how smart is the old cantankerous sellsword!? Jaime is surrounded by smarter men and he still manages to dumb down the operation! To make matters worse, not only are thousands of screaming Dothraki setting upon them, there’s an f’n dragon! Instead of scattering in retreat, the Lannister and Tarly forces align, only to skewer themselves on the barbie, tragic! Jaime and Bronn manage to evade death during the battle and Bronn scores a major hit with the bolt-caster, too little too late. The most emotive part of the scene, Jaime turns to charge at Dany and the dragon. Tyrion is visibly shaken, at the fiery death of his former house brethren and Jaime’s brave stupidity. He’s about to reach Dany to spear her when the dragon expectedly turns to light him up and… Bronn saves Jaime! Bronn is literally both Jaime’s right hand man and his smarter self. The scene ends with both men falling in the water, very symbolic. Was that ‘baptism’ symbolism? Will Jaime’s misguided loyalty be washed away? Will his heavy hand keep him at the bottom of the river? Will Bronn be able to swim him ashore? What do you think?