Game of Thrones: Season 4 – Expectations

Warning: this post contains extensive spoilers for both ‘Game of Thrones’ and the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. You have been warned…

After my post re: Season 3 the other week I thought it would be a good idea to talk briefly about the upcoming season of ‘Game of Thrones’ – it’s still some months away and there are a lot of details that are still unknown, so what this amounts to is (hopefully) harmless speculation.

If the show’s producers follow the established pattern then Season 4 will be based roughly on the second half of the third book in A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – namely, A Storm of Swords (marketed as Part 2: Blood and Gold in some regions) – with elements of the fourth book – A Feast for Crows – possibly also being included.

Many consider A Storm of Swords to be the best of the series, and there’s plenty of juicy action in the second half to keep people entertained. Here are some of the highlights that I’m looking forward to seeing:

 

Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper of Dorne

This character technically should have been introduced in Season 3, but I’m guessing the producers didn’t want to overburden viewers with too many new faces, so he’s been relegated to Season 4. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – more Oberyn Martell is always good, but keeping his storyline confined to a single season rather than stringing it out over two could mean more ‘quality’ time, rather than ‘quantity’.

A Dornish prince with a thirst for revenge and a talent with poisons, Oberyn Martell will be joining the action at King’s Landing (AKA Dubrovnik). Pedro Pascal has been confirmed as the Red Viper and Indira Varma as his paramour, Ellaria Sand. And for those who know why this is important (it’s a fight!), Gregor Clegane will be portrayed by Hafpor Julius Bjornsson this time around (The Mountain That Rides was played by Conan Stevens in Season 1 and Ian Whyte in Season 2).

Another Wedding, Another Murder

As one of the characters in the book says, “Weddings have become more perilous than battles, it would seem.” And King Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell is no exception. For fear that somebody might disregard my spoiler warning at the beginning of this post (someone always does), I won’t reveal who it is that bites the dust. But it’s BIG.

I’m guessing that the Joffrey/Margaery nuptials will be the focus of an entire episode, possibly early-to-mid season. We can only hope, anyway…

Ironborn

A host of new ironborn characters should be introduced soon if the TV series is to remain faithful to the books – this is ‘A Feast for Crows’ territory more than ‘A Storm of Swords’, but it can’t hurt to be prepared. Aeron Damphair hasn’t been properly introduced in the series yet (don’t know if the Drowned Man who blesses Theon in Season 2, Episode 3 is supposed to be him or not…?), and we haven’t seen anything of Victarion or Euron (although that’s to be expected at this point).

Meereen

The third of the Slaver’s Bay cities that Daenerys has marked for conquest, and the most important for the development of her character. It’s possible that the producers of the TV series will decide to merge Yunkai and Meereen into one to save on time and money for set design, since they’ve already introduced Ait Benhaddou in Morocco as the stand-in for Yunkai; but then, maybe they’ll just shoot it from a different angle to give the illusion of a different location. At any rate, it’ll be more of Daenerys kicking ass and threatening to rain fire and blood on her enemies, and that’s not bad at all.

Jaime Stands Up To Tywin

Seemingly the only one of his children that Tywin Lannister truly cares about, Jaime’s reappearance in King’s Landing at the end of Season 3 (in the books this doesn’t occur until after Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding) signals the beginning of a confrontation between father and first-born son that should garner even more sympathy for the Kingslayer. Words will be exchanged, along with (I expect) glowering looks, and if Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s performance from last season is anything to go on, it’s going to be epic. Also, let’s hope the Valyrian steel swords Widow’s Wail and Oathkeeper (at least) make it into the script.

Jorah Gets What Is Coming To Him

Artfully presaged in Season 3 during a notably conversation between Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy, the revelation of Jorah’s true motives could come as a shock to some viewers (but not to the book readers!) Of course, what happens next might have to be manipulated slightly by the TV writers to avoid breaking up a winning team.

Stannis Sets Sail

Again, set-up towards the end of Season 3, Stannis’ decision to take his army North and aid the Night’s Watch in their battle against the forces of Mance Rayder and the Others (White Walkers in the TV series) could possibly occur off-screen (as it did in the books, off-page…?) in order to create a sense of mystery. I can clearly imagine it working in such a way that Stannis, Davos, Melisandre and co. would appear only in the first or maybe second episode of the season, teasing the audience a little with cryptic conversations and preparations, before disappearing until the ninth or tenth episode, and…

The Battle of the Wall

What should prove to be the climactic event of the season, and a sure bet for the coveted Episode 9 slot. Word is that Neil Marshall (director of Episode 9, Season 2 “Blackwater”) has returned to direct this one, and that can only mean that it’ll be an action sequence of outstanding excellence. Perhaps the entire episode will be confined to the events happening on and around the Wall, as occurred for King’s Landing in “Blackwater”. However it eventuates, giants, wildlings and Jon Snow’s greatest test yet should prove to be riveting viewing.

A New Lord Commander

Again, I’m not going to ruin this one for the select few who have (surely) defied the Spoiler Warning at the beginning, but for those of us who know who this is… Well, it’s going to be a great conclusion to the season. With Joer Mormont dead at Craster’s Keep, the Night’s Watch needs a new Lord Commander. And they’ll have one, or the realm be damned.

 

So, that’s it. Only time will tell if Season 4 of ‘Game of Thrones’ will live up to expectations and its predecessors, but that’s one of the amazing things about great television (like lots of things in life) – the expectation is the best part.

Valar Morghulis.

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About ethanreilly

Ethan Reilly is an author and blogger who lives in Brisbane, Australia. Did he mention he blogs?
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