Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and winter is coming! Yes, folks, Season 4 of Game of Thrones is nearly upon us. For those of you who need a little reminder of who died, who lived, and who wished they’d died during Season 3 is a brief recap of where we left our heroes (and our villains).
The King’s Landing Crowd
At least 50% of the action and 99% of the style of this show takes place in King’s Landing, where last season saw the beginnings of a clash between the Lannisters and the kinder, gentler and just as scheming Tyrells.
King Joffrey Baratheon, walking advertisement for why twincest is best avoided, is still, alas, amongst the living. Last season, he ordered a new wardrobe, was smitten by Margaery Tyrell, murdered Ros and got sent to bed without his supper by Grandpa Tywin.
Cersei Lannister learned that even if you’re daddy’s little girl, he’ll marry you off against your will, as Tywin betrothed her to Loras Tyrell, so eventually she’ll be both grandmother and aunt to Margaery’s and Joffrey’s kids. Which seems right since she’s aunt/mother to her own (at least her baby-daddy Jaime made it back to town at the end of the season.)
Tyrion Lannister was ordered by his father to marry Sansa Stark, which he did, but being a standup guy (and also terrified of his girlfriend Shae) did not consummate the marriage.
Tywin Lannister enjoyed verbally sparring with Olenna Tyrell, forcing his children into marriage alliances and long-distance supervising of Frey weddings.
Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) tried to spirit Sansa Stark out of King’s Landing (thank goodness he didn’t manage that!), was outfoxed and then sent off to woo Lysa Arryn, Catelyn Stark’s crazy sister on behalf of the Lannisters. Wonder how that’s going for him!
Varys took revenge on the guy who cut his balls off, outfoxed Littlefinger and delivered the best facial expressions in all of King’s Landing
The Tyrells showed up en masse (okay, just Margaery Tyrell, her amazing grandma Olenna Tyrell and her brother Loras, who got the looks of his sister but none of her brains.) They’re just like the Lannisters, basically except without the twincest and they manage to appear a lot nicer.
Sansa Stark was first promised a marriage to Loras Tyrell by the Tyrells, and then forced into a marriage to Tyrion Lannister by the Lannisters. Basically her life has sucked ever since Season 1, Episode 2 when her direwolf Lady was killed on Cersei’s orders.
Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister continued their roadtrip to King’s Landing; along the way, Jaime lost a hand, Brienne nearly lost her virginity (but was saved by Jaime) ,and they both nearly ended up as dinner for a hungry bear. They also had a relaxing bath together in which Jaime revealed the real reason he'd killed Aerys Targaryen and forced Brienne to reconsider whether being the “Kingslayer” was really such a terrible thing after all.
The Starks and Their Allies
Catelyn Stark, her son Robb and his bride Talisa attended a funeral, a beheading, and a wedding that turned into a massacre (including themselves as massacrees). See, Walder Frey was really ticked off that Robb had married Talisa instead of a Frey girl, so he and Roose Bolton and Tywin Lannister cooked up something called the Red Wedding: essentially, Catelyn's brother Edmure Tully married Roslin Frey, and while Edmure and Roslin were off doing the horizontal wedding-night mambo, her dad orchestrated the murder of all her wedding guests and the outrage of millions of HBO viewers.
Arya Stark wandered around the Riverlands with her buddies, Gendry and Hot Pie, only to be captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners, a collection of Robin Hoods led by the unkillable Beric Dondarrion and his sorcerous friend, a priest of Rh'llor (just like Melisandre!) Thoros of Myr. Arya was then abducted by Sandor Clegane, who brought her to her mother and brother just as they were getting murdered by the Freys. Oops! (To be fair, he did get her out of there again too.)
Bran and Rickon left the ruins of Winterfell and set out to find Jon Snow at the wall, accompanied by Osha, Hodor, and eventually a pair of somewhat creepy siblings named Jojen and Meera Reed. Jojen convinced Bran that his true destination was north of the Wall, where he would learn all about his dreams, so Bran sent Osha off with Rickon and at the end of last season was headed to the one place everyone else was running away from. Hmmm!
Elsewhere in the North and North of the Wall
Meanwhile, Theon Greyjoy, Ned Stark’s ward, and the author of Winterfell’s destruction was held captive by Roose Bolton’s bastard son Ramsay. I guess the apple didn’t fall far from that tree! Ramsay’s season-long Theon torture culminated in cutting off Theon’s penis and sending it Old Man Greyjoy as a memento of the grandchildren he’ll never have. Theon's sister Yara set off to rescue her feckless brother.
Much farther north, Jon Snow joined the Wildlings, met Mance Rayder (I was not impressed, quite frankly) and Tormund Giantsbane, and also began an affair with Ygritte. After Mance sent Jon, Tormund, Ygritte, and some other people to climb the Wall, Jon saw his chance to return to the Night's Watch and warn them about the upcoming Wildling invasion. Ygritte, unhappy about Jon's ditching her, filled him full of arrows like a pincushion, but he appeared to be still alive upon his arrival at Castle Black. Who knows how long that will last, what with one pissed off Wildling ex on his trail?
Also north of the Wall, Lord Mormont and almost every other person we could identify from the Night's Watch (including Lord Mormont) was either killed by White Walkers in an offscreen battle or killed by their comrades at the home of the odious Craster, who practiced polygamy with his daughters. Luckily, Samwell Tarly escaped with one of Craster’s daughters, Gilly, and Gilly’s newborn son (who is also her half-brother, and honestly between this and the Tyrell-Lannister alliance and Jaime and Cersei and the Targaryens, you might as well call this place Incesteros and be done with it). Sam and Gilly made an unlikely and sweet pair, and Sam also made a huge discovery which was that the White Walkers can be killed with “dragonglass” (which may or may not be obsidian).
Speaking of obsidian ...
After his losses in season 2's Battle of the Blackwater, Stannis Baratheon retired to Dragonstone to lick his wounds and hang out with gorgeous scary Melisandre. Meanwhile, Stannis’s loyal man Davos Seaworth survived the battle (though his son didn’t) and eventually returned to Dragonstone, where he tried to kill Melisandre, so Stannis clapped him into prison. It turned out Stannis was also hiding his (crazy) wife Selyse and his (incredibly sweet, clever and genuinely nice) daughter Shireen on Dragonstone all this time. (Seriously, I’m trying to figure out how Shireen could possibly be the child of Stannis and Selyse, because she’s so...normal and kind and knows how to talk to people. It must have skipped a generation.) Shireen taught Davos how to read while he was in prison, so he was able to decipher important messages. Meanwhile, Melisandre convinced Stannis that he needed “king’s blood” to defeat his enemies, so she went off and bought Gendry from the Brotherhood without Banners, much to Arya’s chagrin, and brought him back to Dragonstone for some fun sexy times with leeches. Yes, that was every bit as nasty as it sounds. Davos helped Gendry escape a worse fate by sending him off in a rowboat to King’s Landing and hoping for the best. Because that always goes so well in Westeros!!
And last, but not least: WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS? Part 2; or, A Dragon Is Not a Slave and Danaerys Targaryen Drives a Hard Bargain
Dany, with her dragons retrieved from the freaky wizards of Qarth, and accompanied by Jorah Mormont set off to buy ships from...somewhere, and also get an army to invade Westeros. At their first stop, Astapor, she acquired another knight, Barristan Selmy (remember the guy Joffrey and Cersei kicked off the Kingsguard because he was “too old”? Well, they might want to reconsider because that dude can still fight). Through clever bargaining tactics, she acquired an army of eunuch slaves, destroyed the slavers of Astapor, and then told her new army that they were all free. Partly because Dany is awesome and partly because the job market for well-trained eunuch former slaves probably isn’t that great, they all stuck with her. Mission accomplished! Dany has an army, ships and dragons; it’s time to invade Westeros, right? Right? Not so fast, because Dany then decided to free the slaves of Yunkai (who were not primarily a eunuch army), which was defended by mercenaries, one of whom, Fabio Naharis (oh, wait, sorry, that’s Daario Naharis!) decided he preferred working for a lovely young Queen with dragons than for kind of gnarly guys with eyeliner. So Fabio led Barristan and Jorah into the city and they conquered Yunkai, so Dany could free those slaves too. And the season ended with the ex-slaves of Yunkai calling Dany “mother” and carrying her around in some kind of emancipation mosh pit.
And now it’s on to season 4, which is ominously subtitled “Valar Morghulis”— All Men Must Die. (Like that hasn’t been the theme of the series from the get-go!)
Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current tv shows, and a hopeless romantic.