Everyone's favorite show to obsess over has finally returned for its fourth season. Viewers were treated with what you'd expect from a great episode of Game of Thrones. You had cannibals, fiery princes, some quips about chicken and a great quote from The Wire.
Let's start at the end because it was just a great scene. We're with Col. Sandor "Omar" Clegane who turns using the word "cunt" into an art form. He and Arya wind up in an inn currently being lightly terrorized by Lannister soldiers. One soldier in particular, Polliver, is on Arya's list she says every night. A very tense conversation about chicken ensues, which culminates in the Hound's now trademark line, "Fuck the King." This sets off one of the best fights we've seen in the series and ends with Arya killing two men and reclaiming her sword, Needle, and getting herself a horse in the process.
Now jump back to the beginning of the show. We were treated to a cold open featuring the Stark family's Valyrian steel sword "Ice", last seen removing Ned Stark's head from his body. Tywin Lannister, is celebrating his near total annihilation of the Stark house by melting down the sword and having two new ones forged with the metal.
One of the swords goes to his son Lefty, er, I mean Jamie. Jamie accepts the sword, but turns down the offer to leave the Kingsguard and rule Casterly Rock, much to the chagrin of his father who is not used to being told no.
I really like how the swords symbolize peaks and valleys and are used to frame the episode. Tywin melting down Ice showed him at the peak of his power. He's defeated his enemies and no one else stands in his way. He even has reclaimed a Valyrian steel sword that his family has been seeking for generations. The peak is accentuated by immediately being told "no" for the first time in a very long time.
Arya, on the other hand, has reached a low point in her life. She has been robbed of her past life, her family and anyone she ever really cared about. She's a prisoner being brought to a strange place in hopes of a ransom. She reclaims her sword, a piece of her old life, and with it starts down a road as the first Stark who can claim some revenge for the wrongs done to them.
Check out this week's podcast where we'll go over the rest of the episode, including the introduction of Oberyn Martell, Dany's Dragons and the proper use of Golden Hands.