Film, News & Commentary

Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 3, 'Breaker of Chains'

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After the cataclysmic final moments of last episode, a vacuum was left in the King’s Landing web of political intrigue.
In the last episode as the tyrannical Joffrey was clawing at his throat, it seemed hard not to feel a passing pang of sympathy as he lay dying in the arms of his mother. One of the great TV villains was reduced in a moment to a shivering, gaudy wreck helpless to stop his own demise.
We are treated to a few clues as to who Joffrey’s murderer may have been. Tyrion is far too clever, Oberyn far too obvious and Sansa too oblivious. The new king Tommen is already being moulded for duty by Tywin, with Olenna not far behind in seeking influence.
Our natural inclination when absorbing any form of literature is to cheer for the good and rally against evil. Yet in a world devoid of stark delineations, Game of Thrones makes it particularly hard to love any characters. Even if you can understand their rationale, it is often hard to sympathise with their decisions.
The overriding issue to come from this episode was the scene between Cersei and Jaime Lannister in the Great Sept in front of their deceased son Joffrey.
Was it rape? Of course it was.
The fundamental crux of Game of Thrones is that there are no pure characters (at least of those who survive). Over the past season we’ve watched Jaime slowly redeem himself, while Cersei has slipped further into self-absorption. Yet in those few moments we realise that people we have grown to respect are still capable of terrible things and people whom we may despise can be victims of horrible atrocities.
This is not a world of pure black and white, noble knights and fair maidens.
This is perfectly summed up in the few moments we see Arya and the Hound. Just as soon as we think the Hound is about to turn good and make an honest living, he robs a poor family.
“How many Starks do they have to behead before you figure it out?” As the Hound confirms to Arya, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and winter is coming.
Honestly and niceness won’t get you anywhere in this world.
The hordes of vicious and sometime carnivorous Wildlings are descending upon the realm, and all that stands in their way are the Night’s Watch, a band predominantly of rapists and thieves themselves.
Ser Dontos, who appeared to be Sansa’s saving grace, was in fact the pawn of Littlefinger, guided not by a noble sense of repayment, but by the sheen of gold.
While some are concerned with the intricate power plays of the court, others are building their bases of power and influence.
The scenes on Dragonstone were short and sweet, yet to ignore them would be folly. For all of Stannis’ plodding indifference, he has an absolute conviction in his claim for the throne. What Stannis lacks is gold, and Davos sees a possible path through the Iron Bank of Braavos, with which King’s Landing has been having some difficulties of late in regards to repaying loans.
But gold is not the only reason for men to fight for.
Daenerys’ warnings to the slave holders of Meereen may only resonate to their walls today, but already she is building an ideology of groundswell support that contrasts with that of her Westerosi counterparts.

3 responses to “Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 3, 'Breaker of Chains'

  1. Daenerys finds out that freeing slaves is one thing, and maintaining economies removed of their primary influx of wealth is another.
    Tyrion kills Tywin.
    Arya becomes a member of the faceless men.

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