Spoiler-free TV review: Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 3 (Breaker of Chains)
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Selina Pearson | On 20, Apr 2014
“War is war, but killing a man at a wedding is horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing?”
Episode 3 of Game of Thrones does not start well for Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). He is arrested immediately following Joffrey’s death – the prime suspect in the obnoxious king’s murder. This is not helped by Joffrey using his last breath to implicate his uncle. Nor by the fact that Sansa (Sophie Turner) has disappeared. With Shae departed too, Tyrion pushes anyone still loyal to him away, wary of repercussions.
Who did kill Joffrey? As Sansa is spirited away by her benefactor, we get some insight into the events of the happy occasion. It’s not spelled out directly, but if you paid attention last week, there is enough to speculate who did it – and how.
Cersei (Lena Headey) is, of course, screaming for Tyrion’s head. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), on the other hand, is less certain – he and Tyrion have a healthy relationship, highly unusual for anyone in their family.
Unlike the rest of Westeros, Cersei is taking the loss of her little king very badly. While she grieves, Tywin (Charles Dance) starts grooming Cersei’s second son, Tommen (recast with Dean Charles Chapman) – a lot more docile than his brother and likely to be much easier to control by an ambitious King’s Hand.
Margaery (Natalie Dormer), meanwhile, is yet again in marriage limbo after her second husband is murdered. “Am I queen yet?” she asks her grandmother (Dianna Rigg). Margaery is doubtless in a better situation with Joffrey dead and is likely to marry young Tommen, but Cersei is not going to like playing second fiddle to a younger, better-loved Queen. Dormer and Headey have already hinted at the animosity between them – and since Tommen is going to be much more amenable to suggestions, we’ll probably see a number of other players come out of the woodwork for the Game of Thrones.
One such player is Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). He, however, is not in a position to take advantage, the bulk of his army having been broken on the Blackwater. In King’s Landing, meanwhile, Tywin attempts to bring Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) on side with the chance to even an old score. (Naturally, this conversation happens in a brothel.)
We also catch up with Arya and The Hound, who gets to use those people skills he’s so famous for, as they head for the Erie. The Hound’s motives seem to be broadly financial, but here on the road, he shows little respect for anyone who isn’t Arya. It’s an odd little segment that doesn’t happen in the books.
There is a bigger change, though, in a major WTF moment in the Sept of Baelor the Blessed; a family confrontation that is a lot nastier than on the page. It is uncomfortable to witness – and can be filed under “don’t watch with your parents” – but it’s hard to say yet whether this alteration adds anything particular to the narrative, aside from expressing emotional turmoil.
Episode 3 sees Game of Thrones slump somewhat after the excitement of the so-called “Purple Wedding”. Breaker of Chains does, though, see the return of one of Westeros’ more interesting characters. As Grandma Tyrell says, killing a man at a wedding is horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing?
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