Game of Thrones, Brandon Stark

TV Review: Game of Thrones 4.04 “Oathkeeper” *SPOILERS*

game of thrones

Our long national geek nightmare is over!  Game of Thrones has returned for 10 weeks of fantasy awesomeness and this is the fourth installment in our lively talk-backs and reviews of each episode.  A warning, and the only one before we dive in, this column is specifically for people watching the show live week-by-week so if you don’t want spoilers, don’t continue.

Four episodes into season four and, I think, we see that the TV show is becoming its own entity apart from the books.  More and more the show has diverged from the book’s subplots (and that’s not a criticism) while keeping the main events intact.  Adaptations are not translations and, as the epic now gets increasingly complex, even though I have read the books multiple times, I’m getting surprised by things on the show.

Danerys Targaryen, Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

We pick up where we left off with Dany and her army of freed slaves urging those of Mereen to rise up and join her, which they are more than happy to do.  The Targaryen in Dany then comes out and she has 163 masters crucified.  One for each child they crucified to mark her march to Mereen.  This is the first city where she’s going to spend some time and have to try to rule (should we follow that portion of the books) and she may come to regret such a harsh penance (just though it was).

Game of Thrones, Dead Joffery

In King’s Landing and on the high seas, two conversations reveal Joffery’s murders.  Peter Baelish and Lady Tyrell conspired to rid us all of the most thoroughly unlikable character in recent memory and have formed a clandestine alliance that the Lannisters will have to reckon with soon.  Margarey is going for King Husband #3 and poor Tommen doesn’t even know what hit him.

Margarey Tyrell, Natalie Dormer, Game of Thrones

Meanwhile the person who is imprisoned for killing Joffery finally gets a visit from his brother this week.  This was Jamie’s best episode since season two.  In his character, more than any other, we see the shades of gray that make up the Game of Thrones world.  This is a man who has had three children with his sister and threw a boy out a window in the pilot, but – as things stand now – may be the moral conscience of the entire show.  Martin has a way of standing things on their head by degrees in a way no other writer I’ve encountered does.

Game of Thrones, Jaime Lannister

The title of the episode, Oathkeeper, is the name Brienne gives to the Valyrian sword that Jamie gives her when he sends her, the sword, a new set of armor and Podrick (I love Pod) as her squire off to find Sansa Stark.  Given that Sansa is headed to Crazytown, Westeros, up in the Aerie, I don’t envy her the task.

Brienne, Game of Thrones

Bran’s subplot and Jon’s merged this week in a complete departure from the books, but I’m not convinced it’s a bad thing.  Bran kind of just wanders north in the books FOREVER and in giving him greater control over his warg powers than the book does and involving him in the mutiny at Craster’s Keep, he stays relevant.  If he’s reunited with Jon next week, though, I have noooo idea what’s going to happen.


Jon is growing in power and popularity amongst the Night Watch, so Alliser Thorne agrees to let him go north and try to root out, capture and kill the mutineers at Craster’s before they tell Mance Rayder there are only about fourteen Crows left.

Game of Thrones, Brandon Stark

The mutineers at the keep have descended into an anarchic dictatorship, have captured two of the Stark’s direwolves (because that’s a good idea; hold direwolves who hate you close by) and are doing all manner of horrid things to Craster’s poor daughters.  Craster’s last son is brought forth and the mutineers agree to let him be “sacrificed to the gods” (or given to the White Walkers).

It is then that we get the biggest divergence I think we’ve had from the books so far.  We see an awesome Walker astride a dead horse take the child to some sort of stronghold and place him on an ice altar.   Nothing this detailed on the Walkers has shown up in the books so far, but we see how humans are turned as the poor child turns cold as ice and the episode ends.


I think that this may have been the strongest episode of the season so far.  It certainly was the most surprising.  This season continues to deliver and I can’t believe we have to wait another WEEK!!!

2 thoughts on “TV Review: Game of Thrones 4.04 “Oathkeeper” *SPOILERS*”

  1. I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. The changes from the book work for me. I’m glad they are giving Bran something more to do than wandering around up North. I’ve previously had a theory that the White Walkers were from Craster’s babies, … my guess was right!


    1. I was so stunned by the end. I can’t believe our first look into the White Walkers came in the show not the books. This is how Martin is losing command of defining his own story.


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