The first episode of Season 4 of Game of Thrones is in the bag. Some random thoughts:
1. The season opener of GoT tends to be a bit plodding, especially because the showrunners usually try to catch the audience up on last season's biggest themes before setting the stage for the rest of the plot. It looks like all that is pretty much out the window now.
I thought the opening scene with the forging of the two swords was both perfect and plunged you right into the heart of the story: the Starks are done, and Tywin is in charge.
By the way, for those of you who have not read the books, did you pick up on the origin of the sword right away? I thought it was pretty obvious, but a number of casual GoT fans I polled did not make the connection until later in the episode.
2. The highlight of the episode for me was Oberyn Martell. Not only is Pedro Pascal perfectly cast, but his delivery and presence were perfect: both charming and menacing. I can even forgive the showrunners for the random and unnecessary sexposition in the scene where he and Ellaria Sand are introduced.
3. I can't decide which is more tragic: Tyrion's marriage to Sansa or Jaime's return to King's Landing. Sometimes I sympathize with Tywin Lannister, because he's so clearly disappointed with both his sons. But mostly I just want to knock him upside the head for not recognizing that Cersei is his only true heir, at least as far as ruthlessness goes.
4. Daenerys? YAAAAWN. Wake me up in Episode 10. I was a bit confused by the casting switch on Daario, but on reflection, I think it sort of makes sense. Book!Daenerys is a hormonal and lonely teenager, so she sort of latches onto book!Daario because he's TEH HAWT. But show!Daenerys has always been a bit more cerebral and circumspect, so to make it credible she would fall for Daario, he needs to be someone who wins her with practical advice and charm. It also sets up a more even contest with Ser Jorah.
5. For the first time in ages, I sort of liked the subplot at the Wall and beyond. Not only was Jon Snow's delivery of wilding-accented remarks to Janos Slynt perfect, but I got a kick out of Maester Aemon, blind and infirm, laying the smack down. Also the Thenns are creepy as all get out.
6. So Ser Dontos gave Sansa a necklace. Is that THE necklace? I don't think so, because it didn't look right, and I'm a bit disappointed they're not going with the hairnet scenario actually.
Also this happened: White House rejects petition for US ambassador to WesterosYour thoughts? What's coming up this week? What are you most looking forward to?