We’re moving on to Episode 4 of my Game of Thrones read-and-watch, and I have to admit this was definitely one of the slower parts, both in the book and in the show.
And this is probably going to be a short one, because not very much happened in this section that was not already discussed. There was a lot of overlap from previous episodes as the show caught up, and the entirety of this section of the book was taken up by two events: the Hand’s Tourney and the capture of Tyrion Lannister. And those two events really only make up the last ten minutes or so of the show.
Tonally this part very different from the last one – the last section of the book was teasing magic and strange dreams, but this was a very visceral chapter. There was a lot of fighting and action, more than we’ve really seen from the show (or the book) thus far.
We’re also introduced to a lot of new characters. We have Thoros of Myr, a warrior priest who fights with a flaming sword. Unfortunately, he didn’t make an appearance in the show save for a mention by Jaime. Bronn, the sellsword who accompanies Catelyn on her way to the Eyrie. Gendry, King Robert’s bastard son and a blacksmith’s apprentice. Loras Tyrell, another knight of a great house, also called the Knight of Flowers. It was his surprise victory over Jaime at the last tourney that is purportedly the reason Littlefinger lost his dagger to Tyrion.
And finally we have Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain That Rides whose just a really bad dude if we’re being honest. It stands to reason that he was the one who was going to kill the King when Varys reveals the Lannister’s plot – he also killed the former hand’s squire who was immediately knighted as a reward for poisoning his former master. Whether or not he’s a Lannister puppet is hard to say, but it is definitely being hinted at.
One change I noticed in the show is regarding the framing of Theon. Up until this point he hasn’t really had any place in the books, but that’s very different on the screen. We already know that the characters were aged up for the show, but one that wasn’t aged up was Theon. He’s now about the same age as Robb and Jon, and is shown in the first episode to be quite close to the half-brothers. He’s Ned Stark’s ward but also their friend and treated almost like one of the family and not so much as a prisoner, which is definitely how others seem to see him. Tyrion brings up his lack of loyalty to his own, true family, and in another scene Theon’s loyalty to the Starks is questioned because he is technically their prisoner.
The dream sequences were another big thing in the books that are changed in the show. Jon’s dream of an empty Winterfell from the last part is not-so-coincidentally where Bran happens to dream of the three-eyed Raven. It seems that Bran is the only one with the dreams so far – they play a much more significant role in the books, but I don’t think people want to watch a show where a lot of significant information is given to you through dreams, so I understand that much at least. It’s going to be Bran’s gimmick specifically.
Speaking of, this part of the book really made it obvious how well this book suits a tv show. It’s a very long book, and the mystery surrounding the death of the previous Hand is what is carrying it forward, but there are also a lot of smaller arcs that keep trickling more information in our direction and slowly progressing the story forward. And these arcs make for perfect divisions for episodes.
This part was a perfect example. It starts with Ned, frustrated over the effects that the King’s tournament is having on the people of King’s landing. We’re introduced to the players that will compete and a plot to kill the King is revealed and dealt with.
And the effect of the tourney impacts other parts of the story – Catelyn ends up at an inn full of potential allies because the tourney is such a big event. It’s actually a really satisfying way of reading the book as well – it’s not a short book by any means, so the natural rising and falling of action is brilliantly done and keeps you hooked.
Other than that, I don’t have much to say on this part. It felt short, and not as meaty as some of the other chapters I’ve read so far, but we’re almost at the half-way point and I’m getting excited to see how the rest of the story plays out. I’m still really enjoying this!
Let’s Talk About Episode Four!
What did you think of episode 4 – Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things? What do you think of the changes from the book? What were some of your favourite scenes from this installment? Let me know in the comments!