game-thrones-season-4-premiere

In this episode, audiences began to grasp that, for most of the characters we either love or hate in the game of thrones, there are varying shades of grey between good and evil–no one occupies either exclusively nor should they claim to. What George R.R. Martin has created with this epic story are characters with so much depth and detail that, even after 4 seasons, shift values and priorities so staggeringly that we cannot expect to know them fully or to even comprehend what they are capable of. Slowly, our heroes reveal dark sides and our villains admit weakness–but does this change what we think of them or merely enhance the reality that sometimes self preservation comes at the cost of one’s own moral ground? Let’s head over to Westeros, shall we?

King’s Landing

gif credit: alayneestone.tumblr.com
gif credit: alayneestone.tumblr.com

 

In King’s Landing, Jamie and Tyrion finally have a conversation about the twisted Lannister clan and Tyrion is understandably bitter. While Tyrion has found acceptance in unlikely places–the brothel and with his sellsword friend, Bron–now that he is desperate for a friend, the little lion cannot seem to find someone to stand as his champion. Unfortunately, no one hates Tyrion more than Cersei and she contracts the largest, most frightening man in all of Westeros to kill Tyrion, “The Mountain”, brother to the Hound. This insane killer will be pit against Tyrion’s champion, which is part of the reason he can’t seem to find a stand in. When Tyrion asks Jamie to be his champion, the younger Lannister brother admits he cannot fight with his left hand and therefore will not stand up to certain death simply to make Tyrion happy and their father upset. Tyrion said last week that his only crime was that of being a dwarf, and his birth seems his most treacherous act. Before being quickly reminded of how few friends he really has by Jamie, Tyrion even dares to mention that his incestious siblings are more acceptable to Tywin Lannister than Tyrion, the dwarf. When Tyrion asks his brother to find Bron, is with the hope that the friendship will overpower Bron’s self-preservation instinct. Predictably, Bron refuses, simply to save his own neck, and audiences are struck with the various shades of grey when it comes to right and wrong in the game of thrones. While we would love for Bron to stand up to the Mountain because he is Tyrion’s friend, it is a death wish and we all know it. Tyrion cannot even be angry at Bron for looking out for himself first because it is one of the reasons Tyrion was attracted to the friendship from the beginning. Cersei has arranged a marriage for him, and so Bron has a chance for a title and a wife–he cannot fight for Tyrion and risk losing it all. The sellsword brings up a good point in his conversation with Tyrion; while they are friends, yes, Tyrion has never risked his life for Bron and so why should Bron go to certain death when he has a chance at respectability? It is a sad revelation of the varying degrees of friendship in the royal court, and when the pair shake hands and part as friends, we know it will probably be for the last time. As the hopelessness of the situation sets in, Tyrion has an unexpected visitor in Prince Oberyn Martell, who shares a common enemy with Tyrion–the Lannisters. He tells Tyrion a story of visiting “the monster” Lannister baby and how cruel Cersei was to Tyrion even then. Oberon promises to be Tyrion’s champion and to kill the Mountain, who killed Oberyn’s sister and family, and it seems our favorite Lannister may have a chance after all.