A Storm Of Swords: Setting The Table For Game Of Thrones, Season 4

Season 4 of Game Of Thrones kicks off Sunday night on HBO Canada and beginning Monday morning, AmongMen.com will be home to weekly GOT recaps. Every Monday morning get ready to take a look back at the previous evening’s episode in the riveting and addictive drama built of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire collection.

Before we can dive into this week’s Season 4 premiere, however, it’s essential to take a look back at last season in order to established where things stand in the seven kingdoms and set the table for what is to come.

Daenerys Targaryen

Yes, I’m starting with Dany, but it’s not simply because she’s ridiculously hot and possesses three badass dragons, although that certainly doesn’t hurt.

Note: Even though there are half a dozen acceptable names for this character, including Khaleesi and “Daenerys Stormborn,” I’ll be sticking with Dany or “The Mother of Dragons” throughout the season. With tons of characters to keep track of, it will be easier that way, I hope.


Season 3 was about building an army and discovering her purpose for “The Mother of Dragons,” and by the end of the last season’s arc, Dany had figured out that she was going to be an emancipator.

First she took command of The Unsullied, a legion of slave warriors from Astapor, and then she does the same in Yunkai, prompting the freed slaves to address her as “mhysa,” which we’re told means “mother.”

Heading into Season 4, Dany is continuing on in her quest to free the enslaved. The dragons continue to grow, which poses a potential problem, you know, since they’re fire-breathing dragons, there is still the little matter of the warlocks from Qarth in Season 2 wanting to kill her.

Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy are still by her side, protecting and advising her, as is Daario Naharis, the “Second Sons” mercenary who was smitten with “The Mother of Dragons” upon her arrival in Yunkai, prompting him to kill his colleagues and pledge his allegiance to Dany.

House Stark

Season 3 brought the lives of Robb and Catelyn Stark to a close at “The Red Wedding,” but there are several members of the family still soldiering on. Since we’re dealing with multiple people and multiple storylines, I’ll try to keep it quick and concise.

Brandon Stark: Season 3 was about Bran understanding and learning to use his abilities as a warg, someone who is able to enter the minds of animals. Along with Jojen and Meera Reed, siblings and children of a Stark family bannerman, Bran is intent on making it North of the wall, believing he destiny lies on the other side.

Arya Stark: The feisty tomboy of the family, Season 3 ended with “The Hound,” Sandor Clegane, bringing Arya to The Twins where he expected to trade her back to her mother and brother. Once they got there, however, they come upon the fallout of “The Red Wedding.” Much like her brother Bran, Arya has always seemed like an integral future player in this series, so Season 4 should bring continued development and evolution for the spirited young Stark.

Sansa Stark: Technically, she’s now Sansa Lannister, having been forced to marry Tyrion Lannister, both in order to secure the family control of the North and scuttle the plans of having Sansa marry Loris Tyrell. The most sympathetic member of the family, we enter Season 4 with Sansa stuck in an unhappy (and unconsummated) marriage, having learned of the death of her mother and brother.

Jon Snow: Ned’s bastard son, Season 3 ended with Jon fleeing from Ygritte, his Wildling girlfriend, who angrily fired three arrows into him as he rode to Castle Black. He knows the dangers that lurk beyond the wall and is wrought with remorse, which should mean that Jon Snow continues to play a pivotal part in moving the story along in Season 4.

House Baratheon

King Joffrey: In Season 3, the little tyrant became engaged to Margaery Tyrell, although the only real interest he shows in her stems from her ability to win people over, something he has no aptitude for. He’s a megalomaniac in the making, and the rifts between “The Monster King” and his family members—none of whom really respect his authority and simply see him as someone they can rule through—continue to grow deeper.

Expect a massive wedding and more despicable antics from Joffrey this Season. For the record, actor Jack Gleeson deserves some props for doing such a magnificent job as the twisted king.

Stannis Baratheon: The legitimate heir to The Iron Throne, Stannis is still following the guidance of Melisandre, a priestess of R’hilor, the God of Light. He acquired one of his deceased former King Robert’s bastards, Gendry, from the Brotherhood Without Banners, but his right hand man, Davos Seaworth, helped him escape before he could be sacrificed. Despite wanting to kill Davos for his treason, Stannis is convinced otherwise by Melisandre, and encouraged to head North to fight the threat emerging from beyond the wall.

House Lannister

Tyrion Lannister: Named Master of the Coin (read: head accountant) for King’s Landing by his father at the commencement of Season 3, Tyrion is later ordered to marry Sansa Stark, which is does, begrudgingly, though they do not consummate the marriage.

The tension between Tyrion and his family members continues to percolate, as he father, Tywin, tells him he wanted to drowned him at birth, and the never-ending battle of wills and wits with his sister, Cersei, lands both of them in unwanted marriages. Oh, and Tyrion is still a heavy drinker and unabashed in making threats and comments towards his nephew, King Joffrey.

As in previous season, Tyrion will be a central figure again in Season 4, as he struggles with his family and the underlying humanity that has made him one of the most beloved characters on this show.

Cersei Lannister: Wife to a slain king, mother to an in-bred, malevolent tyrant (King Joffrey), Cersei was a woman trying to cling to a position of power in Season 3. Her son is continuing to pull away and push back against her with force, and with her father working on his own agenda as the Hand of the King, Cersei is ordered to marry Loris Tyrell.

Season 4 will be an interesting one for Cersei, as she was reunited with her brother (and lover and father of Joffrey) Jaime at the close of Season 3. The exploration of their new relationship and the continued volatility of the family as a whole remains one of the key stories moving forward.

Jaime Lannister: Speaking of “The King Slayer,” we saw a more compassionate and endearing side of Jaime in Season 3, as he repeatedly came to the aid of Brienne, and ended up losing his right hand for his efforts.

As previously mentioned, the season ended with Jaime walking into his sister Cersei’s bedroom, arm in a sling, hand missing, so it will be intriguing to see how things move forward for the once proud warrior who can seemingly no longer do what made him famous in the first place, wield a sword.

Tywin Lannister: The patriarch of the family continued to show in Season 3 where the younger generations get their conniving, deceitful, and treacherous ways from, as the Hand of the King repeatedly made decisions deemed vital for the family, despite the protestations of those being forced to act.

With all three of his children—and his belligerent grandson Joffrey—all under the same roof and opposing parties still seeking to claim The Iron Throne for themselves as Season 4 commences, Tywin should have his hands full this year.

NEXT: Other characters to remember, newcomer alert and a season 4 outlook…

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E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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