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Winter gets a little closer again after tonight with the Season 4 Premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones. But for those who have not been to Westeros (or Essos, for that matter) since last June you may need a bit of a refresher on all the Season 3 happenings. Just remember, whatever you do, don’t sit across from Tywin at his desk. His Hand is strong.
’Til Death Do Us Part
Season 3 of Game of Thrones featured all sorts of couplings and decouplings. Sansa and Joffrey (who have become more crazy and malevolent than ever) began this whole mess once Cersei realized it was time to get a little help for her multiple-fronted wars. Out went Sansa, joyful for a brief moment, and in came Margaery Tyrell formerly betrothed to the now late Renly Baratheon. By season’s end Margaery and Joffrey are on course to tie the knot despite Sansa’s warnings to Margaery’s grandmother, Olenna (i.e. the Queen of Thornes). Margaery has also ingratiated herself with the people of King’s Landing.
Poor Sansa, however, is betrothed to Tyrion before she can breathe one sigh of relief. Now, of course, Tyrion is one of the better souls in all of Westeros but for a teenage girl who has just become viable for procreation a good soul does not equal a young, handsome prince in shining armor. Tyrion respects her plight and doesn’t force himself onto her, which means their marriage was never consummated and therefore not legally binding. By the end of the season Sansa is approached by Littlefinger to spirit her away from King’s Landing and Tyrion. Meanwhile, Tyrion is growing farther and farther apart from both Shae, his former prostitute lover, and the sellsword Bronn, who is made a noble by Joffrey.
Luckily there is still love in this world (kind of) coming from the men of clan Snow, Jon and Robb. Jon is carrying on with Ygritte, Mance Rayder, and the Wildlings North of The Wall. Soon Jon and a group including Ygritte and the Lord of Bones splits from the bigger group of Wildlings towards The Wall in hopes of scaling it to make a sneak attack on Castle Black and the Night’s Watch. Once over The Wall, however, Jon makes a quick exit when a fight breaks out and he leaves Ygritte alone and angry. He takes off to Castle Black to warn the few Night’s Watchmen left.
Robb, on the other hand, never wavers from wanting to marry his love, Talisa. This doesn’t sit well with any of the plethora of the Freys or their bannermen making them leave Robb’s army because he had promised to marry one Walder Frey’s daughters. In an effort to get back in the good graces of the Freys Catelyn forces her brother Edmure to marry one of the daughters. And then Robb, a recently pregnant Talisa, and Catelyn get killed during the wedding reception causing all of this to happen (caution there is some salty language):
Grey Wind, Robb’s dire wolf, is also slain during the Red Wedding and the Frey’s bannermen sew its head to Robb’s body. Catelyn’s body is dumped in the river, and Edmure is taken hostage.
The entire reason Jon is captured in the first place is because many of Castle Black’s Night’s Watchmen have gone North of The Wall to scout Mance Rayder’s movements. While there, however, they get attacked by White Walkers – the magical frozen zombies. This causes a hasty retreat back to Craster’s Keep where a mutiny breaks out resulting in Lord Commander Mormount’s death.
While staying at Craster’s Keep we also find out what happens to Craster’s sons when an attempted sacrifice to one of the White Walkers goes wrong. Sam saves the infant and, in the process, finds out that dragon glass vaporizes the beasts. When the mutiny breaks out Sam takes Gilly and her newborn with him as they make their escape to the lands South of The Wall.
On their way in the opposite direction of Sam are Bran, Hodor, and the Reed children Meera and Jojen. Jojen has revealed to Bran that he is a warg – someone who can control various animals by jumping in and out of their consciousness. Bran often does this with Summer, his direwolf. Bran’s powers also give him many premonitions that cause him to decide he must go North of The Wall. He and Rickon split up (unbeknownst to them Jon is outside about to split from the Wildlings), with Osha and Rickon staying in the South in hopes of protecting the last heir to Winterfell. On their way North Bran and the Reeds run into Sam and Gilly as they make their crossing underneath The Wall.
Once Stannis finally lets Davos out of the dungeons Davos, who has been taught to read by Stannis’s daughter, finds a message from the Night’s Watch asking for help against the White Walkers. Originally Stannis was going to execute Davos for freeing Gendry, who Melisandre was going to sacrifice to the God of Light, but upon seeing the note Melisandre decides for Stannis that the real war is the war for the North and not for the throne at King’s Landing. Thus, Stannis ships off to The Wall.
Journeys Across Westeros
The new odd couple, Jaime and Brienne, spend most of the season trekking towards King’s Landing in hopes of trading Jamie for the two Stark girls. On their journey the two end up rubbing off on each other with Brienne’s sense of duty coming into question and Jamie’s flippant attitude slowly disappears. On their journey they are kidnapped by the Brave Companions, who sort of work for whoever is in charge of Harrenhal. They foolishly chop off Jaime’s hand, which angers Roose Bolton who is in charge of Harrenhal at the time. After Jaime is nursed back to health he is set free to return to King’s Landing but Brienne is forced to stay at Harrenhal to fight in the bear pit. Jaime returns to rescue her in the knick of time and the two finally reach King’s Landing where Jaime is not as well received by Cersei as one might expect.
Jaime’s hand wasn’t the only thing removed from someone’s body in Westeros. Most of the season for Theon is spent in an unknown dungeon. He is continually tortured, both psychologically and physically, for his betrayal of the Starks when he decided to take Winterfell. At the end of the season Theon’s manhood is excised and everyone finds out that the torturer is Roose Bolton’s bastard son, Ramsay.
Arya, who had escaped Harrenhal at the end of Season 2, is soon captured by the Brotherhood. While there her and Gendry meet Beric Dondarrion who seems to have a much more practical use for the magic that the Lord of Light gives him than Melisandre. A trial by battle ensues between Beric and the Hound in which the Hound wins and is set free and Beric appears to be dead. But Beric is brought back to life by the magic of the Lord of Light. Once the Brotherhood sell Gendry to Melisandre Arya runs off and is quickly intercepted by the Hound. They set off for Edmure’s wedding but arrive just as the chaos breaks loose. The Hound saves Arya by knocking her out and taking her away from The Twins before anyone recognizes her.
Dany’s Army Amasses
What once looked dire for Daenarys completely changes by the end of Season 3 as she methodically liberates the slaves from the “free cities” of Essos. First, however, former member of the Kingsguard Berristan Selmy saves Dany from an assassination attempt. Jorah is none too happy to see Berristan.
Dany buys the Unsullied, a group of warriors trained from birth, and “frees” them but they fight for her anyway. They go from city to city freeing slaves and taking control of cities, sometimes with help from her dragons. Eventually an assassination plot on her by some Yunkai officials goes wrong when one of the assassins, Daario, kills the other two and pledges his allegiance to Dany. Again, Jorah is not pleased with this, especially since Dany seems to be a bit smitten by the good-looking Daario. By the end of the Season Dany frees the Yunkai and they also join her traveling civilization.
That, in a nutshell, were the goings on for Game of Thrones last season. Clearly much of the plot was glossed over so if you are fuzzy on anything feel free to brush up by reading some of my recaps for last season. For now though I must remind you of two things: Winter is Coming and All Men Must Die.