Pondering about the Throne – Impressions from the Game of Thrones Season 4 Trailer?

S04 Trailer 1

Game of Thrones returns on April 6th. And after the disastrous events of Season 3 that will surely affect this coming Season I am pumped to find out what lies ahead of us. HBO has aired a roughly 100 seconds long teaser filled with cool stuff. So this article will go into what the trailer promises us for the series to come.

Note on spoilers: as usual this article is written without knowledge from the books. It is about the expectations for Game of Thrones as a piece of television and not as an adaption so there won’t be a discussion if a certain scene or actor seems to capture or not capture stuff from the book.

It will be fun revisiting this article after the season has passed because one thing is sure about Game of Thrones: my predictions are almost always far far off from what really happens.

The War is not won!
S04 Trailer War

When you think about what has happened up to this point in Westeros it is crazy how much has changed since Ned Stark (Sean Bean) accepted his role as Hand of the King. The Starks have been for all political intents and purposes eliminated or brought under Lannister power like Sansa (Sophie Turner). Renly Baratheon has been killed, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) apparently defeated. And the King is loved because of the marriage to House Tyrell. So Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is not entirely stupid (for once) if he believes that the worst has been averted.

But Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) knows better.

Sidenote: this is the first father and son interaction between Jaime and Joffrey in the series. Up until this point Jaime was too concerned with Cersei (Lena Headey) and the Starks to pay his son any attention. So it will be interesting to see the “fatherly side” in Jaime. But not as interesting as seeing Jaime continue wrestling with his lost hand.

S04 Trailer Jaimes Hand

Not sure if that prosthetic by Harrenhal’s crazy doctor  will work out. Furthermore I keep wondering where Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline  Christie) is.

They can live in my new world or die in their old
S04 Trailer Dany

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has come a long way:

  • She is no longer the victim from Season 1.
  • She has moved passed the child which never got the respect she wanted from Season 2.
  • She has freed thousands of slaves and is now known as Breaker of Chains…
  • So what will happen in Season 4?

In my opinion Daenerys had a very lucky streak in Season 3 and that is in no small part due to the fact that she has dragons which is the equivalent of a nuclear deterrent in this series. But her might has made her a bit arrogant in my opinion. Daenerys has a history of wanting to do good things and I firmly believe that if there is a character who can bring progress to Westeros it is her. But right now I am feeling a bit uncertain about her decisions. They are not the informed decisions of a wise and gentle leader but seem to be made in the spur of the moment.

And because the trailer specifically addresses her lack of reflection

There is good and evil on both sides in every war ever fought

it gives me hope that this is merely another step Dany has to make to become this “fair and gentle” ruler that people want her to be.

But right now I am just waiting for something to go bad again. Daenerys’s dragons give her power indeed but she might forget to listen to others because those lizards are her ultimate “get out of jail free” card to end all arguments.

Tonight we fight!
You remember Alliser Thorne?

S04 Trailer Thorne 2

He was the instructor at the wall in Season 1 who gave Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) a really hard time but eventually concluded “well Lord Snow, it appears you are the least useless person here”. Thorne made such a big impression on me when he turned from a standard rude instructor who was mean to Jon (no reason) to a guy who shared the ugly truth with Ned’s bastard: that if he were not that much of a horrible instructor people would die at the Wall when times get rougher.

S04 Trailer Thorne

And seeing as how the Wildlings are starting their attack on the wall it is probably a good thing to have a fighter like Thorne (Owen Teale) return to aid the Nightswatch.

But there is more going on… we can see Rast (Luke McEwan) the Nightswatch soldier who led the rebellion against Old Bear and has taken the home of the incestuous Craster for his new home in the woods. And he is placing a baby in the snow much like Craster did as an offering to the White Walkers.

S04 Trailer Baby

Will they have the same pact with the Walkers or was it more that Craster did to protect his own existence?

Where is the Brotherhood?
Last season the Red Wedding obviously overshadowed everything else that happened during the season. But to me the biggest gamechanger of the season was the fact that Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) was resurrected from the dead not once but SIX times according to himself. So this means that magic is creeping in and bringing people back from the dead. And the only other place where the dead rise again is in the North so this is a massive development. Even if the Lord of Light never once again interferes with the history of Westeros, this is a miracle if there ever was one that in my opinion is even bigger than the return of the dragons (or is it linked to the dragons? Who knows at that point).

S04 Trailer Arya

But there is no shot of them in the trailer. Will Arya (Maisie Williams) cross path with her and the Hound (Rory McCann) or is Arya’s story as surprising as ever? Maybe the Brotherhood will take a step back this season while the Lannisters, Tyrells and (for the first time in the series) the Martells battle it out in King’s Landing?

S04 Trailer Davos and Stannis

Aside from Arya the most likely candidate for the Brotherhood storyline is Stannis in my opinion. Stannis has changed his priority last season and is now the only force aside from the Nightswatch who takes the threat of Winter seriously. Furthermore Davos has promised to build him an army and the Brotherhood already shares the same god as Melisandre so could this shot of two armies meeting be Stannis and the Brotherhood?

S04 Trailer Meeting

Then again joining Stannis might kind of defeat the whole Brotherhood WITHOUT Banners idea… maybe I am just way off with my speculation but I am curious why the Brotherhood has been introduced in Season 3. There has to be some sort of payoff.

Who is Oberyn Martell?
Season 3 was (for a big part) about the rise of the Tyrells. Who could have known that the Tyrells would become such big players back in Season 1 when Loras “The Knight of Flowers” Tyrell (Finn Jones) talked about his father and how powerful his family was? Back then it was all about Starks and Lannisters but now the game has changed and the Martells are the next family to come into the mix.

Tell your father I’m here and tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.

Pedro Pascal plays a character named Oberyn Martell and there is a huge deal of fan anticipation behind him. As I said, I don’t come from the books but just from the trailer it looks like he is in the spotlight. And from the looks of it Oberyn is a skilled fighter and much more aggressive when it comes to the Lannisters than the Tyrells (at least he is more open about it) and he doesn’t mind fire (or he is just showing off in that shot).

S04 Trailer Throne

So why is House Martell in the mix?
If you think back to Season 2 there was a scene where a mob in King’s Landing almost tore the Lannisters apart – a scene so intense it’s easy to forget the set up for it. The royal family bade farewell to Myrcella Baratheon – one of Cersei’s 3 kids – who was sent to Dorne (a part in the South of Westeros) because Tyrion wanted to bring House Martell of Dorne back into the Realm and therefore offered the house a seat at the small council. So Oberyn Martell is probably coming to take this seat and with a character hostile towards the Lannisters it might also explain why Tyrion is in chains in the trailer – is Oberyn that cunning or is something else going on?

S04 Trailer Dinklag

Plus I still speculate on Shae getting killed off someway or another but I have been saying this since the first episode of Season 3 so I might continue to be wrong.

Was that Theon?
S04 Trailer 2

The last time we saw Theon (Alfie Allen) he didn’t seem to go anywhere. Spending almost the entire third Season in Ramsay Snow’s (Iwan Rheon) torture chamber. So why do we see glimpses of him in armor? Will he return to his former glory? Will his sister Yara succeed in saving him? Or could it be a sort of dream sequence? Then again aside from Bran Game of Thrones doesn’t really do dream sequences.

Speaking of Bran
Last Season Bran’s storyline was the one that suffered most and Bryan Cogman, one of the writers of the show, even acknowledged that finding a season arc for Bran was much tougher than for Tyrion because of the few Bran-chapters in the first half of A Storm of Swords.

So I am hoping that his story will pick up some speed in the fourth season. Interestingly enough Bran and Hodor seem to be sporting Wildling clothing.

S04 Trailer Bran

Speculation time!
I want Bran to get captured by Wildlings and brought to Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) because there hasn’t been enough Mance yet and I want to know what makes this man tick. And since Jon Snow is no longer close to Mance we need someone else to shed some light on the enigmatic King beyond the Wall who still has to make good on his promise to “light be biggest fire the north has ever seen”.

It wouldn’t be that far of a stretch since Bran has recently discovered his warging powers so he would be an interesting find for the Wildlings. And I am sure they are better at recognizing wargs than the people in the “South”.

A [Dothraki] Wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair
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Last year the Red Wedding made Khal Drogo’s wedding with Daenerys seem like a very very dull affair indeed. 2014 will give us the long awaited wedding of Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) that was promised way back in the second Season. And there is already the term Purple Wedding circling around the internet so I am curious what we will see. Because if Game of Thrones has taught us anything it is that weddings are always a big thing.

Will Sansa finally escape Joffrey? Will Cersei screw up everything to protect Joffrey? Or will the Tyrells gain the ultimate influence over Joffrey this Season?

So many questions and still over two months until we might get some answers.

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Game of Thrones returns on April 6th.

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