Film & TV

TV Review – Game of Thrones, Season 4: Mid-Season Review (Spoilers)

Can you believe it? We’re already halfway through Season 4 of Game of Thrones. In one month’s time, we’ll once again be waiting impatiently for our next nerdy fix in 2015. Still, we’re not there yet, and the next five episodes should be jaw-droppingly awesome – I’ve written down a list of all the big moments they’ve still got to fit in, and I’m not quite sure how they’re going to manage it – it’s going to be sweet. Before that though, it seems like a good idea to reflect on the best (and the worst) bits of the season’s first half.

The Good 

Game of Thrones Season 4

Joffrey’s Death

It’s odd. After episode after episode of hating Joffrey’s stupid face, watching his death wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as I’d expected. Despite his evilness, seeing him lying on the floor, looking desperately for his mother to make it all better was rather sad. The show nailed it though – Jack Gleeson’s performance, Jaimie’s panicked dash, the strange colouring of Joffrey’s face. It all worked perfectly, and it’s most definitely one of the best TV deaths in history.

The Budget

HBO seem to be rather chuffed with how Game of Thrones is doing as it’s obvious they’ve sprayed even more money at the show than before. There have been a couple of moments where financial constraints seem to have held things back – Daenerys’ capturing of Meereen was a little underwhelming – but by and large there haven’t been many corners cut. It bodes well for the rest of the season; the core of the show might be the characters and their webs of deceit, but massive armies/explosions/dragons do certainly help.

Character Development

A lot of attention has (rightly) gone to new character Oberyn Martell, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that this season has seen some of the best acting out of much of the cast. Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) is finally displaying emotions that aren’t just derivatives of grumpiness, Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) is more strikingly menacing than ever, and Rory McCann (Sandor ‘the Hound’ Clegane) has been chucking out mead-spittingly funny lines left, right and centre.  The most developed and touching scenes so far though have been between Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaimie Lannister); their facial expressions when Brienne rides off to who-knows-where were wonderful.

The Bad

Ser Pounce

Jaimie becoming a rapist

The worst part of this season has to be the moment when Jaimie raped Cersei in front of Joffrey’s corpse. What’s maddening is that it wasn’t actually meant to happen. In the book Cersei consents, and the director claims that the same thing happened in the show. He mucked it up terribly though, very few people took it the way he intended, and Jaimie’s character now has the added sin of incestuous rape to bear. A low point.

The Night King

The final scene in episode four was pretty mad. Show watchers may not have realised it, but when that freaky ice dude popped up we were glimpsing at the White Walkers in more detail than even the books have managed yet. In a HBO synopsis he was referred to as the ‘Night King’, which suggests that this supposedly long-dead character is actually some sort of White Walker leader.  Essentially, it was a big shock for everyone, but for book readers it was as awful as it was amazing. How can we feel smug if the show starts throwing new stuff at us? Horrid.

Ser Pounce has been axed

Allegedly we’re not going to see anymore of Ser Pounce anytime soon. The cat behaved so badly in his one scene (where he interrupts Margaery and Tommen) that he’s not being introduced again. Frankly I’m appalled. Bad actor or not, without him the show is going to feel a bit dull.

With the exception of the Jaimie controversy, Season 4 has been amazing so far, and I believe that this has been the best first half of a Game of Thrones season yet. I’ve no doubt that the next five episode are going to be even better. Bring it.

Will Hazell

What were your high and lows of the first half of Game of Thrones Season 4? Let us know via Let us know via Facebook and Twitter, or leave a comment.

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