Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 1

Content Note: Rape, incest, homophobia, gendered insults, potential anorexia, sleep disorders

Spoiler’s From Last Night’s Episode Ahead

Original article by Courtney Caldwell cross posted from Mad Art Lab

Fresh from last season’s crowd-surfing, white savior finale (and just as our hearts were beginning to heal after the Red Wedding), Game of Thrones is back for more action, incest, and just plain weird-ass shit. Who will die this season? Will Joffrey stop being terrible? Will women finally start getting treated like people? Find this out (and more!), during my weekly Mad Art Lab recaps! My goal for these recaps is to hit the high points of the episode, snark a little bit, and hopefully provide a social justice lens for your next viewing of Game of Thrones.

Our opening scene shows a sword being forged from the sword of the now-deceased Nedd Stark. The dirty thieving Lannisters have taken the sword and re-forged it into a new weapon for the woefully one-handed Jamie Lannister. After the opening credits (which will never be the same for me thanks to this remake Rebecca introduced me to), Jamie faces his horrible father, Tywin, who snidely berates him and make jokes about his missing limb. Tywin wants Jamie to go back Casterly Rock to rule, but ol’ Jamie Lannister says he still has some fight left in him. Later in the episode, we see he has a fake hand forged in an attempt to try to feel more normal.

Next we are introduced to Prince Oberyn, a newcomer to the show, played by Pedro Pascal. He and his paramour, Ellaria Sand, are taking their pick from some of the capital’s choice sex workers. It seems the two of them are bisexual, and Ellaria is not, as certain folks like to say, very “politically correct.” While she picks her partner from a set of young girls, she takes offense to being called a lady and tells the sex worker’s accompanying gentleman, “I’m a bastard, she’s a whore, and you’re a procurer.” Oberyn is interested in the procurer, and asks, “Have you ever been with a prince?” Unfortunately, their sexual repartee is cut short by a chilly rendition of The Rains of Castamere, because this show is vindictive and cruel, and a Lannister gets stabbed in the hand.

Later in the show, Oberyn tells Tyrion (who I had hoped to see more of this episode) of his sister, Elia. Elia, like so many characters on this show, met a pretty brutal and rapey end – at the hand of the Lannisters, no less. This news makes Tyrion visibly uncomfortable, which is somewhat surprising since this seems to be the status quo in Westeros. It’s moments like Tyrion’s that remind you that somewhere deep down, some of these characters actually do have a sense of morality underneath all their barbarism. Overall, Oberyn promises to be an interesting character this season, and it’s nice to see some semblance of bisexual representation. He’s not an ideal representation, what with his stabby tendencies, but in Westeros you take what you can get I guess.

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Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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