by APOORVA KETHIDI Staff Writer
The fourth season of the hit television series “Game of Thrones” began on Sunday, April 6 after its previous season’s shockers.
The title of the fourth season says it all. Yes, “All Men Must Die” and at this point, the only way HBO’s great and addictive epic could shock us would be to air a season without the death of at least one major character.
As “The Lion King” might put it, it is the “circle of life” in the Seven Kingdoms on the mythical continent of Westeros, the setting for the show based on the series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin.
As season four kicked off, fans are still trying to sort out the implications of the infamous Red Wedding episode (titled “The Rains of Castamere”) from season three. It remains the most memorable episode not only because of the slaughter of major characters Robb, Catelyn, and Talisa Stark (Richard Madden, Michelle Fairley and Oona Chaplin), but because the massacre left power of the throne undecided.
Freshman Aniya Muhammad said, “I was in complete shock after the ‘Red Wedding’ episode. So many characters died! I really hope my favorite characters do not die this season.”
The fourth season opens with questions about whether the Starks can still hold an influence in the Seven Kingdoms. Ned Starks’s (Sean Bean) daughter Sansa (Sophie Turner) has married Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), but it is a political marriage arranged by Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) after he discovered the plot to unite the Stark and Tyrell factions by marrying Sansa off to Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones).
There is yet another wedding in the making in season four, and given what happened last season, it is eagerly anticipated. The sadistic teenage king Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) will tie the knot with Lady Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). No one would ever nominate Joffrey as husband of the year, but Margaery and her grandmother Olenna (Diana Rigg) know the value of a great political alliance when they see one.
Adding to our anticipation of the wedding is the arrival of wedding guest Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), known as the Red Viper, who has little fondness for the Lannisters. Naturally, the Lannisters are a little worried about what he may have brought as a wedding gift.
“I heard a lot about the new character, Oberyn Martell. He seems like a very interesting person, especially since his nickname is the ‘Red Viper’. I really hope he is as engrossing as his name,” said freshman Abbie Hoppe.
Putting aside the deaths, marriages, betrayals, and other events in the Seven Kingdoms, the fourth season quickly announces itself as a significant transitional phase in the unfolding of the epic. With so many major characters now gone, we can feel “Game of Thrones” moving forward not only with new players such as the Red Viper, but with the younger generation assuming larger roles.
Even without getting into the specifics of what happens in season four, we have already seen Sansa move to center stage, not just because of her marriage to Tyrion, but also due to her exhibition in the kind of strategic intelligence we would expect from a major player. If her father’s execution did not toughen her up, surely the deaths of her brother and mother have. Perhaps reluctantly, she has become a survivor.
What is even more fascinating is her younger sister Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), who has already shown herself wise and self-reliant beyond her years. Fans know she is destined to play a significant role in the story.
We also see other characters evolving, such as Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who have to go on without key body parts.
For many series, killing off some major characters and having others change only happens because writers want to come up with something to renew viewer interest. In contrast, “Game of Thrones” is not afraid of change – it is the lifeline of the series, and just one of the reasons people keep watching.
What do you think will happen this season?