TV Recap: Game of Thrones, ‘Breaker of Chains’

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Plot: King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) is dead. While Cersei (Lena Headey) mourns his death, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Tywin (Charles Dance) plan for uncertain futures. Arya (Maisie Williams) and The Hound (Rory McCann) find shelter. Jon (Kit Harington) helps prepare the Night’s Watch for the wildling invasion and Sam (John Bradley) tries to protect Gilly (Hannah Murray). Davos (Liam Cunningham) must increase the strength of Stannis’s (Stephen Dillane) army or else face dire consequences. Sansa (Sophie Turner) discovers the truth of her rescue. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) arrives at Meereen.

How about that Purple Wedding, right? For the first time in quite a while, an extremely detestable character was murdered on Game of Thrones. While Joffrey’s death doesn’t make the removal of nearly every Stark family member less painful, it’s still a step in the right direction. Now obviously “Breaker of Chains” focused heavily on the King’s death. You can’t have a death of that magnitude and just push it off into the background. It’s basically the Westeros version of a classic murder mystery. Each member of House Lannister is taking Joffrey’s death very differently, and “Breaker of Chains” gave us an extended look at all of them. We also got a look at what several other characters are doing around Westeros and beyond, but the only one that actually got some major movement was Dany.

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Tywin’s response to Joffrey’s death was both the most intriguing of the night and entirely what you would expect. This is a man who has made a living off being a master tactician. What else does Joffrey’s death bring to him but opportunity? We first see this when Tywin questions Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) about what it means to be a good king. Joffrey was very much in Cersei’s pocket the entire time he was on the Iron Throne. Clearly Tywin plans to do the exact same thing with Tommen. Then he goes another step further by promising Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) a spot on the small council if he’s a judge in Tyrion’s trial. He even promises Oberyn that he can get revenge for his sister’s murder. Unlike Joffrey, Tywin is completely knowledgeable of all current events. He plans to use Joffrey’s death as a catalyst to wrap all of Westeros under his thumb in the name of peace.

The political benefits Joffrey’s death brings to Tywin makes him the perfect suspect, and Tyrion is the first one who points this out. Currently set as public enemy #1, Tyrion spends this entire episode in a cell trying to save his ass. Unfortunately for him, everyone who can possibly help him is gone, and its clear Tywin has no intention of letting Tyrion off easy. Tyrion’s no idiot either. He knows that death is knocking on his door. He even lets Podrick (Daniel Portman) go because none of his allies are safe. Someone out there wants Tyrion dead and this really is one of the few times where he has absolutely no control over his future. It’s especially painful to watch this as Tyrion is my absolute favorite character. If this really is the end for the Lannister half-man, it’s obvious that the writers have no intention of making it a sudden ending.

In a manner slightly similar to Tywin, Cersei’s brief appearance shows her using Joffrey’s death to further her own goal of killing Tyrion. The two have rarely seen eye to eye on the past, and Cersei paying a knight to kill her brother during the Battle of the Blackwater certainly didn’t help their relationship. This time around she asks Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to murder their brother in an act of revenge, which backfires horribly as Jaime rapes her right next to their dead son. Right when people started feeling compassion for him, we’re reminded that Jaime is still the monster we saw prior to his imprisonment. His actions were clearly borne out of frustration too. Cersei has treated him like absolute shit since his return and now expects complete loyalty. That by no means makes Jaime’s actions any less disgusting. The powerful Lannister family is definitely falling apart at the seams.

Poor Sansa went from nightmare to nightmare. After spending three seasons stuck in the hell hole known as King’s Landing, Dontos (Tony Way) pulled her out amidst the Purple Wedding chaos. Finally something good is happening to this damaged girl right? Yeah…not so much as it was revealed Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish is behind it all. Looks like the man finally fulfilled his Season 3 promise of taking Sansa away. While he definitely didn’t poison Joffrey himself, Littlefinger’s timed reappearance clearly means he had some role in the murder. If anything he’s a strong candidate for ringleader. When you consider his past deeds it’s really difficult to believe Sansa is in a good place now too. Littlefinger only cares about himself and nothing more. Wherever Sansa goes from here (either the Eyrie or Harrenhal), you can bet it will only be for Littlefinger’s benefit.

In all honesty, very little of note happened outside of King’s Landing. The Hound proved to viewers that he’s still a complete asshole by robbing a poor farmer and his daughter, Davos had a grand epiphany about the Iron Bank of Braavos and set into motion a plan to make Stannis stronger, and the Night’s Watch sat around talking about Wildlings. While I have no doubt that Jon’s story will ramp up hardcore once the Wildlings come through, especially since they straight up massacred a village last night, it’s clear the Night’s Watch won’t be doing much until that day comes. A lot of time was spent with Sam trying to protect Gilly, and I find it difficult to really care about this subplot. I absolutely love Sam as a character but bringing Gilly back was clearly a terrible decision. I’m sure we can all expect bringing her to Mole’s Town will backfire horribly right? Something tells me this will not end well at all.

Photo Credit:  Macall B. Polay/HBO
Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Despite receiving a frustratingly small amount of screen time, Dany’s story was easily one of the highlights of the night. Her Khalasar has arrived at Meereen and are poised to free some slaves. Dany’s rapidly increasing power was put on the spotlight with Meereen sending out its champion to fight one of her close companions. After several candidates jump at the opportunity, Dany chooses Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) to fight for her. What followed was one awesome “duel” which basically had Daario kill Meereen’s champion in two strokes. Dany’s subsequent barrage of barrels was clearly meant to send a message as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Breaker of Chains” becomes a new nickname for Dany. While I cannot wait to see what else the Khaleesi will do, I just hope it won’t be Season 3 with a new coat of paint.

While Joffrey’s death hasn’t become outside knowledge yet except in Dragonstone, it was still a major game changer for this series. A new king is rising while House Lannister is quickly falling apart. The only person who looks poised to come out on top is Lord Tywin. It was basically business as usual for everyone else though. Sam’s mission to protect Gilly went on way too long while Jon spent his brief screen time spelling out everything we already know for the rest of the Night’s Watch. Arya and the Hound got nothing more than a check in too. I did however absolutely love Dany’s arrival at Meereen and Davos standing up to Stannis. Hopefully we can get some more attention on these two fronts soon.

Rating: 9/10

Related Articles:

Review: Game of Thrones, ‘The Lion and the Rose’ aka The Purple Wedding (Kimberlee Rossi-Fuchs)

Review: Game of Thrones, ‘Two Swords’ (Luke Kalamar)

Pop-Ed: Game of Thrones, Season 3 Report Card (Bill Bodkin, Kimberlee Rossi-Fuchs, Luke Kalamar)

4 COMMENTS

  1. So far, I’ve been mostly very pleased by the necessary changes the writers make to the source material, as the show has typically done and excellent job streamlining George RR Martin’s often overstuffed novels while still staying true to their essence. However, the choice to have Jaime rape Cercei in the sept (in the book, it’s clearly portrayed as a consensual encounter) is just an awful choice. I’m not even as offended by the sensationalizing of sexual violence against women (the show has done that before), as I am about how completely out of character that act is for Jaime. As Luke mentioned, the show (and the novels) alike have taken the time to show the misunderstood Jaime’s transformation into a better man, but this act seems to wipe all of that out. And whatever his many flaws, Jaime is deeply and truly in love with Cercei (gross, but still) and his love for her is probably the one aspect of his life he’s the most honorable about and loyal to – I just can’t see the reason for such a stark revision.

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