What is the deal with Game of Thrones and weddings?
As the critically-lauded and fan-obsessed show rolled into its fourth year, the show’s writers once again proved (in true Game of Thrones fashion) that no character– no matter how beloved or reviled it may be– was safe from the Grim Reaper.
While the resulting body count may not have been as heavy as it was in Season Three’s morgue-filling “Red Wedding” episode, where just about everyone in attendance was sliced into little pieces, Game of Thrones: Season Four had its own jaw-on-the-floor wedding death.
This latest season of the HBO drama combines the second half of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords with parts of two sequels, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. The bulk of the season’s most talked-about episodes center on the wedding of King Joffrey (a young psychopath in love, played brilliantly by Jack Gleeson) to the gorgeous Margaery Tyrell and the subsequent imprisonment of his Uncle Tyrion (Peter Dinklage, continuing to deliver the thespian goods in his career-defining role).
The wickedly dysfunctional Lannisters still sit atop the Iron Throne. But new threats are a constant, and the clan is forced to play nice with frenemies like the “Red Viper of Dorne,” Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell. Meanwhile, the Night Watch (in a subplot that is, for the bulk of this season, not as interesting as the Jerry Springer-like Lannister drama) finally gets more exciting in the last few episodes with the appearance of the zombiefied White Walkers.
As with the three Game of Thrones DVD/Blu Ray releases that came before it, the real allure of this collection is the hours of extras that HBO crams onto the set. Season 4’s goodies include an insightful 30-minute discussion between writer Bryan Cogman and cast members who have been killed off; the show runners and the author of the Game of Thrones books talking about the charm and necessity of the bastards that populate the story; and a look at the cast and crew creating the show’s most ambitious battle scene to date. Also included is plenty of audio commentary and several deleted scenes.
Through compelling characters and fantastic writing, Game of Thrones Season 4 finds the writers, producers and GoT kingpin Martin continuing to broaden the appeal of a series that could’ve easily been just another niche TV show. –John B. Moore