Posted April 8, 2014 by Yuri Mangahas in Movies/TV

GAME OF THRONES Review: ‘TWO SWORDS’ – A Solid Premiere!

After a year of anticipation following the bloody Red Wedding(which propelled most of us to a state of shock, angst, and catharsis), HBO’s Game of Thrones is back for a fourth season, which continues the entirety of A Song of Ice & Fire’s third book, A Storm of Swords. And its premiere did not disappoint, I’m telling you.

The episode(entitled ‘Two Swords’) opens with an aptly powerful scene which sets the status quo for the show hereafter: The late Ned Stark’s Valyrian greatsword Ice, being melted into two blades, while Tywin watches from a distance, seemingly musing over his apparent victory against what is left of the Northern rebellion. The Starks have lost, and Westeros is now at the mercy of the Lion’s fangs. It was a symbol of finality for the driving element of the show’s previous seasons.

Meanwhile, new players enter the game. Meet Oberyn Martell – prince of Dorne, and the warrior lauded as the Red Viper – and his paramour, the sensuous and attractive Ellaria Sand. Their arrival means one thing: The war isn’t over(as Joffrey naively exclaims), and there are still threats looming from the shadows. After all, this is what the story’s all about.

The episode also depicts the stature of some characters post Season 3. Jaime, now with one hand, hopes to return honor to the Kingsguard as its new commander, all while dealing with the repercussions of his absence from King’s Landing. Tyrion and Sansa also faces a dilemma of their own, in the form of Shae and the reality of Robb and Catelyn’s deaths respectively. On the far side of the Wall, Jon Snow is tried by the Night’s Watch concerning his murder of Qorin Halfhand and his short tenure with the Wildlings. Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen begins marching unto the last slave capital, with her now adult dragons in tow. Lastly, we see Arya, still accompanied by the Hound, as they encounter a few Lannister men along their way.

What concerns many is the shift in tonality of the series following the previous season and the penultimate Red Wedding, which chopped most of the story’s major players out of the game. It certainly does not hide the fact that Thrones might possibly meander than people may enjoy, or expect. However, the showrunners did a wonderful job of depicting a world reeling from that iconic moment. Another thing worth mentioning is how beautifully woven these multiple plots were, helping viewers to avoid getting lost in translation. It was indeed a well paced reintroduction to our beloved Westeros.

‘Two Swords’ is also an episode of symbols and contrasts. Like for example, its opening is a powerful reminder of the realities that we need to accept after the vanquishing of the Starks and their allies. Its ending also mirrors the first scene, but in a more triumphant manner, as Arya reclaims her long lost rapier, Needle. But one can ask, how much power and hope could an instrument of death carry? Finally, the last frame shows a desolate field juxtaposed with dark waters – a fitting depiction of the horrors war can bring.

In conclusion, ‘Two Swords’ is a solid premiere to Game of Thrones’ fourth season. It brings the kickoff necessary to ignite things up, while giving us a glimpse of the things we should expect from this point.

8.5 blades out of 10.


Catch us next week as we review another episode of Game of Thrones. For now, enjoy this teaser for the upcoming episode, ‘The Lion and The Rose.’





Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.