Game of Thrones: Season Four: The Halfway Point

Game of Thrones, Season 4, Poster, Episode One, All men must die

Well we’re just over halfway through one of the most intoxicating series on TV. Game of Thrones season 4 has thrown everything it has at us, and still manages to surprise. For the hardcore fans of the books, you’ll be forgiven for being a little thrown by this season; for a franchise that has been pretty true to the original so far, we’ve taken a bit of a diversion in the last couple of episodes that no one saw coming.

But where are we? Are we still enjoying it… and does Game of Thrones still pack the same punch?

Episode six, The Laws of Gods and Men has just aired and if you know anything about the books, you’ll know we’re barely halfway through the story so far.

Season four has sped up proceedings somewhat, and thrown in a few unexpected twists (the whole White Walkers things was a bit “huh?” for me) for extra drama, and we’re deep in to the bloody, political, confusing world of Westeros and beyond.

If you’re not up to speed, look away now. Here be spoilers.

Let’s celebrate first: Joffrey is dead, Danaerys is freeing all the slaves, Jon is taking charge (slowly but surely) at the Wall… and did I mention that Joffrey is dead?

Ding dong the King is dead and all that, because the vilest creep on TV has at last popped his clogs. Spectacularly, in one of the most tense and brilliantly done scenes since the Red Wedding.

But this is also the moment where we take a minute to mourn: poor Tyrion and Sansa just seem to be getting themselves deeper and deeper in to trouble, and with Robb dead, there’s not really anyone to challenge the Lannisters (I’m not counting Stannis as back in the game just yet). So where could we possibly be going?

This season has seen death, birth, White Walkers, blood and guts, and it hasn’t been shy about it. Okay, so some scenes felt a bit unnecessary (and there was one episode where the swearing got so much that I had to switch it off for an hour to recover), and I distinctly object to some of it, but overall they’ve done pretty well keeping me hooked. I fall more and more in love with Jaime and Tyrion every week, I’m rooting for Danaerys every step of the way, and there is always that tingle of excitement because I know what should be coming next and I can’t wait to see how they’re going to play it.

Yes, the what-the moment with the White Walkers and the Craster’s Keep thing were a bit left-field, but for the most part it feels like comfortable ground. The only issue is the gaping holes left as we launch from one character to another, often abandoning whole plot arcs for episodes at a time. But rather than reassure us that things are still going on without us, that the characters are still doing stuff, it feels disparate and peculiar. Part of the best bit about the books was that each chapter rounds it up and promises more, whereas the episodes tend to overplay the whole cliff-hanger thing and leave you feel like the story is half-told.

Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister, Peter Dinklage

If we have one winner from all of the GoT drama, it has to be Tyrion (played by the amazing Peter Dinklage). This season has been his crowning glory (haha) and it can only get better for him… you hope. Put aside the impressive setting, and the sharp dialogue, it is the quite frankly astounding cast (they keep adding more) that hold this whole thing together. As seasons go, it’s pretty action-packed, and the famous faces popping up in cameos just makes it all the more delectable. But Tyrion is the star, and you’ve got to love him for it.

Game of Thrones still dominates popular TV, promising at least another three seasons, and you can’t help but get sucked in by it. The advantage of clinging to the themes of the books is that it generates the same all-encompassing emotion and promises the same involvement as those thousands of pages. George R.R Martin’s genius lies in the strength of his characters and his ability to build a credible world. To transfer it to screen was a massive undertaking, but expertly done. Three and a half seasons in, and there is no let-up for the GoT franchise.

Are you still enjoying Game of Thrones? Will you be watching to the end? And what has been your highlight so far?