“Game of Thrones” Season 4 took a break for the Memorial Day weekend, but a new episode will air on Sunday. There are plenty of storylines to look forward to, as there are just three episodes left in the season, and what better way to get ready for “The Mountain and the Viper” than a season recap.
WARNING: Full “Game of Thrones” Season 4 spoilers ahead.
“Game of Thrones” Season 4, episode 8, The Mountain and the Viper” will feature the highly anticipated duel between Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martell and Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. The Red Viper is serving as Tyrion’s champion while the Mountain will represent Cersei in this trial by combat. That’s not the only storyline that’s reaching its climax, and a lot has already happened in this season, including several shocking deaths.
Characters Killed Off
Following the Red Wedding of “Game of Thrones” Season 3, any normal series would be hard-pressed to top a scene that featured the deaths of two major characters, but not “GoT.” The series set the tone for Season 4 with the first shocking death. “Game of Thrones” Season 4, episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose,” saw another wedding turn deadly as young Joffrey Baratheon was murdered. It took a while for the next death, but Lysa Arryn was pushed out of the Moon Door in the last episode, “Mockingbird.”
What’s Happening in the North and Beyond the Wall
Jon Snow has tried to raise awareness of the threat Mance Rayder poses to Castle Black but to no avail, with Janos Slynt and acting Lord Commander Alliser Thorne joining forces to thwart Jon’s efforts. Rayder’s wildling army is not the only threat facing the Night’s Watch as a band of wildlings, including Ygritte, Tormund Giantsbane and the Thenns, are currently south of the Wall. Grenn and Edd returned with the news of the mutiny at Craster’s Keep and Jon rallied a groups of volunteers to kill the mutineers. Brann, Hodor, Jojen and Meera Reed are traveling beyond the Wall to find the cave of the three-eyed raven, but they happened to be near Craster’s Keep when they heard the sounds of a baby crying. The group is soon captured and Bran has to reveal his identity to Karl, the leader of the mutineers.
In “Game of Thrones” Season 4, episode 4, “Oathkeeper,” Bran’s group plans a way to escape, Jon’s band of volunteers, including Locke, who serves House Bolton, arrives at Craster’s Keep. The Night’s Watch kills the mutineers while Bran wargs into Hodor and kills Locke. Bran wants to speak to his brother but chooses to continue on his search for the three-eyed raven. Upon returning to Castle Black, Jon offers another warning of the impending attack but that falls on deaf ears and he along with Sam are assigned the night shift atop the Wall. For Sam, he’s worried about Gilly and her baby and decided the safest place for them is Mole’s Town.
Things are looking up for Stannis as he plans his trip north to battle Mance's army. Stannis' pitch to the Iron Bank was successful, thanks to Ser Davos, and it looks like he will be getting some help in the form of Salladhor Saan. Shireen has had a larger role in "Game of Thrones" Season 4, although her future is in question following the chat between Selyse and Melissandre in "Mockingbird."
As for Reek and Ramsay, the former Theon Greyjoy has been completely brainwashed by the Bastard of Bolton. Reek refuses to recognize his sister as Yara attempts to free him from the Dreadfort. Ramsay, looking for some credit from his father, is tasked with reclaiming Moat Cailin and plans on using Reek to win the stronghold and his father's admiration.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to happen in Season 4 is the inclusion of an entirely new scene featuring the White Walkers. At the end of “Oathkeeper,” a White Walker on a horse delivers the baby to a city of White Walkers. This is the first in-depth look at the White Walker culture and society, territory that the “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels have yet to cover.
Death, Trial and Combat at King's Landing
The major storyline from King's Landing is the fallout from Joffrey's death. Cersei has accused Tyrion of murdering Joffrey, which led to the trial, which has been the main storyline in the second half of "Game of Thrones" Season 4. Jaime Lannister is struggling to fit into his old role, and his relationship with Cersei will no longer be the same following the controversial rape scene in episode 3, "Breaker of Chains." Tywin is working hard to keep the Lannisters in power although the Tyrells are doing their best to become the most powerful family in Westeros.
Oleanna Redwynne, the Queen of Thorns, plotted the poisoning of Joffrey with Littlefinger and Margaery Tyrell is being positioned to become queen, with a marriage to Tommen, the newly crowned king, being planned by both families. Sansa was rescued from King's Landing by Ser Dontos, who was killed for his efforts, although her time at the Vale has had its ups and downs. Tyrion is on trial and after Shae's devastating testimony, declares trial by combat. Bronn and Jaime cannot serve as his champion but the Red Viper quickly steps in and will use this opportunity to avenge the death of his sister, Elia Martell, at the hands of the Mountain.
The Queen of Meereen
Daenerys quickly frees Meereen, toppling the last slaver city, but she now faces a new challenge. The slave masters in the freed cities are looking to reclaim their territory, and Dany, looking ahead to Westeros, decides she has to become a great ruler as well as a great liberator. Dany has a massive army and council she can trust which bodes well for her attempts at becoming a good queen. Dany's dragons are growing and unruly, and the growing trio could become a problem that may be difficult to overcome. In "Mockingbird," Dany takes Daario as her lover and sends him off to reclaim Yunkai but heeds Jorah's advice on how to handle the situation.
On the Road
The Hound and Arya are traveling to the Vale and may soon meet Brienne and Pod. The former group have been traveling across Westeros, which has led to some deadly encounters, in order to reach the Vale. Most recently, the Hound and Arya met Biter and Rorge, killing the bandits, but not before the Hound received a nasty bite wound from Biter. Brienne was sent on the road by Jaime and was given his newly minted Valyrian steel blade, a suit of armor and Pod as a squire. Meeting up with Hot Pie, the duo figure out where Arya and the Hound are headed.
"Game of Thrones" Season 4, episode 8, "The Mountain and the Viper" airs on Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.