By Dorothy Strauss
After the death-fest that was Season 3, things must lighten up in Season 4 of Game of Thrones, right? Not likely, but fans savor the anguish.
The deaths of Robb (Richard Madden) and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) will have repercussions not only for the now-leaderless North, but also for Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), who still wants the Iron Throne for himself.
Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) seeks to keep the throne via a marriage to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). Among the wedding guests will be Oberyn Martell (played by newcomer Pedro Pascal), who seeks vengeance against the Lannisters and is seen in the recently released trailer exchanging blows with Gregor Clegane (Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, new this season as well), perhaps the most terrifying knight on the Lannisters’ payroll.
Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen) wants to woo Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) to the Lannisters’ cause and into a marriage with himself, giving him control of the Vale of Arryn. The cunning Littlefinger has been offstage for a while but, make no mistake, he’s up to something and, from the sound of it, it’s vengeance for a loved one.
The marriage between Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) remains unconsummated and, therefore, unbinding. Tyrion knows his father Tywin (Charles Dance) orchestrated the Red Wedding and anticipates a northern reprisal. He doesn’t know his brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), famed swordsman, has returned to King’s Landing, and without his dominant hand at that.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) narrowly missed the Red Wedding and are now wandering the Riverlands. Will the two most furious characters in the series end up killing each other … or everybody else? Arya’s already got an impressive list of intended victims (including King Joffrey) and The Hound is certainly ample backup, but will she get her chance?
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) returned to Castle Black after being feathered with arrows by his wildling (ex)girlfriend and is promising (what else?) justice for the previous commander of the Night’s Watch, who was killed during a mutiny. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) returned just prior but, so far, hasn’t mentioned that he encountered Jon’s half brother Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and gave him passage through the Wall.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) new captain, Daario Naharis (played by Michiel Huisman in place of the exiting Ed Skrein), made his interest plain, to the dissatisfaction of Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), who harbors feelings of his own for Dany. Her legions of liberated slaves will make a formidable army if and when she returns to Westeros.
That’s if the wildlings haven’t taken over first. Or the White Walkers. And just who is that on horseback at the end of the trailer? Only Bran Stark’s traveling companions know for sure.
Season 4 of Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, April 6, at 9pm ET on HBO.
Photos: © HBO Credit: Macall B. Polay