Get geared up for the return of “Game of Thrones” as it launches into its eagerly awaited 4th season. The season premiere is set to air on HBO on Sunday, April 6, 2014, and you do not want to miss it.
Though season four is primarily based on the second half of the third book, “A Storm of Swords” in author George R.R. Martin’s series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” do not be surprised if you recognize some material thrown in from the last two books in the series either.
Diehard “Game of Thrones” fans will be pleased to learn that all the regular cast members from season 3 are slated to return for season 4 as well as many of the recurring cast members.
To add to the intrigue, there will be new cast members thrown into the mix to stir things up a bit.
From the War of Five Kings, and beyond
Even as the War of Five Kings is ending, more plot twists are set up. Those factions that managed to survive the war must contend with strife and intrigue both within their own ranks and from pressures outside them.
Betrayed by the Freys and Boltons, even while he was a guest of the Frey’s, Robb Stark, King in the North, is dead.
He was not the only casualty, though. Both his wife, Talisa, and his mother, Catelyn, died, too. The whole Northern army, as well as most of the leaders of the North also perished.
House Lannister’s triumph
By coming out victorious at the battle of the Blackwater and winning southern Westeros after defeating Baratheon, the House of Lannister triumphs. Joffrey Baratheon, the boy-king who teeters on madness, celebrates this victory, even though it is more accurately his grandfather’s to claim.
Lord Tywin Lannister, the Iron Hand’s actual source of power as well as the Hand of the King, awards the Boltons the North to rule. He has also given the Freys Riverrun to rule, though the castle remains under the rule of Blackfish Tully.
Lannister’s victory alliance
The Lannisters could not have been victorious without the help of House Tyrell. This support was awarded only as a condition of the marriage of King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell, who is the daughter of Lord Mace Tyrell.
Queen Regent Cersei realizes that the Lannisters are becoming heavily dependent on the Tyrells, even as they continue to take over positions of power within King’s Landing. The power of the realm, as well as its future, will be confirmed by the occurrence of the royal wedding.
House Lannister’s enemies
House Martell of Dorne has been out for the blood of the Lannisters ever since Ser Gregor Clegane raped and killed Ella Martell, who is the sister of the Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell. Even though this was a key event during the Sack of King’s Landing, Lord Tywin did not punish the plundering murderer.
As the War of the Five Kings unfolded, Dorne was prevented from declaring any of House Lannister’s enemies by the betrothal of Princess Myrcella to Prince Trystane Martell. A seat on the Small Council was awarded to the Martell’s.
Threats to Lannister’s rule
Daenerys Targaryen is growing in strength at a startling pace. In addition to ruling the quickly growing three dragons who can be used as fierce tools of war, there is also a swelling army of 8,000 Unsullied warrior-eunuchs at the ready. Queen Daenerys is a formidable foe as she charges through Slaver’s Bay as she seeks to free the slaves.
As a former slave herself she seeks to bring justice to them. After moving through both Yunkai and Astapor, she now has hundreds of thousands of grateful slaves that will answer to her every command. While she has her sights now set on Meereen, the last and most powerful of the slave-cities, Daenerys’ task to free those enslaved there will be a challenging one.
Meereen, unlike the other cities that have fallen to the power of Daenerys, had time to prepare for her onslaught.
The beyond beckons
As it now stands, only the Wall and what remains of the Night’s Watch are the last barrier between the Seven Kingdoms and the unspeakable horrors that are just beyond them.
With their army of Wights, the White Walkers have come out. Mance Ryder, King-Beyond-The-Wall has the wildings rallying behind him as they try to move south. Otherwise, anyone who remains beyond the wall when the White Walkers arrive will find themselves as part of the undead host upon their own death.
As it stands now, the army of Mance boasts tens of thousands of warriors who are ready to make the final push to the safety of the south. The Night’s Watch was recently devastated by the loss of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont as well as about one third of their numbers.
The Night Watch’s problems multiply
Not only is the Night Watch staggering under its war losses, it must also grapple with the possibility of being attacked from the rear. Wildings have climbed the Wall with the intention of attacking Castle Black’s weak southern side.
The Night Watch also faces strife from within as well. New southerners who have been recruited to the cause, including Janos Slynt, a man who is hungry for more power and who has already betrayed Ned Stark, are sent to the Wall.