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The fourth season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered in the United States on HBO on April 6, 2014, and concluded on June 15, 2014. It was broadcast on Sunday at 9:00 pm in the United States, consisting of 10 episodes, each running approximately 50–60 minutes. The season is adapted primarily from the second half of A Storm of Swords, along with elements of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, all novels from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. The series is adapted for television by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. HBO ordered the fourth season on April 2, 2013, which began filming in July 2013. The season was filmed primarily in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Croatia.
The story takes place in a fictional world, primarily upon a continent called Westeros, with one storyline occurring on another continent to the east known as Essos. Like the novel, the season like the previous seasons mainly centres around the war of the five kings; after the death of Robb Stark at The Red Wedding, all three remaining kings in Westeros believes to have a claim to the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, at the wall, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch get ready for the battle against the free folk.
Game of Thrones features a large ensemble cast, including Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. The season introduced a number of new cast members, including Pedro Pascal, Indira Varma, Michiel Huisman and Dean-Charles Chapman.
Critics praised the show’s production values and cast, with specific accolades for Dinklage’s portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. Viewership yet again rose compared to the previous season. It won 4 of the 19 Emmy Awards for which it was nominated.
Main Star cast
|Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
Kit Harington as Jon Snow
Aidan Gillen as Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell
Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth
Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon
Carice van Houten as Melisandre
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon
Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy / “Reek”
Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
John Bradley as Samwell Tarly
Rose Leslie as Ygritte
Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane
Hannah Murray as Gilly
Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth
Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow / Ramsay Bolton
Conleth Hill as Varys
Jerome Flynn as Bronn
Sibel Kekilli as Shae
Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont
Tywin oversees the reforging of Ice, the Stark ancestral sword, into two new swords, one for Jaime, who tries to deal with the loss of his sword hand and Cersei’s love. Prince Oberyn Martell, on behalf of his brother, Prince Doran of Dorne, arrives in King’s Landing with his paramour, Ellaria Sand, to attend the royal wedding and is welcomed by Tyrion. Oberyn openly reveals to Tyrion his motive for his visit: revenge against the Lannisters for the rape and murder of his sister, Elia, wife of Prince Rhaegar. In the North, while Styr and his group of cannibal Thenns reinforce Tormund, Ygritte, and the other wildlings, Jon is released by Maester Aemon after confessing what he did during his time with the wildlings to gain information. In the Riverlands, Arya and the Hound reclaim her sword, Needle, from Polliver, killing him and his men. In Essos, Daenerys leads her army on a march towards Meereen, the last of the three great slave cities, though she is troubled by how her dragons are becoming less tame as they grow.
Roose Bolton returns to the Dreadfort, where he blames Ramsay for mistreating Theon, who has been brutalized into a subservient persona called ‘Reek’. The former decides to find and kill the remaining Stark children, Bran and Rickon, who threaten the legitimacy of his new title, while tasking Ramsay to reclaim the territories under Ironborn occupation. In Dragonstone, Melisandre orders several people to be burned as a tribute to the Lord of Light, to the delight of Queen Selyse and the disgust of Davos and Shireen. In King’s Landing, Tyrion ends his relationship with Shae to protect her from his family and has her shipped off to Pentos. Jaime begins training his left-handed swordplay with the help of Bronn. King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell are wed. Later, at the Royal Wedding feast, tensions between Joffrey and Tyrion grow—just before the former succumbs to poisoned wine and dies. A grief-stricken Cersei accuses Tyrion of the murder and has him arrested, while Ser Dontos, a former knight, advises Sansa to leave with him in order to survive.
Tywin begins grooming Tommen to be the next king and enlists Oberyn and Mace Tyrell as his fellow judges for the impending trial of Tyrion, who decides to pick Jaime as his witness. Littlefinger, who hired Ser Dontos, kills him and smuggles Sansa out of King’s Landing. In the Riverlands, Arya and Sandor encounter a benevolent farmer and his daughter, whom Sandor robs, to Arya’s disgust. In Dragonstone, Davos tries to figure out how to replenish Stannis’ depleted forces and requests a loan from the Iron Bank of Braavos to pay for a group of mercenaries called the “Golden Company”. In the North, Sam, fearing for Gilly’s safety, has her and the baby moved out of Castle Black to nearby Mole’s Town. Meanwhile, the wildlings continue to raid northern villages. The Night’s Watch receive word that the band of Night’s Watch mutineers have set up camp at Craster’s Keep. Jon tells the Watch to organize a party to attack the mutineers, as they cannot risk having any information about the weakness of Castle Black’s defenses leak to Mance Rayder’s approaching army. Daenerys lays siege to Meereen.
Daenerys successfully captures Meereen amidst a slave revolt and immediately seeks justice for the slain slave children by nailing 163 masters to posts. At sea, Littlefinger admits to Sansa that he was involved in Joffrey’s death. In King’s Landing, Olenna, who is planning to leave, also implies to Margaery that she was involved in the poisoning and convinces her to seduce Tommen before Cersei has a chance to turn him against her. Jaime meets with Tyrion and is convinced of his innocence. However, Cersei is adamant about Tyrion’s guilt and orders Jaime to hunt down and kill Sansa. Jaime instead tasks Brienne with finding and protecting her, giving her both his Valyrian sword and Podrick as her squire. In the North, in an effort to get rid of Jon, Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt conspire to allow Jon to lead an expedition against the mutineers, who have captured Bran’s party and forced him to reveal his identity. Further north, a White Walker takes Craster’s last newborn son to a secret ritual site, where he is transformed into a Walker.
Tommen is crowned king. Cersei meets with Margaery, Tywin, and Oberyn, hoping to sway them to her advantage in the coming trial against Tyrion. In the Vale, Littlefinger takes Sansa to the Eyrie, where she is to pose as his niece. He is then pressured to marry Lysa Arryn that same day. It is revealed that the pair killed Jon Arryn while framing the Lannisters. On the Kingsroad, the Hound catches Arya practicing her water dancing and angers her by mocking that fighting style and Syrio Forel. On the road, Brienne finds out that Podrick has no practical skills as a squire. However, she is impressed with the fact that he killed a Kingsguard in order to protect Tyrion. Beyond the Wall, Jon’s group attacks the mutineers. Locke attempts to kidnap Bran in the confusion but is killed by Hodor, warged into by Bran. Bran and his company then continue their trek north while Jon’s party kills all of the mutineers and burns down Craster’s Keep. In Meereen, after Jorah informs her about the fallback to slavery of Astapor and Yunkai, Daenerys decides to postpone her invasion of Westeros to bring order to Slaver’s Bay and pronounces herself queen.
In Essos, Davos manages to convince the Iron Bank to back Stannis while also resecuring Salladhor Saan and his pirates to Stannis’ cause. In Meereen, Daenerys attempts to take on her new role as queen as she listens to the requests of her subjects, including nobleman Hizdahr zo Loraq and a man whose goats were killed by Daenerys’ increasingly uncontrollable dragons. In the Dreadfort, Yara leads an attack in an effort to rescue Theon, who refuses to come with her, forcing her to escape. Ramsay rewards Theon for being obedient and, in order to take Moat Cailin, tasks him to pretend to be “Theon” instead of “Reek”. In King’s Landing, Tywin puts a bounty on the Hound’s head and instructs Varys to continue spying on Daenerys. Later that day, Tyrion is brought to trial for Joffrey’s murder. However, all of the witnesses brought in testify against him, including Ser Meryn Trant, Grand Maester Pycelle, Cersei, Varys and, to Tyrion’s shock, Shae, who gives a solid testimony. Angry, humiliated, and defeated, Tyrion demands a trial by combat.
Cersei appoints the Mountain as her champion in the upcoming trial by combat, while both Jaime and Bronn refuse to fight for Tyrion. Oberyn steps up, seeking a chance to avenge Elia by killing the Mountain, who raped and killed her during the rebellion. Daenerys has sex with Daario before sending him off on a mission to deal with the resurgent slavers at Yunkai. Melisandre and Selyse prepare for their departure from Dragonstone, intending to take Shireen as well. Alliser Thorne rejects Jon’s offer to seal the tunnel. Brienne and Podrick meet Hot Pie and learn of Arya’s adventures. They then resolve to travel to the Vale, deducing she would go there in search of living relatives. In the Vale, Lysa is enraged when she witnesses Littlefinger kissing Sansa. Later, she threatens to push Sansa through the Moon Door, but Littlefinger intervenes and pushes Lysa to her death.
The wildlings attack Mole’s Town. Gilly is discovered by Ygritte, who spares her. Ramsay forces Theon to get the Ironborn to surrender Moat Cailin. The Ironborn surrender in hopes of returning home but are flayed and slaughtered by Ramsay. As a reward for securing Moat Cailin, Roose legitimizes Ramsay as a Bolton. In the Vale, Sansa reveals to a council investigating Lysa’s death her true identity and convinces the council of Littlefinger’s innocence. While Littlefinger starts grooming Robin Arryn, Lysa’s son, as the Lord of the Vale, the Hound and Arya arrive and are informed of Lysa’s death. In King’s Landing, the trial by combat starts. Oberyn gains the upper hand, but his desire to force the Mountain to confess his crimes gives the latter the chance to grab the former. He kills Oberyn by crushing his skull while confessing to the rape and murder of Elia. Tywin sentences Tyrion to death. In Essos, Barristan Selmy receives a letter intended for Jorah that pardons him as a reward for spying on Daenerys, who exiles him from Meereen as a result.
The Night’s Watch prepares for the wildling invasion. Gilly and her son arrive at Castle Black, where Sam hides them in an underground room. The wildlings attack from both sides. Tormund’s army gets through from the south and engages the Night’s Watch. One giant manages to break through the tunnel leading into Castle Black but is killed by Grenn and five others, at the cost of their own lives. Alliser Thorne goes to fight in the southern part, leaving Janos Slynt in charge. However, Slynt proves to be incompetent and is tricked into going down the main level, effectively leaving Jon in charge. After watching Jon kill Styr, Ygritte prepares to kill him but is shot by Olly. Jon holds her in his arms as she dies. With the help of Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, the Night’s Watch secure the ground level of Castle Black, leading to Tormund’s arrest. The wall climbers are obliterated by a massive scythe launched by the Watch. The wildlings retreat but not for long, Jon predicts. Seeing no other choice, Jon goes beyond the Wall to find and kill Mance Rayder.
Jon’s negotiation with Mance Rayder is interrupted when Stannis and his army overrun the wildling camp, taking Mance as prisoner on the former’s suggestion. Bran’s party comes upon the large heart tree from his visions but is attacked by skeletal beasts, who kill Jojen; the others are saved by a child, who takes them to the three-eyed raven, revealed to be an old man. In the Vale, Brienne and Podrick come across Arya and the Hound, whom Brienne engages and critically wounds. He begs Arya to kill him, but she refuses and leaves with Brienne searching for her. She enters a ship headed to Braavos, intending to reunite with Jaqen H’ghar. Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Cersei orders Qyburn to do anything to save the Mountain, who is poisoned by Oberyn’s blade. She gets involved with Jaime, who releases Tyrion. Tyrion later finds Shae in Tywin’s bed and strangles her to death. He then confronts Tywin in the privy and kills him, escaping the city with Varys. In Meereen, Daenerys is visited by a citizen who brings the charred remains of his daughter, who was burned by Drogon. As a precaution, Daenerys chains her two other dragons in the catacombs.