You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Recap: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 4 Episode 4, ‘Oathkeeper’ Needs A Trigger Warning

Recap: 'Game Of Thrones' Season 4 Episode 4, 'Oathkeeper' Needs A Trigger Warning

Just when you thought “Game of Thrones” couldn’t get rapier … it goes and gets more rapey. It’s really unfortunate how shortsighted Team Throne Games was about the avalanche of outrage that would meet the amazingly poorly executed rape of Cersei (Lena Headey) last week (sorry, nope, Alex Graves, you can’t just switch from nonconsensual to consensual sex in the middle of the act, and if that’s what you were going for, it’s not what you pulled off). This week’s episode featured a gruesome scene in Craster’s Keep with a ridiculously gratuitous portrayal of the rape and abuse of women. To make matters worse, my book-reading ‘GOT’ watch party pals informed me that this entire section wasn’t even in the book at all (much like the notable difference between the icky, but consensual sex scene between Jaime and Cersei in the books and what we saw on screen last week). Therefore the only ones we have to thank for this are HBO, the showrunners, and unfortunately, director Michelle McLaren. And yeah, bad guys, characterization, what’s coming to them, and all that, but it seemed as though that could have been attained without all that fleshy thrusting in the background. I want to like this show (and I do) and they make it very hard sometimes.

As I mentioned, my book-reading pals mentioned that much of this episode diverted from the text, most notably, what’s happening in the North. I don’t know what it is in the book, but this ain’t it. Of course, it doesn’t have to be entirely faithful to the book, as per the vision of Benioff and Weiss, but it’s interesting to note when and where it does divert and why that might be. I just take the slightest bit of umbrage with that being even more onscreen rape, but you know HBO’s got a boob quota and they sure as hell aren’t filling it with “Silicon Valley.”

Grey Worm (Jacob Alexander) is learning English with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), and the easiest topic of conversation is their horrible oppression and enslavement. Poor kids. Their chat has to end because Grey Worm and pals have a date for sneaking into the Meereen underground slave debate to persuade them to kill their masters and join the army of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). Oh, and look at all these swords they brought! Blood is going to flow in Meereen tonight!

Flow it does, onto the walls of Meereen, where the slaves have graffiti’d “Kill The Masters,” INEXPLICABLY in English. Come on, ‘GOT,’ both the slaves and slave-owners in Meereen speak Valyrian, why the heck is this in English? Putting that aside … the slaves quickly descend upon the unfortunate discoverer of said graffiti and then pierce him to death with their very sharp swords.

Daenerys has her own tricks up her sleeve, after being greeted as Mhysa by her new people. She’s got 163 masters rounded up, and in the name of “justice,” she orders them crucified in the style of the little girls who marked her passage to Meereen. To the sound of their wretched screams, she surveys her newly conquered land from the top of the highest temple, underneath her nifty new dragon sigil. The girl’s got style, that’s for damn sure.

King’s Landing
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is almost back in fighting shape thanks to his workouts with Bronn (Jerome Flynn), but that doesn’t mean that Bronn won’t keep him on his toes fighting dirty—in this case by taking off that gold hand and back handing Jaime with it. That’s cold, man. During a water break, Bronn prods him to visit Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), and reminds Jaime of the brotherly bond they share.

Of course, Jaime’s visit turns into brotherly competition, as he makes note of the fact that his conditions were MUCH worse as a prisoner of the Starks. The two are surprisingly honest with each other, and both know that Tyrion didn’t do it and Jaime won’t kill him (despite Cersei’s request). Jaime wants to go through with the trial, and mentions that there’s also a bounty on the head of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner).

Here’s hoping those bounty hunters have boats, cause Sansa’s trapped aboard the rickety ghost ship of Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) en route to Eyrie, so he can marry creepy, creepy aunt Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie). And guess what, that necklace was NOT a red herring, it was filled with the poison that killed Joffrey, and Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) was the one who did it. She basically admits it to Margaery (Natalie Dormer), while also telling her to seduce the small child that is Tommen (Dean Charles-Chapman), heir to the throne. Why did Olenna do it? Because Joffrey’s a monster. Why Did Littlefinger do it? Because he wants EVERYTHING—cue the mustache twirl, evil laugh, etc.

Margaery does as she’s told and creeps into Tommen’s room late at night (side note: what on EARTH did Olenna do to Luther that she hinted at? I mean, I know what she did, but the described effect sounded … extreme, no?). The two talk about secrets and play with kittens because that’s what children do, and Margaery leaves knowing she’s made a friend because she’s literally the only person who has ever been nice to Tommen.

Speaking of Tommen’s mom, Cersei is getting sloshed on wine, which could maybe explain why she casually summons Jaime to yell at him about the amount of guards at Tommen’s door (not enough, apparently…) like that horrid rape never happened. Sure, she’s cold and mean, but it’s an average amount of cold and mean, though they call each other “your grace” and “Lord Commander.” She quizzes Jaime on why Catelyn Stark let him go, accuses him of pitying killer Tyrion, and commands him to find Sansa.

So what does Jaime do? He passes off this task to Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie). Sure, he gives her his neat-o Valyrian steel sword and a new suit of armor, and he even finds a good use for PODRICK (Daniel Portman) (!!!) as her squire, but this seems like a verryyy convenient workaround for him. It even seems like a semi dig at Jaime when Brienne names her sword “Oathkeeper,” cause that is definitely not a word to describe what he does. But really, I’m just totally stoked for the Brienne n’ Pod show.

Castle Black
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is training his Night’s Watch budz about fighting Wildlings, cause he’s sooo cool now that he’s been hanging with the Wildlings. And what’s this? Locke (Noah Taylor), the sadistic helper of Roose Bolton and noted hand severer, has joined their ranks as a volunteer. What a wily fucker. He pals up to Jon Snow after his mean old bossman Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) tells him to go empty a chamber pot. But mean old bossman has trouble of his own because he’s mean and everyone hates him and he has terrible hair, and Jon Snow is great and everyone loves him and he has fantastic hair, for which reasons he might be named Lord Commander. Mean old bossman’s friend tells him to send Jon Snow to Craster’s Keep, where the rogue Night’s Watch, aka The Mutineers, are partaking in some light cannibalism and torture of women. Maybe they’ll eat Jon Snow!

Jon Snow’s actually eager to get to the hellhole that is Craster’s because it’s the only inhabited Wildling outpost that his little bro Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) might have stumbled upon in woodsy adventures. He soon gets his marching orders, and manages to collect quite a few volunteers with his speech about Wildlings and justice for Jeor Mormont, including Locke, whom we all know has ulterior motives with regard to Bran Stark.

What’s left of Jeor Mormont is half a skull, currently used as a wine goblet by Karl (Burn Gorman), the steward who led the cannibal rebellion at Craster’s, and comes across like a cross between a particularly unhinged Cillian Murphy and Crispin Glover. And yes, this is the scene to which I referred in my introduction, with at least two graphic rapes, one ongoing in the background throughout, and various other sexual and other assaults. Not to mention the state the girls are in, battered and bruised and catatonic. Yes, we’re supposed to understand that Karl is is a psychopathic sadist, but you know what, I got it and then some. I got it enough to not only be repulsed by Karl, but repulsed by the way the “Game of Thrones” writers and directors decided to portray this scene in all of its graphic and gratuitous gore. Not only does Craster’s Keep feel unsafe for women, but watching this damn scene feels unsafe for women. Not. Cool. #triggerwarning

Anyway, Karl is terrible and we hate him. The one moment of agency the women have is when they start to recite “gift for the gods” when Craster’s last newborn boy makes his appearance. In Craster’s tradition, he has Rast (Luke Barnes) drop off the babe for the White Walkers outside while he goes to feed Jon Snow’s captive dire wolf, Ghost. Rast actually seems torn about abandoning the baby in the snow, but has no problem tormenting poor, caged Ghost. We hate him too.

As the babe cries, we cut to Bran, Hodor (Kristian Nairn), Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and Jojen Reed (Thomas Brody-Sangster) who are within earshot. Bran wargs into Summer and discovers the caged Ghost at Craster’s before Summer is caught in a trap. In the morning, the tween trio (and Hodor) creep up on Craster’s to do some recon and find Summer, and are promptly captured by the Mutineers, and brought before Karl’s judgment. He knows they are highborn, and starts to torment them. Of course, Bran cracks instantly, as Jojen thrashes in seizure and Meera is threatened with a throat slitting, giving up his name right away.

Back to that baby left in the woods: a White Walker cradles him on horseback, bringing him to some far off crystal Stonehenge, where he leaves the baby for another, more senior White Walker. This one cradles the baby and presses his long pointy nail into his cheek, turning his eyes a very distinctive shade of White Walker blue! That’s how they make White Walkers! 

Well, thoughts, everyone? This season is darker in a way that’s uneasy—from Daenerys to Jaime to every one of those Mutineers. It’s ambitious of the show creators to delve this deeply into the complicated nature of humanity wrestling with power and greed, but I can’t help but think that they’re whiffing the execution at times. Discussion is always welcome, and let’s keep it respectful and spoiler free, though it’d be interesting to hear how this differs specifically from the books. Do we hate Jaime? Is there more mystery to Joffrey’s death? What do you think those White Walker babies are like? Are they just little cold blue-eyed zombies crawling around?

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , , ,



"…the slaves have graffiti’d “Kill The Masters,” INEXPLICABLY in English. Come on, 'GOT,' both the slaves and slave-owners in Meereen speak Valyrian, why the heck is this in English?" THANK YOU FOR ADDRESSING THAT!!


COPY LINK AND WATCH FULL TV SERIES>>> tinyurl. com/ng9uqoa

COPY LINK AND WATCH FULL TV SERIES>>> tinyurl. com/ng9uqoa

COPY LINK AND WATCH FULL TV SERIES>>> tinyurl. com/ng9uqoa

I follow this TV-serie and Vikings(History-channel) I'm more into Vikings.


@ KatieWalsh
I would suggest that you pick up the book and do your reading for next weeks blog post.
Or, just stop mentioning that you don't know what you are talking about and only want to complain that the TV show isn't exactly like the book via your bookworm buddies.
Other than that, I completely agree with how HBO is overwhelmingly shoving rape in our faces as a normal behavior.

Not As Desensitized As You

I am concerned by many of the comments I have read. I must first begin by admitting that I have never watched an episode of Game of Thrones. I survived a violent rape and so I must be very careful about what I watch to avoid night terrors. As such, I cannot watch this show though its concept intrigues me. As a victim of sexual assault, I am concerned by the eagerness of so many to witness a fictional rape as if seeing the horror explicitly depicted on screen will make the show more satisfying for viewers. Though I can appreciate the desire for realism in this fictional, fantasy-land, I can't help but wonder if this speaks to a greater depravity in our society. The show runners could treat rape with more sensitivity, heavily alluding to a rape without depicting it graphically. As many have mentioned, this is a show for "adults." Adults can grasp nuance. Just as a writer aims to "show, not tell," explicit scenes are many times a film maker's way of "telling." It seems like an easy out to me – garnering viewers through shock value. It's sad that rape is one of these shocking devices. Even sadder, it seems they are giving the viewers what they want. It's more than a little frightening to someone like me.

Tim Drake

This is why I am against warnings on fanfic because I knew everyone would start demanding them on everything.


"Avalanche of outrage"? I guess I wasn't paying attention.

Doc H

Now if only we could get people to give the same amount of shits about the rape of girls in certain wartorn african countries.

Funny how many column inches this generated compared to real world events.

jurgo haggins

GOT is set in a fictional world that roughly coincides with the technology, mores and values of the late middle ages.
Rape was common. Spousal rape was not even a concept. If a nobleman raped a commoner it was not a crime, and even validated by laws in certain areas (such as "droight de senignor" where a nobleman would rape your virgin peasant wife the night before your marriage, if he wished, just because you as a peasant husband do not deserve the pleasure of having a virgin bride. ) GoT is realistic in its depiction of sex and violence in its particular culture, and it is adult fare on a Cable channel. If you want nickelodeon or the Disney Channel its just a few clicks away.

Van Nyx

(No spoilers, I promise)

Last week I cringed watching the rape scene in Crafster's Keep, but I recognised that it does lend to the authenticity of the time, as well as the fact that nothing done on the show is coincidental so there must have be an important reason for the total debasement of the women. This week it has been justified. Had that rape scene not been as revolting and graphic as it was, this week's unraveling would not have been as powerful. I see parrallels between Daenerys and Crafster's daughters, the difference between them is the privilege of status. Daenerys acknowledges her privilege of birth and uses it to crusade for people just like Crafster's daughters.

Understand that there are few television shows as provocative, and by provocative I also mean that GOT examines socio/cultural issues and topics that are rarely tackled on international television. Rape, issues surrounding masculinity and femininity, various forms of prejudice, slavery… etc.


The scene from the book is below, along with a quote from this article I do NOT agree with.

"To make matters worse, my book-reading 'GOT' watch party pals informed me that this entire section wasn’t even in the book at all (much like the notable difference between the icky, but consensual sex scene between Jaime and Cersei in the books and what we saw on screen last week)"

The show runners did NOT just pull this scene out of their ass. Jamie most certainly took Cersei when he wanted, how he wanted, without waiting for consent, and even ignoring a few "no, stop it"s, which is what happened in the show too. She eventually gave in, which she does in the book too.

The roughness and the "this can't wait" vibe of this sexual encounter makes sense in the book because it happens immediately after Jamie gets back to King's Landing. He didn't think he would ever see her again, he thought he was going to die and never have sex ever again. So when he finally saw her again after all he had been through, he just went for it, disregarding the fact that she wasn't really into it at the start. It's not quite as "rapey" as the TV version I guess, but it is very similar.

Now for the book's version…

"She touched his face. “I was lost without you, Jaime. I was afraid the Starks would send me your head. I could not have borne that.” She kissed him. A light kiss, the merest brush of her lips on his, but he could feel her tremble as he slid his arms around her. “I am not whole without you.” There was no tenderness in the kiss he returned to her, only hunger. Her mouth opened for his tongue. “No,” she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, “not here. The septons …” “The Others can take the septons.” He kissed her again, kissed her silent, kissed her until she moaned. Then he knocked the candles aside and lifted her up onto the Mother’s altar, pushing up her skirts and the silken shift beneath. She pounded on his chest with feeble fists, murmuring about the risk, the danger, about their father, about the septons, about the wrath of gods. He never heard her. He undid his breeches and climbed up and pushed her bare white legs apart. One hand slid up her thigh and underneath her smallclothes. When he tore them away, he saw that her moon’s blood was on her, but it made no difference. “Hurry,” she was whispering now, “quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.” Her hands helped guide him. “Yes,” Cersei said as he thrust, “my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’re home.” She kissed his ear and stroked his short bristly hair. Jaime lost himself in her flesh. He could feel Cersei’s heart beating in time with his own, and the wetness of blood and seed where they were joined. But no sooner were they done than the queen said, “Let me up. If we are discovered like this …”"

B.R. Soule

You complain about the writing not being in Valyrian but also complain about the rape scenes that are also in the book? Do you want consistency or not? Damn.


Watch this episode free online >>> bit.ly1fhrKYS

J. Marx

One: television does not come with trigger warnings. Two: Game of Thrones has featured and will continue to feature rape. Three: I'm late to the game, but Jaime and Cersei's sex in the sept is also rape in the book–less disturbingly portrayed, but no less rape. Four: the novels are so much rapier. Background rape is distressingly common and helps to establish the crapsack world the story inhabits.
Did I have trouble watching those scenes? Absolutely. Will we have to put up with it for much longer? Not at Craster's.


dat jurnalist is pathetic


Actually, over in Crastor's Keep, the first time Sam and Gilly escape, there is a mention that some of the rogue Night Watch members were beginning to rape his wives/daughters.
Keep in mind that they aren't all Jon Snows and Sams. A lot (A LOT) of the Watch is made up of criminals, many of them thieves and rapists. Rape is a terrible thing, but so is murder.

Brilliant show, but come on

Why do they insist on calling others white walkers? I know they are the same thing and it is just a different name, however I at least recall Sam and the maesters calling them others in the books. I'm also not liking this whole thing with the others at the end of the episode, or how bran, ghost and friends are captured; the lack of coldhands and strong belwas still annoys me too. Ah well I'm still enjoying the show overall, we'll just have to see which direction the devs went: book or creation.


it's rated TV-MA. I don't know what more of a warning you could want. Don't watch it if you know you can't handle it.

Jordan Nash

A social justice warrior pretending she's a real journalist/critic. How cute.

Nunya Biz Ness

I'm so sorry I clicked this link, thinking, "Yay, something Game of Thrones related". That was terrible to read and I'm glad the majority of people commenting agree.


Finally through all 110 comments and I'll have to say, much as I disagree with this review it it did get people talking.

Mateo Samora

Most of the commenters are making really valid, intelligent and on-the-nose ones. I love that your regurgitation of words has ignited them with a common flame. We all dislike you and burn with a desire to take time from our busy schedules to tell you to shut up.


So let me get this straight:
Infanticide: No big deal
Gruesome torturous deaths: Rock on!


jakob dylan

is there another writer who can cover this show? this writer is poor in craft, adolescent, and annoying.


If you don't like it, don't watch it. Lots of things on GOT are evil. Incest, cannibalism, torture, castration, forced marriage, decapitation, not to mention lots of gore. The list could go on. The point is, it's not a show about pleasantries. It's a dark show. Now that you know GOT shows rape scenes, don't watch it if you wish to avoid it. Or wait till your friend watches it and ask them if it shows rape. There's no need for a trigger warning.
I haven't read the books and I have no intention to read them. I like the show and whether they stick with the book or deviate from it, I will continue to watch it. It's not a show for everyone though.
"A show about bad things happening to people shows bad things happening. It should have a warning about bad things happening."


Seems the stuff that doesn't follow the books is kind of missing the point in many ways. Martin might have written a brutal story but it was brutal in a way I can take seriously. That keep scene I cannot take seriously. They aren't bad guys, they are a 12 year old's idea of bad guys.

I mean, these guys are so evil, they rape people, and drink from skulls, and mistreat dogs, and mistreat hodor and they're evil and I hope they die and they mistreat dogs and drink from skulls and rape…


My god these reviews are insufferable to read to the point where they are almost indistinguishable from parody. And this is coming from someone who fight rape culture, victim blaming and slut shaming daily. You sound like the puritans that want True Blood off the air, if the violence and sex is too much for you in shows like true blood and GOT then's that's your que to stop watching, not to try and make a show that is stylistic graphic in to a pg rated over sensitised piece of trash. The icing on the cake is I could understand your criticism if these acts weren't always portrayed as wrong and vile.

If you can't comprehend the show is graphic beyond being on the FOURTH season, I really don't know what I can tell you. You act as if you've been watching children's fairy tale up until now.

" I got it enough to not only be repulsed by Karl, but repulsed by the way the “Game of Thrones” writers and directors decided to portray this scene in all of its graphic and gratuitous gore."
Okay, and why should they hold back?

"Not only does Craster’s Keep feel unsafe for women, but watching this damn scene feels unsafe for women. Not. Cool. #triggerwarning"
This has got to be a joke, you couldn't sound any more like a parody of a tumblr social justice warrior if you tried. Of course it's unsafe for women, that's the whole point of the scene.
Watching the scene feels unsafe for women? Because we're so fragile we couldn't possibly handle fictional violence, please keep your stereotypes to yourself, if you're gonna try and paint your puritanism as progressivism. Yes, many women are affected by rape, that doesn't mean it can'r be depicted in storyline, many lives are also effected by death, violence and disease, these are all present in storylines. You can't arbitrarily say frying children alive is fine but rape isn't, it's completely nonsensical. It's okay that you don't like it and find it disturbing, this is why you have the freedom to stop watching, if I find SAW 1 to be too graphic, I wouldn't go and see the other 6 movies, I'd but my principles where my mouth is, but you're unable to do that.

Be consistent if sexual violence isn't okay then why is violence? Why are you not outraged at the excessive amounts of violence and mentioning it at the beginning of your reviews? For instance Joffrey was a bad person, is killing bad people okay? Is this promoting the death penalty? Either overanalyse it all by modern standards or don't bother.

"like that horrid rape never happened. Sure, she’s cold and mean, but it's an average amount of cold and mean,"
She was obviously influenced by his attack in her contempt for him, this is the scene having meaning and you have no idea what her contempt could lead to something.


why the hell are you even watching the damned show…. then……
is all that supposed to make people not want to watch…. or something.. if you want to complain go into your bathroom and do it where one you have to hear it..


Seriously — SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sick of people complaining about what they see. If you don't like it, don't watch it! Use your 'power' as a viewer to stop watching and show how you feel through ratings.

I wish more people posted complaints on blogs….. said NO ONE EVER!


Per Craster's Keep and the "titillating" rape scene:

Titillating means: arousing mild sexual excitement or interest; salacious.
Woman crawling and scratching at the floor, trying to get away, crying, screaming, or just collapsed in a used up, broken pile of wasted humanity–not titillating. Woman up on all fours, gratuitous breasts swinging, ridiculously buff six pack man heaving away in the background–that sounds a little different doesn't it? At best, this was a scene executed by individuals with a very poor ability to portray a realistic scenario. At worst? You all know what the worst is, and I'm pretty sure it's the unfortunate truth. This was appalling. Defending it is appalling. For God's sake, there is a commenter in this thread that didn't even realize it was rape! I'm not offended, I'm not a prude, I'm not a shrew or any other classic misogynist insult you would like to throw at me for being horrified at the implications of this awful scene. I love the book, and I was enjoying the show. A little soft core porn never hurt anyone, but this was something else entirely. I hope to God no one found it arousing and I'm not accusing anyone of that, but it certainly wasn't done in a fashion keeping with the stark, harsh but realistic manner uniquely appealing to this series. HBO and GOT deserve to be called out on that.


The portrayal of rape is Craster's Keep was offensive to me. I believe the producers are being more provocative and graphic for shock value, but they do not realize that this repeat exposure to graphic rape can de-sensitize viewers to the face that rape is a HORRIFIC CRIME and not something that "just happens". I the attempt to meet their "boob quota" the producers have glamorized such an unforgivable act.


It was shocking to see the rape scene at craster's keep. It's like there's two casts: real actors and porn actors. When you read the books, you're never convinced that the bad guys have good motives (I.e. Jamie). The nice thing about the tv show is that things are moving along, some big mysteries are being answered, and the crossing of paths that you hope for but don't see might actually happen!


Meh article. It starts out with you griping endlessly about things that have been going on in the show for some time now. Then you end up mentioning your "book buddies", that's where I stopped reading. Comparison or not, I don't want anything even hinting to spoiler material.

I'll look elsewhere for a proper recap article.


Thank you so much Katie! It's hard to call GoT out for rape because so many defend it so your voice is appreciated and necessary. I agree Jaime's story-arc is messy because of the rape scene. I might as well ignore it as the show seems to have done. Good job GoT tossing rape in for the hell of it. Because of Slothful writing and direction the Crastor's scene was god awful porny. In general the show treats female nudity in a cheap and often humiliating way.

There is a lot I like about the show but it is so often hateful toward women and male gaze-y that it is hard to watch. Almost Embarrassing to watch, and I wouldn't except some chars and storylines are done so very well and I don't want to miss those aspects so I put up with the garbage to get the gold.


I didn't like the fourth episode either, but I do like the Jaime –rape scene apart– he went through a lot and grew to be a man deciding by his own ethics for the first time in his life –'Kingslayer' is way too badass for a man who couldn't disobey his daddy.
I was confused with Locke's appearance in Castle Black because the actor was indeed who cut Jaime's hand but I recall that character as 'Vargo Hoat' (from Storm of Swords). Also hated the Craster's scene because is nonsense gore: I knew that those poor girls where raped on a daily basis by Craster and now by the Mutinees, but everyday life is so full of genre violence that I don't need that on my face in my Sundaynight TV show.
I think that part was a detour to present a character because in A Dance with Dragons, we know of what comes to the Mutinees after that character informs Bran on the matter.
Ser Barristan Selmy once said that greatness and madness are two sides of the same coin and whenever a Targaryen was born, the Gods flip the coin and wait for it to see which side It landed. That's the Daenerys' storyline: she is fighting against slavers in order to make herself grow while we all wait for her dragons to grow enough to be useful in a battle.
People of Meereen speak Ghiscari, they use High Valyrian as a 'lingua franca'. It was a literary faux pas to write the graffiti in The Common Tongue of Westeros (English), but not even the most hard core book's fan would have been able to read it… But let's imagine that the message was encrypted so the Masters might feel threatened but remain clueless.


The whole of Episode 4 was about 70% different from the book and I don't like the way that's heading. The Crasters Keep scenes and Bran's capture were entirely fictitious wrt the book and with Jon riding out to Crasters (again, not in Storm of Swords) there is a potential for a massive deviation. The rapey bits were just showing the breakdown of the boys from the stoic Night's Watchmen to unlawful animals with free flesh on tap – nothing out of the ordinary or shocking IMO.
I'm more concerned with the story.
I wondered about the KILL THE MASTERS bit but then thought that might have been Greyworm showing off with his new found tongue.


Hi, Begoneh, writing in from the US… I'm sorry but I'm baffled by your PC, almost school marmish, disapproval of the sexual violence on GOT. It's a bloody, violent world and the writers managed to convey that in Craster's house by depicting the casual, offhanded way the rapes were occurring in the background. 21st Century political correctness just doesn't apply.

On the "Kill the Masters" graffiti — I couldn't agree with you more. It was ridiculous and jarring. For the life of me I can't figure out why they didn't write it in Valyrian and then subtitle it like they do the dialog.

Double Standards

So what, rape is bad but crucifixion is alright? I guess it's because they weren't women right?

Concerned Citizen's Arrest

"Hello 911? I'd like to report a deviation from the Game Of Thrones books."


It's Jacob Anderson who potrays Grey Worm, not Jacob Alexander.

Chad Brick

"I don’t know what it is in the book, but this ain’t it."

Mostly spoiler free….First, remember that time in GoT has no meaning, both in the books and on TV. Some plot lines seem to be working on the scale of weeks, and others years. Due to differences on TV and on paper, the Bran and Arya plots are too far along and hitting some filler. Jon will get a couple episode's worth in order to deal with the Bran / Craster's keep issue and get his timing in alignment for the season finale. Dany's plot-line is also far too far along and is going to have to stall for a while. She's already in book five. The Lannister plot-lines are the laggards, and Episode 10 will end as book three ended for them. Ditto Stannis.

Blizzard : I troll!

You watch game of thrones which is porn for your mind, then you should be prepared. The world can't suit to your tastes… you should to its. Just because you want vanila sex, doesn't mean they should produce it (if you had insisted that as consumers and had been in large numbers, that would have happened. Them, we call prudes; they don't watch GoT). Now, your friends who cheered for softporn, cheer for rape, for orgies and anything more. You see, this is how it works… the more gruesome, the more chilling action under capitalistic mindset. Finding yourself on the other side of the discussion, eh?
GoT and series like that rely on a dose of shock (that's smut for you). You are supposed to find it repulsive, then get addicted to it! And we shouldn't berate them; if not them, others would have done it. Now, that we know that God did 't create this world, we definitely are shaping it. [Before someone starts barking, I am not talking of God in this post… I am talking of culture and the choices we make as a society]. Don't you tell me that you have been seeing this to understand life in the medieval times.

Bosco P Kitty

Hey girls, might I suggest not watching the show if you hate it so much? Weird concept, I know, as it will leave you nothing to complain about. Just a thought.


Ms. Walsh,
Due respect, but I think you're misreading (or possibly misrepresenting, but I'd prefer to believe the former) an aspect of the Cersei/Jaime interaction and, by extension, the later interaction between Jaime and Brienne. Cersei does not "command" Jaime to "find" Sansa Stark. Rather, she asks him a hypothetical, the paraphrased essence of which is this: "If I asked you to hunt down Sansa and KILL her, would you do it?"

Knowing his sister has already offered a knighthood to anyone who does kill Sansa, and mindful of his oath to Catelyn Stark, Jaime tasks Brienne with finding the girl and PROTECTING her. He isn't telling Brienne to carrying out his sister's orders; he's trying to prevent them from being carried out. Brienne recognizes this, and respects it.

While some might say this is still Jaime passing the buck to some extent, I'd find it a weak argument. For one thing, riding forth in person to find Sansa, even for the purpose of protecting her, would be breaking his oath as a member of the Kingsguard– a minor point to us, maybe, but worth mentioning because it's an important point to Jaime. Moreover, if he did find Sansa, his presence would only serve to draw attention to her, putting her in more peril. Beyond that, Brienne is far better-suited to protect Sansa right now than he is. Jaime is taking Tyrion's advice from a few episodes ago: if you are less capable of doing the job yourself, delegate.


I felt as if i was reading a review for How I Met Your Mother. Totally juvenile, and missed it by a mile. Let's find these guys a dictionary and educate them on the meaning of the word gratuitous first.

Daryl Hannah

Fredric Jameson has been invoked in a Game of Thrones talkback.

But seriously, the complete misinterpretation of Jaime/Brienne's farewell – one of the more touching scenes in the show's history – as a dig?


I saw people having sex at Crasters but never saw Rape-I think your mind is a bit sick.
Worst "jokey" review I've ever read. Go back to church.


Yeah because age ratings and the warning screen (this show has violence, nudity etc) before shows isn't enough of a trigger warning..
Also it's not like in the show rape is being depicted as a GOOD THING! It's bad, awful, and terrifying and it's set in a medieval era where this stuff is common, no one is watching this show thinking 'wow okay there was rape in g of t rape is okay now'
It's television and will not always be politically correct-especially considered they aren't living in the 21st century….


I can't believe people are still beating on that dead horse.

1) It is not possible for non-consensual sex to change into consensual? In what universe do you live in? That does not excuse the non-consensual part, because how does the person know how it was going to develop. If I rob you, and you decide half-way you want to give me money, it does not make the robbery right.

2) How does anyone know how Jaime and Cersei like to have their sex regularly? May be often they like it rough? May be they have a secret code of when they want it to stop, and Cersei did not use it during that scene?

3) Why would you want to watch a fantasy based in some mythical medieval times when you insist of using 21st century USA attitudes to judge it. Jaime and Cersei are spouses in all practical sense of the word. Prior to the 20th century, do you think the concept of spousal rape even existed? That does not make it right. A lot of things were wrong in the past, but to insist on historical/mythical characters to behave like they should today is just stupid.


I would suggest that the depiction of rape is totally in keeping with what we have learned from this show. Rape in our society is an abominable thing (and rightly so), however in the world of Game of Thrones it happens all too regularly. Therefore by showing rape in this fashion (albeit such an unpleasant one) it is the best way to get across the realm in which some of these detestable characters inhabit. It's makes it difficult for me to comprehend why so many people are complaining about the show to such an extent (at least in this scene in this episode). There have been more graphic and gratuitous scenes throughout and I see no point in shying away from the darkest corners of this world, otherwise this show would not be as good as it is. Furthermore, if the director labels the infamous scene from the last episode as 'consensual by the end' we sadly have to accept that fact. As far as the storyline of the show goes that is how the characters view the scene (although the director monumentally screwed it up by not understanding the difference between the two, thus leading to it being depicted has rape). Also, one could argue that the number of children that have been killed on this show right in front of our eyes have been as offensive as this scene.


I would suggest that the depiction of rape is totally in keeping with what we have learned from this show. Rape in our society is an abominable thing (and rightly so), however in the world of Game of Thrones it happens all too regularly. Therefore by showing rape in this fashion (albeit such an unpleasant one) it is the best way to get across the realm in which some of these detestable characters inhabit. It's makes it difficult for me to comprehend why so many people are complaining about the show to such an extent (at least in this scene in this episode). There have been more graphic and gratuitous scenes throughout and I see no point in shying away from the darkest corners of this world, otherwise this show would not be as good as it is. Furthermore, if the director labels the infamous scene from the last episode as 'consensual by the end' we sadly have to accept that fact. As far as the storyline of the show goes that is how the characters view the scene (although the director monumentally screwed it up by not understanding the difference between the two, thus leading to it being depicted has rape). Also, one could argue that the number of children that have been killed on this show right in front of our eyes have been as offensive as this scene.


defense of the scene boils down to 2 arguments:
1-rape of women was common in the "middle ages", it's realistic
2-it's a fictional work, don't take it so seriously

can't have it both ways, can you?

Also it's a strawman argument, most of the commenters who object are responding to how it is depicted not the fact that it is depicted, although some are arguing the scene is not even necessary. None actually said there should be no rape in the storyline, only that it shouldn't be shown in a titillating way, to get everyone's rocks off.


Rape of Women during the Middle and early Ages was common get use to seeing it you Policitally correct lot.


This show has too much rape. This movie has too much murder. I don't like things that don't agree with me because I'm a politically correct asshat.

Sweet god, trigger warning? For a few rapey grunts and groans in the background? Get over yourself


I am absolutely floored by the overwhelmingly juvenile response by most commenters to this article. How ironic that the author be attacked and basically told to keep her opinions to herself – but *she* is the one supposedly enforcing some politically correct 'line'. I would suggest that if people aren't grown up enough to tolerate a frank discussion about the depiction of rape, perhaps they are the ones who are too sensitive to handle 'mature content'.

I personally like game of thrones. I also think it is sometimes problematic. A rape depicted in a titilating way, is in no way comparable to 'gratuitous' violence. If you only think of it in terms of how horrific the act being depicted is in itself, without giving serious thought to its aesthetic effects, you are missing the point completely.

Of course people can disagree, but there is no room for nuanced discussion and exchanging of ideas if people are going to be assholes. Instead we get instant polarisation. Well done douchebags.


I'm a guy, and I found the Craster's Keep section unpleasantly over-the-top with its depiction of Karl and company's depravity. Alright, he's drinking out of a skull, he's drunkenly raving about rape and murder and infanticide, we get it already. He's a Joffrey-level shit. You don't need to show us the rape. We certainly don't need a naked woman in the background for it to be clear that these women are being raped. The showrunners are just coming off as creepier and creepier, especially when the episode also has Margaery grooming a pre-pubescent Tommen. Because this show needs more pederasty, clearly.

Everyone complaining about this article should go comb their neckbeards. I'm sure there are hundreds of fawning praise pieces kissing D&D's asses written for the likes of you, but for others, it's more important that we identify the problematic elements of media we enjoy so that we can find ways to improve it. At some point you'll all hopefully figure out that gratuitous grimdarkness isn't what makes this show better than all the mediocre shows you exhort Katie Walsh to go write about instead.

Katie, keep it up.


Your comprehension of the scene with Jamie and Brienne is seriously flawed if you think Oathkeeper was a criticism of Jamie – it was the only acknowledgment he's ever had from a person with similar standards of chivalry that being a Kingslayer was one of those moments where both actions lead to dreaful outcomes – so he slayed the king, saved the people and lost his honour. Thats the cornerstone of GoT – 2 equally legitimate options and both have negative consequences.

As to the rape scenes?
I'd be interested to see how you would write a scene with mutinous Knights Watch with a history of rape/murder overtaking Crasters and what? clean all Crasters girls up and brush their hair?
Explain to me how those men would NOT be raping those girls. If they hadnt been then the whole mutiny would have seemed false and contrived. The rapes add authenticity to these low-life oathbreaking scum.
Once the food ran out – they'd start eating Crasters girls…you might fund that hard to swallow.


Sorry the bad guys aren't politically correct enough for you. It's a show about complex and mostly bad people (based on a book about complex and mostly bad people) with a lot of moral ambiguity. Most of the Nights Watch are thieves and ex-"rapers". Sadly, these mutinous, murderous bad guys aren't concerned with your discomfort. You're not supposed to feel comfortable. By the way, those girls' husband/father raped them and sacrificed their male baby's to the gods each of their entire lives.

I think you missed the mark on Jamie and Brienne also.. He sent her to find and protect Sansa Stark, not to capture her for him. Those two have come to respect each other, so naming the sword Oath Keeper was not at all a diss.


Do you even like the show? To a Game of Thrones fan this was the most underwhelming, boring and tedious review to endure I've stumbled upon. I would never recommend GoT to such a sensitive soul as yourself – you clearly aren't cut out for the mature content and this is the first and last time I'll be reading your reviews.


Clearly don't have the stomach for this show, stop watching. That whining was so annoying to read.


Can I ask all those who are offended by the rape scenes, what would you prefer? Are there rape scenes that make you feel more comfortable? If you don't feel uneasy with depictions of rape or violence, either the writers/directors/actors/showrunners/producers aren't doing their job, or you're simply a sick individual. It reminds me of the Charlie Rose interview with Tarantino when he was asked how he felt upon learning that an audience member had a heart attack upon viewing the infamous adrenaline shot scene in PULP FICTION. His response was (and I paraphrase here) "I hope he's alright, but my first thought was, 'yeah! this shit works!'"


"…you can’t just switch from non consensual to consensual sex in the middle of the act"? I'm sorry, but what kind of stupid contrived rule is that? I'm afraid that in the real world, human nature and the spectrum of human emotions is much more complex, nuanced and murky than what you would like to believe. Things aren't always black and white in human affairs – there is such a thing as confused emotions and there is certainly a grey area between "consensual sex" and "non consensual sex", whether that sits well with morality or not. This is precisely why I think that Game of Thrones is the best TV series EVER, because of how the writers and directors have the courage to show the reality of human experience as it is, not the censored and "cleaned up" shit that we get served about everywhere else on TV. And first of all, a fictional series is ART, not a moral statement on what is acceptable or not. If Game of Thrones is too much for you to handle, please go right reviews about shows like The Big Bang Theory – in the nice and cosy world where everything is black and white, and politically correct.


Having read the books, I was happy to have some new and original material outside of the often meandering plot-lines given by Martin. Martin tells a good yarn, but he certainly doesn't employ a very good editor. With regard to the rape of Cersei, I only had issue with it being inconsistent with the characters. Jaime has primal needs for sex. However, as may be revealed (was revealed?) he has stated good rational for his moniker of "Kingslayer"; he's actually a fairly moral person, so even if he hated the behavior of his oldest son, I didn't buy his willingness to fornicate over his son's body.

With regard to the episode 4 story, we never really knew what had happened at Craster's Keep after Jeormond's demise. As the story of Bran is often slow, infrequent, and a little drab, this new story adds story without committing too many violations. We can expect the utter destruction of Craster's keep from one of several avenues, and for once (being a reader) I have no idea how! This is really cool for readers of the books because truthfully we were lacking a little story.

I support the idea of capital punishment, but in practice – it's a waste of money (with appeals and attorney fees). I love the idea and story in A Song of Ice and Fire, but the execution is either breakneck paced or pedestrian; what I wouldn't do for a jog once in a while.

Keeping full time actors on a production like Game of Thrones is a challenge, as Martin's story often gives far too much time to some characters and ignores other for entire books. Unlike Martin, Benioff understands gaps in that storytelling, and we're all the better for it.

Daryl Hannah

I actually just read the body of this recap… The best moment of the episode was Jaime and Brienne's parting, and you completely missed the point of it. "Oathkeeper" wasn't a dig at all.


I don't know what the hell those last paragraphs are describing but it sure as heck isn't in Game of Thrones. And it sounds really stupid. I loved the books, even though they aren't finished and I suspect Martin will be leaving us before they ever are.


Karl boasted about being a killer at Kings Landing. I don't remember him in previous seasons – was he in the tv series? Was he in the book and not the series?


With all the hyper sensitivity and annoying snark, this writer would fit right in with the rape obsessed culture police over at Gawker.


If you need trigger warnings, you probably shouldn't be a critic.


I really hate how the rape has taken the limelight and become such a sour thing for people.
Let's not forget that Cersai is a terrible woman who helped poison the mind of the recent king and early on condoned what he did. It's like people forget about season 1 her. Not saying she deserved it. Just saying she's not a perfect person in a show about imperfect people doing some vile things.
Speaking of vile, it's crazy how people aren't mad at the fact that a kid character is shoved out a window and turn crippled; or how a character burns two farm boys; or how that character goes on to lose his "mighty" weapon. No, those don't matter. It happened to men, so who cares, right.

So it happened in the book. But it wasn't as sloppily handled as D&D did last week. If only they changed the tone or possibly left some part of it out, the tumblr like writers wouldn't be so upset.

Come on

I'm more concerned with the portrayal of baby to white walker conversion. That wasn't in the books either and just really quite disturbing. Would have preferred it left out in favor of sunnier, gif-ier material


You want to like the show? So you don't like it, but you want to like it? Why don't you just stop watching it, it's a waste of time, isn't it? Why don't you start watching Teletubbies? There are no rape scenes in that show.


This episode was the first that was way different from the books. Some of what happened at King's Landing and Meereen is similar, but almost all of what happens at Castle Black and north of the Wall is very different. I liked it in some ways but in other ways it may plant the seed for further problems in the future. Martin has said its like the butterfly effect. if you pull one string this way instead of that way many other strings will get pulled with it. I know it is an adaptation of the books but still, many things must follow in a certain order for the story to reach what we hope is its grand conclusion some day. Let's just hope those in charge don't go far off track with the changes.


Your opinion of the show's portrayal of violence toward women doesn't seem to impact your use of "bitch-slap"… That casual reference is just as bad, or worse, than the TV violence you're railing against.

Also – I think you missed the real meaning of the scenes where Jamie sends Brienne off to protect Sansa. Maybe you need to watch those again…

Lauren Grabowski

If you don't like this show, don't write about it.

None of us book readers care for a milisecond that you have book reading friends filling you in on the plot differences between the books and the tv show.

You're opening paragraph is EVERYTHING that sucks the wang about internet "journalism."

Just stop.


I read the books and I was so disappointed with this episode. I understand that some modifications are necessary, but nothing of what was shown north of the wall happens at all. I really don't see any reason why they would do this, it doesn't add anything to te story (in fact, I think it takes away from it). And the worst thing is, the very poor execution makes it even harder to watch. I couldn't put the books down when I read them, but it seems I am not as much looking forward to the next episode this season. Am I alone thinking this?


"I want to like this show and they make it very hard sometimes."

You spend a part of your life WANTING to like a show? How does that work exactly? Do you not like the show and try to like it? Do you actually like it but pretend you don't? If you genuinely don't like the show, don't write about it. It's not like you're writing an informed review or piece of criticism. It's just a recap.


The opening paragraph of this 'review' is a travesty. You are actually paying those oversensitive people for their hysterics? Shame on you and the person who wrote this.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *