Initial Reaction To Episode Four:

The Supply Train and Winterfell

 

We got some action this week, which is pretty cool. Daenerys and her khalasar raided the Lannister supply train en route to King’s Landing, and we saw some serious badassery from Arya Stark during her training session with Brienne.

 

I’m going to spend less time on the Lannister battle tonight, mostly because it was one of those massacres among unnamed extras that don’t really affect a tier list. However, I will say that this is probably the worst fighting Bronn has done in the entirety of the show. Granted, he’s flustered because everyone is being incinerated by a fucking dragon and the people who aren’t are being cut down by a dothraki horde, but still. He doesn’t do much with his sword, but what swordfighting he does do is marked by big, broad strokes that are uncharacteristic for him. The Battle of Blackwater was almost as stressful — okay maybe not quite but still — and Bronn was fully collected then.

 

I assume this was a deliberate move to show that the dothraki fight very differently from Westerosi knights, putting Bronn out of his element. But still, it seemed odd to see him so unprepared and outmatched by some random bloodrider.

 

Either way, I assume he survived so hopefully we can see some more of him down the road. As for Jaime, that attempt to joust against a dragon was in-character but dumb as hell. That’s not the ideal death for his character, but I think it will be even worse if he somehow takes off his armor and swims ashore. I guess, to be fair, that’s a great way to lock in your place on the tier list.

 

Let’s go back to Winterfell.

 

I am beyond excited for the chance to add Arya Stark to the tier list, but I’ll need to see her in something other than a training scenario. Whether it’s Braavos , King’s Landing , or Winterfell, we have only ever seen Arya practicing.

 

That being said, I’m impressed. Mostly. This was a huge step up from Arya’s portrayal as an indestructible terminator in Braavos. Not because she did better, but because we see her make mistakes and occasionally get bested by Brienne. I breathed a sigh of relief when Arya was disarmed and kicked in the gut because it makes her a more believable character. Bronn and Tormund, our current champions, have made mistakes, and this means that Arya isn’t going to be a perfect, untouchable plot device of an assassin. Here’s what I think so far.

 

Arya is agile, poised, and wasted no time showing that she could make quick work of Brienne — all qualities that could make her a top contender if she holds them in real combat. She dodges Brienne’s attacks and counterattacks in the tempo gaps with ease. This is exactly what I’m looking for. However, Arya ignored her own crucial advice.

 

Never fight someone like her in the first place. Arya could evade every single one of Brienne’s strikes if she wanted, yet she opted to parry and block instead. The parries deflected Brienne’s attacks rather than trying to stop them, just like how Brienne outpaced Jaime before being captured by the Boltons. Basically, the parries are good, but the fact that they happened at all isn't.

 

Arya was disarmed and kicked onto her back because she chose to engage Brienne’s blade. Arya let Brienne fight with her preferred style rather than forcing Brienne to play by Arya’s rules. It was the opposite dynamic from Bronn’s fight. Rather than Bronn, who is used to fighting hulking, slow knights and got outpaced against an unusual enemy, Arya is the unusual enemy who chose to fight in accordance with the Westerosi not-a-knight’s style.

 

But let’s be real: all I want now is to see the episode where I finally get to rank Podrick. I cannot wait for him to save the day.

 

Previous: Episode Three Initial Reaction

 

Next: Episode Six Initial Reaction