Film and TV

Games of Thrones, Season 4: Your Favorite Killing-Beloved- (and Un-) Characters Show Returns

T.S. Eliot was right: April really is the "cruellest" month.

Not only do TV viewers have to contend with the finales of Justified, Archer, and Suits (actually, I'm pretty sure my wife is the only one who cares about that one), but this Sunday brings the premiere of Season Four of Game of Thrones, which may be the most diabolically sadistic television series since Joanie Loves Chachi.

Beloved characters getting decapitated? Yep. Pregnant woman stabbed to death? Sure. Involuntary amputations? Oh my yes. There are so many unpleasant deaths on GoT that horse that was got his head cut off in the first season is almost an afterthought.

It's hard to imagine how HBO will top the "Red Wedding" in Season Four, or if they should even try (killing Arya or Tyrion, the two most sympathetic characters remaining, would appear to be a TV crime on par with offing Daryl from The Walking Dead or Will from The Good Wife ... what?). So what is the upcoming season likely to bring?

Having read the books, I'm in a bit of a bind here. I know what's coming, but obviously I don't want to spoil the enjoyment of those who'd rather not invest untold hours of their lives reading an as-yet unfinished series of increasingly bloated novels written by a guy who seems to be interested in everything *but* completing it.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

I can tell you Season Four will finish up the plot lines of the third book (A Storm of Swords while introducing events from book four (A Feast for Crows). This is necessary both due to the nature of the series (show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss move things along at a brisk clip) and the need to get as much screen time out of these kids before they rocket through puberty. Sophie Turner (Sansa) and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran) are going to be eight feet tall by the time they get around to filming Season five.

Other than that, lets take a look at the trailer.

So, what have we got?

Family Matters: The Lannisters should be celebrating the death of Robb "The King in the North" Stark, but have evidently experienced a falling out over someone pouring ashes into somebody's cereal, I guess. Tyrion mentioning how "Cersei always gets what she wants" is likely a reference to finally becoming best friends with son Joffrey's (he was pretty scarce in this, wasn't he?) fiancee Margaery. What a fun wedding that's going to be.

Cities In Dust: Daenerys "Mother of Dragons" Targaryen is obviously unhappy with the quality of chronic coming from the city of Mereen, and sends the bundles of weed back with extreme prejudice. That is weed, right? My pause button was broken.

Family Matters 2: "The Starks have always ruled the North," amateur surgery enthusiast Ramsey Snow tells loving father Roose Bolton. But which of Nearly Totally Headless Ned's offspring will the country rally behind?

Arya? She seems to be having a good time engaging her killswitch on with the Hound as the two make a decent case for remaking those old Hope-Crosby flicks. Look for Road to Braavos to hit theaters in 2015.

Bran? He's heir to Winterfell now, but they seem intent on making his storyline as uninspiring as it was last season.

Sansa? Poor kid. She's been dealt a rough hand. Luckily that kindly Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish has shown something of a paternal interest in the young lady. Good for her. This story continues on the next page.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar