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"Two Swords," "The Lion and the Rose," "Breaker of Chains," "Oathkeeper," "First of His Name," "The Laws of Gods and Men," "Mockingbird," "The Mountain and the Viper," "The Watchers on the Wall," "The Children"
by Jefferson Robbins I suspect "Game of Thrones" has started to find its high-fantasy elements as tedious as I have. In the show's fourth season, the trio of dragons reared by Danaerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)--the only thing that makes her a ruler, aside from her family name--is far more felt than seen, and momentarily more a curse than an asset. Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and his young cronies have to fight off a frozen-lake's worth of Ray Harryhausen skeletons, a homage so derivative it adds up to me snorting my beer out of my nose. An epic assault on the epic-sized Wall includes an epic total of two giants. The fantasy convention of magic swords with hoity-toity names comes in for ridicule, too, when brutal asshole King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) demands a title for his new enchanted blade and some wags in the audience yell back "Stormbringer!" and "Terminus!" Woman warrior Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), the most gullible when it comes to matters of knightly virtue, gets a nifty pigsticker, names it "Oathkeeper," then spends her only battle of the season beating her adversary's face in with a rock. Magic, in this adaptation of contemporary fantasy's most successful novel series, is bogged down in human muck and mire.