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, Essos. After the death of Robb Stark at The Red Wedding, all three remaining kings in Westeros believe they have a claim to the Iron Throne. King Joffrey is killed by poison at his wedding, and his uncle Tyrion is blamed; young Tommen Baratheon is crowned king. Meanwhile, Sansa Stark escapes King’s Landing. At the Wall, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch, badly outnumbered, begin a grim battle against 100,000 Wildlings, but Stannis’s army sweeps in to demand the Wildlings’ surrender. Bran Stark’s visions lead him far beyond the Wall to the north, where he meets the Three-Eyed Raven. Daenerys Targaryen captures Meereen and decides to rule as queen of Slaver’s Bay until she can permanently defeat the slavers; she finds ruling more difficult than conquering. She reluctantly chains up her growing dragons, who have become difficult to control. Arya Stark crisscrosses Westeros accompanied by the Hound, but sails alone to Braavos on Essos to end the season.
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.
On April 2, 2013, HBO announced it had renewed the series for a fourth season, to consist of 10 episodes.
David Benioff and D. B. Weiss serve as main writers and showrunners for the fourth season. They co-wrote seven out of ten episodes. The remaining three episodes were written by Bryan Cogman (two episodes), and the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin (one episode).
Benioff and Weiss co-directed the season premiere after making their directorial debut in season 3, although only Weiss is credited as Benioff received credit for their previous directed episode; Alex Graves, who directed two episodes in season 3, returned and directed episodes 2, 3, 8 and 10; Michelle MacLaren, who also directed two episodes in season 3, returned to direct episodes 4 and 5; former series cinematographer Alik Sakharov, who directed in seasons 2 and 3, returned to direct episodes 6 and 7; and Neil Marshall directed episode 9 after previously directing “Blackwater”, the ninth episode of season 2.
Filming for the season began on July 8, 2013, in Northern Ireland. The series also returned to Iceland and Dubrovnik for filming. New locations in Croatia include Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Klis Fortress north of Split, Perun quarry east of Split, Mosor mountain, and Baška Voda further down to the south. In the commentary for episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose,” the showrunners revealed that parts of Joffrey’s death scene had been filmed in California. The Thingvellir National Park in Iceland was used as the location for the fight between Brienne and The Hound, and the Þórufoss waterfall was the background for Drogon’s attack on a herd of goats in episode 6.
Filming for the season lasted 136 days and was completed on November 21, 2013.
The Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós appears in the second episode, as a group of musicians serenading the royal couple at their wedding reception with “The Rains of Castamere.” This continues the series’s tradition of employing noted indie bands, begun in season 2 with The National and continued in season 3 with The Hold Steady.
The soundtrack for the season was released digitally on June 10, 2014, and on CD on July 1, 2014.
The fourth season adds previously recurring actors Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Snow), Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane) and Hannah Murray (Gilly) to the series’ main cast. Iain Glen’s credit is moved last in the rotation and given the “With” moniker.
Prince Oberyn Martell, nicknamed “The Red Viper”, is played by Chilean-American actor Pedro Pascal. “This was a tough one”, said showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss about the casting. “The Red Viper is sexy and charming, yet believably dangerous; intensely likable, yet driven by hate. The boys love him, the girls love him, and he loves them all back. Unless your last name is Lannister. We found a fellow who can handle the job description and make it seem effortless. He wasn’t easy to find and he won’t be easy to stop”. Martin commented on the casting by saying: “I wasn’t present for Pedro Pascal’s audition, but I understand that he really killed it with his reading. And since his casting was announced, the producer of another TV show on which he appeared recently has written me to say how terrific Pascal is, and to congratulate us on the casting. So I suspect that he will turn out to be a wonderful Red Viper”. Actress Indira Varma was cast as Ellaria Sand, Prince Oberyn’s paramour.
Roger Ashton-Griffiths joins the cast in the role of Mace Tyrell. “The lord oaf of Highgarden”, as his mother describes him, is otherwise known as father to Margaery and Loras. His casting was confirmed by George R. R. Martin, who introduced the actor as the solution to a riddle he’d set fans with the following message, “Yes, it’s the fine British character actor Roger Ashton-Griffiths, who has been cast in the role of Mace Tyrell, son to the Queen of Thorns, and father of Loras and Margaery”.
Mark Gatiss plays Tycho Nestoris, a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos, to whom the Iron Throne owes millions in borrowed gold. The role of Hizdahr zo Loraq is played by young British actor Joel Fry. Hizdahr is the young scion of an ancient Meereenese family who crosses paths with Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen. Elizabeth Webster was cast as Fat Walda Frey. Walda Frey is a granddaughter of Lord Walder Frey. She is the new wife of Roose Bolton, the Lord of the Dreadfort. During the wedding feast of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey, Lord Bolton recounts to Catelyn Stark and Ser Brynden “Blackfish” Tully how Lord Walder Frey proposed him to marry one of his granddaughters and offered her weight in silver as dowry. Lord Bolton then adds he chose the fattest bride available and she has made him very rich.
Paola Dionisotti and Rupert Vansittart were cast as Lady Anya Waynwood and Bronze Yohn Royce. They are the heads of House Waynwood and House Royce of Runestone: two powerful vassal houses of House Arryn. Yuri Kolokolnikov plays Styr: One of Mance Rayder’s lieutenants and the Magnar – the name of the first ever Lord of Thenn which is now a title – of the Thenn people, a wildling clan. Two mysterious characters from Bran’s storyline have also been cast: the Three-Eyed Raven, who is played by Struan Rodger, and a Child of the Forest, played by Octavia Alexandru.
Roles that were recast for season 4 include Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis. Huisman replaces Ed Skrein, who portrayed the character in season 3. Dean-Charles Chapman plays the role of Tommen Baratheon, King Joffrey’s younger brother. Tommen was played by Callum Wharry in seasons 1 and 2. Chapman appeared as Martyn Lannister in two episodes of season 3 (“Walk of Punishment” and “Kissed by Fire”). Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson was cast as Ser Gregor Clegane, called “The Mountain”. Hafþór replaces Ian Whyte, who portrayed the character in season 2.
After an absence of at least a season, Owen Teale returns as Alliser Thorne, Kate Dickie as Lysa Arryn, Dominic Carter as Janos Slynt, Tony Way as Dontos Hollard, Andy Beckwith as Rorge, Gerard Jordan as Biter, Andy Kellegher as Polliver, Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn and Brian Fortune as Othell Yarwyck.
June 10, 2014
- S02E01 – “Two Swords”
- S02E02 – “The Lion and the Rose”
- S02E03 – “Breaker of Chains”
- S02E04 – “Oathkeeper”
- S02E05 – “First of His Name”
- S02E06 – “The Laws of Gods and Men”
- S02E07 – “Mockingbird”
- S02E08 – “The Mountain and the Viper”
- S02E09 – “The Watchers on the Wall”
- S02E10 – “The Children”
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