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Binge Mode: ‘Game of Thrones’ | Season 4

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(HBO/Ringer illustration)
(HBO/Ringer illustration)

Get ready for Game of Thrones Season 7 by binge-watching all 60 existing episodes with The Ringer’s experts, Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion, as they deep-dive one episode at a time to parse the theories, history, characters, and themes that enrich one of the defining stories of our time. Season 4 is below. Click here for more seasons.

S4E1: "Two Swords"

As Game of Thrones’ fourth season premieres, an instant fan favorite arrives in King’s Landing, bringing with him a culture and outlook on life we haven’t yet seen explored in the capital. Even the characters we’ve known for three seasons are adapting to a new normal in "Two Swords" with the war’s apparent end, but is it even possible to maintain a status quo after all the recent turmoil? In their first Binge Mode discussion of Season 4, Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion unpack that difficulty and explain the history of Valyrian steel before awarding said fan favorite the champion’s purse.

S4E2: "The Lion and the Rose"

It’s time for another Thrones wedding, so watch your necks! (This time, at least, it’s not a sword that does the dirty deed.) Rubin and Concepcion break down the spectacle at the royal nuptials and elsewhere in the realm in "The Lion and the Rose" before reviewing the history of poisons and crowning a successful plotter as the episode’s champion.

S4E3: "Breaker of Chains"

After a thrilling start to the season, "Breaker of Chains" takes a deep breath and lets a new round of intrigue develop. As various characters react to the Purple Wedding and set up their fourth-season arcs, Rubin and Concepcion analyze this episode’s central theme: protection and the relationships between protectors and protected. They also discuss the rest of Westeros’s relationship with Dorne and award a proficient player in the game of thrones the champion’s purse.

S4E4: "Oathkeeper"

Viewers travel farther north than ever before in "Oathkeeper," expanding the Thrones map accordingly, and elsewhere in this episode, the kings and queens and other power players are manipulating the pawns on the board, either by deploying them as shields or defending the defenseless. Binge Mode explores those relationships and relates the backstory behind the Lands of Always Winter before crowning a conqueror as the episode’s champion.

S4E5: "First of His Name"

All hail Tommen, long live the king — or at least let him live out his days playing with Ser Pounce in peace. Rubin and Concepcion examine the central theme of "First of His Name" — characters not being ready yet — and consider the backstory behind the Lannister gold mine before crowning a fighter as the episode’s champion.

S4E6: "The Laws of Gods and Men"

Some problems in Game of Thrones can be solved with a sword, but most require other talents — smart governing, adept relationship-building, and balancing present and future demands. Binge Mode delves into the process of government as depicted in "The Laws of Gods and Men" before detailing the history of the Iron Bank of Braavos and awarding a master negotiator the champion’s purse.

S4E7: "Mockingbird"

Say hello to Chekhov’s Moon Door — and say goodbye to Chekhov’s Moon Door, quickly, as you hurtle through it to your death on the craggy rocks below. That pleasantry and more appears in "Mockingbird," for which the Binge Mode team discusses the central theme of obsession. The episode also delves into Littlefinger’s upbringing and crowns a longtime lover — and potent obsessor — as the episode’s champion.

S4E8: "The Mountain and the Viper"

In one of the more physically and emotionally intense viewing experiences Thrones has to offer, "The Mountain and the Viper" offers plots, duels, and conspiracies of treason. Rubin and Concepcion unpack the central theme of vulnerability — and not just the body parts that might be vulnerable to crushing — before discussing the best fighters in Westeros and crowning a repeat champion.

S4E9: "The Watchers on the Wall"

Another season’s penultimate episode, another all-time battle sequence. "The Watchers on the Wall" focuses exclusively on the Wildlings’ attempt to overtake Castle Black and the Night’s Watch’s attempt to stop them, and Binge Mode breaks down those groups’ devotion to fighting for their causes. This episode also reviews the history of the Wall and why to attack it at this castle before crowning yet another repeat champion.

S4E10: "The Children"

As Season 4 wraps up with characters making moves across the Thrones map, Rubin and Concepcion analyze the central theme of "The Children": destiny. They also provide the backstory of the Three-Eyed Raven and crown a new champion, marking the first time in four seasons that Dany doesn’t earn the season-ending purse.