First up, here is how HBO describes Season 4 in a press release:
“Encouraged by the Red Wedding slaughter in the Riverlands that wiped out many of their Stark nemeses, the Lannisters’ hold on the Iron Throne remains intact … but can they survive their own egos, as well as new and ongoing threats from the south, north and east? While an unbowed Stannis Baratheon continues to rebuild his army in Dragonstone, a more immediate danger comes from the south, as Oberyn Martell, the Lannister-loathing ‘Red Viper of Dorne,’ arrives at King’s Landing to attend Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell, and perhaps act on an ulterior agenda. In the north, a depleted Night’s Watch seems overmatched against the inexorable Wall advances of Mance Rayder’s army of wildlings, which in turn is being trailed by an even more formidable foe: The undead White Walkers. As if that weren’t enough, Daenerys Targaryen, accompanied by her menacing trio of dragons and army of Unsullied, is poised to liberate Meereen, the largest city in Slaver’s Bay, which could ultimately provide her with enough ships to sail to Westeros and reclaim the Iron Throne.
Here are the descriptions of the first four episodes:
- Season 4, episode 1 “Two Swords” (April 6): “Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) welcomes a guest to King’s Landing. At Castle Black, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) finds himself unwelcome. Dany (Emilia Clarke) is pointed to Meereen, the mother of all slave cities. Arya (Maisie Williams) runs into an old friend.”
- Season 4, episode 2 “The Lion and the Rose” (April 13): “Tyrion lends Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) a hand. Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) host a breakfast. At Dragonstone, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) loses patience with Davos (Liam Cunningham). Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) finds a purpose for his pet. North of the Wall, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) sees where they must go.” Note: This episode is written by George R.R. Martin.”
- Season 4, episode 3 “Breaker of Chains” (April 20): “Tyrion ponders his options. Tywin (Charles Dance) extends an olive branch. Sam (John Bradley) realizes Castle Black isn’t safe, and Jon proposes a bold plan. The Hound (Rory McCann) teaches Arya the way things are. Dany chooses her champion.”
- Season 4, episode 4 “Oathkeeper” (April 27): “Dany balances justice and mercy. Jaime tasks Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) with his honor. Jon secures volunteers while Bran, Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) stumble on shelter.”
A couple semi-spoilery things of note from these descriptions: First off, it’s widely speculated that episode 2 contains the Purple Wedding. If that’s the case, then it’s amazing that GRRM opted to write this episode — and also makes a lot of sense. Also, it seems like Dany might finally realize Jorah’s previous allegiances in episode 4 when she “balances justice and mercy.”
In terms of that whole Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor “stumble on shelter” line, that sounds a lot like a certain major event from “A Dance With Dragons.” But David and Dan like to mislead people, so it could be that they don’t actually find the Three-Eyed Raven (who has been cast) so early on. Fingers crossed they do, though.