The sharply written, slow-paced premiere ratchets up the tension on what's reported to be the bloodiest 10-episode season yet.
It's impossible not to enjoy the return of a show that gives us the pleasure of the immensely entertaining Lannister clan. I could listen to those family members insult each other for hours.
It's still anyone's "game," assuring the drama, action and intrigue that has made this show such a fan favorite will continue this season.
It feels like forever since the last episode of Game of Thrones, but the premiere, "Two Swords," was well worth the wait. A stellar start to the fourth season.
One of the ingenious pleasures of Game of Thrones is that for all the convoluted narrative twists, its 78 subplots (rough estimate) tend to unfold along user-friendly genre lines.
The shadow of the Red Wedding lies heavy on the beginning of Game of Thrones season four. Where there once was a sense of hope hanging over Game of Thrones, there now is a sense of dread.
As it has in seasons past, the premiere sweeps through Westeros with great speed, seamlessly serving up the continuation of the storyline so many have been waiting for.
Watching these people in tonight's beautifully crafted season premiere was like reuniting with old friends.
"Two Swords"... favored laying foundation for future surprises over delivering prompt shocks to its hungry audience.
I'll quote Lady Olenna to describe the premiere: "Absolutely singular."
This feels like a casual victory lap for the show's producers. From some very slick dragon effects to the introduction of characters that will bring intrigue and political strife to King's Landing, they seem to be on a roll and very aware of it.
"Two Swords" wasn't a super eventful episode, but it didn't need to be. Game of Thrones is a heavy, meaty show, and sometimes it's best to ease the audience back into things.
The season four debut plodded. But it's important to see episode one for what it is. Before any major battle, the lines must be drawn, the strategies mapped out, the allegiances solidified, the soldiers placed in position.
Right off the bat, season four sends the viewer a signal: Forget the Westeros you knew. Forget where on the board you've mentally placed any of Game Of Thrones' chess pieces.
Season four of Game of Thrones finally returned to our screens. But did episode one meet the hype? Well, not really.
"Two Swords" barely wasted a word, managing to fill us in on most of the main players (alas, poor Stannis, I missed your dour proclamations -- here's hoping you return soon) while introducing some interesting new ones.
Goings on at King's Landing are as deadly and devious as ever on "Two Swords," the Season 4 premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones.
"Two Swords" shows the messy and downright depressing attempts to move on from a war-torn Westeros, but its real purpose is to reveal who will be prepared for the oncoming storm.
It's been three seasons since the series premiere, but Game of Thrones still knows how to open with power.
While Daeny's dragons look amazing, my favorite scenes in the premiere are a heartfelt dialogue exchange between Tyrion and a devastated Sansa and the verbal interplay between The Hound and Arya.
The opening scene of "Two Swords" made it clear that the massacre has reset the stage. Old elements are being recast in the wake of the slaughter, and they're dangerous ones, ready to strike.
Game of Thrones enters this season at the top of its game, and by taking the time to acknowledge its characters' bewilderment, the series suggests a carefully considered plan for moving forward.
The episode invoked Westerosi history; introduced a badass new character, the Red Viper; checked in on all four of the major characters; and showed some nice CGI dragon snuggling. But the closing scene - damn - that was some bloody, satisfying revenge.
Despite being primarily designed to introduce the characters and conflicts that the season will center around, it still manages to keep your attention ... and only occasionally dragging.
Still TV's best -- dive in while the water's warm. Winter is coming, after all.
The show proceeds at its own stately pace, telling its own knotty story. Rather than be concerned that future seasons might mar the world that Martin, Benioff, and Weiss have painstakingly created.
As a season opener, the episode is superbly written and conceived. It enables us to see where things have gone since the Red Wedding and to anticipate what will happen down the road.
We close on another sort of potential threat to the Lannisters with an extended suspense sequence featuring everyone's favorite buddy team of Arya and the Hound. It's a fascinating closing scene.
A perfect Game of Thrones ending -- the most pure and just character, a young girl, a huge smile on her face after jamming a sword through someone's throat.
There's no reason to mince words at the start -- that was an absolutely fantastic opening episode. It began with two swords, it ended with two swords, and in between it was a near-perfect re-entry into the world of Westeros (and beyond).
It's a hugely confident hour that effortlessly dives into nearly all the major storylines, an appealing mix of super-tight storytelling with a relaxed vibe.
"Two Swords" was a solid GoT premiere, though it certainly didn't hide the fact that the show, post-Red Wedding, is going to possibly meander more than people might enjoy or expect.
The dragons are bigger, the swords are sharper and the kids are meaner. The stage has been set for the most epic season so far!