Welcome back to Westeros.
Game of Thrones is back after what seemed like an eternity (Also known as the time in between the release of George R.R. Martin's books. Write like the wind, dude!), and though the previous three seasons' openers tended to be slow-starters, the same definitely cannot be said of "Two Swords," which jumps right back into the action. Hey, it's hard to go back to slow and steady after the expectations-demolition that was the Red Wedding in season three, no?
In the April 6th premiere, a fan favorite character from the books finally made his debut (and he was well worth the wait), while one of the Stark girls finally went to the dark side. (And it was awesome.) Here are our five favorite moments from the season four opener...
5. Newcomers Steal the Episode: Two major new players were introduced in the opening hour: Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) came to King's Landing for the big royal wedding and made quite the entrance: Not only did he shake things up with his, um, sexual appetite, but also with his appetite for revenge against the Lannisters and The Mountain (the Hound's brother) for the death of his sister, Elia, who was married to Rhaegar Targaryen, the son of the Mad King, and his young nephew.
"Tell him the Lannisters aren't the only ones who pay their debts," he threatens Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). Um, can we keep Prince Oberyn (aka the Red Viper) forever?
4. New Actor, Same Flirtation: Another actor making a splash? Michael Huisman as the new Daario Nahari, who was played by Ed Skrein in season three, the pain-in-the-army/love interest for Daeneyrs (Emilia Clarke), who is also busy dealing with three unruly dragons. (Teenagers are just the worst, no?) Though our girl acts like he's a pest (half-heartedly threatening to make him walk barefoot for annoying her), he does manage to make her smile during the hour with a lesson in the land's flowers, which he calls strategy, a welcome sight.
3. Snow Gets Dirty: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is questioned about his time with the Wildlings and makes no apologies about breaking his vows, telling the council, "I laid with a Wilding girl." (Referring to Ygritte, of course, who is out for revenge.) And though most Rangers die for breaking their Night's Watch promise, there's no time for punishment with the Wildlings preparing to make their attack on the North. Good thing Jon has inside info about their plans, no?
2. The Most Twisted Love Story Ever Continues: After refusing his father Tywin's (Charles Dance) orders to leave King's Landing (and his position in the Kingsuard) for Casterly Rock, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his one-hand are rejected by Cersei (Lena Headey), his twin-sister/lover/mother of his children, even after she has a gold prosthetic hand created for him. (Practical? No. Elegant? Yes.)
"Everything's changed. You come back after all this time with no apologies and one hand and expect everything to be the same," Cersei says while rebuffing his advances. So why is she so pissed? "You left me alone," she accuses, adding that he "took too long."
1. The Taste for Blood: Raise your hand if you'd so watch a spinoff that solely focused on Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound's (Rory McCann) adventures on the road. The duo didn't make an appearance until the final scene, but oh, what a scene it was.
During the travels, they stumbled upon Polliver, the man who stole Arya's sword, Needle, which was given to her by Jon, and one of the names on her death list. Cue an amazing conversation between Polliver and the Hound, which turns deadly with the latter saying "F--k the King," before an epic fight sequence ensues.
And while the Hound does most of the fighting/killing, Arya makes her first big kill: Polliver. Taking back Needle, she repeats the words he said to her when he stole it from her. "Fine little blade...maybe I'll pick my teeth with it," she says just as she sticks his throat with the pointy end. Can. You. Say. Epic?!
Quotes of the Night
"Keep it, a hone-handed man with no family needs all the help he can get."—Tywin
"I'm a prince, boy. Have you ever been with a prince…take off your clothes."—Oberyn
"My way."-—Oberyn when asked "Which way do you like it?" by one of Littlefinger's men
"They can never be tamed…even by their mother."—Jorah Mormont tells Khaleesi about her unruly dragons.
"I wanted to hate him, but I never could."—Jon about his dearly departed brother, Robb Stark (Richard Madden). All the tears!
"You're better than me at everything. Except reading."—Sam to Jon
"Are you going to execute me or am I free to go?"—John Snow getting sassy with the Night's Watch
"Lots of c--ts."—The Hound to Arya when she says "lots of people name their swords"
What did you think of the season four premiere? What did you think of Arya's first major kill? Sound off in the comments!