The Game of Thrones season four premiere enticed 6.6 million viewers, up 52 percent in viewership since the season three debut. Meanwhile, HBOGo.com was publicly humiliated after a crash effectively decapitated the online service. Too soon with the decapitation jokes?
Not if the Game of Thrones model holds true: Violence is viewership, after all.
In the first minutes of the episode, Ned Stark’s valyrian steel sword “Ice” is re-forged into two blades for Lannister hands. This is a metaphor for the shattering of northern power after the deaths of both Ned and his heir Robb at the hands of the Lannisters and their allies.