Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 5 “First of His Name”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

King’s Landing: Tommen is crowned king in a ceremony in the Great Sept. Margaery looks on from one side and when she catches Tommen’s eye, she gives him a secretive, mischievous sort of smile, which he responds to. Her plan is clearly working and Tommen is developing a crush on her. But Cersei also sees her, and walks over for a friendly chat. I thought at first that Cersei would be confrontational, but no, she is all sweetness and light. She notes that Margaery is still wearing mourning clothes for Joffrey. Margaery puts on her “devoted to Joffrey” act, but Cersei says straight out that Joffrey would have destroyed her.

Then follows a very frank discussion. Cersei says that Joffrey would have been a terrible king, but Tommen may be the first decent king Westeros has had for a long time, but he will need someone strong to help him, and that she presumes Margaery would still like to be queen. Margaery replies appropriately humbly, while indicating that that would be an honour. Cersei is favourably inclined, and says she will see about starting the arrangements for Tommen to marry Margaery. Margaery, perhaps a little too relaxed, drops a joke about an abundance of weddings – referring to the fact that Cersei is still betrothed to her brother Loras, and says she doesn’t know whether to call Cersei mother or sister. I thought this might trigger a harsh response, but Cersei takes it all in her stride. Well, Cersei is one cool customer all right. I imagine she has some plan in the back of her mind, which requires sucking up to Margaery for the time being.

Cersei meets Tywin and suggests the marriage. Tywin asks how soon. Cersei says after an appropriate period for her to mourn her son and Margaery her husband. Tywin says, A fortnight, then?” and Cersei happily agrees. He says her marriage to Loras should not be delayed much longer either, and suggests holding it a fortnight later. Tywin says they need a strong alliance with the Tyrells to support their current financial problems. He reveals that the Lannister gold mines have been worked out, and the family is in massive debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, which is news to Cersei. This is significant news, as it foreshadows problems when the Lannisters need to raise an army – their victory in any coming war now seems much less assured.

Cersei goes to talk to Prince Oberyn of Dorne. They discuss her daughter Myrcella. I’ve forgotten why Myrcella was sent away from King’s Landing, but apparently Oberyn has some connection to her, as Cersei asks him to take her a gift. When he agrees, she reveals it’s a ship! Cersei wants her to be able to sail on the water, as she loves to do. Oberyn agrees to sail it down to wherever Myrcella is. Myrcella has featured so little in the story so far that I can’t remember anything pertinent about her, but this development might be leading up to something that sees her reappear.

The Eyrie: Petyr Baelish and Sansa are walking through a narrow defile towards a large fortified gate. Dozens of men armed with drawn bows watch them from the cliffs above. Petyr tells Sansa to cover her red hair, and that this narrow defensive channel is the only approach to The Eyrie, keeping it safe from all assault for the past thousand years. When they reach the gate, a guardsman asks who wishes to pass. Petyr says his name, and indicates Sansa is his “niece”. The guard welcomes Petyr as an old friend, and lets them through.

In The Eyrie, they meet Lysa. She greets Sansa as her (true) niece and declares she will be safe here. She introduces Sansa to her spoilt brat son Robin, who jokes about the time when they held Tyrion captive and he wanted to push him out the hole in the floor to his doom. Sansa is somewhat taken aback, but Robin takes Sansa to her room. Now alone, Lysa and Petyr embrace and kiss, and she rattles on about missing him. She demands they get married this very day, to which Petyr is at first somewhat reluctant, but eventually he agrees – it seems mostly just to placate the demanding and somewhat deranged Lysa. She reveals that not only did Petyr have Joffrey murdered, but he also had her previous husband poisoned too! Whoa!

This is crazy stuff. Petyr always seemed relatively innocuous, but now in the last two episodes he’s revealed to be some sort of mastermind behind numerous murders that have upset the balances of power across the whole continent. And now he’s marrying Lysa, which she clearly wants, but his reluctance speaks of a deeper motive. I can’t believe someone as smart and cunning as Petyr actually loves someone as unhinged as Lysa. I wonder what his game is here.

Next day – after the lightning wedding – Lysa talks to Sansa. She asks about Tyrion, if he forced himself on her, and she answers no, he left her alone. Lysa then paranoidly accuses Sansa of being pregnant and Petyr of having slept with her! All the while gripping tightly on Sansa’s hands, so hard that it hurts Sansa. In tears, Sansa denies it, insisting she’s still a virgin. Eventually Lysa seems satisfied and releases Sansa. She says that as soon as Tyrion is executed, Sansa can marry her son Robin! Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Sansa escaped marrying Joffrey, but now might be doomed to marry someone almost as sociopathic.

Heading to The Eyrie: On their way to the same place, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane and Arya are going to sleep in camp. Arya recites the list of names of people she intends to kill, and the sound of this annoys The Hound. Oddly, he asks her questions about why she does this, and she explains. ONe of the names is his brother Gregor “The Mountain”. He says if they ever find him, he’ll help her kill him. He says carry on, and she says there’s one last name: The Hound. All things considered, he takes this rather well, and they go to sleep.

Gregor wakes in the morning, to find Arya gone. He looks around desperately, finding her on a sandy river bank practising her sword moves that Syrio taught her. He says they looks stupid. She attempts to poke his with her sword, but his armour stops the blow, and then he smacks her to the ground with the back of his hand. He tells her that that swordfight technique is useless against armour. The scene ends, but this feels like a prelude to more Karate Kid antics, now with The Hound teaching Arya how to fight dirty, to add to her arsenal of fighting methods. I fully expect to see this next episode. And he will, almost without realising it, make her into a more finely honed killing machine.

Heading to Castle Black: Brienne has decided that the best place to pick up Sansa’s trail is at Castle Black, where she knows Jon Snow to be. Podrick demonstrates his uselessness as a squire, unable to ride a horse, or cook a rabbit. She asks what he did for Tyrion. He answers that mostly he brought him his meals, and poured wine. Oh, and one time he killed a man who was threatening Tyrion during the Battle of Blackwater. Brienne’s attitude changes from “I release you from your duty, go away” to “all right, help me with my armour”. This is clearly another fast friendship in the making from a rocky start. There’s really no other plausible story arc for these two, in all honesty.

Craster’s Keep: Locke is scouting Craster’s Keep, and returns to the Night’s Watch men to report eleven mutineers, mostly drunk. He reckons they can take them easily. Jon agrees and says they attack at nightfall. However, Locke had also seen Bran Stark and the others being held captive in a hut at the edge of the compound, and warns Jon not to go near it as there are dogs in there who will give the mutineers warning.

The mutineer leader enters the hut with some of his men. They take Meera and tie her up, looking to do unspeakable things with her. Bran yells uselessly in protest, but Jojen distracts the leader by saying he can see the future. The leader asks if he can see what he’s going to do to Jojen’s sister, and Jojen says no, but he can see the leader dying and burning. Then the alarm is raised as Jon’s troops attack, and everyone rushes out to fight.

During the fighting, Locke slips into the hut and identifies Bran by cutting his leg and seeing that Bran doesn’t react to any pain. He unties and grabs Bran and runs off into the woods. Bran uses his warg ability to enter Hodor’s mind, making Hodor pull intelligently on his chain to break free and race after them. Hodor catches up and kills Locke with his bare hands, and Bran returns to his own body. Hodor looks bewildered and shocked, especially at the blood on his hands, but Bran orders him to carry him to safety. They free Jojen and Meera. Seeing Jon fighting, Bran wants to stay and talk to him, but Jojen reveals a vision of Bran and a weirwood tree and advises him that he has to continue north to find the three-eyed raven. If Jon sees them, he’ll take them back to Castle Black. Reluctantly, Bran agrees and they sneak off before the fight ends.

I think this is a terrible decision by Bran. Even given he wants to travel onward, talking to Jon isn’t going to harm that. Who’s the Lord of Winterfell? Bran, not Jon. Jon has to follow his orders. Firstly, I don’t think Jon would openly defy Bran, and secondly, even if he did, I don’t think Jon could stop Bran and his companions from going even if he wanted to. Bran should know all this too. There’s no real disadvantage to letting Jon know they are there. And the advantages! He could exchange news with Jon! Let Jon know the Lord of Winterfell is alive! And Jon could give Bran important news too! Like… info about Mance Rayder. And White Walkers! There is so much that both of them could learn from one another. Ugh… avoiding meeting Jon is so stupid that it beggars belief. Sorry Bran, but bad call.

Anyway, the fight ends dramatically with a mano-a-mano fight between Jon and the mutineer leader. He fights with two knives, and is a match for Jon, but the tables are turned when one of Craster’s wives stabs the leader in the back. He turns on the woman, and Jon rams his sword through the back of his neck. The Watch have lost five men, but ten mutineers are dead… but there were eleven. One escaped and ran off into the forest. But Bran freed Jon’s wolf Ghost before they fled, and Ghost tracks down the escapee and rips his throat out, before returning to an ecstatic Jon. Jon is none the wiser to the fact that Bran was within spitting distance. They offer to take the women back to Castle Black, but they decline. They ask only that they can watch the keep and the bodies of their captors burn. The scene closes with a huge fire. Which seems like a stupid thing to do… hello, it can probably be seen for miles all around. By Mance Rayder. By White Walkers. By who knows what?

Meereen: Daenerys hears news of Joffrey’s death. And Daario has captured a navy, without Daenerys having asked him to do so, so she now has plenty of ships. Daenerys suggests now is the time to sail for Westeros and attack. Jorah advises that they might succeed, but then again they might not yet have enough men. And in other news, both Yunkai and Astapor have had revolts and the freed slaves that she left there have been subjugated again by local rulers who found enough followers to assert power.

Daenerys considers. Jorah asks if she intends to attack Westeros. She says no, she will do what a queen does, and rule. This obviously means that she will take steps to assert her own power here, by reclaiming Astapor and Yunkai, and making sure everyone knows she isn’t going anywhere. And here we finally have a setback for Daenerys. She could potentially be kept fighting fires here for years, before gathering enough conviction to attack Westeros. I dont expect that to happen because that’s too boring. There’ll be some other trigger event which sets things in motion again. What it will be, I have no idea at this point.

One Response to “Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 5 “First of His Name””

  1. Lauri T. says:

    I rewatched the episode and I have to agree, it doesn’t seem right how easily Bran gives up on the opportunity to be reunited with Jon. Mind you, Jon serves the Night’s Watch, not Winterfell, but even so, I find it hard as you do to believe that he’d take Bran back to the Wall against his will. Maybe Bran is afraid that the reunion might weaken his resolve, or that Jon might insist on going north with him and Bran doesn’t want Jon to risk his life for him.

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