Genre: Historical Fantasy
Watched: Episode 35 – May 4, 2014
Title: First of His Name
Summary: Good stuff
Martin has a talent for coining phrases, and internet joking about XX of YY aside, First of His Name is one such title. Evocative, like so many of his little turns of phrase, it’s simultaneously unique to the books/show and characteristic of medieval phraseology.
Anyway, as usual, I’ll break down the threads into their sub plots for discussion.
Cersei – If Jaime was front and center last week, it’s Cersei standing in for Kings Landing (hey, Tyrion doesn’t even show this episode, which might be a first!). Tommen is crowned and both his women (Cersei and Margery) loom large. But when they talk, instead of the biting hatred that Cersei usually shows her young rival there is a bit of revealing honesty. Knowing C, she’s probably just playing Marg.
Next, she plans his wedding with her father. Apparently it won’t even be that long off (so much for letting Tommen drop a pair). She and Tywin have one of those legacy discussions. Plus it seems the Lanisters are actually out of gold and owe a fortune to the Iron Bank of Bravos. That’s folding in with Davos’ plans, which is some new stuff from the book. As usual, Charles Dance is in fine fine form.
Lastly, Cersei returns to Olena’s suicide-watch garden for a chat with Oberyn. He mentions his 8 daughters (the Sand Snakes) and they discuss Cersei’s daughter (in Dorne). Cersei wants to send a ship as a gift. This is probably setting up some action from A Dance with Dragons. Some great lines too like O: “We will have a trial and we will learn the truth” C: “We’ll have a trail anyway.”
Dany – gets the news of Joff’s death, and is confronted with a choice. Seems she now has ships but the slavers have reclaimed the cities she spent Season 3 taking. She’ll woman up and set things to right — because we can’t have her getting back to Westeros too soon can we?
Arya and the Hound – try to sleep, but she has to recite her names, amusing enough as they include him! In the morning he thinks she’s gone, but finds her practicing her water dance out by the river. Arya does a great job with this, looking every bit the girl really trying to practice her swordwork. The little spar between them is great as always.
Brienne and Pod – The big she-knight is pretty ambivalent about having him along as a squire as it is, but Pod’s lousy horsemanship and ineptitude at cooking rabbits has a certain charm. What really hooks her though is his story about protecting Tyrion at the Blackwater.
Sansa – also has a substantial arc in this episode. She approaches the Bloody Gate and the entrance to the Eerie with Littlefinger. She’s in disguise as his niece. Again we skip the cool approach to the fortress, but Robyn and Lysa aren’t any more stable for an extra 2 years atop their perch. Lysa knows Sansa’s secret and seemingly greets her all smiles. Then we’re treated to some icky Littlefinger/Crazy lady make out. And Lysa admits to having poisoned her husband and dragged Cat into this. That Littlefinger, he’s had her, and had her wrapped around his littlefinger for some time.
Sansa and Lysa have some bonding time, but Aunt crazy has some serious jealousy issues with regard to her man — not that she doesn’t have reason to doubt his sincerity. Lysa has in mind some cousin on cousin marriage for Sansa. Really, that wasn’t odd at all in the Middle Ages.
Jon & Bran – So close again. Locke spies on the mutineers and finds Bran and crew. Slipping back to Jon he tries to warn them away from the building. Meanwhile, Bran and Jojen have a shared pseudo vision and confirm their desire to seek out the “one tree” (or whatever the big face tree is).
Carl comes in and has Meera hung up on a hook so he can get down with the R word — but fate (and the Night’s Watch) intervene. While Jon and crew slaughter the scum, Locke sneaks into where Bran is tied up and tries to carry him away. Bran jumps into Hodor’s mind and sends the giant off to nearly rip Locke’s head off — bye bye. He sees Jon, and wants to crawl to him, but Jojen convinces him that he must continue heading toward the tree.
Jon and Karl have a nice duel — double dagger vs. sword. It doesn’t go great for Jon under one of Craster’s wives (setup last week) helps him out, and then Karl gets a seriously gnarly sword through the head. Ghost makes a return visit grabbing Rast (who has escaped and is making a break for it) and returns to Jon — who apparently hadn’t forgotten about him like we all thought he had.
This whole Craster’s Keep raid isn’t in the books, and in the end, it doesn’t change anything, but it does serve to give Jon and Bran’s plot lines some jeopardy and to help tie in Bran a bit. Really, when a character runs off in parallel without seeing anyone for 2-3 whole books, it doesn’t play that great — good changes!
All and all, a solid episode. Perhaps not as good as Oathkeeper, but really some good work on the Cersei, Sansa, and Jon timelines. More Arya. More Arya!
HBO’s official inside the episode: