Sigh. If we're being honest, Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 5 ("First of His Name") wasn't the most interesting episode ever. A lot of talk, a lot of setup, not a lot of payoff. Still, even the dullest episode of Game of Thrones is rife with nice character moments and some good action. So let's get to it!
King's Landing: A New King
We start with Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) being crowned king, to much applause. He pulls the whole thing off with a lot of grace for a literal child. He seems like he's actually nice and respectful. Poor kid. That probably means he's gonna die.
After the crowning ceremony, we spend the rest of this episode's King's Landing scenes following Cersei (Lena Headey). First, she cozies up to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) for a surprisingly civil chat in which she admits that Joffrey was a terrible person (really!), and even acts like she wants Marg to marry Tommen. What exactly is she angling for, there? Because you know she hasn't suddenly decided she wants to be BFFs with Marg.
Next, Tywin and Cersei set wedding dates and talk frankly about their family's struggles. Tywin admits a huge problem: the Lannister gold mines have run dry. On top of that, the crown owes the Iron Bank of Braavos a lot of money, and as Tywin makes very clear here, the Iron Bank is bad, bad news. It brings down whoever it wants if it doesn't get its money. You can't ignore the importance of the economy in politics, even in pseudo-medieval fantasy land.
Finally, Cersei takes Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) for a walk. They discuss his eight (!) daughters, his dead sister, his quest for vengeance... And the fact that Cersei wants Tyrion to go down for Joffrey's murder. Interfering with due process much? They also touch on Myrcella, Cersei's daughter who is currently in Dorne. Oberyn insists she's happy, that they don't hurt little girls in Dorne. Cersei sends her daughter a ship as a present.
We're not exactly sure what we're supposed to take away from all of this, but one thing is certain: Cersei really will do everything in her power to make sure her little brother dies.
Meereen: She's Staying
This opens up an interesting question. Dany has an army. She has a navy. Is it enough to take Westeros? Before she can delve too deeply into the logistics of taking over an entire continent, Dany learns something else: both of the slave cities she "freed" last year have been taken over by ruthless and cruel new rulers. Whoops. Dany realizes that if she can't control Slaver's Bay, why would anyone want her ruling seven whole kingdoms? If she leaves now, it means abandoning all of the people she freed. She decides to stay in Meereen as queen until she can fix the giant mess she's made and ensure that her revolution sticks.
So, basically, she's getting to Westeros just about never. Yay.
The Vale: The Seed Is Weak
Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Littlefinger have made it to the Vale, where Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) passes Sansa off as his niece. We're reintroduced to Lysa Arryn, Cat's crazed sister with a penchant for breastfeeding her school-ages child. She's well aware of who Sansa is — in fact, as we learn later, she wants Sansa to marry Robin, her son, once Tyrion has been killed. We're also reminded of the moon door, the hole that almost cost Tyrion his life in Season 1. Man, for someone who's not on screen, he's getting a lot of hate this week.
After Sansa and Robin leave, Lysa Arryn turns her intensity up to 11, declaring that she wants to marry Littlefinger that night. He tries to put it off, mentioning that weddings normally have , ya know, more than a few hour's notice, but she's not having it. Apparently, they've already had sex, which in Lysa's mind means they're already as good as married. Plus she, uh... killed her husband for Littlefinger.
Let us repeat, but this was a subtle point: Littlefinger and Lysa are the reason Jon Arryn died. They're the reason Ned ended up the new Hand. In some ways, they're the reason this entire damn series happened. Damn.
Anyway, Littlefinger eventually gives into the wedding demand, and they get married right then and there, because Lysa had a Septon behind that door. You gotta give her credit for fully committing to her completely warped view of the world. "I'm warning you, I'm going to scream when my husband makes love to me," she gushes. Which apparently is true, much to Sansa's annoyance.
Later, Lysa and Sansa bond over lemon cakes, but Lysa's crazy once again quickly shines through. She's still insanely jealous over Cat (who, if you recall, Littlefinger was in love with), and Littlefinger's whores, and even Sansa herself. She's convinced Littlefinger slept with Sansa until Sansa's tearful insistence that it's not true wins her over. For now. It's a great scene from both actresses, but it makes us worried for poor Sansa. It seems like Lysa could totally snap.
On the Road: The Odd Couples
Arya (Maisie Williams) still recites her kill list before going to sleep, much to The Hound's (Rory McCann) annoyance. They briefly bond over hating The Mountain, but Arya ruins it by making sure The Hound knows he's on her list. Aw, man. We guess this bromance still has an expiration date.
The next day, The Hound spots Arya practicing her sword fighting, Braavos style. He's unimpressed. He mocks Syrio, Arya's old instructor, and gives her a lesson in the power of armor and a big sword. That Hound, so full of wisdom. Depressing, depressing wisdom.
Elsewhere, the Brienne and Pod show has begun. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is headed towards the Wall, since she thinks Sansa might be trying to meet up with Jon (Kit Harington). She tries to dismiss Pod, freeing him of his oath to her, but he's not having it. Best. Squire. Ever.
OK, so, not actually the best squire ever, since he doesn't know how to ride a horse, or cook food, or really anything practical for life on the road. Brienne does seem pretty impressed when Pod fesses up to killing a member of the Kingsguard to protect Tyrion. She lets him help her take off her armor, and it is adorable.
Beyond the Wall: A Near Reunion
Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and his second sight inists that everything is OK. This isn't the end of Bran, Jojen says; he has to make it to that big Weirwood tree Bran has also seen in his visions. That's encouraging. What's not encouraging is Meera (Ellie Kendrick) being threatened with rape. Jeez, show. How old is she even supposed to be? Can we stop for a second with the rape and rape threats? We get that Karl is all sorts of evil, but this is getting tiring.
Fortunately, Jon and his band of recruits gets there in time to save the day. That's the good news. That bad news is that amidst the fighting, Locke finds Bran. But never fear! Bran uses his warging powers to take over Hodor's body long enough to strangle Locke to death. Hodor seems pretty distressed when he comes to, but he manages to cut Bran free and rescue the Reeds.
Meanwhile, Jon takes Karl down in a swordfight that almost costs Jon his life until one of Craster's wives interferes. Good for her! Jon takes Karl out in a truly epic moment, stabbing him through the mouth from behind. Damn. Talk about brutal.
Also brutal? Ghost taking out the mutineer that used to torment him. Jon and Ghost are reunited! Win! An actually happy moment! Craster's Keep is burnt to the ground. Good riddance.
Sadly, those of you hoping for a Stark family reunion didn't get your wish. Jojen convinces Bran he has to leave without seeing Jon, because Jon would, obviously, insist that Bran come back to The Wall — and that's not where the Three-Eyed Raven is. Will we ever see two Starks together again?
- "Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls." Truth, Cersei.
- Pod on serving Tyrion: "Mostly I poured wine."
- There was no Tyrion this week. He was very missed. (Jaime was also missing, and also missed.)
- We love that Tywin refused to talk to Cersei about Tyrion's trial. He never misses a beat.
What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments below!