Game of Thrones – Episode 4.5 “First of His Name”

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Synopsis: Tommen is pronounced king as his family, the townsfolk, and a flirty Margaery look on. Long may he reign. Cersei catches Tyrell’s side smile and walks over to say “hey.” Cersei admits that Joffrey was a bit of a monster, the things he did shocked even her, but she still cared for her first born. Cersei asks if Margaery is still interested in being queen and Tyrell feigns as if she hasn’t spent every waking moment about it. Daenerys gets word of Joffrey’s demise. She also learns that Daario has taken Mereen’s navy for her. Dany and her council talk strategy, and her mission. Jorah tells her that the kingdom’s she’s freed have seen revolts, and that the ones she’s left behind have begun to mobilize against her. As the others leave, she talks more with Jorah and decides to rule in Mereen until she can get Slaver’s Bay under control. Littlefinger and Sansa make their way to the Eyrie as the Knights of the Vale watch their approach. Baelish offers advice on how to rule the Vale. When they approach the gate Littlefinger presents Sansa as his niece and they are let in. Petyr receives a warm welcome from Lysa and Robin. Lysa lets Sansa knows who she really is and cautions her to maintain her secret. When alone with Baelish, Lysa throws herself at her intended. She wants to get married as soon as possible. Turns out they’ve been conspiring for some time, including poisoning her husband, Jon Arryn, you know the guy whose death started this whole series. This means her letter to Catelyn about the Lannister threat was also a lie. So, the entire conflict, though always brewing, was set into motion by Lysa, at Baelish’s behest. A big moment, that is underplayed rather dramatically. That night, Sansa listens as her aunt is rogered roundly.

Tywin and Cersei decide when it would be appropriate for Margaery and Tommen to marry. They agree on a fortnight, and that her marriage to Loras will soon follow. Tywin lets Cersei in on a little secret, the Lannisters are broke. They owe a tremendous amount of money to the Iron Bank and they need the Tyrell’s (and their money) to be on their side. Cersei mentions her brother, but Tywin says he can’t discuss the case with her. He’s an impartial judge you see. As if. She says she won’t discuss it, but then drops a nice, manipulative little barb about the Lannister legacy and what Tyrion did to it (rogered that roundly, she suggests, knowing the right Tywin buttons to push). Arya speaks her names into the fire. There are a few new names added to it, including Melisandre, Beric, and Thoros. She adds one more name before going to sleep: The Hound. Sansa feels a bit more comfortable in the Vale as Lysa bonds with her, talking about Catelyn. But Lysa’s affections for Petyr border on the psychotic and Lysa threatens Sansa and asks if they’ve ever gotten together. Sansa denies it, as Lysa digs her nails in her, and Sansa realizes she’s just traded one prison for another.  Podrick and Brienne ride along as Brienne grows weary of Pod’s presence. She frees him of his vow to be her squire, but he refuses to leave her side. Later, Pod burns a bunny (not a euphemism) and Brienne wonders what he did for Tyrion. Well, there’s that kingsguard he killed that tried to murder Tyrion. Brienne softens toward him. The Hound wakes in the morning and sees Arya gone. He finds her down by a stream, practicing her swordsmanship. Cersei visits Oberyn in the gardens and throws him an olive branch. She asks him to bring Myrcella a gift and he agrees. She points out a ship in the water that she had built for her daughter.

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Meera, Jojen, Bran and Hodor are tied up in a shed. Jojen tells Bran about the special tree he’s seen that is the necessary end of the journey for Bran. Bran admits he’s seen the tree too. Jojen says this isn’t the end of their journey, and Meera asks how they will know when it’s the end. Jojen says they will know, ominously. Locke returns to the other crows as they move on Craster’s keep. Locke spied ahead and they make a plan to attack that evening. Karl and his men come for Meera. Jojen tells Karl he can see the future and says he saw that he dies tonight. Just then, the Night’s Watch attacks. Locke enters to free Bran, but he really wants to take him back to Bolton. As the crows take care of the men outside, Bran wargs into Hodor, who breaks his chains and chokes the life out of Locke. Hodor. Bran sets Hodor free and has him free the others. Before Bran can let Jon knows he’s there, Jojen convinces them to continue on their journey. Snow will never let him continue north of the wall. Snow faces down Karl, but Karl gets the upper hand. He’s about to kill Snow but one of Craster’s girls stabs him in the back. And before he has time to react to that, Jon puts a sword through his face, from the back. Everyone is dead except for Rast who has run off. He passes by the direwolf cages that have been opened and Ghost sees that he doesn’t get much farther. Ghost and Snow reunite. Jon offers to take the women back to Castle Black with them, but they want to make their own way. They all look on as Craster’s Keep burns to the ground.

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Comments: Talk about burying the lede (not a perfect metaphor, but still). The fact that Lysa was the one who poisoned her husband at the urging of Baelish kind of upends a lot of what we knew. It goes a long way to further how far Littlefinger is willing to go to get what he wants, which he’s told us time and again is “everything.” The capper at Craster’s Keep is a fitting end to that story, and while it does feel a bit like a wasted diversion, it was important for getting Gilly and Sam together, reuniting Jon with Ghost, and keeping the Starks away from the Boltons (for now). Tommen as king comes with more hopeful expectations than his brother who was always a tool. We don’t know much about Tommen, other than he seems to have a good heart, he didn’t really care for his brother either, and he knows how to name a cat. Whatever mild familial connection Cersei and Tyrion had is clearly gone with the former still swearing he’s guilty and working hard to see that he suffers. Dany’s slow build continues to be an effective counterpoint to the machinations in King’s Landing, but there’s still a burgeoning interest in getting her story to connect more directly with the mainland. Overall, an episode that continues to build the main stories of the season, notably Tyrion’s pending trial.

Quotes:
The Hound: Your friend’s dead, and Meryn Trant’s not, ‘cause Trant had armor, and a big fucking sword.

Cersei: Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls.

Margaery Tyrell (to Cersei): We may be faced with an alarming number of weddings soon. I won’t even know what to call you. Sister? Or mother?

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Foreshadowing: Littlefinger’s emergence as a real threat is interesting, especially when it’s obvious he does not care much for Lysa, only her power. Cersei’s gift for Myrcella, and all of Cersei’s machinations hint that she’s not going to continue to get away with everything. And Dany’s issues behind her, indicate more challenges in front of her.

Title: Spoken by the septon as he crowns Tommen.

Deaths: Hodor (but really Bran) breaks Locke’s neck. Karl gets face stabbed by Jon. Ghost goes num nums on Rast.

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