We are now in the middle of Season 4, AKA the point where the writers start setting things up for Episode 9, which has traditionally been when Big Things happen. Tonight's Game of Thrones episode, "First of His Name," was no exception to that wheels-spinning rule. Not a ton "happened," but it was still a satisfying hour of television.
The episode started with Tommen's coronation day (which, of course, put this in my head), and the rest of the episode caught us up with other characters who are also embarking upon new journeys in their own lives.
Tommen: Let's start with the new king. First of all, I love that Tommen is an actual character on this show. In the books, he's just kind of there. He's a puppet, everyone around him is pulling the strings. On the show, he's still a puppet, but he's also a kid who knows he's in over his head and just wants to be the best king he can be. Cersei was not wrong in her assessment that he may be the first man in fifty years to sit upon the Iron Throne and actually be worthy of it. Tommen, being the second son of Cersei and "Robert," never expected to be in this position, so he lacks that sense of entitlement Joffrey always had. He's really a lovely boy; and, when discussing Game of Thrones, no one ever says that Tommen should be the one atop the Iron Throne when the last words have been written in the Song of Ice and Fire series, but maybe we should start taking him more seriously.
Anyway, two people, at least, are taking him seriously, or at least they're taking his position seriously. Those two people are Margaery and Cersei. Cersei knows that Margaery is actively pursuing her son, and she is being much more understanding in this situation than most mothers would be when they realize an older, twice widowed girl has set her sights on her baby boy. Cersei gets it. She's a throne games player if there ever was one. Margaery is just trying to keep her seat at the table. It's totally what Cersei would've done if Robert had died before the two of them had produced any "heirs." If she had found herself in Margaery's position, she would've been on Stannis like Lysa on Littlefinger.
Littlefinger: Let's talk about Petyr Baelish for a second, shall we? He and Sansa are already in the Vale. That was quick. In the books, they stop off at Littlfinger's childhood home and work on their plan to hide Sansa in plain sight (as his bastard daughter, Alayne Stone, which is a badass name). But the show ain't got no time for that. So now they take care of the "you're Alayne" stuff while walking through the gates of the Vale and heading up to see Lysa in the Eyrie (which you will remember as the place in Season 1 where that lady -- Lysa -- breast fed her six-year-old kid and then locked Tyrion in a wallless dungeon, where he could plummet to his death if only he flipped over the wrong way in his sleep).
Lysa is super happy that Littlefinger is back. She is HORNY. So horny. And she wants to make things legal with Baelish. She has her septon at the ready, and the two of them get hitched the first night he's back from King's Landing. Lysa announces both that she will scream like a banshee when her new husband ravages her (she was not lying) and that, once Tyrion is put to death for killing Joffrey, Sansa is now promised to marry Lysa's son, and Sansa's first cousin, Robin, Lord of the Vale and mommy milk enthusiast. Sansa is not really excited about the prospect of marrying another dude she's not into.
Cersei: Speaking of marrying dudes you're not into (I'm doing great with segues tonight), Cersei is still betrothed to Loras Tyrell. She doesn't like it, but she totally gets it. The Tyrells are giving the Lannisters a run for their money as the most powerful family in all of Westeros. Cersei believes, at first, that this must be a lot of bluster, that, surely, the Tyrells aren't even remotely close to the Lannisters, money and power-wise. But then Tywin reveals that the gold mines near Casterly Rock have been barren for years, and the family owes the Iron Bank of Braavos (which you'll remember from Davos's plotting a few weeks ago) billions upon trillions of dollars. Basically, Cersei has to marry Loras and Margaery has to marry Tommen, just so the Lannisters can get a taste of that sweet, sweet rose money.
Cersei also gets a little moment in this episode with Oberyn Martell (lucky lady). Her daughter, Myrcella, has been in Dorne now for a year (Cersei sent her there to keep her safe). She misses her daughter a great deal, and I think she's really starting to see how much the women of Westeros are shunted and shifted around just to make life better for the men, who are the ones screwing things up with their wars and their money problems. It sucks to be a woman in Westeros.
Brienne: Speaking of women in Westeros, Brienne is still on her journey with Podrick to find Sansa. She still insists that she doesn't need a squire; but when she has trouble getting out of her iron and after she learns that Podrick killed a member of the King's Guard during the Battle of Blackwater, she starts to realize having him around might not be such a bad thing. She should also ask him what else he might be able to help her with (vis a vis, boning).
Arya: Speaking of boning, Arya is not boning the Hound. She's actually still mentioning him in her nightly list of assholes she wants to kill. The Hound overhears this and is a bit surprised, maybe even hurt. He thinks the two of them have bonded, but she still sees him as the guy who killed her friend, the butcher's son. The Hound catches her practicing her water dancing and tells her that if this Syrio Forel was such a good swordsman, how come Meryn Trant was able to kill him? The answer: Trant had armor and a big, fucking sword.
Bran: Speaking of big things, let's check in with Hodor and his friends. They're still stuck in the hut on Craster's property, and I figured they'd still be stuck there for a few more weeks, but no. Jon Snow got his crows moving and managed to get beyond the Wall and over to Craster's Keep in about twenty minutes. No one on this show has ever moved so quickly (a-hem, Daenerys). Locke, of course, takes it upon himself to check out the haps in Craster's house, and he finds Bran and company sitting in the hut. He promises to take Bran to Jon, but then stabs him in the leg and drags him out of the hut to certain doom (probably in the form of Ramsay Snow). Bran, taking shit to a new level, gets his warg on and enters Hodor's brain. Bran/Hodor breaks through his chains, saves Bran, kills Locke, and frees Meera and Jojen. The lot of them take off into the woods (presumably to the special tree Jojen saw in his vision), setting Ghost free and allowing him to reunite with Jon (who manages to defeat all of the mutineers and burns Craster's Keep to the ground).
Dany: I almost completely forgot that she was in this episode. She learned that the cities she has freed so far are starting to regress back to the way things were, like she had never swept through those cities in the first place. Her advisors want her to forget about Slavers' Bay and think about sailing to King's Landing to oust Tommen (especially now that Daario has procured for her a fleet of ships), but she knows she's not ready. She needs to learn how to rule first, so, no, Dany will continue to travel nowhere very slowly.
- I loved that Craster's daughter/wife got to kill the main mutineer guy whose name I never bothered to learn and who cares at this point because he's dead and burned with the house just as Jojen predicted.
- Lysa is a piece of work. She's one big emotional fireball. She loves Petyr. She wants his Littlefinger. She's glad to have Sansa at her house and is happy that she's able to provide lemon cakes. She goes into a jealous rage that Sansa has been getting the Littlefinger all this time (going so far as to accuse Sansa of being pregnant). She's truly a delight.
- Oberyn has
fiveeight, (whatever) (bastard) daughters. They're hanging out with Myrcella in Dorne, and we'll probably get to meet them in Season Five.
- Cersei was not blind to how big a monster her elder son was. She's just constantly disappointed by the men in her life.
What did you think of the episode?
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