Well folks, we’ve reached the halfway point of season four and what a ride it’s been. Unlike past seasons, where many of the revelations were reserved for the last two episodes, season four has pulled out all the stops. Joffrey died in episode two and the infamous White Walkers made their formal debut in episode four. Though so much has happened thus far, there are still five episodes left and a lot of story to get through. And yet, last night’s episode, “First of His Name,” was quiet by ‘Game of Thrones’ standards. There were no huge revelations, no spontaneous deaths or, aside from one scene, a true divergence from canon. In many ways, the episode felt like a breather, like the calm before a winter storm. That doesn’t mean that the episode was not interesting. On the contrary, it was quite engrossing, setting some important plot pieces into motion. So without further ado, here is the recap for “First of His Name.”
The episode begins with Tommen’s coronation. The little king stands proudly as Tywin puts the crown on his head. Unlike his brother however, Tommen exudes no swagger or cockiness. I get the sense that Tommen is a bit weary of the throne. You can tell based on his expression. He understands the heavy burden that is being placed upon his shoulders.
After the official ceremony, Tommen sits on the Iron Throne to meet with his subjects but he only has eyes for Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey’s widow smiles at him from across the throne room. Last week, Margaery secretly snuck into Tommen’s room in an effort to get to know her future husband. Judging by the looks on their faces, the meetings must be going well. Their silent exchange is interrupted by Cersei, who catches the two love birds.
She slips off to speak with Margaery. Rather than being upset with the Tyrell girl for moving onto Tommen, Cersei gets vulnerable in front of Margaery and talks about Joffrey. She asks Margaery if she still thinks about her former husband. Margaery skillfully implies that she mourns Joffrey but Cersei knows the truth. “He would have been your nightmare. You knew exactly what he was. The things he did shocked me.” This revelation is startling coming from Cersei. In the past few seasons, you get the sense that Cersei enjoyed her son’s wickedness, even encouraged it. Cersei then proceeds to ask Margaery if she plans on marrying Tommen. Even though Margaery made her intentions clear last week, she gives the queen a diplomatic answer and says that she still has to think about it.
Riding high after her defeat of the Mereen slave masters, Daenerys is informed by her advisors that King Joffrey is dead and his brother rules in his stead. The king’s death has caused a domino effect in the Seven Kingdoms. Things are falling apart and now would be the opportunity for Dany to make her way to Westeros. Though Dany considers it, there are more immediate problems she needs to deal with. The last two cities she conquered in Slavers Bay have reverted back to their old ways in her absence. Dany then makes the wise decision to stay at Mereen and rule. She cannot ever hope of conquering the Seven Kingdoms if she cannot hold down Slaver’s Bay.
Sansa and Littlefinger head on foot to the Eyrie where Sansa’s Aunt Lysa is waiting. When they arrive at the gates, Littlefinger tells the guards that Sansa is his niece Alayne, not his bastard daughter like in the books. Lady Lysa and her son Robin welcome the duo with open arms. Sansa pretends to act like she doesn’t know who Lysa is, but the Lady of the Vale happily informs Sansa that she was in on the plan all along. Sansa is grateful to have a place to stay away from the Lannisters and while Lysa is happy to oblige, she urges Robin to never refer to Sansa by name in court. No one is to know that they are harboring her.
When Robin escorts Sansa out of the room, Lysa urges Littlefinger to marry her. Lord Baelish is a little hesitant on the matter and really who could blame him? Weddings aren’t exactly a happy affair in Westeros, but Lysa insists upon it. She tells Littlefinger that she has done more for him than any woman ever would. Not only did she poison her husband Jon Arryn at Littlefinger’s urging, but she also wrote a letter to her sister Catelyn blaming the Lannisters for Jon’s death. This act of treachery kicked off the entire series. Who knew Littlefinger was so devious? Then again, in episode three, Littlefinger did tell Sansa that he wanted everything, so his act of duplicity should not come as much of a surprise.
Before she can say much more, Littlefinger kisses her and the couple gets married.
Cersei and Tywin discuss the future of the Seven Kingdoms. It is imperative that Tommen marry Margaery in order to further strengthen the Lannister-Tyrell alliance. They need the Tyrells, especially now that the crown is in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos. If they fail to pay back the money they owe, there will be some dire consequences for the Lannisters. Aligning themselves with the Tyrells ensures that the crown will have the money to pay their debts and that’s a big thing for the Lannisters. They always pay their debts.
The Hound is trying to sleep, but finds it difficult thanks to Arya and her nighttime ritual of reciting the names on her death list. When she reaches the Mountain, they have a discussion about what the Hound would do if his big brother were present. Apparently, the Hound would tell him to shut up so he could sleep. The Hound then asks Arya to finish her list. She has one name left: the Hound.
Sansa is settling into her new home at her aunt’s castle, lemon cakes and all. She and Lysa bond until the Lady of the Vale snaps. She wants to know why Littlefinger feels responsible for Sansa. Startled by her aunt’s mood swing, Sansa reveals that Littlefinger is looking after her because he loves the family. Lysa takes this to mean that he still loves her sister Catelyn. She thinks that is unfair considering Catelyn never had feelings for Littlefinger. Lysa then grills Sansa on her relationship with Littlefinger. She thinks the two have slept together and that Sansa is secretly pregnant. Sansa repeatedly assures Lysa that she is still a virgin. Eventually, Lysa comforts her, telling Sansa that following Tyrion’s death, she will be free to marry Robin. Sansa does not seemed thrilled at the prospect of another arranged marriage.
Somewhere on the Road
Brienne and Poderick are on their way to find Sansa. It is clear that Brienne would much rather go at it alone, but Poderick is stubborn. He will not leave Brienne or break his oath to Jamie and Tyrion.
The Hound wakes up to find that Arya is missing. He eventually finds her practicing swordplay near a river. He criticizes her technique and the two share a few choice words before continuing on their journey again.
Cersei meets up with Prince Oberyn, who is in the garden writing poems. The duo bond over losing family members that they love. Cersei wisely says “What good is power if you cannot protect the ones you love?” She misses Myrcella and asks Oberyn to deliver a boat to Dorne in the princess’ honor. This scene is very interesting to me. I really want to believe that Cersei’s emotions are genuine, but I cannot help but feel as though this is a ploy to gain sympathy. After all, Oberyn is a judge at Tyrion’s trail. If she can appeal to his emotions and convince him that she is a grieving mother just trying to protect her children, Oberyn may be more inclined to find Tyrion guilty. I would hope that Cersei isn’t just using her grief to manipulate others, but I don’t trust her, especially when she is acting nice to characters she clearly hates. I guess we’ll have to see how this plays out next week, but I cannot bring myself to trust her.
Brienne and Poderick have stopped for a lunch break. Pod tries his best to cook a rabbit for Brienne, but he fails. Brienne wants to know what skills he has. The former squire reveals that he killed a man that tried to murder Tyrion at the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Brienne is stunned by the revelation and allows Poderick to stay and help her out.
Locke from the Night Watch sneaks into Craster’s Keep and discovers the hut where Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor are being kept captive. He reports back to Jon and his fellow Night Watch members about the situation. Before they raid the Keep however, Locke tells Jon that they need to avoid a certain hut. Karl and his mutineers have dogs chained up in there. It’s easy to forget that Locke is working for Roose Bolton, but this moment drove that point home. Locke is well aware that Bran is a prisoner of Karl and yet he is purposely withholding that information from Jon.
Back in the Keep, Karl and his minions torture their prisoners especially Meera. They threaten to rape her, but before they can make good on their promise, Jon and his men raid the camp. Locke uses this opportunity to sneak inside the hut and kidnap Bran. He manages to sneak off with him in the woods, but Bran uses his power to take control of Hodor and kill Locke.
Then it happens. Jon sees Bran. He is so close to him. All he has to do is shout and fans would finally have the Stark reunion they have longed for. But alas, Jojen joins Bran and tells him that if he were to let Jon know he was alive, he would never make it to see the Three-Eyed Crow. Jon would keep him at Castle Black to protect him. I understand the logic in this statement, but I still don’t see the problem with Bran telling Jon he is alive. I guess it is wishful thinking on my part, but I would like to see the Starks happy for once.
After the battle is over and Jon is reunited with his direwolf Ghost, he joins Craster’s wives in burning down the keep.
And that’s it for this week’s episode of Game of Thrones. Next week looks to be promising with all the drama of Tyrion’s trial.