Tonight’s episode, “First of His Name” featured exciting action scenes and quieter character moments. Check out our book readers recap for full details, and share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. As such the post itself and the comments will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books yet, you can discuss this episode in our non-book-reader recap. Thanks!
This week’s episode of Game of Thrones get the title-name drop out of the way immediately, starting off with the coronation of Tommen of the House Baratheon, First of His Name. After the crowning of the new king, Margaery exchanges flirtatious smiles with Tommen from across the sept, until Cersei steps between the two. Surprisingly the former queen approaches Margaery not with hostility but with a suggestion that they join forces, having Margaery marry her second son, a king who is truly good. Margery feigns innocence when it comes to her ambitions, but she is quick to embrace the suggestion that she marry the new king.
In Meereen, the new of King Joffrey’s death brings a smile to Dany’s face. The news that Daario Naharis and the Second Sons have taken the Meereenese Navy without orders from her is less pleasing, but the ships this brings her has the khaleesi wondering if she has the assets needed to take King’s Landing. Her advisors bring her further tidings: the people of Yunkai have been reenslaved by the masters, and Astapor is now being ruled by a former butcher. After reviewing the situation with Jorah, Daenerys comes to the realization that liberating cities is not enough: she must earn people’s trust and lead the city that she has taken.
Littlefinger and Sansa arrive at the Eyrie in the Vale, with Lord Baelish educating her on the famously impregnable castle’s defenses. He calls her Alayne in front of strangers, and introduces her to her aunt Lysa and her cousin Robin. Sansa receives a mixed reception from her aunt, but a friendly one from her young cousin.
The betrothed Lysa and Petyr greet each other in private, with Lysa demanding a hasty wedding. It’s revealed that she has been acting on Littlefinger’s desires for years, and that it was in fact Lysa who poisoned her husband Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King. It was at Littlefinger’s behest that Lysa wrote her sister Catelyn a letter blaming the Lannisters. With Lysa reminding him of what he owes her, Petyr marries her immediately- because she has the septon waiting outside the door already. She promises a very loud wedding night, and delivers it, much to Sansa’s discomfort.
In King’s Landing, Tywin and Cersei take stock of their present situation. The finances of the Crown are more dire than Cersei had realized, with the gold mines of the Lannisters completely mined out. They’re in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and there are no funds to repay them. Cersei discusses her feelings about the trial, but Tywin is reluctant to respond, as he is a judge, so he puts her off.
Their journeys through the Riverlands continuing, Arya is bedding down for the night and reciting her prayer, much to the Hound’s annoyance. The list has grown long with names like Walder Frey, the Red Woman, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr added to it. Before she goes to sleep, Arya makes certain to recite the last name on her list- the Hound.
In the Eyrie, Lysa bonds with Sansa over lemoncakes and remembrances of Catelyn, and how much she loved sweets as a young girl. The happy moment turns dark when Lysa lashes out in jealousy and insecurity over Petyr’s attention toward the younger woman. Sansa is moved to tears with Lysa’s accusations, and swears he hasn’t touched her. Her aunt snaps out of it as though nothing happened, and goes on to say that after Tyrion’s death, Sansa will be free to marry her son Robin, and become the Lady of the Vale.
Having departed King’s Landing last week, Brienne and Pod’s journey is off to a rough start. The young man doesn’t know how to ride a horse. He’s not much of a squire, and she’s not technically a knight, so they make a good pair.
The Hound wakes up to find Arya off practicing her waterdancing techniques. He mocks the light style, but she defends them and her teacher Syrio Forel, the First Sword of Braavos. He ridicules them further, since the man was killed by Meryn Trant. He drives the point home by pushing Arya into stabbing at him with Needle, with the point deflected by his armor- and then he backhands her to the ground. The brutal lesson teaches her that his armor is worth more than her graceful skill, in this instance at least.
Oberyn and Cersei walk in the gardens, and he reveals that he is writing a poem for one of his eight daughters. His fifth daughter is named Elia, after his sister who was murdered by Gregor Clegane, and so there is sadness when he thinks of her name now. Cersei thinks of Myrcella in Dorne, and Oberyn reassures her that her daughter was happy there when he saw her last, playing with his daughters. He promises to bring Cersei’s nameday gift for Myrcella, a ship, to the girl when he returns to Dorne.
Camping for the night on their journey, Pod continues his poor streak as a squire and burns the dinner. He is forced to admit to Brienne that his duties for Tyrion mostly consisted of pouring wine and bringing him his food. Brienne learns though that there is more to Pod than it seems when he admits that he killed a knight of the Kingsguard in the Battle of the Blackwater. She allows Pod to help remove her armor then.
Outside Craster’s Keep, Locke scouts the surroundings and spots Bran’s group inside. He retreats to the Night’s Watch members in the woods to report back.
Inside, with them all tied up, Bran despairs and wonders if they will get out of the situation. Jojen reassures him that they will, because he has seen it. In Jojen’s vision, he sees all of them in the far North by the weirwood tree that Bran saw in his vision by the heart tree, which means they will survive this encounter.
Karl and his gang return then to menace Meera, making it clear they intend to rape her. Jojen stalls, offering up his gift of the Sight, hoping to save his sister if he helps the men in some way. Karl taunts him, but the time Jojen takes up is enough- as they’re speaking, the attack of the Night’s Watch begins.
Locke wastes no time taking care of his own agenda- he locates Bran inside, slicing his paralyzed leg to verify his identity. He grabs Bran and the others are helpless to stop him. Bran wargs into Hodor, using his strength to finally break out of the chains and chase after Locke and Bran’s body outside the keep. There, Bran-Hodor takes hold of Locke and breaks his neck to free them.
It’s pure chaos around Craster’s Keep as the men fight, mutineers against loyal Night’s Watchmen. Jojen reminds Bran that if Jon sees them, he won’t allow Bran to go north to seek out the Three-Eyed Raven, that he’ll have to remain at the Wall. Bran sees his brother, but makes the choice to free his direwolf Summer and then leave with his friends before Jon sees him.
Inside the Keep, Jon and Karl go one-on-one in a dirty fight, with Karl not above spitting in his face and kicking. He’s winning with the fight with his tactics, with Jon on the ground, when someone stabs him in the back. He turns to find that one of Craster’s young wives that he brutalized has knifed him. He moves to harm her, but a sword slices through his face, right through the mouth, killing him.
The Night’s Watchmen take stock of the dead, count their own losses and the mutineers, and see that Rast is missing. In the woods, Rast is on the run. But the cage door is open now, we see, and it’s no surprise that the beast they trapped for so long tears into Rast, killing the last mutineer. Ghost heads back to the keep, and Jon is reunited at last with his direwolf.
Craster’s wives declare they’ve had enough of the men of the Night’s Watch and will go their own way, and decide to burn the keep to the ground. The keep goes up in flames, with the bodies of the dead within.
What I Liked
Showdown at Craster’s Keep – Great action scenes with Kit Harington, Burn Gorman, the Night’s Watch, and Bran breaking out, all very exciting. Harington is really doing great this season, in general.
Welcome back, Lysa– Love or hate her, Lysa isn’t dull. The revelation of her misdeeds should shock some Unsullied viewers. And just remember, her enthusiastic wedding night is canon. Hey, we’re always nitpicking the lack of book details…
The funny– I always like the funny. Given the dark nature of the show, it’s nice to find those moments, even if it’s just the visual gag of Pod on a horse or the Hound’s small moments of rough wit. Daario’s line made me laugh tonight.
Another side of Oberyn– I’m glad to see we’re getting to know something of Oberyn beyond his sex life, in that we got the mention of his daughters and him writing poetry for them. Bonus for getting the Myrcella discussion in there too- more hope that we won’t lose the Dorne story in the future?
What I Didn’t Like
Show, Don’t Tell – Dany’s scene was mostly them sitting there and explaining what happened somewhere else in a not-particularly interesting manner. Pretty dull stuff. The scene with Tywin and Cersei suffered a similar problem. It’s understandable that they need to set up the Iron Bank of Braavos story further, but the scene still needs to be interesting. It wasn’t.