First of His Name (Spoilers)
The midway point in any TV show is usually where things take some kind of major turn, especially in Game of Thrones, with this episode no exception. Rather than witnessing an act of brutality or someone's death, it was a few simple words that proved as shocking as anything violent we've seen in Game of Thrones. We begin at King's Landing, where the coronation of Tommen Baratheon is well underway. After the ceremony, Cersei spots her son, the new King, exchanging smiles with Margaery. Instead of the anticipated tongue-lashing, Cersei is actually rather respectful towards Margaery, and clearly in a reflective mood. She opens up about her feelings towards Joffrey; how a mother will forgive their first-born anything, explaining how she felt about his behaviour: "Do you think I'm easily shocked?" "No." "The things he did shocked me." Cersei goes on to speak of her youngest son, obviously in an attempt to grease the wheels for her proposal of marriage between Margaery and Tommen, unaware that this plan is already in motion: "He could be the first man to sit on that throne in 50-years and actually deserve it." Cersei is of course extremely cunning herself, and the look she gave Margaery could mean she strongly suspected this was the case. Cersei is also reminded of her upcoming marriage to Margaery's brother, Loras Tyrell, and I'm sure she's scheming away in an attempt to get out of it. I'm also not sure if Cersei's new found humanity isn't just another one of her schemes. Being nice to Margaery and admitting Joffrey's faults is just so out of character for Cersei, one has to wonder if her sincerity is genuine.
Daenerys is told of Joffrey's death by Jorah Mormont, who goes on to explain how her victories aren't as complete as she thought. Dany now has enough ships and men to take King’s Landing but in order for her to do that, she'd need to abandon the people she helped liberate. After making her mind up to stay and help, she tells Jorah, "I will do what Queen's do. I will rule."
Sansa is led by Lord Baelish through the impenetrable valley in the Vale to Eyrie; the valley is lined with bowmen who protect their master, leading to the less-than-sane Lysa Arryn and her wacko son Robin. (If anyone needs reminding of our first introduction to this symbiant couple, you can see the infamous breastfeeding scene by clicking here.) What we learn from Lysa answers a very important question, and demonstrates just how far Littlefinger is prepared to go. Lysa's husband Jon Aryn was the Hand of the King who was poisoned. Ned Stark was then asked by King Robert Baratheon to take Jon's place. We know Ned believed Jon was murdered to protect the identity of Gendry, King Robert's unacknowledged bastard son, and to hide the fact Joffrey was not only not Robert's son, but was a result of the incestuous relationship between Jaime and Cersei. Now it appears Littlefinger was behind the death of Jon, by persuading Lysa to murder him then send Catelyn Stark a letter telling her she thought it was the Lannister's behind Jon's death.
To get Lysa to accomplish all this, Littlefinger had previously promised to marry her, and after he returns with Sansa, Lysa isn't slow reminding him, insisting they wed instantly. When she asks Baelish impatiently, what took him so long, he replies: "Arranging for the ascension of King Tommen the First; extricating Sansa; getting her here alive." The huge reveal about Lysa's husband then follows, with Petyr being pressed into marrying Lysa that very evening, with Lysa promising to scream "so loud, they'll hear me clear across the Narrow Sea." Not a pretty picture! Lysa certainly wasn't exaggerating, as poor Sansa can attest to, as she lies in her bed forced to listen to a bit of noisy consummation. The trouble Baelish has caused by this act is quite incredible, and I'm sure he's capable of far worse. Sansa may be his next conquest, and with that handy "Moon Door" on the floor, Baelish's new wife along with her mad son, may find themselves needing flying lessons soon.
Cersei and Tywin plan the wedding between Tommen and Margaery, with an agreed two-weeks for Margaery and Tommam to mourn for "decency's sake." Tywin also doesn't want a fuss like the last time. "No jugglers. No jousting dwarves. No 77 course dinners." When talk turns to Cersei's wedding, Cersei once again surprises by acting like a grown up. She tells Tywin she understands she's doing it for the "good of the family." Tywin reveals their gold mines ran dry three-years ago, and that they owed the Iron Bank a "tremendous amount." Cersei, of course, thinks there must be someone at the bank Tywin can "speak to." It would appear even Tywin Lannister can't get out of this without the Tyrell's. Cersei also tries to sway her father over Tyrion, however, Tywin refuses to speak about the case as he will be judging the trial.
Arya Stark and Sandor make a surprisingly interesting team, with Sandor teaching this young wannabe assassin a thing or two. She can't sleep for being restless and naming the people she wants to kill, and surprising Sandor when he tells her to finish naming everyone on her list. There is only one more, "The Hound," she tells him before going off to sleep. Now, she did promise to put her blade through his eye, last season, and looks like she'll be making good on her promise. The look of shock on Sandor's face when he wakes up and she isn't there, means he's definitely been thinking about her last words. He finds Arya practicing the water dance she learned from Syrio, "the greatest swordsman who ever lived." Sandor mocks Arya and her swordplay, inviting her to try to attack him. She stabs straight at his chest but Needle doesn't penetrate his armoured vest. She gets knocked on her back for her trouble, and I'm sure this won't be forgotten by Arya, who may move his name a little higher up the list.
To be honest, I'd like to see this pairing last as long as possible, but sadly, like most good things on this show, it will come to a violent end. I think that's the reason Game of Thrones is so damn good. It never lingers on anything, waiting for things to get dull.
When we move back to the Vale, and a new scene between Lysa and Sansa, I was shocked once again by the obvious insanity and jealousy, Lysa felt towards Catelyn and now her daughter, as she at first acts nice to the girl, then frightens her by asking if she was pregnant to Petyr. The look on Sansa's tear-filled face when she learns she's to marry her crazy cousin Robin! Sansa really isn't having much in the way of luck.
Lady Brienne frees Pod from his oath after he proves his horse riding skills are pretty poor. Pod then burns the rabbit he's supposed to be cooking for their evening snack, but as he's never done anything remotely like this sort of thing before, the unskinned rabbit catches fire. Brienne is even more annoyed with Pod until she learns that as well as "mostly pouring wine" for Tyrion, he killed a King's Guard at the Blackwater, who was trying to kill Lord Tyrion. Brienne has a new-found respect for Pod, knowing he is indeed capable of bravery if called upon to protect his master, or in this case, mistress.
Prince Oberyn and Cersei discuss her daughter Myrcella, among other things. Because Cersei won't be there for her Naming Day, she asks that Oberyn take her a ship as a gift, with a message of love.
The final and longest scene sees us at Craster's Keep, where Roose Bolton's man, Locke is scouting ahead for Jon Snow and the other Black Watch. He gets the information needed about Karl and the other mutineers, but he also learns where Bran Stark is being kept. When Locke returns to Jon, he advises him against going near the hut Bran is in, by explaining it has nothing but dogs inside who might smell their scent. This is so he can take Bran to Lord Bolton, who in turn can finish off the remaining Stark's.
Just before the Black Watch raid Craster's, Karl and a few of his men decide to rape Meera, but Jojen stalls them long enough by telling Karl he has second sight and has seen him die that very night. It looked as though Karl was about to murden Jojen, but before he got the chance the alarm goes up about the Black Watch raiding party. During the fighting Locke slips away and gets Bran up on his shoulder and out the door, but Jojan had just been explaining to Bran how it wasn't his time to die. After receiving a nod from Jojan, Bran takes over Hodor's body, who easily breaks his chains then snaps Locks' neck like a twig. I expected more from Locke after the drama of taking Jaime's hand and showing he was a good fighter, but Hodor is huge I suppose and Locke deserved at least that, if not more.
Karl and Jon finally face off with Jon getting bettered because he fights like a gentleman and Karl is more street smart. The fact he was stabbed in the back by one of the women he'd been raping and beating was quite fitting. Seeing Jon's sword come out through his gaping mouth having been plunged into the back of his head, was rather satisfying when you consider the misery he'd doled out to Craster's women. Jon needs to get himself fighting lessons instead of giving them. Ghost is finally reunited with Jon, then the women decide to go their own way once they burn Craster's Keep to the ground.
Jojen has been pushing Bran from the start to complete his journey north, and again, warns Bran if he lets Jon to see him, Jon will take him back to Castle Black instead of allowing him to search for the three-eyed raven. They were the ones who freed Ghost before setting off again, with Jon none-the-wiser his brother was ever there.
TV Recap by Lead Entertainment Writer, Ed Blackadder
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