Who is the REAL First of His Name? Episode 5, Season 4 Recap

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Tommen is crowned Tommen, the First of His Name.

Although the Joffrey’s death still lingers as unfinished business, this episode marks quite a few new beginnings. Several new marriages and new alliances are soon to be forged. The depths of Petyr Baelish’s depravity and Lysa Arryn’s insanity are revealed. As the gears turn and these new alliances click into place, for others like Tyrion, Tywin, and Sansa the wheel turns tighter. As Tywin notes, you don’t need formal alliances – or marriage pacts – with people you trust.

King’s Landing

The episode opens with Tommen’s coronation – when he becomes known as Tommen I or Tommen the “First of His Name” – the traditional King’s Landing epithet for rulers. After he is crowned, Tommen appears uncertain, but he finds comfort in Margaery’s smiles. Cersei catches Margaery smiling prettily at Tommen – in the wannabe queen’s quest to curry his favor and gain control over him.

Cersei approaches Margaery, but instead of chastising Margaery like we’d expect, Cersei converses with her. Cersei acknowledges that Joffrey “would have been your nightmare” and that the things he did shocked her. Cersei notes that Tommen is good boy, but he will need help to rule well. She then asks Margaery if she would still be interested in being queen. To which, Margaery disingenuously claims she’s never given any thought to what’s next.

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The masterful Charles Dance as Tywin.

Later on, Cersei approaches her father to suggest Margaery marry Tommen. Tywin consents: a low-key ceremony will be in two weeks. Cersei will marry Loras Tyrell two weeks after that.

A truth then emerges that will no doubt have serious consequences. Tywin reveals that the Lannister mines are “dry”: the Lannisters haven’t mined an ounce of gold in three years. The Iron Bank of Braavos – and not the Lannisters – have been propping up King Robert and then King Joffrey’s rule.

The Crown owes the Iron Bank of Braavos a tremendous amount of money: “war swallows gold like a pit in the earth” Tywin says.

The Iron Bank is an organization — not an individual – and it is not possible to negotiate with them. In terms of historical allusions, Tywin notes, that the “Iron Bank is a temple,” which automatically brings to mind the first major lending institution: the Knight’s Templar banking system. About the Iron Bank, Tywin states quite intriguingly: “We all live in its shadow, although most of us don’t know it.” It’s not possible to run from the Iron Bank, cheat them, or sway them. They always get their due.

cersei-oberynThe Tyrell marriages have to take place. The Tyrells are the only ones with enough money to save the Crown and the Lannisters. But, the Tyrells are also the Lannisters only true rivals.

 

Cersei tries to sway her father’s judgment against Tyrion, but he refuses to discuss the trial with her.

Still, later on, Cersei’s campaign to convict Tyrion continues. She pays Prince Oberyn a visit to appeal to this man – who wants nothing more than to avenge the death of his beloved sister – to help her avenge the death of her son. “What good is power if you cannot protect the ones you love?” she asks him.

 

Despite the Lannister’s cash flow problems, Cersei asks Oberyn to bring Myrcella – now living in Dorne and betrothed to a Martell —  her massively expensive nameday gift: a ship. The unspoken message from the bereaved mother is that her darling Myrcella can come home, regardless of the diplomatic cost.

 

Daenerys

Daenerys learns that Joffrey is dead, and her council debate whether they should invade king’s Landing. Each councilor has a different opinion; however, also of them, except Jorah, like the idea of invasion. But is 10,000 men enough to conquer King’s Landing?

Jorah shrewdly notes – taking a page from the Wars of the Roses — that the Houses of Westeros will flock to whatever side they think will win. Daenerys decides to listen to his counsel. Instead, she will hold off from invading for now.

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Emilia Clarke as Daenerys. Is she the REAL ” first of his name”?

Daenerys isn’t happy with how her liberation of the Slaver Cities has gone. She feels that the freed slaves don’t trust her yet. This claimant-across-the-sea resolves that she will not let those she has freed end up back in chains (i.e., if she loses a war). Instead she wants to consolidate her rule and build a bond with her people.

The sequence ends with Daenerys proclaiming, somewhat imperiously, she will do what queens do: “I will rule.”

The Vale

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“Know your strengths, use them wisely,” Petyr counsels Sansa (portrayed by Sophie Turner), as he enters the castle where he has leveraged the love of Lysa Arryn to gain him a great deal. (c) HBO.

Sansa and Petyr arrive at the Eyrie, where he counsels her to pull up her hood so people don’t spot her bright red hair. They have to pass through the Bloody Gate, the only entrance to the impregnable fortress of the Eyrie.

Lord Robin greets Petyr like a long lost father. Lysa greets Sansa very warmly, but her paranoia quickly reveals itself. Sansa can’t be named by name lest the Lannisters learn of her. Is Sansa still a virgin? Lysa won’t even introduce her precious son to Sansa until she knows.

Sansa quickly discovers that the little lord Robin is just as much of a psychotic princeling as Joffrey. He tells Sansa he wanted to make her husband Tyrion fly and bluntly mentions her family having their heads chopped off.

Lysa Arryn is desperate – and deranged. She is completely in lust – and love – with Petyr. Lysa killed her husband, Jon Arryn, and manipulated her sister Catelyn at Petyr’s behest. Petyr has successfully kept her in a state of suspended lust since they slept together years before. The owner of brothels clearly understands how to fan her lust – perhaps by not sating it. Petyr is the real puppeteer here and he is the one who started the game of thrones. As Varys warned long ago, Petyr is far more dangerous than anyone would imagine.

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Lysa insists Petyr marry her that very evening. Lysa’s screams of sexual satisfaction are so loud Sansa can hear them in her chamber.

Later on, Lysa and Sansa bond over lemon cakes: considerate Petyr brought three crates of lemons, so Sansa could have lemon cakes. But, the cozy moment quickly turns to paranoid accusations.

The verbally abusive Lysa browbeats Sansa to discover if she’d slept with Petyr – her paranoid irrational jealousy. She informs Sansa that Petyr is risking his life to save her, the daughter of a woman who never loved him. Then she accuses Sansa of being pregnant with Petyr’s child.

Once Sansa bursts into tears and it becomes clear she is telling the truth, Lysa comforts her – the hallmark of an abuser. As she soothes Sansa’s tears, she lets the anvil drop. Lysa tells Sansa that she will marry the clearly psychotic Robin, as soon as Tyrion is dead, and become Lady of the Vale.

Arya and the Hound

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Arya and the Hound share a moment by the fire, and the Hound teaches Arya another harsh lesson in survival.

250px-Syrio_ForelBefore Arya and the Hound go to sleep, Arya recites her standard bedtime “revenge prayer.” However, the Hound learns he is (still) on her list of people to kill. We also get to a bit of insight into the Hound’s relationship with the Mountain – the elder brother who melted his face years ago. The Hound is fueled by his hatred of the Mountain.

When the Hound awakens the next morning, Arya has runs off. He finds her practicing her “water dancing” – the swordplay and footwork her former “dancing master” Syrio Forel taught her back in King’s Landing.

After the Hound mocks her style of fighting, Arya tries to stab the Hound in the chest. His armor blocks it. He informs her that the knight who killed Syrio Forel was able to do so because he had armor and a big sword. That’s the lesson: not so much walk softly, but carry a big stick.

Brienne and Pod

Brienne tries to discourage Pod from being her squire and releases him from his oath. True to Pod’s loyal character though, he persists and sticks with her. Later on, it comes out that Pod has no skills whatsoever as a squire.

Pod sets the rabbit they caught on fire. He has never cooked as part of his squire duties. The lady knight is also prickly about having Pod help her remove her armor, either due to independence or her gender. After Brienne discovers that, although he is without skill, he is loyal and brave, she relents and asks for his help with her armor.

 

North of the Wall, Craster’s Keep

This episode picks up with the men of the Night’s Watch descending on Craster’s Keep to bring justice to the deserting mutineers for breaking their oath to the Night’s Watch. This arrival might be just in the nick of time.

Bran, Hodor and the Reeds are still being held prisoner at Craster’s Keep, but Jojen Reed is sick, needs water, and may be on the verge of death. He has a vision of the heart tree, tells Bran he must find it, and it looks like the end is near.

Karl and his men arrive, intending to rape Meera Reed. (Yes, that really is more rape.) Jojen tries to cut a deal with Karl: Jojen’s psychic services in exchange for Karl leaving Meera alone. As a proffer, Jojen warns Karl that he saw him die that very night. Before Karl can kill the messenger, the Night’s Watch descend upon the mutineers.

As the attack proceeds, Locke carries Bran off. Bran, however, wargs into Hodor’s body and uses it to kill Locke. But, there is a cost. When Hodor comes out of it, he sees that his hands are covered in blood.

Jojen convinces Bran not to let Jon know he is there. Jon would never allow him to continue to travel North beyond the Wall by himself.

Meanwhile, Karl and Jon have a face-off in the Craster’s Keep. Karl appears to wound Jon, but not fatally, and then mocks Jon for fighting with honor. Big mistake. Following these words, ironically, Karl is stabbed in the back twice – once by Jon.

Once all the mutineers are dead, only Rast remains. He escapes into the woods. However, Ghost kills him and avenges his torment. Mercifully, Ghost has survived his neglect and imprisonment.

In one of the happier moments of this episode, Ghost and Jon are reunited.

Craster’s wives don’t want to go with Jon and his men back to Castle Black. They tell him they will make their own way. But, they don’t want to stay in Craster’s Keep either. They tell him to burn it to the ground with all the dead.

Wrap Up

Interestingly, the First of His Name episode opened with Tommen’s coronation but ends with Jon Snow. Who are the other “firsts of his name” in this episode? Is this a subtle clue that Jon Snow is actually the rightful king of Westeros like some fans believe?

 

Image credit: All images copyright HBO.

Jamie Adair is the editor of History Behind Game of Thrones, a website about the history behind George RR Martin's "Songs of Ice and Fire" novels and the hit TV show, "Game of Thrones."

11 Comments

  • Reply May 5, 2014

    Grant

    On the last thought, possibly. In the books I don’t believe that the Night King has been formally confirmed to be the antagonist, so if we assume that the writers got him from Martin’s notes then Jon might be another. Or maybe not, no way to say at the moment.

    Anyway we get too see Danys’ most intractable problem to date. She’s a revolutionary with an uncertain revolution, no road map for her to figure out how it works and no revolutionary party to keep her system intact. There’s no way she can upend an entire system anywhere with just force and expect it to remain intact once she and her dragons leave.

    Anyway, Tywin’s partially correct. Even if you do trust someone, a formal alliance makes it a lot easier to be sure of them. Just look at NATO, it’s first Secretary General outright said that one of its three main purposes was “to keep the Americans in [Europe]”.

    • Reply May 5, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      >>”Anyway, we get to see Dany’s most…”
      Brilliant comments as always, Grant. By system, do you mean slavery?

      Re: Tywin
      True, kind of like “good fences make good neighbors.” But, another thought… the people the medieval lords truly trusted were their closest retainers who always had dependency – clear alignment of motives/goals. My lord wins: I win. The problem is aligned goals frequently changed. Question: if you can maintain alignment, is a contract or formal alliance necessary?

    • Reply May 5, 2014

      Concetta

      Daenerys is definitely having issues. I think part of is that she’s just now realizing the scale of what she has to do in order to win – not only to go in and free the slaves, but also to “empire build”, keeping and holding those slaves in freedom AND aligned with her AND then move onto the rest of the kingdoms and do the same thing. Tricky stuff.

      I think they’re starting to draw more parallels between Dany’s and Alexander the Great the more as time goes on, especially when Alexander had to kill his satraps and governors after they mutinied/behaved badly while he was away when he was going to Susa. If that’s a hint than we can expect Dany’s to start handing out favors just like ATG did in order to win over public favor.

      • Reply May 5, 2014

        Jamie Adair

        The ATG parallels are very interesting. I, for one, am going to mull that over… Daenerys is not my favorite character. I keep trying to warm up to her, and it is an uphill battle. She usually does all the right stuff, but there is something a bit imperious and off-putting about her. I can’t decide if it is the actress’ portrayal or the character herself. (It has been a while since I read the books and don’t remember my take on her before.)

  • Reply May 5, 2014

    Jun

    I wonder if Tywin’s confession that the gold has run out is a spoiler of sorts, like the “Night King” spoiler. In the books this is never openly acknowledged, but the hints are definitely there. Both this and the Dany’s occupation of the Slaver’s Bay smell very much like references to contemporary history.

    • Reply May 5, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      Do you mean allusions to history today in the twenty-first century?

      • Reply May 5, 2014

        Jun

        Well, yes. Today’s current geopolitical affairs are tomorrow’s history, after all. There have already been jokes on the Internet that perhaps Daenerys should hang banners of “Mission Accomplished” and “Operation Meereen Freedom.” And then this constant talk of the ever-growing national debt to Braavosi Iron Bank across the Narrow Sea. Knights Templar is an apt model but Americans do not lack current parallel either. Just sayin’…

    • Reply May 5, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      I don’t like these spoilers, btw. Thoughts? I’m not exactly sure why the showrunners are doing them, and some of the “big reveals” seem a bit heavy handed. Thoughts?

      • Reply May 6, 2014

        Jun

        Me neither! I prefer the subtlety and mysteries and half-truths in the book. TV has made a lot of plot points too blunt and too heavy handed, like you said. I suppose they are worried that TV viewers won’t get it if they don’t spell everything out. Only now do I fully appreciate the single-perspective structure of the chapters. This is how we live and get information in real life. Even history books are not full of objective truths, but rather always filtered through different perspectives.

        A huge amount of style and richness from the books is lost on TV, especially the grotesquerie of characters (Vargo Hoat, Biter, all the horrors) and the feeling of a vast world with a vast (oral and documented) history. Many readers have complained about the novel spreading out farther and farther but I love it.

  • Reply May 5, 2014

    Grant

    By system, yes I do mean slavery. And that’s actually the problem. Dany is basically a one-issue candidate. No. More. Slavery. And that’s it. And that’s not a whole heck of a lot for her to base anything new around. Despite slavery being the key defining issue of of the Republican party in the mid-19th century, they were much in favor of a more centralized government, a cross-American railroad (preferably built in the north, which it ultimately was), more open immigration and tariffs. What does Dany have to appeal to the people of the cities? So far, just that she has dragons and doesn’t like slavery. The first doesn’t help much because she isn’t using those dragons to protect them from a threat, but instead to take over. The second helps even less because the slaves probably don’t make up much of a distinct political faction to back her, at least not yet, and they earn her the enduring hatred of the ruling groups.

    Also the 19th century Republican party was never just Lincoln, whereas all that really holds Dany’s forces is her force of will and dragons. If she loses the latter she’s in serious trouble, if the former disappears (say with her death) then her army will just collapse without her unifying presence.

    As for alliances, without them problems start to appear once you get to exactly how much someone is supposed to bring to the table. 1940s Italy and Spain? They got along well, Germany too to a lesser extent. But when Germany and Italy wanted Spanish help in World War II? They discovered that just because there were strong pro-Italian and pro-German elements in the Spanish government it didn’t mean that Spain was about to enter a dangerous war for them. Contrast with post-World War II Japan and America. They find each other useful anyway, but Japan likes that there’s a defense treaty with the U.S. that means that Japan is attacked by Russia or China, the U.S. will come to Japan’s defense.

  • Reply May 5, 2014

    Jamie Adair

    >>”As for alliances, without them problems start to appear once you get to exactly how much someone is supposed to bring to the table…” True, this is why we have contracts. It is interesting comparing Dany to a one-issue candidate. I think you’re right. How does she appeal to those who are not slaves? All medieval kings who were successful got other lords to follow them. What is in it for a lord who does not have slaves? Would they even care what is going on with slavery if it is in another country? (It certainly isn’t in their backyard.)

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