Game of Thrones: "First of His Name" (Season 4: Episode 5) Recap/Analysis | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Game of Thrones: “First of His Name” (Season 4: Episode 5) Recap/Analysis

HBO, Sundays 9 p.m.

May 07, 2014 Game of Thrones
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[Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “First of His Name,” then read no further.]

For the last few weeks, Game of Thrones has been ramping up a few of its many plots. Since the riveting Purple Wedding in this season’s second episode, the show has treaded along cautiously in the wake of its most hated character’s demise. Finally, in “First of His Name,” a couple of those plot threads pay off, while the rest of Westeros tries to find steady ground.

At Tommen’s coronation, Cersei eases the tension between herself and her son’s widow, Margaery. She admits that Joffrey would have been her “nightmare,” while remarking that Tommen might be the first king in ages who actually deserves the throne. She then brings up the prospect of Margaery marrying Tommen, thus reassuming her position as queen. Cersei’s softening toward Margaery appears, at the moment, to be a pragmatic approach to protecting Tommen by gaining the trust of those around him, rather than succumbing to her first instinct to shield him off from other influences.

Cersei’s intentions aside, her conversation with Margaeryfollowed by her interaction with Oberynshow a slightly more cooperative queen regent. Of course, we don’t know yet what her long term strategy is, but her solemn statement to Oberyn echoes thematically through several arcs this episode. “Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls,” she says to him, thinking of her own daughter miles away. But the cruelty of the world, especially to women, is apparent as we see Arya lose a bit of safety in her travels with the Hound. She clearly does not completely trust himhe’s still on her kill list after allbut here he takes an opportunity to remind her that the world is full of big, strong forces that won’t hesitate to crush her given the chance. It might be a bit of a tough lesson, but we feel the cruelty of the world again when we see Sansa drifting off to sleep in The Vale to her creepy aunt’s erotic screams. Sansa’s journey has taken her from madness to…even more madness.

Which brings us to Littlefinger, and the revelation that his manipulation might have reached back very farall the way to initial spark that started the fires of war burning through the seven kingdoms. Lysa Arryn reveals to us that she poisoned her husband at Littlefinger’s suggestion, and he silences her before she says much more. It’s almost as if he knows we’re listening.

The climax at Craster’s Keep is about as cathartically violent as Game of Thrones can get, without losing any characters we care about (unless anyone was really attached to “Willem Defaux”). Yet the missed connection between Bran and Jon Snow was heartbreaking, if logical.

Without a plan for moving on, Craster’s wives watch their home burn down, contrasting with the other characters building on defenses and playing it safe. No other encapsulates this as much as Daenarys, who decides to maintain her post at Meereen, telling Jorah, “I will do what queens do. I will rule.” This episode proves that staying put can be as exciting as moving forward.

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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