Arguably another slow episode, “First of his Name” focuses more on character development and less on plot development, not to say that this episode was unimportant, just different than what was expected. I’ve said it before and I’m sure most readers will agree, there’s almost nothing this show could do to make me stop watching. This week’s recap, however, was perfect. It had plot points from every season up to date, some of which I’m sure many people forgot about, and set everything up just right for the following episode.
We open with the episode’s namesake as Tommen is being crowned King., with Margaery stealing glances at him as best she can. Cersei steps directly in between the two in her familiar, protective way, however, this time around she recognizes her diminished role in her son’s life. Cersei seems almost amicable towards Margaery, acknowledging Margaery’s inevitable place in Tommen’s life. Cersei also accepts that Joffrey was a monster, which means a lot coming from her. Jaime is apparently not the only twin to have undergone a radical change; Cersei is no longer the power-hungry, miserable and vindictive woman we’ve seen the past couple seasons, now she must use more of her wits as she has considerably less influence.
Cersei’s alteration is displayed more than once, as she speaks with her father about her impending nuptials. Again, rather than argue and complain about her predicament, she remains composed and actually helps her father plan the weddings. Her endgame is, of course, to sway Tywin’s decision in Tyrion’s trial, as is her purpose in meeting Oberyn. Oberyn and Cersei have, another, seemingly out of character conversation, in which we are reminded again of Myrcella’s location and see what could be a hint of vulnerability from Cersei. Try to remember that she’s still evil and completely undeserving of your sympathy.
Across the narrow sea Daenerys meets with her own extra-small council and is informed of the recent happenings in Westeros. She is also informed that Daario had taken 93 ships from the Meereenese, another off-screen and anti-climactic victory for Dany. Cool. The newfound ships bring with them the prospect of sailing her army to Westeros while it is most vulnerable, this has basically been Daenerys’ mission from day one, yet, upon hearing of the revolts in the other slave cities she elects to be boring for a little bit longer.
Sansa has finally stopped being boring, having been a subdued witness to events in King’s Landing for the majority of the series, she is finally somewhere safe-ish, though not in her preferred company. Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at the Eyrie and meet with her aunt Lysa and cousin Robin. Sansa is able to let her guard down only in front of her aunt and cousin, and new uncle in-law Littlefinger. Lysa reveals pieces of Littlefinger’s plans which are father reaching than anyone had dared guess; including the death of Jon Arryn (the original murder-mystery) and Lysa not only committing said murder, but implicating the Lannister’s and setting into motion all the tragedy thus far. It’s no small wonder that Varyss named Littlefinger “one of the most dangerous men in the seven kingdoms”. Always somewhat unhinged, Lysa's jealousy of Catelyn is transferred to Sansa, as a sweet familial conversation about sweet cakes turns into tears and accusations, ending only when Sansa lets loose a torrent of self-hatred for all that she has been unable to do.
North of The Wall at Craster’s Keep Locke is able to sneak around and locate Bran and company, and dutifully reports back to the rest of the rangers. With nightfall, superior numbers, and the element of surprise the rangers decide to attack head on and screaming for some reason. The cacophony of battle draws Karl away from raping and killing Meera, leaving Bran unguarded for Locke to kidnap. Before Locke can carry Bran far away, the crippled boy enters Hodor’s mind and proceeds to snap Locke’s neck like a twig, Hodor being confused and upset about the blood on his hands was a nice touch. For the second time we see Bran and Jon within yards of each other yet unable to reunite, Bran knows that Jon would take him back to The Wall and Bran can’t afford to be delayed any longer, we see the difficult decision made in his eyes before he says a word and Bran says a silent goodbye to his half-brother. Oblivious to Bran’s whereabouts Jon is making short work of the remaining mutineers, he finds Karl in the keep with one of Craster’s wives. Jon with his bastard blade and Karl with his two daggers launch into a pretty sweet knife-fight, skilled as Jon is, Karl was trained on the streets and Jon is no match for his dirty fighting in this closed space. Just as Karl is about to deal the finishing blow to a downed Jon Craster’s wife stabs him in the shoulder, providing Jon with the opportunity to save her in return… by stabbing Karl through the back of the head. The episode ends with Jon reuniting with Ghost, and Craster’s wives deciding to burn the keep to the ground and strike out on their own.
As much as I’ve enjoyed everything happening in the north lately it has felt a little rushed. The reason being that this is all created for the show, understandable because nobody cares to watch Bran and company wander through the abandoned woods and villages, and Locke turned out to be a pretty cool character, but it forces too many things into a short period of time. Had the events at Craster’s happened next week it would have felt more spaced out, but it wouldn’t change the fact that the rest of the season will feel rushed for these characters. The producers of the show have done a great job with added content in other seasons, only certain changes have irked me, depending on the rest of the season this may prove to be one such. Other than that, Cersei’s changed demeanor is definitely surprising, and while you still hate her, you get a glimpse inside her shell. Daenerys makes the right decision for the people of Slaver’s Bay, and herself, but it is annoying to have to wait even longer for her story to have any relevance to the Seven Kingdoms. Arya and the Hound had a cool scene as well, where she learns again that honour has no place in this world. Although a decent amount of time was spent in the capital we didn’t see Tyrion of Jaime this episode, next weeks “The Laws of Gods and Men” should rectify that though, as the episode title could be in reference to the upcoming trial.