The Ninjabot

Long Live King Tommen, “First of His Name” – Game of Thrones Review

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 10:26 am by Amanda Andonian

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Although it probably goes without saying, there are show spoilers (but not book spoilers) ahead in the following review. For those who have read A Song of Ice and Fire and know what’s coming next, please don’t jump the gun in the comments or pick apart this review based on knowledge of the books. It’s purposely written for those who have not read the books.

In addition to going back to the Vale in Game of Thrones last night, we learn a few surprising truths, watch some unlikely people bond, and see poor Arya get knocked on her ass. “First of His Name” was much more enjoyable than last week’s episode, not only because it focused on just a few story lines, but also because we got more action and intrigue. Aside from the obligatory check-in with Danaerys, it was a solid episode that stands well enough on its own even as it teases developments to come.

Spoilers Ahead!

No sooner is Tommen crowned King of Westeros that Cersei and Tywin begin discussing his marriage to Margaery. While she plays a good game of, “I never even thought of marrying Tommen,” we know that Margaery is more than eager to stake her claim on the young Lannister. Cersei is certainly well aware of that fact, but she manages to keep her distrust and dislike of Margaery under tight control, even going so far as to “confide” in the younger woman that she knew Jofferey was a monster. It’s an interesting moment of apparent vulnerability from Cersei, though I find it hard to believe that it’s not a put on. After all, the last time Margaery tried to call her “sister,” Cersei threatened to cut her throat.

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However, that vulnerability seems more and more true as the episode continues, first when Cersei visits Tywin (finding out that the Lannister gold mines have been dry for years), then when she appeals to Oberyn Martell. On the one hand, Cersei is obviously trying to get the votes she needs in order to ensure that Tyrion is found guilty of Jofferey’s murder, but on the other hand it seems that she actually wants to confer with and counsel both men. Perhaps she thinks that showing Oberyn a mother’s pain will sway his opinion, but I think she underestimates how much he hates the Lannisters.

We check in quickly with Danaerys, only to find out that she’s just going to stay put in Meereen for a while. We all saw that coming, of course, given her proclivity for freeing slaves. She’s not going to leave them all to fend for themselves in her wake, especially since Slaver’s Bay has already reverted back to its old ways. Nope, Danaerys is determined to become a queen in more than just name, and the only way to do it is to stay in Meereen and establish a true rule.

Elsewhere in the realm, Brienne and Podrick bond, and the Hound and Arya have a difference of opinion, but it feels like their stories are just getting started. It’s hard to tell where each group is headed, but it was nice to see Brienne accept Podrick’s assistance finally, recognizing that while he may not have done much of substance while in Tyrion’s service, Podrick is still a good and loyal man to have around. Arya and the Hound, however, are definitely getting on each other’s nerves. He seems to have a growing fondness for Arya, but her determination to kill him sets him on edge. Well, who wouldn’t be a little put off by that?

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Of course, the people you really need to be wary of are the ones who say they’re actually trying to help you. Speaking of, how gross and weird are Petyr and Lysa? It’s not hard to see that he’s just using her; after all it’s always been Catelyn that he held a torch for. But who would’ve guessed that he managed to manipulate and control Lysa Arryn such that she poisoned her own husband (!!!) at his behest, then framed the Lannisters for it? If we suspected that Petyr was playing a wholly different game than everyone else, that revelation just confirms for us that nothing is ever as it seems with Little Finger. How long will he put up with Lysa, though? Obviously she’s a complete basket case, and poor Sansa is going to be caught in the middle, forced to marry her weakling cousin. Double gross!

Finally, the Night’s Watch volunteers descend on Craster’s Keep and clear out the deserters. It’s a big win for Jon Snow, who will go back to Castle Black a veritable hero, although he’ll never know how close he got to Bran. Just as I feared, the show still managed to have the two of them barely miss each other, as Bran decides to slip away in the dark rather than have his older brother drag him back to the Wall for his “protection.” While it would have been nice to see the two reunited for a bit, it’s not entirely necessary since Jon knows that Bran is alive thanks to Sam, so the two might as well go their separate ways.

Judging by the preview, we’ll finally see Tyrion’s trial next week, and find out whether Cersei’s backroom negotiations worked or not. All signs point to the poor guy being found guilty, but maybe we’ll be surprised. Probably not, though. After all, “if it’s justice you seek, you’ve come to the wrong place.” Tell us what you thought of last night in the comments!

“First of His Name” – B+

Game of Thrones: Season 4 Episode 5, “First of His Name” aired May 4th, 2014 on HBO.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 for more geek news.

Please Note – Due the nature of this show being inconsistent with the books’ timeline in terms of plot, we want to remind everyone that there is a zero tolerance policy regarding spoilers in the comments. Keep discussions relevant to the show only!

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