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Game of Thrones S4E5 “First of His Name” [Thirteen Things]
1)Seven Hells! I can’t believe the season is
already half over. You basically wait an entire year and then it’s half over in
one month. Past that, I’m growing increasingly frustrated with the opening
credits just not having the variation and custom narrative tailoring that previous
seasons seem to have had. I mean, why show The Dreadfort or Dragonstone in this
ep and not The Eyrie? Lame.
2)“First of His Name” is ostensibly about the
coronation of King Tommen, but that belies the theme of this week’s show.
Westeros might be a man’s world, but this episode was all about women of power
allowing themselves a moment of vulnerability to get things done. There’s that
alarming moment when Cersei steps into frame to interrupt the flirty looks
between Tommen and Margaery. Now, the audience has been so conditioned to
expect fiery barbs from Cersei that it’s a shock when they don’t come. I’m
going to say that this scene is the best in the episode and I attribute that to
those sideways glances that Natalie Dormer keeps shooting Lena Headey, studying
Cersei to see if it’s some verbal trap or actually genuine emotion. Dany and
Jorah’s scene also continues this theme of powerful women allowing themselves
moments of vulnerability. Like Cersei’s scene with Margaery, it’s not about
projecting overt power. Short of professing love for him, Dany does Jorah the
hugest solid by excusing everyone but him and having a real heart to heart about
what’s next with her longest and most trusted advisor. We see this action of
strong women becoming vulnerable in one way or another all through the episode,
Cersei with her dad, even Lysa’s weird sex screams in their own way, Arya at
Needle-point, Cersei with Oberyn, etc. It’s tempting to think that Cersei may
be showing a true moment of vulnerability, that with the death of her beloved
son, maybe she really is just tired of all the fighting and wants peace. But,
it’s also easy to track that Cersei is just biting her tongue as she
strategically makes the rounds to grease the wheels with the three trial
judges. 1) She makes nice with Margaery knowing it’ll get back to judge Mace
Tyrell as she acquiesces to a Margaery/Tommen pairing. 2) She is extremely pliable
with her father, judge Tywin Lannister, agreeing to wedding dates, her
betrothal to Loras, and the importance of the family legacy with no pushback
whatsoever. Finally, she finds common ground with judge Oberyn Martell in their
love of their daughters and share a moment. Knowing the complexity of Game of Thrones though, it doesn’t have
to be binary. Cersei doesn’t have to be genuinely emotionally vulnerable OR
just playing the game, the best read is her doing both at the same time.
3)I like Dany getting a little dose of what King
Robert Baratheon knew all too well, that conquering is sometimes much easier
than actually ruling. But, instead of getting sloppy drunk, whoring it up, and
delegating it all away to capable Hands, she actively wants to gain that
experience and will actually attempt to rule as a sitting “Queen” in Slaver’s
Bay. The location of this scene even sort of forward-echoes that sentiment,
shot at the top of the Meereen Pyramid, it’s almost as if she’s holding court
in her own Red Keep with her de facto Small Council.
4)Littlefinger running down the history lesson
about The Bloody Gate in The Eyrie is just great, laced with subtext about
capitalizing on your strengths to overcome odds despite otherwise modest
abilities (a harsh lesson first instilled by Brandon Stark), and the cinematography is just gorgeous. Sansa with that cloak over
her head looks like she just stepped out of a Vermeer painting. I loved the
simple line “Welcome back, Lord Baelish.”
It makes the audience go: “He’s been here before? He’s been here before. Oh,
he’s been here before alright!”
5)It’s not quite GoT trademark sexposition, but Lysa Arryn blurts out another huge
reveal concerning Petyr Baelish. In all her horny wild-eyed glory, she cops to
poisoning her own husband Jon Arryn, at the request of Littlefinger no less(!),
and generating the bogus letter to her sister Catelyn Stark pinning his death
on the Lannisters, basically the catalyst for kicking the entire show into
motion and all the awful shit that’s happened since. Once again, we get proof
that Lord Varys was right, and something book readers are already hip to, Petyr
Baelish is the most dangerous man in Westeros. Kate Dickie, who plays Lysa, is
phenomenal in her ability to alternately channel moments of lucid
near-believable warmth and then bouts of manic lunacy. It’s almost sad to see
Littlefinger knowingly prey on a woman with a clear mental illness. Also?
ALERT! We have been reminded of the presence of The Moon Door in The Eyrie!
6)Am I the only one who noticed that characters
are now pronouncing “Westeros” differently? Jorah and The Hound are now
sayingit like “Wes-tuh-ross” instead of
“Wes-ter-ose.” I wonder if this is just casual character interpretation or an
actual purposeful course correction.
7)I’m growing tired of the Pod humor already, but
I did appreciate how Brienne perked up at the reveal of the young unassuming
squire having killed a Kingsguard.
8)That one-handed cartwheel Arya does when
water-dancing! This makes we want to see Maisie Williams cast as the Jedi
daughter of Han and Leia in Episode VII.
9)“Everywhere in the world, they hurt little
10)For some reason, I really enjoyed seeing Locke
skulking around Craster’s Keep. He’s obviously a man with some skill, the actor
has a very engaging screen presence, and it’s further proof that even the bit
players are fully fleshed out personas. Speaking of casting, the kid who plays
Jojen Reed is outstanding. I love just watching that dude’s eyes and facial
expressions, so much going on there.
11)Qarl openly mocking Jon for being taught proper
fighting skills (true) by some old man in a castle (very true) and to fight
honorably (all true) was fairly priceless. I mean, everything he says is
absolutely correct, and Qarl basically wining this fight dirty Bronn-style,
Wildling two-sword-style, spit-in-your-eye-style until Jon gets a little help
is another indication about the Death of Honor in Westeros.
12)Bran warging into Hodor is the new Master
Blaster. Hey, Locke! Who run Craster’s
Keep? Hodor run Craster’s Keep. Louder.
HODOR RUN CRASTER’S KEEP.
13)It’s only right that the episode ends exactly
the way Jojen Reed foresaw it. It gives additional gravitas to the image of
that Weirwood Tree.