I was discussing earlier this week with Ash how Game of Thrones has shifted in terms of its cultural perception. It has, in a few short years, gone from “obscure fantasy book series”, via “that show I haven’t seen, with all the sex”, to the sort of compulsive viewing whereby talking about it in any way leads to someone swearing a blood vendetta against you for “spoilers”.
I say that as a segue into this; beyond here are spoilers.
So after what I still hold to be one of the start-to-finish best episodes of Game of Thrones so far, we have an episode entitled “First of his Name”. And anyone who couldn’t figure out what that referred to after Joffrey popped his clogs (if not before) clearly hasn’t actually been watching the show.
Yes, Tommen is being crowned. Which is actually utterly uninteresting in terms of the new king, save that Margery’s midnight visit has definitely seduced him. Even Cersei has too admit this, proposing the royal marriage herself; though likely at Twyin’s behest. Cersei does seem to have become a little more fragile, perhaps toothless after Joffrey’s death. Margery makes a sister/mother comment, and the Queen Regent doesn’t bite her head off.
It is quickly becoming apparent that all Cersei does care about is putting Tyrion’s head on a spike. I’m undecided whether she actually does think Tyrion is responsible (logically, I don’t see how anyone could; if he had been behind it, he wouldn’t have been standing there to be caught), but she wants him dead anyhow. Cersei seemingly gets nowhere lobbying Tywin to this end, but then he isn’t his son’s biggest fan to start with. (Though the expositional revelation that the Lannister gold mines have run dry is a fascinating tidbit) With Oberyn, she works more subtly, matching his desire for revenge for his sister’s death for her own for Joffrey’s. Her tears for Myrcella seem genuine, though as ever it is difficult to judge what the Dornish prince is thinking. Cersei’s line that they hurt little girls in every part of the world seems especially poignant though.
Meanwhile, back in the Eyrie, Lyssa is still stark raving bonkers! She receives Sansa in disguise as Littlefinger’s niece with suspicion that he has *ahem* other designs on her (he definitely does). She is also keen to rush through their wedding, and divulges that it was she (not the Lannisters) who poisoned Jon Aryyn back in the very first episode, at Littlefinger’s behest. This man is a psychopath; I’m not sure that he has a reason for playing every side, he just wants to see the world burn and be king over the ashes.
On the road, Arya and the Hound doesn’t go anywhere really, but to establish that she wants to kill the Hound (which we knew) and that she isn’t able to (which we assumed). Brienne and Pod, on the other hand, is going to be brilliant. Brienne is frustrated at Pod’s knightly ineptitude and inability to cook, but as they talk she softens to the young lad, when she learns just how far he went to protect Tyrion.
In Meereen, Daenerys receives news that she has enough of a fleet to maybe launch an attack on King’s Landing, though Jorah is sceptical. She also receives news that her liberation of slavers’ bay is being undone as soon as she moves on. As such, she decides to stay and rule in Meereen. Now, this smacks of making her wait, as the story isn’t ready for her to show up in Westeros yet. They did this with Jon Snow last season, and we got scene after seen of him twiddling his (or Ygritte’s) thumbs. I hope we don’t head down this path with Daenerys.
North of the wall, we have two stories. Firstly, Bran. There is a bit in captivity where we see some of Jojen’s visions. I suspect it is to reassure us that they are in fact going somewhere. And I believe it; I’m eager to see what is behind the three-eyed raven, and what flame-related end Jojen will meet with. Bran is even becoming less pathetic, warging I to Hodor in order to break Locke’s neck when he tries to carry Bran off. Jaime’s hand sends its regards.
And Jon Snow. Of course we get his attack on the mutineers at Craster’s keep. And it is just the action we want. The writers are doing a good job of moulding Jon into a leader of men, and his experiences north of the wall last season have made him more confident. It’s a good look, the moping was getting old. His eventual magnanimity to Craster’s orphaned daughters —though rejected — is almost kingly, and them all watching the keep burn to the ground is an excellent moment to end on.
The tenderness of Jon’s reunion with Ghost — avenged on his own tormentor — is touching, coming just after the fantastic duel between Jon and the delightfully and chillingly slimy Karl Tanner: