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Game of Thrones

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Episode 5 - First of his Name

7 May 2014

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Dany learns that Yunkai and Astapor have already experienced counter revolutions and decides to stay in Slaver’s Bay. Tommen is crowned King and Tywin pushes on with the political marriages to the Tyrells. He says he can’t discuss Tyrion’s trial with her but she has a good chat with Oberyn about it. Sansa arrives in the Eyrie where she is greeted warmly by Lysa who then marries Little Finger. Arya continues to learn how to fight and Brienne and Pod begin to bond. Jon leads an attack on the mutineers at Craster’s Keep. Locke tries to capture Bran but is killed by Hodor when Bran wargs into him.

The Good: This was a pleasing change of tone with justice peaking its head above the parapet and some good exposition.

Obviously I was thrilled to hear that Yunkai and Astapor had slid back into tyranny as soon as Dany disappeared across the horizon. What else would you expect in cities she left defenceless? And of course it’s good of her to realise she has a responsibility to those she liberated. Better late than never she finally discusses her plans to invade Westeros and understandably feels she can establish a better base in Slaver’s Bay before she attempts to return home.

I was similarly pleased to have it confirmed that the source of Lannister wealth are gold mines and that Tywin is on the case of paying off state debts. It remains necessary therefore to remain the best of friends with the Tyrells. I assume this means that Tywin isn’t about to out them as Joffrey’s murderers even if he knows it was them.

The biggest revelation of all was obviously Little Finger’s central role in the death of John Arryn and the framing of Tyrion for Bran’s injury. It suddenly makes sense of something that I had always been curious about, which was Pycelle’s cooperation with Ned Stark when he began investigating. I assumed Pycelle might have been the one that poisoned him under orders from Cersei. But now it would seem the Lannister’s might have been blindsided by this too. And the subsequent urging from Lysa to blame the Lannisters was all part of Baelish’s attemp to foster civil war so that he could benefit from the outcome. Surely more civil war would suit him perfectly?

Poor Sansa has gone from mad Joffrey to deranged Robin. I really felt for her as her mad Aunt let jealousy engulf her. I also really laughed when Lysa promised to have a loud wedding night and then was immediately true to her word in the next scene.

It was good to see more bonding on the road. Arya learning the value of armour while adding more names to her list. And then Pod slowly proving himself to Brienne.

Finally the scenes up at Craster’s were pretty satisfying. I have to say I yelled for joy when Hodor snapped Locke’s neck. He and Joffrey have already met brutal ends this season so at least some are getting what they deserve. I also enjoyed Jojen being truly brave and taunting Karl to try and save his sister. Jon’s victory and the destruction of Craster’s was a brief moment of victory in this long slog through the mire. Although I don’t envy those women who choose to stay north of the Wall.

The Bad: After Locke’s reconaissance it seemed like Jon should have just waited until the mutineers were asleep and then silently kill them. His noisy evening charge into the camp seemed like a poor choice.

The Unknown: I am still waiting to see what Tywin is up to. He almost implies here that he doesn’t think Tyrion is guilty and that he will be an impartial judge. I can’t believe that and still assume he must want to bury Tyrion along with the truth about who killed Joffrey. Cersei certainly seems happy to follow that course. Her comment to Oberyn about it being “a trial anyway” as opposed to a fair one seems to underline her commitment to Tyrion’s execution no matter what the truth.

What does Jojen seeing his own hands in flames mean?

Brienne tells Pod it “could take weeks” to reach the Wall. Umm. That’s a strange choice of words as it implies it could only take a fortnight. Surely it would take two people months to cross a whole continent? I wish the producers had taken one standard measurement and stuck to it. It would have helped us make more sense of the first three episodes of Season One!

Best Moment: The unnecessary cruelty of Jaime’s hand being cut off has paid emotional dividends ever since. Seeing Hodor break Locke’s neck was viscerally satisfying. Interestingly though the moment immediately changed once Bran became himself again. Hodor looked scared and upset and there was focus on that. Bran’s power is a violation of another persons will. I don’t know if that will become a major part of his story but in the moment I appreciated that the show wouldn’t even let me enjoy this moment of justice without pointing out the injustice it took to get us there.

Conclusion: This was more good television with a nice focus on characters who we can feel unambiguously sympathetic toward.

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  • I can't help but feel that this season has taken a step backwards in terms of its quality. The scenes at Crasters Keep bordered on being laughable, with the cartoonishly evil ring leader engaging in a final show down with Jon Snow. His taunts felt forced and a little ridiculous. His death seemed uncharacteristically cheesy for Game of Thrones. It's still a great show, but this season seems to be tilting towards tropes and cliches a little more heavily.

    Viewer score: 60 / 100

    Posted by Seamus, 21/05/2014 6:00pm (5 years ago)

  • Thanks for reading my comment, Robin and Roberto. I remembered the answer to my question as to why Arya added Beric Dondarrion to her list. I was hoping my 2nd comment was put up in time before you guys recorded the podcast. I guess not. LOL.

    Regarding Sam and why he didn't tell Jon anything that went down in Craster's Keep. I understand what you guys were saying, but isn't it awkward how Sam didn't mention anything at all to Jon that Commander Mormont and their friends, Grenn and Edd were in peril? It also got to be said why Jon didn't ask Sam what happened there? You would think that Jon would care about his black brothers and Mormont who has been this father figure since he left Winterfell and gave him his son's kick ass sword. Speaking of Sam, I don't quite remember but did he made a promise to Bran to not tell Jon he was alive? If not, you would think Sam would tell his best friend that his brother who was presumed dead was still alive. I hope I'm not being to annoyingly nitpicky.

    As to why Arya named her sword Needle, she referenced Sansa and her sewing needles and said now she got a needle of her own after Jon gave her the sword. I guess she gave it that name as a sort of defiance to the usual noble girls who grows up getting married and doing typical chores like sewing. Also, her sword has a properties of a needle, where it can wound a person through stabbing than slashing with it and how it's lighter than an average sword.

    Posted by Dave, 11/05/2014 6:30am (5 years ago)

  • ***POST PODCAST COMMENTS***

    Great recap podcast fellers. I can’t wait to hear the feedback. I really like all of these comments. I would highly recommend relistening to S3E4’s feedback podcast before listening to these two podcasts.

    http://www.thetvcritic.org/casts/A_Pod_of_Casts_304_And_Now_His_Watch_Is_Ended_Feedback.mp3

    Derrick, Roberto and Robin all brought up in that podcast how Dany has to make a transition from being a Khaleesi roaming around conquering instead of being a queen who rules over her subjects and makes sure they are safe and secure and her kingdom thrives. Here we are literally a season of episodes later and she FINALLY has decided to do just that.

    There are some great bits in there between Cersei and Tywin. Tywin says to Cersei that she thinks she’s a lot smarter than she is and proceeds to criticize her for: not seeing how the Tyrells are needed for the sake of House Lannister’s future and not being able to control Joffrey. Cersei says why don’t you control him (Joffrey) and Tywin says rather sinisterly “he will.”

    Now back to this set of podcasts:

    Cersei’s tone has changed from the first four episodes from blood thirsty revenge to maneuvering. Is the maneuvering to exact revenge or do what Tywin wants and that is doing whatever it takes for House Lannister to get out of debt and be back on top. Does Cersei see that House Lannister desperately needs House Tyrell?

    Of Tywin’s ominous comment about Joffrey, he did put Joffrey in his place about the threat of Dany and the Dragons in S3E7 when Joffrey summoned him to the Throne Room about not being invited to small council meetings.

    What if there was more to that statement then just that?

    Posted by Fluids, 08/05/2014 2:31pm (5 years ago)

  • i think the main goal of writers for this episode was concluding every past events. And in my opinion, they achieved this goal in a very effective and fantastic way. It might not be one of those big shocking episodes of Game of Thrones, but it did what it wanted very well. So it made me to completely be into this episode from the beginning to the end.

    Absolutely the most crazy and shocking moment of the episode was the truth behind death of Jon Arryn. As Game of Thrones’ routine, it was so unpredictable. Maybe the biggest unpredictable moment of the whole show, if you go back in time and remember that the reason behind everything that happened from the Pilot is somebody else. They beautifully made us to believe something else, while we could suspect LittleFinger during all these Seasons.

    And the question that come up here is that: does Littlefinger is our new villain? I myself can’t see him as an antagonist at least for now. I can’t hate him. He’s smart and more important he loves some people in this world. so, Is he gonna be the next villain? if yes, so it's good that we can have a different bad man.

    Apart from this moment, another thing that I really enjoyed was the events at Craster’s Keep. It was so exciting to see Bran using Hodor as a bad-ass giant. He really could’ve been a terrifying creature, if he hasn’t mental problem. And before that, the scene when Jojen saw the future was very cool and mysterious. I’m so eager in Bran’s journey north of the wall; I’m totally fan of everything connected to north more than anything in the show’s storyline.

    And another somehow unpredictable thing was Bran and Jon reunion that didn’t happen. But it was good that the writers came up with an explanation that why it can’t happen.

    I don’t think Sansa’s condition is going to be better. I really care for her. So it makes me sad when I see her getting off a hole and falling in another one. Poor little bird!

    Just one question from last episode: do While Walkers control the weather? Are they the reason of long winters of Westeros?

    thank you guys!

    Viewer score: 78 / 100

    Posted by Reza, 07/05/2014 5:51pm (5 years ago)

  • Thanks for letting me know, Robin. But if you need to cut totally comments for time and one of them is mind, just saying I wouldn't mind.

    Now I remember why Arya named Beric Dondarrion. He sold Gendry out to the Red Woman. Oh Gendry, what happened to thee?

    Posted by Dave, 07/05/2014 10:48am (5 years ago)

  • I'm not enjoying this season as much as I thought I would. Whether it's down to budgetary constraints or actor availability I feel we are seeing too much of some characters and nothing of others. The Hound and Arya scene brought nothing new to the table and felt like filler, with Arya reciting her death list and The Hound spewing out C-bombs - it has all been done before.

    The Brienne and Podric scene was similar but at least we got to learn a little more about each of them, but not much. These "two people in the woods" scenes must be nice and cheap to film but with only 10 episodes in a season, time is of the essence and I am yearning for more! We are half way through the season and before we know it it will be done and dusted and off on another year-long hiatus so no time to waste getting to know each other better.

    I enjoyed the moments of light relief in this episode, especially whenever crazy Lysa brought out the Septon and wedding party. I hope they can all keep a secret or two behind that door because there was plenty being revealed. The reveal itself was a little blunt in the way she blurted everything out (as if Little Finger had forgotten what he had asked her to do) but at least it cut straight to the point and let us in on a huge plot development. So, Little Finger has been manipulating the political structure to his advantage from as far back as Season One. Who would've thought he is such a prominent player?

    Glad to see Hodor take advantage of his size and strength and forcibly remove the threat of Locke. He was a dark and devious character Locke, but very well played, like a sinister pantomime villain. Now that Bran can control Hodor it opens up all sorts of possibilities.

    I wasn't so fussed with Dany's scene this week. It seemed very staged for a show that usually does such an effective job of removing me from me from reality for an hour. Whenever Dany gave the "I will rule" line and walked off on to the balcony it was almost on Autocue as if she was being directed by a camera crew.

    And finally.....If only Jojen would spit out what the possibilities are instead of offering his usual cryptic mumblings. The Reeds are like a couple of stroppy middle class teenagers who have run away from their parents during a camping trip in the woods and hooked up with Bran and company.

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by peter riegler, 07/05/2014 8:28am (5 years ago)

  • This was a great episode, with a strong and sensitive focus on the women of this universe.

    Cersei was back to being her manipulative self, buttering up each of the three judges in Tyrion's trial quite expertly. She pandered to Margaery's political aspirations (and consequently those of Mace Tyrell), acquiesced to her father's wish that she marry Loras and reminded him of the importance of family legacy, and bonded with Oberyn over their powerlessness to protect loved ones. And yet Cersei genuinely loves and wants to protect her two remaining children, which makes her back-door dealing much more sympathetic than it should be. When she talks about what a decent boy Tommen is, and how she wants him to succeed as king, she is obviously speaking from the heart. And her conversation with Oberyn about how much she misses Myrcella may have brought a tear or two to my eye. Yes, she was trying to manipulate him; but manipulations notwithstanding, her comment that 'everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls' could serve as a tagline for the season thus far. (In fact for once, Cersei's not-rape overshadowed a scene to positive effect (whether or not the writers intended it), imbuing this line with far more poignancy than it would have had otherwise.)

    Speaking of little girls and how they suffer, the scenes between Sansa and Littlefinger at the Eyrie were fantastic. I thought Lysa Arryn and her son Robin were suitably loony without being completely ridiculous. I've heard some criticisms that the exposition Lysa delivered was heavy-handed and unrealistic, but I buy that Lysa is delusional enough to view her poisoning of Jon Arryn as some kind of grand demonstration of love and devotion to Baelish. The scene between Lysa and Sansa was also great, with Lysa lulling Sansa into a false sense of security before descending into hysterical jealousy. Then Sansa realized that her latest hopes for safety and security were another illusion and my heart broke for her; 'I'm a stupid little girl, with stupid dreams who never learns', she sobbed to her aunt, echoing the same words she spoke to Margaery last season, after learning that she wouldn't be able to marry Loras and escape from King's Landing after all.

    I also appreciated the agency given to Craster's wives; one of them got to stab Karl in the back (and save Jon's skin), a wonderful cathartic moment. Then they collectively decide to make their own way North of the Wall instead of relying on the protection of the Night's Watch. Given their experiences with the black brothers, I can't blame them.

    I had a few quibbles with the episode, mostly centered on the necessity of Bran's inclusion in the Craster's Keep storyline. I didn't object to the execution of the plot per se, but I am a little leery of potentially game-changing plot points that are introduced one episode, only to be resolved in the next with very little apparent impact on the greater narrative going forward. Still, that's a minor beef with an overall strong episode.

    Viewer score: 74 / 100

    Posted by Alex L, 07/05/2014 5:07am (5 years ago)

  • Another great episode. I particularly liked Hodor's fearful look after unwittingly killing Lock.

    Looking back at last episode, there was quite a bit of discussion on the number of kings guards protecting Tommen. I believe the writers stated that only one guard was watching Tommen as a convenience that adds plausibility to Margaery's sneaking in to see him.

    Viewer score: 69 / 100

    Posted by Michael S., 06/05/2014 9:47pm (5 years ago)

  • Disappointed with the general pacing of this season. The last two episodes have been long on exposition and short on pizazz. Almost feels like they thought they'd give these two filler hours to M. Mclaren to spice up, but I think she came up a little short. The back alley city sacking two weeks ago was weak and J Snow's silly charge of the light brigade routine have me thinking she's lost a few miles off her fastball.

    Viewer score: 59 / 100

    Posted by dbates, 06/05/2014 6:19pm (5 years ago)

  • “Does anyone think Daenerys as a character is just not working, or, more accurately, is not being given the chance to work?” Very thought provoking comments David F.

    I agree, there are things missing with Daenerys and great comments BTW.

    I feel the lack of dynamics that are missing are in the form of consequences to her actions of invasion; she’s missing a major adversary (or arch enemy).The reveal last Sunday about Yunkai being regained by the slave masters might have made any concerns of a major adversary go away. I mentioned last week that you would have thought the wealthiest Houses on Essos would be concerned that she is conquering cities wherever she goes and met somewhere to discuss what to do about her.

    What’s also missing is there are no struggles for power amongst her inner circle. They all seem to get along: Jorah with Barrristan, etc…

    So yes, it’s very simplistic compared to the dynamics at King’s Landing or even Castle Black.

    Posted by Fluids, 06/05/2014 4:56pm (5 years ago)

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