‘First Of His Name’ – Who do you trust in this dark and twist fairy tale?
With episode 4’s epic White Walker conclusion, was anyone else wishing that this episode would feature an hour’s worth of White Walker scenes? Showing us how they live, how they communicate (do they talk or zombie grumble with each other?) or just why they live in their own Fortress of Solitude?
Unfortunately for those of us with these pressing questions, episode 5 focused entirely on the human contingent of Westeros. In King’s Landing, Tommen is sworn in as the new king, much to everyone’s delight – barring his own mother, Cersei. Still grieving the death of Joffrey, Cersei doesn’t even applaud Tommen’s accession to the Iron throne. But, importantly, she does seem to agree with Tywin that marrying him into the Tyrell family is still the best option for them and for their reign to continue. It helps that Margeary seems able to seduce absolutely anyone. She gets it from her grandmother apparently. Any fans of Diana Rigg’s Emma Peel will certainly agree. It seems the two families need each other; one needs the wealth, the other wants the power. The Lannister’s are all out of money and are heavily, embarrassingly, in debt to the Iron bank of Braavos.
With so many enemies to the Lannister crown, Tommen seems too youthful and innocent to be a king in this land, so bets are good that he doesn’t make it long past his next few birthdays. Or just, you know, days.
Another youngster who has to contend with the maliciousness of the adults around them is Sansa. Finally at the Eyrie with her Aunt Lysa, Sansa Stark may have thought she had found a safe haven, but that soon turns out to be false. Lysa is more than a little demented and nothing like a damsel in a fairy tale tower – despite what the Vale may look like from the outside. This idea encapsulates what George R. R. Martin’s world is all about: it has dragons, princes, castles and, clearly, magic, but everything is twisted without a happy ending.
Lysa is betrothed to Baelish, and seemingly madly in love with him. Sansa therefore spends her first night in her new home trying to cover her eyes from the sounds of the newlyweds in the next room. More shocking than this however, is the reveal that Baelish and Aunt Lysa orchestrated the murder of Lord Arryn way back in the first episode of the show. It was this death which brought Robert Baratheon to the North to recruit Ned Stark as his new Hand, with the rest of these tragic affairs following.
Arya Stark is having a little more fun than her sister, practicing her water dancing. Her mission for revenge has become all-consuming now, as she lists those she will kill each night before going to sleep. It’s a long list, and the Hound is on it too. The most light-hearted moments in the episode came from Brienne and Podrick, journeying on horseback across the kingdom’s countryside. Though the best squire in the city, Podrick is the most useless sidekick imaginable for the long road ahead. He can’t ride a horse, skin a rabbit or fight a battle – but he is to be trusted. And that’s all that counts.
Trust and betrayal brings us to the main set piece of this episode, which belonged to the Night’s Watch and Bran Stark’s escape from Craster’s Keep. So hoping that Bran and Jon would reunite, I was pressed up against the screen waiting for the two brothers to see each other. But it wasn’t going to happen. The men from Castle Black manage to defeat the deserters who (unknown to Jon) were keeping Bran and his gang captive. Bran uses his warg ability to control Hodor’s body and fight off his would-be killer, Locke. More than that, he snaps Locke’s neck like a twig. The group flee Caster’s and keep moving north, with Jon none the wiser.