First thing’s first — I feel, as a recapper, I have to clarify some things because people in the comments have assumed that my Game of Thrones recaps should be filled with the omnipresent knowledge of an all-knowing book reader. Spoiler alert: they’re not! I choose to read the books after each season has ended. It keeps things more exciting, emotionally speaking. If what you want to read is some of that other business — feel free to go elsewhere! There are plenty (plenty) of other people out there doing just that. I choose not.
Now — let’s get down to the good stuff, shall we? Because this felt like a set-up episode for nearly everyone in Westeros, with harder decisions and deaths to come of it down the line. After last week’s “Oathkeeper” and that absolutely nutty White Walker scene, we suppose the show needed a few minutes to set the stage for more madness. So round up your fantasy-fantasy league numbers — there’s but a few deaths in tonight’s episode — and let’s get right to it.
Down in Meereen…
Across the Narrow Sea, the rule of Dany the Dragon Mom ain’t going as she planned it. Turns out? Slaver’s Bay is sort of a mess. Which, y’know, doesn’t really speak all that well to her prospects as a ruler of seven whole kingdoms. Yunkai’s masters have regained control, and a butcher named Cleon took over Astapor. Showing a bit of smarts, though, she decided to stay in Meereen and learn how to rule by bringing peace to Slaver’s Bay. “I need to be more than that … I will do what queens do; I will rule.”
Across the Sea in King’s Landing…
With Tommen sworn to the throne as the King of the Seven Kingdoms, decisions to ensure his long reign have begun to take their hold. Cersei had to swallow her pride (and her typically vicious tongue) to make sure Margaery is still on board with wedding a king. Because as it turns out — the Lannisters need that Tyrell money because they’re broke (owing more than a pretty penny to that all-mysterious Iron Bank). Marg herself deserves major points for at least trying to sound convincing when asked if she’d ever thought of marrying him. “I haven’t even thought of it what comes next. … After all that has happened?” Good one, Marg. Do they give away Emmys in the Realm because that performance…likely wouldn’t have earned one. But no matter, the marriage between the second most determined Tyrell and the littlest faux-Baratheon is on.
Oberyn Martell also got hit with the Commiserating Cersei stick, wherein the duo talked of their daughters (Oberyn’s got 8) — a nice reminder that, oh yeah, Myrecella is being essentially held captive in Dorne. But at least, it seems, she’s happy. Not that it would be that hard to do; honestly, swimming and playing with a bunch of free-minded liberal hippie types sounds way more fun than the political machinations of King’s Landing, doesn’t it?
Up in The Eyrie…
Over in the antisocial kingdom, Sansa has made her way with Littlefinger to Lysa and Robin Arryn — her aunt and cousin, respectively. (We’re sure you all remember Robin and his creepy breastfeeding shenanigans in season one). But Lysa’s time on screen proved to be the most telling and damning, which means surely she cannot be long for this world. Littlefinger’s Number One Fan for Life, it turned out, was the killer behind the death of Hand to the King Jon Arryn in season one. (Y’know, the whole reason this whole show started in the first place.) Not, as we’ve all been led to believe, the Lannisters hoping to gain power. Oh snap, crackle, pop! Did not see Littlefinger as the impetus behind that one.
Her allegiance to Littlefinger is so strong (looks like someone never learned how to get over the guy they lost their virginity to — oh girl) that she’s convinced Littlefinger and Sansa are schtupping. Now, it’s clear that Littlefinger wants to, but attacking Sansa for that was a classic case of unwarranted girl-on-girl crime. Lysa, no dude is worth this sort of nuttery. Too keen will get you killed, because it makes you vulnerable, girl.
Out On the Road…
We’ve got two traveling pairs now: The Hound and Arya AND Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne. It’s fairly safe to say that these two motley crews couldn’t be more different, but they both share unlikely alliances.
Team Murder-Hungry spent most of their time focused on Arya’s killing obsession — both with her swordplay and her nightly death prayer. It did not look as though the Hound was all that pleased to be on her special list.
Team Odd Ducks might be my favorite cast pairing to date. These two — so often overlooked because of, well, their looks, are both wildly adept in many ways. Brienne with a sword and Pod with his, erm, mouth. Besides, he’s so dopily loyal and, well, Brienne deserves that after all the disrespect she’s gotten. I am pro Team Brienne and Pod. Odd Ducks for life, you guys.
And Finally, Away at Craster’s Keep…
North of the Wall is where the big action took place, as Jon Snow lead his brothers up Craster’s way in order to plow down the nasty mutineers. Karl — ugh he so looks like a Karl, doesn’t he? — and his clan are pretty quickly butchered (that’s what you get!) and ultimately, the Keep was burned down to the ground. The real crime of the whole affair, though, was that this was the SECOND missed connection between Bran and Jon Snow. UGH, these two are forever icy ships in the wind, aren’t they? It’s so unfair, why can’t they just like, I don’t know, have a moment to hug it out? Jon Snow AND Bran could both do well to get a hug or two from someone they love. Sheesh.
It was a close one for Bran, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor, though: first, when Karl and the boys went in to rape Meera and soon thereafter when Locke came in to steal Bran away for Roose Bolton. Thankfully, Bran warged himself into Hodor and turned our gentle giant into a lean, mean, Locke-neck-breaking machine. Anyone else’s heart break a little when they saw how horrified Hodor was to have blood on his hands? He was turned a murderer without his consent! Poor guy.
And, of course, we must discuss that trippy weirwood dream Jojen brought to life for us. We’ve all seen Bran at that tree in the previews — so looks like it’s all part of Jojen’s prophecy. More puzzling, though, was Jojen watching his arm burn up in flames. Uh oh, is Jojen about to get a heaping helping of valar morghulis soon? Sure does seem like it.
Stuff and Things and Other Loose Ends
– I know it’s the creepiest one, but logistically speaking, The Eyrie has the coolest castle we’ve seen thus far. DIBS!
– The actor who plays Podrick Payne should win an award for that dopey smile alone. It is perfect.
– Ghost is free! Oh good. I’m glad that Ghost is back — that’s a bromance that deserves to live on.
– Mark Gatiss and the Iron Bank are finally coming into play next week, which is great because damn, the Lannisters have talked about them enough! But are they going to be on Stannis’ side?
– Never Thought I’d See The Day: Cersei admitting that Joffrey was The Worst?! Well slap my knee and call me Sally! That was the most shocking thing of the day.
UPDATED: Game of Thrones Fantasy Fantasy rankings
(Editor’s note: we’ll do our best to get these figures out to you in a timely fashion, but as many of you are finding out, there’s a ton of characters! These are calculated by game creator Andrew Nielson. Some of you have slightly different counts in the comments, but any disputes should be resolved by Small Council or your local Game Maester.)
Week 5 – “First Of His Name”
Jon Snow: +8
Ed Tollet: +1
Lysa Arryn: +7
All other characters received a net score of zero points. We will do our best to have these scores calculated for you the day following the original episode’s run.
What do you think of Cersei’s newfound honest streak? Think it’ll last? Let us know in the comments!