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Monday, May 5, 2014
Game of Thrones 4x05 First of His Name
Before I get to the content of the ep, how freaking lazy are the opening credits this year? Dreadfort is there all the time, and where was Eyrie? I'm disappointed with the lack of work they put in there this year.
The episode opens with the coronation of Tommen. Margaery is there, smiling like an idiot at her future husband, until Cersei appears in front of the Throne to block her view.
Then a completely puzzling and confusing scene happens with Cersei actually 1. telling Margaery things Joffey did shocked her 2. asking Margaery if she wants to be the Queen 3. telling her she will need help with Tommen. What the fuck was that?
I'm not sure if the writers wanted to make this scene (and the scene with Oberyn) play like a trick with Cersei being nice because Margaery's father is one of Tyrion's judges and Oberyn is another - if they did, they failed to telegraph it in any way. We had hysterical feminists yelling about the portrayal of Cersei in past 2 eps- the real issue is showing Cersei as a victim in any way and trying to elicit sympathy from the audience - this is most evident in this recent episode.
The show has done a lot of harm to this character. Cersei, pure evil in the books, is constantly whitewashed on the show. While I did appreciate it in the past, they are really ruining the character - one of the show's worst villains is constantly being portrayed as hopeless pawn, victim of tragedy and caring and loving mother. One scene like that a season would be sufficient. 3 scenes like that in one episode? Do writers realize there are, no doubt, people out there actually thinking Cersei is a better person than Stannis thanks to the way they wrote the show? This is catastrofuck and a huge failure on writers' part.
Cersei would have never said those things to Margaery. No matter what. Cersei does not want Margaery anywhere near her son - Tommen is a sweet boy, so she doesn't really need help. It's not in her interest to have Margaery anywhere near him, nor does she need any help with the trial - everyone thinks Tyrion is guilty. That whole scene, as gorgeously framed as it was, was retarded. Unless there is some pay off to her scenes in next ep, I sincerely hope they'll have Cersei on the right track soon.
And what is up with Marge? Calling Cersei 'sister'? Margaery was never cocky. This is even more glaring than Cersei's misrepresentation. Natalie Dormer's lazy and uninspired work (she plays the part as if she was in The Tudors again) this season isn't helping anything.
Across the Narrow Sea, Dany finally changed her dress and she is having her council meeting. Turns out Daario stole some ships, Dany looks like she is about to climax, possible invasion on King's Landing is discussed etc. After all of that Dany asks everyone to leave but Jorah. Jorah informs her that the cities she took and abolished slavery in, have now returned to their past ways. Daenerys decides to stay in Meereen and learn how to rule.
I was glad that was all we saw of her this week. While the time that was saved was used on spectacularly fucking up Cersei's character at least we didn't witness the writers trying to make Dany's current storyline interesting - it cannot be done. We got a cute moment when Jorah smiled. No Stannis this week - I take what I can get.
Littlefinger and Sansa arrive to the Vale and are at the gates of the Eyrie, my favorite castle in the series. Littlefinger introduces Sansa as Alayne, his niece to the guards. That was a nice little nod to book readers - in the books Sansa pretends to be Alayne Stone, Littlefinger's bastard daughter. She dyes her hair dark to disguise her auburn hair, something that could easily unmask her as Sansa - her hair are exactly like her mother's and her features are very much like those of house Tully.
The two walk into the great hall of Eyrie - dearly missed by the audiences aunt Lysa and her son Robin are there, sitting on the Weirwood throne. I'm so glad there was no breastfeeding this time.
Robin runs to Petyr, calls him his uncle and hugs him. Petyr gives him a toy. Aunt Lysa then comes over to Sansa, telling her she knows who she is - she embraces her and Sansa is clearly happy she's finally with her family. Sophie Turner's acting have been improving season to season and she is absolutely lovely this year. She looked incredibly beautiful in this episode as well.
Lysa and Sansa talk briefly - Lysa tells her that they must keep Sansa's identity a secret, considering how the Lannisters are looking for her. Lysa calls Tyrion a 'troll' and expresses her disgust that Sansa was forced to marry him.
Robin mentions how he almost made him fly and throws the toy Littlefinger gave him through the Moon Door. The fact that at that moment the camera cut to worried looking Sansa was a brilliant touch.
Robin takes Sansa to her room and what proceeds was both funny and disappointing. Lysa talks to Petyr and an atomic bomb is dropped on non book readers - only they probably didn't recognize the impact of what Lysa was saying. Lysa reveals to the audience (while a new, terrific track from Ramin Djawadi plays in the background) that Littlefinger gave her the poison and she poisoned Jon Arryn. She also wrote everything Littlefinger wanted her to write in her letter to Cat.
The poisoning of Jon Arryn started an avalanche of events which led to bloodshed, war, tragedy. Lysa and Littlefinger were behind all of it. That reveal, I felt, sadly lacked the impact it had in the books - in the book it is connected to the absolutely phenomenal moment we'll see in finale and as much as I understand it's logistically better to have it now than in packed finale the lack of the regard for the show's first season - with avoiding giving the answer to identity of the person behind Bran's assassination attempt and by not giving the proper build up to Lysa's words now - is quite shocking.
Anyways, the scene was still good and we found out a lot from it - we know that Littlefinger already slept with Lysa, years ago. We see how hot she is for him - I shouldn't judge, but seriously? - we also see through Aidan Gillen's hilarious expressions that Littlefinger absolutely doesn't return Lysa's feelings.
Later we get a hilarious moment with Lysa yelling like crazy during her wedding night and we see Sansa with annoyed look on her face, lying in her bed, unable to sleep because of the noise.
Next we get another scene with Cersei this week - in it she talks about the impending marriages to Tywin - turns out that Margaery and Tommen will marry soon and then Cersei will marry Loras. This is all gonna be interesting to see on the show, seeing how they will choose to show both of these story arcs.
Iron Bank of Braavos is mentioned again. I think at that point the only stronger way they could indicate to the audience that this is important is if they wrote the words Iron Bank of Braavos on the hammer and send an intern to every fan's house to personally beat them with it. I'm not really complaining though, it's good when things are hyped when the pay off is grand, however what we should be constantly reminded of is what a fucking disaster wildings successfully breaching the wall would be.
Anyways, we got another thing that was not in the books this week - turns out the Lannisters are broke. Wait, what? I understand they are only throwing more shit at Lannisters because after 3 seasons of reign they finally start to fail, hard, but this makes very little sense, especially for future story lines.
Anyways, the Bank is further discussed and here's the thing - everyone keep saying how important paying the Bank is, can't they make it clear why it's important? Also by making Lannisters broke they will turn Cersei's actions into 'I can't pay, I'm broke' instead of 'I can't pay because fuck you' later on. More whitewashing. And for what?
We then get a scene of Arya reciting her kill list, when poor Hound just wants to sleep. She includes Beric and Thoros on her list. I cheered. Book readers know why. Non book readers - well, you should cheer too because for all of us it indicates (among other things) that Arya thinks of Gendry.
Then we get another scene at the Eyrie with aunt Lysa bringing Sansa lemon cakes. Holy hell the things that happened later were crazy. Lysa goes all batshit on Sansa suspecting her that Littlefinger loves her just like he loved Cat (funny thing is that as crazy as Lysa is, she is spot on here) though when I say "love" I mean "obsess over".
Sansa denies everything and her aunt finally gives up and holds her. She also tells her that soon Tyrion will be executed and Sansa will be free to marry Robin and become the lady of the Vale. I think in that moment Sansa realized that she traded one prison for another. Also as wacky as Lysa is, I enjoyed more diversity in her scenes than in season 1 - we got to see this pathetic, lovestruck woman, used by this sneaky man who doesn't care about her.
On the road we catch up with Brienne and Podrick. We find out two things - 1. Brienne intends to go to the Wall 2. Pod can't ride for shit (I could make a brothel joke, but hey, I'm not gonna). Brienne figures that Sansa went to the Wall to see Jon Snow. Brienne's plan is very smart - unfortunately she is under mistaken impression that Stark children do smart things. While the Wall is arguably the most dangerous place in Westeros right now (seeing how wildings and other things are about to attack it) Jon Snow would protect the children from everything.
Arya is practicing her water dancing with Needle. The Hound sees it and makes fan of her and Syrio, mocking the fact that someone as weak as Meryn Trant managed to slay him. Arya attempts to stab him and he punches her.
Meanwhile, in King's Landing, Oberyn is writing a poem for his daughter. Cersei comes over and they have a nice little scene, in which Cersei allows Oberyn to see how weak she is. Again, what am I missing here? Why are they doing this?
Other than that it was one of the better scenes this week, if not the best one. We find out Oberyn has 8 daughters - well, obviously. We finally get Myrcella mention - Cersei's daughter shipped off to Dorne in season 2. Oberyn promises Cersei that her daughter is happy in Dorne because they don't hurt little girls there. Cersei drops the best line of the episode 'everywhere in the world they hurt little girls' - a line with so much saddening truth and power behind it.
Cersei asks Oberyn to send a gift for Myrcella - a ship Cersei had made for her, as her little girl loves open water. She leaves, on the verge of tears and Oberyn looks almost filled with compassion. It was nice they showed him as a caring father in this scene and someone who really cares about innocent people.
Meanwhile, Pod attempts to cook a rabbit for Brienne. He forgot to skin it, though and the rabbit caught on fire. Brienne is stunned by Podick's lack of ability to do... anything, really, and they talk a little.
In that scene Podrick reveals to her that he killed a man to protect lord Tyrion. Moved by the boy's sense of loyalty to someone he served, Brienne asks Pod for some help with her armor. These two are so adorable together.
Close to 20 last minutes of the episode were devoted to the events at Craster's Keep. This season has this cinematic feel sometimes - big sequences go uninterrupted. We are getting a huge Blackwater style episode this year as well and I imagine the climactic event of episode 8 will also be one big unbroken sequence.
Locke figures out where Bran is and tells the Watchers not to go there, because of the hounds that are chained up. Meanwhile Karl is tormenting Meera and things are about to become really horrible again. Jojen keeps telling Karl that he has a gift - in a pretty badass line he tells him he saw his body in flames...with snow covering his bones.
As Karl is about to get all rapist/murderous, the Night's Watch attacks in a fucking beautiful take (the first gif of this post). Michelle Maclaren, the director of the episode said that this was the deepest mud she has ever seen but Kit Harington is so good with the sword, he didn't even need a double. I always make fun of Harington because of his innocent looks but the guy wields that sword like a badass motherfucker.
Anyways, the action was all very exciting - though I wish we saw it more clearly - the editing and shaking camera made it hard to see, but I suppose the gist of the scene was just to show off Snow's skills before the big battle episode.
Meanwhile at the cabin, Jojen tells some more mystical stuff to Bran and we see the tree behind him again. Locke comes by and he wants to take Bran. He even calls Hodor an idiot. Bran warges into Hodor and Hodor picks Locke up by his neck and then snaps it. Once Bran stops the warging Hodor is confused and horrified.
People keep talking about the rape scenes this season but for me Hodor was in two of the most disturbing moments - first when he was being mocked and attacked last week and now this. What Bran does is horrible - he invades this simple person's mind and now he made him kill. This is some really horrific shit. Not only is Bran's storyline boring, the abuse of Hodor is seriously hard to watch.
I do applaud the writers for including that moment - indicating how wrong it was. I am however appalled that they killed off Locke, probably my favorite minor character. There was so much potential there and seeing how he was invented by the writers they had such a freedom with him. And they kill him off? Noah Taylor was so amazing in the role, not to mention he is one of the most recognizable people in the cast, and they killed him off?
What will happen to the bear now?:(
Hodor sets Summer and Ghost free along with the Reeds. Bran can actually see Jon and Jojen reminds him that if Bran goes to Jon, he will never allow him to go further North (rightfully so, as this whole plan is idiotic). We see Jon frantically look around amidst the fight to find Bran and we see Bran decide he has to go. That was a beautiful and heartbreaking moment.
Jon walks like a badass into the cabin to fight with Karl. Karl has two knives and Jon has his sword Longclaw. The fight is really awesome and very well choreographed. As Jon is on the ground and is about to get killed some random Craster wife stabs Karl. As Karl is about to kill her Jon puts Longlaw through the back of his head, with the blade coming out of Karl's mouth. That was the disgusting thing we kept hearing about. And it was awesome!
Jon goes outside. We see Rast running away and passing Ghost's opened cage. Ghost attacks Rast. Then he comes to the cabin and we finally got a reunion between Jon and his beloved direwolf. Fuck you, I'm not crying.
Jon tells the women they can go with him to Castle Black but they don't want it. They only want the cabin to burn. The episode ends with the women and the watchers looking at Craster's Keep in flames.
As solid as the episode was, there are truly some weird things happening on the show - they have a revelation like that Jon Arryn thing and they took basically no advantage of it. On the other hand the invented raid on Craster's was such a wonderful sequence. It all makes me think of calm - or in case of show - confusion before the storm. Beginning the next episode the events that will come are so exciting not even people hell bent on screwing up could manage to do that. And I think that these last five episodes have done a great job at setting up the things to come.
Next episode entitled The Laws of Gods and Men brings with it one of my most anticipated sequences from the book - the trial of Tyrion Lannister. We also get to see Theon's sister Yara, Ramsay being under attack and most importantly (properly lit) Stannis being beautiful, sassy badass in Braavos. His scene with Mark Gatiss, who plays a representative of the Iron Bank, better be fucking awesome. Also - give him all the money and you know, bow, bitches.
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