Game of Thrones S04E05: The First of His Name
Episode five of this season’s Game of Thrones was – apart from events at Craster’s Keep – a pretty sedate affair, a sort of a breather in which elements are moved into place, like pieces on a chessboard, ready for future deployment; a momentary respite to allow for a bit of set-up.
None of that is to say it wasn’t an interesting episode; there was plenty there to keep all of us… us… hmm, is there a collective name, yet, for GoT fans? Wester-whores, perhaps? Widescreen Walkers? Anyway, particularly catching was the Tywin Lannister’s talk of the insidious, shadowy – and seemingly all-powerful – Iron Bank of Braavos and the apparently precarious financial position the Lannister family is in, regarding its “tremendous” debt to said bank. A Lannister always pays his debts, the family motto goes, and from the sinister sound of the Iron Bank, this is one debt they had most certainly better pay. If the ruling family of the land is in such thrall to the Bank, then what exactly is the Iron Throne worth? Could it be that even Westeros is governed by corporate interests? Boy, those neoliberals get around!
Probably the most ‘ooh, now what’s all this’ part of the episode had to do with Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish, who has managed to position himself as Lord of the Vale by marrying Lysa Arryn – sister of Cat Stark – and holing himself high up in the impregnable fortress that is the Eyrie. Clearly revolted by Lysa – who herself is clearly dangerously paranoid and verging on the insane – Baelish obviously has ulterior motives. And it turns out that basically he’s the one that kicked it all off, having manipulated Lysa into killing her husband and lying about it (which, in a roundabout way, eventually led to the demise of Ned Stark). Lightfinger certainly has a light touch; from pimp to peer of the realm, Peter is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
And poor old Sansa, the kingdom’s favorite high-born hostage, is still basically a prisoner and looks doomed to marry yet another psychopathic princeling in the form Lysa’s son Robin – the kid who just loves to see enemies tumble to their deaths through the ‘moon’ door.
Jon Snow’s mission to kill the renegade Crows at Craster’s Keep is a violent success. That was of little surprise. More interesting was what we saw Bran Stark do while Snow played sword-fight… he occupied the body and mind of lumbering servant Hodor to secure his escape. Bran can control humans! That should make his mission to go find the three-eyed raven a bit easier.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Tommen is crowned King, Arya and the Hound and Brienne and Pod continue their respective journeys, and Danys – having heard that in enclaves she’s left behind liberated slaves have been enslaved again – realizes it’s time to halt her procession towards Westeros and actually start ruling the kingdom she amassed along the way. At last! Congratulations sulky pants.
No Tyrion this week (boo, hiss), but that will only serve to make his reappearance all the more delicious. Let’s get this trial going, people!
So, there we have it, like I said at the top, basically an episode of positioning. As we now enter the second half of the current season, things can only get cerrr-ay-zee! I wonder what color the trial will be?