We are at the half way mark of season four. I know, how time flies, right? 'First Of His Name' is an episode that discusses the fragility of power, what real power is, and what it takes to rule. The episode opens up with Tommen being named the new King of Westeros. He’s a young boy who seems suited to be a kind ruler, but that's before the weasels of King's Landing sink their hooks into him. Natalie Dormer gets better and better as Margaery Tyrell (a much smaller role in the books), and although she doesn't have much screen time this episode, she's crucial to restoring the power of King's Landing, because her family has the resources that the Lannister's need to hold off the sacred Iron Bank of Braavos. She's quite aware of that fact because of the guidance from Olenna (the great Diana Rigg). She's also learning how to seduce a man, or in this case a boy, with one far away glance. She's mesmerizing.
Up to this point, Cersie despises the little trollop from Dorne, but she surprises us all by cozying up to her after she spots her longing looks at Tommen. She practically begs her to be a queen for a second time with her young son in a fortnight. Margaery slyly makes her work for every second she asks her, all the time knowing that this is what she wants too.
In another surprising turn, Cersie has a very amenable conversation with Tywin and agrees to marry off Tommen to Margaery in a fortnight; she will also marry Oberyn Martell in two months’ time. Tywin knows how painful it is to her to have to marry him after he forced her to marry Robert Baratheon, so he explains why it's important to the family that this happens because they need the Tyrell's resources. They almost have a real father-daughter conversation when he reveals that the Lannisters are virtually bankrupt, haven't mined gold in years, and are beholden a gigantic fortune to the Iron Bank of Braavos, who always get paid. The Iron Bank is unknown to many in the land except for the powerful, but that's where the real power in all the realms lay, and Tywin knows it all too well.
Daario Naharis tells Dany that they've taken the Meereenese navy – consisting of 93 ships – which Barristan Selmy so ecstatic that he wants to invade King's Landing immediately. However, Ser Jorah advises caution. He tells her that Yunkai has been taken back by the Masters because there were no Unsullied left there for protection and they have sworn revenge against her while the city of Astapor has been conquered by a vicious man named Cleon. She realizes the distinction between conquering and ruling that same land. Jorah tells her that they still could attack Westeros, but she has an epiphany of sorts and calmly says:
“How can I rule seven kingdoms when I can't control Slaver's Bay?”
There is no real power in conquering cities if you can't rule them. A true leader is born.
The depth of Littlefinger's webs of deceit are far deeper than anyone could have imagined. Does Varys even know how far they go? He's carefully played the Seven Kingdoms like a chess board in a game that nobody else realize they are playing. We find out that Lysa Arryn was seduced by Lord Baelish into poisoning her husband Jon, the hand of the king and then sent a letter to her sister, Catelyn blaming it on the Lannisters, which set up this entire conflict. She kick-started the downfall of her sister, the Stark's, Robert Baratheon, and countless other people in the war of the five kings.
She's also mad and madly in love with Littlefinger and cajoles him into marrying her that night, promising to scream out loud when they are making love. And she's true to her word. While Petyr has some power now, he's still weaving his plans and he's far from finished. Lysa might feel powerful now because she has her lover and is safely tucked away behind the mountains of The Vale, she doesn't understand how cunning and dangerous Littlefinger really is.
Unfortunately for Sansa, she has the least power of all the major players in GOT and constantly finds herself at the mercy of cruel narcissists. She feels the jealous wrath of Lysa while she's being fed sweets. Abruptly she demands to know why Littlefinger feels responsible for her.
“He really cares for you. Think where you’d be without them. In their clutches and on trial for murder. He feels responsible for you. Why? Why does he feel responsible for you? Petyr is risking his life to save you, the daughter of a woman who never loved him. Are you pregnant? What have you let Petyr do with your body? Your young, pretty body?”
She practically breaks Sansa's hands while squeezing them, but she gets her to break down in tears, swearing she's still a virgin and that calms her down. She then tells Sansa that everything will be all right once she marries her crazy son Robin. Yikes, another forced marriage is on the horizon for Sansa.
Arya is reciting her customary death wish list by a camp fire as The Hound tries to sleep.
“Joffrey, Cersie, Walder Frey, Meryn Trant, Tywin Lannister, The Red woman Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, Illyn Payne , The Mountain.
Would you shut up.”
He finally gives up and lets her finish off the list because he knows it will end with his name.
When he wakes up he finds her practicing with Needle and he makes fun of her and Syrio Forel, her instructor. She tells him that he died because he only had a wooden sword to fight with. Sandor then tells her to show him what she's got and she stabs him in the gut.
Unfortunately for her, he's wearing armor and it doesn't penetrate at all. He grabs her tiny sword and smacks her in the face, knocking her to the ground and then he gives her a real lesson. He explains that he lost because Meryn Trant had armor and a bigger sword. Clegane is a vicious killer, but not out of a need to just hurt things, it's his way of surviving. He has a code and every action he takes is logical to him. He robbed the farmer of his silver in episode three, but not because he was demented like most of the roving bands of men after the war ended. He took it because the farmer was weak and would have lost it eventually anyway, so it was better if he had it. He knows Arya wants him dead, but he still teaches her a valuable lesson in the realities of fighting.
Arya has no real power either, outside of a bounty she might bring to the Hound; but she has real hate and that is fueling her survival.
Brienne is heading towards The Wall to find Jon Snow because she believes Sansa might be there. All the while she's trying to get rid of Podrick, who is struggling with life outside of King's Landing. She finally eases up on him when she learns he killed a Kingsguard trying to protect Tyrion at Blackwater.
Cersie actually has a serious conversation about power and children with Prince Oberyn, the Red Viper. She knows how much he hates her family, so I'm not sure if she's playing him or being honest, but she talks about the both of them having all this power, but ultimately unable to protect their loved ones. Surprisingly, he shows her a bit of kindness when he tells her that her daughter is safe and happy at Dorne. He's the father of eight girls, after all.
“I want to believe that.
We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne.
Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls.”
In a sentence she's summed up life for women all over the world of Westeros and her life as well. She was young when she was forced to marry Robert. Little girls have no power at all.
At Craster's Keep, Hodor, Meera, Bran and Jojen Reed are tied up. Jojen tells Bran of a vision he has of Bran sitting by a hill near a Weirwood tree and tells him that they are all only along so he can get to that tree and find the three-eyed raven.
“He's waiting for you and we have to find it.”
Bran is surprised that he's seen the place too and knows it's calling to him to go there.
Locke is scouting the camp and finds where they are being held and then slithers back to tell Jon Snow and the crows.
Karl enters with a few men, who have rape on their minds for Meera. As they force her to stand up and then bound her arms, Jojen tells him that he can help if he leaves his sister alone because he can see into the future. Karl refuses of course, and Jojen describes to him how he saw his death tonight. "Your body will be burned."
Just as Karl is about to cut off Meera's clothes, the Night's Watch attack. As battles break out, Locke finds Bran. However, he's not there to help, but rather to take him back to Roose Bolton. As he carries him outside, Bran warg's into Hodor's mind and breaks his chains. He runs outside, finds them and then breaks Locke's neck. Bran is on the snowy ground crawling away, when he sees his brother Jon. He starts calling out to him when Jojen stops him and convinces him not to go to his brother because he'll never let him go north of the Wall to find the three-eyed Raven. Their quest is the most important thing he has to live for. Bran, being crippled, has no real physical power, but his warg capabilities have imbued him with a different type of power with a real purpose. And he wants to fulfill its potential.
Jon Snow squares off with Karl, who's a master cutthroat and is about to die at his hands when one of Craster's daughter's stabs Karl in the back. When he turns around to kill her, Jon rams his sword through the back of his neck, and out through his mouth.
As Rast runs away from the Keep, Summer is out the cage and finally gets his revenge. Then Summer comes running back to Jon, who is elated to see his Direwolf. Snow asks the women of Craster's Keep if they want to go to Castle Black to be safe, but they tell him that from Craster to the Crows, they only caused them pain so they'll go it alone. They decide to burn Caster's Keep down to the ground with Karl's dead body along with it.
Until next week...