Game of Thrones: “First of His Name” Season 4 Episode 5 Review

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Just about every major storyline at the moment was crammed into this fun, exciting episode.

We’re at a point in Season 4 of Game of Thrones where all the major players have their goals, both old and new, and are now in pursuit of them as we hit the midpoint. First of His Name showed us what was going on with Arya, Sansa, Daenerys, Jon Snow, Bran, Brienne, and everyone in King’s Landing. Most of these had a neat little story to tell this week. Let’s start with the most explosive.

Jon Snow lead an assault on Craster’s Keep. Little does he know that his brother Bran and his company are being held captive in this camp. Locke is the only person aware of this and plans to finish what Walder Frey started at the Red Wedding. In the middle of the battle, as Locke carries the crippled Stark away, Bran uses his warg powers to take control of Hodor, who then kills Locke. It was shocking and jarring, and definitely one of the most badass things all season.

Unfortunately, with Bran pursuing his own quest in the opposite direction of Jon Snow’s the two couldn’t reunite. It’s a frustrating thing about this show, especially since Jon and Bran had another close encounter at the end of last season as well. But it allowed Jon to have a fantastic sword fight with the Nightswatch betrayer Karl and reunite with one of the Stark family dire wolves.

Meanwhile, Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at the Veil, greeted by Sansa’s aunt (Remember her? Totally insane sister of Catelyn that wanted to kill Tyrion in Season 1? Well, she’s ready to bring back a whole lot of crazy.). For a moment, you’re happy that Sansa is in at least somewhat familiar company. That is, until her aunt freaks out thinking she and Littlefinger may have had sex. Poor Sansa just can’t catch a break.

Arya and the Hound’s travels got a little testy this week. The young Stark lists her caretaker at the end of her growing list of people to kill. Then he catches her training with her sword. He insults her now-dead teacher and she tries to kill him. Too bad Needle can’t penetrate his armor. It was such a pathetic moment for Arya, one that reminds us that she is still very young.

Much like my slight frustrations with Jon Snow and Bran not meeting, Daenerys found yet another reason to put off her voyage to Westeros. This time, the cities that she freed have been retaken over. I understand that these are trials she must face, but do we really need to watch her liberate these cities again?

King’s Landing was fairly quiet this week. The new king has been crowned and Cersei seems to be for once trying to make friends outside of her family. She has separate conversations with Margeary and Oberyn that indicate she is in need of some outside comfort after Joffrey’s death. It was also nice to hear her say out loud what a monster her first born was. You can’t blame her for still loving him, making her one of the most watchable characters right now.

Brienne’s quest with Podrick was mostly just comic relief but the two are forming a bit of a bond. But Podrick will always be great for some comic relief.

So it was a busy hour filled with great stuff. Daenerys’ repetitive story aside, everything else really clicked, even if Bran and Jon didn’t at least share a glance. This was a fun episode that brought things forward. It’s hard to ask for much more. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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