May 5 2014 11:47am

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 5 Recap: Little Girls and Big Sticks

Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones 4.05This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 4, episode 5, “First of His Name.” Enjoy!

Game of Thrones is a show replete with questions: Who are Jon Snow’s parents? What happened to the assorted hoods, hats, helmets, and other headgear of the Night’s watch? Where’s Gendry? When will Sansa ever be free of danger? Why was Jon Arryn killed? (Or perhaps more accurately, who the heck was Jon Arryn and why do we care?)

But first, another coronation, in which super-cute Tommen “Baratheon”/Lannister is crowned King in his brother’s place. “Long may he reign!” the crowd yells, though unless his entire incompetent Kingsguard has been replaced by people who know what they’re doing, that’s unlikely! Meanwhile, Tommen gets some encouraging looks from his secret midnight visitor, Margaery Tyrell. Tommen’s mother Cersei follows his extremely obvious smiles to where Margaery is standing on the sidelines all by herself. Uh-oh!

It’s okay, though, because the person who’s talking to Margaery isn’t really our beloved bitchy Queen Cersei who insults everyone to their faces. Instead, she’s been replaced by this thoughtful and warm person who admits that Joffrey was a monster. Margaery and I both try to wrap our heads around the fact that even when Margaery calls Cersei “mother/sister,” Cersei doesn’t stab her in the neck. In fact, she even proposes that Margaery marry Tommen. That was strange! I think they should elope if they do get hitched; if experience has taught us anything at all, it’s that big weddings always go disastrously wrong in Westeros.

Cersei subsequently has a heart-to-heart with her father, who tells her that the Lannister gold mines have run dry for the past three years and the crown is in hock to the Iron Bank of Braavos (I hear their balance transfer offers are really hard to resist) and therefore the Tyrell alliance is of paramount importance to the Lannisters and the throne of Westeros. Tywin also hilariously describes Robert trying to pat him on the back.

Oberyn and Cersei in Game of Thrones 4x04Lastly, Cersei visits with Oberyn Martell who’s hanging out in the gardens with nary a lover of either gender in sight. Apparently he’s writing poetry, which I imagine goes something like this: Roses are red/Violets are blue/You killed my sister/Now I’ll kill you.

Oberyn tells Cersei that he saw her daughter Myrcella playing with his daughter in Dorne before he left and that she was happy because the Dornish don’t hurt little girls. Cersei tells him that they hurt little girls everywhere in the world. Hey, this is Westeros, where all men, women, little girls, little boys, animals and inanimate objects suffer, okay? Cersei has commissioned a boat for Myrcella’s not-at-all-obvious-upcoming-escape-event and Oberyn promises to deliver it to Myrcella. They’re both awesome liars, and I love them.

Dany in Game of Thrones Season 4, episode 5In Meereen, Dany has now amassed an army (8000 Unsullied), an air force (three dragons), and a navy (90 ships captured by Daario as a little present for his Khaleesi because he heard she liked ships. Wow, flowers to ships is quite a leap!! So, basically Dany’s in a great position to invade Westeros and take what is hers with fire and—oh, rats! She decides, after hearing that Astapor and Yunkai have devolved into anarchy, to stay and rule Meereen. I think it’s actually great that Dany recognizes the difference between conquering and ruling and feels a responsibility to the people she’s conquered/freed which is in contrast to everyone else who wants to be King of Westeros just because the throne is there or because it’s their right, without a thought for the people they are supposed to be ruling. On the other hand, there’s that whole thing where people get sucked into endless quagmires because they haven’t clearly defined what they mean by “ruling” and I don’t know that Dany has an exit strategy at all. Which could be a problem down the line.

Arya in Game of Thrones 405In the Riverlands, two separate odd couples are traveling towards...somewhere. Arya and the Hound bicker about Arya’s list of people she wants to kill (she’s added Thoros and Beric—good luck with that, Arya, he doesn’t stay dead!), specifically about his inclusion on the list. Then the Hound stomps all over Arya’s (and the audience’s) hopes that Syrio Forel somehow survived his encounter with Meryn Trant and for good measure gives Arya a smack to show her how someone who’s well-armed and armored is always going to beat someone who has a wooden stick and no armor to defend himself with.

Hey, Brienne knows all about that wooden stick stuff, since that’s what she had to fight against a bear. And speaking of Brienne, she has decided to look for Sansa at the Wall with Jon Snow (I guess she doesn’t know about Sansa’s Aunt Lysa in the Vale?) Pod lives up to Brienne’s low opinion of him by not knowing how to ride a horse or that you have to skin a rabbit to cook it (look, even *I* know that, and I’ve never gone camping in my life!) Finally, Pod manages to impress her by telling her how, during the battle of the Blackwater, he killed the Kingsguard knight who tried to murder Tyrion. Getting the best of a Kingsguard knight in a fight is something Brienne can respect, since she’s done it too.

Speaking of Aunt Lysa in the Vale—Littlefinger brings Sansa to her for protection and for a few minutes, Sansa lets herself think that things are going to be okay. Lysa and her son Robin (who’s grown about six inches since we last saw him in the first season—guess that mother’s milk is extra nourishing!) at first seem fairly happy to see Sansa, although Lysa warns Sansa that no one can know that she’s here, and Littlefinger has introduced Sansa as his niece. After dismissing Sansa and Robin, Lysa pops the question to Littlefinger, and they get married right then and there; apparently this is the way to avoid murders at your wedding—do it in secret and don’t invite any guests. (As a bonus, don’t diss Walder Frey’s daughter either.)

Once they’re alone, Lysa reveals that it was actually she who poisoned Jon Arryn, Robert Baratheon’s first Hand, whose corpse we saw in the first episode of the series. Littlefinger seduced Lysa and convinced her not only to kill her husband but to throw the blame on the Lannisters in her letter to Catelyn, which poisoned the relationship between the Lannisters and the Starks until civil war was well-nigh unavoidable. (Littlefinger also told Catelyn that the assassin who tried to kill Bran was using Tyrion’s dagger—which may or may not be true, because they never actually solved that mystery on the show.) We’ve always assumed it was Cersei and Jaime who murdered Jon Arryn because he discovered their secret, because that was essentially what Petyr told Ned Stark, so this is a huge revelation.

Lysa is loudly ecstatic to finally be married to the man she’s loved since she was a child, and poor Sansa gets to listen in on the whole thing. Awkward!

If that weren’t enough, Lysa, who is crazy but not stupid, confronts Sansa about her relationship with Littlefinger, insisting that Sansa is sleeping with Baelish and is probably pregnant with his child. Wow, that’s quite a leap! Sansa, terrified, swears that she’s stupid and also a virgin, until Lysa reverts back to “loving aunt” (or maybe not!) and gives her a hug. She tells Sansa that she plans for her to marry Robin. Um, Sansa is still married, though, to Tyrion, whom she actually defends to Aunt Lysa. Probably not the best way to get into her aunt’s good graces, but basically, poor Sansa has just exchanged one terrifying situation in which she has to watch every word that comes out of her mouth for another, equally terrifying situation in which she has not one single ally.

Speaking of terrifying situations, at Craster’s Keep, Karl Tanner brings in a bunch of his men to the hut where he’s holding Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen captive. The inevitable threats of rape follow, even though Jojen calmly tells Karl that he (Karl) is going to die soon. Luckily, Jon and the six men of the Night’s Watch who came with him are here to rescue Bran and his friends. Or kill the mutineers, anyway. In any case, poor Meera is left strung up, but still dressed and not raped. Locke, who’s accompanied Jon as a scout, comes to kidnap Bran and, I guess, bring him back to Roose Bolton or something; Bran decides this would be a great time to warg into Hodor and make him snap Locke’s neck. I’m not sure how I feel about this, because poor Hodor looks pretty distraught about being turned into a killer against his will. On the other hand, it’s quite hard to feel sorry for Locke.

Meanwhile, Jojen tells Bran that if Jon finds him, Bran won’t be able to keep looking for the three-eyed raven because Jon would never let him travel north. So Bran and Jon again do not meet, because no Stark children will ever come across any other Stark children until the end of time. It is known!

Meanwhile, Jon fights Karl inside Craster’s Keep, and like Bronn taunting Jaime the last episode, Karl taunts Jon that he doesn’t know how to fight dirty. You know who does know how to fight dirty? Craster’s daughter-wife, who shanks Karl from behind, enabling Jon to kill the assassin of Gin Alley in turn. “Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls.” But sometimes the little girls get revenge.

Afterwards as they burn the bodies, Jon offers Craster’s daughters/wives passage to Castle Black where he promises there will be work for them (and also a reunion with Gilly). The Spokeswife declines, perhaps understandably wary of men in black at this point. Or men in general. I like to think they’re going to go off somewhere and found Westeros’s first female farm co-op but even if they’re just going off to freeze to death, at least it’s a decision that they made themselves, without being told what to do by anyone else. So more power to them!

Next week promises the return of Yara Greyjoy! Phew, I was just about to put out a milk carton ad for her (still missing: Gendry, Rickon Stark, Osha, and the Brotherhood without Banners).

Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current tv shows, and a hopeless romantic.

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Darlene Marshall
1. DarleneMarshall
Poor Sansa! I know a lot of viewers/readers don't like her because she's a snippy girly-girl, and not a badass like Arya, but all she wants is peace and safety, and is forever having the rug pulled out from beneath her.

I'd forgotten all about the Jon Arryn connection until this episode. If nothing else, the tv show is a good refresher for the readers (despite the changes). Thanks, as always, for the recap.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
Nice!Cersei is even scarier than regular Cersei, I think. Plus also who does she think she's fooling with sending her daughter a SHIP for a gift? I don't understand at all why she even said that.

And I never knew about the Arryn death. That Littlefinger is such a scamp!

(At least there's unpleasant sex happening to a MALE character on the show, at least).
Lege Artis
3. LegeArtis
Great recap, Regina!
Lord Baelish- director of this drama. ;)
Also, was I the only one who awwwed on Jon and Ghost reunion?
4. stacymd2
Thanks for the recap!

I'm gald the Craster's Keep situation has been dealt with. Here's hoping Craster's daughter-wives find a safe place to live that isn't a brothel. It broke my heart that Jon and Bran didn't get to see each other.

I'm glad Dany decided against invading Westeros. She needs to learn how to rule. Almost everything she has gotten was given to her or fell at her feet -- dragons, slave army, wealth, kingdoms, ships. Dany would not last a year against the Lanisters or Littlefinger. She cannot just kill everyone.

@darlenemarshall: I love Sansa. I too don't understand the hate-on viewers have for her. Sansa is the most realistic female of the current lot. I like how she has quietly survived the horrors around her. She hasn't gone mad or become bitter and nasty like Cersei.
Heather Waters
5. HeatherWaters
Sansa's my favorite! She's come so far already and I think she could become the smartest of all.
Jena Briars
6. CutMyTeethOnKleypas
Cersei tells him that they hurt little girls everywhere in the world.

My heart broke a little bit when I watched that part in the show. :(
7. misreall
Sansa, at this point, is a sympathetic character, but for readers of the series, rather than viewers, getting to that point is a much longer journey. While she is clearly more sinned against than sinning it is hard to sympathise with the little girl who just wants to be a princess so badly that she ends up causing a great deal of harm to her family, even if it is done in all innocence.

Sansa is very much her mother's daughter, not her father's, and I will admit that a great deal of my dislike for Cat has spilled over onto Sansa in the past. Weirdly, Littlefinger is a good mentor for her. I am sure that at some point he is going to be very sorry about that.
Regina Thorne
8. reginathorn
Sansa is very much her mother's daughter, not her father's...

Oh, I think exactly the opposite: Catelyn is the practical one who recognizes the realities of power and was, in fact, unlike Ned, trained to be the heir of a great lord, while Ned is the dreamy idealist who doesn't understand how his beloved friend Robert could possibly have become this drunken careless sot who makes expedient decisions.

I think a lot of people tag Sansa as "Cat's daughter" because of their physical similarities, while Arya is repeatedly mentioned as looking like a Stark, so she get the "Ned's daughter" thing, but I feel that Sansa gets a lot of her wilful perception of the world as she wants it to be rather than as it is from her father! And Arya gets much of her physical courage from her mother, who, let's not forget, caught an assassin's dagger in her bare hands to save her son.

(I also happen to adore Catelyn, and think she gets way too much grief in fandom for not wanting to be Jon Snow's loving mother - if she were Cersei, she'd have had him smothered in his sleep, so I think in contrast her admitted coldness and indifference to him is a lot better outcome. And again, in that situation, I don't see why Ned doesn't get more of the blame for not having Jon fostered somewhere else after he turns up with a bastard child whose mother is a woman he won't tell Cat about, and in a society where she can't get a divorce or, if she returns to her father's house, can't keep her chidren with her.)
9. mijsmith1981
ok, thanks, but i think the best way to watch it is ACCESSTV INFO website
10. Lougarry
Seems like the right time to break this out:
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