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There’s nothing quite like a cathartic burning of a building, is there? “First of His Name” saw paranoia take center stage in many of the story lines while also divulging some family secrets that have, and could have, ruinous consequences. Whatever Jojen Reed is on, I want some.
“First of His Name” was very much a Stark children episode. Sansa’s introduced to some new digs, and another matron out to get her; Arya and The Hound’s once budding cordiality is quickly turning into hatred again; and Bran wargs himself free just in time to make an interesting decision to not let Jon know about him. Hopefully Bran’s and Arya’s destinations will give them better results than Sansa’s seems to have.
After Petyr gives Sansa (and the audience) a little history lesson about how impenetrable The Eyrie is, he has Sansa assume the role of his fictional niece Elaine. This is to insure that no one suspects he has taken Sansa, both because she’s a fugitive and a sought after bargaining chip. Unfortunately, he delivers her into the big ball of crazy that is Lysa Arryn. The entire reason Ned began his ill-fated quest was to find Lysa’s husband’s killer and in this episode the audience finally finds out that it was Lysa herself who did the deed – apparently at Petyr’s request. Petyr has moved up in the world from lowly whorehouse owner and small council member to the Lord of The Eyrie, at least until Robin becomes of age. Yikes. If it wasn’t bad enough being engaged to Joffrey, wedded to Tyrion, and now pretending to be someone she’s not, Sansa now has to deal with her crazy aunt who believes she has been sleeping with Petyr – or Petyr wants to sleep with her – in what was a very well done scene that quickly turned. At least Sansa’s got the Moon Door for a quick escape.
Arya’s journey, and therefore story line, still seems aimless. After it seemed like she and The Hound were getting along, putting the peasant robbing incident aside, The Hound made it clear that he was still in charge between the two. After Arya showed off some pretty acrobatic moves while practicing her Braavosi sword fighting techniques, The Hound felt the need to set her straight – most likely because Arya let him know he was on her assassination list. Whether he is trying to provoke her to kill him or not remains to be seen. Arya may be the most interesting character on the show and, hopefully, she will receive a huge payoff at the end of the series but, right now, her character seems wasted with as long as she hasn’t had a clear trajectory.
Bran’s story, on the other hand, is starting to get rather interesting. Bran and his crew were still being held by the mutinous members of the Night’s Watch but things escalated very quickly when Jojen had one of his crazy visions. This was the first time one of Bran’s or Jojen’s visions was presented interestingly on screen and had some clarity as to what exactly it was. It looked like Jojen’s powers have not only gotten stronger since his sickness(?) but that he also may not be able to control them as the weirdwood tree that the group is traveling to was seen on screen behind Bran and Meera. Whether Jojen actually knew Karl, the leader of the mutineers, was going to die that night or he was just talking a big game is not clear although it definitely seemed like Jojen knew for sure. Luckily, another rape didn’t happen this week as Karl was interrupted in the nick of time by Jon and his Night’s Watch raid.
Jojen isn’t the only one whose powers are getting stronger as Bran easily warged into Hodor as he was being kidnapped by Locke, Roose Bolton’s right hand man. Seeing Bran easily jump into Hodor and then seeing Hodor have super human strength brought up a few questions but, mainly, was gruesome. Although nothing gets the blood pumping more than some rousing swordsmanship between Jon and Karl that ended with a sword into the back of Karl’s head and through his open mouth. And, just for good measure, Jon’s direwolf Ghost got into the fray and exacted some revenge. The good guys get a victory and Craster’s women get to see their former life go up in flames as Craster’s Keep becomes no more. Out of the carnage comes a questionable decision from Bran about not notifying Jon of his presence with Jojen counseling Bran that Jon would only make the group return to Castle Black and impede their mission. While this could be true, who knows if Jon might not have been able to lend the group a Night’s Watchman or two.
And with all this happening to the Stark children, Cersei may have been the character who really stole the show. She only had three scenes but they were all memorable. First, she approaches Margaery for some real talk in which Margaery fires some shots about whether to call Cersei her sister or mother. Surprisingly, Cersei was fairly civil. She then breaks some bread with Tywin and plays his game. They both agree that the family’s legacy is the most important thing and that it is very much in flux at the moment. Tywin confides in her that they need the Tyrells because the Lannisters have not mined any gold in three years and that the Iron Bank is calling. Cersei takes this all to heart without diving headfirst into asking what she wants. But even though Tywin already knows what she wants, Cersei makes sure to make her logical voice heard to condemn Tyrion at the upcoming trial. Last, Cersei and Oberyn have a little chat that also has Cersei being more honest than usual, although her ulterior motives for this chat may be to get Oberyn on her side to condemn Tyrion as well. Still, it did seem she genuinely missed her daughter.
It seems somewhat foolish to only mention this in passing but Dany has put her march towards Westeros on hold because her “liberation” of previous cities have been less fruitful than she thought. She believes she can’t rule Westeros if she can’t even rule four free cities in a fairly insignificant part of the world. Let the waiting continue! Finally, it’s good to have another odd couple on the road with Brienne and Pod.