Episode 5 marks the half way of point of Season 4. It was full of character driven moments with fantastic dialogue and narrative. Many loose ends were finally concluded (going back to season 1) while new stories began. Even the opening credits with flashbacks of previous seasons gave viewers something to think about. Without a doubt, a faced paced episode with a gratifying ending. We were reintroduced to Robin and Lysa Arryn of the Vale.
Tommen is crowned as House Baratheon, the first of his name, King of Andals and First men , Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. Tywin , Cersei et all proudly recite, “long may he reign”. Tommen smiles at Margery and she returns the favor. Cersei looks upon her. And somehow, both women have a heart to heart conversation about the future. The Queen Regent confesses that she knew Joffrey was horrible; even he shocked her. All she wants now is to see Tommen become a good ruler because he is a good kid and could become a great ruler.
Next, Tywin and Cersei plan the upcoming nuptials between Margery and Tommen as well as hers. Tywin informs his daughter that Kings Landing is in terrible debt to the Iron Bank and the Lannisters are broke. The war has depleted their stash of cash too. He explains that the Tyrells are an important alliance due to their wealth; even if they can’t be trusted. The Iron Bank is not forgiving about debt. Cersei agrees it is for the “good of the family”; whether her brothers understand or not. She tries to ask about Tyrion’s trial, however, Twyin won’t discuss it.
Later, the Queen Regent visits Oberyn Martell, writing poetry to one of his girls. We learn that he has eight daughters back home. Both chat about their respective families. He believes in avenging death. He asks her if she believes that Tyrion killed her to which she is certain he did. Prince Oberyn says it to be decided at the trial. Cersei’s real quest is to find out how Myrcella is doing in Dorne. The Red Viper replies she is enjoying her time at the Water Gardens with his girls. She asks him to send a ship made for Mrycella for missing her name day. He agrees.
With a new King at the helm, the politics have changed in Kings Landing. The Lannisters know they need the Tyrells more than ever since KL is heavily indebted to the Iron Bank. The war has cost everyone in the pocketbook. Margery is assured to be Queen again. This week’s portion of KL was really about Cersei, her her children but her loss of control and power. And she is definitely hellbent on Tyrion’s trial. Lena Headly is definitely showing us a different side of Cersei. And the last 5 episodes are going to be worth watching to see events unravel.
A new story begins in the Vale as Sansa now Alyane, is escorted through the Bloody Gate to the Vale. Littlefinger educates her that the Vale is impassable and no man can get through it. She is brought before Lysa and Robin as Alyane. Lysa embraces Sansa/Alyane and remarks she is family. She meets her cousin Robin who sarcastically blurts out how her mother and brother were killed by Lannisters as well as his own father, poisoned. Lysa instructs him that he can’t call her Sansa out in public; only in private.
Once alone, Lysa plants an excited kiss on Petyr. She points out, “What wife would do the things I’ve done for you”. And we find out that Baelish had her kill Jon Arryn with poison and wrote the letter to Cat saying the Lannisters did it. He agrees to marry her that night. And Lysa ecstatically declares she’ll scream so loud that they’ll hear her across the Narrow Sea. It kept Sansa up that night.
Lysa sits down with Sansa over lemon cakes. She talks about how Cat used to like them too. Lysa also says that Cat was the favourite daughter of the Tullys. She was promised to Brandon Stark who Petyr tried to stand up to. Suddenly, a jealous Lysa questions Petyr’s affection towards Sansa by asking her if she is pregnant. Sansa swears she is still a maiden and that he has never touched her. Lysa informs Sansa, she’ll marry Robin and be Lady of the Vale.
This story ties up many loose ends from Season 1 as we discover that it was Littlefinger who was responsible for Jon Arryn’s death albeit; the wa between the Lannisters and Starks. His love for Cat is unbound even if he married Lysa. It must be part of a bigger plan. Littlefinger is definitely a dangerous man. Lysa is off her rocker in more ways than one, rivaling that of Selyse Baratheon. Robin, the sickly child, is no better. This is a new chapter for Sansa who wonders whether KL wasn’t so bad after all. What is in store at the Vale, is anyone’s guess .
Deanery’s is informed of Joffrey’s death. As her small council meets, the Second Sons have captured the Meereese Navy increasing the amount of ships that she has acquired. With armies totaling over 10,000 men, she is advised to take Westeros, as it very vulnerable at the moment. Jonah also reports that the cities she freed, Yankai and Astapor are now ruled again by slave masters. She dismissed her advisers and asks to speak to Jorah alone.
She asks Jorah for advice regarding going back to Westeros. Dany realizes that the cities she liberated didn’t make it . She knows that she isn’t ready to go back to Westeros yet. Without hesitation, the Khalessi makes the decision to say in Meereen to do what Queens do, rule.
In this storyline, as one door closes, another opens. Dany started out wanting to get back to Westeros to claim her right to the Iron Throne. She seems to be maturing by choosing to stay in Meereen, as a Queen learning to rule, especially with enemies at her back. Meereen will be an intriguing with lots of action forthcoming.
Once again, Arya recites her death prayer. Walder Frey is added to her list. The Hound question her about the name. Her only answer is they are the ones she’ll kill herself. He jokes how he would love to seek revenge on his brother. Arya questions what he will do to which he says, “Shut up and go to sleep”. Arya says he has one more name to recite, “The Hound” and closes her eyes. He looks at her.
As the Hound wakes up, he sees Arya is gone. He finds her practicing with Needle. A heated ensues about her training and her Bravossi teacher, Syrio Forel. The Hound ridicules her by stating that Syrio is dead and Trant is still alive because he wore chainmail. He challenges her by asking to see what she can do. Arya stabs Clegane in his armor, he pulls out the sword, and pushes Arya to ground with Needle at her face.
We also get a glimpse of the new duo of Brienne and Pod. Her mission is to find Sansa at the Wall. She is still unimpressed by Pod’s riding skills and tries dissuades him to be her squire. She releases him from his duties but he tells her that he has nowhere to go.
At camp, Pod has no idea how to cook rabbit. Brienne’s face is petrified. She questions him as what he did for Tyrion as his squire. He tries to help her with her armor but she refuses. Finally, Payne recalls that he killed a man at Blackwater for Tyrion by pushing a spear in the back of the head. Brienne lets him assist with her armor.
It looks like Arya and the Hound’s relationship is on the rocks. Arya seems discontent with him. She grows angrier by the moment. Her only solitude is to practice with Needle. It seems that the Hound has a few more lessons to teach the young Stark. Their relationship is good when it’s good or bad; when it’s bad.
The unlikely duo of Brienne and Pod is definitely likeable. Brienne has taken a leadership role but she also shows her human side when she knows how Pod killed a man. Hopefully more character development in the latter half of the season for these two.
Continuing from last week, we find Locke watching Rast and Craster’s wives. He also discovers Bran and friends held up in a hut. He reports back to Jon that there are 11 men at Crasters, all drunk. He warns them to stay away from the hut to east where Hounds are chained up. Snow decides to strike at sundown.
Meanwhile Bran hears footstep outside their quarters but nothing is there. Jojen describes his vision of the Wierwood Tree to Bran who has had the vision as well. Meera, Hodor and himself are there to guide him to his purpose. They are not supposed at Crasters; this is the not end for Bran. Meera asks him what he means and Jojen’s hand turns to fire, signaling what is yet to come
Karl comes to rape Meera and chains her up. Jojen tries to haggle with him by telling him he has the “sight” to gain some time for Meera. Rast doesn’t believe him but Jojen tells him that he sees him dying and his body is burned. Just then, Rast quickly runs to report that NW has found them.
Locke comes back into hostage hut. Bran asks Locke about Jon. He questions him if he is Bran Stark when Bran doesn’t answer; he cuts his leg to make sure. As Locke takes Bran away, he waargs into Hodor. As Hodor, he kills Locke. Hodor is stunned that he has killed a man. The young Stark begins to call for his brother when Jojen reminds him that their quest to find the three eyed raven is urgent.
Meanwhile, Jon finds Karl. He stabs Jon in the leg. Unawares Karl is stabbed in the back by one of Craster’s wives. Jon finishes the job. Perhaps, Jon now knows how to fight with “honor”. As the NW counts bodies, they discover Locke dead but one. As Rast runs through the dark woods, he comes upon an empty cage. Within an instant, he is attacked by white fur.
Jon and Ghost are finally reunited. Jon offers sanctuary to Craster’s wives . They decline his offer but ask that the village and the dead burned to the ground.
The action at the beyond the Wall was not only bittersweet but a gratifying ending to tonight’s episode. Jon becomes the hero of the day by avenging Mormont. With Locke’s death, the Bolton’s plot is somewhat doomed as Bran got away. Again, another exciting moment when we saw Bran and Jon almost reconnected again. Alas, it gave us more depth as to the importance of Bran’s quest. The stunning visual of the Weirwood tree and Jojen’s hand on fire demonstrates the gravity of magic. Jon and Ghost’s reunion signifies how things have come full circle.
Random Thoughts /Quotes:
“ I wanted to make the baby Lannister man fly….mother wouldn’t let me” Robin Arryn to Sansa
“Where”…..”The Moon Door”.
I’m going to scream so loud, they’ll hear me across the Narrow Sea” Lysa to Littlefinger on their wedding night
“Know your strengths…use them wisely” Littlefinger to Sansa
“You’ll never love anything in the world more than your first child” Cersei to Margery
“The Lannister legacy is all that matters” Cersei to Tywin
“What good is power is you can’t protect the ones you love” Cersei to Oberyn ,”..You avenge them”
“…One stone crumbles…another takes its place….” Tywin to Cersei on the Iron Bank
“Why did you do it?” Dany to Daario..” I heard you like ships”
Here is Episode 6 promo, “The Laws of God and Men”: