Westeros’ new king is crowned in this week’s Game of Thrones, an historic occasion to be sure, but let’s take the freak show less traveled and instead focus on what’s going down in the Eyrie. Because if poor Sansa had any hopes that her life might be getting better, this is the episode where they take a swan dive right out the moon door. (Stay creepy, Lysa.)
Elsewhere, Daenerys gets some sobering news, Cersei tones it down a little (for now) and a boy and his dog have a sweet reunion amid burning corpses. Read on for what takes place in “First of His Name.”
HOUSE LANNISTER | Everyone gathers for Tommen’s coronation, which goes off without anyone keeling over and dying, so it’s a King’s Landing win! The new boy leader exchanges some friendly glances with Margaery, which doesn’t escape Cersei’s notice (does anything?). When she makes her way over to Joffrey’s widow, I prepare for yet another sharp-tongued beatdown. But the queen regent surprises the heck outta me when she stops Margaery’s faux-mourning mid-sentiment by admitting that Joffrey “would have been your nightmare” and adding that even though she loved her child unconditionally, “The things he did shocked me.”
Props to Lena Headey for the fine, understated work she does in this scene as Cersei gauges Margaery’s ongoing interest in becoming queen. The younger woman simpers that she hasn’t even thought that far in advance (side note: Never play poker, Marg), then gaily remarks about all of the weddings coming up. Anyone else keep forgetting that Cersei is supposed to marry Loras? Maybe if we all work very hard to stay in complete denial, it won’t happen?
Eh, maybe not – because a few scenes later, Cersei and Tywin are agreeing that Tommen and Margaery will get hitched in a fortnight, and Cersei herself will become Mrs. Knight of Flowers two weeks after that. Other important takeaways from this discussion: King’s Landing is in serious debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos (the entity you’ll recall Davos writing to a few episodes back); and, as one of the judges in Tyrion’s upcoming trial, Tywin is uninterested in discussing details of the case.
So Cersei visits Oberyn and asks him to deliver Myrcella’s name-day gift: a ship. He reassures her that her daughter is happy and safe at Sunspear: “We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne.” Her sad, true reply, “Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls.”
HOUSE STARK | Speaking of which, how’s Sansa faring? In the words of my other Sunday night recapping gig, not great, Bob! Once at the Eyrie, Sansa and Littlefinger find her aunt Lysa and cousin Robin cuddling on the throne. So they’re still doing that, huh? At least it’s better than the La Leche League action we saw that last time we were here. Lysa appears happy to see her niece – though she warns that, to everyone else at the castle, Sansa must be known as Petyr’s niece “Alayne” – and ecstatic to reunite with her fiancé.
After Sansa has been properly introduced to the moon door – a vertigo-inducing hole in the floor of the throne room through which Tyrion almost plunged a few seasons back – she and Robin are dismissed so Lysa can put her lips all over Baelish’s face. (Side note: Can’t someone throw a piece of plywood over that moon door when it’s not in use? HAVE NONE OF YOU EVER TRIPPED?)
Lysa wants to marry that night; after all, “What wife would do for you the things I’ve done for you?” she queries, casually dropping that he was the one who gave her the poison and instructions for killing her first husband, Jon Arryn, and the one who told her to write Catelyn to make her think the Lannisters did it. (!!!) To stop her incriminating blabber, he agrees to a wedding that evening… but sneaky Lysa already has the septon nearby to do the deed right then and there.
But Lysa’s post-nuptial bliss doesn’t last long. After luring her niece close with fond memories of Catelyn, the insane Lady Regent of the Vale demands to know whether Sansa has slept with Baelish. “What have you let Petyr do to your body, your young pretty body?” she shrieks, making Sansa (and me) want to cry. When the redhead finally convinces her aunt that she’s never actually seen Baelish’s littlefinger, Lysa eases up, happily predicting that when Tyrion is killed, Sansa can marry Robin. Amid her horrified tears, you know young Lady Stark has got to be thinking: How is this happening to me AGAIN?
HOUSE STARK | While The Hound educates Arya on the importance of armor (AKA all the water dancing in the world won’t save you if your enemy is wearing thick plate and you have none), Bran and his group are saved a truly gruesome, rapey escapade with Karl when Jon’s group attacks Craster’s Keep. Locke is about to make off with Bran when the young Stark heir wargs into Hodor and uses the simpleton’s brute strength to break free… and then to break Locke’s neck. Bran returns to himself and tries to get Jon’s attention, but Jojen warns that the little lord’s older brother will never let him continue his journey beyond the Wall. So the small group leaves without ever making contact with Snow. Sniff!
Meanwhile, thanks to an assist from one of Craster’s daughter-wives, Jon sticks his sword through Karl’s head; even on a violent show like this one, that blade-through-the-mouth shot made me squirm. Ned’s bastard is reunited with Ghost – yay! – and the surviving members of the Night’s Watch set the keep, along with the corpses of the mutineers, ablaze.
HOUSE TARTH | Pod fails to impress Brienne with his squire skills (lack of horsemanship, inability to cook rabbit without turning it into a flambé), making her wonder what duties he did perform for Tyrion. “Mostly, I poured wine,” he admits. (Heh.) But his story of killing a Kingsguard member to save Tyrion’s life during the Battle of Blackwater makes her sit up and take notice – and allow him to help her off with her shiny new armor. (Not like that!)
HOUSE TARGARYEN | Daenerys gets good news – Joffrey is dead! Her Daario-led acquisition of the Meereneese navy means she might be able to take King’s Landing! – and bad news – her liberations of Yunkai and Astapor didn’t stick, meaning both places have slid back into being terrible places for the powerless. Ser Jorah floats the idea of her fleeing to fight for Westeros, but she decides not to sail. “I will do what queens do,” she states. “I will rule.” Oh khaleesi, you already do!
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!Follow @kimroots