TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 4 (First of his Name)

First of His Name by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Warning: Spoilers!

For once, the King’s Landing segments were probably the least effective part of this episode. Despite starting promisingly with Tommen’s coronation and a tense conversation between Cersei and Margaery (Jaz: ‘Margaery can’t lie to save her life!’), none of the other scenes felt that necessary – we already know about Cersei being reluctant to marry Loras and that Tywin owes the Iron Bank of Braavos a considerable amount of money which he doesn’t have. The scene between Oberyn and Cersei just felt like a way of giving Oberyn some more screen time.

Also his week: the return of Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) Catelyn Stark’s mad sister who tried to murder Tyrion in season 1, and her son Robyn, who while not being breastfed anymore is still as much of a precocious brat as ever (tactlessly asking Sansa about her dead mother and brother). Although at first it seems Sansa’s finally found a safe haven now Littlefinger’s brought her to Lysa (who was surprisingly nice to Sansa) there was trouble in paradise. After being kept awake by Lysa’s very loud moans as she had sex with Littlefinger, a normal conversation with her aunt turned sour after Lysa accused Sansa of being Petyr’s lover, showing her insecurity and it took a while for her to believe Sansa, who was left less than pleased at being told she has to marry her cousin Robyn.

On a more positive note, Jon and Bran got their best moments so far, as Jon lead his brothers in a pulse-racing attack on the mutineers in Crasters’ keep, led by Karl (Burn Gorman) who is truly one of the most threatening villains the shows had – him threatening to rape Meera Reed and force her brother Jojen to watch was a very tense scene. In the end, Jon attacks before he can do so, leading to a sword vs. knives fight between Jon and Karl, in which Jon is clearly outclassed by Karl’s dirty fighting tactics, only for Karl to be stabbed in the back by one of Craster’s wives. Meanwhile, Locke attempts to kidnap Bran, only for Bran to take control of Hodor, who violently snaps Locke’s neck. The villains really aren’t having a good time of it this series – what with Polliver, Joffrey and now Locke and Karl biting the dust – good thing we still have Ramsay and the Wildlings left! The scene where Jon is reunited with his direwolf Ghost was quite moving too.

The Hound took some time to mock Arya’s style of fighting and her former mentor, Syrio Forel of Braavos. This led Arya to try and stab the hound in the stomach, only to find her sword can’t penetrate thick armour (The Hound’s tip of the day is to have ‘armour and a big f**king sword’). This showed some tension between the two as Arya told the Hound he’s on her death list and the Hound violently knocked her to the ground after she tried to stab him – you know this will be revisited later in the season.

Elsewhere Daenerys realises she has a chance to invade Westeros now Joffrey is dead and Daario has captured the Meereenese navy for her. However, after Jorah informs her that Yunkai and Astapor have slipped back into their old habits of slave-trading, Daenerys decides to stay and rule slaver’s bay – so she will be more experienced at ruling when she invades Westeros. Its a decision that makes sense for her character but will frustrate many fans who will want her to deal some Targaryen justice to the Lannisters.

There were a few humourous scenes between Brienne and Pod – as Brienne scolds his lack of ability as a squire, only to end up respecting him when he tells her how he killed a kingsguard to save Tyrion in season 2. Pod’s smile when Brienne finally lets him help with her armour was very cute (my friend Jaz was nearly overcome by this – i think she’s starting to fall in love how cute Pod is!).

Overall a more action packed episode, but i just feel it was missing that standout great scene as the character plots all built towards decisive moments later in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Next Time: Stannis visits the Iron Bank, the Greyjoys try and rescue Theon and Tyrion’s trial gets underway…

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2 thoughts on “TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 4 (First of his Name)

  1. patricksponaugle

    There was a bit more to the Cersei’s scenes than might have been apparently obvious. Cersei was being uncharacteristically agreeable and engaging with Tywin, Oberyn, and Margaery: two of the judges in the upcoming trial and the daughter of the third judge. Cersei is subtly playing her game.

    You are right that the bad guys are finally having a string of bad luck, Joffrey kicked that off in spades.

    Hodor. Brodor! Hodor

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. knightrider42 Post author

      I hadn’t considered that angle. I always thought Cersei was playing a long game with Margaery because she knows she’d have a fight on her hands over Tommen – but your explanation works as well.

      Like

      Reply

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