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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Game of Thrones S04 E05: “First of His Name” (short live King Tommen?)

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(previous: “Oathkeeper”)

This kid Tommen cannot be long for this world, can he? Already everyone’s talking about how nice he is, what a good boy he is. These are not survival qualities in Westeros. (Which reminds me: Is there no regent for Tommen? I mean, clearly, he is going to be manipulated by all the scheming adults around him, particularly his grandfather Tywin, but he’s considered old enough to take the throne on his own? What is he, about 12? Seems young to be king. Or maybe all the manipulation is so blatant that there’s no need for a regent?)

Cersei didn’t roll her eyes once during this conversation with Margaery:

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Does that mean these two are now in cahoots to manipulate Tommen? Even if they might have different goals for the manipulation, they seem to have here basically agreed here that yes, as women, they are going to be used as marriage pawns by their fathers for their fathers’ own purposes, but that they can still exert their own influence on the men in power, too.

Has Cersei been broken by all this? She was remarkably subdued and even sentimental in this episode, particularly while talking to the Dornish prince about her daughter. (I’ve forgotten now, but is the daughter being held as a sort of royal hostage in Dorne? Why is she there at all?) I loved loved loved her response to Prince Oberyn about how they don’t hurt little girls in Dorne: “Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls.” Yes.

An aside: OMG, how the hell gorgeous is Oberyn, and how have I never noticed actor Pedro Pascal before?

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Tommen’s crowning reminds me that I’ve been appreciating the references to religion in the past few episodes (like in the grace that poor farmer that the Hound robbed said before their meal). The Smith, the Crone, and so on: this seems like a somewhat more inclusive sort of idea about the gods that supposedly watch over us than the monotheism that dominates in the real world today. It’s more like the pantheons of the ancient Greeks and Romans combined with with some Celtic ideas. Much nicer than the monotheism that is starting to creep in from elsewhere in this world…

Quick things we learned: The freedom Daenerys thought she was leaving in her wake is collapsing, but she’s gonna fix that. Arya has a long list of people she is going to kill. The Lannisters are broke: there’s no more gold in them thar hills they own. Doh!

Nefarious things we learned: Petyr Baelish has been a scheming rogue from the beginning. Which isn’t really surprising — there’s not much I wouldn’t put past that weasel. And what does he have in mind for Sansa? Oh, this poor girl!

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Baelish has dragged her into some kind of lion’s den full of crazy jealous aunts and sociopathic cousins. Run away, Sansa!

So glad Burn Gorman is dead. If only he could have died more slowly and painfully. I’m a little scared — in a good way — of what Craster’s women are going to get up to. They are tough, and they are survivors. I hope we get to revist them. They could kick some White Walker ass or something.

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During the battle at Craster’s, I was all, Oh no, Jon and Bran and going to miss each other, and it’s going to be Noah Taylor’s fault. And then it was Bran choosing not to even let Jon know he was there. *sob*

This guy:

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Tyrion’s squire, Podrick. He’s gonna play a pivotal role at some point, I suspect. Or hope. I would love if it involved that special mystery talent of his that Baelish’s employees were so appreciative of. Or maybe he can just make Brienne happy for a little while.

Special bonus shoutout to Thomas Sangster as Bran’s new friend:

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whom I’ve neglected to mention since he’s showed up a few episodes back. I’ve been totally in love with him in a completely appropriate and not at all creepy way since he was in Love Actually, and it’s nice to see him moving into grownup roles.

Dammit, are we halfway through this latest batch of episodes already? Damn.

(next: “The Laws of Gods and Men”)


posted in:
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  • crowTrobot

    Tyrion promised Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella, as a bride to a Dornish prince in order to heal the rift between Dorne and the Lannistsers that happened after Oberyn’s sister, Elia, and her children were murdered by Lannister soldiers. Oberyn’s behavior suggests there’s still a lot of work to be done on that front.

  • David_Conner

    Yeah. A lot of the above wasn’t really spelled out until this season, so we didn’t understand why Cersei was so upset at Myrcella’s betrothal (aside from being a protective mother, which is also one of her key traits.) It’s not just a betrothal; she’s a semi-hostage of a semi-hostile realm.

    I think Cersei is regent, though the term seems to be less powerful than in real life historical kingdoms, due to the Hand of the King position. I get the feeling that an adult King is both Head of State and Head of Government, but in a regency, the Hand is functionally Head of Government and the Queen Regent is functionally Head of State.

    What really puzzles me, though, is Tommen’s upcoming marriage. Apparently he’s too young to rule, but NOT too young to marry. I figured he would just be betrothed to Margaery, but wouldn’t marry her for another threeish years. Apparently that’s not how things work in Westeros, though.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Cersei will be made Queen Reagent properly, but it may well be one of those things that is explicit in the books but happens off screen in the show*. She will push her kingdom in directions not entirely to Tywin’s liking. This will go about as well as you’d expect.

    *That’s my single biggest issue with this show, too much happens off screen. I’m sure it’s done in the interest of time, but that suggest to me that either they need 12 or 13 episode seasons, or they need to be more merciless in their cuts.

  • Rob

    It wasn’t Tywin who gave Myrcella to a Dornish prince, but Tyrion, back when he was Hand of the King in season 2. Cersei was furious at the time, but, yes, it seemed to be more due to Myrcella’s age, as well as what she thought was revenge on his part against her, taking her daughter away from her, when he argued that he was protecting her from King’s Landing and Stannis’ approaching army.

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