We are officially halfway through season 4 of Game of Thrones (un-freakin'-believable), and "First of His Name" has -- this is an understatement -- a lot of story to get through. The Lannisters are still dealing with the fallout of the Purple Wedding; Sansa and Petyr are at the Vale; Cersei is drunk and in mourning; Arya and the Hound are barely surviving; Jon Snow is gathering a group to take on the mutineers at Craster's; Bran, Hodor, and the Reedsare held captive by said mutineers; Daenerys Targaryen is trying to conquer Meereen; Tyrion's trial is looming; Brienne and Pod are on a journey to find Sansa for Jaime -- crikey. Who else feels this series wouldn't be able to exist without Google?
Anyway, here is your fair warning. SPOILERS AHEAD. Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated shows in television history, so you don't want to ruin "First of His Name" for yourself by reading an Internet recap. Watch first, then join in on the fun!
Poor young Tommen of the House Baratheon is proclaimed "First of His Name," aka King of the Seven Kingdoms, aka the episode's title. Hopefully he will reign longer than all the others before him. He gives Margaery Tyrell a "secret" smile that hopefully his mother Cersei did not see.
Nope, of course she saw it, and of course Cersei beelines her way to Margaery. Cersei actually admits that Joffrey was a piece of shit and that she was "shocked" by the things he did. Instead of biting Margaery's head off, like we were all anticipating, it seems they form a somewhat shaky alliance.
Tywin admits to Cersei that they owe the Iron Bank "a tremendous amount" of money. He says forming an alliance with the Tyrells will help pay that money back. But all she has on her mind is her family. Cersei and the Red Viper, of all people, bond over Oberyn Martell's dead sister and Cersei's dead son. "What good is power when you cannot protect the ones you love?" The Red Viper gives Cersei some hope about her daughter, Myrcella, who was sent to Dorne. She asks him to send a gift to her, a ship, and he promises to do so. He tells a skeptical Cersei that he last saw Myrcella playing with his two daughters -- jeez, let's hope that this is true.
News of Joffrey's death finally reaches Daenerys. Seems things are looking up for Dany, and her team gathers to discuss strategy. But then Jorah rains on her parade and says in Yunkai, the Yellow City, without the Unsullied, is in turmoil, and the masters have taken over yet again. In Astapor, chaos also reigns there as the people Dany put into rule have been overthrown. Nothing like good ol' Jorah for a huge dose of perspective.
She finally decides not to sail for Westeros even though the Seven Kingdoms are at their most vulnerable. "I will do what queens do. I will rule," she says in her badass way. Jorah probably falls in love with her all over again for the ten thousandth time.
On the other side of the Westeros universe, Petyr Baelish and Sansa make the long journey to the Vale, and he introduces Sansa as his niece "Alayne." Lysa Tully and Sansa are introduced, and Lysa immediately knows who Sansa is. Her son Robin is still a pretty weird kid and reintroduces us to the Moon Door.
Lysa begs Petyr to get married that night and he doesn't seem all that interested. She finally admits in a jaw-dropping reveal that Petyr is the one who convinced Lysa to poison her husband's wine and write a letter to Catelyn accusing the Lannisters of his death (thinking that Jon Arryn, the Hand at the time, discovered Cersei and Jaime's incestuous affair), which is essentially what got this entire series in motion and caused the Stark family so much pain. Petyr kisses her to shut her up and then agrees to marry her. Lysa then has hilariously loud sex with Petyr in one of the funniest moments of the hour.
Lysa butters up Sansa with lemon cakes, her favorite and then wonders why Petyr has been showing so much interest in Sansa. She hurts her while interrogating her while Sansa screams and cries that she is a virgin. It seems Lysa is convinced, but we all have our doubts of course. Poor Sansa, now she has to marry her sickly cousin Robin. Will things ever get better for this girl?
Her sister, Arya, rattles off her kill list (not knowing Joffrey is dead), and the Hound asks if she's going to say everyone's name in Westeros. No matter what they've been through, the Hound is still the last name on her list. Upon waking, the Hound actually kind of, oddly, cutely panics when Arya is missing. She and the Hound argue about Syrio Forel and she proceeds to try to stab him. Then he hits her clear across the face. Never mind about the cute thing, I guess ...
In yet another storyline of an odd couple ... how can you not love Podrick? He can barely ride a horse, which I'm sure is beyond insulting to warrior Brienne. She says that they are going to Castle Black. Not only can he not ride a horse, he's never cooked before. But he has killed a man, back during the Battle of the Blackwater. "I pushed a spear through the back of his head," Pod says in the most Pod-like way possible. Brienne finally asks for his help, and it'll be fun to see what these two get into throughout the rest of the season.
Finally, in what was one hell of a finale, there's more women abusing at Craster's Keep. Jojen Reed has a vision of Bran near a big tree. He also sees his hand on fire -- quite fitting for what happens at the end of the episode.
Karl and his punks tie Meera up and threaten to do terrible things to her. Jojen tries to stave off Karl's attack by telling him he can see the future. Just in time, Jon and company attack before anything terrible happens. Very convenient!
Bran wargs as Hodor and prevents Mallador Locke from kidnapping Bran in an extremely impressive neck-breaking move. Sadly, Hodor reacts with horror to what he's done. Bran finally gets SO CLOSE TO JON but stupid Jojen interrupts their reunion. I guess seeing some mystical three-eyed raven is more important than finally making an attempt to get the Starks to make a stand. SIGH JOJEN. Though of course they would have had to completely change Bran's storyline had he and Jon reunited, as Jon most certainly wouldn't have let them go.
Jon and Karl of course have a big fight at the end with Karl monologuing. Then in one of the craziest death scenes ever, after one of Karl's victims stabs Karl in the neck (awesome!), Jon stabs Karl through his mouth. Holy. Shit. Jon! Guess that's one way to shut him up.
They count 10 dead mutineers, so one has fled. Then Ghost attacks the last one!! Yes! Jon and Ghost finally reunite and it's fantastic.
So I'll come out and say it: None of this mutineer stuff was in the book, and it was still oddly satisfying. It gave Jon a moment to shine and give him a rewarding scene with Ghost. Not sure if we needed the whole Bran/Reed siblings/Hodor dynamic to go along with it (perhaps because their plot is so boring in the books?), though it seems things are back to normal with their storyline.
Crazy end (though no Tyrion!), lots going on, so much still to look forward to the next five episodes!
Is that Jon Snow/Karl death scene going to haunt your nightmares tonight too?
Image via HBO