Game Of Thrones Season 4 Episode 5 recap

Excuse me?  A preview with Ned Stark in it? Okay this is going to be GOOD.

This episode was comprised almost entirely of twosomes. One conversation after another held between two people, without the artifice of everyone around to perform for, who can cut straight to the heart of the matter. It’s refreshing, on this show.

And it’s notable that Tyrion wasn’t in it. Because he’s the king of the two-person scene. His memory is alive, he’s mentioned constantly, which, I mean, if everyone’s talking about you, then aren’t you the most important guy around? No joke, he’s referenced in at least three scenes – in no small way he makes the world go ‘round around here, and his presence is felt even when he’s gone. But still, something about this episode was a little off for me. I think it’s the constant relegating of happenings in The North to the end of the episode. It seems to be as though they’re saying “Okay, you’re done having to think about any of those other people now, just sign on for your nightly blood and violence”.

Tommen is being crowned King, and man it is solemn. Everyone remembers what happened at the last coronation, after all. When Tommen smiles at Margaery, who is an appropriate distance away, his baby fat rounds out his already round cheeks. It’s adorable, or would be if it wasn’t deeply weird – and then Cersei steps directly into Margaery’s eyeline. Cersei seeing Margaery making eyes at Tommen is one of the scarier things this show has done. See? It doesn’t always have to be rape and murder. That’s before they even converse.  

Anyway, Cersei asks, “You mourn for Joffrey? You and I both know he was bonkers.”   I’m being flip because I can, but Cersei is quite straightforward in her assessment. At the risk of bragging, Cersei gives rise to what I said last week, when she says she loved Joffrey despite everything he did, and that she can’t help it. And then Margaery and Cersei broker a really, really frank deal and they’re about equally matched, intelligence-wise and it’s so enjoyable. Not that Margery doesn’t get one last dig in because she has the upper hand, but still. They’re so equally matched.

Daenerys bored Lainey and I know because she messaged me about it. Daenerys wants to know if 10,000 men that can fit on the ships she now has can conquer King’s Landing. Everyone shifts awkwardly and Jorah has to tell the Khaleesi that all the easy fixes she did to “empower” the slaves in Yunkai and Astapor are falling apart. It is so gratifying to know that she doesn’t just get to wave her hands and have civility just exist. Politics is hard, D. She has a crisis of confidence but it still kind of seems like she’s telling off Jorah Marmont. She’s going to try to fix the messes that have happened in her wake. She is wearing a pretty spectacular white dress. Don’t strain yourself wondering what that means or thinking things might pick up – that’s her one and only appearance this week. Her dragons will be having dragons by the time we get anywhere.

Sansa and Littlefinger are at the Eyrie. She looks gorgeous in this light, and not too young for Littlefinger, and then he calls her his niece Elaine, for stealth, and I imagine Lainey was squealing. I mean to say Sansa looks GORGEOUS as they pass the bloody gate. 

Robin Arryn! Is it wrong that I missed this crazy kid? He’s not actively nursing but he excitedly runs to see “Uncle Peter”, as Lysa Arryn smiles fondly. Robin is not half as weird as he could have been, considering that Lysa is weird enough for them both. I am always trumpeting about The Americans and I know I’ll get hate mail for doing this in GOT’s space, but man, Lysa/Baelish is reminding me a lot of  Martha/Clark. If you know what this means, call me. Let’s get married.

And then Lysa Arron says she poisoned her husband’s wine. She told Catelyn it was a Lannister. At Baelish’s request! HE knew the Baratheon kids weren’t really the heirs to the throne (where is Gendry these days, anyway?)! Holy F*ck, y’all! Clark and Martha, you know? Seriously. Meanwhile Sansa, in her chambers, has to listen to them getting it on. Overheard in my house:

“How come Sansa always has it easiest but also worst?”

Because that’s what you get when you are a woman with a face.

Tywin and Cersei talk, as ever more like slightly stiff acquaintances or out of touch friends than a father and daughter. Then again, it’s not like Tywin is getting together for brunch with his closest friends that often. Cersei explains that forms for Margaery to marry Tommen are happening in a fortnight. Cersei grits her teeth and admits that her wedding to Loras will be a fortnight later. And then Tywin acknowledges that she doesn’t like the Tyrells but that he didn’t like Robert Baratheon because he used to pat Tywin on the back a lot. I get distracted thinking that Loras will be Margaery’s (step)Father-in-law, but how unusual is that? Not very.   Still, it seems all the family shenanigans are for naught, as Tywin cuts to the heart of what he really wants to say:  “I know you’re building a case against Tyrion, and as a mother that is you’re right, but as a judge I can’t discuss it with you”. Boom. That’s an irritating truth of being, and/or having a parent, isn’t it?

Arya’s list! “Joffrey. Cersei.  Walder Frey. Tywin Lannister. The Red Woman. Meryn Trant.  Illyn Payne. The Mountain.” The Hound obviously wants her to shut it but they bond over how much they hate his brother. Then she says his name, and come on, if that isn’t a teaser for a sitcom – soon she’s going to need her report card signed.

Lysa is telling Sansa about how Catelyn used to eat too many sweets and start to get fat. Sansa is smiling for the first time in three years, and Lysa is delighted that Sansa is enjoying the lemon cakes when Lysa immediately is like “Why does Baelish like you?” Poor Sansa walks into it with both feet, and suddenly it’s Carrie all over again because Sansa is sobbing about being a virgin, and then cradled against Lysa’s breast, and then about to be married to her child cousin. It’s hard being Sansa. She says “I’m a virgin” about six times in that scene, and maybe she should change her tune, if it would get her out of the bed of her childish, creepy, orally-fixated grandson.

Competing for sitcom ratings in Westeros is The Podrick and Brienne Show! She yells at him for not knowing how to ride, and he’s kind of hilariously bad. It’s comedy. Later, comedy! Podrick burns a bunny because he’s never cooked anything before. Brienne is so shocked that she has to get into her shirtsleeves. Pod shares how he once killed a man for Tyrion and she responds by letting him help her with her armor.

Meanwhile, Arya is doing the Arya equivalent of dancing alone in her bedroom – she’s practicing her moves with Needle. The Hound says the word “dress” and it’s the dirtiest thing Arya’s ever heard. There’s some attempted swordplay, but long story short, Arya realizes she hasn’t remotely been playing with the big dogs.  There’s a hard line between when people will indulge you because you’re a kid and when you’ll benefit from learning the truth. It has taken a long time for Arya to get here, so here we are.

Cersei approaches Prince Oberyn, and it’s hard to know which tolerates the other less. I kind of want Oberyn’s dress robes thing. Anyway, he has 8 daughters and says all they can do is avenge their children. He isn’t so sure that Tyrion killed Joffrey.   Now we get to what Cersei wants – she references Myrcella and Oberyn says she’s happy and playing. He says they don’t hurt little girls and Cersei says, “Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls” and then I almost get sick. It’s sad. Cersei loving her children for real is sad. The ability of this ridiculous nonsensical show to sometimes hit the real-life mark is sad. Cersei sends Myrcella a boat.

Oh, now we’re back in the North, and there’s raping and abuse, and it’s depressing in a totally different way. So Locke is sneaking around and it kind of looks like he’s tiptoeing in the snow. Bran is the first to see him, and Jojen and Meera are also tied up. In Jojen’s vision, Bran is at that gorgeous tree. He says he and Meera “and even Hodor” are here only to guide Bran. He then points out that Bran has to get there even if the others don’t, which basically points out that the others, in fact, won’t.    Oh, and then depending whose vision it is, Jojen’s hand is completely on fire.

Jon Snow is getting his men ready to march on Craster. Locke goes to tell them to avoid the shed where Bran et al are. “There are some hounds chained up inside.”

Then the most Horrible Man On Television (Karl, if you didn’t watch last week) goes and grabs Meera. It’s going to be exactly as terrible as you thin and then they hang her from the hook. Hodor is screaming “Hodor”, pathetically. Karl draws out his interrogation of Meera and somewhere in his twisted mind he – no, I’m not even bothering to explain or justify what’s going on. Jojen distracts the man from his sister by crazily saying he has the sight. The anticipation of Meera’s abuse is interrupted by Jojen’s black, black eyes saying that he’s about to die. And then the Night’s Watch is there, and Jon Snow is feet from Bran. Locke walks in, and cuts them all down, and it looks like things might be looking up for a second – and then Locke knows exactly who Bran is, he cuts his leg, which Bran can’t afford. Hodor is anxiously Hodoring, and Bran goes into his direwolf – and then, somehow, he takes Hodor with him. It’s kind of amazing. Hodor goes superhuman and grabs Bran back from Locke. And proceeds to break his neck. 

F*cking Hodor!

Bran awkwardly swims along on his stomach yelling for Jon, and the suddenly incredibly lucid Jojen is like “Now that we’re all free of being raped and murdered, don’t you want to see the three-eyed Raven?” He’s like a drug dealer, is he.

Jon Snow goes to fight Karl and he’s doing a whole two-short-daggers thing. Itchy and scratchy, then one of Craster’s daughters stabs Karl, who wheels on her and then is impaled through his face. I mean to tell you it is through his mouth. It’s gross.    Jon Snow is triumphant. A little less so when he sees the body of Locke that (unbeknownst to him) Hodor has literally separated from Locke’s head at the neck.

And then Jon’s direwolf catches the traitor. And then Jon’s direwolf comes to see him at Craster’s keep. He’s so pleased. Craster’s girls don’t want to go to Castle Black where they’ll be abused and hurt. The leftovers of Craster’s women want to make their own way in the world, but first they burn Craster’s Keep to the ground “and all the dead with it”. 

Movement, and some dramatic confessions – but it lacked some of the passion and the controversy. I don’t mind chess pieces being moved, but could we have something to look at while it happens? Even if it’s only the Podrick and Brienne show?