Monday, May 5, 2014

Game of Thrones Reviews: "First of His Name"

Arya Stark, CN Young Female Human Aristocrat 1/Swashbuckler 1
As Tommen is crowned the new king of the Seven Kingdoms, Cersei and Tywinn discuss the land's financial issues and how crucial the Tyrell alliance is to them. Meanwhile, Daenerys contemplates invading Westeros while also learning that her control over the cities of Slaver's Bay isn't as strong as she thought. In the Riverlands, Arya learns another harsh lessons from the Hound while Sansa discovers the Vale might not be as safe as she hoped. In the North, Jon leads the attack on Craster's Keep and Bran's group must escape the mutineers and continue on their journey.

While the ending gives us something exciting and we get to see those horrible mutineers get what they deserve, the majority of this episode was dedicated to setting up things to come in future episodes, looking back at previous events, and answering questions that have been floating around since the very beginning. 

Don't get me wrong, "First of His Name" is a decent episode that does have its moments. For example, I liked the scene with Arya practicing her water dancing techniques and the Night's Watch's attack on Craster's Keep (even if that entire subplot was a little superfluous to the overarching plot happening at the Wall). I just wish the episode balanced the exposition with more things actually happening. Also, I wish they handled certain reveals better, like Lysa and Petyr's involvement with Jon Arryn's murder which was just blurted out in a dump of information. Since that is a piece of information that changes what we thought happened and what lead to the War of the Five Kings, you thought they would make it a more interesting reveal. 

With that being said, I will admit that it was nice to see callbacks to previous seasons and showing how they are still relevant to what is happening currently. We see that Arya still respects Syrio Forel and his style of fighting, we learn the truth behind the event that basically set off the entire plot, and we see that Daenerys is still contemplating whether she should sail across the Narrow Sea and retake her homeland or stay on Essos to reclaim Astapor and Yunkai. 

While heavy on exposition and I feel like it fumbles a major reveal, "First of His Name" has a few interesting scenes with one that feels rather cathartic after events in the previous episodes. Also, it's nice to see the continuation of plot points that were introduced in earlier seasons remain relevant and learn the truth about some of them. So, all in all, this was a very mixed episode for me.