Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones Season 4 Ep 5 "First of His Name" Review - Female Power

Greg Tito | 5 May 2014 23:46
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Man, I hope we never go back to Craster's Keep again. We burned it? Good!

The sorry sots who killed Lord Commander Mormont are being scouted by Locke, the totally not evil guy with a scar that Jon Snow trusts for some reason. Locke reports there is nothing to worry about the building over there - your cripple brother isn't there or anything. My one question is how the heck did Locke know he was going to find Bran Stark here on this expedition? Was it just dumb luck? If so, he takes his good fortune at having nearly completed the equivalent of finding a needle in a hay stack, or one Stark boy north of the Wall, completely too well. Of course, it's not meant to last.

The Night's Watch attacks the deserters led by Stabby McStabberson. That's not his name? It's Karl? Oh, well. In the dark of the new moon the battle goes surprisingly long for only being 10 on 10. The element of complete surprise should have worked more in Jon Snow's favor, me thinks. Locke predictably goes to the hostages and cuts Bran's leg, proving he's a cripple. Bran take a nod from Jojen Reed, and goes all puppet master on Hodor, breaking the big man free of his chains. One wonders why Bran didn't try that before, but ... details! Hodor is a strong guy, and essentially rips Locke's head from his shoulders with his bare hands. Bran then breaks his warging of Hodor and then tells him to do a whole bunch of stuff. Again, wouldn't it make sense to just, you know, do that stuff instead of telling him if you've got that power? I guess he wanted to yell out to his brother.

With the Reeds, Bran and Hodor free, they watch Jon still fighting what seems like 20 minutes later. The whole point of this made up storyline was to have Jon and Bran have a tender moment, and I was willing to go along with the show's deviance from the books for that to happen. But then Jojen Reed tells him not to. He literally says he can't talk to his brother because Jon would never let him go north to meet the three-eyed raven. And Bran is so caught up in the quest that he actually believes him. To my chagrin. No Stark reunion in this episode. Dang.

Jon Snow has a fight with the McStabberson, who is wielding two short swords or daggers. Jon swings Longclaw, the Valyrian steel sword he was given by Mormont, and the two styles of fighting are evenly matched. Karl, of course, does the villain fight thing where he has to talk and taunt Snow during the whole thing, and he eventually gets the upper hand. A woman of Craster stabs him in the back though, and even though he's not that hurt, Karl is distracted. Snow ends him with a push of the sword through the back of the head, just like Pod described earlier. The way it was shot looks like a Karl was vomiting a sword on the girl. Creepy.

The battle of Craster's Keep is over. Jon looks over his battlefield, counts the casualties, and takes in a bit of the weirdness of how Locke died, but doesn't think much of it. He doesn't even seem surprised when Ghost returns - fresh after killing that asshole Rast the direwolf terrified at Castle Black back in the first season. "I missed you, Lassie," Jon Snow says, knowing nothing. I'm glad the direwolves have returned to the story, but I wonder how much they'll be used going forward. It would have been cool to have Summer and Ghost have a moment together as it would have been for Bran and Jon, but I guess that was too much to ask.

The surviving women of Craster are gathered up and Snow offers to take them back with him to the Wall where they will have work and be fed. The crone who gave the baby up to Karl last episode says no way, basically. She thinks they are better off on their own, even with an army and icy ghosts out in the woods. "Are you going to stay here at Craster's Keep?" Snow asks incredulously.

"Burn it," she says.

OK, so maybe the women north of the Wall are strong and powerful characters too.

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