Video Podcast of Game of Thrones, Season 4 Episode 5, “First of His Name”

Ok, rather massively delayed thanks to various weather formations in the Louisiana Delta and unauthorized neighbor-digging, but still under the wire. Brush up on last week’s episode before tonight’s:

Check it out!

22 thoughts on “Video Podcast of Game of Thrones, Season 4 Episode 5, “First of His Name”

  1. Winnie says:

    Enjoyed your video podcast as always.

    I think Steve, I have to respectfully disagree about how big a mistake it was to make the Lannister’s broke-I didn’t mind it as much as you did.

    And I like show Melisandre a little better than you guys do as well.

    Agree with Steve as opposed to SEK, that LF’s lack of subtlety is a problem with how Martin wrote him rather than the show. I kinda wished the show had been willing to change LF more to make him less obvious but that’s just me.

    But otherwise I think you guys were very VERY on point.

    • Petyr Patter says:

      I don’t think being broke is a problem. Having entirety of the Westerland mines run out of gold is a problem.

      Just a speech saying the war with Robb and Stannis stretched Lannister resources to a breaking point, that several mines were collapsed to prevent them from falling into Robb’s hands, that much of Lannister wealth is now paper promises from the Iron Throne, etc.

      This would have accomplished the exact same effect, without having to make such an irrevocable statement that currently isn’t supported by the texts.

      • Winnie says:

        I admit that would have been a better way to handle it.

      • JREinATL says:

        I don’t recall that the show has made as big an issue out of the Westernlands being a mining-based economy as Steven implies, as opposed to the Lannisters themselves having large gold reserves at Casterly Rock.

  2. Andrew says:

    I think you guys are missing something on the Robin/Robert Arryn personality issue. I don’t think that it has much to do with his isolation or Lysa being too protective, although neither of these factors help. It’s my belief that he is severely autistic and that would explain all of his personality defects. The reason why I don’t think it’s isolation (for both him and Lysa) is because he was raised in King’s Landing for the most part (they only left there around 2 years ago at this point) and I think that in both the book and the show, Tyrion implies that there is something amiss with both of them when he is taken captive by Catelyn.

    On the issue of Westerlands mines running dry, I think we have to understand the difference between revenue and assets here. Effectively the revenue is no longer coming in (which will eventually lead to serious problems), but the Lannisters still have enough gold in reserve (their assets) to see them lead a reasonably comfortable life for a few years to come and afford to fund what at this stage is 15 months worth of war. What is worrying is that no mention is made of them finding alternative sources of revenue, although possibly being a Westerosi bank is an option.

    • MightyIsobel says:

      I have to disagree, at least as a book reader, about Robin Arryn. Autism doesn’t explain Robin’s seizures, or how, at age 8, he is smaller than some 5-year-olds. These are physical symptoms that may or may not arise from the same cause(s) as his personality defects, but autism is not a good diagnostic fit for any of them. And in terms of how he’s tuned in to his mother’s wishes, and able to express his own, he reads neurotypical to me.

      Personally, I think Lysa Arryn has kept Robin in virtual seclusion, especially since fleeing to the Eyrie. For example, the Blackfish reports that he doesn’t have access to his nephew. Kids crave social contact to learn the customs of their society, but Robin’s behavior suggests that he only talks to his mother and maybe to servants. If that’s true, it’s no wonder that talking to him feels like being in some disturbed David Lynch scenario.

      • Andrew says:

        You’re right, I completely forgot about the seizures and the other physical symptoms which can’t be explained by autism. In fact thinking about it a bit more, it is very likely that Lysa was keeping her son isolated even during their stay at King’s Landing and that a lot of his personality traits (which I maintain are also symptoms of autism) can also be explained by his only real social interaction being with his mother (who is likely to be suffering from a trauma of her own in relation to childbirth). So I apologise and please disregard my diagnosis of autism.

      • The seizures definitely sound like epilepsy, of some accelerating version. But I agree with the rest.

    • I think social isolation much more so than autism. His mother has basically kept him as close to an infant as possible.

      Sure, the Lannisters still have reserves – but if the entire Westerlands are tapped out, that’s a major crisis for their entire economic and political order. Every Westerlands House now has no revenue coming in, most of the smallfolk are out of work, etc.

  3. Sean C. says:

    Craster’s Keep: Basically a plot cul-de-sac (though for the ultimate example of that this season, last night’s Dreadfort material takes the cake), along with a way to explain where Ghost ended up for the last forever, though decently acted. Also, Locke’s story strand ended with a bit of a whimper.

    Arya and the Hound: Decent stuff. The extended debate over Syrio vs. Meryn Trant seemed like the writers teasing fans who insist Syrio is alive, which was kind of funny.

    Cersei + Judges: The point about influencing the judges would have been clearer if they had had Cersei actually talking with Mace, but the show (especially per last night’s episode) seems to have decided to portray Mace as a complete ninny who is openly disregarded by everyone, I guess. In general these were fine scenes, but the show has so altered Cersei’s characterization and her interactions with Tyrion that it feels kind of awkward to see her still adhering to the general actions of her book counterpart, who was much more vicious and much dumber. Also, I was wondering if Cersei was going to have some sort of separate plan to get out of the Loras betrothal, but at this point they’re pretty obviously just stalling for time until Tywin dies and she can break it herself.

    The Eyrie: Hey, Sansa’s plot got a whole ten minutes, even when the show couldn’t switch the focus over to the Lannisters and treat her like furniture; that’s a first. This was the strongest material in the episode, though the show always manages to include one confusing thing just to prevent me from fully embracing the story. In this case, it’s the “Alayne” identity, which is now a niece for some reason, and isn’t specified whether she’s meant to be a bastard or not. The bastard identity had a ton of thematic significance, and makes significantly more sense than introducing a trueborn niece out of thin air. But they completely skipped over the ID stuff, which seems to suggest they’re ditching that whole psychological angle completely (or if they aren’t, it’s a bizarre way to go about it).

    Kate Dickie is so terrific, it makes me wish she was sticking around longer.

    Meereen: Watching these scenes it’s a lot easier to understand why they killed off characters like Irri in Season 2; Dany’s built up this little council of no less than five supporting characters (with more to come, I’m sure), 2-3 of whom might get some dialogue in a given episode.

    As noted in the OP, the writers are entering what will easily be the most challenging part of the adaptation here. I’m uncertain about their approach to Dany; she’s becoming rather remote from the audience, despite being the central character in the narrative, and she talks in the same imperious mode whether she’s addressing 5 people or 50,000. Even in her one-on-one talk with Jorah, Emilia is now playing things very stiffly. Maybe this is a deliberate choice, but if so I’m not sure it’s the best road to take.;

    • empire25 says:

      I have a feeling that bastard daughter and a niece named Stone is sorta the same thing; just a bit more evasive. I was told that is what Papal nephews were historically.

    • Joseph says:

      Agree about Craster’s Keep. I was thinking it might have been better had Coldhands shown up before Jon and slaughtered the mutineers, thereby adding a bit of surprise and mystery while advancing Bran’s plot a little. Instead Bran and Jon are more or less in the same place they were before. I thought on that count the Dreadfort scene in the last episode was better in terms of plot development, since it shows how strong Theon’s Stockholm syndrome has become, leads into the taking of Moat Cailin and leads Yara to give up hope on Theon.

    • I disagree about Craster’s – one, it made up for the failure to hit the emotional notes from the Bran/Jon near-miss in Season 3; two, it gave Bran a real dramatic choice to make, something he conspicuously lacks previously; three, it heightened the stakes for the whole warging into Hodor thing.

      A neice can still be a bastard.

      • Sean C. says:

        Yeah, but if she was a bastard and that was going to be meaningful, it makes no sense not to address any of that upfront.

        • There’s a huge amount of time for that in Season 5. There’s virtually no Sansa material left in the published books; they need to leave themselves room to work with.

          • Sean C. says:

            I don’t mean actually going into her experience as “Alayne”. Merely establishing who she’s supposed to be. It could be done in a minute. It makes no sense, structurally, to put off any details about what Sansa’s cover is supposed to be until over a year after it was introduced. Even removing mention of her last name from Littlefinger’s intro, for instance. There’s no reason whatsoever to do that if she’s meant to be a bastard. It will just make anything they add later come across like a huge retcon.

      • empire25 says:

        Not if you don’t have any brothers or sisters. The then that niece is probably your daughter.

  4. CoffeeHound14 says:

    This episode encapsulated so many of the tools that the writers and producers of this show have been using to make an adaptation of Martin’s “unfilmable” work dramatic and marketable.

    They trim distances and increase the efficiency of long distance communication.

    They eliminate or generate geopolitical and economic obstacles as needed to give the plot gas or to put on the brakes. Usually they shred the logic of the books in the process.

    They alter short term character objectives to make them more intelligible to their less immersed viewer demographic.

    All of these tools have been present throughout the show, but this may have been the first episode in which they used each and every one of them in the space of fifty minutes.

    If this sounds like a complaint, it isn’t, or at least it isn’t entirely. In order to make ASOIAF work as a TV show, HBO had to mine it for character drama. And in order to keep the drama propulsive, they often have to change or eliminate aspects of the story that do not contribute to its dramatic storytelling. I can accept that. Troop movement, economic forces, political alignments, cultural differences, et cetera; these things are all intriguing on the page, and they contribute to what is ASOIAF’s strongest link with the fantasy genre: the immersion of the reader in another world. On screen, though, these things are often death to drama, even if they might contribute to plot development.

    So I can accept with good grace a change like Daenerys having a fleet. It makes staying in Meereen more of a character choice, and less of a plot driven necessity. It makes sense to me from a dramatic storytelling perspective.

    A change like the Lannister mines being tapped out is much more frustrating to me because I feel like it throws away a central tenet of that family’s identity so that they can simplify a part of the plot that didn’t need to be simplified. They had already introduced the idea that the crown was in debt way back in the first season. Now that the Lannisters have ostensibly won the war for Robert’s crown, the showrunners had an opportunity to confront the Lannisters with the full reality of what that victory meant for the family, a reality which includes the assumption of the crown’s debts. This is a thread that could have huge resonance for an audience that has watched a president win election by a substantial margin in recent years, only to be bogged down by the choices of the previous administration. Instead, the writers altered the logic of the world in order to dumb the plot down to a simple “the piggy bank is empty” obstacle. And I feel like the only reason they did it was because they felt the audience was to stupid to understand why the Lannisters wouldn’t want to spend all their own money to cover the crown’s debt.

  5. Lars says:

    Yeesh… Who said the Lannisters are broke? They have just lost income. But that does not mean that suddenly all their other riches and holdings just went “poof” into thin air.

  6. Tom M says:

    One item in the Lysa rationale for killing Jon Arryn: he was going to foster SweetRobin on Stannis at Dragonstone which gave Baelish the opening to persuade her to poison her husband. He obviously knew her obsession with him plus the series of miscarriages and stillborn children she had suffered.
    It’s little wonder she was insane and sought to return to her years at Riverrun growing up with Baelish. Cutting out the demise of Hoster Tully and his muttering “tansy” to Catelyn while she watched him die, while economizing the time, missed some further explanation of why Lysa is how she has become.
    Baelish is a monster; mustache twirling villainy would be an improvement to his character.

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