Game of Thrones: The Wars to Come
Let me just start by starting I’m thrilled to be doing the recaps for season 5 of “Game of Thrones.” I’ve been a huge supporter of the show and the books for the past couple years, and I’ve been waiting for this on the edge of my seat since last years finale.
The episode starts off with a flashback scene where we get to see a young Cersei Lannister going with another girl to see a woman who can tell her her future. Though the story is usually told only on one timeline and not through flashbacks, we learn that this prophecy Cersei heard that day is something that still plagues her to this day. The prophecy hints at upcoming turmoil for her, a young challenger to question her rule and take all that she loves, as well as giving us valuable insight into her past.
From the flashback we are led straight into the funeral for Lord Tywin Lannister. Jamie and Cersei converse over the death of their father, and this not only drives the wedge between them further in, but also fuels Cersei’s hate for her younger brother, Tyrion, who as we all know was responsible for Tywin’s death. Lena Headey’s portrayal of Cersei in this scene was amazing, and it’s the most emotion we see from the Queen Regent since the death of her first born son Joffrey.
We learn what has become of Tyrion after he flees King’s Landing to escape execution. The first scene we see with him, he is crawling out of a crate. We also learn that Lord Varys (who aided in Tyrions escape) has been supporting the Targaryen family for years, hoping to restore them to power. The fact that Varys is trying so hard to recruit Tyrion for the Targaryens gives me a lot of hope for the future of Westeros. He agrees to meet with her in Mereen, and honestly this is the first thing in awhile that has truly given me hope for the future of Westeros. Tyrion and Daenerys working as a team is something that I feel would be in the interest of the seven kingdoms.
There’s a beautifully shot scene where one of Daenery’s Unsullied warriors is slain in a brothel by an organization we learn about called the Sons of the Harpy. They are not thrilled about Daenerys’ reign in their home city of Mereen. The fact he was found with a woman in a brothel also suggests some questions to Messendei, as it may change the dynamic of her relationship with Grey Worm.
At Castle Black, Jon Snow resumes his role of teaching young boys how to fight as men of the Night’s Watch. Stannis has taken up residence there as well, and of course where Stannis goes, Melisandre follows. Stannis has an interesting idea on how to win the war. He wants to recruit wildlings for his cause in order to take the North.
While dynamics between Westerosi and the wildlings may have changed, the personality of Lord Petyr Baelish has not. He’s determined to strengthen his step-son, Robert Arryn of the Vale, who we see is struggling in combat, still weak and sickly. They don’t stay long, and soon Petyr is sweeping Sansa away to a place where he claims she’ll be beyond the reach of Cersei’s wrath.
Religion is creeping into King’s Landing, and the city is becoming over run with “sparrows” or followers of the faith of The Seven. Among them is Cersei’s cousin, Lancel Lannister who is back with a new outlook on life. He feels remorse for helping her with Robert’s assassination, as well as for his incestuous relations with her.
Loras is finally moving on from his love with Renly, and Margaery is not at all amused. We learn that she isn’t thrilled with Cersei either, and while she has intentions to marry Tommen, it’s also implied that she has plans to be the only Queen in the city this time around. I would love to see her stepping up and asserting her power, and cannot wait to see where that particular storyline goes.
Daenerys is confronted once more by Hizdahr Zo Loraq, who wishes to open the fighting pits. Shortly after, it’s shown that she is continuing to have relations with Dario Naharis who shares more of his backstory and defends the idea to reopen them. He also supports the idea of her showing off the dragons, who Daenerys is still reluctantly keeping in captivity as she can no longer control them, though we learn that she still only has two. The last one has still not been found.
As someone who loves dragons more than anything, I would just really like to express my appreciation that in this episode, all three dragons are finally referred to by their name. Daenerys names the three dragons in Clash of Kings, which is the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire (which in the show timeline should have been somewhere in the second season) but in the show they’re almost never referred to by their names. As a huge dragon fangirl, this has been up to this point one of my least favorite aspects of the show, and I’m glad to see they’re taking care of it. While Drogon (the black dragon) is still missing at this point, she goes to visit Rhaegal and Viscerion (the green and yellow dragons, respectively) and learns that dragons do not like being held in captivity. They also know how to hold a grudge, even against their mother.
Jon Snow is left to treat with Mance Rayder once again. He pleads for Mance to kneel to Stannis and accept his terms. Since he refuses to enlist his men in a war that’s not their concern, he denies the offer and is consequently executed. As per usual for the show, the body count continues to rise steadily. Stannis looked so smug during this scene that I could barely stand it, and Melisandre speaking about the execution did nothing to make me like her any more either. The Lord of Light is not a merciful God, and the pained sounds emanating from the burning wildling King were not pleasant to listen to. This death was nowhere near as gory as Tyrion’s last trial by combat, but it was more than enough to have me squirming in my seat. The most unsettling part (in my opinion) was the content look on the face of Stannis’ wife as she watches him burn.
The episode ends on Mance Rayder being spared from the fire by an arrow to the chest fired by Jon Snow. The music during the credits plays, leaving the audience tense as we wonder whether or not this will anger Stannis, Melisendre, or the fire God that they both pray to.
This episode jumped around a lot, even more so than the typical episode of Game of Thrones, but it did a lot to answer questions about what would happen with the cliffhanger storylines that were left open at the end of last season. It has gotten me so excited for the rest of the season that I can barely wait for next week.
For more information about the show to tide you over until next week, forums, and behind the scenes content, you can check out the official HBO Game of Thrones site here.
Tags: cersei, cersei lannister, clash of kings, daenerys, dragons, game of thrones, hbo, jon snow, king, melisandre, season 5, stannis, tyrion, tywin lannister, varys