Series Issues: Game of Thrones 5×1 – The Wars to come

(Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO)

(Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO)

We do not sow. But sometimes we spoil.

We’re back in the Seven Kingdoms with Game of Thrones 5×1: The Wars to Come.

Season Five has had a lot of premonitions about it. The most controversial ones come from George R. R. Martin himself. First, the series will start getting ahead of the books. Second, different characters might die. I don’t expect book-based series to live up to the novels that inspire them. Yes, I do want them to do their characters justice, but walking too close a path to your source material might kill momentum. The visual medium has a different rhythm to the written one.

In King’s Landing, the world has been turned on its keel. Tywin Lannister is dead and everyone is in mourning. Cersei is drowning herself in wine, but not before she guilts her brother about her father’s death. The thing about manipulation and guilt is that sometimes it has unexpected results. Jaime Lannister may mourn the death of his father, but as his sister puts his death as a consequence of his actions, he might turn away from her rather than follow her lead.

In Pentos, Tyrion finally pops out of the box. His dialog with Varys is full of comebacks. “You know how hard is to stuff your own shit through one of those holes?” quips Tyrion. “No, I was busy picking up your shit and throwing it overboard,” replies the Spider. It appears they’ve both guests of Illyrio Mopatis, an ally of Varys who a long time ago also hosted a fleeing Daenerys and her poor excuse of a brother, Viserys. Varys and Illyrio are in cahoots to support the Mother of Dragons herself as the contender for the Iron Throne. Whether or not Tyrion will join seems to require more drinking.

In Meereen, the Sons of the Harpy are lurking about, killing unsullied when they have the chance. Seems the former masters still have strength. Dany is not happy, but doesn’t intend to back off. Daario Naharis has come back from his mission in Yunkai along with Hizdahr zo Loraq (okey, new official hardest name to type). Hizdahr relays a concession that the newly formed council of Yunkai wants: the fighting pits. She sternly denies the petition despite Hizdahr’s insistence. Later in Dany’s bed, Daario offers her a strange argument. He was sold as a kid and trained to fight in the pits, where he made a name of himself. The conversation ends when Daario mentions a dragon queen cannot be queen without her dragons.

Nobody has seen Drogon in an age, but Viserion and Rhaegal continue locked in the catacombs. Daenerys visits them, but the two are in a bad mood and breathe fire at her. Or do they? Seems to me they could have burned her easily, but managed to just aim their fire close yet still off her direction. However, they’re still out of control.

We end up with Jon Snow on The Wall. Stannis gives Jon Snow until nightfall to convince Mance Rayder to join his cause and pledge his wildlings to Stannis’ army. The King-Beyond-The-Wall is not interested. Jon is trying to somehow save him, and Mance can tell. In the presence of the Night’s Watch, the free folk and Stannis’ soldiers, Melisandre does her usual speech for the Lord of Light before setting fire to the pyre that holds Mance Rayder. As he begins to scream, an arrow flies into his chest. Jon Snow has spared him a prolonged agony.

It’s a good start. You can’t expect too much shock and awe on the first episode of the season. A lot of paths and possible threats are set in motion. A good episode overall, albeit just a starter, and not the main meal.

Highs:

  • We get to witness the prophecy that was told to a young Cersei about her future as Queen. That the childs that she will bear will be her own, and that a younger and more beautiful queen will take her crown away from her.
  • The conversations between Varys and Tyrion should prove amusing. “I killed my father with a crossbow,” says Tyrion. “I didn’t say you were perfect,” replies Varys. Snap.
  • The whole Sparrow thing and the return of the religious fanatics is hinted upon here. A bigger reveal is obviously coming soon.
  • Littlefinger and Sansa have a couple of brief scenes. We get to see a whimpering Robin trying to hold his own training with a sword and shield. It goes as well as you might imagine.

Lows:

  • I’m a fan of Daenerys, but her plot needs to get unstuck soon. Perhaps a reason why we might see her reunion with Tyrion sooner than in the books.
  • Jaime Lannister needs to do something, kill something or just plain change sides. The thing he can’t do is stay in King’s Landing anymore.
  • We get a very short interlude between Brienne and Podrick.
  • Missed Arya during the episode.

That will do for now.

Coming soon:

(Source: HBO)

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