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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Game of Thrones 5x01: The Wars to Come


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> The Eyrie -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Pentos -> Meereen

Welcome back readers! Or I suppose if you're here for the first time,,,welcome! I hope you enjoy my reviews of Game of Thrones. I don't have anything awe-inspiring to say so let's just get to it.

King's Landing
We start off Season 5 with a couple of young girls we've never seen before. The bitchy attitude of one of the girls clues us in that she is Cersei. It's a very rare Game of Thrones flashback!

Young Cersei enters a witch's hut and demands that her fortune be told. The witch complies and tells her she will marry the king (not the current Targaryen prince) and the king will have 20 children and she will have 3. Before young Cersei has a chance to make heads or tails of that statement the witch also says that Cersei's children will wear golden shrouds. To which I say if all it takes to be a fortune teller is to say that people will die at some point in time then call me freakin' Nostradamus!

Back to the present Cersei is attending the funeral (or visitation?) of her father, Tywin Lannister (with those creepy, creepy rock eyes). She berates Jaime for letting Tyrion loose which allowed for Tyrion to kill Tywin. Which is true, but maybe if her father wasn't an asshole who had more enemies than gold then these things wouldn't happen.

Anyway, the gist of Cersei's speech is that they were the hunters and are now the hunted. They've been weakened. It's time for the Lannisters to circle the wagons.

Pentos
Tyrion has been traveling by box like his code name was Solid Snake. Luckily, Varys was there to keep him fed, drunk and help him with waste disposal. Tyrion finally gets out and is surprisingly mobile considering how long he's been stuck in a cramp box. He immediately goes for some wine which he can't keep down.

Long story short, Tyrion is mopey and self-loathing and it's annoying. Varys wants Tyrion to pull himself together (but does not offer him more beer). Varys says Westeros will need intelligent people like Tyrion as well as a wise, strong, fair ruler. Tyrion says a man like that doesn't exist. Varys tells him to check his gender biases at the door. With that, they're off to Meereen.

Meereen
Speaking of Meereen, that giant statue atop the central pyramid is being pulled down. I'm sure this will upset the graphic designers who will need to create a new opening map sequence for Meereen as well as it will upset future Westeros history majors who will mourn the wanton destruction of ancient architecture.

An unsullied who is not Grey Worm decides to seek some cuddles in a brothel. He gets his throat slit for his efforts. Apparently there's a resistance group against Daenerys called the Sons of the Harpy. Daenerys wants to bury the fallen unsullied at the Temple of the Graces. This will enrage the Sons of the Harpy but that's what Daenerys wants because then they'll show themselves and make themselves an easier target. I'm not sure if her confidants agree with this strategy but I see the logic.

After that, Hizdahr zo Loraq (totally didn't have to look up that name) has come to say that the Wise Masters of Yunkai have agreed to a shared government with the freed slaves provided the fighting pits can be reopened. This time the fighters wouldn't be slaves but volunteers. Daenerys will have none of it, though, Even when her boy toy Daario tries to convince her she's unreceptive. C'mon Daenerys, pacify your people with blood sport. It worked for Rome…right?

Anyway, Daario oddly segues from the fighting pits to Daenerys using a show a force via dragons to keep the peace. I'm unclear how the two topics were related but here we are. Daenerys decides to visits her locked away babies and realizes she has zero control over them. Teenagers, am I right?

The Eyrie
Lord Petyr Baelish is still creepy. He drops Robin off with Lord Yohn Royce in hopes of him teaching Robin how to fight. It looks to be an uphill climb. However, Robin is supposed to be a ruler. Who cares if he sucks at combat? Have we ever seen Daenerys fight in combat? Joffrey couldn't fight and I doubt Tommen could either. Do we have any proof that Stannis Baratheon is good with a blade? Teach the kid to lead not to make others bleed.

Anyway, Baelish is whisking Sansa Stark away to some mysterious place that will undoubtedly turn out to be super creepy.

On the Road
Brienne is sad that Aria didn't want her protection and that she can't find a good leader to follow. (As Tyrion noted earlier, they're hard to find.) Podrick and his third leg want to follow Brienne. Brienne would rather mope.

The Wall
Stannis Baratheon wants Jon to convince Mance Rayder to swear allegiance to Stannis and then send his wildling army to take back Winterfell. (Remember that place?) In exchange, the wildlings would gain land South of the Wall. Stannis gives Jon until nightfall to convince Mance to kneel. I'm not sure Jon Snow can make it down the elevator in that amount of time.

Jon Snow does try to convince Mance of the logic of kneeling. However, Mance tells Jon Snow he'd rather die than kneel before someone else. Mance dies.

Other Thoughts
So this season premiere wasn't very action packed. It was more about putting pieces in place for what will come in the rest of season. It was a fairly quiet episode and lacked the "big moment" that this series has become known for. I'm not saying it was a bad episode it just wasn't terribly exciting.

The fortune teller witch also told Cersei that she would be cast down by a younger, more beautiful queen. I think we are supposed to assume it's Margaery Tyrell but, frankly, a lot of females in Westeros could fit that bill.

That scene with the fortune teller speaks a lot about why Cersei is the way she is. She's paranoid about her children and distrusts other women.

I suppose Cersei finally has a good reason to hate Tyrion.

I wonder how dead bodies are preserved for display in Westeros.

So Lancel Lannister is now a religious zealot. OK. And he talks of him poisoning Robert Baratheon under Cersei's orders. Is this the first time we've had confirmation that Cersei was behind Robert's death?

I hope mopey Tyrion doesn't last long.

So Ser Alliser Thorne is still alive. Was that in doubt last season? I forget...

Melisandre gave Jon Snow an interestingly long look. Perhaps he has some king's blood in him?

But I'm unsure why Jon not being a virgin is a good thing.

I like the idea of Brienne wanting to be led (by a good leader) instead of leading herself.

I really want to like Loras Tyrell but he can really act like a douche.

Varys thinks Stannis is too strict, but Daenerys doesn't seem to be into compromising either.

I am excited to see Tyrion meet Daenerys.

I wonder if there will be any repercussions to Jon Snow ending Mance's life prematurely. Or will Stannis think dead is good enough?

So is there a second-in-command of the wildlings who will be the new leader? What if s/he kneels to Stannis?

Tyrion: Do you know what it's like to stuff your shit through one of those air holes?
Varys: No, I only know what it's like to pick up your shit and throw it overboard.

Daenerys: Angry snakes lash out. It makes chopping off their heads that much easier.

Season 5 Totals
Boob Count: 3 (Yup, there is a girl with only one breast exposed.)
Full Frontal Count: 1 (1 Female)
Butt Count: 3 (3 Male)
Coitus Count: 0 (But there was some serious cuddles!)
Main Character Death Count: 1 (Mance Rayder, I would say you will be missed but...it's tough for me to care one way or another.)
Hodor Count: 0 (No Hodor this episode. :-(  )

4 comments:

  1. I don't have anything awe-inspiring to say so let's just get to it.

    Everything you say is awe-inspiring.

    It's a very rare Game of Thrones flashback!

    The first, in fact, I think.

    t the witch also says that Cersei's children will wear golden shrouds.

    I wonder if that means Tommen and Mycella are also not long for this world? Or if, as you suggest, it just means they'll die someday. Like, you know, everyone does.

    Varys says Westeros will need intelligent people like Tyrion as well as a wise, strong, fair ruler.

    What I found most interesting about Varys' little speech is that he used the word "country" to describe the kingdom/Westeros, which is a relatively modern concept (relative to the medieval feudal age GRRM is using for inspiration, at least). Most people in Westeros, if they care about anything beyond themselves, care about their family, the house/lord they've sworn fealty to, and whomever the king is (in roughly that order), whereas Varys seems to want to do what's best for Westeros, the collective representation of the people as a whole, which is definitely a forward thinking approach for someone in this world.

    I also really liked that this episode made clear something hinted at before, that pretty much the entire story we've watching is that of a battle between Baelish and Varys for control of/the well being of Westeros. Last season made it pretty clear that Baelish was the villain of that fight; this episode seems to suggest that Varys is the hero.

    An unsullied who is not Grey Worm

    It took me way too long (basically up to when his throat was cut) to decide whether or not that was Grey Worm...

    Daenerys decides to visits her locked away babies and realizes she has zero control over them.

    I wonder if she has more control over them than she thinks? I mean, they seemed hella pissed off, but they also didn't fry her outright, and they probably could have, so maybe she does have some sway with them yet. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking, cuz Dany in control of her dragons, riding them as they spew fiery death on her enemies, seems like a much better story than one where she just has them locked up all the time and cries about it.

    However, Robin is supposed to be a ruler. Who cares if he sucks at combat?

    I'm under the impression that Baelish doesn't give two farts what happens to Robin, and is pretty much just dropping the kid here to be done with him, on the pretense of "oh, uh, yeah, these are totally skills he needs to learn to be a ruler. K, bye." But I could be wrong.

    Anyway, Baelish is whisking Sansa Stark away to some mysterious place that will undoubtedly turn out to be super creepy.

    And pervy. Don't forget pervy.

    Podrick and his third leg want to follow Brienne.

    Ha! Never forget the random subplot involving Podrick's massive wang!

    I'm not sure Jon Snow can make it down the elevator in that amount of time.

    Ha!

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  2. I wonder how dead bodies are preserved for display in Westeros.

    I wondered that, too. Especially since King's Landing is in the south.

    Is this the first time we've had confirmation that Cersei was behind Robert's death?

    I could be confusing things with the books, but I think we knew that (for sure) already. It's certainly the first time in a long time we've been reminded of it, which makes me think it might be coming back to bite Cersei in the ass (huzzah!).

    I hope mopey Tyrion doesn't last long.

    Me too. Me too. At least they're heading somewhere, so he can be mopey in different places.

    So Ser Alliser Thorne is still alive. Was that in doubt last season? I forget...

    Kinda. He got injured in the attack on the castle and dragged off screen, then didn't appear in the finale, so it was unclear whether he survived his injuries or not. My exact words when he showed up in this episode were, "Well, I guess he survived after all. Great."

    Melisandre gave Jon Snow an interestingly long look.

    I kind of love that her whole thing now is just to walk around, giving people long, interesting, possibly meaningful looks.

    I really want to like Loras Tyrell but he can really act like a douche.

    Yeah. His whole fake eulogy of Tywin to Cersei was mildly entertaining, but then he just bugged me in the later scene, mostly because I want Margaery to take down Cersei and he seems like he could care less.

    Varys thinks Stannis is too strict, but Daenerys doesn't seem to be into compromising either.

    Yeah. I mean, fine, she doesn't like the idea of the fighting pits, but at the same time, if it's voluntary, and she feels like she can maybe put some government oversight in place to keep them that way, what the hell. It's not her thing, but if other people want to willing fight each other (and she can get some political cred out of it), it's not the worse thing in this world. Pick your battles, Dany.

    I guess maybe the idea is that, while Dany seems as inflexible as Stannis now, she has the greater potential for compromise, both because she's younger and because she's shown an ability to adapt over time to do what needs to be done, even if she is still stubborn.

    I wonder if there will be any repercussions to Jon Snow ending Mance's life prematurely. Or will Stannis think dead is good enough?

    Oh, probably, because this show.

    So is there a second-in-command of the wildlings who will be the new leader? What if s/he kneels to Stannis?

    I don't think so - they made a fairly big deal (here and in previous seasons) about how the only reason the Wildings are united is because of Stannis, and presumably that alliance will fall apart without him.

    That said, as much as Jon mercy killing Mance might piss off Stannis and/or Melisandre, the camera also seemed to linger significantly on the fact that the Wildlings saw Jon mercy kill Mance, so maybe we're heading for a "Jon is the new Mance" storyline.

    Hodor Count: 0 (No Hodor this episode. :-( )

    It's gonna be a sad season for the Hodor Count...

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  3. I cackled for like a minute straight at Royce's line (regarding Robin) "He swings a sword like a girl with palsy."

    I'm with you that this was a quieter premiere than we're used to. Up until last year, this show's finales usually did all this stuff, moving characters around and setting up the following season's storylines. Then when the next season started, they just jumped right into it. But I guess too much needed to happen last year to allow for that this time, so now we have a premiere which does what, previously, the finales often did.

    That's my take anyway.

    "But I'm unsure why Jon not being a virgin is a good thing."

    If, as you suspect, Jon has royal blood, then if he was a virgin, wouldn't Melisandre try to leech and/or sacrifice him for stuff? Or did that only work with Robert's virgin bastards? Or am I totally misremembering? I really need to go back and watch the earlier episodes.

    "I am excited to see Tyrion meet Daenerys."

    Me too! I like when Tyrion is actually utilized. His time as the Hand of the King was my favorite arc for him so far in the series.


    Teebore -- "It took me way too long (basically up to when his throat was cut) to decide whether or not that was Grey Worm..."

    Same here. And I still wasn't positive until we saw him in the next scene and I was like, "Oh yeah, that's what he looks like."


    "...maybe we're heading for a "Jon is the new Mance" storyline."

    Interesting. I keep thinking we're headed toward Jon becoming the new Lord Commander. I mean, it seems like it was set up way back in season 1 when Mormount made him his squire or whatever, and all the Night's Watchmen seem to love him, much to Alliser's dismay. Plus, until perhaps the final moment of this episode, he seemed to have Stannis's support as well, for whatever that might've been worth.

    But who knows, with this series? Either way, I always like Jon's storylines, so hopefully that trend will continue.

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  4. @Teebore: "I wonder if that means Tommen and Mycella are also not long for this world? Or if, as you suggest, it just means they'll die someday. Like, you know, everyone does."

    Yeah, I was just trying to be funny. I'm sure the implication is that Cersei's children will die "before their time" and whilst Cersei is still alive. Which probably means Cersei IS long for this world, which is kind of sad.

    The again, when hearing a fortune, it's best to not infer anything and take it as literally a possible. So, who knows?

    "It took me way too long (basically up to when his throat was cut) to decide whether or not that was Grey Worm..."

    Pretty much same here. I always get a little cautious when I confuse people of a race that is not my own. (Basically, I don't want to sound like I'm saying "they all look the same to me.") But, I really do feel like he looked a lot like Grey Worm and combine that with the fact that this show has changed actors on us (see: Daario) and I think I have a leg to stand on for the mixup here.

    "I mean, they seemed hella pissed off, but they also didn't fry her outright"

    TRY to fry her outright. She is immune to fire which could prove useful in trying to regain control of them.

    "I'm under the impression that Baelish doesn't give two farts what happens to Robin, and is pretty much just dropping the kid here to be done with him"

    Oh, I agree with that. I'm just pointing out that Petyr is lucky nobody called him out on his flimsy premise.

    "Ha! Never forget the random subplot involving Podrick's massive wang!"

    Well, the writers put that plot point in the show for a reason, right? RIGHT?

    @Matt: "If, as you suspect, Jon has royal blood, then if he was a virgin, wouldn't Melisandre try to leech and/or sacrifice him for stuff?"

    Maybe, but then I would think she'd be disappointed that he's not a virgin.

    "I always like Jon's storylines, so hopefully that trend will continue."

    I like them too but Jon seems to be following a more-or-less traditional "hero's journey" path which usually doesn't end well when George R.R. Martin is involved.

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