Game of Thrones 5×01 – The Wars to Come Review

Game-of-Thrones-logoTyrion summed it up rather nicely when he said, “the future is shit, just like the past.”

The first episode caught us up with some key players, the mourning Lannisters, the murdering Lannister and the Spider, the Highgarden (Tyrell) siblings, the mother of (two locked up and one missing) dragons, Littlefinger and Sansa, Night’s Watch patrollers with Stannis & Co. Am I missing anyone? Oh yeah Brienne of mother-effing Tarth and her squire who’s not really a squire, because Brienne’s not a knight. Her words, not mine. But that’s all we get from them as she’s not sure what to do at this point having lost Arya and still not found Sansa, Brienne’s sulking in abeyance.

Things are sort of in limbo for everyone right now, Cersei and Jaime are trying to hold off the noble folk after the death of Tywin- that scene beside Tywin’s body gave us more of the same with both characters. Jaime defending Tyrion, Cersei reprimanding him for it. The problem is Cersei is still coming off as less of a multifaceted character and more of a jealous queen trying to keep her title. The prophecy flashback, while brilliant, didn’t help. Mostly because Maggy the Frog’s prophecy to little Cersei, who was just as haughty then as she is now, was incomplete. They cut a potentially crucial element out but I think it’s slightly spoilerous, so thoughts on it below in the Book Spoilers Ahoy (BSA) section. How about that child actor though, she nailed her adult counterpart’s characterisation.

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Tyrion is understandably jaded, he escapes from prison and his looming execution to find his dad (who’s never loved him, apparently) had taken up with Shae (who he thought had loved him) so he kills them both and is squirreled away on a ship (forced to stuff his shit through holes- hopefully not the same holes his food would have been stuffed through) for weeks. Yeesh, that’s enough to turn anyone into a drunk. The show really cut down the traveling time for him- cutting out a good few hundred characters (just kidding, or am I?) along with it. I liked that they sent Varys along for the ride, it makes for an interesting change and gives Tyrion more direction than just ‘anywhere far far away from King’s Landing’. Varys, up until this point, has been rather cryptic in his purpose, ‘spymaster for the good of the realm but more to save my own hide’ is the vibe I initially got off him, but he fully laid out his intentions to Tyrion this episode. Dany fans would be inclined to back his campaign 100%.

Daenerys Targaryen seems to be the right candidate for the Iron Throne, no? She has the lineage, the right entourage (maybe) and the swag. The falling statue scene was powerful, it easily set the tone for the goings on in Meereen. Dany seems compassionate but is not a pushover and has shown the strength to do what needs doing. What she’s lacking right now, however, is a hold on her dragons and the complete devotion of the people she’s freed. She’s also in a state of limbo, it seems, because of this. Her growth will surely be linked to the ability to rein in her dragons. Right now Viserion and Rhaegal are losing their minds being chained up and the monstrosity that is Drogon is still at large, wreaking havoc no doubt.

Littlefinger and Sansa may not be in limbo per se but Littlefinger’s plans take time and there are so many things a’brewing. Sansa’s getting smarter but she’s not at ‘master manipulator’ just yet and I like her slow- but sure- development. But her storyline’s already a huge diversion from the books and it looks like it’s going to keep changing. Depending on how they continue to develop her character this can be great, or flop-central.

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And at the wall I knew Mance was a goner but damn burnt at the stake like a witch? Ouch. Also, Melisandre’s invasive questions were a bit rude. But perhaps she can’t sacrifice virgins? We’ll see what the show does with that, yikes at him training the little sprite that shot and killed Ygritte. The ending of the episode was striking. His respect for Mance won out over his care for anything Stannis said. Jon knows (funnily enough) what’s up with needing to put aside petty throne grabs for the bigger problem at hand. Imminent Whitewalker danger, yo. There are wars brewing from every direction, Stannis doesn’t quite see it yet. He may have his current war with the Lannisters over the throne but the unknown war coming at them from North of the wall isn’t something to laugh off. Dany’s fighting a war in Meereen, subterfuge from the Sons of the Harpy who oppose her and internal conflict regarding her dragons, but Varys and Tyrion are looking to bring her into the messy war for the Iron throne- the very one she seems determined to keep putting off.

No Arya or Sandsnakes yet, but they are on their way. Along with other key players mentioned but not shown in the first ep back. Introducing the concept of Dorne through Loras’ Dorne-shaped birthmark tho’. Really? It was all for the man-on-man action, for sure. However Margaery and Loras’ relationship is weirdly awesome. Natalie Dormer is sass incarnate and with more moments of sassery to come I’m definitely hyped.

Oh what a season to look forward to.

Honourable Mentions:

– “I am not a politician, I am a queen.” YASSS DANY SLAAAYYY

– The unsullied visit them brothels to be the little spoon. Plain and simple. It isn’t, really, but if I think about it too much it’ll make me so sad.

– Ah here be Sparrows! (Introduced through the atoned Lancel This is good, setting us up for what’s to come that has a lot to do with religious beliefs and the consequences of certain actions.

– Yikes, four episodes leaked before the premiere- much to the delight of pirating fans and chagrin of the producers.

Book Spoilers Ahoy:

– THE VALONQAR?! Maggy the Frog (Maggy being a nickname that refers to what she is, which is a ‘maegi’) doesn’t make any mention of the valonqar (High Valyrian for ‘little brother’). It’s important element. Like, we get it- Cersei’s wary of Margaery (seeing her as a threat, even without the added element of a prophecy about it). And while we know she hates Tyrion but at least this would have added another facet to the reasons behind her detestation. An element of fear to her hatred of Tyrion makes her hatred far more complex than ‘he’s an imp and his birth caused our mother’s death’.

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