The Wars to Come, a review of Game of Thrones season 5 episode 1 by Conor Murphy
The sun is out and the weather may be nice, but now’s the time to grab the nearest wolf fur because winter is coming! It’s time to return to the happy world of Game of Thrones with season five opening with a strong first episode that leaves us wanting more.
The episode open with two young girls in a forest who find a witch with the ability to tell them their future. The witch tells one girl she will become Queen, have three children but not with the king, and will not stay queen. In case you haven’t been paying attention the last four seasons, the girl is Cersei. This scene is done very well and give us an insight into Cersei’s hatred for Margaery.
We then move to Kings Landing where Tywin’s funeral is in progress. On see seeing her dead father, Cersei openly blames Jaime for murdering their father by helping Tyrion escape. This scene is very powerful as we can see that the Lannister family is more broken than ever with Jaime and Cersei now on bad terms. Lancel also returns as a newly converted ‘sparrow’ of the Seven. This could have used more explanation, as someone who has not read the books this far, I have no idea who or what the ‘sparrows’ are. However Cersei putting up with Loras’ awkward condolences, completely ignoring Pycelle and mockery of Lancel’s faith were performed fantastically. Margery does not appear in this episode for long but is as brilliant as ever. She is clearly not intimidated by Cersei and seems more then confident she can take her head on. A storyline I look forward to seeing unravel. Also, for the record, Loras’s birthmark does look like Dorne.
On the Wall we see Jon training with the remaining night’s watchman. Jon is summoned by Stannis and enjoys an awkward ride up the wall with Melisandre, who asks if he is a virgin. He says “no” to which Melisandre replies “good”. Stannis tells Jon he plans to use the wilding army to help him conquer the Seven Kingdoms but wants Mance to bend the knee. Jon is sceptical this will happen but agrees to try to convince Mance to do so. When he confronts Mance with the offer, Mance refuses and accepts he will be executed by being burnt alive Stannis style. This scene was acted brilliantly as we can see Mance is truly struggling with the decision and the fear in his eyes to the news he will be burnt alive is a reaction we all would share. When the exaction happens Jon kills Mance with an arrow before the flames meet him. Ciaran Hind’s acting during the burning was very believable and the scene was overall outstanding.
To the east, Daenerys has been busy tearing down the Harpy statue, a fantastic scene that powerfully open her story. However, the tearing down of the Harpy does cause problems and a group called the ‘Sons of the Harpy’ begin gaining influence and kill an Unsullied (White Rat). This group raises a lot of intrigue and hopefully they will be a huge part to play in later episodes. Daenerys attention is soon turned to request to reopening of the ‘Fight Pits’. Although she has doubts, as the pits were originally only for slaves to fight slave for entertainment, she is persuaded by Daario to reopen them. Daario also persuaded her to release her dragons, and recapture Drogon who has been missing for weeks. However the dragon are not too happy to see their mother and chase her out of the tomb where they are chained up. We can see in this scene even Daenerys feels she can no longer control these dragons.
After spending the last few weeks in a crate, Tyrion finally reaches land and immediately reaches for the wine. Arriving in Pentos, Varys and Tyrion are being accommodated by Illyrio. Varys is planning for him and Tyrion to sail to Meereen to join Daenerys. Tyrion, reluctant to go, agrees but only if he can ‘drink himself to death on the way there’. Their scenes together are done very well as it is clear Tyrion wants no part in the politics of Westeros and wishes to leave it all behind, but Varys know he is needed for Daenerys to take the throne.
Robin has now indeed ‘left the nest’ and is travelling the Vale. Yohn Royce has agreed with Petyr Baelish to foster Robin Arryn at Runestone, although he is not impressed with the skills of the young boy. However we see this does not concern Petyr who clearly has his own plans in the Vale. Sansa dose not play a huge role in the episode, but we can see she is learning for Baelish and will no doubt soon make a move in the game.
Brienne also appears in the episode but her story is short and simply about having no good lord to fight for and how she is ‘no true knight’. Hopefully her story will develop in the episodes to come but in this episode it wasn’t that important.
Overall this episode has given its audience enough questions to think over for now but not too many that we are overwhelmed. I imagine we’ll pick up the other story lines soon enough but this episode get the ball rolling for a fantastic series to follow.