Sons of the Harpy

A review of Sons of the Harpy by Kelly Connellan.

This week’s episode stepped up the pace in terms of violence with killings and fights dotted through out. Even the first few seconds had Jorah punching an unsuspecting man in the face and stealing his boat.

In King’s Landing we see Cersei’s plans to regain power unfolding through acts such as making the small council even smaller and re-establishing the Faith Militant. The Sparrows took to their new role as the Faith Militant by cleansing the city of perversions against the faith. They definitely go all out; smashing stalls, sacking Littlefinger’s brothel, beating and killing those inside and even arresting Loras Tyrell. I’m intrigued to see what’s in store for this alliance between Cersei and the High Septon in the coming episodes and if it goes exactly how Cersei wishes.

We then journey to the Wall where Melisandre is trying to seduce yet another man: Jon Snow. Jon keeps his vows this time partly because he’s the honorable Commander of the Night’s Watch but mainly because he still loves Ygritte. That sends Melisandre packing but just as she leave she says a line we all know too well…‘You know nothing Jon Snow’. This definitely leaves a gob smacked Jon Snow and us with some questions!

At the Wall we also get to see a different, more likeable side to Stannis. In the scene he tells Shireen of how she came to have Greyscale and how he wouldn’t stop until she was cured, even when everyone said there was no use. I really enjoyed this scene and loved how it ended with an incredibly awkward hug with Stannis giving in eventually.

This week Sansa only features for a conversation with Littlefinger. The topic of their conversation is one that has been mentioned every now and then through the show: Rhaegar and Lyanna. All these references back must be for a reason and I’m interested to see what’s to come. This scene ends with another very awkward kiss between Littlefinger and Sansa much like that seen in season 4. I was again particularly creeped out and this feeling was definitely shared by all those who came to watch the episode in Timepiece with their shouts of ‘ewww’.

Jaime and Bronn make their way to Dorne and within a day of their arrival have some work to do with four Dornish riders finding them. Here we see Jaime’s first proper fight since having his hand chopped and it’s a sloppy one, as it should be. Jaime’s fight ends well with the Dornish man dealing what he believes to be the final blow only to be caught by Jaime’s golden hand giving time for Jaime to stab him through the chest. This clearly shows that their mission to get Myrcella is not going to be an easy one.

In our other shot of Dorne we finally get to meet the Sand Snakes, three of Oberyn’s bastard daughters. Although the scene was short we see they are set on revenge for their father. It will be interesting to see what part they play in the rest of the season.

The final scene brings us to Meereen where we clearly see why the episode is titled Sons of the Harpy as they are seen slaughtering Daenerys’ men everywhere. We cut to a battle with a group of Unsullied where Grey Worm ends up being the last Unsullied standing against many Sons. At this point it really doesn’t look great for Grey Worm but then Sir Barristan appears. This makes me think everything is going to be absolutely fine, after all this is one of the greatest fighters of Westeros. Oh how I was wrong. The episode finishes with dead Sons of the Harpy littering the floor and Barristan and Grey Worm joining them. Are they both dead? We will have to wait for the next episode to find out. I was really disappointed that the first time we see Sir Barristan fighting is the time that he dies, I suppose it was probably about time that a character we liked died. Things just aren’t going well for Daenerys with her trusted advisor now gone. It’s a good thing Jorah and Tyrion are on the way.

I think this was a cracking episode packed with violence and great one-liners. I look forward to next week’s episode as things are starting to heat up in season 5!

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High Sparrow

A review of «High Sparrow» by Håvard Haugvaldstad

This episode starts with Arya confused and frustrated at having to sweep floors in the House of Black and White. It appears she is kept in the dark on the workings of the faceless men. This episode sees Arya rid herself of her things in order to become no one, yet she can’t throw away Needle and instead hides it. It seems Arya is unwilling to throw away her precious sword even if that is the wish of the faceless men. I am unsure if going from sweeping floors to scrubbing dead bodies is a promotion in most people’s eyes, but let’s assume it is. Congratulations to Arya Stark on her promotion to morgue employee.

Meanwhile in King’s Landing king Tommen the first of his name happily marries and consummates said marriage with Margaery Tyrell who also seems pleased enough at (finally) getting the entire marriage thing right. The new queen really does show her cunning this episode and seems to know just what buttons to press to get her way. Getting Tommen to talk to his mother about Casterly Rock was clever. And personally I think the scene with Margaery and Cersei was the best scene in the entire episode. Margaery fried an artillery barrage of insults at the Queen Mother and received none in return, well done there.

Cersei goes to see the leader of the “sparrows” shortly after having thrown the old High Septon in the dungeons. Cersei claims she wants the faith and the crown to protect each other. It seems Cersei has plans for the High Sparrow. Cersei undoubtedly wants to secure her power and the old High Septon was not as useful to the Queen Mother as he should have been. I think we are all excited to see what happens in the capital in the future.

In the north Sansa is persuaded to go along with Littlefinger’s plan to marry her to Ramsay Bolton, but I think the most interesting turn of events is Littlefinger and Roose Bolton meeting. These men are calculating and clever, and neither the old gods nor the new know what they’re planning.

At the wall, Jon declines the offer from Stannis to become a Stark. He also gives Alliser Thorne the title of first builder and Janos Slynt the command of Greyguard, who refuses the command. I don’t think many mourn his death. Jon shows he is serious and beheads Janos even though he pleads for mercy.

Tyrion goes on an adventure in Volantis and meets someone he did not expect. It should be interesting to see what happens on the adventures of Jorah and Tyrion. And who knows how Varys will react to losing his travel companion.

As annoying as it is not having any Dorne on the map, I think makes up for its lack of Dorne by being thoroughly interesting from start to finish. I can’t complain and give this episode a rating of 8/10.

House of Black and White

A review of House of Black and White by Jerry Stephen

As good as episode one was, you wouldn’t fault anyone for saying it was a little stale at points. The episode reminded us of what had happened in the previous series and reintroduced us to characters. Episode two firmly left that behind as several plots began to move.

I’ve been looking forward to Arya arriving in Bravos and visiting House of Black and White since it became clear that she would arrive there at the start of this season, and visually it didn’t fail to impress. The imposing building was testament to the ever growing budget of Game of Thrones, and has left me excited about what they will have done with the inside. Whilst I can understand why they showed Arya’s time in Bravos before she was allowed into the House as they did, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a little rushed and could have been better explained.

Bronn’s scene on the beach with his now ex-fiancé was great, and his ready acceptance of his (ex) fiancé’s sister being in line for the main house, or rather, his acceptance of his need to kill her helped to bring comedy to what was at points a very tense episode. That being said, given the hatred that Dorne holds for the Lannister’s following the death of Oberyn I find myself worried for both Jamie and Bronn in their journey, especially given the scale of the task ahead of them.

Dany’s story is becoming a harder watch as it progresses, turning into a spiral of good intention and bad action that highlights her need for an advisor with the political wit of Tyrion or Varys. The clash between the needs of the free slaves and the laws and moral stances of Westeros that Dany holds are bound to happen again. I wonder how long she can hold their love whilst making them follow a system that they do not appear to hold as their own.

The Stark contrast between Jon’s choice to stay at the wall rather than retake Winterfell and his readiness to leave when Robb marched south truly shows how much he’s developed as a character, and we begin to see just how much of a Stark Jon is, especially when it comes to his morals in which he looks more and more like Ned. As much as I enjoyed seeing John become Lord Commander, I was far more impressed by Sam (what is it with fantasy characters called Sam playing the underdog role?) and his speech. His character has changed drastically over the last few seasons, to the point where he is now willing to publicly taunt Janos Slynt and make a speech that won Jon his new role. I’m looking forward to seeing how this will change the relationship between Jon and Stannis, as well as seeing where the storyline with the Wildlings ends up.

In Kings Landing perhaps my favourite part of the show occurred when we saw Cersei attempt to take control of the small council only to be turned down by Kevan. I think this shows just how instrumental Tywin was not only in holding the capital and in doing so the country together, but also the Lannister’s themselves. Whilst Cersei and Jamie’s comments about the instability to come has been left alone for the most part, after the public disagreement between Cersei and Kevan I can’t imagine it will remain the same for too long.

Overall I have been drawn back into the series once again and cannot wait for next week’s episode, although this time it will be with a little trepidation for some of my favourite characters than before.

The Wars to Come

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.