Tywin Lannister is dead. Daenerys Targaryen is setting up roots in Meereen and has locked up her dragons. Arya has left Westeros. Stannis Baratheon is at The Wall. Tyrion Lannister has escaped Kingslanding. Bran Stark has met the three-eyed raven beyond the Wall. Jon Snow has led the defense of the Nights Watch against the Wildlings. Season 4 left us reeling with so many dangling plot threads and made us stew over our frustration for over nine months. On April 12, we finally got some answers.
Read about the exciting HBO premier of Game of Thrones titled, “The Wars to Come”
Gold Their Shrouds
It’s been implied that the next 2 seasons will zero in on Cersei Lannister. A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons are terrific material for the character and Lena Headey has certainly proven her acting chops. This season’s opening is a flashback of young Cersei, trudging through a dim forest in search of a witch/seer. “Everybody wants to know their future, until they know their future.” The succeeding scenes were pretty much faithful to the source material, although they chose to omit about the “valonqar”. Until this episode, David Benioff and DB Weiss haven’t had to rely on flashbacks to tell a story. Choosing to use this kind of technique now might be a good thing because all the storylines, genealogies, and house histories are just too complex for non-book readers. They need some sort of historical reference to keep up.
A Non-Man and a Half Man
We last saw Tyrion being ferried away by Varys after he murdered Tywin Lannister with a crossbow. Tyrion Lannister and Varys the Eunuch have arrived at the home of Illyrio Mopatis. It would’ve been great if the magister made an appearance as well, but casting conflict, perhaps? As per usual, there is a lot of humor, politics, and socio-ethics discussion going on between these two. Dinklage is always wonderful as Tyrion while Conleith Hill is irreplaceable as Varys.
Sons of the Harpy
Meanwhile in Meereen, Daenerys tries to dissuade the Masters against slavery and the fighting pits by metaphorically bringing down harpy statues. It’s not working, and the consequence is an increasing pile-up of dead Unsullied. When one of the Unsullied visits a brothel (for one moment I thought it was Greyworm) to cuddle with a whore, he only ended up with his throat cut open. I’m glad D&D kept this little storyline; it implies that though the Unsullied are formidable fearless warriors, they still have some humanity left in them. I’m still confused with the Missandei and Grey Worm love story though. What are they trying to do?
Mother of Dragons Without Dragons
When we last saw Viserion and Rhaegal, they were roughly the size of a pony, minus the wingspan. Drogon was larger because he’s Balerion the Black Dread reincarnated. 😀 But that’s just me. When Dany decides to visit the dungeons where she imprisoned the 2 dragons, the SFX team got to show off their new increased budget. On a black background, when Viserion bellows out a breath of fire, we see the dragons in all their grown-up glory. They’re now roughly the size of… well, dragons.
Is Sansa Jeyne?
Based on the first episode alone, I’m already certain that there will be a lot of deviations from the books. Since the TV shows can’t match the pace of the books, they have to speed up some of the storylines and in that sense, they have to omit some characters to maximize the locations and the plot threads. I’ll discuss more about it in another article. For now, Sansa’s storyline is the better example. We last saw her in the Eeyrie with Petyr Baelish but now they’re travelling West again. At this point I have no idea what’s going to happen. Is she going to Winterfell? House Bolton is now at Winterfell. Does this mean the whole Jeyne plot will be disregarded and Sansa will instead be married to Ramsey? This is an alarming change.
Kings on the Wall
After their dramatic defeat on the Wildling army, Jon Snow persuades a shackled Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, to bend the knee to Stannis Baratheon, the one true king of Westeros. Choosing death over submission, Mance’s death scene is certainly one of the best in the season. Sure, I flapped around like a mad monkey when Joff died, cried like a bitch during Ned Stark’s, and wailed and meowed when Dany euthanized Khal Drogo. But Mance’s slow agony over the burning pyre was certainly wince inducing, up until Jon Snow shot an arrow through Mance’s heart, cutting his agony short. Yu knuh nuthin, Juhn Snuh.
My biggest question would have to be about Sansa Stark’s fate, where the heck is she and Littlefinger going? Will Varys make good on his promise about going to Daenerys and supporting her bid for the Iron Throne? Now that the King Beyond the Wall is dead, what will happen to the wildlings? How is Stannis going to retake the North and subsequently, Westeros?
Let’s tune in for next week’s episode, The House of Black and White.